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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

 

I dissolve the last of my homemade rusks into my morning cup of tea. Delicious! I love the crunch of the sunflower seeds and the sweetness of the honey. There is something to be said for a morning ritual. The hot drink glides down my throat and warms me as I look out over the back garden. There is a pile of ice and snow that has built up over the last few months. It looks like a growing mine dump! The temperatures have slipped below zero again. It is time for the fur trimmed coat yet again.

My clothes lie strewn over my bed. The bright colours pop against the backdrop of the snow scene outside my window. Strappy sandals, white shorts and cotton tops…..I deliberate over what to pack. Somehow I just cannot imagine being in warm temperatures again. The bathing costume is a must and also my khaki sunhat. My suitcase awaits like a giant cavernous hole!

The colours must coordinate so that I don’t have to pack too much ‘stuff.’ Then there is all the Canadian memorabilia. Maple toffees, maple syrup and even a bottle of Maple whiskey! I pack things in my case, rethink and pull things out.Oh how I hate all these decisions!

 

The Waterfront at night

The Waterfront at night

 

Tonight I will be winging my way back to South Africa…..floods of memories fill my mind as I listen to the Soweto Choir do their tribute to our great Madiba. What will it feel like to see all those loved ones who I have missed so much? Where will we go? A definite will be a trip out to Stellenbosch and the beautiful wine country. My roots are there as well as my family. Then there will be a ride out to Hout Bay to eat fresh fish out of a newspaper next to the sea. I will take in the ‘fishermen talk’ as they discuss their catch for the day and laugh at their humour. The excitement of spending time with my children and being able to be present at the scan of our new arrivals, makes my heart skip a beat!.  Then back up to the big city and just having time with wonderful and dear friends.

Majestic Table Mountain

Majestic Table Mountain

As I swallow that last rusk I am comforted by the fact that the famous Woolworths rusks will be part of my morning routine back in sunny South Africa!

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It is a new year and resolutions abound! You cannot get away from it at all. Bill boards offer special deals at local gyms and televisions scream at you to try their ‘fat reducing products.’ A few weeks ago they were encouraging us to partake of all the festive goodies now they are trying to get us to shed the excess. That’s marketing for you! It is obviously effective, as I have heard from a reliable source that you cannot move in our local ‘sweat room.’  It is crammed with ‘do gooders’ and the regulars wait for the rush to wear off…….as it usually does.

Our resident red squirrel

Our resident red squirrel

As the grey days of January chill us to the bone, it is refreshing to experience the spirit of hope and renewal. A few animals have begun to venture out again having been snowed in for weeks. I have moved my writing table to the front room where I watch the comings and goings in my front garden. My resident red squirrel has a skip in his gait. He enthusiastically scurries about collecting up his stashed summer loot. He has taken to sitting at the front door on one of my chairs……utterly at home. He peers in the windows and has noticed my new position. He cheekily makes eye contact and flicks his tail my way. Maybe he has noticed the red fox that has been lurking around. Apparently they are partial to a bit of squirrel meat!

Our red fox

Our red fox

But the little creature that enchanted me the most is our resident ladybird. She has set up home in the kitchen on our window sill. I first noticed her in October last year before it became cold. She came inside and stayed! I did try to coax her out through the window but she was having nothing of it. I say ‘she’ as I like to think that a female has joined me in this all male household! Apparently she is an exotic and is known as the Multicoloured Asian Ladybug. They were brought into the US and released in Washington in the 1920’s to control the aphid population. They made their way up the coast and many have set themselves up here in Ontario. What a resourceful and resilient creature. She disappears for weeks at a time and then pops up to renew her acquaintance with the household. The French champagne brought her out last time. This lady has taste!

Lydia the ladybug

Lydia the ladybug

So we navigate through another new year with resolutions, renewed enthusiasm and the anticipation of the year ahead. A holly branch from our garden surprised me the other day. I had picked the stem 2 weeks before Christmas and it stood in water in the kitchen over the festive season.Well, it is covered in tiny white flowers…..and it has no roots either! Surely this burst of new growth is indicative of the exciting times that lie ahead!

