Run and rain

First run in a couple of weeks this morning. Not all of me wanted to help out. My legs and my lungs (two parts which I have always felt are fairly integral to successful running) were particularly uncooperative and I am already pretty sure that the former are planning an agonising protest for tomorrow morning. But you don’t get anywhere without putting in a bit of effort and while today’s 6km might have taken rather longer than perhaps it should, it did still get done.

All of which brings me neatly to last night. Football last night did not get done. One minute it was on, the next, there was a downpour and the courts were underwater and the game was called off. I took the kids to the trampoline park instead and we counted all the holes in the roof as I preemptively planned our evacuation route.

But there was a lot of rain. The last 24 hours gave us 70mm at Kirstenbosch and an absolutely incredible 186.9mm at Dwarsberg – slap bang in the middle of our dam catchment areas. Kapow.

Those of you who have followed this blog over the last few years really need your heads checking will recognise what really huge news this is.

But it seems that we don’t always realise just how lucky we are. The complaints about the winter weather in Cape Town seem to have been more vocal and numerous than usual [anecdotal observation]. But this weather is just the Old Normal. We haven’t had a proper Cape Winter for a few years now, which almost cost us our city. But it also retrained our memories into thinking that what happened last night and over the last few weeks is unusual or abnormal. It’s not. That is exactly how winters used to be prior to 2016. Grey, cold, windy, wet. Who could forget the warnings we used to be given?

The severe cold, wet and windy conditions expected to spread eastwards across the Western and Northern Cape provinces this weekend could be fatal for livestock and dangerous for humans, the Cape Town Weather Office warned yesterday.
Forecaster Carlton Fillis said rainfall of up to 50mm, combined with gale-force winds and temperatures of below 15C, was especially dangerous for livestock such as goats. People should also be careful.

Always take care of your goats. Always.

Sunday looks like fun

Actually, Sunday looks like the first “proper” Cape storm of the winter.

Light your fires, batten down your beagles.

Traditionally, a large area of low pressure sits some distance to the south of the country and swings a huge arm of heavy rain towards the south west corner of Africa. That didn’t happen much during the 2015-17 drought (at least it did, but the arm often didn’t quite make landfall).

This one is going to make landfall.

The rain isn’t falling hard, but the cold front is going to take a good 12 hours to pass over the Cape and so we should expect plenty of wetness, continuing into Monday morning. Strongest wind and rain seems likely to be Sunday evening: Windguru suggests 65kph and 13mm at 8pm.

I love this sort of weather. Sadly, the worst of it seems to be set to be in darkness, limiting the ‘togging opportunities, but at least there’s the rest of the winter to look forward to, right?

Monday mornings

It’s Monday. Your alarm sounds at 5:30am. Ugh.

The last seven days have been the coldest and wettest (yay!) of the year so far. It’s been one of those weeks that Cape Town housing really isn’t set up for. The ambient temperature of the water in the shower is noticeably lower than usual. It’s going to be a battle to emerge from beneath the heavy winter duvet. The beagle has written a surprisingly good motivation for the immediate construction of an indoor dog loo. We’re all in this together.

The sun rose this morning at a lazy 7:45, by which time the kids were at school and I was negotiating the tricky Claremont rush hour. We’re fewer than three weeks away from June 21st – Cape Town’s shortest day of the year:

Sunrise: 07:51 Sunset: 17:44
Day length:9:53:32

…but because of the tilt of the earth’s axis and the unchanging nature of the solar day, sunrise will continue to be later and later until July 1st, at which point we will only begin daylight at a seemingly ridiculous 7:52am.

What’s more, the boy is in the middle of his first real set of exams (first set of real exams?), and we’re knee deep in revision timetables and the associated stress. No-one wants to even be awake, let alone going to school. I had to employ some pretty radical parenting skills to get the family moving this morning.

I’ve still got nothing on this guy though:

The sun is out today, slowly wandering across the pale blue, cloudless sky. But all I can think about is an early return to the warmth of my bed.

Ready to do it all again tomorrow.

No news is good knees?

