What does Bereaville look like? I arrived at night, so I had no idea at first. Horses at the bus stop. Pedestrians navigating by moonlight. By light of day few of the pale Greytonians I met even knew what I was talking about. “You mean Genadendal?” they asked, as if their local knowledge reached just that far. Bereaville is a five-minute drive on the other side of Greyton’s immediate neighbour, a colourful rural settlement full of life.
I went because I liked the look of Poespasrivier Cottage from its pictures (though less so its name, and that is all I will say on the subject), a missionary’s cottage nestled beneath great gum trees. Enter Bereaville up a gentle gravel road and it sits watching the small, shallow valley. Repossessed from the toll time takes on all things and restored with love and local knowledge, its main walls are thick as a pregnant belly and its corners are often curved. Adobe houses have a friendliness I’ve not found in other types of buildings. They’re typified by irregular edges, solid structures, and no foundations, at least in this area. Back in the day, they didn’t dig deep, they just built strong. Which doesn’t stop gravity from tugging over time.
When restoration began on this 150-year old home, a whole corner of it had to be repossessed and reshaped in the restoration process, Reverend Angora consulted the expertise of an American architect and took much care to include local knowledge and workmanship and original and natural materials. The full story is beautifully-written here and will give you a deeper appreciation of the quaint, resilient cottage.
These days it’s fully kitted out with energy-aware everything – a gas-powered shower, gas stove, small electric fridge, composting WC. The lights are energy savers and the walls are natural insulators. I slept with all the windows wide open, so that the sounds of the weekend world of Bereaville could be the soundtrack to my evening. Donkey brays in the dark. Horse whinnies. Laughter to the left. Singing to the right. On Sunday morning I woke up seconds before the local church bell, and blinked my eyes open to the sound of choral voices wafting through the window. I felt I was in the company of something greater than me, and was grateful to the Reverend for striking out and giving travellers an opportunity to be part of a corrugated community like this. That, and the peach trees and grapevine which will forever be growing into the gaps in my mind. The patio is perfect for brunches, lunches and a bit of painting, too.
Find out more about Poespasrivier Cottage.
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