This morning a blanket of thick grey cloud casts a pall over our town, brightened only by the determination of the sun to backlight it. A strong, cool breeze has set the summer greenery aflutter in the garden while the persistent ‘pot, pot, pot’ refrain of the Red-fronted Tinkerbird echoes in competition with the cheerful calls of the weavers and the rather plaintive ‘I’m so sick’ complaint of a Black Cuckoo deeply hidden among the foliage of the trees nearby. On such a dull morning it was an uncommon delight to see three Knysna Louries (Turacos) growling as they chased each other through the spreading limbs of the Tipuana clearly visible from my study window.

Croissants and the Sunday paper called. On the drive to secure these and ingredients for a lunch befitting the early start to the festive season, two other surprises awaited me. The first was the totally unexpected view of a large fresh-water crab crossing the road. With no camera at hand, I used my Samsung cell phone to record this bizarre sight.


I assure you, it looked rather scary from the front as it reared up to face me, all its defensive senses alert. Unfortunately, it scuttled off sideways each time I bent closer to capture it on screen, until only its beady eyes-on-stalks peered at me suspiciously from behind the cover of the damp grass fringing the road.

The next surprise is the overwhelming beauty of the Jacarandas in full bloom all over town. Not only are the trees so attractive at this time of the year, but they cover the lawns and pavements beneath them with an exquisite mauve carpet, still unsullied by road- or foot traffic so early on a Sunday morning!






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