A FINE CELEBRATION

Ursula K. Le Guin tells us that it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end. We had an end in mind for our journey south that was particularly good to have – a celebration that was worth travelling all that way for. So far I have shown you glimpses of various things along both ways of our journey that made those passing kilometers interesting and the journey feel like a holiday in itself.

Join me in the feast that lay ahead: a selection of sweet and savoury eats to enjoy on a sunny afternoon in the garden of a home with beautiful views and in the company of delightful people. The proteas on the paper serviettes are an apt motif in this area where they grow in abundance.

These arum lilies were picked locally, where fields of them are blooming next to the road, in ditches and damp hollows.

Take your pick.

Who can resist these?

Or these?

The children made a bee-line for these luscious strawberries.

While grapes in both this and the bubbly form went down well with the adults.

Of course there was cake too!

Finally, after much talking and laughter; congratulations and enjoying each other’s company, the afternoon light took on a softer hue; the clouds gathered over the mountain tops; inside lights were switched on; and the guests began to take their leave.

 

BEFORE WAKING

We are probably all too familiar with that truly comfortable semi-conscious state experienced before waking fully. It is that time of the morning when your bed feels the most comfortable and during which you might either want to prolong your dream or indulge in being oneirocritical by trying to interpret or make sense of your dream. This is when you might listen to the dawn chorus with your eyes closed and your body still in the relaxed mode of sleep. Such a condition is known as hypnopompic and is experienced before we have to ‘snap out’ of it to attend to the demands of the day.

In his delightful book, The Horologican, Mark Forsyth brings to light this and other long disused words in the English language. Another pertinent one here is uhtceare, meaning ‘lying awake before dawn and worrying’. Far too many of us allow the potential concerns of the day to disturb our hypnopompic state or what is also known as the antelucan hush of pre-dawn.

Speaking of which, Forsyth draws our attention to another delightful word, day-raw, which describes the first streaks of colour in the dawn sky. According to him, eighteenth century farmers would have called this the day-peep time of the day – what we now moan about whenever we have to rise ‘at the crack of dawn’ for some compelling reason!

WHAT THE CAMERA SEES

I posted this picture recently:

It was part of a series showing flowers I had seen growing along the road side. Nothing particularly outstanding about it, you might say and I wouldn’t blame you. It’s just a plain yellow flower against a stony background … true. However, when I was checking that blog post something about the petals caught my eye at about four o’clock on the daisy. There appears to be a wider gap between the petals there than elsewhere on the flower … and a yellow lump between two of the petals. Don’t be perturbed if you cannot make it out – I had the benefit of blowing up the picture to fill the screen. This is what I saw:

Out in the middle of nowhere, I had inadvertently happened upon a yellow spider chomping an unsuspecting bee that had been going about its business collecting pollen – only to end up as Sunday dinner!