Weather warnings noted

It has started. It started this weekend. Subtly.
It started on the way to the Beagle Run.

We’re heading to my homeland soon, and whenever we do that, there is mention of the prevailing meteorological conditions over there. There has to be. It’s the law.
During previous visits, we’ve had an occasional glimpse of blue skya lot of rain and even some snow. Oh, and then that fortnight where it never got above or below 3ºC and was just… very grey.
I didn’t bother with photos that time.

The weather in the UK isn’t as nice as it is in Cape Town. You know that. I know that. But Mrs 6000 still likes to remind me of the anguish her body – which is a Capetonian body – is inevitably going to have to suffer while we’re over there.

It started this weekend.
It started on the way to the Beagle Run.

At 7am on Sunday morning, somewhere near Klapmuts, she asked what the temperature was. It was 11ºC. A bright but chilly start to the South African day. I told her that it was 11ºC, despite the fact that she was driving and had the thermometer reading directly in front of her on the dashboard. Sometimes it’s just easier to play along. Because we both knew what was coming next.

And what’s the maximum temperature in Sheffield today?

She asked, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

“It’s going to be 13,” I replied, dutifully.

We both knew this, because just the previous evening, we had spotted the UK weather on Sky News, and had remarked on how it was going to be 13 in Sheffield the next day. So my answer was just for confirmation, and to allow for the mathematically simple, but utterly essential, next line.

So, just 2 degrees warmer than it is now, then?

“That’s right.”

Wow. Just two degrees warmer. And it’s only 7am here.

“Yes. Just two degrees warmer.”

And we were done. For the moment at least. The weather in Sheffield isn’t as nice as it is in Cape Town. But then, in its favour, Sheffield has water. Decent internet. Great football. Proper relish. And fewer beagles.

Don’t get me wrong. Cape Town is great too. I love Cape Town. Mountain, beaches, Milk Stout, braais, Cape Agulhas (not strictly Cape Town, but you get my drift, right?). Yes, Cape Town has lots of good things too.

It’s almost as if each city has some positives and some negatives.

Apparently, one of the negatives about Sheffield is the weather. But I grew up in Sheffield. The cold doesn’t really bother me.
Although, I’ll admit that I’m actually quite glad we’re not going this week:

Storm Aileen is expected to bring very strong winds with gusts of 50-60 mph on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. The worst of the winds, with gusts to 65-75 mph are expected to be across North Wales and the North Midlands. Longer journey times by road, rail and air are likely, with restrictions on roads and bridges. There is also a chance of power cuts, and damage to trees and perhaps buildings.

Oh come on, Aileen.

Weather-wise, all I really need while we’re there is a couple of days of calm weather to fly the Mavic. Anything else half-decent will be a bonus.

And then we can come back home and thaw.

The Qantas A380 post

After an impromptu Twitter debate yesterday evening, I have found myself photoshopping this Qantas A380 into various images in any moments of spare time this morning.

It’s a long and actually rather uninteresting backstory, but I have discovered that adding a Qantas A380 to any photo not only makes that photo better, it’s also quite a cathartic process.

Additionally, I got a couple of helpful replies from the legend that is Jules Hudson – presenter of BBC’s Escape To The Country – and all round aircraft noise avoidance technique expert (residential).

Anyway, you can look forward to occasional images with the additional of the above aircraft on here. And then you’ll see what I mean.


Landing wholly unsolicited in my inbox, a link to this page.

A page upon which a well respected – award winning even – local coffee house asks for your financial support. Have they perhaps fallen upon hard times? Doubtful, given the prices they charge. Do they want to somehow support some local charity initiative? Well, no. They want to build a new Brew Bar. Let’s have a look at their plans, shall we?

But first, the intro:

We are TRUTH. Coffee Roasting. 

We opened in 2009 and are currently located at 36 Buitenkant Street in Cape Town, South Africa.
Our cafe has won multiple international awards from newspapers including The Guardian and The Telegraph UK , who have identified it as the best in the world. Our cafe features a steampunk design and is truly one of a kind.

Ta, and indeed, Dah. Well done.

And now the reasoning behind their appeal:

As our roastery has developed, and our new product development team has blossomed, so has our need to adopt and perfect new brewing methods (think Aeropress, Drip Coffee, Cold Brew, Nitrous, etc).

Well, not really. Because “need” is a rather strong word. In fact, “choice” might fit better here. You wanted to do something different, and that’s great. But the world would have kept on turning if you’d not “blossomed” a “Nitrous” brewing method. We’re only into the first paragraph here and you’re already getting ideas above your station. This does not bode well.

