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.

 

It’s tea

Sheffield thing No. 3?

I love this map showing what the main evening meal is called in various parts of England. I love it because there’s such a definitive line right across the middle of the country.

Basically, up North, it’s called “Tea”, and down south, it’s incorrectly called “Dinner”.

Down in South Africa, being a ridiculously long way into the second category, it’s also known as dinner, and it’s something that I’ve had to reluctantly adopt merely so that other people can understand me.

Still, it will always be tea to me – even when I’m eating dinner.

Sheffield Things 1 (and 2?)

The first response to my appeal for suggestions for blog posts for while I’m away was this one.

It’s Alex Turner of Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys doing a quick interview with Radio 1 – and look what he brought along with him:

It’s a bottle of Sheffield’s own Henderson’s Relish.

You can do a lot of things with Henderson’s Relish, but I’ve never seen it used as a guitar slide before.

A sound right out of the Steel City in every possible way.

Thanks, Dr F.

Crosspool view

Just because I stumbled across it on my Flickr and felt like posting it.

The light was awful, the editing is equally bad; it’s far, far from being a great photo. But I was struck by the fact that despite living here for 17 years, walking these same streets day in, day out, one quick flight with the Mavic and I saw a view of the place that I had never ever seen before.

I love that it gives the impression that the A57 is some near-Parisian tree-lined boulevard, and that my childhood suburb is perched on a cliff overlooking the City Centre. Neither of these things are true, of course, but looking at this here, they could be.

There are currently no plans for a return visit to Sheffield in the foreseeable future, so any vernal version of this shot will have to wait.

If you want to see more aerial views of suburbia (and more) from our visit last September, you can find them in my Sheffield 2017 Flickr album.

Kaiser

My brother’s dog died yesterday. It was very sudden and completely unexpected, but at least it was peaceful. We’re obviously all very sad, especially the kids who were really looking forward to seeing the dogs and rest of the family in a couple of months time.

Kaiser was a lot of dog: 55kg of prime Rottweiler – potentially terrifying. But once you got to know him, it was clear that he was just a gentle giant: loving, patient, kind, good-natured.

However, for me, Kaiser wasn’t just a big softie. He was the dog that changed my view on the whole species.
I had several bad experiences with dogs when I was younger: indeed, I can still show you the scars. And when I see people backing away from the beagle when we’re out walking, I completely understand where they are coming from, even though I know that she wouldn’t harm a fly.

I used to feel that way too.

Kaiser’s gentle nature made the difference for me. It’s almost like he was a willing, knowing ambassador for dogkind. He had such obvious power, but with it, such restraint and understanding. A great example of how it’s the training, care and management of potentially dangerous breeds that makes all the difference, rather than the breed itself.

Kaiser was much-loved and doted-upon, not just by my brother and his wife, but also my Mum. Having the dogs visit was the highlight of her day when she had cancer. And Kaiser doted on her as well.

Looking back through photos on Facebook and on the family Whatsapp group, it’s clear that my brother and his wife gave Kaiser a great life. Just in the last couple of months, he was running free on beaches, through the snow, in the woodlands. Not bad. Not bad at all. If you were a dog, you’d want to be a Kaiser.

He will be sorely missed over here in Cape Town, as well as back home in Sheffield.