Fake Spotting

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

Some friends were out from the UK and we got to chatting about property. In general, it would seem that some things are a problem for homeowners all around the world, such as building contractors who charge up front and then run away with the money. It happens everywhere, it has the same effect on everyone and there is legislation in every country that aims to protect owners.

But then there are some features that are unique to certain countries, and possibly, even certain areas within a country. In the UK, it would seem, a fake fireplace is a selling point. Our friends mentioned that while they were looking for a home, the agents made a fuss of houses that had faux fireplaces. And a quick look online revealed many property listings with fireplaces that are useful as a cheque written by Charles Ponzi.

I keep wondering what situation would lead to a fake fireplace being a key feature. A regular or gas fireplace I can understand. The UK has winters that are cooler than film critic’s reception of a Schuster movie. But why have a non-functioning one? You can’t toast marshmallows in faux fire, though if you use anthracite in your real fireplace you should avoid using it for food preparation, unless you want to cash in on sick leave once you begin to suffer from chemical poisoning.

In fact, why do so many items we see in homes serve no purpose yet resemble ones that do?

I know a guy who has a giant pot in his garden. I’m not sure how much he paid for it, but I should think it cost as much as a wing in Nkandla. It is huge. A bachelor could live in it. Yet it stands ornately in his garden with other giant pots that have no plants. I have to ask the question: at what point did an empty bowl become a must-have in the garden? I’ve tried to replicate the effect by leaving empty Tupperware dishes out back but all they do is disappoint birds who mistake it for a bird bath. To be fair, the birds are less disillusioned by my Tupperware than they are with the attempts to communicate with those copper herons or family of snooty ducks.

I shouldn’t be too critical though as I am guilty of the same. I have number of items that resemble useful objects but serve only as ornaments. The only difference is that I don’t label them as such.

Mine are called “tools”.

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