Archives for posts with tag: House building

Late on Saturday afternoon we took Daisy, our hyperactive spaniel, for a walk in ‘our’ park.  It had been a beautiful, mellow, late winter’s day and the low sun cast a lambent light over the trees.  Because we always approach our house from the southern side, we tend to see it from very close-up.  It was lovely to see it from a distance, emerging through the trees.  With the roof almost finished, it’s finally starting to look like a proper house…

The park on a late winter afternoon. Far in the distance you can just make out our new house.

The park on a late winter afternoon. Far in the distance you can just make out our new house.

House emerging through winter trees.

House emerging through winter trees.

Most of the plastering, both inside and out, is now finished and the roof is almost complete.  The metal workers’ strike has caused a slight delay in the delivery of some of the sheeting needed for the roof over the front door and porch area and also, for the cottage.  We’re hoping to get both those areas done within the next week.

Some of the skylights have been installed upstairs too so that is a little more progress.   It’s still a long way off being finished though and I’m beginning to think it’s unlikely we’ll be able to move before Xmas.

Winter Walk in Park

Arriving back in Johannesburg after a full month away in Cape Town is always something of a shock.  We drove back, covering the 1200 kilometres two days and breaking the journey at one of our favourite Karoo farm stops.  One of the benefits of the long road trip is the opportunity to change up a gear from the more laid-back (and much better organised) Cape, to the frenetic, unpredictable energy of Gauteng.  But despite all those hours on the road, exiting the motorway and finding oneself back on Oxford Road in Forest Town still pulls one up short.  The traffic lights are malfunctioning and the challenge of trying to avoid all the potholes brings one back quickly to the reality of Johannesburg.  This time we drove in under looming, threatening thunder clouds which lent a disconcerting sense of impending doom to the afternoon and one of my first thoughts was ‘Why on earth are we building another house here?’

But you’ve got to live in Johannesburg to love it.  It has its own unique and stealthy charm and within a day of getting back, I’m happy once again to be here and this year is no different.  By Tuesday morning we were ready to inspect our building site and to check on any progress that may have been made in the builders’ first week back at work.

This is a quick photograph update for interested faraway family and friends:

Surveying the Situation...  After a month away.

Surveying the Situation… After a month away.


Standing on the downstairs patio, looking west.


Taken from the laundry, looking through the scullery into the kitchen.


Taken through the ‘front door’ looking north over the Treetops – which is a word that comes to mind whenever I think about the new house and which might become its name.


Seven of the nine builders who were on site yesterday.


Taken from the kitchen looking out through what will be an informal seating area and a bay window.

The walls are now just higher than ground-floor ceiling height and overhanging branches from the neighbours’ properties will have to be drastically cut back soon.  Watch this space…

Possibly one positive spin-off of the slow start we had, is that now, while we’re away in England and Europe for 5 weeks, we don’t have to worry too much about anything crucial going wrong in our absence.  We’re relying on Bernard (our architect) to keep us up to date with progress in the meantime and so far we have learnt that our plans have still not been released from the Johannesburg City Council.  Apparently the only thing they are now asking for is a certificate “proving” that the northern boundary of the  plot is a park… This is interesting because the park is surely council land and one would imagine that any building inspector could confirm its existence in a single visit? However, continuing with the attitude that “our’s is not to reason why”, Bernard is attempting to track down yet another elusive piece of paper with a special stamp.

Undeterred, the contractor has made more progress in clearing the property and has started marking out foundations. This is what things looked like last week:

View from street to park

View from street to park

Marked out foundation1

Marked out foundation1

Marking Foundation2

Site cleared

Site cleared