This process is amongst the most exciting endeavours underway here at Truth, and we need a platform to share this project with you! After all, the overall goal is to provide ever better customer experience!

“We need a platform” = “We want some money”.
But fair play, you can’t fault that overall goal.

We do this through a brew bar. We can invite you into our developments, allowing you to broaden your caffeinated horizons and curiosities, and allowing us to streamline our processes in a way more appreciative of your wants and desires.

Woah, dude! Step back from the drug-addled, buzzword-infused marketing thesaurus and just look at that last sentence again.
What does that even mean? (No-one knows what it means, but it’s provocative.)
“Better customer experience” was just fine. The decision to then fling that perfectly reasonable phrase into your patented Jargonator™ was a massive and wholly unforced error. And the results are nothing short of a 33-word disaster. Honestly. Check yourself before you wre… oh wait.. too late.

We need R550,000!

The Best Coffee Shop In The World is crowdfunding for $40,000? Right.

At Truth we believe in quality above all else. To build something joyfully extraordinary requires time, passion and importantly, the right funding. We do not do things half-assed. We are going to build a brew bar that will truly be one of a kind.

It’s a lovely idea. Why can’t you fund it yourself?

We don’t want to give too much away, but here are some key words. Think pneumatics, hydraulics, levitation, aeronautics and of course, steampunk. 

Just for the record, aeronautics is defined as “the science or art involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of air flight capable machines, and the techniques of operating aircraft and rockets within the atmosphere”.

And levitation is “the process by which an object is held aloft, without mechanical support, in a stable position”.

Sure. Absolutely no exaggeration. Just magic at work.
Nothing to see here (that hasn’t already been seen at Hogwart’s).

You will step through a gate, onto a private platform, with your own personal barista and party, the gate will shut behind you and the entire brew bar will levitate, taking you and your friends/family into a private space, overlooking our cafe, but providing a distinctly private experience.

Ugh. “Levitate” again?

But OK. Glad you haven’t given too much away there.
No. You’ve given basically all of it away. It’s a table on a mechanical jack, isn’t it?
I take that “lovely idea” thing back. It sounds like a fairground ride. A ridiculous idea. Ridiculous and odd. Ridiculously odd. Oddly ridiculous. Ridiculously hipster. All really wanky. Right up the wacky Truth Coffee street. It will appeal to… well… it will appeal to your current clientele. Although of course, if it kicks off, then foreign tourist money will surely keep it going, especially while the ANC keeps the exchange rate at such a favourable level.

But why are you asking us to pay for it?

Crowdfunding is fine. But it’s really aimed at startups, charities, individuals or businesses that have no money and no other means of getting any. It’s not for established, profitable companies. I mean, I don’t think there are rules, and so of course you can ask. And you have. But why should the general public choose to fund your next money-making scheme? Haven’t you heard of banks? Corporate loans?

And what’s in it for us? Well, there are various rewards for your money, but give Truth Coffee R300 and they will give you 30 minutes in their new Brew Bar, watching Truth owner and much-vaunted business guru David Donde (who apparently can’t afford to fund his own new money-making ideas) (although maybe that’s why he has so much money) making you a cup of coffee.

Or, (and could we have this in bold please? We can? Great!), or your R300 could buy a bed for FIVE homeless people for FIVE nights at The Haven Night Shelter in Cape Town (by clicking here).

It’s your money and you can do whatever you like with it. I’m just saying that there might be other, better, things to spend it on.
And if you want to go along and enjoy this new physics-defying Brew Bar once it’s open (assuming we’re still here), then all power to you. Go. Enjoy.

But paying for it to be built so that an already hugely successful business can make more money on the back of it? Are you nuts?

For the record, 6000 miles from civilisation… has no ties with any other coffee store. We just think this is a really crap way to try and use your cult. 
No bitterness intended. (No sugar required.)

It’s back

After 11½ days, our phone line and internet have been restored.

All hail the technicians who slaved for literally minutes outside our property to make this happen. It’s taken so many “escalations” through various agencies that our connection must be so high that it’s in danger of getting taken out by passing aircraft.

It’s been an irritating, frustrating and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned a few things. Here they are, in no particular order.

We use the internet a lot at home. A lot.

Are we dependent on it? No, not quite. We survived, but only really because we knew that it would come back at some stage. And only then because emails could be written at home and then sent at work. If there had been no outlet like this, it would have been very difficult.

