The Cactus Patch
Volume 5       September 2002      Number 9

A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

We finally produced our joint Capitol Players/Music Society production "That's Entertainment" on Thursday 25 July thru Saturday 27 July - only three weeks late! The first half was mostly South Pacific and I appeared in grass skirt and coconuts for "Honey Bun". The second half was mostly Les Miserables and Polly sang some most unlady-like lyrics in "Master of the House". She had her hair done up in extensions for the occasion. A lot of fun, but a lot of work. On Sunday the 4th August we went with the Bird Club to Otse to see the Vulture Colony. It was too early for aloes, etc. and the nestlings were not apparent, but afterward we had brunch at nearby Camphill, an institute for handicapped children (James helped out there as part of his school public service).

I'm glad to see the Fair is on again. I'll come and paint a background for the "mere" price of the airfare. Don't let Bonnie put in too many flamingos! (Even if they can be twisted into Us and 2s to fit the theme.) I enjoyed Linda's article on Wales and Cornwall. Some day we plan to get there - check out ancestors from Wales and stay with our former Malawi next-door neighbor in Cornwall. We never saw Umbilicus rupestris, but we found Sedum album on the castle ruins at Guildford while staying with the head of botany at the British Museum (Natural History) who lived at Burgess Hill (now home of the journal Asklepios). (Formerly our friend headed the Herbarium in Malawi.) We also had seen it earlier at Downham in the north of England growing on stonewalls and stone houses. We were there tracing the Hargreaves family which was involved in the nearby Pendle Hill witchcraft trials of the 1620s - on both sides. The sheriff and one of those arrested were Hargreaves. (The family crest is in Lancaster Castle in honor of John Hargreaves, a later sheriff. The woman arrested as a witch was never convicted as she died in prison.) We also saw the elusive Yellow Stonecrop at Downham.

The herbarium in Botswana has obtained an interesting book: "Regions of Floristic Endemism in Southern Africa" by Abraham (Braam) van Wyk and Gideon Smith (2000, Umdaus Press, Hatfield, South Africa). The title sounds dull, but the subtitle is "A review with emphasis on succulents!" The first chapter has a lot of deadly dull definitions, but it gets better when it covers specific areas. Unfortunately, Botswana has no areas of endemism. The nearest is to the south in Griqualand West in South Africa. Interestingly two of the "near endemics" listed for there (Euphorbia bergii and E. rectirama) are found in Botswana. In the Drakensberg Alpine Centre of Endemism I find Crassula qoatlhambensis (which I named) listed - but with the disturbing note that it is of uncertain taxonomic status! I wonder what that's all about?

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