ABOUT FACE AND RIGHT INTO THE LION’S DEN

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”
(Jodi Picoult)
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.

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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.

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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.

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I am excited. Watch this space!

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85 thoughts on “ABOUT FACE AND RIGHT INTO THE LION’S DEN

  1. Congratulations on your purchase. I believe you will bring fresh love to your part of South Africa and that more wonderful people like yourself will move in and reclaim the area. You will have so much fun renovating and turning your new space into a delightful and comfortable and stylish place to call ‘home’. I can’t wait for your blog posts and I look forward to seeing images of your handsome hunky tradesman with the large tool belt xx

  2. On the positive side……it is YOURS! And I love the spacious rooms and the bright natural light. You have a view 😉 and you can sit and daydream in between working and enjoying cups of tea on your balcony soaking up some rays 🙂 The biggest positive? It is a new beginning….starting afresh with a clean slate! I look forward very much to what you are going to fill that slate with. I know it is going to be awesome. ❤ you always and covering you in prayer for safety xxxx

  3. Oh and PS! I totally love the gas hob and oven and look forward to the cakes you will be baking and sharing with us via this blog 🙂 YAY! xxxx

  4. I am so excited for you. Any place you can call your own is magic. At least you have big rooms. I will be watching for your pics on how things change 😀

  5. I can’t wait to see what you do with the place, Cin. I expect, big, beautiful, and bold things, lol! Best wishes to you on this new chapter of your life.

  6. I swear I used to live in that block in the 80’s!! Oh for those big spacious rooms and what a vibe you will have in the evenings – own it Cin, make it all yours! Very happy for you!

  7. Congratulations on the purchase of your very own space. I can just imagine that you’ll be thinking colours, patterns, texture for the next few months. Happy planning.

  8. Great to see you surface again, Cin. Congrats on your new home. It looks to have amazing potential, and nice big rooms, which is something you don’t get with newer apartments. I look forward to seeing the work in progress. Good luck with the hunky handyman. 😉 xx

  9. Congratulations again Cindy! You are going to have the most beautiful home and how very exciting to make it all your own from the get go with renovations. Have fun and I cannot wait to see all the photos of how you transform your lovely sunny home.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. I’m so glad to see that you are posting again 🙂 I have missed them. And delighted to read that your daughter has reconciled with you. Best wishes with your ‘flat’ project. Can’t wait to see how you transform it!

  11. So very happy for your sake amica mia . This will become your new home, and you will turn it into something magical . xx

  12. It looks like a great space with wonderful potential. It’s sad to see bars on the terraces, but I understand crime is unbelievable in South Africa. Maybe a burly student roomate would help?

  13. Didn’t realize you hadn’t moved in until I read through the comments. The flat looks lovely from the outside and the rooms are decent sizes and there’s lots of bright light plus a lovely new Bosch cook top.

  14. There’s nothing like having something grand to look forward to…and you have the talent to pull off a marvelous reno. This will be fun to watch. Besides the slate on the walls, do you have your colours picked already?

    • Nope Amy, apart from silver for the curtains and lots of red accents, I shall have to do with what I have and make the best of it. Don’t have much budget.

      • A decorator told me to pick some article in my belongings that held the colours I love. She said to keep that ever in my clutch while choosing, deciding and picking. You probably know that already, Cin, but it’s invaluable when time is needed to let finances catch up.

  15. I AM excited for you! I know that you are going to do wonderful things with the place. I can see your creativity taking hold there, and bringing the whole complex out of the realm of drug lords and into a new gentrification project! I love the sound of your enthusiasm! Hurray for you! Congratulations!

  16. this will be a project I will enjoy reading about. and if you can provide a tool bearing beef cake then I’ll be here daily 🙂 Very best of luck to you in your new home, I know you’re going to make it wonderful 🙂

  17. Looks a great space just in need of TLC which I am sure you will provide with loads of flair. Hope you are soon enjoying living on top of the world 🙂

  18. Good for you, Cin. Make it a home and be h-a-p-p-y! Nowadays all the suburbs contain such a mix, intentionally, which can be a good thing. I am so glad that you are positive – it will really stand you in good stead. ♥

  19. I just know that it will be wonderful when you are finished and it appears to have much more space. Stay strong and have fun with your new project.I am excited to see what you will do.

    • Thanks Dee, my mind is in a frenzy of excitement. Just this afternoon I decided that I am going to have one of the kitchen walls bashed out to give me more space to play in there 🙂

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