I’m back in my car park, but surely only briefly. There are, I would estimate, around 400 people at this particular sports complex this evening. Dodgeball, squash, rugby – at least two different team groups, baseball and dog agility training. (There are several dogs, as well.)

And we’re all going to have to go home when the power goes off at 8 o’clock. Training truncated. Sports shortened. Activities abbreviated. That’s a lot of people who are having their evening ruined.

It’s also going to make the traffic out of here quite horrible.

Back home 6000 miles… away, things are looking equally disrupted. But this time, it’s the weather.

The local road through to Manchester – always an early casualty in the snow – has been closed, but you’ve got to be a bit of a mindreader to know. (Or, you know, just notice that there’s white stuff on the floor and put two and two together.)

Derbyshire County Council has announced the A57 Snake Pass, a link between Sheffield and Manchester, is closed. They said in a statement the road was closed because of snow, adding: “Unfortunately the electronic signs we have on the pass are not working today.”

Please do not attempt this road or any of the others we have closed.

Ooh. Very cryptic. I got my crystal ball out and tried to work out which other roads those were, but all I came up with was the Three of Clubs. So, I’ll dutifully be avoiding that this evening.

Day 509 – Recent photos

OK. The first half of the photos from our recent (ok, not so recent now, but I have a decent excuse) trip away are now edited and up on Flickr. Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed with the overall quality. That said, it was a really hard job packing all the sheer scale of the landscape into a camera, and we were there for family time rather than photography time.

And there are one or two of them that I still quite like:

Moody stuff. Go full screen for more effect.

The second part of our trip was less landscape and more animal. But it also makes up about 80% of the photos I took. I’m on it, but with energy and concentration at a premium right now, it is going to take some time.

Please bear with me.

Day 157 – Distant vistas

I filled the car with diesel for the second time since March, chucked in the family and a camera and headed North East. I wanted to see snow on mountains. Not snow on the ground: I’m happy to leave that for the locals – who didn’t have the privilege of having it on their doorstep every winter – to queue for.

A quick trip over the Du Toitskloof Pass gave us some ok spots, but I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed. I wanted a bit more snow, a bit more drama. And that seems a little greedy given some of the views:

We could have gone much further inland towards Ceres, but that wasn’t really the plan, so we headed back through the tunnel, towards Franschhoek and then over Helshoogte to Stellenbosch.

Yeah. OK. Not bad.

From there, down to Somerset West via the (absolutely terrible) Mooiberg Farm Stall and a hope of some easy pickings on the Helderberg. But no. Horrible grey clouds hanging just around the snow line. Very disappointing. Coffee and home then.

It was a nice trip around our little corner of the Western Cape. But – photographically, at least – the whole thing could have been a bit more lucrative.

Some pics here.


Much rain expected this afternoon and evening for Cape Town and along the Southern Cape coast. This is not unusual: it’s winter. In fact, it’s rather welcome, given the shortages of water we are currently suffering. It would just be nice if it wasn’t all being dumped on us at once.


And after today, we can expect a further cold front hitting Cape Town on Thursday.

This week’s dam levels were up 4.6% from last week (to 48.1%), but given the amount of rain forecast for the next few days, we can expect an even bigger increase this coming week.

Assuming there’s anything left of the country.