It’s always good when I’m sitting outside with my laptop, but I’m struggling to see the screen because of the filtered sunshine coming through the slatted roof of the braai area. But while many people might be all geared up for summer holidays, I’m yet to feel the vibe: iffy health, cancelled family visits and wildly uncontrollable virus numbers are really dragging me back. Oh, and the weather has generally been slow to kick in as well.
So today, with the unforecast sunshine and gentle westerly breeze seems to have bucked the recent trend and it does seem like summer might have arrived. For the last hour or so, at least.
Still, I’ll take it. Especially as I’ve just seen what’s coming in from the South Atlantic…
That’s the view from the deck right now. My filtered sunshine has already disappeared, and it looks like I’ll be heading back inside for shelter shortly. This is really not helping me get into the holiday spirit.
I might have to go back to relying on beer and braaivleis.
Obviously, I’m not talking about that sort of address though. President Ramaphosa addressed the nation last night at 8pm (he was on time again) on “developments in the response to Covid-19”.
He’d clearly had a good look at my post from a couple of days ago and essentially based his entire 45 minute monologue around it. The good news of the vaccine, the concern about the figures in Nelson Mandela Bay (which will surely spread from there), the apparent blasé attitude of those suffering from what he kindly described as “Covid fatigue” and not “pure stupidity”, and the massively incorrect Business Insider story about going back to Level 2.
For me, the address demonstrated the difficult balancing act between controlling the spread of the virus (which pretty much every decent economist worldwide agrees is key to re-establishing economic growth* and whatever passes for normality wherever you are) and attempting to keep the battered economy from crashing completely.
So on the one hand, we have Cyril telling us to behave responsibly, wear masks, wash our hands and not attend big parties, and on the other, he’s opened the national borders and removed the restrictions on sales of alcohol. It seems contradictory – it is contradictory – but there are reasonable grounds for both approaches. I’m just painfully aware that while the government is certainly not the best at making sensible decisions regarding Covid (or anything else), putting the responsibility into the public’s hands is not likely to be much of an improvement.
Basically, it’s not going to go well either way, and it never was.
We still have the anti-mask brigade shouting about pore sizes and oxygen deficiency, with data that they gathered from some Facebook page based in the Republican heartlands of the Southern US. Never mind that it’s easily proven incorrect: that’s just the New World Order brainwashing you so that they can install Sharia Law and mandatory vaccination with Bill Gates’ 5G chips through the back door**.
And while the international borders are open, it remains to be seen if anyone will come down here for summer. I can actually see it happening to a certain degree: a nice cheap trip down to the sunshine after a shitty year. But a lot of the locals will be staying here anyway: there’s already a lot of chatter about the Garden Route and Southern Cape being booked up for the entirety of the summer break. Masks and social distancing don’t happen in the small towns, which wasn’t so much of an issue while they were not invaded by hundreds of thousands of city folk and their virus. So what could go wrong with crowded beaches, pubs, towns and restaurants in small towns to the east?
And so our next peak – should it not all go off in the next few weeks from PE – will likely be in January. Because people are not going to behave themselves sensibly over the holiday period.
What happens then, with the economy already shafted and schools, universities and businesses just about to go back for the new year?
*we didn’t have any of that BTV anyway. ** I’d much prefer an intramuscular injection, but I suppose suppository form is just another way in.
With wall-to-wall sunshine, a fridge full of Milk Stout, a wine rack full of… well… wine, together with limited internet, it’s fairly easy to relax down here in Agulhas.
Yesterday was a day for one of those trips through to the Black Oystercatcher for great food and great wine, and a meandering journey through the National Park stopping to try and spot various wildlifes along the way. Most of the wildlifes were birds, including two new species for me – the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) and a Denham’s Bustard (Neotis denhami). I don’t keep records of these things like some people do, but I like to know what I’m looking at, and it’s always interesting to see something different.
We thought that we’d try to add some flamingoes to the list on the local salt pan, but it was entirely devoid of any birdlife. Still, it did allow for some interesting photography opportunities.
I’ll upload more when I get back to just 6000 miles from civilisation… (although if you can’t wait,there’s always Instagram).
Today is all about rockpools, beagle walks, fish ‘n’ chips, afternoon naps and beers by the braai.
We came back from Cape Agulhas a day early. The weather was not looking like it was going to improve, the traffic looked like it was going to be horrendous and it’s actually been good to have a little bit of time at home before I head back to the laboratory tomorrow. In actual fact, we only really lost a few hours, given that we only left late yesterday evening.
It meant that we could still get out for 5km along the beach at Suiderstrand, grab a photo of a windswept Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea):
…and have a lunch with some truly terrible service in L’Agulhas before heading off. And we were still home before sunset. Cape Town summers, ne?
Rather than sit inside and blog all afternoon, we went for a family picnic in Kirstenbosch. And now I’m off to build some of this with my boy. So this is all you’re getting for today.
Greetings from the bedroom at the cottage. No. I’m not sharing any photos or a live video feed. This isn’t that sort of website. I’m just sheltering from the midday sun and the heat (and the wind) as we approach midsummer’s day here in the Deep South. Outside is bright yellow sand, stunning turquoise ocean and sharp green fynbos. It’s almost too much to take in. Even the beagle has given up and fallen asleep on the beanbag in the living room.
Still, earlier, time was spent perusing the rockpools on the local beach. There are plans afoot to go and see the new Icon at the Southernmost point “soon”. Later, there will be a braai, some beer and some brandy. And then sundowners and maybe (maybe) a timelapse as evening falls. It’s well-deserved downtime after a hectic year.
And yet you still get a daily blog post. That’s service, hey?