Tuesday, October 16, 2012


When Roy was up at our plot recently, he climbed up into the roof-space of the bungalow to look for a tool. While up there, he became aware of a persistent hum. As his eyes adjusted to the poor light, he spied a swarm of bees hanging from the roof. 

We are not sure whether this is a swarm that had settled there within the previous few days or whether it is a bee nest that has been built over a period of time. 

We have now tracked down someone from nearby Heidelberg who will sell us a bee hive when we return there in November. If the bees are still there, for a fee, he has offered to drive out to our place and move the bees into the hive. If they are no longer there, we will keep the hive in readiness for "next time". 

We heard that one of the new residents in the area has managed to capture 11 hives of bees for himself!

Build Revival

It is a long time since Roy did both house-sitting and some building up at our plot. 

At the housesit, he looked after three huge dogs, a cow and some calves as well as two horses. On the day he arrived there, the one horse had managed to get some baling wire wrapped around its foot and it must have been like that for a while because the foot was swollen and the horse could not stand on it. Luckily it was the old, tame horse and not the younger, totally wild one. Roy managed to clip the wire off and fortunately, a single application of some "green stuff" from a spray can was enough to ward off infection. By the time he left two weeks later, all was well.


For the building work at our place, he managed once again to acquire the services of a retired bricklayer from Suurbraak. Peter can only work a maximum of three days a week because he finds that his old back cannot take more than that. He was an absolute star and between his back and the few sunny days interspersed between miserable rainy days, they managed four days of solid work. 

Peter built the walls and John filled them in with soil.

We will move the one water tank from the verandah onto this extension.The other half will be used as a raised flower bed.

Peter cemented bricks into the holes that were still open from the original build. This should see the end of the field mice incursions into the building

He built the shower floor and was delighted that we wanted stones cemented into the floor. He collected them himself and enjoyed his creative input to the project.

The floor of the little bedroom and bathroom were given a final coloured screed on top of the rough concrete surface.  It will be a long while before we can do the same in the main room.


The sand for this screed was sifted twice. Peter explained that if there are grass seeds in the sand, they would germinate and pop up out of the screed, creating a disturbed surface. You live and learn. Once the screed had dried, John gave the walls a final coat of paint.

John started the marathon project of cleaning the cement off the bricks inside the main room. It is a pity that we have had to spend so much time and money cleaning up the bricks, inside and outside. We did impress on the bricklayers at the time that we were going to leave the walls unplastered and unpainted but it seems that they were unable to build in a way that would leave the bricks clean.

All in all, I was thrilled with what Roy and his team managed to accomplish in such a short space of time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dog Blog

Roy went up to the plot for two weeks to house-sit and to do some building. He took along a kennel from Freecycle for John's dog because she sleeps outside in all weather.

Pote was nowhere in sight in the first week that Roy was there. John told him that during the previous weekend, she had attached herself to some Rastafarian visiting the area and followed him along the 8km back to his home in Suurbraak. She was obviously not happy with the loose "easy come, easy go"  arrangement between herself and John, which saw her spending her weekends all on her own while John blows his wages in Swellendam. She was tired of roaming the veld in search of food and company and was seeking something better.

I felt a huge lump in my throat when I heard this and thought of what could befall her if she was going to roam from one place to another like this. I did wonder if she wasn't in fact dead and this was a "kinder" way of explaining her disappearance. I told Roy that if  she returned and John was prepared to sell her to us, we would have to take her. John agreed so readily, I wondered why I had not had the temerity to suggest this before.

A few days later, she returned to the area, having walked back from Suurbraak on her own. Now....I don't really want another dog. We have one. I am actually a cat person. I have been fighting desperately  the urge to get another cat after the loss of our three cats in the last year.

The arrangement was that when Roy left yesterday morning at 8am to return to Cape Town, John's wife was to wait along the road where Roy would pay for Pote and bring her home. (he could not take Pote back to the house-sit because of the huge Baskerville hounds living there)

Midge aka Pote
We now own a very happy, untrained prairie dog and a very miffed and sulky Mad Dog. You should have seen Pote running and skipping along the beach this morning, sniffing at every shell and piece of dried seaweed. And oh, the joy of having bowls of food accessible whenever the hunger pangs strike!

No doubt John will be foolish enough to take on another dog but I am  determined not to bond with it!! I will wait a while to see whether this does in fact transpire and if not, the kennel will be donated to one of the many other dogs living there who have the misfortune to live outside, 24/7.