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Christmas in Summer

 
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ARTICLES BY CATHY RETIEF-NEIL

Ride a Cock Horse
Cathy Retief-Neil
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Garden Route
Hello Sterlingland
A Long Way from Banbury
Christmas in Summer
My Little Spot on the Globe

Christmas in Summer

I awoke this morning to the usual sounds, but somehow this time, they were more special.
Guinea fowl were clucking away in the field next door, seagulls squawked their way overhead and sparrows twittered in the garden, while the lavender-coloured dawn crept over Table Mountain, the vineyards and sweeping expanse of sea.

Oh dear, I know this sounds so poetically-cliché, but when you wake up to this magnificence each morning, you cannot help but draw from poetry.

As Christmas approaches and our great expanse of pristine beaches start to fill with tourists from all over the globe, I picture raindrops and gently falling snow in your part of the world... and wish I could be there!

With more than seven months of warm, sunny days, we actually look forward to the cool winter that brings the much-needed rain. Just a reminder that our coldest day temperature is about 12ºC and 6ºC at night, therefore we do not have central heating, but believe me, we do have airconditioning to survive temperatures upwards of 30ºC in summer.

My children will be visiting from Banbury England over Christmas and I am counting the days. They are very outdoorsy and enjoy deep-sea diving, wreck-diving, absailing, hiking, water-skiing, canoeing, barbeques and any other invitation from Mother Nature during the splendid, sun-filled summer months .

They keep a 'cache' of gear at the in-law's family holiday home in the Garden Route, where we'll all be spending Christmas together.

The vineyards are shedding their rust-coloured coats now and donning their Summer green - almost like Joseph and his technicolour coat!
The indigenous flora, or 'fynbos' as we call it - literally translates to 'fine bush' and includes the majestic Protea that South Africa is renowned for - is spreading blankets of colour along the mountainside and coastal roads, while those magnificent 'ships of the sea', the mighty Southern Right whales, are frolicking in the bay, introducing their new-born calves to the joys of our warm Indian and Atlantic waters. I stand in awe as these huge mammals raise their great bulk out of the water like some giant, graceful ballerina, only to come crashing down in a mighty splash that sends ripples as far as the eye can see. Yet they are so gentle and docile in the presence of we mere mortals; almost as if they know that we would not survive the massive waves and tunneling swirl caused by their playful antics.
Sadly, they will soon head back towards the colder waters of the Antarctic.
There is so much to see and do here in my little spot on the globe and I thought I would mention just a few popular activities and sights.
Stellenbosch Wine Route is the oldest in the country and gives those who appreciate the fruit of the vine, the opportunity to taste some of the international award-winning wines of the region at the various cellars, where, incidentally, anything from a vintner's platter, to snails, homemade water-lily pie and other traditional South African fare may be enjoyed. There are also two amphi-theatres where anything from the more serious of entertainment to sunset picnics and pop concerts may be enjoyed. There is, within a 10 mile radius, a crocodile, an ostrich and a butterfly farm, lion park, cheetah outreach programme and wildlife reserve.
Typical Cape Dutch Home on a Wine Farm

There are many beaches to choose from, both here in my neck of the woods and in Cape Town, that is only a half-hour scenic drive away. Once there, you will find a myriad of entertainment at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, or take a cable car ride up Table Mountain that offers panoramic views of the Cape Peninsula and surrounds, meander through the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or visit historic sites.

But, more about the Mother City at a later date.

Until the next time, my friends, I say "totsiens" and goodbye - and keep a little of that snow in the refrigerator for me...

Cathy

 

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Christmas in Summer

This page last modified Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 16:25:03 GMT