Home sweet homes.

“The ides of March are come.”  ~ William Shakespeare, ‘ Julius Caesar.’

“A pinch and a punch” everyone, for the first of the month. Robert Lynd, the Irish author stirred up another superstition when in 1922, he wrote ‘Solomon In All His Glory’. The superstition goes like this:

“Why,” the man in the brown hat laughed at him, “I thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’–three times,  just like that–first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.” I said it this morning instead of  “A pinch and a punch for the first of the month” and am now waiting to see what present I’m going to receive if I’m very good. 😀

So February has been and gone and we’re into the month of March, which is the month when I’ll fly off again into the wild blue yonder to new adventures. Only a few more sleeps, and then I’d better have my bags all packed and ready for the night flight over to England, and ten days later, yet another night flight back to our home in South Africa. I’m feeling very sad at the thought of leaving Florida, as I’ve come to really love our life here. Much of our stay this time, has been spent getting the kitchen and floors redone. An amazing effort on hubby’s part, who has done all the work himself, with just a little encouragement from me. 😉 A few of you have asked to see the new look, so here are some pics.



My piano sounds so much sweeter on the new floor, than it did on ceramic tiles.


That old saying, ‘There’s no place like home’, is so true, wherever it may be, but I’m not sure now which place I think of as home. We have family and friends in both countries, as well as in England where we were born, so it’s difficult to decide.

On the subject of homes, don’t you agree that our world is a very strange place, with such vast disparities of wealth? I was looking at an internet site showing some of the most expensive and arguably most beautiful homes in the world.

This one, Updown Court in Surrey in the UK, would probably sell for a mere $138 m. The 103 room mansion has a heated marble driveway, a 50 seat cinema and a ‘ Panic Room’, whatever one of those is. Maybe it’s a room where you sit and count your money, and then panic when you run out of zeros. 😀


Tranquility, on 210 acres at Lake Tahoe Nevada,  is owned by Joel Horowitz, co-founder of Tommy Hilfiger. It’s been on the market for 4 years and the asking price is only $100 m, It has a replica of the Titanic staircase, an indoor swimming pool, an art studio, an NBA-regulations basketball court, flooring from a 17th century French chateau, a wine cellar for 3,500 bottles, a garage capable of housing 16 cars, a boathouse and a stable. The price even includes the 3,500 bottles of wine. What a bargain! Any takers out there? 🙂


Then from the sublime to the ridiculous, this skinny little three storey, three-bedroomed house in Brazil, is called “Madre de Deus.” It’s less than a metre wide and about ten metres high. The kitchen is more spacious, as the house widens out to almost two metres at the back. Luxury! I guess only very thin people can live there, and their visitors would also have to be careful not to eat too much, or they may get stuck in the doorway on the way out.

On the downside, there are people who spend their whole lives living in shack dwellings, like these in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town in South Africa.

“Life is not fair; get used to it.” ~ Bill Gates

90 comments on “Home sweet homes.

  1. Love what your hubs has done on the floors etc. Incredible work… how lucky you are to have such a versatile hubby. Your home looks gorgeous. Travel safely dear sylvi xxx

  2. A beautiful home to come back to AD. It looks so homely and peaceful. Thanks for sharing the pics.

  3. Your house is lovely! I would hate to leave it!!! My hubby is itching to do ours, and after seeing yours I’m thinking I should let him, but I get comfortable with what is here, and I don’t want to change! I loved the other house displays as well. Everything is relative. Have a great trip. We will enjoy the benefits of it even without being cramped in your suitcase. I’ll look forward to the wonderful pictures and your catchy phrases about them. 🙂 Marsha 🙂 xoxo

  4. First of many things – Safe travels and be home sweet home wherever you may be. Second, your kitchen looks fantastic! My high praises for your husband for such talent and skills; and, to you, for being so supportive. 🙂 Third, I don’t think I’d like to live in those big houses – they are hard to clean and I want to find my family members quickly. 😉

  5. A really good post with excellent contrasts. Just think how the money for one house could help thousands of people get out of shacks.

    Your new kitchen is lovely; light and bright.

    I love that skinny house. Are there any pictures of the inside?

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  7. Bwahahaha, very nice end quote! 😆
    I know I can fit in your baggage. I will try my darnest to make that happened. 🙂 Oh Adin, take me with you. Life is not fair, huhuhu. 😀

  8. I have to repeat that I also think your hubby did a great renovation. Very impressed that he did all the work himself – even the floors!

    I haven’t been following you for very long so don’t know much about your talents. I’m very impressed to see that you play a grand piano.

