Sunday, 13 November 2011

Blue Skies and Sunshine in Johannesburg

Quite a few people remarked on how sad I seemed to be about the lack of sunshine in my post on Southend-on-Sea.  The truth is that I love hot weather and I will always miss sunshine and blue skies when they are not around.  In order to stave off the winter blues as we head into what JaPRA coined 100 Days of Darkness, I have decided that from now until the end of winter, Sundays will be sun days.  It will give me a chance to tell you about some of the places I have seen and it will also give me some much needed blue-sky-therapy each weekend.

And because my friends and family in South Africa have been so helpful in moaning about the heat wave this week, I thought I would start off with some of the beautiful blue skies we saw on our trip there last December.

To be honest, this is what most of my photographs from the trip looked like, which is why I never got round to posting about it much.

Arrival 12 December Arrival, 12 December 2011

This was taken on the day we arrived on 12 December.  By this time, London was about to head into their second serious snow-storm of the season and we were seeing blue sky for the first time in weeks.  Summer is the rainy season in Johannesburg so it is very likely that most photos will have some evidence of clouds.

Sunset 13 December Sunset, 13 December. 

Johannesburg has the most incredible sunsets.  There just seems to be so much sky and the whole expanse of it just lights up with beauty and wonder during the sunsets.  It is at times like this that I feel the most liberated.

Loeries relaxing 14 December Loeries relaxing on a telephone wire, 14 December. 

I love loeries and they are one of my favourite South African birds.  The Wikipedia article I linked to above is hilarious; I have never, ever heard of them referred to as “go away” birds.

Sun filter 19 December Sun filter, 19 December 2011

I think it is fairly typical of any city with a rainy summer season that sometimes you’re not going to see much sunshine for a couple of days.  That certainly happened during our last holiday but I didn’t mind as it was still warm and cloudy weather is perfect sun tanning weather.

Swimming 24 December Swimming, 24 December 2011

I spent the overwhelming majority of my time next to this swimming pool.  I bet you’re really glad that I didn’t blog a day by day breakdown of my trip!  Can you remember where you were last Christmas Eve?

Always look up 24 December Always look up, 24 December 2011

Of course, there is no better place to look up than in Johannesburg in summer.  How beautiful is that?

Sunset 24 December Sunset, 24 December 2011

We had a magical time on Christmas Eve and Stephen made sure to call me out of the house so that I could see this exquisite sunset.

Man Made Forest 25 December Man-made Forest, 25 December 2011

Johannesburg is the largest man-made forest in the world with over ten million trees. The second largest is also in South Africa at Graskop. I miss living in a city with so many big, healthy (and often evergreen) trees.  This photo was taken in my brother- and sister-in-law’s garden.  Look how you can’t even see their neighbours!

Orange Iris 25 December Orange Iris, 25 December 2011

I love irises and they have a huge patch of orange irises in their garden.

Flags in Sandton 25 December Flags in Sandton, 25 December 2011

Ever since I went to New York City and Washington in 2009 and noticed how many flags there were flying everywhere, I have had this “thing” about Great Britain and how seemingly embarrassed they are to display the Union Jack.  Of course, what I saw in the USA is nothing compared to South Africa.  You see the national flag everywhere, on car bumpers, over their wing mirrors, randomly on the side of the road, on products and outside buildings.  We South Africans love our flag as it symbolises hope, unity and our exceptional sporting abilities.

Well now, the sun has just broken out in England too! Perhaps I worked some voodoo with this post?

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23 comments

  1. Ahhhhhh...Beautiful! We will sure need to look at those blue skyes all winter. I'm getting more blue because I have not been back to Prague since 2007. It will be another year before I can go. The recession just messed it up for everybody. Wish I could go every year or at least every other year, but can not afford that. How sad is that?
    It will be ok :) Have a great Sunday, Emm!

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  2. Have not tried SA but we have had three holidays in Namibia, driving around in a 4x4; love that place.

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  3. Oh, wonderful blue sky and great photos! And a great idea with this post.. I already looking forward to the next.
    I would love to visit South Africa some day.., but it is so far away.
    I like summer and hot weather better than winter, but we have a lot of clear blue skies here in winter time.

    Thanks for all your nice comments.

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  4. Maybe you should look upon it the way we do: The more days with grey skies you have, the more you appreciate the days with blue ones :-)

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  5. Thanks for working that voodoo magic. The sun was glorious today! Hope you enjoyed it!

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  6. Nothing quite like blue skies and sunshine to put people in a good mood. I personally don't see early dark nights as being a negative thing. I love seeing London lit up at night, it comes alive and best of all you don't have to wait till 10pm to enjoy the spectacle.

    '100 day of darkness', I guess that depends on your viewpoint on life. I will have a 100 days of new adventures, exploring my way around London when it is beautifully lit up.

