Tag Archives: Grahamstown

Kettle baths and loads of laundry

(This post originally featured on my other blog, but I don’t post from there anymore)

The water supply was dodgy from Sunday lunchtime, something we became aware of as we were served our lunch on polystyrene plates with plastic knives and forks. This is becoming more and more of a problem, as it is now Wednesday, and we are still unable to flush our toilets, or have a shower.

Luckily, we have rainwater tanks behind our building. Unfortunately, it hasn’t rained in a few weeks, so this supply is dwindling as well (unsurprisingly, as it has to cater to the water needs of 73 girls), and our neighbouring building of 88 boys has run out of their rainwater supply completely, so I hear.

I had my first kettle bath yesterday. I am fortunate to have a sink in my room: I don’t know how I would feel about bathing from a sink in the bathroom where people come, do their business, and leave, unable to flush after themselves, and leaving a horrible smell behind them. You come into the building, and you are just hit by a wall of odours, emanating from bodies who, like me, have been unable to shower as often as they might have, and who, apparently, don’t know how to fill up a bucket of water to flush the toilet after themselves. It is severely unpleasant.

This morning I decided the kettle bath wouldn’t work for me, so I went down to the gym where there was rumoured to be water. Apparently I was not the only one to have heard such rumours: the change rooms, which are normally otherwise fairly empty at 6:30 am, was full, the floors wet, as ladies endured harsh conditions. My shower was brief: it was cold, with little water pressure (a huge disappointment, as the gym pressure is normally exceptionally good). One of the showers was blocked, verging on flooding. But I got to wash my hair, and my whole body. I now wait with anticipation for the water to come back, dreading the possibility of it not returning before my Spinning class that I have to instruct later today (the uniform for which I have to wash by hand, again).

My laundry is piling up: it was my intention to do laundry the other afternoon. I could have done it in the morning, but I was procrastinating. “It’s fine, I’ll do it this afternoon!” I had thought. I will never put off doing my laundry again: I am nearly down to my last set of underwear, and I am running out of laundry “shelf” space (the laundry basket was full a very long time ago).

Hold thumbs that pressure returns the water to us on the hill soon, and I am able to clean myself before I return home on Friday: we wouldn’t want my mother thinking I am unable to look after myself at university.

My new love… And it can come in chocolate too!

Arabica, Ethiopian Lima, robustness, chaff, crema… these were some of the words I became a little bit more familiar with today. A few simple words, that have inspired me to pursue the career of barista! Ok, not quite. I’ll probably never be a true coffee connoisseur, but I would really love to get there eventually!

Cuppaccinos and latte art

Cuppaccinos and latte art

I want to learn how to appreciate a good roast, and to be able to identify the different blends of international farms (except I don’t think that this is quite how it works – each farm produces it’s own kind, and you blend different farms together).

Beans being swirled around and cooled

Beans being swirled around and cooled

Basically, I want more coffee in my life. This is unusual for me because I only started drinking coffee last year. When I was much younger, I had my first cup of coffee. I loved it so much that I had two cups. That night I had a nightmare that there were giants falling from the sky onto and through the deck of my pirate ship which you gained access to from the office-block-style corridors. It was a horrible nightmare that has stuck with me for many years (over 16!) and so I never drank coffee again.

Ready for purchase, gotta get me some of that!

Ready for purchase, gotta get me some of that!

I reintroduced myself with a mature open-mindedness that has lead me to try a whole host of new foods (that you will hear about in the future, I am sure). I would say that the product that sold me to coffee was the Nescafé Cappuccino sachets: the foam gets me every time, especially when coupled with a crunchy biscotti!

My writing lecturer: Gillian Rennie

My writing lecturer: Gillian Rennie

Today was the start of a journey: Homeground Coffee Roasters showed us how they roast the beans from hard green beans to aromatic, warm, brown beans.

Coffee beans still

These are then ground to be used in the machines to produce top-quality espresso coffee, which we were lucky enough to get a taster of.

Ashley Brown, a fellow writing student, savouring that little cup of goodness

Ashley Brown, a fellow writing student, savouring that little cup of goodness

 I normally take my coffee with milk and one sugar, and a cappuccino comes with milk, but I do think that adding milk to this coffee possibly didn’t do the coffee justice: the milk of my cappuccino taster seemed to detract from the richness of the flavour, which was delicious, meeting the excellent standards that Homeground seeks to maintain.

Leo, Homeground's owner, serving up some of her top quality brew

Leo, Homeground’s owner, serving up some of her top quality brew

So, today marks the beginning of a long and close friendship between coffee and me. I know it’s going to be an intimate one with many regular encounters, and I am sure that if they are anything like today, they will be exceptional.

Purple Protesters Against Sexual Violence

Over 1500 students and staff members took to the streets of Rhodes University and Grahamstown, wearing purple and walking in solidarity with those who have been victims of sexual violence, particularly against women.

Silent Protest March

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Working At A Bar

“What are your drinks specials?”

“There aren’t any tonight… But all the drinks are cheap all the time anyways.”

“No, never mind, it’s fine, we’re leaving…”

Uhm… Ok?

Bottles Awaiting

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Study time

Travels are over and now I have had to return to my studies, away from home as well, so it’s almost like I am travelling.

Student life in Grahamstown is really vibrant, and as small as this frontier town is, there is always something to do. For the next month or so, my posts will be focusing more on the Student Life in and around Grahamstown, the stereotypical exploits of 18-25-year-olds (or thereabouts), and the many ways that I get myself involved in the community.


I will post photographs of Grahamstown in the hope that you can experience some of its beauty captured, so you can see the views I experience every day as I walk to and from lectures, practicals, tutorials, and sports.

Occasionally I may post some news to the site, but we’ll see how it goes, I’m more likely to post links to the Rhodes University newspaper Activate’s (turning 65-years-old this year) website where most of my stories will be featured.

All this as I bide my time until 2 April. The East awaits me…