We live in a place where the summers are blisteringly hot and dry. A place where, if you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool, you think twice before dashing outside to cool down.
So we built a lapa... a wonderful thatch construction, built with sturdy bluegum poles and a thick thatch roof. It was close to 60 square metres in size, and winter or summer it became the place where we lived. It was a place to do projects. It was a place to share food and laughter. It was a vital part of our home.
Until, sadly, we realised that it hadn't been built properly and it was beginning to shift away from the house. The first construction company had vanished into the wild blue yonder, so we got another company... a family business with three generations of thatchers... to come and fix the lapa.
Sadly, they were not any better than the first company, and earlier this year when a third roof pole suddenly snapped, we realised something had to be done.
So we did the logical thing, and contacted our insurance company (Standard Bank) who had sent an assessor to approve the original construction.
And they, being more interested in taking premiums than paying out policies, refused to pay because the construction was unsafe. (Yes, we told them their assessor had approved it).
Now we are trying to get the ombudsman to acknowledge our presence, but that's a whole other story.
So last week, Ollie came to help us take the thatch off.
He didn't realise how much there was!
Getting the concrete off the roof without it landing on anyone's head was pretty scary
Reuben and Ernie and Rauan came to help this weekend to take the structure down. I made lamb stew and lemon meringue pie and lemonade and stayed out of the way.
Getting the last few poles out was hard work, even though they were totally rotten under the ground.
Once the poles were out, they were stacked in the garden for use in the next big project.
And the space outside is big and empty.
But, like I've said before, there is always a silver lining...
Greg sees it as a blank canvas for the next structure. Looks like it will finally be a chance for us to learn some straw bale building skills. So watch this space.
(but I still feel bereft)