Our Story

There once was a little girl who lived at Hanlin Lodge ….

As a child I often wrote and told stories. I loved to tell stories to the netball team and Voortrekker squad as we travelled to go and play games in other towns or go camping. I also wrote down many short stories, but over time I became self-conscious, especially since I am a bit dyslexic and really cannot spell to save my life (thank goodness for spellcheck). For many years I forgot all about telling or writing stories until Kayleigh was born.

Kayleigh was born on the 26th of March 2008, she was only due about two weeks later, but since we live on a farm at least an hour an a half from Pretoria, we decided to do an induction on the 30th of March to ensure that everything is happening under controlled circumstances. However on the 26th of March 2008 she could not wait any longer to enter the world and we had to rush to hospital to make it in time.

Kayleigh was ahead of her peers with almost everything. She came into the world with strawberry red hair with highlights, with wide open eyes that seemed to take in everything from day one. She walked at 9 and a half months. She spoke in sentences by the time she was 18 months and at 2 and a half, after watching 6 weeks of BBC TV (Cbeebies) during the 2010 World Cup Soccer she was just about fluent in English, with a British accent and all . Quite surprising since we only spoke Afrikaans to her at the time.

However, from the very beginning, Kayleigh had great difficulty falling asleep,  I always got the idea that she was worried that she was going to miss something when she sleeps.

After many hours of pushing her up and down in a pram through the house, I discovered that if I switched of the light and sit next to her on the bed and tell her a story she fell asleep. Well I soon ran out of stories and had to start making them up.

One night I remembered a dung beetle we have seen during the morning while going up to the lodge to unlock for the staff, and since she looked so interested in this little creature, I decided to make it the subject of the story. I started the story with:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived at Hanlin Lodge….

She immediately wanted to know if I was talking about her. “Noooo, of course not,” I said  …. she just giggled and said: “Go on..”.

And from that night on wards, I had to tell her a story every evening starting with: There once was a little Girl who lived at Hanlin Lodge….


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