Day 156 – A last blast?

One can always tell when Spring is coming along. In the UK, it’s when you switch off your central heating. In South Africa, it’s when your wood order moves away from bluegum for the fire towards kameeldoring and rooikrans for the braai.

It’s when Capetonians stop complaining about the cold and start complaining about the wind.

We’re not there yet.

Because it is still cold. Today is a freezing (ok, it’s 9.7ºC but we’ve covered this), wet, grey day with a strong, squally breeze that feels like it has come straight from the Antarctic. It’s a day for fortified red wine, a good fire, a thick duvet, some hearty soup and making sure that your local shelter has enough resources to provide some beds and meals for those who don’t have those luxuries described above.

I do have a plan to wrap up warmly and drag the beagle around the block at some point, but there is – perhaps understandably – a degree of canine resistance to that idea right now.

And so, for the moment, I’m being lazy and staying put. Maybe I’ll have a last blast on FIFA 20, maybe I’ll try and find some sort of live sport to watch, maybe I’ll even contemplate (and follow through on) an afternoon nap. And I won’t feel guilty about not getting out and “doing stuff”.

Everyone needs to have a day off every now and again. And given that it is thoroughly miserable out there today, this one is mine.

Day 103 – “Eventful” Thursday

I knew that there was a winter cold front coming through to Cape Town this week. I didn’t know it was a winter cold front like this though…

“The entire weather community in South Africa has eyes on the mammoth cold front developing in the South Atlantic. This system, arriving Thursday, promises to bring heavy rains and widespread snow to a great deal of SA and even Namibia if the system stays on track.
Our forecasts show this system is not only staying on course but is also strengthening substantially and should make for one of the most eventful winter weekend in Southern Africa in many years.”

Ooh.
And yes,that MASSIVE bank of white stuff off the coast of South America is heading our way.

And I’m not saying that it’s going to be big (although it is), but even Cape Agulhas Municipality decided to teach their residents about the basics so that they could be ready, with awesome lines such as this:

Descriptions: Snow
Snow is precipitation in the form of flakes of crystalline water ice that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material.

Amazing. Who knew?

I’ll be keeping an eye on this (the weather, not the description of snow) as it approaches and update again tomorrow.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay warm.

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:

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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.