    I would fly the St Andrews flag, but I'm afraid someone will throw a rock through my window...

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  7. And it's such a beautiful flag! One of my favorites of all the countries. (Beautiful skies, too.)

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  8. I would like to discover South Africa...
    Greetings from France,

    Pierre

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  9. That's the one thing about winter that gets my goat.... lack of Sun!!
    Fortunately the one year I was in London, the winter wasn't as bad as it was supposed to be. Either that or I had started get used to the grey skies to an extent.

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  10. You have some great shots of the blue blue skies and various clouds here Emm. Love those birds ... they are kinda cute! :) So why does it rain so much over the summertime months in Johannesburg?

    And I think it's a great idea ... your Sun days!

    xo

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  11. Nice to see some blue sky. Will be a while before we get that again. As I write this, looking out of my office window, I can't even see the other side of the Thames - less than half a mile :-( due to the mist and fog.

    Glen

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  12. we only have wet and dry seasons here in Malaysia so you can expect heat, humidity and downpours at any time of the year. the heat can be unbearable at times and i wish it would snow here a little but fat chance of that ever happening. :(

    South Africa is high on my bucket list of places to visit. lovely shots and beautiful blue skies.

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  13. A grand idea you have in store for Sundays. Where I live, we are on the brink of winter weather. Snow is expected next week. The sun rises around 7:15 AM and sets around 17:30 PM. sigh.

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  14. I am exactly the same-I would love that the sun would shine 364 days a year and we had all the time summer:)
    Nice report from absolutly exceptional place to visit!

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  15. Wow...gorgeous post my friend...ooh I LOVe those birds too..they are magical and fabulous! I am such a bird-girl! Your photos are beautiful as always! What a magical time for you to spend!Lucky girl..fabulous sceneries!
    yay!
    Thanks Emm for another fab post!
    Victoria
    PS; thanks for your lovely visits and cool comments. My nickname was Sarafina when I was a waitress..my boss always called me that I had no idea why! I shall look into the reference since you mentioned it!thanks!

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  16. I've been living in England for almost four years now and I guess I'm more or less used to the rainy days and gray skies.

    I hope you had a great time in SA

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  17. I have obviously adjusted a little too much. I am happy with the cooler weather and greyish skies. Although I do miss the stars.

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  18. It's pouring down rain, grey day here, but looking at these pictures I feel warmer and happier! Lovely, thank you!

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  19. Beautiful photos! We've had a similarly blue sky for weeks here in the French Alps, although it's the one time of year that they're shunned (it's meant to be snowing here by now). I still love 'em though! I think when you come from a country such as Australia or South Africa that gets so much sunshine, it's hard to go without.

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  20. @ Ivanhoe: it can be so hard not being able to go home! I hope you get a chance soon!

    @ John: I love your Namibia photos so much! I would love to visit there.

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  21. @ Spiderdama: we get pure blue skies in Johannesburg in winter too - it makes it icy cold without cloud cover!

    @ RuneE: I try not to let the cold and grey get me down but it does have a cumulative effect on one's mood! One thin is for sure - I never look at a hot, sunny day and wish it were miserable.

    @ Mela: we keep getting sunny days and clear mornings, don't we?

    @ William: I love the bright lights of winter too! I quite like the St Andrew's flag, I think you should fly it.

    @ Kathy: beautiful flag, beautiful country, beautiful people. Sigh. Homesick.

    @ Pierre: you should go! It is lovely.

    @ Ashwathy: this winter seems better than the last two years - there is certainly more light.

    @ Suzy: I like having the rainy season in summer time! I guess it is the altitude and the massive plateau. The heat draws all the moisture into the air during the day and it comes plummeting down again just after lunch time.

    @ Glen: I know! Wasn't it foggy a couple of weeks ago!

    @ Life Ramblings: ha! That amused us when we were nearby in Singapore - two seasons - the hot and the humid.

    @ Rob: Oh dear, and it does get so wintry in your neck of the woods.

    @ Ola: and yet we live in Poland and England respectively. We are mad!

    @ Victoria: you'd love the birds in South Africa. They are exquisite and exotic.

    @ Ash: Oh no! Don't get used to it!!

    @ Mo: Don't get me started on stars. I miss the brilliant night sky so much. You can't see a thing for the light pollution in London!

    @ Marion: Yuck. We have a season of dreary weather ahead, don't we?

    @ Dominic: I am rather partial to it, I must admit. We had a pool in our garden too, one that we designed especially.

    @ Wendy: Oh dear, I hope you get some snow soon then!

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  22. I grew up in Johannesburg but now live in the UK. Makes me very homesick, the these photos. I think I miss the South African blue sky more than anything else.

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