Shower power

There is something about showering under the stars on a balmy summer night and in the fresh of a summer’s morning, before the sun’s scorch.  (Or, if you prefer, on a cold winter’s…whatever.)  We have long been of the opinion that a swimming pool is a costly, time-consuming inessential, so when we moved here, we resolved to find a suitable outside space for a shower.  Identifying the “right” spot was a challenge:  the house is on a corner and is built with sandbags* which means that anchoring anything to the walls is problematic, as was finding a way of plumbing in the hot water. In addition, one had to find a way of preserving some modicum of privacy (if not modesty and the property values!), as one moves both to and from house, as well as in terms of visibility from the road.  It took a while before we realised that there was a logical place to put it.  The veranda was not quite a wrap-around, and at the corner of the house, there seemed a logical spot.  It also borders on the “pond” into which our greywater now runs. ShowerCorner2012 Even though the decision was made two years ago, there were other priorities, not least of which were a carport and workshop for the Husband, and of most importance, without waterborne sewerage, a conservancy tank (the original one had collapsed – some twit had the driveway over it). After finally deciding on the building material, the Husband began work on it late last year.  Initially, we had thought of gabion walls – we had a huge pile of shale left from the excavation of the conservancy tank.  Nope.  Too good a place for nesting spiders, scorpions and snakes.  Neither of us fancied meeting a Cape Cobra when we were in the altogether.  Ultimately, we decided on latte* with a shale  floor. Shale is a sedimentary rock that’s formed from compressed mud and/or sand.  Geologically, the  region in which we live, was once an inland sea.  Here’s the evidence – a fossilised limpet. LimpetFossil The first step in the construction was, the posts, then the hole in the wall, followed by the first part of the floor, which had to be level for the steps and, finally, the pan and the outlet. ShowerStepsFloor Then came the frame, the plumbing, the latte and the lining.  The latter, made from re-purposed coffee bags, we discovered, was necessary.  The light from the stoep at night, created a backlight, effectively nullifying the screen! ShowerPlumbedCats Of course, as you see, the Husband was closely supervised – Pearli and Melon were constantly checking things out. Quality control is critical to the finished product. ShowerDoneInterior There is still a bit of tidying up to do, but that hasn’t stopped us using it.  Here’s the view from inside the shower. SAM_1407And, from the garden, this is what one sees. SAM_1410 *more of this at another time **thin wooden poles, usually made from Wattle which is an invasive exotic in South Africa © Fiona’s Favourites

8 thoughts on “Shower power

  1. Very cool! And oh, how I envy your freedom to use grey water! Here in Washington State it’s illegal – can you believe it? Not such a big deal on the west side of the state, which is a high rainfall area, but we live on the arid east side, and I so resent not being able to use it!


    1. Yoh! I can’t believe you’re not allowed to use grey water. Black water, I completely get. In SA which, as you know, is drought-prone, it’s encouraged. In the village which has less than 250mm/year, most of the homes harvest their grey water in one form or another. I do wish that our mechanism was more efficient, but what we have is better than nothing. I suspect that as water becomes an increasingly scarce commodity, the attitudes towards grey water will soften.


      1. Isn’t it the most ridiculous thing? What made me nuts was that in the year that we built our house, when I learned about grey water being illegal (when discussing the design of our plumbing with the architect), George W Bush was in the White House. And much was made of the fact that his house in Texas (unlike Al Gore’s) was super environment-friendly. (The water laws are different in Texas.) So we would have been fined for doing what the President of the country was bragging about doing. Completely ridiculous!


Comments are closed.