Saturday in the garden

Itโ€™s a gorgeously hot Saturday today (36 degrees C) and I spent some of my day in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which was full of the scents of summer and packed with people. I had my picnic blanket, some fruit salad, water and some reading. What more did I need?

The garden was busy but by walking up hill for a few minutes I managed to find a tree with some shade and plonked myself down to take in the scenery. Let me see if I can show you a pic.

Now that photo is misleading since it makes it look quite dry. Mid-day light I guess. And then I thought I should put myself in the picture.

See how I can barely keep my eyes open? Not long after that I was flat on my back with my reading in front of my eyes and I managed about three pages before I started dozing.

It’s a pity because I’ve started a post on “reading and depression” which mentions Virginia Woolf and has some excellent quotes. But that can wait for another day. Winter perhaps!

In the meantime I was enjoying the garden and even with my rubbishy phone camera you can see why the yellowwood is the favourite of all SA trees. Yellowwood furniture has this wonderful glow to it, and sadly the best examples of the trees are to be found in nature reserves such as this one.

I must also apologise for not getting round to my usual blog-reads. The heat is addling my brain and rugby season has also just started here, so I will be a Stormers fan for a good few weeks before I start to get a little disenchanted again. Every year we say the same thing: This year’s the year. They’ll make the semis for sure. We’ll see about that.

Update: Just wanted to add that I’m loving The New Yorker Fiction podcasts. Listened to Julian Barnes reading Frank O’Connor, Orhan Pamuk reading Vladimir Nabokov and somebody ferris reading George Saunders. The Saunders was amazing. Saunders himself reads Isaac Babel. Also great. I love hearing these authors’ voices. Julian Barnes sounded a little like Tony Blair for a few moments there. I wonder if he knows!

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14 Responses to Saturday in the garden

  1. natalian says:

    Sounds like you had a blissful Saturday! As for the rugby, our team here on the East Coast has not given us much to feel optimistic about!

  2. Harriet says:

    The summer photos are wonderful! All I can see for miles around here is dirty, slushy, icy snow. Snow snow snow.

  3. I could feel the heat all the way from here! Sounds like a great day.

  4. Still winter grey here–so I really enjoyed the photos!

  5. doctordi says:

    Your sky looks as big as ours, Pete – I love a good amble around Sydney’s Botanic Gardens myself, so loved sharing yours!

    The podcasts sound great. I really have to get into them. My friend L is always telling me I have to get This American Life and all sorts of things on podcast… your New Yorker author reads may just inspire me to finally do something about it.

    Ah yes, the rugby… good to know you’re a Stormers fan – we’re going for the Waratahs, naturally, do let the games begin!

  6. bookeywookey says:

    I loved reading this, given the 9-16 inches of snow that are accumulating on us right now. One of the benefits of meeting peopel on the geographicaless web. The upside is New York is clean and quiet and I have more time for reading – class related and otherwise! So what do you think? Does writing lead to depression or does depression, perhaps, lead to writing?

  7. Pete says:

    Natalian – Yes, the Sharks are not inspiring at the moment. And I was there last night when the Stormers threw it away. Ouch.

    Harriet – Well I should be grateful then I guess! All I see is sun, sun, sun ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope the snow clears soon.

    David – It was good except I still got burned. Enjoyable anyway though and much better than taking another trip with the military (which is coming up this week).

    Lilian – I’m glad. Will try and post a few proper pics again though.

    DoctorDi – Those podcasts are great (and even better if you put them on ipod, although I’m not there yet). Although I think you’ll need something more up-tempo on your runs. As for the rugby, it’s fun but so frustrating at the same time. Last night for example. It’s all that waiting in anticipation and then they just throw it away.

    bookeywookey – Good question. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on it. My initial comment is that, as Melanie Klein says, being a bit depressed is actually a mature form of relating. It’s not living in denial. But it also depends how we define ‘depression’. What we call “major depression” can be such a bleak absence of feeling and life and everything positive.

    It’s also interesting that reading is a solitary experience and being alone (or lonely) is often associated with feeling down (and depressed). Maybe it’s about getting a happy balance between solitude and connection. And reading is a way of connecting too. Will have to formulate these ideas a bit more.

  8. litlove says:

    The photos are wonderful – it looks gorgeous. But Julian Barnes sounded like Tony Blair? Ewwwww! I am batting that thought away from my golden image of the gorgeous, brainy Barnes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Pete says:

      Perhaps to a foreign, relatively untrained ear like mine, those powerful, polished, public-school British accents sound similar! Intelligent, sophisticated, passionate and yet emotionally controlled (and a little reserved). But it was only for a few moments. Then he was captivating and completely un-poncey ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. litlove says:

    You make it all better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Sarah says:

    If it’s any consolation Pete, the NSW Blues are as bad. The Gardens look beautiful.

    I haven’t listened to the Barnes podcast yet, I pity the poor bloke if he does sound like Blair!

  11. bookeywookey says:

    Pete – Speaking of which…did you see my Sunday post of Jonah Lehrer’s article on controversial new research on depression? I think you will find it interesting.

  12. Pete says:

    Sarah – I know, no-one wants to be remotely associated with Blair now!

    Bookeywookey – Thanks, will be over to check it out.

  13. Fugitive Pieces says:

    I think it was Joshua Ferris who was reading the George Saunders (Joshua Ferris who wrote ‘Then We Came To The End’, and whose new book ‘The Unnamed’ has just come out). Apparently he’s excellent. You’re the third person to recommend these podcasts that I’ve seen this week – so it’s time I paid attention to the loud clanging bell of coincidence?! I’m going to go and grab them.
    PS nice save with Litlove about Julian Barnes. Denigrate him in her earshot, and you’re lucky to keep all your extremities ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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