Thursday, March 19, 2009

Camping forever?

Breaking news is that our full-time maid-nanny-painter-cook-laundry-cleaning-angel, Bongani, has decided that it’s time for her to return to the bright lights of big city Jozi. This will provide me with ample opportunity to practice the art of patience, cleanliness, etc. as we take over all the domestic duties with 2 little people in the household. We are open to all good advice on how to get them involved without conflict/bribery/corruption…Maybe I can also make a more focused practice of my telepathic capabilities while I wash the dishes every day – I sadly admit that my new year’s resolution of intuitive communication has been severely neglected. And if you live in Johannesburg & need a fantastic live-in housekeeper/nanny, please let me know. 

Having the office on the farm is becoming more bearable everyday. Or so I hear from Kevin, who has been enduring baking hot days in the steel container complex, ravished by flies amongst the incessant mooing of cows. He has been rather lonely since I’ve started working in town (in a comfortable air-conditioned accounting office). Luckily, he has upcoming trips planned to Cape Town & Jo’burg, so some city buzz will do him good. The office now has a north-facing covered porch and the temperature control has been improved substantially…the construction is still very much a work-in-progress.

We are still trying to figure out the easiest and cheapest way of getting ourselves onto the farm (as we are still living the rented farmhouse down the road). The current plan involves turning the maid’s room into a sleeping room for the entire family (we mostly sleep in the same bed anyway) & creating a shade-netted environment in the adjacent double carport which would serve as a living/dining area. The kitchen will fit very neatly into the original container (which is somewhat of a chameleon space – changing constantly in function and purpose). 

Sanitation will be taken care of in a timber “bathhouse” containing – bath, basin, outside shower, & separate toilet (flush or dry is still an area of great discussion and difficult decision-making). I’m a bit overwhelmed by the plumbing & septic tank undertakings as we experienced the results of malfunctioning septic tanks too often in the recent past. 

The kitchen, bathhouse and living quarters will be loose-standing structures, maybe connected via shade-netted greenhouse walkways… 

Before we can get to that however, we have the rather fearsome task of sorting out the entrance gate and driveway. The digger loader dug a 1 m deep trench all along the fence in an effort to capture the run-off from the road to fill our new dam. But the ditch had to cut through the entrance and now runs much too close to the driveway…This caused the moving truck to drive into the gate which turned a previously badly hung gate into something pretty defunct. The driveway requires some form of gravel or covering to prevent getting stuck in the mud (which happened the last time we had little more than a light drizzle). Such an uninviting entrance must surely be bad Feng Sui. 

We definitely had no idea whatsoever of what we were getting ourselves into when we bought the farm in such an “open canvas” state! So much of our budget has been spent on infrastructure which we never considered, that we will probably end up living in a camping-style reality for the foreseeable future. But with a functional kitchen, a luxurious bathhouse, a dry cosy place to sleep and a star-gazing deck, what more does one really need? Oh yes, the electric fence… 

The act of contemplating our living arrangements from the ground up, has brought up many mirrors and realisations about how we construct our reality (especially when it comes to ablutions!). I aim to be constantly vigilant about my assumptions and keep an open mind…

Adjusting to the working world has been a lot more enjoyable than I anticipated with many unforeseen positives. The job has become somewhat of a stable element in this current free-fall we find our lives in. And I am guessing that we are not the only ones feeling as if someone forgot us in the washing machine on the “spin” cycle.

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