This is not what I signed up for

It’s Christmas. The festive season. Holiday time.
Call it what you want, but down here in Cape Town, we also call it SUMMER.

However, the weather this SUMMER has not been very SUMMERy. Rain on and off over the last week, temperatures peaking in the low 20s, cool winds blowing in off the Atlantic and making us all miserable.

This is not what I signed up for.

I signed up for SUMMER where I could be outside in the sun. Playing in the pool, lounging on a…  on a… lounger. Not running across car parks trying to stay dry. Not wearing LONG TROUSERS. IN DECEMBER.

It’s annoying other people too. Like the staff at Pick n Pay Liquor in Constantia Village, who were feeling anything but festive this morning. Opening ten minutes late, snapping at customers who knocked on the door pointing out it was after 9 o’clock. My breakfast plans were rapidly becoming brunch.
Seriously, rarely have I seen a group of individuals give less of a toss about anything. Everything was too much trouble.
And it was grey and raining. Coincidence? Well, yes, possibly, because they might well be like that all the time.

But anyway – back to my main point, which is that SUMMER hasn’t arrived in Cape Town yet. Will it ever arrive? After all, we went through a few years when winter never turned up.

I’ll make the best of it, of course. I mean, what choice do we have? But I’d much rather be at risk of sunburn than of hypothermia.

And so I googled the weather for the next seven days. And… well… I mean… just look at the state of this:

EIGHTEEN on Christmas Day? I’m going to have to wrap my kids up in  swaddling cloths. SEVENTEEN on Boxing Day? No wonder the shepherds want to come in from the fields: it’s pissing down out there.

And don’t tell me that it would be colder in the UK. Of course it would. It’s meant to be. It’s WINTER and it’s all evocative and romantic, innit?

This is not what I signed up for and I am understandably very unhappy.


That title was supposed to be a combination of ‘update’ and ‘weight’. I’m not sure it worked. Sorry about that.

We’re back in Cape Town and back with the bathroom scales that I have used to record my mass over recent times. There’s no point (in my humble scientific opinion) of using different sets of scales to weigh oneself, since unless they are regularly serviced and calibrated, bathroom scales are notoriously unreliable and will only (eventually) upset you. So sure, it’s not perfect to be using the ones upstairs Chez 6000, but at least the error in my weight is hopefully somewhat consistent.

I’m delaying the inevitable here though. The upshot is that I seem to have gained 1.7kg over the festive period. To be honest, it seems to me (if you’ll pardon the pun) that I’ve got away lightly. There was an awful lot of beer, chocolate, fish and chips and brandy all happily put away. And then there was everything after breakfast too. All for 1.8kg. Add to that the fact that – although I have kept up some modicum of activity with my steps (10000 or more each day since I was sick in November) – I haven’t been near a gym for at least a couple of weeks.

Oops. Looks like we need to make that 3 weeks.

Look, there’s still time to go before the finishing line, what with the kids off school for another 6 days, sushi tonight (that’s last night if you’re reading this today) and at least two days of extreme laziness coming up in (or near) Robertson in the intervening period. But considering what has gone before over the last month or so, I’ll very readily settle for sitting about 2kg heavier (by my bathroom scales) than before all this madness started.

Give me a fortnight to get back to where I was and then we go again. (He said, over-confidently.)

To you and yours

I think I write something like this every year at this time, but it seems reasonable to do it again. I do understand that today is a special day to many people for many reasons.

For an atheist like me, there’s nothing in the Nativity story, but that shouldn’t trouble you: least of all today.

I hope you enjoy whatever you are doing today, whatever it means or doesn’t mean for you and your family and friends.

Have a great day.


I didn’t sleep well last night, and today has been a bit bleugh because of that. I’m hopeless with sleep deprivation. Today is hot, rather humid and doesn’t feel at all Christmassy. The family of four American kids who live nearby are being very American and I actually just want to get tonight over with and try again tomorrow.

I have bought Mrs 6000 a few little Christmas gifts, and it’s just struck me that – having hidden them from (her) prying eyes – I have no idea where they are. It’s a search which must take place shortly in order that she can have some nice things tomorrow morning, but one that I have limited enthusiasm for at the moment.

As I mentioned previously, I am feeling very disorganised this year, and I’m assuming that this is a symptom of things that happened this year. I will write a blog post on that, but I’m a bit short on impetus because each time I think about doing it, I realise that it’ll be a long one and no-one will read it.

Right. Let’s get this Christmas gift treasure hunt started. Because you clearly can’t give what you can’t find.

All done?

It’s the lead up to Christmas. Religiously speaking, we don’t celebrate Christmas, although I believe that there are some who do. However, I fully admit that we have somewhat hijacked the holiday period in order to have… well… a holiday and to celebrate the end of another busy year. I’m not ashamed to behave this way: it’s a great excuse to see family and friends, and at least try to escape the slings and arrows of the frankly outrageous fortunes of the previous twelve months.

I don’t think we’re alone in this ‘borrowing’ of late December. Experience suggests that this is a practice shared with many other heathens.

I like to spread my festive period as widely as possible. Things are a little different this year, due to circumstances that I may go into sometime, but I like to have things done by yesterday – the 21st. And by ‘things’, I mean the shopping, a good spring clean of the house, the wrapping of gifts and the roasting of chestnuts*. Then I can fully relax.

So, did I manage to get all th… no. No, no I haven’t. I’m some distance from being ready, and we’re about to head off to an all-day braai in Fishhoek. And that leaves tomorrow, because the 24th is fully booked up and the reindeer traditionally bring the fat bloke in later that evening.

I want to be done. I’m not. There’s a strange sense of disorganisation  around me this year and I’m actually rather uncomfortable about the whole thing.


* it’s currently 33ºC outside. Any hot, festive foodstuffs can actually like to voetsek.