Probably the thing I have missed most about our old place is the braai. I have a portable one here, and it does the job, but it’s just not the same. We’ve been here for a year now, and while we could have rushed in and put a new braai in anywhere, it seemed sensible to wait and see which bits of the garden got the wind, which bits we used most and for what etc etc. This side of the patio was one of three shortlisted potentials, and seems to make the most sense. It has a roof, it’s protected from the wind from at least some directions (yes Capetonians, including that one), it’s convenient, but not IN YOUR FACE as you use the rest of the space outside, and it didn’t require any plants or grass to be destroyed.
The builders turned up on time (to the minute, nogal) this morning and the first foundations are already down and drying. As you can see, the unit – weighing 154kg!! – has also arrived and just by hearing them struggling with getting it from the bakkie to the back garden (I offered to help!), I know that they are really looking forward to lifting it into position once the structure is built.
I mentioned the relatively recent phenomenon of buildings covered in scaffolding, and the scaffolding then being covered with a picture of the building. Last night, I came across an example of this in the photo-archives, dating from 2013
And here it is:
This isn’t something that I’ve seen much (any?) of in South Africa. It could be that I haven’t been in the right place at the right time, of course. Or it could be that we just don’t do that when historic buildings are being repaired.
Norway, though – definitely. I remember being fooled (from a distance at least) when visiting Bryggen – the old wharf in Bergen – part of which was being renovated.
I mean, now you know it’s there, you can zoom in and have a closer look and yes, there is the temporary false facade. Bingo. But if I’d shared this image without context, you’d surely never have known that two of those seventeen colourful buildings weren’t genuine.
Go closer (by walking around the harbour to the end of the row) and the requirements of sheer functionality make it rather more obvious:
Somewhere out there, there is a company (in fact, possibly more than one) that manufactures bespoke scaffolding covers like this. They’re probably the same ones who have been making the massive decorative tarpaulins that have been covering the empty seats in football stadiums during lockdown.
It does seem an awfully specific product though. Presumably, when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic or repairing historic buildings once every 100 years, there must be some other use for huge specifically-printed pieces of fabric.
It would appear that Streptococcus has swept through our house like a sweepy thing, leaving behind it a trail of doctor’s bills and expensive antibiotics. How can something so small cost so much? I mean, I know I have obviously asked that same question about my son (and then my daughter), but this is a damn bacterium!
Based on the fact that this – however unpleasant – is merely an infection with a prokaryotic organism, I brought my laboratory experience into play. In the lab, we have three choices when we want to kill bacteria: extreme heat (132°C, no less), sodium hypochlorite (basically bleach) or alcohol. With that in mind, and not fancying the high pressure steam or the Domestos, I am attacking my vile respiratory tract invaders with a rather decent single malt. It’s like pouring vinegar on a paper cut as it goes past my red raw throat, but I’m pretending not to notice and only thinking of the obvious benefits. I’m hopeful that it will also aid with a good night’s sleep as well, although other factors come into play on that one. Not least the latest work on my new study. Mindful of the storm front approaching Cape Town this evening, the builders, in their infinite wisdom, decided to try and cover their ongoing work with some large, ill-fitting sheets of plastic nailed across the hastily-installed roof trusses. And that’s why we now have 25m² of flapping heavy-duty plastic right outside our bedroom window. Bliss. I’m almost hopeful that it gets taken away by the Northwester early on, although I’m not sure what repercussions that would have on the building work completed so far. Right now, I couldn’t care less. I just want some sleep.
Tomorrow is another day, as they say. Let’s hope it’s a whole lot better than this one was.
P.S. If you see a huge black kite flying across the Southern Suburbs, please drop me an email so that we can come and collect it and any bits of my house which happen to still be attached. Thanks.