I’ve mentioned the Melville Koppies, a nature reserve and National Heritage Site behind our house, in previous posts. But until now I haven’t had the chance to give this natural wonder the attention it deserves. A spiky, grassy plant on Koppies Central shows off the morning dew.
My mother arrived yesterday for a 10-day stay in South Africa. It’s wonderful to have her here. It’s Mom’s first time in Africa and Joe and I want to make her stay as nice and comfortable as possible. Before she came we spent quite a bit of time arranging the furniture in the guest room, clearing closet space, etc. We’re very pleased with our work. Our guest room has a great view of the garden and the Melville Koppies in the background.
I launched 2Summers about six months ago and I’m nearing 10,000 hits. (If I’m lucky, I might reach 10,000 after publishing this post.) It’s a small feat, I know, but reaching that milestone is a pretty cool thing for a regular person like me. More than a fourth of those 10,000 hits happened on one day in November, when a post about my trip to Swaziland was featured in “Freshly Pressed” on the WordPress homepage. I was so overwhelmed when that happened that I never thanked WordPress for choosing me, so I’ll do that now. I also want to thank everyone who read, subscribed to, and commented on my blog that day and in the following days. And lastly, thanks to the old-timers who’ve been reading 2Summers from the beginning.
One of the cool things about living in Joburg is that people are always passing through. It’s difficult to travel from one place to another in Southern Africa without stopping here along the way. This week, Joe and I were lucky enough to host not one, but two special pass-throughs. This rainbow passed through Melville just our first pass-through arrived.
Part 1 The weather shifted while Joe and I were away. Instead of the endless string of sunny, dry days we had before, we’re yo-yo-ing erratically between cold/rainy and sunny/warm. It’s more humid. The koppies have turned green and new summer flowers are blooming. This amazing cactus flower bloomed in our yard yesterday. Also, it’s corn season. This has brought a new source of joy into my life — the mielie lady.
Sandwiched between a week in Durban and a week in Lesotho, Joe and I are wrapping up one hectic (but fun) week at home. We’re leaving again tomorrow morning and I have no time to write a proper account of this week’s events. Here is a brief synopsis. 1) We had our first overseas visitor: my colleague Evan Von Leer from Washington D.C. He spent a few days with us in Melville while on his way to Lesotho and stayed at the Die Agterplaas B&B, which is a block up the street. The Agterplaas is a great guesthouse – I would stay there myself if I didn’t already live here.
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.
It’s my second full day in Joburg. I’m sitting on the deck of my new house in Melville, soaking up the late winter sun, admiring the small purple flowers on the potted rosemary plant, and listening to a chorus of bird calls. There’s a neon-yellow weaver making a nest at the back of the garden — it’s a bouncy ball of green leaves suspended from a vine hanging off a tree branch. It looks, sounds, and smells like Africa. A South African hadedah (Ha-dee-DAH) on the back wall of the garden.