The process of locating sources to provide us with information for our forthcoming publication on the Sandstone Houses of the Eastern Free State has proved both rewarding and frustrating. In a number of the towns and regions there are historical/heritage societies, administered by passionate residents of the area. These local historians are very willing to assist us, and they are often the ideal contacts for the project.
In other instances, every effort leads to a rather disheartening dead-end.
Thinking outside the proverbial box we've often been assisted by the unlikeliest of people.
We have had lucky breaks from the most unbelievable sources: from an assistant at the co-op in the tiniest of settlements, to the owner of a roadside stall selling local organic produce; from the farmer who has paused in his day's work to field our questions, to the village doctor who says, ‘Try this person,’ sending the contact details of a relative who has just the type of house we are looking for.
We have tracked down a brilliant photographer, now living in a retirement village on the coast, who has a host of evocative images of the houses and the area; and an architect with a passion for his career and for farming, who simply says, I'm having so much fun working on this.’
This is what makes the project so rewarding, connecting with the right people.