Mixing and matching – topics and metaphors

Sometimes it’s only a mengelmoes* that will do.
You’ve probably gathered, if you read a few of my posts that I
  • 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.

Piet taking a little respite in the not-so-cool shade on a 40°C day

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.

The leiwater channel in which Piet and his mates would cool their feet after the hot work of watering the garden. Here, the hedge in the process of being tidied up.

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.

Also, you see part of the garden before it was tidied up, as well as a little glimpse of the view from the font of the house.
Inside, the cottage retains some of the original features like the reed ceiling and the beautiful wooden lintels over the windows and the fireplace in what was, originally, the kitchen.
The chiminee and the light fitting are non-traditional eyesores, I’ll admit, but I’m sure whoever buys the cottage will sort that.
Almost lastly, a before and after of part of the garden – taken from the back of the house, looking past the old kitchen.
The gardener in me knows that it wouldn’t take too much to get this space going again – there is much that would recover and reward with just a little TLC and water.
Finally, the mountain view I promised.  We are so lucky to have mountain views from virtually every point in the village.
Also in the picture, on the other side of the field, is another of the original houses, sadly in a state of disrepair.  It does illustrate two things:  an original reed roof and its construction of mud and/or mud bricks.  All these houses have to be whitewashed – that is the only “paint” that takes on the surface, and it also helps to keep the houses alive – they can’t be sealed because they need to breathe.  The handmade bricks comprise not just of mud, but also straw.  Here’s a pile of bricks left from a recent new-build-cum restoration in the village, and where The Husband and Piet were responsible for the fencing.
*an Afrikaans word pronounced memg-el-moose (like goose) which means something like a delightful hodgepodge of things
** for those wondering, I live in McGregor, not far from Cape Town in South Africa.  It’s in the Winelands and is the best preserved Victorian village in the province which is largely characterised by Cape Dutch architecture.
Getting back to my love of snapping away at things – often with my phone as was the case one of these photographs (the one that shows the exterior chimney):  I am a great Instagram fan.  I like its immediacy and the ease of uploading and posting on the run.  I also like editing features – less so than the filters.
Imagine my delight when I found out that it’s easy, once you know how, to simultaneously share your posts on to @steemit.  And to Twitter.  Although I’m not much of a Tweep.

Join Share2Steem here
All in the good crypto cause :smile:

Oh, and a bit of advice

You can use all your @steemit hashtags when you publish and then edit your original Instagram post to the ones that best work for you on that platform, which is much easier editing there than on Steemit. For me, that’s one of the weaknesses of @steempress – I am sure they will address that, though, as much has been done to better integrate the two platforms.

There it is – until next time

Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

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