O Lucky Man

 

Hold on a moment, was that summer that we’ve just had? The end of February is here already and despite me loving autumn, I find the prospect of it being just around the corner slightly disconcerting. The turn of the seasons has caught me off guard this year; perhaps because I didn’t really do any sort of “summer” activities – no beach holiday, no dip in the pool, not even a picnic. And our last braai (barbecue) was in December, in the rain. So where did summer go?   

The indications that the seasons are changing are quite subtle; there’s a slight chill in the mornings and evenings, the veld grass is slowly turning yellow and the lawn is no longer being mowed every 5 minutes. However, we are still enjoying glorious sunshine and blue skies.

All summer long we have been entertained by the antics of His Nibs, the cheeky little pin-tailed whydah bird, as he defends his territory (which is basically the bird feeder and surrounds) and puts on impressive displays for his harem. But his attempts to drive off all the other birds from his domain are beginning to look quite half-hearted now and I think that he must be getting a bit shagged out. At the end of the breeding season he will hang up his smart, long-tail tuxedo and become a dowdy little brown job again. At least he must be looking forward to a well-earned rest after a long summer squawk.

His Nibs

His Nibs

Recently I joined an art class for dummies in Nottingham Road and despite being totally out of my comfort zone, I’m enjoying it immensely. And just so that I exercise both sides of my brain, I’m also going to bridge lessons. Again, it’s not something that I feel confident about but what the heck, I’m going to give it a bash anyway. I did play bridge for a while when I was a student but spent most of the time desperately trying to avoid having to play a hand because I felt so intimidated by the other players who, as I recall, were mostly mathematics, science and engineering students. What kept me going (apart from the fact that my boyfriend was my partner) was all the fun we would have in between the bridge games, which would start on Friday afternoon after lectures and usually end on Sunday night after an amazing crayfish dinner. The bridge would be interrupted by movies, parties, sailing and diving for crayfish. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sustain the charade of knowing what the hell was going on and I don’t think it was too long before I was replaced by another more proficient bridge partner.

I was recounting this story of the epic weekend bridge games to Kiera, James (my son-in-law) and my mother. She remembered one time when James (the boyfriend) emptied his diving bag onto our front lawn and all the crayfish started crawling about the garden, much to her dismay. Kiera jokingly asked why on earth I had broken up with the crayfish hunter and gatherer and I grudgingly admitted that it was in fact he who had broken up with me. My mother exclaimed, as quick as a flash, that he was a lucky man! That’s her off the guest list. Maybe I’ve got a point to prove that, if I put my mind to it, I can learn to play the bloody game after all.

hmm, should I bid 3 spades or 4 no trumps?

our beautiful veranda lodger

our beautiful veranda lodger

end of summer tomato harvest

end of summer tomato harvest

sunset over the unused pool - maybe next year

sunset over the unused pool – maybe next year

clockwise from top left - yarrow, sea holly, lantana (hybrid not invasive)  and echinacea

clockwise from top left – yarrow, sea holly, lantana (hybrid not invasive) and echinacea

got a bit carried away at the Midlands Garden Centre end of summer sale

got a bit carried away at the Midlands Garden Centre end of summer sale

this orchid popped up in Edna's garden, it's called pterygodium magnum

this indigenous summer flowering orchid popped up in Edna’s garden, it’s called pterygodium magnum

another indigenous orchid, disa crassicornis, which grows on the koppie

another indigenous orchid, disa crassicornis, which grows on the koppie at the back of the house

my beautiful children - Christmas Day 2013 (thanks Bill for the photo)

my beautiful children – Christmas Day 2013 (thanks Bill for the photo)

ah well, I did at least get a glimpse of the sea at Umhlanga (thanks to Bill again for the photo)

ah well, at least I got a glimpse of the sea at Umhlanga (thanks Bill again for the photo)

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