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.

Day 77, part 2 – Buy a bed

Will this be the coldest day of the year in Cape Town?

I’m guessing (and hoping) so. We’re only just scraping into the dizzy realms of double figures. And that drops off sharply with every squall that comes through.
And while 10ºC might be balmy for a lot of other places in the real world, we don’t have double glazing or central heating or (in quite a lot of rooms) carpets.

You’d be surprised just how much of a difference that makes.

Of course, we’re not set up for these chilly conditions simply for the reason that they really don’t happen very often down here. But they are happening today and we’re hiding inside under blankets, cuddling hot-sacks and nursing hot drinks. Even the beagle is hiding in its basket, covered with blankets (and we got the model that comes pre-equipped with fur and everything).

One thing we do have is a log fire. Definitely the best thing we ever put into this house. Especially today. I’m really not sure how we’d manage with the old gas heater that was in here and cost hundreds of Rands to briefly suggest warmth to an area about 30cm in front of it. Now I chuck huge lumps of invasive vegetation into a mini furnace and prevent widespread family hypothermia.

Of course, we’re very lucky to be able to have a roof over our heads and a fire to fling logs at.

If you want to help support those who don’t have such luxuries, please consider a donation to The Haven night shelter, where as little as R60 ($3.56, £2.81) can give someone a bed for 5 nights.

Donate here or via Snapscan here:

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I’ve just donated and now I’m off to warm myself up by making some bread.

I’d suggest that you donate before whatever plans you have for the afternoon.

Monday mornings

It’s Monday. Your alarm sounds at 5:30am. Ugh.

The last seven days have been the coldest and wettest (yay!) of the year so far. It’s been one of those weeks that Cape Town housing really isn’t set up for. The ambient temperature of the water in the shower is noticeably lower than usual. It’s going to be a battle to emerge from beneath the heavy winter duvet. The beagle has written a surprisingly good motivation for the immediate construction of an indoor dog loo. We’re all in this together.

The sun rose this morning at a lazy 7:45, by which time the kids were at school and I was negotiating the tricky Claremont rush hour. We’re fewer than three weeks away from June 21st – Cape Town’s shortest day of the year:

Sunrise: 07:51 Sunset: 17:44
Day length:9:53:32

…but because of the tilt of the earth’s axis and the unchanging nature of the solar day, sunrise will continue to be later and later until July 1st, at which point we will only begin daylight at a seemingly ridiculous 7:52am.

What’s more, the boy is in the middle of his first real set of exams (first set of real exams?), and we’re knee deep in revision timetables and the associated stress. No-one wants to even be awake, let alone going to school. I had to employ some pretty radical parenting skills to get the family moving this morning.

I’ve still got nothing on this guy though:

The sun is out today, slowly wandering across the pale blue, cloudless sky. But all I can think about is an early return to the warmth of my bed.

Ready to do it all again tomorrow.

A cold

I’ve got a cold.

It’s not Ebola, it’s not “man-flu”: it’s just a cold. But it is making me feel a bit crap, and thus – especially with commitments (very) early tomorrow morning – I’m missing a braai I’d like to be at, and taking to my bed, rather than writing anything hugely meaningful here today.

In Paracetamol we trust.

Dead Pod

Worrying times here at Chez 6000. I took Colin to the vet yesterday evening, and when I got back into the car at the surgery, we were (Colin was) so busy chatting about how good it was to be out of the vet with everything apparently still intact that I quite forgot to restart the soothing music which had accompanied our journey there. And then when we got back to the house, we were (Colin was) so excited to be back home with all four legs and a tail that I quite forgot to take my iPod out of my car.

This morning, when I came to play some music on the way to work, I no longer had an iPod.
I had a Dead Pod. RIP SnoopyToo.

My first thought was that I had left it playing through the extensive collection of tunes and that the battery had given up. I have done that before, but it usually saves just enough battery power to tell me that it has no battery power. This time it was completely dead.

My second thought was that I was going to have to listen to 5fm.

I shed a tear, which immediately froze on my cheek. I may have mentioned that the current climatic conditions in Cape Town are somewhat chilly.
“Hmm,” I thought. “I wonder if that has something to do with it?”

Once at work, I plugged the iPod in, but there was still no sign of life. And so, while I left it plugged in, I did some extensive research (I googled), and apparently, chilly iPod problems are a thing:

When I got in my car on Saturday morning there was still ice all over my car and the iPod was dead, as if the battery was zilch. I put it near a heater vent to warm up while I drove, and still nothing when hooked up to the charger adapter.

I should point out here that my iPod was in a car, in a garage, on a night that only really got down to about 4.5ºC, so we were some distance off the “ice all over my car” scenario. But the symptoms were exactly the same.

Apple says that the operating temperature range of its iPod Classic is -20°C to 45°C. At no point is Cape Town going to trouble the lower end of that scale, although summer will easily top the high end. However, last night did neither.

The good news is that my iPod now seems to be fine. It wasn’t a battery issue (it’s come back to life with a near full battery), so I’m guessing that it was temperature related, despite Apple’s claims.

There’s some good advice on that thread I linked to:

Think back to those warnings you used to see on the back of 5.25″ floppy disks. “If it’s comfortable enough for you, then it’s good enough for your disk,” or something like that. Your iPod just needs to warm up, most likely.

And no. I wouldn’t have wanted to have spent last night in my car.

Welcome back, Snoopy Too.