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Idon’t like sur­prises. Call me a con­trol freak but if I had the choice, most of the time I’d like to know what lies in store for me (ex­cept for ro­man­tic sur­prises, then I’m game for any­thing).

For ex­am­ple, I ac­cept that a geyser will burst at some point but can’t I at least be given some in­di­ca­tion that it’s about to hap­pen the week be­fore – that way I can have the plumber on standby late on Satur­day af­ter­noon when the wa­ter starts drip­ping through my light fit­tings...

Per­haps more fit­tingly in th­ese try­ing times of load shed­ding, I have a mes­sage for Eskom: please just stick to the sched­ule, be­cause then I can visit friends in an area where the power isn’t off, in­stead of sit­ting in the dark at home.

This is­sue pre­sented us with a bit of a sur­prise. We do our plan­ning far in ad­vance and when we de­cided to ded­i­cate our April edi­tion to the plat­te­land, we vis­ited many homes and gar­dens to make sure we were get­ting the right feel and show­ing spa­ces our read­ers would find ir­re­sistible – what city dweller doesn’t dream of get­ting away from the fre­netic pace of city life and living the sim­ple life?

In plan­ning meet­ings we of­ten look at pho­to­graphs taken by the home­own­ers but then when we later view the pics taken by our own pho­tog­ra­pher, we sud­denly no­tice things that pre­vi­ously weren’t there. Or de­tails that weren’t so no­tice­able.

Can you guess what it was in this is­sue? The colour black. Ev­ery­where. On walls, on floors – sud­denly it be­came a com­mon thread run­ning through the en­tire is­sue.

At first I was a bit con­cerned, even though I know many peo­ple like to ex­per­i­ment with black in their dé­cor; not just pitch black but also dark grey and char­coal. But the more I looked at it in its var­i­ous in­car­na­tions through­out the book, the more I grew to love it. I my­self have just in­stalled a black floor in my bath­room. I was sur­prised – pleas­antly sur­prised.

Let me know what you think. And if you’ve re­cently added a touch of black to your home, send us a photo – we’d love to see how it looks.

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