The move we never want to repeat

In December 2016 we moved. We left the rolling green hills of Kwazulu Natal behind for a sectional title house in Pretoria. ‘There are pros and cons about everything,’ we told ourselves and braced for impact. We moved in on what must have been the hottest day in human history. Fortunately we had very few things to move really. We had no fridge and no kettle (that translates to neither Coke nor coffee…misery!) and no a whole list of other things as well. 

Sad fact 1

So when I got up from our krismisbed on that first morning and saw the sunrise through an electric fence instead of through the lacy leaves of an avocado orchard, I knew I had come face to face with Con Nr 1.

This used to be the view from our front door
Here's our current view from just about anywhere in the house

Sad fact 2

For a middle-aged couple with three darling children it is daunting to leave the loveliness of a community on a farm in the sticks. The life we lived there can hardly be called homesteading, but it certainly was idyllic. Hubby grew his own strawberries, and we had just about every kind of fruit tree in the tiny piece of the communal farm I could call our yard: two apple trees, an orange, a lemon, a grapefruit, a white guava, even a clementine! We kept one bee hive. I made my own cottage cheese from maas and brewed a fresh batch of yoghurt every evening. Hubby even had a go at making gouda and it worked! We had our worm farm in a box behind the house, we fed our azaleas rooibos tealeaves, I baked bread with real yeast and oh! …we never had to pay for water or electricity.

Enters Con Nr 2. In our new life, we feared these two accounts. We tackled the problem with gusto. On day four in our new home, every bulb in the house was replaced by LED bulbs. No matter that it cost more than R2000! We were doing our bit for the environment and counting how many cents we would be saving each night. It was incidentally also on day four that we discovered our greywater had turned foul…

Greywater really stinks

Hubby had us all bath in the same tub of water every evening and then scoop the (by then) really grey water into a 25l plastic drum. This was then lovingly dragged to the courtyard by the back door with the intention of later using the water to irrigate what was left of the drought stricken garden. When one of those drums were opened on day four, we realised it was not going to be as easy as that. It smelled rotten. In fact, it smelled dangerous. Mentally the cost of the municipal account was weighed up against the cost of a hospital stay and without further ado the water went down the drain.

So how do you do greywater in the suburbs?

This small episode kickstarted some research about greywater: why does it smell? Can the smell be avoided? How can it best be used in a suburban home inhabited by ‘normal’ people? If you have these questions, continue reading my blog because I will be answering them in later posts.

Although the drought has eased ever so slightly in Pretoria, vast parts of the country are still suffering. Have you been more successful in implementing a greywater system?


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