Chilly, but chilled

Hello from somewhere near Touwsrivier.

Gone is yesterday’s sunshine, which we made good use of with an 11½km hike through the local nature reserve, looking for fossils and enjoying the views of the snow-capped peaks of the Matroosberg.

It’s Sunday lunchtime, and ostensibly, it’s 3 degrees outside. But with a biting northwester and horizontal rain/sleet, I’m fairly sure it will feel a lot colder out there. Even the baboons have sought shelter on the leeward side of the camp infrastructure, and they’re seriously tough guys.
It’s definitely warmer inside the tent, but not by too much. Everyone else is in their beds, sensibly enjoying the luxury strength duvets. Probably Hungarian goose.
I can see my breath in front of my face in here, and I’m sitting only a couple of metres from a wood-burning stove.

Which is burning wood, by the way.

I chose to lob on a beanie, a rainproof jacket and some shorts and go for a 6km run this morning, past the incredulous, sheltering farmworkers and out along the tracks into the Karoo. And while it was very hard work in the wind and the cold, it was also really exhilarating. I’m never going to put myself into an ice bath or even a tidal pool, but a half hour this morning with just myself and the elements was superb.

I’ve never seen my legs go that colour before, though.
I’m not even sure that there’s a name for it.

The temperature is dropping now. Not just because the sun (ha!) has past its highest point for the day, but because the post-cold front weather is moving in. We’re mentally preparing ourselves for tomorrow morning, which is now forecast to have an actual high of -1 and a “feels like” of -8.

I’m hopeful that it won’t be long before this rain turns to something fluffier and whiter, which would be a perfect end to a lovely – if bitterly, bitterly cold – family weekend away.

A long weekend away

The beaglesitter is booked.
We’re taking a longish, leisurely drive north and east (well, we couldn’t exactly go south and west, now could we?) and spending a few days inland.

There will be internet there, apparently, but if you know me, then you’ll know that I’m all about certainty, and so 6000 miles… is covered for the weekend with pre-written posts. You might not even notice: after all, you haven’t spotted that this one was written on Tuesday, have you?

Or have you?

The weather might or might not play ball, but when it rains in Cape Town at this time of year, there’s always a good chance of some snow where we’re headed, so some precipitation certainly won’t be the end of the world.

And it’s not like we’re going to be able to feel anything anyway…

“Feels like -4o

That’s going to bring back some childhood memories. But probably only for me.

Because of Cape Town’s geography, it is rare to see anything too deep into single figures, even in the middle of winter. In fact, the lowest ever recorded temperature here was only 3.1o in August 2022.

So 1o is going to be pretty… mmm… “different”.

I might pack another pair of socks.

I got chills

Thankfully, there appears to be very limited (if any) multiplication thereof.

But wow. It’s COLD in Cape Town. Beautifully sunny and crisp, but COLD. Look at this from this morning:

Ostensibly, it was 3oC before the gentle breeze straight from Antarctica kicked in. But to be honest, once you get down to that level of temperature, it becomes very hard to tell the difference between -1 and 3 anyway.

This is unusually cold for Cape Town, but then it’s been a rather unusual winter so far:

Then again, cold and wet is the default for Cape winters, so I guess that a bit colder and wetter than normal isn’t too much of a thing.

But I’m very glad for the fireplace today.

Day 156 – A last blast?

One can always tell when Spring is coming along. In the UK, it’s when you switch off your central heating. In South Africa, it’s when your wood order moves away from bluegum for the fire towards kameeldoring and rooikrans for the braai.

It’s when Capetonians stop complaining about the cold and start complaining about the wind.

We’re not there yet.

Because it is still cold. Today is a freezing (ok, it’s 9.7ºC but we’ve covered this), wet, grey day with a strong, squally breeze that feels like it has come straight from the Antarctic. It’s a day for fortified red wine, a good fire, a thick duvet, some hearty soup and making sure that your local shelter has enough resources to provide some beds and meals for those who don’t have those luxuries described above.

I do have a plan to wrap up warmly and drag the beagle around the block at some point, but there is – perhaps understandably – a degree of canine resistance to that idea right now.

And so, for the moment, I’m being lazy and staying put. Maybe I’ll have a last blast on FIFA 20, maybe I’ll try and find some sort of live sport to watch, maybe I’ll even contemplate (and follow through on) an afternoon nap. And I won’t feel guilty about not getting out and “doing stuff”.

Everyone needs to have a day off every now and again. And given that it is thoroughly miserable out there today, this one is mine.