Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Winter Sunday In South Africa

This is something I never expected to see in South Africa - a local hunt in full regalia - 'pink' coats and all. The baying of the hounds, the toot of the horn, as they set off in full pursuit of the scent... (no, not a fox, not even a wild dog, jackal or mountain lion, but a bundle of rags, freshly drenched in something revolting that I didn't enquire too closely into, that is dragged after the lead riders, who lay a trail for the hounds to follow)... was something out of a classic English country scene of fifty years ago, something I never once saw in thirty-five years of living in England and had to come all the way here to witness!

We took our girls and their friends, who are all pony crazy, to watch the hunt arrive at the mid-morning halt. We've been here 9 years without realising that we had a local hunt, only just down the road, hounds and all. The girls all fell in love with this Appaloosa. Then we went our separate ways: the Appaloosa cantering decorously off with the hunt and the girls leaping into their friends' car, abandoning me to return home to the boys alone.

So I took my camera outside to drink in the details of the day. The crazily warm and dry July we've had this year, has convinced all the trees and flowers that spring has sprung. My mulberry tree is bursting forth into leaf, pouring its energy into berry-making, heedless of the fact that we are only a month past the winter solstice.

The almond tree too is celebrating spring. it usually is the first to unfurl blossom, but I'm sure it's a good two weeks early this year. White daisies that usually show their faces in the first week in August have been partying  in the grass already. We've even had to water this last week, it's been so dry. Unheard of in the middle of a Cape winter. Praying for rain soon...

The wind is blowing fiercely from the south-east, bringing a chill despite the blue skies, and baking is the only answer, warming the house and stocking up with essential goodies.

Rusks being the ultimate in South African essentials to keep on hand. Essential to dunk in tea or coffee, or to stow in a bag for mornings spent hunt-watching in chill winds. Here's the rusk recipe I use, just in case you're inspired to stock up yourself.

What did you do this Sunday?


  1. Check it out... I've never heard of rusks before! They look marvy, and I've always been a huge fan of anything containing brown sugar.

  2. I only discovered rusks when we first came here, Marcheline - they're a national institution in South Africa, essential to a cup of morning tea or for snacks at any time of day. you can put any combination of nuts, seeds and raisins in, or leave them plain, as my kids prefer.
    In England rusks were horrible processed things for babies to teeth on, that turned to a mushy paste eventually. These are nothing like that - really substantial and enough to choke a teething baby!

  3. Lovely post and evocative pics (I especially liked the images of blossoms blossoming so early and optimistically during the recent warm spell). Thanks for your comment about my yoghurt cheese, and for pointing out that I'd omitted a very important ingredient from my recipe. My cheeks are burning. x

  4. Kit... you make them sound like an ad for population control! *snort* Hahahahahahaaaaah!

  5. Oh I hope the blossoms are not in for a rude shock! Seems crazy that you are having early summer and according to Twitter it was snowing in Joburg this morning!! Gorgeous pics and mmmmm rusks :) This Sunday we braaied with some lovely Aussie friends, sat in the garden, drank wine and picked blackberries :)

  6. Great photos!

    I climbed up to a mountain lake on Sunday :)


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!