HERRMANN, Nola
(nee McBean)
22 Dec 1967

HERRMANN, Nola Eileen (nee McBean):

NOLA EILEEN3 MCBEAN (DUNCAN MATHIE2, LACHLAN MOORE1) was born 22 December 1967. She married DEAN ALBERT HERRMANN 11 September 1993 in Harare Zimbabwe, son of EITEL HERRMANN and GINNETTE WARWICK. He was born 11 January 1963 in Salisbury Rhodesia. Nola is the daughter of MARGARET ANN8 FLEMMER (OWEN JOHN7, MARIUS TOGER6, HANS CHRISTIAN5) and was born 3 April 1940 in East London South Africa. She married DUNCAN MATHIE MCBEAN 10 December 1966 in Blantyre Malawi, son of LACHLAN MCBEAN and GERTRUDE O' MEARA. He was born 23 June 1934 in Salisbury Rhodesia.

PERSONAL HISTORY OF Nola Eileen Herrmann (McBean)
Mbabane, SWAZILAND 2 April 2001

My parents, Duncan and Margie McBean, were living in Blantyre, Malawi as ex-patriots as the time for my birth grew near. (My father was working for the Shell Company there.) My maternal grandparents, Owen and Heyla Flemmer were resident in Bulawayo, Rhodesia and because I was the first child, it was there that my mother travelled in time for my arrival. I was born at the Mater Dei Hospital where my first attempts at suckling were witnessed by 'Father' Christmas, who turned out to be a nun in drag, much to my modest mother's relief!

I was taken to Malawi aged only a few days and spent the first months of my life in Blantyre. By the time my sister Carol Ann was born on 8 July 1969, we were back in Rhodesia, Salisbury this time, and about to move into a scheme house that my parents had built amongst the msasa trees in the then new suburb of Mandara. It was there that we spent many hours sweeping out our thatched Wendy-house, learning to ride our bikes, and climbing over the stile at the bottom of the garden to visit friends who lived down the path. There was an African compound in the 'bush' that bordered our property and it was with a mixture of fear and curiosity that we would venture as close as we dared to get a glimpse of their children and an inkling of how they lived. Our 'house-boy', Dafta was part of the family to us, and I shed many tears the day he was caught and fired for theft of meat from the freezer. Every winter, the dry grass of the 'vlei' would burn and we would join the neighbours along the boundary in a common desire to stave off the blaze. Small mammals, sometimes even a buck, would run before the flames in terror - a wild area that was gradually stripped of much of its indigenous forest and finally developed less than 10 years ago.

But to go back to the seventies - Carol and I were at junior school (Courteney Selous, in Greendale) which, as soon as we were able, was close enough for us to ride to on our bicycles. Most children did the same, and the bicycle shed was a large affair and a common meeting place at the end of the day. Even the traffic department took us seriously and there were regular inspections to check that we were licensed and that our 'vehicles' met their stringent safety requirements. Depending on the craze of the day, we played marbles in the dust, French skipping (fancy manoeuvres with a long bit of elastic) on the purple 'carpets' under the jacaranda trees or hopscotch on the quad. 

Secondary schooling took place for us at Oriel Girls' High School - Carol and I left there on the same emotion-filled day, and I went on to a private school, Arundel (fondly known as 'The Pink Prison') while she started a very worthwhile secretarial course that soon had her in excellent jobs while I struggled along as a pharmacy student at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. To say that they were happy years though is a gross understatement. I loved res life and got very involved in several societies as well as the social scene. My final year was spent in 'digs' with 8 other students from nearly every faculty on campus. It was not without it's tricky moments, but was generally a very positive experience. We clubbed together to employ a maid, who cooked, cleaned and ironed for us (poor woman!). The house was old (the sort with a long passage right down the middle and a fireplace in every bedroom) and had mushrooms and snails in the shower, an old door for a kitchen table, and a resident rat family…but we loved it and the time we had there.
I had set my heart on doing my internship in Cape Town, and was rewarded with a post in Constantia Pharmacy. I initially boarded with an elderly family friend in Plumstead, and rode her 'sit-up-and-beg' bicycle to work, often in less than ideal weather conditions. My boss arrived in black leathers on his 1000cc BMW, so wasn't the sort to mind my looking like a drowned rat in a transparent uniform for half the day! By the time Carol joined me after a spell in UK and Europe, I did have a car (technically Dad's) and had found another pharmacist who was willing to share her Claremont flat with both of us. Cape Town was a wonderful place to be and our weekends were spent strawberry/ cherry picking, hiking, picnicking, wine-routing, swimming and socialising. The long evenings meant we could meet friends for sundowners after work at places like Llandudno and Clifton. 

We returned together to Harare, but Carol wasn't there long before going back to the UK where her relationship with Billy Teeton entered a new phase (they are now married with two adorable children). I met Dean Herrmann, which precipitated the end of a long-standing university relationship. My goal for that year was to earn enough to buy a 'triangle ticket', which would take me to London, the Far East and Australia and was valid for a year. Dean had already done a 'walk-about' in 1988 (this was now 1991) but my plans caused the travel bug to bite again and I'd only been in France a couple of months when he joined me there. The English family, who had employed me as their chalet-girl in Grand Bornand, agreed to take Dean on too, so we worked together and skied in our spare time. When the snow started to melt as April approached, we were out of a job and headed back to London. Finding work in the engineering and pharmacy fields proved very difficult, but just when we were getting despondent, Dean picked up a yachting magazine containing the ad of our dreams. We were taken on as crew (water-sports instructor and galley slave!) for a 60' concrete-hulled schooner in Greece. A middle-aged English seadog was sent out with us as captain, and we had cause to be grateful for his vast experience. The boat needed weeks of work before she could sail, but we loved the life she showed us, and that summer was rich with new experiences. We travelled from Kalymnos in the east to Levkas in the west, picking up and delivering passengers as we went. The end of another season saw our return to London to connect with our homeward flights. Seven weeks was far too little to divide between Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ko Samui, Singapore, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, but we did as much as we could in the time we had.

Settling down to running a suburban Pharmacy after that was a challenge, but Carol and Billy's wedding in April 1993 and our own in September of that year were sufficient distractions! We were married on a beautiful farm at Norton, Saffron Walden (now occupied by 'war veterans') and set up home in a small flat in Avondale West. We were about to move into a house we'd bought in Glen Lorne, Harare, when Dean was offered a 9-month post in Mauritius, so we went there instead! We did a lot of diving and enjoyed all the visitors we had, but found it too crowded a place to be for long. 

In retrospect it was a good thing that there was no work for Dean on our return to Zimbabwe, and that he seemed to have been stripped of all his status by being out of the Harare office for a while. It was because of this that we were forced to look further a-field, and ended up in Burrow Binnie's Swaziland branch. We have happily been here for 6 years and have since had two children who were both born in Harare: Marc Alan on Mothers' Day of 1996 and Danielle Ashleigh on Mothers' Day of 1998! After much deliberating and heartache, and taking the political and economic climate of Zimbabwe into account, we have made the decision to immigrate to New Zealand. The Flemmer family Tribal Gathering in Cape Town over the Easter weekend in a few weeks time will therefore be a bittersweet experience for us; leaving Africa and all our loved ones is probably the hardest thing we've had to do so far.