Day 454 – Six months ago

Spotted online, this art installation which – using my Geoguessr skills – I have found to have been located in Erzsébet Tér (Elizabeth Square) in Budapest, Hungary.

It’s a UHD TV display:

UHD pastwinddow monitor installation design Display 4K 8k past timemachine

…with a camera on the back:

UHD pastwinddow monitor installation design Display 4K 8k past timemachine

… and the image on the screen plays the pictures from that camera – but delayed for exactly six months.

Being in a park with all those trees and their pesky, photo-blocking summer leaves means that obviously, the whole scene changes completely. And then you’ve got the currently incongruous meteorological conditions as well, as demonstrated here:

This video was posted in 2018 and I don’t think the installation is there anymore, but I really love the idea.

Who are the kids who were playing in the snow that day? What are they doing now as their images are shown on the TV? Are they at school, on their holidays, have they emigrated, died – are they even in the park today, lamenting the current lack of white stuff to fool around in?

Also, I wonder what was on the screen for the first six months of its life, given that it couldn’t have been recording the scene behind it previously because it simply wasn’t there. Despite having the name of this feature: pastWindow, information seems hard to come by.

I have a textual window to the past on here. Six months ago today, we were winding down for Christmas and winding up for the Second Wave. The more things change…

see also: Light of Other Days.

Day 453 – Rain and England

Over 100mm of rain today has soon put me in my place as far as celebrating the lack of winter goes.

Never mind though. We had a successful trip out to The Flats this morning to renew some passports (no, we’re not going anywhere), and there’s a free-standing fireplace to light and an England game to ‘look forward to’ this evening.

Yes, I enjoy watching football, and yes, I’m English, but I’m no huge fan of the England national team.
Sure, I’ll watch them and I’ll support them, but it’s not life-ending for me when they don’t do well.
‘Nice when they win, meh when they don’t’ sums it up nicely.

I was saying recently that this is likely because when I was growing up, the England team had no relevance to me. All the games were played at Wembley. That was somewhere I’d never been and never seen – it meant nothing to me. (It still means very little to me.) So it was always based in London, and London was a long way away and… well… had no relevance to me. Added to that, the fact that none of my heroes were ever involved, and you really shouldn’t underestimate the effect that can have on a young kid’s level of interest.

Then there was the playing style. English domestic football was always more physical, more rough and tumble; harder and faster. And yet when I watched the England team, they always slowed it all down and played to the foreign opposition’s strengths instead of their own. I never understood that.

Aside from the matches of the 1990 World Cup, most of which I spent in Germany and had to be seen to be a total England supporter, I can only think of one other memorable England game: the 2001 5-1 win against Germany. For some reason (beer, probably) I felt like a proper fan that evening, as we watching in the Britannia in Headington before heading down the Cowley Road. That was a fun day.

But look, I’d much rather be watching Sheffield United: then and now.

That said, it’s either the England game or sitting outside in the rain, so I think Ill still be watching this evening.

Day 452 – “Winter”

Midwinter’s Day today. The winter solstice. The shortest day. The longest night.
That’s for us down here, anyway.

I hardly slept last night – THE WIND was something else. We lost several plant pots, flung around and smashed. This morning, we collected garden furniture from all around the property – only the front gate prevented a full on cushion escape. Local trees are damaged. It’s still blowing hard. Really hard. Gusting to near hurricane hard. But also apparently hugely localised, right down this side of the mountain.
I honestly can’t remember stronger winds in Cape Town in my time here. And I can’t remember stronger winds in Cape Town before my time here, because I wasn’t here.

But it’s also 26 degrees. I’m in shorts and t-shirt and I’m lovely and warm. And it was that temperature at midnight last night as well. Because it’s a berg wind, as mentioned yesterday. I was given a beautiful Fitzroy’s Storm Glass for Father’s Day yesterday, but it’s completely bewildered and confused as to exactly what is going on at the moment. The good Admiral evidently never saw anything quite like this sort of chaos.

Anyway, all this means that means that tomorrow, another sort of extreme weather will kick in, with heavy rain expected as a proper winter cold front makes landfall. Better late than never. Better never late.

Day 451 – Sunbirds in the wind at Kirstenbosch

Father’s Day, and after some lovely gifts and a nice coffee in bed, I was lucky enough to be taken out (not in a Mafia way, no) for a picnic brunch at Kirstenbosch.

A few things that are relevant or of interest at this point:

It’s midwinter’s day tomorrow, but today is 28 degrees with a strong, gusting gale force, Bergwind blowing. (You’ll note that that link is illustrated with a photo from Kirstenbosch, almost as proof that it can happen there. Because it does.) It’s hot, dry and very breezy. Not bad for June, great to be out and about, but not great for watching the birds, as their perches were waving about all over the place and the feathery things themselves were very skittish.
Kirstenbosch was empty. Like, park right outside the gate empty. On a sunny Sunday morning (and Father’s Day, nogal) at 10am.
Why is this? Where is everybody? I don’t understand. Still: fantastic for social distancing.
Also, Kirstenbosch needs a bit of TLC. I’ve never had to say that before. Yes, of course it’s still utterly magnificent, but the lawns need a mow and the beds need weeding. Basic stuff that makes a lot of difference to the general appearance and the overall impression. I don’t know if this is a money thing or a Covid thing or a environmental decision, but it looks a bit tatty at the moment.

Anyway, after a very pleasant brunch and an international Zoom call to partially fulfill my own filial duties, I tried to find a few more sheltered places to get some quick shots. The pincushions were bright and cheerful, and the sunbirds were out and about. It was frustrating stuff with the birds flitting at the slightest movement and the flowers being buffeted by the wind from all angles, but I did manage to get a few decent images. You can see them on Flickr here.

I feel that in better conditions, I could have done better, and so I’m determined to pop back “soon” (it is just up the road and we are BotSoc members, after all) and see if I can improve on what I got today.

So… look out for that then, I guess.

Day 450 – Day 450

Yes, Day 450 of lockdown in South Africa. That’s a lot of days, and so it seems reasonable to ask what progress we have made since late March last year.

Officially, almost 60,000 deaths from Covid-19 (although the true figure is probably much higher than that); I can’t buy any alcohol until Monday and I can’t go out after 10pm. And in the next month, I’m probably going to be at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 than ever before. 3.4% of the population have been vaccinated, although most of those have only received one of the two doses they require. Joburg’s hospitals are full and are turning away desperate patients until others die and free up beds.


It’s a deeply unpretty spectacle.

And yet, as I have previously lamented, life goes on unabated. I don’t know what it will take to change people’s mindset, but I can’t see it happening any time soon. And that means that it will likely be too late.

It’s a gorgeous sunny day here in Cape Town. High 20s and uninterrupted blue skies across the city. Fresh, clean, outdoor air is everywhere, and yet the malls and pubs are packed. It sometimes feels like I’m the only one that’s feeling this way, but there must be others also feeling vulnerable and choosing to keep themselves to themselves with just a coffee or two, last night’s braai meat, some Woolworths salami sticks and the football on the tele.

I don’t get it. And so I try to find some solace in Hungary v France.