Well last Tuesday didn’t go well.  The morning started with an early phonecall from our contractor who had been contacted by our left-hand-side-neighbour, with a complaint that her electric fence had been damaged, her wall ‘destabilised’ and her security compromised…  This was not our first ‘headbut’ with this particular neighbour.  I refrained from writing about the first one…

There’s an old saying that reads something to the effect of not being able to ‘bake a cake without breaking a few eggs.’  Somebody needs to remind our neighbour of this and that will probably eventually have to be me.  Her own house is beautiful and was extensively renovated quite recently.  I wonder how she did it without making any noise or breaking anything in the process.

The contractor, who has previously told me that he has had experience with every possible kind of difficult neighbour, seems to have almost met his match with this one.  He was not happy.  The neighbour’s electric fence technician was there and there was no evidence to be found of damage or destabilisation anywhere.  Although I’m not sure the same could have been said for the people involved…  I decided to simply let things be for a while.

A couple of  days and a couple of phone calls later and we’ve decided that the very first thing we will build, at the soonest possible opportunity, will be the new boundary wall between our property and hers. In the meantime she wants to install electric fencing down that side but it seems completely pointless to do that until the new wall is in place.  We’re going to meet with her and her security consultant tomorrow afternoon.

The rest of Tuesday passed in disappointing silence with not a word from the Heritage Association.  By Thursday I’d decided the time had come to be more proactive and eventually managed to track down the website, a name and a contact number for PHRAG – the Provincial Heritage Resources Agency – Gauteng.

I called the number without expecting much and was taken by surprise when the phone was answered promptly by none other than the man I had hoped to speak to, Mr Grant Botha.  He was helpful and informative and said that the usual waiting period in these situations is 8 to 10 weeks, a fact that had somehow passed us by.  It is, I think, 7 weeks since our application was submitted.

The Association had met on Tuesday but had only dealt with ‘presentations’ which I assume must be for applications to alter or demolish buildings with bone fide heritage credentials.  The ‘lesser’ applications were deferred to a later date.  This was not good news.  It seems this week is to be taken up with ‘staff training’ and the next possible date for our hearing is the 30th of April.  I don’t want to get my hopes up as the next day, the 1st, is a public holiday and most of this country will take either the two days leading up to the 1st as holidays, or the two days after as holidays or, – and this is the most likely scenario – the entire week.  

And so the Waiting Game continues.