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Sunny-Side Up

June 15, 2022

Happy and smiling
from ear to ear
Loving the look

See the newly brushed
thatch,
carefully raked
roof,
with its nouveaux
layered stone top.

I had the privilege of watching the roof of our outside cabin being rethatched. Thank goodness during this time, the rain joyfully stayed away; allowing for great and careful workmanship over the past seven days. It is the very first time for me, observing the artisans plying their trade with a buzz of professional activity.

RAIN IS GOOD FOR THE STRAW

And would you know, I was in the throws of writing this blog yesterday when a need arose for me to stop. Upon waking this morning I could hear the pattter of heavy raindrops on my rooftop. And just yesterday I wrote the above heading. So now, let me carry on while the sun is slowly waking up from behind the thick periwinkled – cotton clouds. I hope I manage to publish this blog today.

My bales of straw – rain replaces the plant’s natural moisture.

Thatching – an age-old craft

Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge (Cladium mariscus), rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof.

What was for centuries the roofing of the poor has now become the roofing of the rich. Thatched roofs are stylish, expensive, and quintessentially English.

Cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

When the Bronze Age inhabitants of England wanted to put roofs on their houses, they gathered up the materials at handβ€”long-stemmed plants such as wheat or straw. They’d bundle the plants together and pile them atop one another to create a thick roof that sloughed off rain and kept the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Their work looks deceptively simple.

The craftsmen who make and maintain these roofs are called master thatchers

While one would think that it requires nothing more than piling up bundles of plants, in fact the variations of roof styles, their curves, windows and ridgelines demand a skill that takes a five-year apprenticeship to gain qualification. – Sean McLachlan

Rethatching is an expensive venture.

Due to the recent hurricane and flooding that ripped off and destroyed rooftops in the area causing major damage, our outside cabin needed fixing too. We were lucky to have the insurance step in. The added blessing comes with a bonus, rethatching is only needed in 20 to 25 years. Besides I have the honour of watching the new thatch roof grow old with me, reminiscing the work of fine craftmanship.

22 Comments
  1. Congratulations on the new roof. It pays to have proper insurance coverage where one’s home is concerned.
    I was learning about thatched huts several weeks ago…And now here is your wonderful well researched post. Thank you.πŸ‘
    This is a topic that warms my heart. I grew up seeing these types of homes…although, I have never lived in one…thus far.

    • Thank you so much Suzette. We are so relieved that we were able to get it fixed. And yes rethatching was indeed expedited because of insurance. One just doesn’t have that kind of cash at hand when disaster strikes. So without question it came as a blessing.
      I was blown away by the various phases of the job, watching the workers as they meticulously went about removing old vegetation and rethatching with freshly cut and dried straw, and voila – Sunny-Side Up.
      Thank you, I’ve always lived around thatched homes, cabins or lappas but I had no idea of the process and work involved. Impressive indeed and I should mention that the supervisor on site was a female.
      A fascinating craft, and worth the research. I’m glad you enjoyed. Thank you.

      • I very much enjoyed.
        I love your phrase…” sunny side up” 😎

      • I’m so glad. I always found these deep back in the woods or back of the newspaper stories quite interesting.
        Lol, we say that for fried eggs. 😊

      • Awesome. Cheers 😊

  2. Hahaha I am so impressed by that roof and learned alot about it from your post. To say that these kinds of roofs are uncommon in my neck of the woods is such a total misrepresentation of the reality; they are practically non-existent where I am from πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I know that you have mentioned the roof to me but I never really imagined anything like this πŸ‘πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

    • Hello and Good morning.Killa, πŸ€—πŸ’™yes they are mainly found in areas under the common wealth countries or linked to the British Monarchy in one way or the other.
      Strangely enough the Afrikaner were eventually smitten by the thatch roof and so many other tribes. In the region where I lived before you would find these thatched cabins or lappas on most properties.
      I have never seen the virgin look of a thatched roof so I’m also pretty chuffed.
      Wishing you a beautiful morning πŸŒ„ 😘

      • Hello and good morning to you as well my friend πŸ‘ŒπŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ€—. It’s great to see you and to read what you had to say today as always hahaha. Wow it all falls into place for me now because many of the houses have these same similar styles and it looks so cool so it’s good to be given a bit of a background as to what influenced these styles. it’s even more eye-opening to hear your points about the Afrikaners and about the region where you lived that had many houses like these. I know that in Africa itself, many people build houses that have these same kinds of roofs, and in fact, the whole house is usually made of straws and mud and sticks hahaha

        It’s awesome that you got to finally see the virgin look of the thatched roofs; they are very stylish and look truly unique if what you have posted here is anything to go by πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘πŸ€©πŸ€©

        Awww thank you very much πŸ€—πŸ€—. I wish you an absolutely beautiful morning too πŸ™ŒπŸ’•β˜€β˜ΊοΈπŸ˜˜