They appeared out of nowhere.....tiny white flowers.

They appeared out of nowhere…..tiny white flowers.

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The other day I relented and had to face facts! I do not need the extensive summer wardrobe that I brought over from South Africa. So a big clear out took place. Shoes, hats, dresses all flew out of my cupboard and onto a huge pile in my bedroom. There I said my fond farewells to some of my favourite summer ensembles………my white linen dress, my shell t-shirt and some of my Woolies favourites. It was a sad moment as I have always taken great delight in choosing my outfit for each day. I find it artistic as well as therapeutic. It is all about coordinating my accessories and the chosen items of clothing. That spotted navy scarf will just do the right thing with the white crisp shirt! I found all of this especially useful in my ‘teaching days.’ In my mind, a pop of colour and an interesting accessory would at least capture my pupils’ initial attention…for about 5 seconds that is! Then it was up to me to sock it to them with interesting content and a captivating presentation to hold their easily swayed minds. 

A Canadian sunset from our deck..

A Canadian sunset from our deck..

So to get back to the decluttering process….  I just cannot wear my selection of summer attire in the few weeks that Canadians call ‘summer.’  After all we only have 3 short months! The other point is how much ‘coordination of the wardrobe’ is required when I spend most of my day in the garden with my hands deep in the soil? Although I still manage to match my wellingtons with my sun hat and I always add a string of pearls to the mix.  I suppose there are some things that just don’t change…..

 

A bit of this and that.....

A bit of this and that…..

All this might sound trivial but the real point of the exercise was to make way for the extensive winter wardrobe. During our first winter I was the proud owner of a thick padded navy jacket with a fox fur trim. It served me well and kept out the howling, icy winds. The problem was that I wore this coat continuously for almost 7 months straight. Need I say I am tired of it!  So this year I have made space for a few more additions to the coat repertoire. There should be room for something in  a blaze of tartan and possibly a touch more fur! (I never thought I would say this but it is so warm!)

The sun beats down on my face as I lap up every moment of its warmth. I have to make the most of it while it lasts. There is still time…… 

I can feel the vitamin D soaking in.....

I can feel the vitamin D soaking in…..

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Summer flowers line the streets.

They are standing on top of the high rise buildings in Toronto today in search of the sun! Even the breakfast television anchor man was perched on some skyscraper, as he babbled on about the local news. The Torontonians are in ‘summer fever’ mode and the excitement is tangible.

Outside patio furniture is being dusted off and carried out so that it can catch the first rays of summer. I catch the flash of turquoise, cerise pink and yellow in the shop windows to tempt me. Restaurants are competing for clientele and some have even added hanging baskets of cascading geraniums to their outdoor rooms. Graceful umbrellas extend their arms out and create peaceful havens in the hustle and bustle of the city. Newspapers abound with fliers advertising all that is related to summer. As I enjoy my cappuccino at my local café, I overhear a couple discuss their escape up to ‘cottage country’ this weekend. There will be a mass exodus of boats, fishing gear and summer revelers as they enjoy a long weekend.

Monday is a public holiday as Canadians still celebrate 24 May as Queen Victoria’s birthday. We are rather low on the public holidays here as we only have about 6 a year. So thank goodness for Queen Victoria and the colonies! It all began with 5000 residents way back in 1854. They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ outside Government House in Toronto and the queen liked this so much that she declared it a public holiday. Over the years the celebrations have varied from the usual rush north to the cottage, athletic competitions, firework displays, gun salutes, carnivals and the good old barbeque.

We are going to fall into the latter and I have bought the boerewors from the South African shop and a few ‘lamsvleis sjoppies’. The chops are from New Zealand but I am sure we will still pick up on the flavour. So on Monday we are going to light up our braai. We will join in with our neighbours and friends and toast Queen Victoria with a fine glass of South African red in one hand and a piece of boerewors in the other…… here’s to SUMMER.

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