Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Step 'n Deck

Roy arrived home today after a successful ten-day building session at the plot. He left here on 13 November with all sorts of materials and tools for his next project, "Operation Top Deck", stacked into the Opel Astra, which had had passenger and back seats  removed for transport purposes.

During the time that he was there, he built the deck (with the aid of a generator for the power-tools), cut down some grass around the bungalow and other structures with our recently  repaired weed-eater, watered trees and, best of all, socialised with neighbours, including Ed and wife and Dani and Rman. He was spoilt rotten with their delicious cooking. There was a meeting on the scorching hot Saturday for residents and ratepayers, so the area was fairly bustling with part-time and full time residents. 

Marks on the Malthoid  are  from heavy wooden planks
used to anchor the sheets until next time.

Roy also had a flying visit from our neighbour in Cape Town, who is out on holiday from his home in Germany for this month. The neighbour took delight in recognising some of the materials he has thrown our way, including the door that Roy fitted this last week. (It was thrown away because it had a hole, cut by the previous owners, for a cat door).  It is a solid wooden door and it has replaced the ancient, hollow-core temporary apparition that had served up until now. The deck now means easier access to the upper level and so a second-hand security gate was also installed. (It is so difficult to find these at a reasonable price, even when second-hand).

John, our tiny but tough helper, was indispensable to this week's operations because so much of it called for another set of hands to hold the other end and, of course, to roll  out the waterproofing and Malthoid on top of the deck.  With some left over sealant from last session, he sealed the Malthoid around the edges. The other joins will have to be sealed next time because time and sealant ran out. Heavy planks have been left on the Malthoid to hold it down until then. I definitely think we will be painting it too because the black is  too hot in the sun. (I had never heard of Malthoid but Roy spent much of his childhood visiting his grandmother in Clifton, Cape Town and it seems that many of the old bungalows there had this on their roofs.)

In between, John also continued with the never-ending task of scrubbing the cement off bricks, sealing bricks.

Shade break

Roy even made personal history by doing a little bit of bricklaying and created some stairs leading onto the verandah. I was so impressed. He said that he could probably lay 100 bricks a day at the very most, if he had to build a wall and so this little creation took much concentration and intense care. He filled and compacted the inside fill of the steps with bits of dry cement pieces, collected from around the site about a year ago and kept for this purpose.

The teeth are in anticipation of building another giant flower box as we did on the Eastern side of the building which, by the way, is already looking colourful after planting out only a few months ago. 

Colour box
(In case you wonder: plastic is still on the windows until the final coat of paint on the edging, inside and out, is done.)

Some of our trees are still managing to sustain the fruit they put out in early Spring.

Pickstone plum

And the damaged  Mission Olive from the Meat Mayhem episode has put out fruit too, on its surviving branches.   

Mission Olive
Its looking better and better!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poppy Patch

After spreading out a load of excavated soil, donated by our neighbour, unexpectedly, a large patch of poppies grew up from it. I was intrigued at their appearance because the soil was virgin mountain soil. I can only imagine that some seeds were either caught up in the load from the surrounding topsoil or else, blew there after the soil had been spread across our lawn.  I had to resist the urge to pull them up. They are so big and ugly before they bloom, looking very much like a weed. These are "Opium" poppies, I think, and not the more dainty type.  Their blooming time is so short after all that growth effort and they seem to have chosen this week to do it. I thought a photo of them would be appropriate for today, being Armistice Day. I can still remember when I was in my very first year of school (sooooo long ago), at the 11th hour, on the 11th day and in the 11th month, standing together with classmates for a minute of silence. I wonder whether this still happens at some schools today?