      • Absolutely Troy, thank you for bringing in a huge missing piece into the conversation. It was indeed a blind spot in my reading and research. Now people have moved away from the mud and use brick for their thatched rondawels unless you travel deep into the country side of course.
        Where I come from the thatched roof was mainly influenced by the British.
        There is most definitely a blindspot in the history of thatch in my country.
        Thanks again my friend. I appreciate your critical eyeπŸ€—πŸ’™

      • You are welcome πŸ™Œβ˜ΊοΈπŸ₯°πŸ₯°. Exactly, people have made improvements to the technique over the years πŸ‘ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ’•πŸ€©πŸ’™. I remember that the first time I saw roofs of that kind was in documentaries about certain places and cultures in africa and the style of roofs that you photographed, reminds me of those. They are very identical but I like seeing an actual picture of the roof that you were telling me about; it looks very lovely πŸ‘ŒπŸ’―πŸ’•πŸ˜†

        Yes the thatched roof most likely was influenced by the british in your country. The African roofs that I am talking about must have been mainly and purely just made of straw/bush and bamboo etc but a “thatched” roof is definitly a different class of “architecture”. So there is no doubt that the history you gave me about the thatched roof is very accurate.

        You are welcome my darling πŸ’―πŸ™ŒπŸ₯°πŸ˜˜. It was lovely talking to you again and I am happy that you appreciate my thoughts πŸ€—πŸ˜πŸ’•πŸ’•. Have a safe and lovely day πŸ’“πŸ’“βœŒοΈπŸ˜†

      • Thatching is now considered a craft , so people literally go to school to become a master artisan in this craft.
        Yes for a long time thatching was a poor man’s roof over his head. But like with most other arts, they are taken to the high end market and drastically improved. Same goes for fashion and grafitti.
        All the same, thank you for reading and rounding up this study. I love and appreciate it.
        So nice speaking to you too my darling friendπŸ’™πŸ€—πŸ˜˜, same to youπŸ’™πŸ€—πŸ˜ŠπŸ’—

      • No doubt, in fact thatching would have been something that was a craft from since its conception and probably more so back in the day without the use of modern tools or conveniences. I think today it’s probably valued alot more due to it being not so common and also thanks to the improvements made to the craft that makes it more appealing and also more practical and applicable in various ways. Correct, fashion and graffiti do have their own similarities lol

        Thank you so much my friend, it was my pleasure too it was something different and alot of fun to discuss with you and it feels so good that you loved and appreciate it haha πŸ˜˜πŸ€—πŸ’“πŸŒΉ. Awww thank is fantastic, i am really happy that I got to chat with you today on this issue — it was very delightful βœŒοΈπŸ’•β˜ΊοΈπŸ€­. Please enjoy the rest of your day darling πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ₯°

  3. Oh yes absolutely, man had to make do with the natural resources at his disposal to put a roof over his hand and the craft was just handed down from one generation to the next.
    Oh yes the craft was refined with new techniques applied for layering, raking and brushing. Now these rooftops are made to last for over 20 years. Although I wouldn’t like the roof of my whole house thatched, so I prefer the cabin or cottage on the property with a thatch.
    I love it when you add your valuable coins to my blog. Thank you 😊 πŸ’“ ☺ πŸ’— πŸ’› πŸ’– 😍πŸ₯°πŸ˜˜.
    I will, and you tooπŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ₯°πŸ’™πŸ’›

    • Exactly πŸ’―πŸ’―πŸ‘Œ, we have to start somewhere and now we have all different ways of making roofs including thatching, and it is wonderful to see how this is being adapted in these modern times and that it is still around ☺️☺️. Thanks for complimenting my earlier points by telling me about the different areas of the craft that have been improved according to what you have seen on your end πŸ˜„πŸ€ŸπŸ’•. Such rooftops being able to last for over 20 years is an exceptional benefit and I do understand what you are saying about not wanting it on the whole house; it is a great thing to have but may not always be ideal for particular areas. Thank you very much, it feels great that they are valued and I always love to contribute to your lovely blog πŸ‘πŸŒΉπŸ₯°πŸ˜˜

      • Yes, I do appreciate your insights my learned friend. 😍😘

      • Thank you I am glad that you do; it always makes sharing them more than worth the effort πŸ‘πŸ’―β˜ΊοΈβ˜ΊοΈ

      • Oh yes, I receive with open arms πŸ™Œ, thank you once more πŸ’—πŸ˜

      • Haha, that is good, I am thankful to see your reception on the matter my friend 🌹☺️πŸ₯°πŸ’•

      • You are most welcome ☺ πŸ˜πŸ’•

      • Noted and greatly appreciated my friend πŸ’―πŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ˜†πŸ™Œ

      • πŸŒΈπŸ’•πŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ˜
        Thank you 😊 πŸ’“

      • πŸ’•β˜ΊοΈπŸ€­πŸ˜† you are welcome πŸ˜πŸ€—πŸ’“πŸ˜˜

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