Archives for posts with tag: Building and downsizing
Boxes Everywhere

Boxes Everywhere

Home is chaotic.  Boxes are piling up in every room.  Some are marked for storage, some for charity, some for Cape Town and some even for England.  Caroline casts repeated, acquisitive glances over the various piles of  belongings and she is not interested in charities.  I feel like a smuggler in my own home as I hurry a few possessions into my car in an effort to reach far needier communities.

Our buyers are very enthusiastic and have now visited on three different occasions with an entourage of relatives, painters, decorators and builders and spent up to two hours in the house at a time, measuring, discussing and debating.  Daisy, the nervous spaniel,  becomes quite desperate with anxiety.  I have put her on tranquilisers but they seem to be having little effect.  She behaves as though the new family are dangerous intruders, which – to her – they probably are.

Daisy can actually mimic a Rottweiler.

Daisy can actually mimic a Rottweiler.

The London kitties hide upstairs while Monty lurks in the shrubbery and shows up at mealtimes only.

Monty on his favourite chair.

Monty on his favourite chair.

He sauntered across the lawn on Wednesday evening only to stop dead when he reached the patio and discovered that his favourite chair was no longer in place.  It had been carted off in the morning along with some other bigger pieces of furniture, never to be seen again.  He is getting more and more suspicious and I’m afraid he will disappear into a neighbour’s roof as he has done on one or two other occasions.

The start of serious downsizing.  This truck carried off lots of things and I haven't given them a thought since.

The start of serious downsizing. This truck carried off lots of things and I haven’t given them a thought since.

It is not peaceful.  In between packing boxes we’re trying to speed up our building process and quite a lot is happening there now.  It seems as though the cottage/office will be ready for occupation by the 24th of February.

Cottage Upstairs.  We've added a window and extra skylight since this picture was taken.

Cottage Upstairs. We’ve added a window and extra skylight since this picture was taken.

Not only have we added a small window and an additional skylight to this room, I also met with Bernard just last Sunday and asked him to change the position of the two windows already in place.  I felt they had been placed too low and had been worrying about them for months.  They were moved within days and I’m much happier with them now.

South facing cottage window has been repositioned.

South facing cottage window has been repositioned.

North window in new position.

North window in new position.

 

The main move is happening on the 23rd, when all the furniture and boxes that are going to the new house, will be taken away for storage.  The garden pots and outdoor things are being moved on the 20th which is also when our daughter will be moving into other temporary accommodation.  And the office movers will come on the 24th.  The logistics are quite complicated.  Especially when I always envisaged quite a leisurely move from one house directly to the other, spread over a few days.  No such luck.

But last Tuesday I had reason to be in the suburb of Fourways and while I was there I visited one of my favourite decorating shops, The Private House Company.  I had a lovely time wandering around looking at all the beautiful house and garden furniture.  I delayed going home as long as possible but eventually returned with renewed enthusiasm for ‘starting over.

Pvt House showroom

Private House Showroom

Private House Showroom

Pvt House showroom 4

I love the natural, quite tactile elements that this decorator incorporates into all her rooms. She manages to capture a sense of Africa without leaving one feeling overwhelmed by it.  I’ll be going back there.

And yesterday I escaped to Cape Town for a few days.  I had a commitment down here made many months ago when I thought we’d already be completely settled in the new house.  As the time drew nearer I started to question whether or not I should still come but I couldn’t wait to get a little bit of distance on all the disruption at home.  I got off the plane into temperatures 10 degrees cooler than Johannesburg where we’ve been enveloped in the most oppressive heat wave for the past week and was immediately relieved to be here.  But most importantly, I walked into the cool, uncluttered calm of our small Cape Town house and knew at once that we’re doing the right thing in Johannesburg.  I shall return on Monday to tackle the downsizing, throwing out and decluttering with renewed vigour as we enter the final countdown.

Sunset over Camp's Bay.

Sunset over Camp’s Bay.

Spires in the small town of Wellington, viewed across vineyards.

Spires in the small town of Wellington, viewed across vineyards.

Last Monday, the 27th of October, I took a break from flying around Parkhurst on my broomstick and went wandering around the vineyards of Wellington in the Western Cape instead.  Along with a group of 10 friends, we did, not for the first time, the Wellington Wine Walk (wwwwinewalk.co.za) which involves three full days of walking and three nights staying at different wine farms.

Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces

This time we walked 16kilometres on the first day and 12 on day two and three.  The walking is punctuated with several stops on different estates, tasting wines, having lunch and generally getting some idea of life down in that part of the world.

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

It could not be more different from life in Johannesburg and it offered a complete break from all things building-related.

Far From the Madding Crowds.

Far From the Madding Crowds.

A day or two before I left for the Cape, I popped in at the house to check on progress following my previous  not-too-happy visit and found quite a lot of activity.  It seems that the occasional broomstick dive-bombing exercise can be quite effective…

Stair window and front door frames were in place.

Stair window and front door frames were in place.

Living room door frames in place.

Living room door frames in place.

 

Ceiling of cottage veranda with street boundary wall behind.

Ceiling of cottage veranda with street boundary wall behind.

Rhinoliting started in the cottage. And paint samples on the walls.

Rhinoliting started in the cottage. And paint samples on the walls.

Painting undercoat on the garage walls.

Painting undercoat on the garage walls.

The wall bordering on the park  taking shape.

The wall bordering on the park taking shape.

Production Line

Production Line

Bird's Eye View from upstairs balcony.

Bird’s Eye View from upstairs balcony.

Up to now, I haven’t really tried to explain what is supposed to happen in the front garden which is what the chaos above is eventually supposed to be.  And the main reason for that is that I’m not sure where to begin…  Firstly, there is going to be a swimming pool somewhere in this space.  It is designed to run parallel to the park wall.  A vast quantity of ‘filler’ has to be delivered to the site to bring the level of the front garden up to just two shallow steps lower than the finished house.  In effect, the pool has already been dug.  The filler will be packed in around it.

On the left of the pool, close to the gate that will open onto the park, there will be an underground room, housing – among other things – a generator and a couple of water tanks.  For those of you reading this in First World Countries, this might come as a bit of a surprise but having back-up electricity and a supply of stored water is becoming almost a necessity in Johannesburg and seeing we’re building from scratch, we decided to factor that in.  Power outages are increasingly common and every now and then we turn on a tap to nothing more than a burp of fresh air.  This usually happens without warning and with no  information forthcoming as to how long it will be before services are restored.  I never thought that having a swimming pool in one’s garden would prove to be useful in such a variety of ways…

And so it is that landscaping the front garden is not as simple as one might have thought and at this stage, quite a lot of energy and time is being expended there.  But having put up with no fewer than 3 power outages in the last 3 days, I think the effort will eventually prove to have been worth it.