Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blast-off into 2013

After delaying our trip to the plot in order to help some young German tourists achieve their dream of climbing in the Cederberg, we arrived at the plot on the first day of 2013 to find that we had been burgled. Our place had been secured like Fort Knox but the thieves showed great determination. All our cutlery, cooking pots, crockery and Roy's comfy, old hiking shoes..... gone. 

I was rather surprised at the missing booty when a 9kg gas cylinder had been ignored. It seemed very much like a woman's shopping list for setting up home.  Someone told us on the morning before we returned to Cape Town that a local woman's shack burned down a while ago and she was heard to declare that she had lost all her crockery, cutlery and cooking pots!

One would not mind if people asked for help so that you could then choose to give away some of your possessions to help another person but for someone to take EVERYTHING and leave you without a single plate, spoon, a mug or a cooking pot, is very disappointing. 

Apart from the missing items, a window was smashed open after padlocks had been levered off  the protective shutters. Also, some damage was done to our shutter doors in an attempt to break into a different part of the building.

We spent much of our precious time up there, driving through to Swellendam to obtain replacements for essential lost items and damaged parts. We had to deface our shutter doors because there are no longer attachments for new padlocks.

The permanent residents are never burgled, so being a part-timer is a huge factor in the crime there. We added a few new deterrents. I hope that this does not hint that there might be something worth stealing from upstairs!

During this visit, we realised that water pressure is becoming a huge problem for us in the summer because of the architecture of the water supply. We have someone turn our tap on when we are not there and, up until now, the pressure has been sufficient to water each tree with a thin jet of water. Our trees are watered each through a pinhole in the black piping, so we are not asking for much. However, it seems that the pressure could not even supply this to every single tree, leaving about 20 trees without water. We noticed this the last time we were there.

It's fine while we are there and can then hand-water those trees, but while we are down in Cape Town, it is not an option. Apart from all water reservoir tanks being "in-line" and our particular section of the area being pretty much at the back of the queue, while others draw off for their needs, there was a general water-supply problem from the supplier, days before we arrived. This resulted in everybody being waterless for about 4 days. Knowing this,  we waited a few days after our arrival before we used our system, in order to give the reservoirs some time to refill, but it was to no avail.

Water resource is actually not a problem for us. We keep a back-up supply of drinking water and we have 35,000 litres of stored rain-water waiting to be used. We could quite easily accumulate another 10 - 15000 litres in winter, if we acquired additional tanks.  But of course, one needs to BE there to use it on the trees, hand-watering with long hosepipes. My dermatologist is going to hit the roof next week when she sees how I recklessly allowed myself to be burned by  the sun while quenching the thirst of my leafy babes.

Unequal water supply can bring out the worst in human nature to the extent that it could jeopardize our situation as absentee owners. We have decided that we either need to bring our timetable forward for living there permanently or else, for the sake of the trees, we need to try and sell the place on to someone who would move there permanently now. Watch this space!

We have certainly learned some valuable lessons, one  being that, you must be very sure and determined of your future path before  you invest time, effort and money planting out almost 100 trees, 3.5 hours away from your home base!!

Doesn't our Aloe Tree look amazing? 

(Camera battery was flat, so excuse the cell-phone photo quality)

We finally removed the plastic covering off some of the windows after painting the surround with a final coat of paint. Here is my view while lying on the bed...at last!

On our way back home, we stopped off at Buffelsjag garage and I remembered to take a photo of the basins in the restroom which have so impressed me on previous occasions.

What a pleasure to use them!


  1. How utterly disappointing and frustrating to have your place burgled. Hope you find a solution to your water problem, selling would be heart breaking after all your hard work.

  2. Burglary was disappointing but if they had got into the front of the building, (big doors), so much more would have been stolen so something to be grateful for. Yep, selling would be sad but we will see how things go...in the meantime, will continue with all our plans for finishing the place. We just won't plant any more trees!