Joburg Expat: Two Weeks of Spring

September 1, 2011

Two Weeks of Spring

In one of my earlier posts I berated collective Joburg for amnesia about the fact that winters here are cold, so that every year you have to deal with a shortage of things to keep you warm. But now I understand why.

About three weeks ago I was still faithfully cranking up the gas heater every morning so that we didn't have to eat breakfast covered in blankets, already making plans to buy another gas bottle soon so we wouldn't run out again at an inopportune moment (though that is precisely what is destined to happen to me with such matters). I started my days in layers of clothing I would shed as the sun got stronger. And I crawled under my down covers practically at sunset because every other place in the house was freezing.

That all seems a distant memory now, at the end of August. I'm sitting here in short sleeves and flip-flops at six in the morning, waiting for yet another glorious sunrise over greening treetops promising a hot day of 28 degrees. Windows will have to be opened soon to let in the breeze, our pool will get used by screaming kids, and we'll sit on the patio well into the evening. In short, summer has arrived. And it'll be here until next May, nine long wonderful months of it, during which it is safe to say I will join the collective amnesia regarding winters in Joburg.

We've had exactly two weeks of spring. Or, more precisely, what other people might call spring as defined by the period wedged between winter and summer. The real spring here will happen in October and November when the rains start, washing away all the dust from five months of drought and revealing a sparkling and blooming landscape, when it actually cools down a bit, and when the Jacaranda trees will bloom again in all their glory. But by then we'll already have had two hot months of summer. In short, the seasons in Johannesburg are like nowhere else in the world.

Will someone please remind me in March to stock up on gas bottles.

10 comments :

cat said...

I always say to people that we literally have winter one day and the next is Spring

Jozie Days said...

I have folded up the blankets and an thinking about where to store my 3 heaters for the next 9 months. Under floor heating is off so the electricity bill will be half this month. Now is the time to go down to one of the many garden shops around Joburg to get lots and lots of colourful seedlings. Then I will organise the delivery of lawn dressing - and hope the rain arrives just after it has all been spread. September is one of my favourite months in Jozie! So much to look forward to. Christmas by the pool, barbecues and end of year concerts. Yea!! Spring is here! (Just watch out though, there was snow in Joburg in September in 1981!)

Sine said...

I also wonder now where to put those heaters. I should probably keep them somewhere where they are somewhat in my way, so as to occasionally remind me not to forget to stock up on gas, but I know I will be as surprised as everybody else when it gets cold again. I've already spread the lawn dressing and love how the green shoots are coming up through it! Which seedlings do you recommend?

Jozie Days said...

Hi Sine, I get my seedlings from NuLeaf Nursery http://www.nuleaf.co.za/Splash.aspx
They are not in the best area but they do send Summer and Winter Catalogues and you can place an order and they deliver. The trays are large and they have many great colourful seedlings. They often give you free seedling fertilizer! I also love going to Life Style garden Centre in Randburg http://www.lifestyle.co.za/ They have loads of plants - and I love their little restaurant for coffee and cake or a light lunch after plant shopping.

martinaloeb said...

Oh wow - I've just realised that I am going to have Christmas Day in the sun after reading this!!! How strange after 29 UK winter Christmases!!!

Sine said...

Yes it is indeed strange but an idea I am increasingly warming up to (no pun intended). I am afraid once we move back to the Northern Hemisphere I won't be very happy to have to give up my tropical Christmas...

Sine said...

Jozie Days, thanks so much for the links, I'll check those out soon. I think I've seen Lifestyle from the road before, looks nice.

Gerda said...

I am a South African living in India. I just love your blog, and will follow it. I go back twice a year, to visit our children and divide my time between Fourways and Port Elizabeth. And "ja" we plan to go back! By the way, here we have bigger problems with electricity (or lack), telephones, POTHOLES, etc. Keep up the good work!

Sine said...

Hi Gerda - I love when South Africans read my blog and I got so many positive comments from people like you who like seeing their own country through a different lens. And I'm sure much of it has changed in the time you've been gone. Good luck with your move back - and it sounds like you'll be pleasantly surprised what great service you'll get here! All a matter of perspective:-)

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Sadly, this year, the rainy season hasn't even really gotten started yet. December has been better so far than the last two months but only in the case of some rain rather than no rain. Outside of coastal EP and KZN it is getting to be a real crisis. I hope SA gets relief soon and that they will have an extra wet stretch as Summer continues. Crossed fingers!