Winter has suddenly and viciously arrived in Cape Town. Just [does the maths] 72 hours after that sublime day out in Franschhoek, with its cloudless skies and 27 degrees, there are suddenly many inches of rain and a plethora of Beauforts. The pressure has dropped below 1000mb for the first time this year and the temperature is only just troubling the mid-teens.
Of course, this is actually no great surprise. Winter comes in May and this is May. It happened last year around this time and again the year before. Personally, I can see a pattern emerging, but that’s probably just down to my intensely-trained scientific mind, so don’t worry if you haven’t spotted it yet.
However, the moaning has started already. This is also no great surprise. Despite the fact that there are plenty of great things to do in this weather (hide under blankets, drink buckets of red wine, watch World Cup football), there are two activities that Capetonians are unable to do in the cold and rain: go to the beach and drive.
The beach thing is fairly obvious. One goes to the beach to enjoy the sun, the warm sea air and the chicks in their bikinis.
One does not go to the beach to get hypothermia. Not even the Brits do that. So, no. No beach in this weather, thank you very much.
The driving thing is more mysterious. It has been well documented that the phenomenon occurs, but no-one is really sure why. And there’s no one way in which Capetonian drivers get worse when it rains. It seems to be that they just do everything rather badly: no indicating, late braking, nipping through red lights, crossing solid white lines, complaining about how other people can’t drive etc.
It’s like everyone suddenly thinks they’re driving a BMW.
This appalling roadsmanship obviously has a profound effect on the traffic flow around the city. When it rains, my journey to work will take twice as long as usual or even increase by as much as 100%, time-wise. And I really don’t think I can be the only one who experiences this. I’ve done some rudimentary calculations and worked out that when it rains, businesses in and around Cape Town lose out by a really big number of Rands because their staff, supplies and deliveries are all caught up in the traffic.
It’s at this point in many blog posts that one might expect to find a few suggested solutions to this problem and who am I to disappoint. Having been daubed with the paintbrush of positivity after seeing what has been managed by local engineers in the form of the all new Hospital Bend and the magnificence that is the Cape Town World Cup Stadium, I now believe they can do anything.
Which is why they can build the huge sponge on the top of Table Mountain.
If I was better with Photoshop (OK, if I even had Photoshop), I’m sure I could show you just how that would look. As it is, you’ll just have to imagine Table Mountain with a sponge on top of it. A huge one. Probably in yellow.
Hopefully, this would absorb any rain that was due to fall on any of Cape Town’s roads and would thus prevent the entire city driving like tossers on wet days. The obviously massive costs of this huge project would be offset by the enormous financial benefits to the city of people actually being able to get to their offices and start work before ten o’clock.
Add a really big heat lamp and we could solve the beach thing too.