Models of Perception

With the World Cup just 19 days away, we have had a utterly superb spell of weather in Cape Town. Lest you forget, since we are in the bottom half of the world, geographically speaking, the tournament is going to fall right in the middle of winter here. And, since probably the biggest medium-term benefit of hosting 31 countries and the entire world’s TV audience is the opportunity for everyone to see what a great place this is to visit, the weather could play a huge part in the world’s perception.

While Jo’burg has the official broadcast centre, many individual networks, including the influential BBC and Sky Sports, are choosing to base their anchor teams in Cape Town. It’s a decision that they may regret and so may we.
When you choose to base yourself in a glass box about 200m from the South Atlantic Ocean in the middle of winter, you’re taking a big chance. If the weather is like it was today, you’ve hit the jackpot as the sun goes down with peachy-orange goodness and illuminates the City Bowl for a winning backdrop.
But we’ll be VERY lucky to get away with that on each of the 31 days of the competition. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there’s absolutely no chance of 31 peachy-orange specials. If we’d held it in January, we’d be sorted. But no – apparently that would have clashed with the domestic seasons in Argentina, Brazil, North Korea, Denmark, Germany, South Africa, Ghana, Uruguay, France, Paraguay, Portugal, Turkey, Spain, Australia and Japan, to mention but a few. And Turkey didn’t even qualify.

But I digress.

The fact is that the weather in Cape Town is far more likely to be bloody awful. Grey, wet, cold and windy. Like it was last week. The BBC’s rooftop fishtank is going to be rather exposed.
If it even survives.  
Last week’s miserable meterology almost put me off living here. And if it rains like that during the World Cup (and it might), I sense very damp and very despondent fans and possibly even postponed or abandoned games. And Gary Lineker taking the p!ss.
All of which is going to put viewers off Cape Town and South Africa as a potential holiday destination.

Guys, it’s still not too late for my big sponge idea.

Half a world away…

A couple of photos taken this morning.
One of mine, taken in Cape Town, featuring my boy and False Bay:

And one of my Dad’s, taken in Sheffield, featuring his back garden:

And although for many it might seem to be a no-brainer, I’m actually struggling to decide where I would rather be right now…

Nice weather…

…for ducks.

Bigger duck photo

Anyone who was foolish enough to believe that spring has arrived in Cape Town was put firmly in their place by a grey day packed full of precipitation. Although I’m now fully moved into my new study, I am yet to actually enjoy the view of the Constantiaberg mountains as I was promised, since they have been covered in cloud all week.
Unless someone has stolen them. This is, after all, South Africa. Although a quick look at the recently released crime statistics shows that our “precinct” (for that is what they are divided into) is safer to be in than at any point since 2003. Well done SAPS.

All of which is very nice.

But I’m digressing when what I really want to do is go to bed and watch some Spanish footy.

At Newlands last night

40,000 turned up last night at a bitterly cold Newlands to watch the Emerging Boks side taken on what was, in truth, a second string British and Irish Lions team. It was cold, stormy, windy, wet, very wet and very cold, but at least there was red wine and brandy on tap.

The Lions’ new defensive formation left gaps out wide

Of course, that was just for those of us in the posh seats. The guys down in the stands didn’t have such luxuries. Although one of them had a vuvuzela. Naughty! And then, with the Lions 10-0 ahead, Earl Rose set up the ball for a kick at goal (or whatever they call it in egg-chasing) and the heavens properly opened.

So much of rain at Newlands

Rose was unperturbed (although I’m sure I heard him murmur “Bugger!!” under his breath), got Luzuko Vulindlu to lie face down in the mud and hold the ball and went about missing the kick anyway.

Half time and I headed off to expunge the brace of first half Peronis. Now, I know that there is a certain urinal etiquette and that one looks ahead or down, never left or right, but it is kind of difficult to obey the unwritten rules of public weeing when you find a six foot Danger Mouse on your right and a slightly shorter Mr Incredible on your left. Seriously. And then I passed a Ninja Turtle on the way out of the loos. Either the British contingent were there in full fancy dress or those beers had been tampered with.

To cut a cold story short, the game finished 13-13 and we headed home, cold, but satisfied. My car said it was 6°C, but I’m sure it was lying. Either that or the minus sign (never tested) doesn’t work.

Bed never seemed so inviting.


Cape Town’s first big storm of the year is due this weekend, described on surfers’ website Wavescape as follows:

A moerse storm smacks Cape Town this Saturday with the first of a double frontal burst – the first serious beast of the season… just look at the length of the wind below. Basically it’s a stab wound that bleeds from the ice-shelf right up to your tannie’s koeksusters cooling on her stoep at Stilbaai. It’s the ingrown toenail of a fierce oceanic convulsion, dug out with the scalpel of your childhood veruka, the deepest root canal of all your evils.


Here’s what Eumetsat shows:


Which doesn’t look that bad – yet. Further investigation shows that the pressure will dip as low as 940mb though, which is pretty scary, based on the fact that we’re currently sat at 1011mb and Hurricane Katrina was 920mb when it made landfall. (Although not in Cape Town, obviously.)  

I love this sort of weather, even though we’re going to see winds close on 100kph. I hope to get out and about with the camera, like I did last August, which was spectacular.

So assuming we make it through in one piece, what of next week? Wavescape has that covered:

The storm swell is expected to peak at a very steep, short frequency surge to 20 feet by Saturday evening and into Sunday before it boosts to 25 feet on Sunday afternoon, with Monday huge too, Tuesday cranking as the wind eases. The whole coast between Agulhas and the Wild Coast is absolutely off its face on Monday and Tuesday, and solid grinding South swell lasts along the southern Cape all week.

That’s like… totally gnarly, dude.