African Hut Revival

Friday was The Day. With temperatures soaring OV donned his old red T-shirt and ancient navy trousers and headed up a ladder. The ‘chicken wire’ had been put in place a few days earlier. The site was cleared and, with my Health-and-safety hat on (actually, I couldn’t find it) I went to find some rope to tie the precarious ladders into place. OV teetered up and down said ladders (sometimes they were balanced between two tables) with loads of thatching straw, which he placed on said wire and fastened with pieces of green wire – which I produced by demolishing an old looped-wire fence.
He laboured on through the heat of the day, hour after hour, stopping only to take on water (or lemonade) and munch a sandwich.
I started out with him in the ‘cool’ of the morning, but the mid-day heat drove me into the shelter of the garage, where I busied myself making the ‘topknot’ which will ‘cap’ it all off.
By the end of the day we had run out of straw, I had ‘goffered’ on and off all day and kept the site moderately tidy, and OV had turned a very strange colour: the sun-exposed parts (smothered with UV cream) were lightly simmered lobster, but every part of him that had connected with the straw was filthy, grimy, charcoal colour.
Due to take a wedding rehearsal at 6pm, OV scurried in to the house and scrubbed off the dirt, re-emerging dressed in cool clean clothing and looking as if he had spent the day lounging in a deck-chair (how does he do it?).
Whilst he was gone I completed the site-tidying in the (now) believable temperature, watered the plants in pots and prepared supper. OK, here’s the slide show:

straw on wire (that'll get you, Mr Wolf!)

straw on wire (that’ll get you, Mr Wolf!)

quite a lot left at this stage

quite a lot left at this stage

a hero in the heat of the day

a hero in the heat of the day

Could be in the Rwandan hills!

Could be in the Rwandan hills!


All that remains to be done is: gaps filled, top-knot wired into place, ends trimmed, a ‘skirt’ extension fitted + wire netting over the top (to prevent the birds stealing it or the autumn storms whipping it off). Mmm – should only take an hour or two 😉

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About apthomas

I love books, reading, writing, baking, chocolate, painting, sewing, people and fairtrade - not necessarily in that order. I am a lazy gardener - who loves the garden, and a lazy housewife who likes the place to be warm and welcoming. I live in beautiful Somerset. I am enslaved by Sherpa-the-cat. Saturday mornings find me 'playing shop' in the Honey Pot - a second hand bookshop, run from my garage, where along with the books you'll find fun, friendship and refreshments - all in a good cause.
This entry was posted in African hut, Garden project, Mad dogs & Englishmen, rural fun. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to African Hut Revival

  1. Susan in TX says:

    I love this! I have recently become a fan of Mma Ramotswe (of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency fame – the books, not the TV show), and this reminds me of her and some of her scenes in Botswana. A friend, hearing of my admiration of Mma, put me on to Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin, which actually takes place in Rwanda. I haven’t read it yet, but it is on the table ready to go hopefully next week.
    (Must say it made me a tad nervous to see OV up on that ladder!) My dh has a healthy fear of heights which enables me to keep him semi-close to the ground most of the time. 🙂

    • apthomas says:

      OV is in good health and the roof is still on the hut – although it requires some more work before it can be described as ‘finished’. I’ll look out for Baking Cakes in Kigali. Some friends of ours lived there for a while – I imagine Kigali cakes may be a little different from those cooked in my Somerset kitchen!

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