It’s a beautiful night.
It’s 10pm. Just for a change, it’s not excessively hot, about 25C. The moon is big and bright, and it’s illuminating the low scudding clouds from behind, so they have brilliant silver edges and a sort of unreal look against the deep blue of the night sky. There’s a stiffish breeze, and strong winds forecast for tomorrow, but for now, it’s just enough to make the palms rattle and clatter, and the ropes of fairy lights I have draped around the patio roof swing and twinkle. In the background, there’s the constant sound of cicadas, with the occasion sound of a barking gecko and the call of a rainbird somewhere behind the house. I’m sitting in my swing seat, enjoying the night sounds, sights and smells – a bit of jasmine somewhere, a waft of lemon blossom, and a few tiny flowers on my murraya. One day soon, the smells will be stronger, and include the intoxicating sweetness of the angel trumpets and ginger lilies, the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and frangipani blossom. Not yet, my garden has a way to go before all of them are in bloom, but soon. Under my feet, the paving is cool and slightly gritty, and the liquid trickle of the little fountain is pleasant and soothing. It creates a little oasis of moister air around it, which is why I’ve placed it in one of the hotter, dryer parts of the garden. All around the tiny space, little white lights gleam, giving back at night the brilliant light of the sun, stored until night fell. They illuminate the water, the green leaves, the brilliant blue of my glazed ceramic tubs and put a halo around some of the flowers. More light can be seen through the window, where my little white spindly Christmas tree twinkles at the end of each fibreoptic strand, and the pink and silver baubles glitter. And from inside the house, I can hear the baritone tick of my beautiful old marquetry wall clock, and the astonishingly loud telling of the hour, ten strikes of the tiny brass bell inside.
Yes, it’s a perfect summer night.
And in a week’s time, it will be Christmas Day, and we will have waved off the last of our 12 guests, and I will be in my swing seat again, with my feet up, contemplating a fridge full of leftovers to get creative with, and the prospect of not having to go back to work until 7th January. So many of you are having snow, and enduring deep cold. I wanted to share the sights, sounds and smells of my tropical night, and count my blessings.