Hambe Kahle, Mrs. O


In the distant days when I recommended wine in the Sunday Times Lifestyle, Bridget Oppenheimer would take my advice seriously and send her butler to Carrie Adams at Norman Goodfellow’s on Oxford Road to buy a case. Bridget, Carrie and Norman. Sounds like something out of PG Wodehouse.  Things were going swimmingly until I made the mistake of recommending a screw-capped bottle.  

Her grandson Jonathan told me one of her favourites was Château Haut-Brion Blanc, a harmonious blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc with the aromatic fullness of a dessert wine in a dry white wine.  Carrie had lunch once a month with Mrs. O and it was with a dose of nostalgic sadness that I learnt of her passing this morning, in her sleep at the ripe old age of 92.

bo 615x434 Hambe Kahle, Mrs. O

The last time I saw her, she was standing on the steps of 44 Main Street.  The leaping springbok sculpture (above) and been restored and moved to the Anglo precinct in Marshalltown after the buck were decapitated in their first location, Oppenheimer Park opposite Deon’s, near the Jeppe Street Post Office. This was in the days long before FaceBook so Mark Zuckerberg was not a suspect.  A net had been thrown over the re-headed buck and balloons filled with helium jostled between the bokke and the top of the net.  Mrs. O was to push a red detonator button, the net would drop and the balloons would fly skywards on her signal.  All the Anglo top brass were there, for this was in the days before head office relocated to London.

All of a sudden, the balloons escaped and Mrs. O, wired for sound, could be heard complaining “who pushed the button?  It wasn’t me.” Well now she too has made like a balloon and slipped the surly bonds of earth.  Hambe Kahle, Mrs. O