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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday, 5 March '09: An interview from Manor to Cottage


Some time ago Willow, the Lady of the Manor and blogger supreme, kindly agreed to interview me. At last, here is our conversation, from Manor to Cottage.
1 How did you come about living in your lovely Thatchwick cottage? Does it have any particular history associated with it?
My family and I moved to Pretoria from Namibia in 1987 - my late husband and I took up new lecturing positions at the University of South Africa (UNISA). We settled happily in a suburb to the east of Pretoria named The Willows; in a modern red brick house within walking distance of the girls' schools. When the chicks began to leave the nest, Richard and I opted to move closer to our workplace. This time practicalities were thrown to the winds and we decided to look for the house we had always dreamt of: old, charming and with a thatch roof. An ad in the Real Estate column in the local paper led us to Thatchwick (already named). It was simple to find - we had passed the high, curved walls of the property time and again on our way to work. But Thatchwick is hidden from view by the walls and the enormous, old trees that fill the lush garden. Opening the gate, running up the path, Richard and I both knew the lovely old house with its soft grey thatch roof, long, cool pillared veranda, its round rooms and wooden sash windows was our forever home. The house was empty, neglected; the negotitions with a seller who was overseas were nerve-racking. Everyday on my way to work, I stopped the car at the gate and prayed silently that the house would become ours. At last, it did.

Sadly I don't know too much about its history. I keep meaning to do the research and then life comes in between. I estimate the house dates back to the 1930's. It originally consisted of four round rooms (rondavels), a kitchen and a central room (now my study) constructed in typical African style each with its own individual thatch roof. A later owner raised the walls and constructed a single thatch roof over the original rooms. I surmise he put a roof over the back veranda to build the sitting room and added the sun room later. The round walls of the bedrooms and dining room create a warm, intimate atmosphere and to eat, sleep and move under the canopy of sweet smelling thatch grass is unique.

2 What would I consider my greatest achievement?
Mmm, an honest and rather pretentious answer is obtaining my Doctor of Education. I was a 'old' student who only returned to studies when I was 34 years old - a mom, wife and full time teacher. I completed three postgraduate degrees in five years while I sewed ballet costumes, organised birthday parties, made sarmies for school breaks and taught full time. So the day I walked across the stage in Unisa's great hall in my crimson gown to be capped was a mighty proud one.

3 Apart from your loved ones, what is your most treasured possession? My photo albums. The rest of my possessions are replaceable; the memories captured on film, not.

4 Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with and why? The Bard and I shall implore Will to recite Sonnet 116: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds..."

5 Before blogging what, if any,was your main mode of personal expression? Scribbling scraps of inspiration in a black book...writing for academic journals...embroidery and quilting...giving talks for various audiences....and talking!

Now if any of you, dear and interesting friends, would like to be interviewed this time by me, here are the instructions.

Leave me a comment saying interview me.
I will respond by emailing you five questions of my own.
You will include the explanation, post your interview and offer to interview someone else in the same post.

Any volunteers?

8 comments:

Adel and Robyn Kadis said...

Hi Eleanor,
You can interview me if you like.
Have a great and blessed day.
Robyn Kadis

Janet said...

Hello there! I'm also keen to be interviewed! Looks like fun!

willow said...

Thank you, Eleanor, dear friend. I adored hearing about how you found Thatchwick. Your story is very similar to our acquiring Willow Manor. I love how you prayed silently at the gate. Hearing of it brought a tear to my eye.

Vicki Lane said...

I'd like to play too! Would love to be interviewed and then to pass it on!

Vicki Lane

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I've just realized I'd missed reading this post, Eleanor! It has been lovely reading how you came to Thatchwick Cottage!

TheWritersPorch said...

Eleanor, what a lovely story of finding your dream!! Thank you for sharing!

Carol

Sharon said...

VERY interesting!

Cate said...

Hello, I have just started a blog and found you by happy accident. I live in a thatched house too in Benoni but it is new. I love living in it and although its new it has real character. I would love to be interviewed by you and also would love for you to visit my blog - musingsofcate.blogspot.com.