People tell you that spring is around the corner. Well, people lie. “It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be dark and it’s going to last you for the rest of your lives,” is how Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors describes the winter in Groundhog Day. Right now we’re stuck in August bleakness, and despite the solstice and the equinox and El Nino and all that sort of stuff, September is going to be pretty bleak as well.
Where am I heading with this dreary little tale? Well, we’re out of here for a while, heading north to visit some people we call friends in KZN, and things are actually going pretty well in the state of Denmark.
Firstly, living in a little coastal village, all the local houses become choice destinations for Jozi people wanting to come and ‘lekker by die see’ for Christmas. They make big bucks up in the land of milk and opportunity, and are prepared to throw down large in order to secure a decent pad with access to the beach. With our flawless (so far) Genergy back-up system, we no longer experience load shedding.
What does this mean?
Well, it ups the stakes in the rental games. We can just top up our daily rate, nicely if we want to rent our house this summer.
Secondly, we have a solar heated pool. Not a massive Playboy Mansion pool, but not a splash pool either. In the height of summer it gets up to about 30 degrees with energy from the sun, and has to be cooled down. It’s another little winner that gets the estate agent rubbing his or her hands together; secure in the knowledge that with all the added solar energy, our house is going to be a fairly easy summer rental sell.
The problem is, when investing in what is your house and your castle; it endears you more to it. You become more attached, and it becomes harder to leave it, to go away or to rent it. While these little solar energy extras might be an extra tick box on the rental forms, it’s also a financial and emotional investment from your side, and it makes you want to hang out and enjoy your own house through the prime weeks that are South African summer holidays. Just because we live on the coast doesn’t mean that we should vacate every summer, chase the money, and suffer a summer of discontent with the children and the dogs as we sleep on couches or in granny flats in order to make a few extra bucks that can barely pay for school fees and a few boxes of wine, if we ever were to drink boxed wine.
In fact, even though we spent extra money on the house this year, and removed it from the load shedding dramas that everyone else around our little village experiences every week, we have decided to stay put this summer.
That’s right. We’re going nowhere. With the added hours of sunlight and all the extra energy going around, we’re going to have extra power coming off our photovoltaics, and we’re not going to suffer any work, child or social dramas from power outages. In fact, this summer will be the year that we have our much-heralded and inaugural Load Shedding Party during the first big evening load shed of the summer.
I’m not gloating, but there will be no generator bouncing around in the yard, we’ll have the 80’s disco pop blaring, and our drinks will be cold.