Thursday, 16 September 2010

The last day of the palms

So, how about this. Two posts in as many days after a hiatus of how long?


Is it symbolic that on the day that I woke up at 2.30am to get to the airport and go to Joburg to not get my Nigerian visa, our five seventy year old palm trees were cut down?


One of the trees had begun to lean a little alarmingly. You can see it on the left of the three trees in front of the house.

You know how it is... we had a couple of vague discussions about whether the palm had moved, and the feeling of disquiet grew into a certainty and a conviction that we would have to do something about it.


Then our neighbours put up one of those exceptionally ugly vibracrete walls, (you can see it on the left of our gate in the second pic, and yes I know it doesn't look so bad in that picture).

Where we live, vibracrete walls are described as "mooi netjies" which in theory means "nice and neat" but actually means "ugly and devoid of character".

The inordinate pride that he obviously felt for the defacement of his property and ours made us think again about the palm trees. I mean, if one fell down and broke the wall my joy at its demise would be tempered by the horror of having to pay for a new one.

(And please don't get the idea that I don't like our neighbours. I think they are great people. I just don't like the wall. Robert Frost's neighbour was wrong.  )

And pay is what we would have had to do.
I had insisted that Greg phone our insurance company (Standard Bank, because until the mortgage is paid they actually own our house) and tell them that we were worried about the tree.

I absolutely insisted.

So he did.

"Thank you for telling us" said the person on the other end of the phone. "Because you have let us know, we are removing the tree from your policy and will not be covering any damage if it falls."


They confirmed, in response to Greg's horrified query, that even if the tree fell while he was still on the phone to them they would not pay a cent. (insert phrase that calls parentage of bank, insurance company and all its staff into question, here).


So, we had no choice but to do two things: change insurance companies (remember they were the ones that also didn't pay for the lapa) and cut down the trees.


Our house looks like a man after a haircut... kind of clean and slightly sheepish.


Greg has been a total hero, carting away the huge piles of palm leaves to the municipal dump. I think this was trip number 12!

We're keeping the trunks for now ... thay may be turned into a wall or a path, and even a couple of outdoor stools.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

House looks much neater.

Now just to figure out what to put on the tree stumps.

Meri said...

That seems kind of like calling your health insurance providers about a cancer diagnosis or heart attack and having them say, "You're sick? Oh, we won't cover that." What a lot of bunk.

Lynne said...

sadly, Meri, that's quite common for insurance companies here. They employ insurance assessors who get paid commission on the payouts thay don't make... so there is a huge incentive to refuse claims.

Les Woods said...

Yeah, insurance sucks - Shaz & I were just chatting about it today. The premium you pay on a car adds up to replacing it in about 12 years. Have just decided to cancel insurance totally, after they won't cover us because we won't install an alarm & armed response. If we do, then why insure, for goodness sake?