This is the House that Hân Built

Front of house as originally completed. The original house, as completed in early 2010. Three steps are de rigueur and blue and green the Vietnamese equivalent of British 'magnolia', which, in a way, is odd as blue and green not always distinguished in Vietnam, one word may serve for both colours This page introduces the house that Hân built in Tĩnh Gia. In 2009 he started looking for a plot of land big enough to build both a house for us to live in, and also to accommodate an adjacent breakfast cafe. The house above took three months to construct and comprised two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a reception area, these last two being divided from one another by a stair leading to the roof. Massive, two metre deep, foundations were constructed so that, in due course, the building could be extended upwards. Then, in the weeks that followed, on what was at first spare ground (see right) in front of the house... View from the front door to fields beyond the road. View from the front doors over the area where the cafe will be built. Across the road are fields, and beyond them the local school Front of the house just before completion with painters and workmen. The house shortly before completion (as shown in the top picture) here with the final painting is underway ...a thatched cafe was built (see lower down the page). At that time, across the road in front of the house, the fields were grazed by buffalo, cows and geese. The pictures below show the building of the cafe and those fields. It was soon apparent, that the open cafe would be unusable in tropical rain, so the space beside the sitting area was covered over. This also allowed the provision of an extra four tables. The next page continues the story and shows how this diminutive building grew to become a house of some bulk - as it is today. Front reception area. In the house. The reception area with the two bedrooms to the left, and a bathroom beyond Bannister-less staircase. The (rather too!) easy access stair to the roof Rear area of house to be used as kitchen. The house's kitchen area with bonsai - and little else. The cafe kitchen soon took over A line of geese with fields behind them. Moving out from the house to the road and fields - a line of geese making its way to the river Large area of greenery and pool with houses someway beyond . Looking to the right of the house - an extensive area of marsh with new buildings appearing Cafe sign with buffalo grazing and cow sleeping. And here, to the front, the bucolic view enjoyed by the breakfasters. These three pictures were not taken at the same time, but they show the peaceful country nature of the location. The sign announces the Hân and Duyên breakfast place - Hà Nội style - with special meals available Truck tipping a load of palm leaves onto the road. Palm leaves for thatching were brought from the village. Being close to government... The roof of the cafe being thatched and an area of chaos beside it. ...buildings - think customers! No time was lost in starting to build the cafe The finished thatched cafe. The thatched, wall-less cafe The small kitchen which serves the cafe. Behind the cafe, the kitchen The covered part of the cafe with chairs and tables set out. The first furnishings of the cafe - uncomfortable metal chairs Bowls being filled with the noodles for pho. In the kitchen phở, the national dish, is apportioned. Masks and gloves are common in Vietnam and have been for many years The covered part of the cafe with opening party guests. Soon the busy place it has remained
now for 10 years
The open space beside the covered cafe. The open space beside the cafe lasted a short time, soon it was covered-in, as shown below Loi cooking with a large wok. Chef Lợi cooking prawns. For bigger woks go to Mèo Vạc Altar on floor with flowers and other offerings. The altar with flowers and food, a universal feature in Vietnam, by convention it is on the ground The area beside the covered cafe, now with a metal roof and tables below. The impracticality, in the rain, of the open area beside the seating soon led to the installation of a metal roof and this meant the area could also be used for additional tables A buffalo with its load passing the cafe. Buffalo certainly enhance atmosphere and are widely in use for their pulling strength, however motorbikes... Customers motorbikes parked at entrance and beside cafe. ...are more indicative of life in Tĩnh Gia. The two types of roofing next to one another are here in place Extended family group well into celebrating the new cafe and house. The Vietnamese never knowingly miss the opportunity for celebration. So a new house and a new cafe mean food and drink will be had. Partaking here: Hân's parents and brothers, plus chef Lợi and assorted other relatives line Trailers... The house in Tinh Gia with three floors. The next page continues the storey of the house as it expanded to incorporate a restaurant. Lotus flowers opening from muddy water. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Symbols'.
Or go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 27th February 2021 Murphy on duty to this site

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