Free summer blinds

stepsIn Autumn the ornamental grape and wisteria vines on my verandah were a visual treat — a rich riot of warm colours.

The vines are bare by winter, allowing the low sun to enter my house.

No matter how severely I trim them back, come Spring they always take off with such vigour that here we are at the beginning of Summer with fully drawn blinds of many different shades, shapes and textures of green.

green shade

in flower‘Pray enter a refuge from the glare and heat of summer’, say my front steps, leading to a doorway in the vines.

They do not lie. Once on the wide verandah, which is my summer living area, the contrast is extreme, the shade is dense and cool, the very light is green.

And to think these passive solar blinds are free, with guaranteed annual installation!

Up the north-eastern end of the verandah, morning summer sunlight is welcome, so the free blinds are allowed to be of more lacey material.

The climbing Crepuscule rose is finishing its blooming, just as the ‘Chilean Jasmine’, Mandevilla Laxa, is beginning — highly perfumed white clusters on delicate twining stems.

Summer lighting

Now that the sun is back to having the full sweep of the sky for rising and setting, it’s reaching windows that have not been sunstruck for months.

Even through my closed eyelids, somehow I know that the morning sunlight has snuck over the ridge to the east and is stroking the edges of my bedspread, browsing over my wall of books — and implying I ought to be up.

Given that I only like to work outdoors in the cooler ends of summer days, usually I take the hint and arise. I’ll spend a couple of hours raking horse manure or reclaiming parts of the yard that have been neglected over this last busy year. Then I feel I deserve breakfast.

decorated window

Later in the day the sun is now lighting up a fixed window high under the western gable. It was a plain multi-paned window, decorated only with fly spottings until I got the bright idea of filling in the panes it with those flat-backed iridescent glass beads sold in bargain shops.

On the inside, I glued them on with clear silicone into a vaguely Arabic-cum-Art Nouveau pattern in cool colours, thinking this would create a cooling impression. However, the iridescence proved to be only evident from the outside, and really only in summer when the sunlight was low and bright enough to reach it.

I also thought the extra glass layer might increase the insulating qualities of the window, but when I indulge in this sort of nest-decorating behaviour, I can always find a practical reason why I must do it ahead of pressing work. Once it’s done, the visual pleasure it gives me is reason enough.