Last week we had such beautiful rain for a day, which was welcomed with the kind of relief we don’t always experience when the skies offer such harvest.

We have had relentless wind too, which has served to dry plants and soil further, and I can only imagine how all the creatures that depend on moisture, also for their habitats, are suffering.

When I water my garden in the cool evenings, the birds all appear from secret spaces, and follow me around as I splash the contents of my buckets and watering cans, and I’ve made sure to keep a stone basin filled in a shady spot, where they can have a welcome, wing-spread splash, and quench their thirst.

I’ve also noticed resident squirrels approach my dogs’ water bowl (with due caution), clutch the rim and enjoy a drink, before resuming the harvesting of nuts and seeds.

On Sunday I was at a friend’s 50th birthday lunch on a smallholding near Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, and a veld fire suddenly started in the neighbouring field, and very rapidly approached the house (we prudently moved our cars).

Within minutes, three fire trucks had arrived, and as we watched, with scarves wrapped around our faces because of the intense smoke, the men tackled the blaze from different vantage points, as the brisk and capricious breeze thwarted their initial attempts, before they were successful in dampening it.

By that time we had herded all the children indoors, and even inside, there was an eery pall of smoke. One could only imagine how it must have felt to the men on the scene, all dressed in heavy protective clothing in the intense heat, surrounded by the crackling of the burning undergrowth, dragging huge hoses around, with goggles and bandanas to protect them from smoke inhalation.

The children all whooped with excitement when they arrived, and shouted out “Our heroes are here!” – which echoed the sentiments of the adults present. Someone was dispatched to take cold water to the men, and soon it was all over (and the smell of smoke still lingers on my hair today).

Fortunately there was a bore-hole, and a small dam, so water wasn’t an issue, but how clearly we were reminded; that in the absence of water, fires become all the more menacing and unstoppable.

It’s time for Bolander to have a break, and we will be back on the shelves and in your postboxes on Wednesday January 11. Blessings upon our readers and advertisers.

Carolyn Frost: Editor