A quick update on my knee situation (backstory here and here), because the cashier in the supermarket was asking about it this morning and she’s had bladder problems for 6 years now and even though she’s seen a specialist (he’s the best one in Constantiaberg, you know) and had several operations (including trying botox) it’s still not any better and she needs to take drugs every month and yes the medical aid does cover it, but it’s expensive and debilitating and… hasn’t the weather turned cold?

Actually, it all started because she asked me why I was wearing shorts on such a cold, wet day.

Now, I can wear long trousers, but because of the continued swelling and sensitivity of my knee, it’s a lot more comfortable if I don’t. And so I have been wearing shorts. Fortunately, my work allows me to wear shorts, the only issue being that when wearing shorts under a lab coat it can appear that I’m not wearing anything at all. But that’s actually just a minor concern, because in fact, I am wearing shorts under the lab coat – you just can’t see them.

Safety first.

Wearing shorts was, until recently, quite beneficial too, as the Cape Town summer waned slowly and lazily towards heady autumnal days. I sneered at men in longer, less practical trousers as they sweated their way around the Mother City. Now they’re laughing at me.

Not, I must point out, that the Cape Town “cold” bothers me. I was brought up… hang on… [cue the Dvorák]… ah, that’s better. Now, as I were sayin’, I were brought up in t’ Yorkshire Pennines. I din’t even know what t’sun was ’til I went darn sarth when I were 14 an’ t’clouds broke up just past t’Toddington services.

What I’m trying to say is that what passes for “cold” here in SA was actually pretty decent weather for us on all but the hottest day of summer.

And, due to the continuing inflammatory processes within my knee joint, I have my own little heater on board anyway. It (my knee) actually gets so hot sometimes that ailing power generation SOE, Eskom got in touch to ask if they could attach a steam turbine unit to it, but I declined, fearful that it might make an awkward-shaped bulge under my lab coat.

We may have load-shedding again this winter, but I insist upon maintaining some small degree of near respectability.

But I digress. Often.

My knee is improving. There are good days, there are bad days. But as with any recovery process, it’s worth noting that the good days are slowly but surely beginning to outnumber the bad ones. I’ve been off crutches for weeks now, and I can almost walk down stairs without looking like I have suffered some sort of recent cerebral trauma.
Walking is fine, running is not. Football remains a pipe dream.
And I’m single-handedly propping up the SA non-steroidal anti-inflammatory market.

The thing is, I could possibly expedite my recovery by working harder and doing more, but equally, if I did that, I’d be more likely to hurt myself and set myself back n weeks, like I did last month. And so, it’s a balancing act. As an aside, my balancing is actually pretty good.

The goal is to be mostly completely mended by the time we head off to Europe next month. To be still struggling then would be annoying.

In other news, I’m happy to report that my bladder is fine.

Photos and Weather

We were braced for the wet weather yesterday. One of the (many) nice things about living on the bottom corner of a big lump of land is that it’s fairly easy to see the iffy weather coming from quite a long way off. Thus, plans were made for an afternoon and evening in, with a roaring fire, some (or more) red wine, and a potjie dinner. The soundtrack was provided by Tony Christie, Snow Patrol and the Smashing Pumpkins, amongst others. Add a bit of Minecraft, some colouring books and a magazine or two, and you have a the best of a bad day – sorted.

Of course, the rain is no bad thing – we’re still ridiculously short of water in the Western Cape. But the cold, dry, still conditions associated with the high pressure that has been keeping the rain away are an absolute godsend for flying my Mavic. Yesterday – the evening in particular – was probably the best weather I have ever had the chance to fly in: the light, the wind, the temperature, the clarity: all near perfect. So… I flew. And I used the opportunity to take the Mavic about 750m out over the Atlantic – good prep for looking for whales 10kms up the road at Struisbaai in the near future (albeit that it’s a whole different ocean there, of course).

I’ll upload some photos when I get back to Cape Town, but as ever, if you can’t wait, then there’s always my Instagram which is, like, Instant.

Better weather today means that we’re off to my favourite restaurant down here, and the drive there through the Agulhas National Park usually yields some great photo opportunities (but no flying, obviously), so there’s even more for you to look forward to.

You lucky buggers.