This is my house on the farm. It was built in 2002, one year after I bought the land. It is clad with stone from a local quarry and has a thatch roof, which I think helps it to blend in to its surroundings. In front of the house there is a patch of indigenous bush with a small stream running through it. Beyond the bush there are magnificent views across farmland and rolling hills, to the Drakensberg in the distance. I have invested a lot of myself in this house and love it so much that I’m afraid I have developed a bad habit of referring to it and everything in it or around it as MINE. Obviously this doesn’t go down too well with Peter when he visits me, especially when I start talking about “MY bedroom” and “MY bathroom”.
Peter is a regular weekend visitor to the farm. As soon as he arrives, he does a “tour of inspection”, heaping praise on me for all that I have managed to do since his last visit, which does my psyche the world of good. I love it when Peter spends the weekend here, not only for his company but also because I get taken out for dinner! Our local butchery opens for dinner on a Friday night and serves the best steak, chips and salad in town. An added pleasure is the pie eyed possum pilsner which they have on tap.
I love having weekend visitors and so do my two dogs, Layla and Milo. When my friend Judy visits, the dogs wake her up at the crack of dawn (she swears I’ve trained them to do this) and she lets them out, while I sleep in. If she is feeling particularly kindly towards me, usually when I’ve cooked her favourite meal of sausage and mash the night before, then she also feeds the birds for me and brings me tea in bed. This is bliss.
I don’t only share my home with weekend visitors and my dogs, I also have some feathered friends who have decided to build their nests in close proximity to the house. A pair of striped swallows return every year to their nest on the external door of my (oops) our bedroom. Weavers have moved in en masse and wagtails have built their nest under the veranda roof.
So I don’t appear to have swopped one empty nest for another. All the country nests are a hive of activity and frequented by regular visitors. Just how I like it.