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:

SNAPSCAN_20171007.jpg

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.

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.

Run and rain

First run in a couple of weeks this morning. Not all of me wanted to help out. My legs and my lungs (two parts which I have always felt are fairly integral to successful running) were particularly uncooperative and I am already pretty sure that the former are planning an agonising protest for tomorrow morning. But you don’t get anywhere without putting in a bit of effort and while today’s 6km might have taken rather longer than perhaps it should, it did still get done.

All of which brings me neatly to last night. Football last night did not get done. One minute it was on, the next, there was a downpour and the courts were underwater and the game was called off. I took the kids to the trampoline park instead and we counted all the holes in the roof as I preemptively planned our evacuation route.

But there was a lot of rain. The last 24 hours gave us 70mm at Kirstenbosch and an absolutely incredible 186.9mm at Dwarsberg – slap bang in the middle of our dam catchment areas. Kapow.

Those of you who have followed this blog over the last few years really need your heads checking will recognise what really huge news this is.

But it seems that we don’t always realise just how lucky we are. The complaints about the winter weather in Cape Town seem to have been more vocal and numerous than usual [anecdotal observation]. But this weather is just the Old Normal. We haven’t had a proper Cape Winter for a few years now, which almost cost us our city. But it also retrained our memories into thinking that what happened last night and over the last few weeks is unusual or abnormal. It’s not. That is exactly how winters used to be prior to 2016. Grey, cold, windy, wet. Who could forget the warnings we used to be given?

The severe cold, wet and windy conditions expected to spread eastwards across the Western and Northern Cape provinces this weekend could be fatal for livestock and dangerous for humans, the Cape Town Weather Office warned yesterday.
Forecaster Carlton Fillis said rainfall of up to 50mm, combined with gale-force winds and temperatures of below 15C, was especially dangerous for livestock such as goats. People should also be careful.

Always take care of your goats. Always.

Sunday looks like fun

Actually, Sunday looks like the first “proper” Cape storm of the winter.

Light your fires, batten down your beagles.

Traditionally, a large area of low pressure sits some distance to the south of the country and swings a huge arm of heavy rain towards the south west corner of Africa. That didn’t happen much during the 2015-17 drought (at least it did, but the arm often didn’t quite make landfall).

This one is going to make landfall.

The rain isn’t falling hard, but the cold front is going to take a good 12 hours to pass over the Cape and so we should expect plenty of wetness, continuing into Monday morning. Strongest wind and rain seems likely to be Sunday evening: Windguru suggests 65kph and 13mm at 8pm.

I love this sort of weather. Sadly, the worst of it seems to be set to be in darkness, limiting the ‘togging opportunities, but at least there’s the rest of the winter to look forward to, right?

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.