Drought news

Apparently it rained a lot in Cape Town while we were away.
Well, ok. If you say so. We’ve been back for five days now and we haven’t seen any continuation of that alleged precipitation. And, looking at the forecast for the next five days, there’s only a small chance of a little bit of drizzle on Monday evening as far as I can see.

That said, some local websites are full of good news about our local big reservoir “doubling in capacity”.

For the record, this hasn’t happened. There may be a case for suggesting that the volume of water in Theewaterskloof has doubled from the worryingly low levels earlier in the year, but I have to tell you that the capacity has stayed exactly the same.

Semantics. I know. Sorry.
Pop me in Pendant’s Corner.

Meanwhile, another blog helpfully tells us how this whole sorry situation  came about (it didn’t rain):

And how the reservoir “fought back from the brink” (it rained):

It’s fascinating, incisive stuff. But I do appreciate that it’s all a bit technical, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to keep up.
That’s why we have experts for this sort of thing. And that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

Don’t get me wrong though. No matter how shitty the reporting, it is great that we’ve moved forward from what we saw when we went out there in February.

But drought isn’t a purely Capetonian thing. Take a look at Sheffield’s local reservoir, which also supplies Derby, Nottingham and Leicester:

It’s looking scarily similar to scenes we’ve seen here recently. In the distance, you can see one of the towers of the Derwent Dam, which should look like this:

There’s a lot more dam wall on show in that top image than there should be.

Sheffield isn’t quite at the point of water restrictions yet, although other places in the UK are about to be (and Northern Ireland was, but isn’t any more).

As for Cape Town, our Level 6b water restrictions are still in place. We’re out of the woods, but we still can’t afford to be complacent. And the city council are going to ensure we remember that by charging us a ridiculous amount for the water that we use.

But I can understand their caution in not cutting the restrictions just yet. When they do, water use is inevitably going to spike and it would be seen as a huge own goal to have to reinstate the restrictions once they had relaxed them.

Perhaps what they should do is to double the capacity of all our dams.
That would make a huge difference.

As long as it rained.


“Olympian uses pig’s blood for revenge on lover”

…and other Sky News stories.

For many people, that headline would be enough. Not for me.

I want to delve deeper. I want to know more.

Fortunately, Sky News has obliged with further bizarre details.

Lizzie Purbrick, who competed as a showjumper in the 1980 Games, said she had used a key to get into the south London home of former lover David Prior.
The two, both separated from their married partners, had been in a relationship for several years that she had thought “had longevity”, according to her lawyer Simon Nicholls.

Look, I’m not that sort of guy, but I do understand that some relationships do break down, people find other people, people move on.

To a point, anyway.

But when the 63-year-old saw Lord Prior in the arms of another woman… she sought revenge, Camberwell Magistrates’ Court heard.


On 9 May, she used a key to get into the home and used a garden sprayer and several litres of pig’s blood to cover the walls with phrases, including “whore”, “lady s***” and “big d*** lord”.

Right. Several (or more) questions are raised here. Practicality is foremost amongst them. A garden sprayer has a very fine nozzle and pig’s blood is not the most watery of liquids. There is viscosity there. Even more so when one considers the coagulation of any mammalian blood when exposed to air. To be able to spray pig’s blood all around Lord Prior’s South London home with a garden sprayer would surely have demanded some quality organisational skills. Some sort of anticoagulant, or just a pig readily available on site to ensure an extremely fresh supply of porcine claret, regularly topped up.

Am I alone in thinking that the pig might not be wholly onside with this?

And then, as for writing in it… Wow, that must take some skill.

Have you ever tried writing with a garden sprayer? Even allowing for a huge font (the size traditionally favoured by jilted lovers to scrawl insults across walls), you’re looking at needing a Volume Median Diameter for the blood droplets of perhaps 400 microns. Otherwise you’re going to get drift – even indoors. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that their weird slogans were legible.

And then, what of those slogans? “Whore” is straightforward, but is that second one “slag”, “slut” or “shit”? Or something far less inflammatory, like “spud, “sofa” or “sigh”?

We’re all left wondering.

And then “big d*** lord”? Presumably, she is channeling Darth Vader here, because I can’t think of any other Dark Lords off the top of my head.

He has failed her for the last time.

The court heard that she had chosen pig’s blood because Lord Prior “liked pigs”.

Oh. Right. Yes. Obviously.

Purbrick, of King’s Lynn in Norfolk, also drew a penis on the floor and left a cheque for £1000 before leaving.

And therein lies the most confusing aspect of this whole sorry situation. Why the £1000, and moreover, where the hell did she get a cheque from? Do people still have chequebooks? Lizzie Purbrick clearly does. How very historic. Quaint, even.

Her handiwork was discovered when a neighbour noticed blood seeping through from underneath the door.

