"Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living,
And a child that is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay."
I was a Sunday's child, and had a happy time growing up in Cape Town. This happiness is perhaps indicated by the fact that, according to my mother, I always wakened with a smile when I was small.
My father, Alexander Simpson Wells, had come to South Africa from a manse in Glasgow - his father had been a Moderator of the Church of Scotland - to serve as a newly qualified surgeon in the Anglo-Boer War. His fiancee, Edith Boyd Henderson, came from Aberdeen with her father Sir William Henderson - who had been Lord Provost of Aberdeen - and they were married in Gardens Presbyterian Church and started life together in a small terrace house in Orange Street. There Shena was born in 1905 and Jim in 1907. In a slightly bigger house I was born in 1911 and Russell in 1913. Mother wanted to call me after her sister Emily but didn't much like her name so asked for alternatives. Aunt Emily suggested Deva (Latin for the River Dee at Aberdeen; their Henderson home was Devanha House), Nerine (she and Auntie had carried bouquets of scarlet Nerine sarniensis as bridesmaids at the parents' wedding), Hope, and Shirley.
When Russell was a few weeks old, and I was two and a half, we moved to 26A Kloof Road (later Kloof Nek Road), which the parents named "Aytoun" (and Mother hammered out the copper nameplate), and which was the family home for 40 years. For background, a description of Aytoun's grounds and four storeys is necessary. The high red brick wall was distinctive, and one entered through a heavy wrought-iron double gate. A wide paved path between plots of lawn led to a broad flight of steps. At the top were balustrades on either side, then two low-growing spreading palm trees flanked a further paved path below the flight of steps which led to the double front door, at the side of which were the Day and Night bells, which rang respectively in the kitchen and upstairs.