1. The main house. This tree top balcony is where the ten of us relaxed, read, ate, played chess and backgammon, talked nonsense, partied and hung out. Having this view as the backdrop to your life refreshes the soul and makes everything all good. The only initial concern was the egg sized hornets that lived on the balcony, they accurately embodied evil organic helicopters, we gave them ample space on arrival. Directly below the balcony was an outdoor shower that provided the same view here while you're drenched by a dinner plate sized shower head.
This is the living room behind the balcony. Robin, who owns the tree, used to build speakers so the surround sound system was incredible, coupled with high speed fibre optic internet access and the melting pot of everyone's deep music knowledge, the amount of amazing music cranking until 6am every morning was most satisfying. Also, please note the gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling, these were a lot of fun to swing around on to music or do a nice morning stretch. In the foreground is the kitchen and I must pay homage to the cooking of Sir James. To have someone literally dance cook in the kitchen for over an hour and create dishes that would put hatted restaurants to shame, in the middle of the wilderness, is a luxury I didn't expect from this life.
2. The house next door. Another house 40m away was built and owned by Deon. Deon was a fashion photographer who decided to live a better life out here for 6 years, speaking with him and observing his lifestyle here, it's very obvious he made a good choice. This is where my girlfriend and I slept when we were done with the partying at the main house. The interior looked like a James Bond ski lodge and we slept in a mezzanine below the roof.
In the morning, one of the hens would fly up the ladder to our bed and lay an egg next to my pillow.
On one of our last nights, I was awoken very early to an awkward rooster crowing, in my delirious state, I cursed that stupid chicken and his pointless noise making. When I arose, I was debriefed by Deon regarding the current state of affairs in the local chicken community. Apparently, I was lacking in knowledge regarding Chongo, the Chinese chicken who I had taken a great liking to for his great taste in fashion and his baggy pants walk. Chongo didn't look like the other chickens nor did he ever hang out with the other hens. I thought he was a renegade maverick but I was now being informed that Chongo was the original rooster that unfortunately was rejected by the hens for his lack of alpha appeal and oriental looks. Another rooster had been introduced and became the alpha male, he beat on poor Chongo daily who had no hope with his short stature and dwindling testosterone. The new rooster was well liked by the hens but soon became crazy with power and began attacking women and children. The rooster was taken to a nearby cabin for some quiet time, on his return he sought out Chongo to re-establish dominance. But little did he know, Chongo had been training, and despite being physically weaker, his spirit was now strong, Chongo won. So, on that fateful morning, Chongo spent a good 4 hours letting the world know about his great victory. I'm proud of you Chongo.
Observe the baggy pants.
4. The wild life was oversized and hungry. When we arrived, we mutually agreed that Robin's black cat had the best life of all cats. King of the mountain, this cat could hunt freely, no other cats to fight with and a great balcony to survey his kingdom from.
One night, the cat was very nervous and jumpy, for hours, he was looking under chairs, couches and tables. We thought he may have consumed some local magic mushrooms by accident, looking for some imaginary predator. But, Robin soon explained that there was an 8ft python that had been stalking him over the last month, fair enough. So, come 6am, my girlfriend and I, void of sleep, decided to watch the sunrise and survey a nearby look out. We wandered by the chicken coop to find the now very real python staunching the chickens, luckily he couldn't get in so we continued on our way....
On our return, my house mate had awoken, and decided to catch the python to protect the future cat and chicken kind. Here Robin shows one of the hens what the python looks like, in case she didn't already know. Before releasing the python a few kilometres away, Ben decided to creep into our friends room to wake him up with the snake in hand.
By this time, the day had warmed up, so we went for a swim in Robin's waterfall.
5. A good crew makes everything better. Thanks to everyone for bringing good times and cheer to an amazing new years holiday retreat. Robin, Deon and James, you're kings amongst men.
On we go.