Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Ceiling update

 Good evening dear Blogger friends. Brian and John with the help of four of the farm employees have finally managed to get the ceiling boards in. It took the whole of Wednesday and I suspect that Brian, who is 74 and John at 77. are feeling muscles that didn't previously exist.

On Friday they will complete the job by adding the cornices and securing the strips between the boards. Tomorrow, in the interim day, dear Thandi will be trying to clean the carpets and wipe the surfaces of rubble and bits of board and old white paint. 

Brian up on the supports and John holding the T-piece against the ceiling board
Everyone was on hand to help. Farmer John as foreman, is fluent in Zulu which helped tremendously to get the job done


Monday, August 22, 2022

Just when I thought... was safe to go back into the water. (with apologies to Jaws 2).

Seriously, dear Blogger friends. Just when I am catching up on my blogging, life threw me a curved ball which sent my timetable flying into the blue again! 

Last week we had strong winds which is normal for August. But these seemed extra violent whipping around my little cottage on the farm. On Friday morning I noticed the ceiling board above my kitchen area was slightly split open. Now -  on a farm, you don't bother the farmers with trivial household issues.

However,  on Saturday night I was woken by a loud rending sound. The four cats on my bed,  hopped as high as I did but Skabby continued to snore on his mini donut. This made me realise that it was not an intruder. 

I gingerly stepped into the office area which is open plan to the kitchen. And there above the sink, the ceiling board had sagged alarmingly.  I removed my kettle and covered my laptop on my desk and returned to bed. I must admit, I had a terrible night. I kept waking thinking of the mess and damage if the whole ceiling collapsed. 

The next morning, it was still in place,  albeit only just. 

Being Sunday,  I collected Thandi, her daughter Tombi and Thandi's sister, Mavis from the township. I always drop Tombi and Mavis off at their place of work at the Thokosiza Lifestyle Centre and then Thandi and I continue to The Bunker. We cleaned after the guests who had stayed the weekend and prepared for the one guest staying from Sunday until Wednesday. 

All the while I worried about what was happening at home.

After dropping Thandi back home in the township at midday on Sunday, and returning home, I walked over to Ron and John's house. They were watching tennis. I told Ronnie that my ceiling was sagging and she was horrified that I hadn't called them the night before. I said I didn't see the necessity of bothering them at night.

 John walked back home with me; on  the way we called Nurse (who gardens for Janine next door) to come along in case we needed help.  When he saw the sagging board, he said "that is not good but we will make a plan to fix it". This is always a farmer's stock answer.  I told him that a friend, Brian,  does maintenance and I'd ask him to come through on Monday and check it out. I'd already messaged Barbs to see if Brian would be able to come and help. At this, John  demurred, saying the battens had become dislodged and he was sure he and Gavin could fix it in the morning. 

Being a tall man, John gripped the edge of the ceiling board and jiggled it saying, yes, this will be easy to fix. I was standing under the board and Nurse was behind John. Just then the whole caboodle wrenched free of the last batten and came swinging down. I squealed and all three of us grabbed at the board. It was hanging by a mere thread, the light fitting! We were showered with rubble and bits of concrete.  I quickly turned off the lights at the mains and at that moment Barbs phoned me. Before she could speak, I said (quite loudly, I might add) "the ceiling has collapsed on us!"  She said she and Brian were on their way. 

That's friends for you, hey?

This was the first rending sound that I heard on Saturday night

This happened when John jiggled the edge

The steel ladder held up the board until Brian and Barbs arrived
Barbs, Nurse on the wooden stepladder, Farmer John, Smagela (from the dairy) and Brian on the steel ladder, carefully dislodged the ceiling board and took it outside

No sooner had they removed that ceiling when the one next to it (above where I was standing taking the photo), creaked and groaned;  with many hands catching it, it just missed crashing onto my desk and the floor. This sheet too, was taken out onto the veranda. 

John was most impressed with Brian's work thus far and thanked him for coming to help and for agreeing to replace the new boards. John went to the hardware store today and bought three new ceiling lengths and several meters of cornices. 

I vacuumed the floor three times yesterday. This morning when Thandi walked in, she looked up (I'd told her about the disaster yesterday) and she has an expression of annoyance. It sounds something like HAH! 

That dear lady spent the whole morning sweeping up and vacuuming the house again. She also took the long feather duster and removed all the cobwebs hanging off the exposed battens. Then I saw her clean the carpet again.

This morning I experienced the coldest weather indoors ever.  It was coming from the kitchen/office. Which is ceiling-less.  Ceilings provide insulation - and how. 

Because I didn't get to any of my own work yesterday, I asked Ronnie if I could stay home from the farm office today to catch up. Of course she said of course! They are so unbelievably good to me. And at least John agreed to have the job done much more professionally than by a farmer's "make a plan"


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Good morning dear Blogger friends. I know that most inhabitants of countries in the Northern Hemisphere don't blink an eye at snow. We, here in South Africa, get very excited. The photos fly a across the social media, each one more beautiful and dramatic than the last.

