Morning has broken

Morning has indeed broken with Cape Town shrouded in smoke from veld fires in Somerset West:

Fires in Somerset West have flared up again after being briefly brought under control, fire services said. Helicopters were unable to assist in fighting the fires because of the smoke clouds, platoon commander Clive Smidt told News24 on Monday morning.

The fire department had to rely on fire trucks to get the fires under control, he added. About 30 fire trucks were on the scene and more would be dispatched later on Monday morning. Smidt said the fires had been under control, but flared up again because of the wind.

Fire-fighting helicopters unable to fight fires because of the smoke coming from the fires they’re supposed to be fighting? There’s a limitation there: anyone spot it? 

Meanwhile, I snapped a quick pic in the rather ethereal light this morning.


Smokey sunrise

Everything is weird shade of peach, the mountain is still partially obscured through the haze and my car is getting covered in ash. 

EDIT: Here’s the view from town this lunchtime. Somewhere in there is 1,086m of flat mountain. 


Shrouded

EDIT 2: More smokey sun pics at CapeTalk (HT: Darkwing)

EDIT 3: Argus: “arson is to blame

Saturday night’s all right

After three of the hottest days that Cape Town has seen in February 2009, the weather has, as they say, “broken”. Some would argue that it was pretty much broken all ready – either that or someone had set the thermostat stupidly high. But no – after thunderbolts and lightning (very very frightening my son), we had a Jo’burgesque downpour as dusk fell. So Jo’burg’esque in fact, that I find myself concerned that come first light we will find mine dumps, hijackers and really odd accents on our doorstep. Yikes.
Once again, I was reminded of my homeland. Braai’ing in the rain (chops and porkies, rather than last night’s exotic, if disappointingly fishy, pelican) was something that we had to get used to quite regularly over there.

I’m not sure what the neighbours are thinking after a succession of young women arrived at our house throughout the day. Nothing untoward – actually, we were interviewing for an au pair – but we’ll probably be raided as some sort of drug den or brothel tonight. Again. Although, because the police won’t want to get themselves wet, we might be safe if the rain keeps up.
The rate at which crimes are solved by the police force in Cape Town is almost entirely dependent on the season: 3% in the wet winters, 4% in the hot dry summers. Of that winter 3%, closer inspection will reveal them all to be entirely indoor-based crimes (white collar stuff: fraud etc). Conversely, the 4% in the summer are all somehow beach-related (unlicensed bucket and spade, old bloke wearing a Speedo etc).
Call me naïve if you wish, but I’ve never really worked out why.

The au pair thing went quite well. Everyone had a say in the matter. In a positive indication of his favourite candidates, 2¾ year old Alex hugged only two of the applicants, while his 7 month old sister chose a rather more negative – if equally obvious – method of indicating her opinion by vomiting on 3 of the girls. Between them, they cut the field down quite nicely.

OK. The rain has eased off quite nicely, so I’m off for a late night swim before the SAPS arrive. Apparently, there is a swimming pool in Pollsmoor, but the entrance fee tastes horrible.
Might as well get one last dip in before they take me away.

Is Zuma appealing?

Well, not to a lot of people as our future President anymore, since fraud and corruption charges were re-instated against him yesterday, following the National Prosecuting Authority’s successful appeal against Zuma’s previous appeal to get the charges against him dropped was overturned.

It remains to be seen whether, having considered the NPA’s successful appeal against Zuma’s successful appeal against the NPA, whether Zuma will now appeal (possibly successfully) against the NPA’s successful appeal which overturned Zuma’s previously successful appeal against the NPA. If he were to successfully appeal, it seems likely that the NPA would appeal that decision. Well, why not?

It’s pure comedy, isn’t it? And add to that the improbable names of Zuma’s lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, and the NPA’s spokesman Tlali Tlali (which isn’t pronounced like you think it should be) and it gets even sillier.  

Many, including FF+ leader Pieter Mulder, are now calling for charges against Zuma to be dropped and some sort of “agreement” to be reached. (I wonder where he got that idea from?)
One only has to look at the effect yesterday’s judgment had on the exchange rates to see that this case has much wider-reaching implications than the freedom (or otherwise) of our dear Msholozi. It’s harming the country and something needs to be done to halt the damage before it’s too late.
For many people, the ideal solution would be JZ stepping down as the ANC leader and presidential candidate before the election in Autumn. That’s not going to happen though. Too many people stand to gain too much to allow something as trivial as fraud and corruption charges and the wreckage of what was once South Africa’s shining reputation to get in the way.

And so, it comes down to a settlement to allow the charges to be waylaid or put aside or dropped or something. Safety first. It’s a wholly unsatisfactory way of doing things, yes, but it might just save the country. Or it might not. Thank goodness I don’t have to make these sort of decisions and have people like Julius Malema to do it for me.

In other more important news, that statue mystery turned out to be some artist wanting to “mix art and nature”. Boring.

Although I will in future follow the correct procedure and obtain permission from the relevant organisations, I will continue to place sculptures in different locations in South Africa and abroad to raise awareness and provoke debate.

Yeah – whatever. Now go and get a proper job.

And, in a poke in the eye for Victorian maritime engineering, Port St Mary lighthouse has been washed away by a big wave.  

A combination of a high tide and strong winds over night dealt a fatal blow to the 19th Century light that has been there since the breakwater was built, between 1882 and 1886.

I could sit here by the fireside and relate a myriad of tales from my childhood, many of which would be about that lighthouse. But that would be rather dull for you and a lot of them would be made up anyway. So I won’t.

More sky stuff

A few weeks ago, I gave you a lovely picture of the sunset taken from my front garden.

Just one month later, I found myself pointing my camera skyward once again:


Clouds

With just a touch of imagination (or a quart of Milk Stout), it could be a dove of peace, bringing hope and love for the New Year. Or, I suppose, a seagull ready to poop on your dreams for 2009.
Alternatively, you may choose to opt for the more realistic “it’s just some clouds” option. That would also be entirely justified and is probably the most sensible course of action.

The Southern Suburbs Sprout Shortage

There are no Brussels sprouts in the Southern suburbs of Cape Town. In fact, there seems to be an overall shortage of Brassicaceae generally.

I’ve never really understood the huge rush to buy stuff just before Christmas.  The shops are, after all, only closed for one day. In fact, since every branch of Woolworths (the South African version) is open on Christmas Day*, that’s not even true this year. Thus, I was both slightly surprised and rather disappointed to find empty shelves reminiscent of Eastern Europe when I was out and about this morning.

And there were no sprouts. If there’s ever a time of year when demand for sprouts will be somewhat increased, it’s surely now. Am I really the only one who feels this way?
Don’t even get me started on parsnips… Really.

I’m back home and settled now, having come to terms with a sproutless Christmas dinner, so please don’t post comments telling me where I could have or should have tried in my quest for traditionally festive vegetables. I will be happily quaffing a beer by the pool and not listening.

Have a lovely Christmas, dear readers and thank you for all your support this year. That’s not to say that I won’t be blogging tomorrow or any other time before the New Year, but I recognise that you may just too busy shopping (or just too drunk) to come and read. 

 

 * obviously, the UK version is very closed.