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?

The Lifeboat Station Project

Great news. I haven’t had to use a lifeboat yet.
But, disclaimer: I’m writing this on a sunny June afternoon while sitting in my study in Cape Town.

Still… got to start somewhere, right?

The Lifeboat Station Project is, in the words of The Lifeboat Station Project:

… about the lifeboat volunteers, for the lifeboat volunteers.

Photography has been in Jack Lowe’s blood since he was a young boy. Aged 8, he received a Kodak Instamatic camera from his grandmother, a turning point from which he’s never looked back.

The earliest seeds of this project were sown in Jack’s childhood, when his love for lifeboats began. Much later in life, after a career in photography, Jack found himself searching for a change in direction — something that would take him away from sitting in front of computers all day!

He considered what he felt most passionate about and wrote these words on a piece of paper:

That scrap of paper — along with a lot of thinking, dreaming and planning — led Jack to the idea of travelling to all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland to photograph them, in order to preserve a vital aspect of our island nation’s culture for generations to come.

And there’s a twist! Jack works as the Victorians used to, making the photographs on glass from his mobile darkroom — a decommissioned ambulance called Neena.

Neena! Get it? Brilliant.

So yes, this is photos of lifeboat stations and their crews, ‘togged through one of those olde worlde cameras and which will be eventually sold in aid of the charity.

That’s the Whitby crew (including the infamous “Whitby 2“).

And here’s Ilfracombe:

At the time of writing, Jack has visited 105 stations (but none of the 5 on the Isle of Man). He has 133 to go, and will only finish in 2021.


Remember Alright from 1995? You know, Oxford (or was it Wheatley?) band Supergrass riding the Britpop wave with a pearly king banging out the staccato intero on a seaside upright piano (was it in Portmeirion?) before the boys were towed around town on a double bed?

Of course you do.

That was all so long ago, but now Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes has given us a much more mature sound with Walk The Walk.

A great, bass guitar-driven pseudo funk offering with gliding strings in the middle 8 and featuring an interesting video set at a poker evening.

It’s good stuff, and it’s my Quota Video for today.

Last times…

Last time we were on the Isle of Man, it rained. It rained a lot.
It very rarely stopped raining. And then we went to Sheffield in it rained some more.

Now I know that the UK (of which the Isle of Man isn’t part), has a bit of a reputation for this kind of thing, but the summer of 2012 was unprecedented in its raininess. There were literally a couple of nice days during our entire three week stay. The Flickr collection I made is testament to this.

We deserve better this time.

Of course, I not forgetting that we did get better back in 2009. The holiday where I regularly ended up taking our toddler son out (not in an assassination kind of way) at 6am before he woke up the whole household because he’d forgotten how to sleep:

This one was taken at the Calf Sound, where there was only us, some rabbits, some seals and a small yacht.

He’s twelve now, and does sleep occasionally. I’m hoping that this holiday is one of those times.