Building Works at Elsa’s Kopje

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Building is a passion. Or at least it helps if it is.

Building in a lodge or anywhere the hospitality trade allows one the luxury of creativity and attention to the wackiest of detail but by the nature of the beast it has deadlines and that just gives it all a little more punch.

What starts as a gentle idea to ‘just push out that wall and give us a little more room’ very soon turns into ‘we might as well replace the floor while we are doing it’ and at that point ‘it seems silly to be doing all this work without rewiring it too’. While we are about it, we should give it all a lick of paint and sand and oil the floors.

Oh! And shall we alter the roof on the bar while all the carpenters are there?!

In addition, we have the general maintenance from a busy but never quite busy enough season that has passed.

We have twelve rooms in the lodge and then there are three main public rooms with two kitchens and eight storerooms, two pantries, 21 toilets in 14 bathrooms. Three maintenance rooms, a cooler room, freezer room, generator room, paint store, waste room, crockery and office stores. The list goes on and on…

The four inverters feed and are fed by 20 batteries, two generators and a smattering of solar panels and each of the cottages has its solar water heater too.

Add to the five game viewing cars the transfer vehicle, the staff 4×4 pickup and the venerable thirty-year-old Bedford truck that has been in daily use since it was bought second hand well before the lodge was built.

There is a fair amount of wear and tear to keep up to date and polished before you, the gentle reader and reason for all of this, can sip a ‘Gin & Tonic’ on the front veranda of your room.

So almost half the general staff go home, the builders move in and anyone left behind is pressed into carting sand and mixing paint. The days start as usual with the sun peeping over the horizon at six but before too long the merry thud of hammers and the whistling of carpenters ring out over the plains.

Its time for our gentle rains and the wild flowers spring out of the dust to cover the park in colour. Its breeding time and the herds are full of young. The old truck carts sand and thatch, the game cars pull trailers of rock. The Bar men twist the thatching into place and the sous chefs mix cement.

Will it all be ready when we re-open in June? Who knows but we are pretty sure that when you settle into crisp white cotton sheets after a steaming bath and turn out the polished bed light the sweat and tears of getting it all ready for a new season will be just a dream.

Sleep well, tomorrow brings a new day of wonder as Meru unfolds another year of excitement joy and the never-ending fascination of what is just round the corner…

Come and see for yourself!

Philip & Charlie

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