The start of summer

In the Southern Hemisphere at least.  Radio NZ Concert obligingly played Vivaldi’s seasonal concerto yesterday, as they do every December 1st, because that’s when summer starts, whatever the weather says (and a thunderstorm today certainly says something, particularly as it took out the power for an hour).

But our garden is flourishing, and in particular our flax plants.  After a couple of barren years, there is a distinct burgeoning, and our largest has outdone itself (photo taken on a day that was very bright but cloudy to boot):

I look up at those and think it’s about 8 feet, but 10 may be nearer the mark.  If I hear it walking toward the house rattling I’ll know the spirit of John Wyndham still lives.

With Christmas on the horizon, I thought I’d put up a Christmassy puzzle this time: it’s from the Christmas issue of the BBC Music Magazine for 2010.  I’m also sending out the postal copies of the APEX puzzle this weekend (fractionally after the last posting date for the UK, which creeps ever earlier), with the electronic circulation to follow in a couple of weeks.  There will be a special Christmas puzzle here on the weekend before the event itself. 

I have also contributed to the special Church Times Christmas puzzle that weekend before Christmas, which happens to be number 1500 in the series as well.  Don Manley will be reviving puzzle No. 1 with, I believe, an article about the puzzle’s 30 years, in the issue a week earlier.

Before that there’s a Times Quick Cryptic on 7 December, though there may also be a Toughie sometime before the next update.  And this year’s BBC Music Magazine Christmas puzzle should be out any day soon.

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