Day 349 – Rain and a new editor

I’m trying to be positive about this house we’ve bought in this strange but beautiful little enclave of the Southern Suburbs (which really isn’t like Royston Vasey) (or at least that’s what I keep trying to convince myself).

One day, it will be a great home – and I know that it’s really early days – but the constant setbacks and extra invoices that they seem to unerringly generate, well, they’re getting me down a little.

Today was the first day of rain since we’ve moved here; the first day of real rain this year, I think (the first 69 days of this year seem to have whistled past without generating any significant meteorological memories). Its imminent arrival meant that the pool guys had to abandon their work early yesterday, and thus we’re left with a partially completed, partially filled pool at the moment. Hopefully things improve enough for them to be back tomorrow to finish the job.
That’s going to look really good.

I spent a lot of the morning finding leaking roofs and windows. Seven in total, and only two really bad ones, but that’s seven (and two) too many. Let’s be nice and not talk about the legalities of disclosure. On the positive side, I guess that this early, single cold front does give us the chance to try to attend to the issues before the proper onset of proper winter. I have a feeling that I’m going be up ladders for much of the remainder of the week. But things need to dry out before I can start chucking waterproofing chemicals around.

Lastly, away from all this house stuff, I’m finally giving WordPress’ Block Editor a go, dragging myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century. If you’re reading this and words in all order are, then it would seem that I have mastered it already. Intuitive UI FTW!

Day 105, part 2 – And perhaps a loadshedding side salad, Sir?

If the massive cold front hitting Cape Town this morning was the starter, and the ongoing virus pandemic was the main course, might I be able to offer you a side salad of loadshedding with your meal, sir?

Side salad because it doesn’t require a microwave or oven, because yes, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha was on the radio this morning telling us that:

The generation system is constrained due to the cold front… some of the generation units have broken down. There is a high probability of load shedding during the evenings between five and nine, starting today.

These machines – as we keep reminding the people of South Africa – are quite unreliable and prone to break down when they’re run hard.

We’re seeing high demand due to the cold front. We’ve had to use all our resources – including burning diesel… Even that may not be enough…

Unbelievabeagle.

As the old saying goes: It never rains… (although it clearly does and it clearly is).

So dig out your candles and your blankets and please switch off anything electrical that you don’t need (because maybe we could still avoid this if demand drops enough).

Here’s the PDF of the Cape Town schedule that you’ve buried at the bottom of the kitchen drawer, and it looks like Stage 2 would knock off Areas 3, 4 and 5, 11, 12 and 13 at some point this evening.

Bugger. Thank goodness the good football was on last night

Aside: And it was so, soooo good. 

Anyway, if we are actually running through some sick, twisted menu as described above, I’m going to pass on dessert this time around, thank you very much.

Just the bill, please. And don’t expect a tip.

 

Day 103 – “Eventful” Thursday

I knew that there was a winter cold front coming through to Cape Town this week. I didn’t know it was a winter cold front like this though…

“The entire weather community in South Africa has eyes on the mammoth cold front developing in the South Atlantic. This system, arriving Thursday, promises to bring heavy rains and widespread snow to a great deal of SA and even Namibia if the system stays on track.
Our forecasts show this system is not only staying on course but is also strengthening substantially and should make for one of the most eventful winter weekend in Southern Africa in many years.”

Ooh.
And yes,that MASSIVE bank of white stuff off the coast of South America is heading our way.

And I’m not saying that it’s going to be big (although it is), but even Cape Agulhas Municipality decided to teach their residents about the basics so that they could be ready, with awesome lines such as this:

Descriptions: Snow
Snow is precipitation in the form of flakes of crystalline water ice that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material.

Amazing. Who knew?

I’ll be keeping an eye on this (the weather, not the description of snow) as it approaches and update again tomorrow.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay warm.

Day 91 – Title-less

The sky is getting darker, the wind is blowing ever more strongly and the temperature is dropping ever so slowly.

There’s a storm front coming
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming
Small craft warning on the radio

So sang Billy Joel. Mind you, he also famously claimed that

We didn’t start the fire

And as you will read below, that’s actually something I fully intend to do just now.

Yes, there’s another Cape cold front on the way in. It’s not a huge one, but it has been sitting just to our south west for a few hours now, teasing us about its imminent arrival. It’s coming in two parts: one today and one on Saturday. Much like the UK’s coronavirus problem, it seems likely that the second wave will be the worse of the two, but much like South Africa’s coronavirus problem, that assumes that we’ll make it through the initial wave first.

As ever, I have battened down the beagle and I will be lighting the fire presently. But I’m tired and I’ve been making silly mistakes all day. It wouldn’t surprise me if I have actually battened down the fire, so I will double-check before I stick a paraffin-laced cube of white stuff anywhere.

I’m listening to 6 Music on what would have been the prelude to the Glastonbury 2020 weekend. Obviously, that’s not happening for viral reasons, but they have been celebrating what has gone before and what would have been, with some really uplifting, joyful, positively emotive music.

I don’t think that the currently wonderful weather in the UK is helping those people who had tickets for the Festival this year either. It would have been fantastic. And while there’s obviously no substitute for actually being there, I would have still enjoyed watching it in big bold 4K, 6000 miles… away in front of a smouldering hound.

In the meantime, the last bits of online schooling before the staff and students of the kids’ school get a well-deserved week off, several household chores, a bit of football, some red wine.

See you tomorrow.

Day 60 – Good morning

Not just a salutation, but also a description of how my pre-9am period has gone.

So let’s run through the happy stuff for once, shall we?

A really cool quiz last night. I’ve been quizzing for 25 years, and I played rounds I’d never done before – novel stuff. It’s made me look at how I’ve been writing quizzes during lockdown and thinking about how to break the mould. Some really good ideas, even for regular stuff like music and geography.

There was Cyril’s speech. He was on time for once, nogal. And finally, a meaningful relaxation on the lockdown, countrywide, from June 1. As predicted/hoped for here:

If the purpose was to ready the healthcare system, then whether or not we managed to do that, there is very limited purpose in keeping the lockdown on: even in Cape Town, capital of the African branch of the pandemic.

Alcohol, yes – under strict conditions. Tobacco, no – which still rankles, even as a non-smoker. Exercise when you want. Stay at home if you don’t have to go out.

But we’re getting there. This was overdue.

Overnight, the first decent storm of the winter season. Over an inch of rain, 80kph winds whistling around the house even now.

Love it. Not every day, obviously, but there’s something so cleansing about a good storm, washing away the leaves, the dirt and in this case – metaphorically, at least – the virus.

And I went out for a run in this.

It. Was. Amazing.

It may have been my favourite run ever. No worries about aresholes with no masks, because there was no-one sensible enough to be out in the gales and the rain, and even if there had have been, the wind would likely have dispersed all their infectious exhalations anyway.

Link I said: cleansing.

That fifth kilometre. Downhill. Fast*. Alone. Such a fantastic feeling of freedom.
I really needed that.

It feels like we’ve turned a bit of a corner. The virus is still wreaking havoc out there, but we are at least a bit more on top of the things that we can control.

 

* 4:32. fast for me.