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. 

Sunday looks like fun

Actually, Sunday looks like the first “proper” Cape storm of the winter.

Light your fires, batten down your beagles.

Traditionally, a large area of low pressure sits some distance to the south of the country and swings a huge arm of heavy rain towards the south west corner of Africa. That didn’t happen much during the 2015-17 drought (at least it did, but the arm often didn’t quite make landfall).

This one is going to make landfall.

The rain isn’t falling hard, but the cold front is going to take a good 12 hours to pass over the Cape and so we should expect plenty of wetness, continuing into Monday morning. Strongest wind and rain seems likely to be Sunday evening: Windguru suggests 65kph and 13mm at 8pm.

I love this sort of weather. Sadly, the worst of it seems to be set to be in darkness, limiting the ‘togging opportunities, but at least there’s the rest of the winter to look forward to, right?

Cape Town beagle warning

Today’s weather is utterly perfect in Cape Town, but local beagle owners are warned that the forecast for the rest of the week is much less peachy – and Monday in particular looks like being the antithesis of today’s glorious sunshine and calm conditions.

Thus, local beagles may present tomorrow with flappy ears, damp fur and muddy paws. It is recommended that beagles take a basket day and spend the daylight hours dozing somewhere safe and warm indoors and the nighttime hours… er… also dozing somewhere safe and warm indoors.

Goat owners are urged to take the usual precautions.

Thursday

Not today, obviously. Today is… [checks]… Today is Monday, and all is well.

Still, if all continues to go well (and, given the way this country “works”, that’s certainly not guaranteed), Thursday is but… [checks]… three days away. And it’s going to be a bit wet and wild by all accounts.

I went to my usual contacts and looked to see just how large this allegedly “large” winter storm was going to be, and here’s what I found:

Grey bit on the left: South America. Grey bit on the right: Africa.
Quite a lot of the intervening South Atlantic: large winter storm.

Blimey.

I felt compelled to break into song:

According to all sources (what sources now),
The street’s the place to go (we better hurry up).
‘Cause [Thursday in the early hours] for the first time (first time)
Just about half-past [two] (half past [two])
For the first time in history
It’s gonna start raining… er… rain.

It’s raining rain, hallelujah!
It’s raining rain, amen!

Just for absolute clarity, I have changed a couple of the lyrics because nothing relating to this story is happening tonight, just about half past ten. No, the first rain is actually more likely to fall sometime after midnight going into Thursday morning. And this won’t actually be the first rain in history, because there has been rain previously. Although not very much since 2014.

One of the few bits that I didn’t change was the advice about the street being “the place to go”. However, with hindsight, I probably should have done something about this. It does seems like a very bad idea when you consider it more carefully. The forecast winds are such that there could actually be some structural damage, and so I’d actually feel much better if you were all safely tucked up somewhere inside. In fact, given the possible severity of this storm, the street actually seems to be one of the worst possible places to go. I don’t know which sources were being quoted in the song, but they seem poorly informed and probably not worth listening to. Still, we’re all adults here and we can make our own decisions. I’m just saying that going to the street wouldn’t be one of mine.

Currently, it appears that this large winter storm isn’t nearly as large as the large(r) winter storm which came through last June. And that’s probably why we’re not really panicking about it just yet. That was the largest storm to hit Cape Town since 1984, whereas this will only be the largest storm to hit Cape Town since that one did.

That day, according to all sources, Kommetjie was the place to go and so I spent the afternoon down there ‘togging waves. But that was actually really great advice and so they must surely have been different sources from the ones above.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the approaching nastiness for the next couple of days, so why not pop to Facebook and hit that like button (if that’s something you’re into, 2018-style) to be kept up to date with that and other stuff on the blog?