The seasons are turning and my second summer is about to begin. It’s still cold at night and in the early morning — especially in a house without central heat — but it’s warm enough for shorts during the day. Today was especially perfect. Crystal-blue sky and about 70 degrees in the sun.

After breakfast on the deck, I went for my first run around the neighborhood. I jogged about 50 feet and began gasping for breath. I guess I’m not used to the altitude yet, or maybe I’m just out of shape. It was nice to get out on my own though.

I ran up 7th Street — the main Melville drag — past cafes, book stores, vintage clothing shops, and bars. Apparently South Africans like to drink early on Sundays — several outdoor tables were occupied by beer-drinkers when I passed by at 11:30.

When I got home it was time to plant the herbs that Joe and I bought at the garden center yesterday. (Fun fact: In South Africa it’s “a herb,” not “an erb.”)

We spent quite a few hours sorting through ancient clay pots, searching for garden implements, and planting. Okay, really Joe planted. I watched, made sandwiches, and provided running commentary while enjoying the sun.

We planted basil (which rhymes with “dazzle” in South Africa), parsley, mint, rocket (arugula), and thyme. The photos I took are probably only exciting to me, but here is one anyway.

Parsley and thyme. Rosemary not pictured. Still need to get sage.

The day was nearly over but we decided to take a walk in the Melville Koppies before it got dark. I’ve always dreamed of living next to a park — now I have my wish. We climbed to the top of the koppies just as the sun set. It was pure magic.

I’ll have a lot more to say about the koppies in a future post, but for now I’ll let these photos speak for themselves.

View of the Magaliesberg Mountains from the top of the koppies.

Men cross the koppies as the sun sets behind them.

Me at the top of the koppies.

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