Winter has arrived in Beira and it couldn’t have come any sooner, this summer has been HOT! For those who are unaware of the seasons here in Beira, either it is bloody hot and humid or a tad cooler with no humidity, there is no middle ground. You know its Winter in Beira when you wake up in the morning and you’re welcomed by a burst of fresh cool air when you open the kitchen door rather than the usual hot and humid soup like air that greets you most of the year. This change of season happens overnight, it’s as if someone switches the humidity switch off and boom its Winter. So you can imagine my delight when roughly 3 weeks ago when I let the dogs and cat out I was pleasantly surprised with this familiar burst of cool winter’s air. Winter also brings the dry season with it although we do occasionally get an unseasonal down pour that takes us all by surprise. These down pours usually occur throughout the summer months and often resemble something from the Noah’s Ark story turning Beira into one big paddy field and making driving a nightmare.
Winter days in Beira are endless days of blue sky, cooler temperatures and idyllic conditions, but unfortunately this bliss only lasts for around 3 months of the year if we’re lucky. The rest of the year you sweat continually, live for your air-con and you can completely forget about trying to walk on the beach without your shoes on, if you do you can be mistaken for running on hot coals! Winter beach walks are the best, the sand is cool to walk on the sun is not too hot and you don’t get too much of a sweat on, when the tide is out you can walk for miles investigating all the little rock pools and puddles watching the world go by.
One of the biggest differences I found moving to Africa was the lack of obvious seasons. In England you have very distinct and unique seasons which keep you on track of where you currently are in the year, handy when you have two little monsters that cause you to spend a lot of your time spinning on your toes. I miss the first moments of spring when the daffodils and crocuses start emerging out of their winter slumber, the chattering of the newly emigrated birds coming to spend their holidays from far away, the long light evenings of a summer’s night spent in the garden or local pub garden, driving around my local country roads watching the combines…..the list continues.
I am also very aware that since moving away I do tend to romanticise about my home country and its seasons. You quickly forget the realities of life over there and forget, for example, the endless days of grey, cold, and misery that the UK weather can also bring! Hence why I tend to only go and visit in the UK summer where the chances of experiencing some of my fanciful summer delights are more realistic! That and my boys hate wearing clothes, so you can imagine trying to get them to wear three jumpers and a coat is often a battle when at most we are lucky if we get pants on here in Beira!