Volte-face (pron.: /vɒltˈfɑːs/ or /voʊltˈfɑːs/) is a total change of position, as in policy or opinion; an about-face.
The expression comes through French, from Italian voltafaccia and Portuguese volte face, composed of volta (turn) and faccia (face). (Wikipedia.)
“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
And so it happened – far sooner than expected – the house was sold and it was really not practical for me to pay exorbitant rent to the owners as a tenant. I was pressed, with a very low budget, to buy an apartment in a hurry, on a very low budget.
Unfashionable (to read it simply, dodgy) areas are perfectly in order abroad. They may, in fact, be viewed as thrillingly eccentric. In South Africa, however, moving to one of these areas may be seen as a form of deliberately assisted suicide. I forged ahead nonetheless and have purchased an apartment, with the blind faith that I will create a cosy home for myself and live under the ‘benign hand of God’: a fatuous construct in some eyes, perhaps, but the deed is done.
I have entered the lion’s den. Mine is the top floor, right hand end apartment. It overlooks one of the top schools in Johannesburg and I will be able to enjoy watching the lads play cricket while enjoying a cup of tea on my balcony.
Once the almost exclusive enclave of Jewish immigrants seeking out the safety of an apartment community; what they were used to in Europe, the area became, in the 80s, the stomping ground of well-heeled hippies. I remember it being the very epitome of bohemian nightlife. Sadly, it has since degenerated into a ghetto populated by Nigerian drug lords and the like. I recently read that there is an initiative underfoot to reclaim the area and trust that my leap of faith will prove to be a fortuitous one. If nothing else, it will give me an exciting project for interior decorating and will provide some blog fodder.
The apartment itself is a warren of large, sun-filled rooms, currently populated as a commune.
I will begin by beefing up the security and making a lot of cosmetic changes to the interior. It is filthy, but nothing that ripping up the horrid carpets to expose the beautiful parquet floors and a lick of paint can’t improve. I shall need the services of a handyman, for quite a while, with a little luck I will find a beefy shirtless hunk with a big toolbelt. Our combined experiences will – no doubt – offer up much blog fodder. I promise photos of the progress.
One thing I am particularly looking forward to is having a proper oven again and being able to bake. With the miniature stove I’ve had in the cottage, freshly baked cakes have been a thing I have sorely missed.
I am excited. Watch this space!