    I know Cape Town is perfect in March – empty of tourists and still warm enough – because we were there 2 years ago in March, but I’m surprised that you’re staying through during the cold rainy season.
    Happy Travels Sylvia. I look forward to reading your posts 😀

  9. Wow, AD, your husband has done an excellent job. I love the twin sinks in the kitchen. I have always said that they should be bigger and yours look just right. I wouldn’t give tuppence for either of the two (UK and USA) houses. Who on earth would want a heated driveway? And the skinny one would make anyone skinny who lived there with up and down stairs all day!

  10. The kitchen looks marvelous. The exact color I would have picked. Enjoy while you’re still in Florida. Your hubby worked very hard and did a very professional job. Hope you’ll have a safe trip back home. Bon Voyage ….

  11. I’m not impressed with Bill Gate’s quote. No life isn’t fair but we certainly shouldn’t accept the dreadful inequalities. His company turned over £71 billion last year, that’s about £195,000,000 a day.. I know the Bill Gates Foundation does a lot of good but corporate greed is getting out of hand. There are still far too many children with nothing to eat while Microsoft, and companies like them, are obsessed with increasing profits at any cost to satisfy their corporate shareholders who put nothing back. No life isn’t fair but it should be.. 😦
    Great set of photos Sylvia and your house looks lovely. 🙂

    • I read that Bill and his wife have given $25 billion towards global development programmes, so he really does give back. He said this when giving a commencement speech at a High School, speaking about 11 things the children did not and will not learn in school. This was rule number 1, and I think he was correct.

  12. Those floors look fabulous. Can I borrow your hubby as mine doesn’t seem at all interested in redoing floors this side 🙂
    Are you going to be living in SA again or just stopping through en-route to your next adventure?

    • I have a long line of women wanting to borrow hubby. I manage to keep him very busy at home. 😀 Yes, we’ll be in SA until end of July, and then off again on another adventure involving my soon-to-be-100-year-old MiL. 😀

  13. Thanks for showing us the finished renovations they look great. As for those huge houses, what a waste of space, money and land. As Lucid Gypsy said they are obsene. I prefer my small granny flat, but I could certainly make good use of the money that went into building them

  14. Your home looks so nice and inviting. 🙂 And I think it’s great that you also focus on the differences in this world. Something that it’s very important to be aware of. Safe journeys to you. Looking forward to seeing your pics. 🙂

  15. Nice double sink. One day we will replace the plastic bowl on the workmate in our Spanish kitchen with a real sink. Your kitchen looks bigger than our Gibflat 😀

    There look to be a lot of cars around that British stately home/mansion thing. Is it on the main road?

    • Thanks so much.. That mansion is on 58 acres in a village in Surrey. You’re right when you say that the house looks very close to the road. Not ideal. 🙂

  16. Just imagine the housework required to keep those mansions clean to your standards AD 😀

  17. i love your kitchen… the center island doubles as dining table, that’s nice.. great job on the project 🙂

  18. I think a magnificent job has been done on your kitchen and flooring. Sadly, I can see the temptation to return to SA diminishing exponentially. More of a mess by the minute.
    None of those desirable residences really appeal to me. Updown isn’t bad, but that square swimming pool next to the other architecture is an abomination.

  19. No takers here for Tranquility. Who the hell is going to clean it? 😄Love your kitchen and the floor. Why are you moving?

    • My thoughts exactly. 🙂 I guess there must be an army of cleaners there full time. No, we’re not moving, just going back to our South African home until August. We are only allowed to stay in the USA for 180 days a year.

  20. I’m with Billy boy on this one 😉
    Heated marble drive way? Why on earth? People do tend to waste money on the strangest things!! And I suppose nobody in the family even knows what a basketball looks like let alone play the game 😉
    And hubby outdid himself with his handiwork – well done Chris!!
    it will be a wrench to leave Florida AD, but we’re looking forward to having you back in the same time zone as us 😉

  21. Your remodeled house in Florida looks absolutely lovely. Thanks for updating us on the projects. I can’t help but wonder if things don’t feel a bit scattered with all that moving from one home to the next.
    As for the “luxury” homes you posted…. I tend to put them in the same category as those bizarre fingernails you showed a while back. Somewhat obscene. Perhaps you stay skinny enough to live in the skinny house by climbing the stairs all the time?

    • Thanks, Gunta. Yes it’s rather unsettling, knowing that we have to leave by a certain date. Hopefully before too long, we can get that sorted out. I think your comparison between the houses and the fingernails is very apt. 😀 The word ‘vulgar’ comes to mind.

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