To be fair, when you see blood seeping under a door, a madwoman spraying filthy graffiti around her ex-lover’s apartment with basic horticultural equipment is probably the best outcome you could wish for.

When she appeared at court on Tuesday, she admitted one charge of criminal damage.
Mr Nicholls said his client had described the incident as “cathartic” and had since “moved on”.

I wonder what the pig is thinking?

District judge Susan Green sentenced Purbrick to 120 hours community service and imposed a restraining order, describing the slogans in the home as “highly abusive” and “quite appalling”.

Yes. I can see that being sanguigraphically accused of being a Sith Lord would be troubling for anyone. And that Lady Spud thing suggests that his new lover might be a bit… lumpy.

But still… a chequebook?

Cape Town Loadshedding 2018

I would really rather not be writing this one.

Yep. Loadshedding is back. Not wet coal or no coal or breakdowns or corruption this time. This is strike action, although some believe it should be called something entirely different:

Because yes, this electricity shortage is because the workers aren’t happy about not getting a pay rise this year. But whatever terminology you wish to use, it’s the everyday people of the country that will suffer.

Which brings me to my next point: if you are in Cape Town, when might you be likely to suffer?

Here’s the information you need, in handy PDF form.

To work out when you might expect the lights to go out. And the TV, during the World Cup. Or the rugby, you smarmy egg-chasers. Yeah, that grin disappeared pretty quickly, didn’t it?

Using the schedule isn’t exactly rocket surgery. Use the map to find the numbered area in which you live or work (or intend to watch the sport), then match the date on the timetable below to see when you can expect the misery of a rolling blackout.

If you’re outside any of the gaily coloured areas on the map, then you need to go to the Eskom website to get your schedule.

Your Wednesday Thursday storm briefing

(Following on from your Monday Thursday storm warning and your Tuesday Thursday storm update.)

Hello, Thursday Storm fans (I’m looking at you, UtianG).
Another day, another lot of isobars.

It’s still coming; it’s still fairly large: there’s been no further relief on the pressure side of things since yesterday’s post. It has been slightly delayed by the traffic from the stop/go system for the roadworks near Tristan da Cunha, and thus we should only expect the worst of the rain late morning tomorrow.

Looking out of my lab window at the cloudless , windless Cape skies this morning, it’s hard to believe that we’re all going to die horribly there’s a cold front just 24 hours away. It’s all so calm and peaceful. And dry.

Here’s the latest synoptic chart, and while we’re all looking at what’s approaching the Western Cape tomorrow, it would be foolish to ignore that second low pressure area behind it which is making its way eastwards across the South Atlantic. At the moment, it looks like that’s going to hit the Cape overnight on Sunday and into Monday, ruining what was already going to be a pretty crappy morning for us all anyway. It’s not going to be as big as tomorrow’s excitement, but it’s a long way off and it does have the potential to change track and give us a proper battering.

But let’s get through tomorrow first, with Windguru predicting almost 40mm of rain over 24 hours for the Mother City, followed by an entirely dark, damp and dreary Friday.

Stay safe, drink red wine, toast a beagle on your log fire and do a crossword. Look after those who don’t have your luxuries: you can donate a bed for 5 nights at The Haven Night Shelter for just R60 without even leaving your chair. Click here and do your bit. I have. Or use Snapscan:

And please share this post (use the buttons below) and get others to do their bit as well.

And then come back for tomorrow’s post entitled:

Damp Squib: What Was All The Fuss About?


Sweet Baby Jesus. We Are Actually All Going To Die!

depending on the prevailing meteorological conditions.

Thursday storm update

Windguru is still shouting about TONNES of rain and 80kph gusts of northwesterly air in Cape Town on Thursday morning, but a quick look at the synoptic charts for the South Atlantic actually indicate that things have calmed down just a little out there [points westsouthwest].

Now, I’m not doubting Windguru. It is, after all, the self-proclaimed guru on these sort of things. But there’s no doubt that the centre of that low pressure area is more diffuse and not as deep as it was yesterday.

If I was a betting man (I’m not), I’d be wondering about whether (no pun intended) this one is not going to pass a little further south than the original forecasts originally forecasted. That would mean that we’d just catch the tail end of the cold front, and that it might not be quite as bad as we were expecting.

I am going to add a couple of provisos here though: firstly, I’m not a professional weather forecaster. Some would say I’m not professional at all, and there are times when I’d find it difficult to argue with them. Secondly, “not quite as bad as we were expecting” is relative, as we were actually expecting it to be really, really bad. So even if I’m right, it might still be really bad.

Of course, the closer the actual event, the more accurate the forecast can be. And that’s why we’ll be having another look at this tomorrow. Follow on Facebook here and don’t miss this (possibly) incisive commentary on the approach of (possibly) the biggest storm of the year.