This goes for the kids too. Their school (correctly) assumes that its students will have access to the internet at home. Homework is set appropriately. And so last night, after her music lesson, my daughter sat in the school car park doing her (online) maths homework via their wifi.

It’s simply too expensive to operate on mobile data for any prolonged length of time. Look, mobile is fine for the little things, but then the little things lead to bigger things and suddenly, you’re R200 down after 30 minutes and that’s before you’ve even thought about music or video downloads or streaming. Or blogging.

I know a lot of people, especially in South Africa, don’t have the luxury of the internet at home. Much like electricity and running water (for the moment anyway), I do recognise how privileged we are. But as I mentioned somewhere when we were going through loadshedding – you adapt your life to having these things. When you suddenly don’t have them, you are far less able to cope than those who didn’t have them in the first place. As Phil Collins once quoth:

We had a life, we had a love 
But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it

I have a lot of catching up to do. Mainly music to download, videos to catch up on, but also pictures to upload, articles to read. Updates to update.

According to one source (because there were differing accounts as to what went wrong), our outage was due to copper theft. I was therefore looking forward to getting our fibre connection sorted. That was until I found that the copper thieves often nick that too, not realising that it’s not copper. Ugh.

I’m disappointed that it took so long to fix. And I do wonder how much longer it would have taken if I hadn’t chased and harried and generally badgered Afrihost and Telkom. It’s been a pain. I’ve been a pain.

I’m not home just yet (writing this during an incubation period on my experiment). But I can hardly wait until I am.

Doomed Cape Town

With all the global talk being of the upcoming nuclear war between the USA (+UK, EU, South Korea) and North Korea (+China), I wondered if that was also the biggest worry on the minds of the folk all the way down here in the bottom left corner of Africa.

I chose four things which myself and my Cape Town dwelling colleagues considered particularly worrying right now and employed the most scientific method of measuring local fear that there is: a Twitter poll.

Obviously, we had to start with the whole World War Three thing. Because that’s why we got to wondering about this question in the first place.
Perhaps equally obviously, the drought is in there. Particularly as it’s a ROASTING hot day in the Mother City today and it’s basically never going to rain ever again (tomorrow’s drizzle doesn’t count).
And then, after I stumbled across this Facebook group on the weekend, the Cape Town Tsunami had to get a mention.

Just for the record, the “warnings from multiple sources” which they cite are basically a handful of people who have dreamed about a tsunami hitting Cape Town, like Debbie for example:

A truly mericaluous escape. (What happened to your son, by the way?)

…and the word of a local charlatan Pastor who wants your money “had a vision”. If you want to read more (and you do, because it’s a deep, deep rabbit hole, go and have a look at their 73 (seventy-three) page dossier, full of reasons why the tsunami will take place (not enough people being Christians, shockingly), many details of how it will occur (big wave, mostly), and what exactly will happen:

Every time I stand in Town , Milnerton God tells me and reminds me see this tall buildings they will be completely covered with water
When I stand on Sir Lowreys pass God reminds me only those who come over this pass at that given time will be safe
Snakes will be in the water and bite the people and they will die
It’s almost like those who survive water will die by shark attack or snake bites

Hectic. Milnerton God doesn’t mess around, hey?

But I digress. Often.

The fourth option was one that has plagued the province for time immemorial: the Twitter account of Lord High Empress of the Western Cape. Like here. And here. And… er… here.

Certain individuals have long believed that one of Helen Zille’s tweets would spell the end of the Western Cape… somehow. But is that something that the general public also buy into? Our poll will tell us.

The results are in:

As we can see, the religious nutcases predicting their god-driven tsunami are the least of Cape Town’s worries. Quite rightly, too. They’re not called religious nutcases for nothing.
And nuclear war – an altogether much more likely doomsday scenario – is of limited concern to Capetonians too. Could this be a geographical thing, or is it because they are actually much more panicky about one (or both, but twitter polls don’t allow for multiple voting) of the other potential apocalyptic situations?

And it’s Helen, who takes it by a head, although if I were the drought, I’d be eyeing up a coalition with that impending nuclear war to sneak top spot.

Clearly though, the two options are troubling the majority of Cape Town citizens, and I don’t really think it’s a matter of one winning through over the other. These are obviously both issues that are of huge concern to people here.

Sadly, it seems like the only thing we can do to prevent either disaster actually happening is to cut down on the amount of water we use, and cut down the amount of Twitter that Helen Zille uses. Given the numerous failed attempts by the City Council and Mmusi Maimane respectively to achieve these goals, neither seems very likely to happen any time soon.

We’re doomed, Cape Town. Doomed.