Sunday, January 23, 2011

Off The Beaten Track [Part 2]

Lovely old stone ruin...I'd like to have a go at restoring this...just look at the setting!
Should you perhaps find yourself wondering about the quality of these pictures, they were all taken during the pre-digital era with our still camera using film and/or slides.  We've had to scan them in manually to make a digital copy for me to upload on my blog.  Some appear washed out...unfortunately, the original quality of the prints has altered over time.  Hooray for the digital era, as this is no longer a problem! Please click the read more button below to continue this post...

Lonesome remains perched at the top of a lone hill, now serving as a convenient lookout for birds of prey...

We are always fascinated to discover the 'views' afforded by the interior doorways and window-openings of these old ruins...

This house looked across at the barn...

This old lady was partially boarded up, probably originally to keep vagrants out.  I don't think it was very successful!

Now whose 'Pride and Joy' was this, originally built in 1884? (add on came later...1916)  It stood all alone as far afield as we could see.  Although abandoned and falling into obvious disrepair, it was still standing sturdily and bravely amidst the barren landscape, managing to fight off the challenging ravages of time. 

My husband snapped this, at the back of the same house, without my knowledge.  It's clear I was dreamily imbibing the mysteries of this old house and it's remote bleak, so isolated!

Who lived here?  Why did they move away?  It had clearly been a loved home at one time...

This looks as if it might be inhabited by a Hobbit, or Gnome...something right out of a Grimms Brothers' Fairytale :)

Dare I knock...and call out, 'Anyone home?'

No, it's clear no one has lived here in a long time...

This is the ruin of the original Klaarfontein farm.  It was built in the late 1700s in the Cape Dutch Style, typical of the architecture of the time.  It had lovely gables, an elevated verandah and thatched roof. Lady Anne Barnard visited in 1800 and drew a picture of the homestead, as it was then.

After our visit, my husband ernestly set about researching this building, as he felt strongly it has merits  for being restored and preserved.  Unfortunately, this was met with apathy and , as far as we know, it has subsequently fallen into even greater disrepair.  

Below is a copy of Lady Barnard's sketch of Klaarfontein, produced during her visit to the farm homestead in 1800...

Above, a copy of the floor plan showing the original homestead and subsequent additions.

Lady Anne Barnard named her drawing of Klaarfontein, 'A Boors Plaace' (farmer's homestead). 

 The internal passageway of Klaarfontein.  The homestead consisted of two blocks.  The front block, housing the living quarters, was parallel to the road and had a fine central Baroque dormer gable.  The second block was at right-angles to the first and separated from it.  This block housed the kitchen and back rooms of the homestead, a common practice at the time due to the risk of fire. 

A small, surviving section of the collapsed 'rietdak' (cane ceiling), in the kitchen wing of the homestead.

We found this old Kaiser in one of the 'modern' add-on outhouses of the long-abandoned homestead.  My husband became very excited and  subsequently contacted the owner to make an offer to purchase it.  He thought it would have been a marvellous restoration project to undertake with our son.  Unfortunately, (or perhaps, fortunately?) nothing came of it, as the owner suddenly recognised its potential value and decided to sell to the highest bidder.

View from the back of the homestead, looking towards the road and the Verlorenvlei (Forgotten Wetland).
The next two pictures, although not of ruined buildings, are examples of some of the other interesting finds we stumble upon when we venture off the beaten track...
Part of an old ship wreck, the Kakapo, on the beach at Noordhoek on the western shore of the Cape Penninsula.

We found this old, Scottish steam boiler whilst enjoying a picnic at the top of Table Mountain. It drew great excitement from our son, who was just a little chap at the time.

I do not know to whom to attribute the following words, as this is one of those oft-quoted 'wisdoms' many of us grew up with, but I feel I can appropriately use them here, as they fit well with my theme and I like the fact that they introduce a philosophical aspect with which to end this two part series of posts...

'All of life is a journey...which paths we take, what we look back on and what we look forward to, is up to us.  We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there and how happy we are when we get there.'   ~ Unknown ~


  1. Great post !!......lovely sunday

  2. I saw your blog on Diane's sidebar and was intrigued immediately. I just love old buildings and yearn to know the history of them. If only walls could talk. My interest knows no limits! :)

  3. Oh Desiree, this is a lovely post of nostalgia. When we pass ruins and empty houses, I often wonder about the people who lived there. (Die lief en leed van daardie gesin!) Who sat at that fireplace, visible through the crumbling wall? Who knocked on that door, now hanging on rusty hinges. Thank you for this wonderful post. Have a great week. Blessings, Jo

  4. Hi Desiree,
    Neat old buildings! I love that kind of thing. And I'm with you, it would be great fun to restore and inhabit one of those beauties.

  5. renovations would probably take years but it is so pretty located:)

  6. Great post and I do the same as Jo.

  7. This picture is really beautiful! The setting is marvelous, and a perfect home for a getaway over a weekend...

  8. Wow! I love the old staircase, as well as the dusty car - such amazing finds. Some of the buildings remind me of an old Western movie... so beautiful. You really have an eye for beauty!

  9. Hi Desiree
    Love to read about your passion to renovate. We have restored an "Old Lady" built in 1860 in Harrismith.
    Have a look at our blog Looking forward to find you again.
    Thanks for sharing


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