From The Bunker patio on Friday

The thickened plot continued

 Good morning dear Blogger friends. Georgy is in fine fettle and wreaking havoc on a daily basis. But oh so, lovable.

A week before the incident, I was in Estcourt on business and popped into the vet for worm meds for the three adult cats and Skabby. 

While chatting to the receptionists, (as you do) the door to my right opened. One of the vet's assistants walked in and I greeted him in Zulu. Then the exit door to my left opened and an elderly gentleman walked in. Elated I walked up to him and hugged him. It was my brother, Phillip who told the surprised ladies behind the counter that he thought he knew this lady. I said you've known me for 69 years. Possible stood on tiptoes as a five year old and looked into my cradle way back then!

The receptionists who know Philip well, greeted him and the lady serving me took a photo of us.

Phillip and I at the vet's surgery

A few days after Georgy's injury, I realized his eye was weepy. I popped into the vet in Winterton which is an agency of the larger business in Estcourt. The young receptionist there phoned through to Estcourt to ask a vet what ointment would be suitable for a cat as young as mine. She explained to the receptionist in Estcourt that Jo needed an eye ointment for a kitty that had been bitten by her dog. The lady on the other side of the phone asked her to find out from me if it was for Georgy. Which she did and which I affirmed. This information was passed on to the vet and he gave the name of an ointment for Georgy.

A week and some days later I was in Ladysmith at the vets rooms where Skabby is shaved and groomed twice a year. When I collected him, one of the Estcourt receptionists emerged from the rear office. She greeted me and looking at the now beautifully shaved Skabby, and asked: is this friendly dog the one who bit Georgy? 

Our area is definitely one big village!


Monday, August 15, 2022

An update

 Dear Blogger friends. I seem to be always apologising for my lack of posting on Blogger. 

Three weeks ago as my alarm went off at 5am, Georgy (the precious new kitten) climbed onto my head . I took him and put him at my feet. I needed to snooze a little. The aunty cats were all still asleep on my bed as was Skabby, who sleeps on the floor beside my bed. Georgy climbed back onto my head and I put him in front of my still warmly curled body. He hopped off the bed and onto the dog. 

I heard the snap and felt the tension in the other cats which caused me to quickly switched on the light. Skabby was sitting up by now, looking suitably guilty. No sign of Georgy but I could hear him meowing pitifully from the other side of my bedroom. I quickly put Skabby outside and set about finding the injured kitten. I located him in the narrowest of spaces under my wardrobe. 

Cradling him while he cried piteously, I saw blood on the right side of his face. I placed him in my bathroom and closed the door. Then proceeded to get ready to take him to the vet - some 49km from my house. When I got into the bathroom,  it looked like a slaughterhouse. Georgy had been sneezing violently and shaking his head spraying blood all over the bath and surrounding tiles. 

I brought in one of my cat traveller cages, lined it with a towel and placed Georgy inside.  I phoned the emergency number at the veterinary clinic. The doctor on duty answered and had to ask several times who was calling as I could not get my mouth unclenched. When I explained what had happened, he said he'd be waiting for me at the clinic. 

I arrived around 7.45 where a few of the receptionists and two vets were standing. They all knew Skabby and commiserated with me saying they hoped the puddy cat would be ok.  The doctor dealing with my case, took me into his surgery, opened the cage and took the kitty out. His assistant held Georgy while the doctor examined the injury. He told me that the dog's teeth had missed the eye and not broken the jaw.  

While the vet fetched antibiotics and a painkiller with which to inject Georgy, the assistant let Georgy play with his hands. I asked him what gender the kitty was. To my delight, after a cursory glance, he pronounced Georgy to be a male kitty. 

The vets assistant, keeping Georgy calm after his traumatic experience

While I traveled home, several friends, whom I had told of my early morning drama, sent me voicenotes commiserating with me but reminding me that Skabby didn't mean to bite Georgy - he got a fright. I realized this as when we got home, Skabby reached up to see if Georgy was in the travel cage. 
This happened on a Friday. That day Georgy sleep the hours away in the sun on my bed. The whole weekend he was quiet - although he ate his juicy meat bits that evening. 
Asleep on my bed - the right cheek (visible) is where he suffered the injury - in fact showing very little damage
Later that day, Georgy sleeping with his feet resting on Mama

By Monday morning, with the resilience of youth, Georgy was his perky self again... Wreaking havoc, stealing Aunty Chappie's food and taunting Aunty Missy. 

AND snuggling up to Skabby at every opportunity.

No heart stopping story like this would be complete without showing the cause of all the commotion. 

Skabby, who never hurts a fly, let alone the household cats

However, nature being nature, I keep a strict eye and avoid any surprises between the kitties and dear Skabby.