Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hot season

Now that we're into March, we can start looking forward to some cooling down. Summer heat is intense in Clanwilliam, with maximum temperatures going over 40C in the shade, and into the 50C range in the sun. I heard someone mention something about 60C the other day, but I preferred not to listen.

It's actually not so bad. With aircon, cold drinks, and cool interiors, and of course the big tree protecting Saint du Barrys with its immense shade, summer goes by with plenty of guests enjoying the change from minus degreees of severe cold in Europe during these months. In particualr, those who suffer from arthritis and other movement-restrictive conditions may find relief offered by the heat.

The Cederberg mountain range was on fire in large spread out areas for weeks. The fire was started by lightning, and wind caused it to jump and spread. Many hectares were burnt and the threat to farmlands and farmsteads was high, yet the firefighters were dedicated and skilled, and protected farms successfully. A well-loved local man died while involved in fire-fighting, and the sadness of this will be felt for a long time. Bushmanskloof went on high alert when the fire starting moving towards the resort, but was not damaged although guests were evacuated for safety's sake.

The socio-political season was hot, too, with striking farm-workers threatening violent action, and damaging farms in the Western Cape. Clanwilliam was fortunate to have minimal disruption. A crowd gathered at a a couple of different corners for two days, but was swiftly dispersed by police when protesting became rowdy. No damage was done.

With regard to fashion, nothing happened in Clanwilliam. In these summer months, light clothing and something on your head is the order of the day.

During March temperature levels can still be high, but local folk know that the end is in sight. Soon enough, cold air with curve in from the Atlantic, bringing seasonal change. Autumn and spring months bring almost perfect weather, neither too hot nor too cold. The evenings beg for braais. I have a new system for getting a fire ready quite quickly, although most of the point of having a braai is sitting or standing around the fire having chats and drinks. It takes twenty to twenty-five minutes to have coals on one side and flames on the other; on goes the steak or the chops, and ten to fifteen minutes later you have the perfect steak or the perfect chop. Forget about wine at sophisticated temperature. I don't like putting ice in expensive wine, so I go for quaffing sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc or blanc de noir, with enough ice to keep it cold. Winter will be long enough for the reds.