- love to point and click my camera at things
- have things that often take me away from my computer and @steemit
- enjoy drawing connections and generally just gabbling away about things. Some that weigh heavily, and other less so.
A while ago, I shared another eclectic set of photos that I had taken in and around the village where I live: one of them features the reed and thatch work that is a feature of so much of the architecture**. @lyncoyle’s post about the repair of their palama sparked a conversation about dying arts and the preservation of traditional crafts. At the time I promised to share more about the original houses in our village, and particularly of a property where we would be doing a cleanup job.
The clean-up job included tidying up an overgrown garden as well as the cottage, itself, for viewing by prospective buyers. As it would happen, the work in the garden ended up being done over the hottest days of the early summer.
One of the joys of living in this village is that one often gets to hear stories about the properties from folk who have lived and grown up in the area. So it was with this cottage. Piet is The Husband’s go-to person when he needs a semi-skilled worker. A bit of context. Piet is a lovable skebenga (rascal) who has a checkered history. He is unreliably reliable, has a couple of children (that we know about!), one of whom finishes school this year and another who is about two… He’s also had brushes with the law, and paid the consequences. The Husband and he have a warm, scratchy relationship that has grown over the last six or so years. I too, am fond of him, and have been presented with indigenous plants for the garden. When I ask where they come from, I regret that I did.
Anyhow, the point of this necessary digression: Piet could tell us how long the fruit trees had been in that garden, which ones had gone. He spent much of his childhood growing up in the house next door – behind him but out of sight in the photograph. He and his mates would help the “Auntie” who lived in this house to water the garden. What is important to understand, is that watering the garden was (still is) a big issue when the leiwater ran and still does – every two weeks. The village has a network of channels that leads irrigation water from the dam, through the village and into our properties. Each is allocated a day and a time in that day when the sluice can be opened and water floods in. This is what they would help with – making sure that the water was led into the garden and channelled where it was needed. Their “pay”: as much fruit as they could eat, and on hot days, paddling and playing in the lovely cool water in the sloot. I have no doubt that they also got the odd slice of home-baked cake or biscuit for their troubles, too.
Anyhow, back to the cottage. It dates back to the late 1880s and although it no longer has the original reed roof, it is still thatched and original sash windows have, at the front, been replaced with metal frames. Probably in the 70s.
It does still boast the original fireplace and chimney, but with a brick cowl, along with the orignal sash windows that are still in place at the back. As is the tiny window in the fireplace – so necessary in the heat of summer when cooking on the range must have been hell.