The Tadpole Building: Part 1

This is our first building project! We are refurbishing the fire damaged rondavel below our house to make a study centre for the children. It started out as a single round room and will be steadily transformed into a two story building with an added ‘tail’  (below) containing the new entrance and bathroom downstairs.

Tadpole tail under construction

Tadpole tail under construction

Here is what we started with – the burnt out shell of a small circular building (rondavel). You can obviously see the lack of roof, and the electrics were burnt out and there are cracks in the walls …

burnt out rondavel

burnt out rondavel

burnt out rondavel door

burnt out rondavel door

burnt out rondavel interior

burnt out rondavel interior

Our builders are Mr Samhembere and team. Somewhat amazingly his uncle, Mr Patrick 1 – also working on this project (below) – helped to build the main house here in 1975 …and swore he would never come back!

Mr Patrick 1 forming the special tadpole curve

Mr Patrick 1 forming the special tadpole curve

A highly complex methodology was used to calculate the shape of the curves you can see being formed here in stone and brick by Mr Samhembere senior (Patrick 1). Later you will see what a great outcome this unique shape produced in our building

Mr Mr Patrick 1 building the special tadpole curve 1 forming the special tadpole curve

Mr Patrick 1 building the special tadpole curve

And now we start to see the walls going up and the building shape appears.

The end of the tadpole tail takes shape

The end of the tadpole tail takes shape

As you can see below the location will give the upstairs room a view of Troutbeck lake

Second level of the tail

Second level of the tail is added

At the end of a busy day

At the end of a busy day

And the finished structure with custom made lintels.

Tadpoles walls are finished

Tadpoles walls are finished

Operation Fireguard

It’s a cold, dry winter here in the Eastern Highlands. Soon the grass burning season will begin as the vegetation becomes completely dry like tinder. For the last month we have urgently been working on our fire guard. This will protect the property from fires that get out of control and blown in our direction. Judging by the tree height it looks like this is the first time in 20 years that it has been properly done. We have chosen a 6m wide, 4.5km route right round the property that has to be totally denuded of vegetation, trees, grass – the lot . This will hopefully prevent any fire jumping onto out plot. Below is a picture of the new fire guard, taken from one of our southern side boundary pegs going west for 900m.

Hornbydale fireguard

Hornbydale fire guard

Following is a ‘before and after’ of a northern 700m stretch facing Troutbeck. In the top right you can see some of our cleared fields showing brown in colour.

Hornbydale northern boundary

Hornbydale northern boundary

And after the team has been through!

Hornbydale northern fireguard

Hornbydale northern fire guard

This picture is a very good example demonstrating the reason why a fire guard is important. A nearby property (in white) completely burnt out. Our own property suffered a huge amount of tree loss 2 years ago and lost one small building – which we are now refurbishing.

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Now lets to meet the team. Below on the southern side

Mr Garikai on Hornbydale fireguard

Mr Garikai on the Hornbydale fire guard

Mr Didimus, on Hornbydale fireguard

Mr Didimus on the Hornbydale fire guard

Mr Tongai

Mr Tongai

And yes it really is a cold winter up here – it’s frosty in the morning too

Frosty morning at Hornbydale

A frosty morning at Hornbydale

Frost on the fireguard

Frost on the fire guard

Mr Lamek on Hornbydale fireguard

Mr Lamek on the Hornbydale fire guard

Mr Albert

Mr Albert

And below in green the ‘fireguard champion’ Mr Willard – he completed the most 10m stretches round the boundary

Clearing the fireguard

Clearing the fire guard

Fireguard champion - Mr Willard

Fire guard champion – Mr Willard

Mr Tongai in action

Mr Tongai on the fireguard

Mr Tongai on the fire guard

Mr Tongai on the fireguard

Mr Tongai on the fire guard

Mr Tongai at work

Mr Tongai at work

Mr Didimus

Mr Didimus

Above the clouds

At the height of 7200ft, 2200m we get to be above the clouds and in the clouds!

Early Morning Fog over Troutbeck Lake, Zimbabwe

Early Morning Fog over Troutbeck Lake, Zimbabwe

Early morning view from the garden down to Troutbeck lake.

From Hornbydale Looking East to Mozambique

From Hornbydale Looking East to Mozambique

Looking east towards Mozambique – see outline of mountain right of centre

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Looking East

Hornbydale Front Lawn

Hornbydale Front Lawn

Megan and Leo wait on the lawn to see if the cloud makes it up to Hornbydale from Mozambique.

Above the Clouds, Hornbydale, Zimbabwe

Above the Clouds, Hornbydale, Zimbabwe

Hornbydale House and Gardens (with Dogs)

Pics of the main house and surrounding gardens

Hornbydale, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

Hornbydale, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

Hornbydale, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

Front Lawn of Hornbydale, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

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Megan chasing Leo on the back lawn, Hornbydale

 

Leo at Hornbydale

Leo at Hornbydale

 

Treescape in Hornbydale Garden

Treescape in Hornbydale Garden

Petra, Leo and Huckle, Hornbydale

Petra, Leo and Huckle, Hornbydale

Leo of Hornbydale

Leo of Hornbydale!

 

 

Hornbydale Estate, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

 

The Troutbeck School

The Troutbeck School

January 2016:

The Troutbeck School opens for its first full year!

 

The Troutbeck School

The Troutbeck School

 

There is a special website for the school: www.thetroutbeckschool.com

 

The Troutbeck School

The Troutbeck School

 

And a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thetroutbeckschool/

 

The Troutbeck School

The Troutbeck School

 

April 2014:

We are the owners of Hornbydale Estate, situated above the clouds at 7200ft, 2200m, in Troutbeck, Zimbabwe. Today the 129 acre, 52 hectare,  estate comprises the main house, holiday cottage, staff quarters, tropical gardens & tree ferns, arable and virgin land with natural springs. Situated at the top of the hill we have commanding 180 degree views of the Troutbeck Valley and lakes, Worlds View to the north west, and the mountains of Mozambique to the east.

Hornbydale Estate, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe

Hornbydale Estate, Troutbeck, Zimbabwe