Rubbing it in

An incoming email from famous neo-classical composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi:

Spring is coming!
As we reconnect with nature and the world around us, Spring represents a time of looking forward; as we plant the seeds for our year ahead.
To celebrate the changing of the season, I’ve released a collection of songs inspired by the coming of Spring and it’s yours to enjoy at the link below.

And yes, he provided the link as promised. And even a countdown to the Vernal Equinox (not the meteorological one).

The thing is, he’s forgotten all about his Southern Hemisphere listeners here. Spring isn’t coming for us. In fact, if Spring is coming for them up North, we’re headed straight for Autumn. Goodbye sunshine and long summer nights, goodbye crippling heat, goodbye days on the beach, blue skies, and fresh, new growth.

Hello winter storms, roaring fires, copious red wine, and (apparently) disconnecting with nature and the world around me. Oh, and the 2024 Euro Championship.

Of course, those of you who know me will also know that I have no issue with any of this. Because why on earth would I?

Happy Spring (or Autumn) to each and every one of you.


I mean, we were warned. And that Level 6 warning was upped to a Level 9(!) for the Overberg.

But that was the one of the biggest, wettest storms to hit the Western Cape in the (almost) 20 years that I have lived here. Cape Town was bad (really bad), but a bit further south and east was worse.

Bredasdorp is completely cut off, as are Struisbaai, Arniston and Elim. But that doesn’t make a lot of difference, given that Cape Town to Caledon seems to be impossibly impassable as well. We were planning to go out to Agulhas this coming weekend, but now that all clearly depends on how quickly stuff drains down there.

The N2 has disappeared a bit at Bot River.

The road to Struisbaai

The road to Bredasdorp

Even the alternative routes around these problem areas are closed. Stormsvlei, Napier, Stanford – all no through roads at the moment.

Nearer home, as the weather gradually began to improve, we headed down to the V&A Waterfront, where I took this in the somewhat gloomy light.

No Galaxy A33 5G here. This was taken with an actual camera.

Sunshine tomorrow, we are told. We need it.

Incoming (Volume 17)

Today is lovely. Blue skies, slight breeze, swallows swooping up above.

But remember how I predicted the end of winter about 5 weeks ago? In retrospect, that was funny because it’s been crap weather ever since. And I then said something of the lines of:

Actually, we want spring to come at the normal time, which is probably about a month from now. Because while the dams might be nice and full (99.6% this week, down from 100.4% last week, to be exact), we need them to be like that in the middle of September too, when spring should start.

Well, we’re there now, the dams are still full, and while there are a few signs that Spring is on the way, Winter is going to have one (last?) blast at us this weekend, but weirdly, in a Summery kind of way.

There’s a cut-off low expected from tomorrow through until Monday. More often seen in warmer months (which this is not), cut-off lows are characterised in the Western Cape by gale force South Easterly winds and heaps (and heaps) of rain. Experts will tell you that water is not known for its heaping properties, so if the rain is making heaps, you know that there’s a lot of it.

People in the know have been bouncing around numbers like 100mm and 90kph for the precipitation and the gusting winds. Those are fairly significant numbers at any time, but especially when our local ground is already saturated from a seemingly endless winter and our local trees have been battered very recently.

Will that be it then, though? Winter weather-wise? Well, while* there’s nothing nasty in the immediate aftermath of this long weekend’s fun and games:

You’d be hard-pushed to suggest that an average high of 20 would constitute a definite return of Spring to Cape Town.

But at least there’s the sight of a yellow blob each day from Tuesday onwards.

Maybe… just maybe… warmer times are ahead.

* argh! accidental alliteration. awkward.

Not yet, please

The weather has turned in Cape Town, and after a long, wet, cold winter, it would seem that spring is on its way. This oak tree in Constantia certainly thought so yesterday:

The trouble is – and hear me out on this one – we don’t really want it to be spring just yet.

[Capetonian people arrive en masse Chez 6000 with pitchforks and flaming torches]

No. Actually, we want spring to come at the normal time, which is probably about a month from now. Because while the dams might be nice and full (99.6% this week, down from 100.4% last week, to be exact), we need them to be like that in the middle of September too, when spring should start.
And if there’s going to be no more decent rain, that isn’t going to happen.

Also, it’s no secret that when it doesn’t rain, Capetonians use more water, so there will be a compound reduction of the amount of stored water we have going into what we’re told will be a long, hot dry summer.

Of course, this is just what climatologists and meteorologists are telling us, using their years and years of collective training and education, their cutting-edge computing models, and their interactions and collaboration with experts around the world.

You might well hear something different from your mate Keith, who has read something on Facebook. And we must thank Keith for taking some time out to share his thoughts on this, busy as he is also being an expert on Eurasian geopolitics, the New World Order paedophile network, cryptocurrency, and the reasons why Elon Musk is a “great guy”.

But I digress… often.

All I’m saying is that while it’d lovely to have a bit of nice weather right now, starting spring this early will have unpleasant knock-on effects in March and April. And I know that might seem a long way off at the moment, but we’ll look back on this post once we get there’re in the midst of heatwaves and water restrictions, just so I can say I told you so*.

* I won’t do that**

** OK, I might do that

Is it Spring yet?

Well, as we’ve said before on here, yes. But actually, no.

But if it’s not quite here yet, it’s certainly coming very soon. I can’t recall a year when I’ve noticed so many things in nature are just “ready to go”. The plants, the weather, the birds… they all seem to be priming themselves in preparation for the joyful explosion that is the end of winter.

And indeed, from my current position atop the deck at the cottage, while I have my warm top on because the wintery wind is rather chilly, it’s also serving a dual purpose in preventing my neck from getting burned by the springtime sunshine. Being from Northern climes and a mix of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic bloodstock, I have to take things a little carefully in the powerful African sun, especially when it hasn’t been around for a few months.

But the yellow-billed kites are back and the greater striped swallows are here, whizzing around me (not sure of their unladen velocity), the bulk carriers are rounding the southern tip of Africa at a safe 10 nautical miles, on their way from China to Nigeria, and Durban to Fortaleza (technically not necessarily a spring thing). There’s a Cape Weaver begging for some of my loadshedding lunch of some chips (crisps) and a Black Label. And across the way, two male Rock Kestrels are fighting for the attentions of a female of the species.

We’re nearly there.

But even as I type, the weather is turning for the worse. Nothing dramatic, but it’s noticeable that there is more white water on the ocean that when I came up here an hour ago (no, I haven’t been blogging the whole time), and the wind is definitely getting up. I have no worries for the evening braai, though. The cottage was designed to be protected against both the ubiquitous southeasters of summertime and the vicious northwesters of winter. So somewhere in between, as we find ourselves right now, should be no problem at all.

Apologies for any typos: the sun is actually ridiculous now and I can’t see a thing.

I think it might be summer already.