Life made simple

Winter solstice: Here comes more sun.


It’s the longest night of the year on Wednesday this week, so we have to ask: what will you do to celebrate the winter solstice – besides sleep?

And why is it worth celebrating?

Because the winter solstice means that our long nights will now start to get a little shorter, and the days will get slightly longer and lighter from here on. Although here in South Africa, even our longest nights aren’t as daunting as those in countries close to the poles.

In Luleå in the north of Sweden, the shortest day has only three hours and 19 minutes of sun. (Don’t even bother hanging up washing.) It gets even darker in Kiruna, the northernmost Swedish town, where the sun sets on December 10th and is not seen for ten whole days. (Make sure you’ve paid your electricity bill, people of Kiruna.)

Technically, from Wednesday, we can look forward to Spring, although don’t hold your breath, because many a South African snowfall has happened in late September and even October.

This year, especially if it’s particularly chilly, we suggest you celebrate the official slow slide out of winter and into Spring, by staying as warm as possible.

It’s the longest night of the year on Wednesday this week.

Make your favourite soup, light a fire or get your old hot water bottle to make itself useful. Then find yourself a good book.

What’s a good winter bed-read? Try Wolf Winter, by Cecilai Ekbäck (2015)

Lee Child calls it: “Exquisitely suspenseful, beautifully written, and highly recommended.”

Wolf Winter tells the story of death in a tiny 18th century Swedish community of six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain. When new settlers arrive, the family’s two young daughters find something murderously mysterious near their cottage. Their father is away, and their mother begins asking her questions, digging at the secrets of the mountain.

Read Wolf Winter, or something equally thrilling, late into the long night, and then turn off all alarms and clocks and sleep as late as you can.

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