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Can you beat the igloo house?

Martin Vennard | 08:11 UK time, Friday, 19 October 2007

pic1On our recent trip to Namibia, Ros and I had the pleasure of meeting a regular listener to WHYS, Chris Park, and her husband Ed, and visiting their "igloo" house.

It’s located at the top of a remote hill, 1,582m above sea level and around half-an-hour's drive outside the capital, Windhoek. We were wondering if any of our other listeners could beat Chris and Ed, who both originate from Britain, when it comes to living in unusual locations.

When they look out from the back of their house, across their 62 acres of land, they can see for tens of miles across semi-arid scrubland without seeing another sign of human life.

AN ENGLISHMAN AND WOMAN'S HOME

“The size of our garden,” says 66-year-old Ed, “it’s just not logical for an Englishman. We get kudu (antelopes), warthogs, mongoose, ground squirrels, porcupines and maybe the occasional jackal up here,” he says.
pic2

They bought the land four-and-a-half years ago and had the igloo house specially built on it. Two large balloons were inflated over the foundations, then several layers of concrete and reinforcing mesh were moulded around the balloons and left to dry.

HOT WATER

They get their electricity via a transformer from a power line that runs along the nearest road, while their water comes from a pipe that supplies a nearby local youth mission. But being high up and at the end of the line means their water tanks are not always filled, which can be a problem with summertime temperatures of up to 42C.

Inside they have nearly all the mod cons of most modern houses, while they stay in touch with the outside world through the radio, TV, and internet, although their solar-powered telephone doesn’t always work after nightfall.

CLAUSTROPHOBIA

They moved to Windhoek in 2001, after previously living in Tsumeb in the north of the sparsely populated country, then at a research station in the Namib desert, which had a permanent population of 15.

“I get claustrophobic in towns. Windhoek only has a population of about 250,000, but we didn’t like it,” says Ed. So when the chance came to buy the land outside the city they leapt at it.

pic3 AN IGLOO WITH A VIEW

"The view was a big consideration, but so was the sun," says Chris. "Facing south means you get less sun, which makes it cooler. And the south-facing view is very good, you must admit.

"Another consideration was the cost of getting power to the house. Closer to the power line along the
road made it cheaper. But much closer would have been too close to the road - and not such a good view."

Let us know about where you live. You can email us the details and the photos of your home to worldhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

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