Summer where art thou?

This is rather topical because in South Africa we are in the middle of Winter. It is not a cold Winter by many people’s standards. We have blue cloudless skies, and on most days we can sit in the sun between 10am and 3pm in shirt sleeves.

It is dry though. The grass is brown. Early morning frost burns tender leaves. Evenings are characterised by the haze of veld fires.

Summer is my favourite season. Light and colours are brighter and more vibrant, the sounds of music float on the breeze and the heat on my skin feels comforting. I have strong anchors in my 10 favourite things about summer. You can read about them below

1. Longer daylight hours

Don’t you love waking up naturally to a day bright with sunlight, glancing at the clock and seeing that it is still 6am? Early, having the whole day still ahead of me. It’s like buying time. I do!

2. All the different shades of green I can think of

I live in a peri-urban environment. Across the road from the residential area is open land – farm and recreation land. I love nothing more but to gaze at the crisp patchwork of green agricultural land in the distant hills, and cattle grazing on the juicy green grass across the road.

3. Heat heat heat

An obvious one! What can I say? I’m a heat-junkie. I need heat. I love the heat. Hazy hot African days, the sound of cars in the distance but a lull.

4. Highveld thunder storms

Everyday, anytime from noon to 5pm the rains come. Accompanied by thunder. It will pour dramatically for 30 minutes, the clouds will move away to be replaced by bright sunlight and the azure sky once again. The water soaks through the wet ground and surfaces dry like the rain had never come. If the rains come in the evening we are treated to magnificent displays of lightning, all drama and fizz.

5. Pools and braais

Most suburban homes have pools. Swimming in the morning, noon and night is the norm. The evening smells of braais (barbecues) drift tantalizingly on the breeze. If one hadn’t thought of grilled meat then those smells definitely steer one in that direction, evening after evening.

6. Christmas 

Christmas in the southern hemisphere is definitely different to the one in the northern one. As I read about polar storms and snow blizzards, I thank my lucky stars to be celebrating in the hot summer. I have never experienced a white Christmas. I imagine that it feels different. One day I will pluck up the courage to travel north and experience a white Christmas.

7. Washing dishes 

A strange one this, you may think? Let me explain. I don’t like washing dishes in winter. Rolled up sleeves always seem to unroll. And why do itchy noses only happen when one is washing the dishes? In summer there are no sleeves to unroll, get wet and in the way of a sink full of dishes.

8. Strawberries, mangoes and peaches

The price of strawberries is nicer in summer than in winter. I scoff them like there’s no tomorrow. They are abundant, sold by hawkers at street lights and roadsides. Piles of ripening mangoes are sold beneath umbrellas by rural women in their coloured skirts. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg like they do in the supermarkets. Peaches herald the season of Christmas, or is it the other way around? Peach tarts. Peach desserts. Or just plain juicy peaches their juice running down suntanned chins.

9. Glow

Everyone looks healthy and brown. The strong African sun bronzes skins. Everyone glows.

10. The end and the beginning

Summer in the southern hemisphere means the end of the school year and the beginning of the next. Children are home from November to January much to some parents’s consternation because while they are at work someone needs to look after their offspring. In December the “Back to School” adverts start, telling parents about discounts on pens, pencils, notebooks and all manner of stationery.

One of the really strange things about Christmas in the southern hemisphere is the piped Christmas carols through the sound systems of shopping malls. Carols about jingle bells, snow and reindeers. While outside the scorching sun beats down. What a weird contrast, don’t you think?

I’ve told you some of my favourite things about Summer. What are yours? Tell me in the comments.