Day 104 – Tenuous tsunami parallels

Let’s make things clear right from the start here.

I’m not saying that Cape Town is going to get hit by a tsunami.
We’ve covered that concern here: something I would strongly advise you to read if you think that people are paranoid about Covid-19. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

They walk among us.

But I digress. Often.

One of the enduring images of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami was the drawback: the water disappearing from the shorelines of beaches and resorts about to be hit by the tsunami, effectively (some would say ‘exactly’) like a huge low tide.

In some places, this drawback was up to a kilometre. And in most cases, there was good correlation between the size of the drawback and the extent of the damage caused by the tsunami that followed.

If we ignore all scientific reason for a moment and apply this clear inverse proportionality to tomorrow’s predicted storm, I think we’re in trouble. Because today’s weather in Cape Town could not be calmer or more beautiful. So still. So clear. So utterly perfect.

Not a cloud in the sky. Not a breath of wind.

If only there were some term that one could use to describe such a period of placid weather ahead of a predicted tempest.

And yet… just out there in the bottom left corner:

A frothing mass of low pressure, general misery, howling winds and all the rain we didn’t get in 2017. All due to begin tomorrow afternoon/evening and then be followed in by a second front on Sunday into Monday.

And our eyes are already on another vicious lump of nastiness heading out of Uruguay towards SA like Luis Suarez’s poor sportsmanship and bad temper in 2010.

And possibly every bit as bitey.

But let’s just get through this weekend first. Here’s what we’re expecting to see at 0800 local time on Friday morning:

Big winds, much rain, huge waves, general unpleasantness.

In all seriousness though, it does look like quite a nasty one, so please look out for your community and maybe consider helping out your local shelter, which will obviously be under more pressure than usual over the next few days.

Day 76 – Misery

It’s a completely filthy day in Cape Town. It’s poured down all night, it’s been pouring down all morning; it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s grey and it’s miserable.

And there’s no escape. No cosy pub for a lunchtime treat. No popping around to a friend’s for a coffee and a chat. No retail therapy at the local mall.

(You could probably leave me out of that last one anyway, to be honest.)

Online is a mess. Division, arguments, fighting, prejudice, goading and general bigotry.

So no escape there either.

Pathetic.

It’s one of those days when I feel complete justified in feeling a bit down. But that doesn’t mean that I have to capitulate to the negativity.

I’ve lit the fire early. I’ve had several good coffees already. I’m going to cook a moerse chili for dinner, which will occupy some time and make the house smell good. I will put some music, which will occupy my mind and make the house sound good.

I may enjoy a lunchtime glass of red wine. Try and stop me.

I also have some YouTube videos to catch up with and while I wouldn’t normally be so lazy as to do them all in one day, today seems like a bit of an exception, so that’ll be the afternoon sorted as well.

Suddenly, things seem more a little more bearable.

Talking of videos, there are some lovely images in this one: London on Lockdown – Soho by Matthias Hoene.

It’s amazing just how unsettling an empty street can be.

There are three parts to this series, but this is the best one. And it would be even better without the Scouse bloke occasionally narrating it.

So maybe mute those bits for a more enjoyable experience.

Stay warm. Stay home. Stay safe.

Day 63 – Thursday thoughts

Day 63, eh? Into 10 weeks of lockdown tomorrow then…

Winter has certainly arrived in the Cape this week. A second cold front today with 13mm of rain already this morning (it’s 9:30am). I went out and had a run in the fresh air and the precipitation, but there were some issues.

I’ve never had a problem with getting wet. When you are born and dragged up in Sheffield, rain is a very regular thing and being annoyed about it would result in a very stressful existence. (Ironically, Summer has arrived in Sheffield this week and it’s lovely over there.) However, I’ve never run in a facemask in the rain before.

Not nice.

I would imagine that it’s something akin to being waterboarded. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it really wasn’t very pleasant and I found myself involuntarily blurting out the coordinates to a clandestine terrorist base in network of caves in the Drakensberg.

I survived and made it back inside for a hot shower and a hot coffee.
Well deserved.

Talking of weather, we were one of many families who were watching the live stream of the first rocket launch from American soil in 9 years last night, until it was postponed at just “T minus seventeen minutes” because of a “strength of electrical field in atmosphere violation”.

One of the commentators mentioned “well, this is Florida in the Spring, and the risk of thunderstorms was always going to be a factor.”

And that got me thinking: why don’t they launch from somewhere else then – somewhere less likely to have a strength of electrical field in atmosphere violation?

Like Kazakhstan.

Right. I have quiz questions to write, some maths homework to do and I need to cook dinner (Uber Eats last night was such a treat – love me a night off cooking).
I think a slow-cooker sausage casserole will fit the bill for today’s ugly weather.

This is not what I signed up for

It’s Christmas. The festive season. Holiday time.
Call it what you want, but down here in Cape Town, we also call it SUMMER.

However, the weather this SUMMER has not been very SUMMERy. Rain on and off over the last week, temperatures peaking in the low 20s, cool winds blowing in off the Atlantic and making us all miserable.

This is not what I signed up for.

I signed up for SUMMER where I could be outside in the sun. Playing in the pool, lounging on a…  on a… lounger. Not running across car parks trying to stay dry. Not wearing LONG TROUSERS. IN DECEMBER.

It’s annoying other people too. Like the staff at Pick n Pay Liquor in Constantia Village, who were feeling anything but festive this morning. Opening ten minutes late, snapping at customers who knocked on the door pointing out it was after 9 o’clock. My breakfast plans were rapidly becoming brunch.
Seriously, rarely have I seen a group of individuals give less of a toss about anything. Everything was too much trouble.
And it was grey and raining. Coincidence? Well, yes, possibly, because they might well be like that all the time.

But anyway – back to my main point, which is that SUMMER hasn’t arrived in Cape Town yet. Will it ever arrive? After all, we went through a few years when winter never turned up.

I’ll make the best of it, of course. I mean, what choice do we have? But I’d much rather be at risk of sunburn than of hypothermia.

And so I googled the weather for the next seven days. And… well… I mean… just look at the state of this:

EIGHTEEN on Christmas Day? I’m going to have to wrap my kids up in  swaddling cloths. SEVENTEEN on Boxing Day? No wonder the shepherds want to come in from the fields: it’s pissing down out there.

And don’t tell me that it would be colder in the UK. Of course it would. It’s meant to be. It’s WINTER and it’s all evocative and romantic, innit?

This is not what I signed up for and I am understandably very unhappy.