Tag Archives: summer

WordPress Weekly Photo: Reward – Summer Sundowners

One of the most rewarding activities to indulge in during summer is to have poolside sundowners. Something to look forward to on a weekend. South Africa has so much sun and we’re so lucky up here in Gauteng, that it would be a shame not to spend each and every minute of the day outside.

Gauteng South Africa
Cheese, wine, or apple cider, a fitting finale to summer weekends (taken with Hipstamatic on iPhone 6 Plus, so the size and resolution may be affected).

WordPress weekly photo challenge – this week’s theme is Reward.

DP: A Moment In Time – Moonlight

Today's prompt: What was the last picture you took? 
Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, 
or choose the last picture you took that had one.)

5th January 20h48. It’s a hot and balmy summer evening. Eskom could have load shed on this evening and I wouldn’t even have minded. The moon provided as much light as any lamp. It was beautiful and no camera could’ve captured its beauty. I tried…

Moonlight 5th January 2015  at 20h48 - Captured with my iPhone
Moonlight 5th January 2015 at 20h48 (captured with my iPhone)

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.

In the summertime

In this day in 1898 the North Pole was discovered. It’s one of the coldest regions on earth, so you’re probably wondering what I’m doing mentioning it in a post about summertime.

I’m a summer person, I don’t like the cold. I live in Africa so my summers are hot and winters temperate. I have experienced snow 4 times in my life, one of them when I visited my friend T, in the States. And it wasn’t bad snow – a bit of snow on the ground in Yosemite, and maybe a little more in Tahoe. This was late November, early December.

As I think back to the polar vortex experienced in the Northern Hemisphere this past winter, I’m hoping we don’t get an African equivalent – in Joburg it wouldn’t be snow and blizzards, more like wind and rain, and maybe a day or two of snow. In the mountains it would be much worse off course.

Last winter, 2013, we didn’t switch the heater on even once. Cold in the evenings and mornings, it was very warm during the day.

My fondest memories of this last summer were inaugurating our newly marbelited pool, sunlight until almost 8pm and sunrise before 5am. Family Christmas.  A family gettaway. Family birthdays. Gobbling juicy strawberries even before unpacking the rest of the groceries. Having meals out in the garden. The scent of the sun on sun-dried clothes. Opening all the doors and windows and letting the outside in. The smell of braaiing* meat. The fragrance of frangipani and magnolia in the evening air. Farmland in varying shades of green on the nearby hillsides.  Late afternoon thunderstorms. The smell of wet earth after the rain.

All of the above is what I am looking forward to when summertime comes around again in October.

*Braai – South African word for barbecue.

Summer clouds

 

I can tell from the clouds that summer is tapering off into glorious autumn.

In summer, cotton-woolish cumulusnimbus clouds show who’s boss with thunderstorms, hail and lightning. It isn’t fun driving in these conditions because visibility reduces to almost nil, in some cases golf-ball sized hailstones seriously dent many cars.

The rain is warm, of short duration, and it’s also the time when many electrical appliances get taken out by lightning.

Despite the intensity of these storms, I will miss them during the colder months…because for as long as there’s cumulusnimbus clouds in the sky, there is summer on the ground.