WERE YOU A GREY STREET COWBOY ?
- 1/4/2007 <--Prev : Next-->
Now anyone who lived in Bulawayo in the fifties, sixties and seventies will know exactly
what I mean.....
Bulawayo had the most awesome storm drains, deep wide dips that appeared at every
intersection, and Grey Street and Borrow Street had the very best there could be .....
One could start a the Eskimo Hut near the Trade Fair, rev up the old Morry and fly like the
wind down Grey Street, ramping majestically at every intersection.
A good couple of kilometres of hair raising delight until one sped past Hartsfield rugby
grounds where one could disappear into the North End warren of Roads just in case the
cops thought to chase you !!
It was even more fun in the rainy season when one could gush through the fifteen raging
torrential rivers which ran down stream into the Matsheumhlope from first Avenue to
Fifteenth Avenue...... If you could get up a good speed in that Old Austin Cambridge or VW
Beetle, you could get the spray to rise up as high as the top of the windows !!
To totally drench an unsuspecting passer by was an added bonus, and when they
introduced a fine which made it illegal to splash people, it took on an even more delightful
and delicious temptation.. ..
Somehow the novelty wore off when the levelled out the storm drains, and it definitely lost
its wicked gloss, when they changed the names of the roads !!
The Name "Robert Mugabe Street" Cowboy somehow did not have quite the same
tantalising ring !!
The race down Grey Street from South to North, passed so many landmarks. Norvic Court
on the right, Royal Cinema on the left where we used to attend the Saturday morning
movies and swop all those weekly comics like Richie Rich, Lil Annie,Casper the Friendly
Ghost, Tarzan and the Beanos .....
Directly opposite The Royal was the Bon Journee which still today sells a good cup of
coffee and a decent meal, still features those check table cloths and those milk bar
Opposite the Royal Cinema was the Model Dairy where you could buy sweet little bottles of
milk and tubs of cream as well as fabulous ice creams ... Further down on the left were the
Fritz Pie carts where Fritz Pickard sold an amazing array of tempting delights like
hamburgers and hot dogs. One could sit outside in the open, on a metal stool which
swung completely around and drink a milkshake while you watched the Grey Street
Cowboys in action.
Past Selborne Avenue where Downing Bakery stood proud on the corner...oh those meat
pies, Cornish Pasties, doughnuts and Downing's Bread....mmmmmmm
On the right again, Knights Auctioneers where Aiden Knight presided over a tantalising
display of objects d'art and antique furniture, Past the Greys Inn where the Muirhead
family ran the very popular and infamous pub, past the Grey Street Prison where Aiden
Diggenden ran his flourishing business and from where he made it his business to escape
so many times !!
Bulawayo City Roads were made wide enough to turn a full span of oxen, Grey Street was
slightly more narrow however, there are still the skid marks in place where the more
daring Cowboys took it upon themselves to try a hand brake "ewey "(U turn !!
Things have changed somewhat, the City Fathers took it upon themselves to run a centre
island the entire length of Grey Street, partly to prevent the Cowboys from doing those
incredible hand brake u turns in the middle of the road, and partly to give the pedestrians
a little island of safety I would imagine !!
The cinemas have all been converted into Churches, The Pie Carts made way for the Jairos
Jiri Shop. C. Gauche is still there though where they sell coal, bird seed and an eclectic
collection of farming equipment.
Next door the Model Dairy has been sold to a Chinese consortium where you can buy
pretty paper lanterns, chopsticks and colourful Chinese slippers, all of which arrived with
the construction folk who came to help us build the much needed Gwayi Shangani
Some of our elderly citizens however, no names mentioned, still retain those beautifully
maintained old Morrys and Austins which to this day bear the dents in the oil sumps,
where the ramped the storm drains on an idyllic Saturday afternoon in Bulawayo....