Because I was brought up there, I have been following the drought in Zambia with great interest.

When I was a child we had the dry season and the rainy season. Both could be depended upon – but now it’s a different world.

Seeing the Victoria Falls so depleted is quite astonishing.

But I am left wondering what people will find if the mighty Zambesi gets any lower.

The fact is that somewhere under those falls will be money, school hats, exercise books and goodness knows what else – all thrown out of the window by excited school children as we travelled home for the holidays and crossed from Rhodesia into our homeland.

There are no trains now but there certainly were then and we used to travel on them four times a year – twice to boarding school in South Africa and twice back.

The journey took five days in smoke-churning steam engines. By the end of the journey we were filthy and even the perfume du jour couldn’t disguise the stink!

Mind you, our faces were perfect thanks to Quickies make-up removal pads. We would carefully clean from chin to forehead and then reapply the thick Pan stick foundation which only those of a certain age would remember.

The result was bronzed, made-up faces and necks that were filthy with soot and grime!

We travelled on trains called Lollipop Specials because they were full of kids from Zambia and Rhodesia going down south to school.

Many of them were heading for Grahamstown – a city known for its large number of schools and churches, including Rhodes University.

Those train journeys were fun – but would have been better if the Assumption Convent girls had not been accompanied by a nun whose main aim in life was to stop us having too much of that fun.

A buffet care separated the boys from the girls and the conductor usually sat there to guard our morals. At every station, though, boys and girls would scramble out to get to the other side of the buffet car from the platform. Then all you had to do was, as the Beatles suggested, “Hide Your Love Away” if a nun or conductor came a-knocking!

Sometimes the nuns were handy. When I started playing pontoon with a group of “big boys” they convinced me that I wasn’t allowed to leave the game. I lost my pocket money and was about to gamble both my sisters’ money away when someone told on me and a nun – a predecessor of of Darth Vader – swooped in to stop the game.

People used to sell biltong (dried meat), rats and bush babies from from the platforms and there were always a dozen kids with strange, moving shapes in their clothes, chewing frantically as they assured the customs officers that they had absolutely nothing to declare!

To us Vic Falls meant we were either leaving or coming home.To the people living there, though, the drought means a struggle for survival – and I don’t think finding my hat in the Zambesi is going to help!