July is a month of contrasts for me. Contrasts in the weather from cold, wet days around a fire to perfect winter days with clear blue skies, a warm sun and amazing colours and greenness. The contrast of jerseys in Cape Town and swimming costumes in Plett. The contrast and luxury of having a winter break surrounded by family and friends, noise and laughter to having quiet times alone walking, reading and thinking. Time to reflect on memories of happy times in July - of family holidays, of rugby tours, of watching Wimbledon with girlfriends, a fire, strawberries and pink champagne, and of a crazy bus tour through Ireland. It is a month of birthdays and celebrations and the certain sadness of the loss of a friend - the anniversary of her death and, later in the month, the celebration of her birth.
Whilst the 3 July will be etched and scarred in my mind and life forever, I look forward to the contrast of raising a glass of ice cold champagne on the 26 July to the most special friend who taught me so much more than how to make a perfect sweet potato and ginger soup.