Friday, October 13, 2006

Building blocks

We have started to build our house. Which means we have started digging, as in the case of building what goes down must come up. So there are now four trenches in our garden marking the outer wings of our new house, and a whole lot of little poles marking out corners, internal divisions etc. It’s very exciting. When I say wings, this is not some kind of huge manor house, it is medium-sized, 3 bedroom u-shaped house with a private inner courtyard facing down towards the sea. The sea, from our piece of land, is a small patch of blue through the trees, but it is there. We designed the house ourselves, Paulo is supervising the construction, I get final say on the finishings and aesthetics. We’re trying to stick to local, natural materials as much as possible. I want a grass-thatch roof, he wants a coconut-leaf thatch roof. We have not yet resolved this one, but I think logistics will play in his favour, as grass thatch means bringing in some professional thatchers from Zimbabwe or South Africa but there are plenty of local thatchers who can use coconut thatch. We’ll cross that beam when we get to it.

For the last 4 years we have been living thus: in 1 room, with an external kitchen and an external bathroom (bucket shower, long-drop latrine) for the first 2 years, and then with the arrival of Joaquim an extension was added comprising a second room and an internal bathroom. We have no running water. We have solar electricity. Next week we may get on the mains, 10 and a half months after making our application (have I mentioned Mozambican bureaucracy? Not yet? It will come, in its own good time.). This would be quite an event and would mean we could reclaim our electric fridge (at the moment we have a small gas one) which has been fostered by friends since we moved out of a little rented cottage and into our own house 4 years ago. It would also be just in time for the start of the hot season, when running a fan all night (not possible on our solar system, the battery goes down) is the only way to sleep with any degree of comfort. We will also be able to set up a wtare pump to pump water from our well into a tank and then have running water. All of this will be very good news indeed, but I’m not actually getting excited until I see that cable connected and the lights on. We’ve had a few false starts already.

I’ll post a piccie of the building works when they’re a little more advanced than 4 holes in the ground, in the meantime here’s one of me and the boys on the beach a couple of week-ends ago. Pretty cute, huh? (Them, not me.)


At 10:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blimey. And there was me stressing about a leaky roof, leaking radiator, broken DVD player and no phone for 4 days!

Lovely pic of the boys (and mum). S. is growing up fast :)


At 1:58 pm, Blogger Marie said...

That's such a cute photo.

I am very much hoping that you'll be on the mains by the time I turn up at Christmas otherwise I will have to train Joaquim to fan me all night (that's not a problem, is it?)

At 10:17 am, Blogger Rebecca said...

No problem, as long as you don't mind him climbing all over you, playing with your nose and telling you all about the Fimbles while he does it.

At 11:50 pm, Blogger Marie said...

That sound like a good (and cute) option to me, but only because I'm several thousand miles from him right now and about to get a really good night's sleep...


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