Tag Archives: Cape Town

Seaside

Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg Beach

While those of you in the Northern hemisphere pull on another winter woolly, shovel snow and dream of summer sunshine, those of us here in the Southern hemisphere, in the Other Down Under in South Africa, take to the beaches for a little relief from the relentless heat. There is usually a strong off-shore breeze to cool you down, and of course you could always swim; though the water is icy cold.

What I like about here are the restful views of distant horizons, the long white beaches to walk on and the crashing waves on the rocks as the tide turns.

 

Arrival

Arrival

Arrival

Pretty cool hey!

I captured my daughter’s plane taxiing into its parking bay last year and realised afterwards that the Cape Town International writing, printed on the window, lined up beautifully.

Sometimes you just get the perfect shot.

 

Though sometimes it may take a 100 clicks!

 

Oh Christmas Tree, Cape Town

Cape Town Airport 1

Cape Town Airport 1

Christmas is waiting to greet you, when you arrive at Cape Town airport.

Cape Town Airport 2

Cape Town Airport 2

Welcome to the Mother City, oh weary traveller from the North.

Have some SUN!

 

post script: I first learnt this carol, Oh Christmas Tree, at school, in French. So here is the French version for you to listen to: sung by Nana Mouskouri; Mon Beau Sapin.

 

Nature’s Sun Protection

Red Roses - Leaves 1

Red Roses – Leaves 1

Have you ever wondered why new rose leaves first appear a bright red?

Red Roses - Leaves 2

Red Roses – Leaves 2

It is nature’s sun protection! Instead of slapping on SPF 50, as you need to do here in Cape Town in summer, clever roses simply sprout red leaves. This protects the delicate new growth until it is robust enough to withstand the searing sun, turn green and produce chlorophyll.

 

post script: The red colour in the leaves and stems is caused by the presence of anthocyanins, which protect the delicate new growth from harmful UV rays. As the plant matures the anthocyanins disperse leaving the leaves green.

 

Pass By

Cape Weaver 1

Cape Weaver 1

I think this is a female Cape Weaver, but I’m prepared to be informed otherwise!

It was pretty hard to see clearly (even after having washed the windows!) as I was sitting way back in my lounge. This is the original shot –

Cape Weaver 2

Cape Weaver 2

There is a saying that goes something like this: “If you stay in one place long enough, eventually the whole world will pass by.”

I can’t find it on google. (I know!) It could be a Chinese proverb quoted by Sun Tzu, an interpretation of Confucius, or an old Japanese saying: “If you sit by the river long enough you will see the body of your enemy float by”.

All I know is this: as I sit on my chair in the lounge, one bird after another alights on my fence. I have seen Cape White Eyes, Mossies, Cape Robins, Bulbuls, Pigeons, Olive Thrushes and Fiscal Shrikes; even squirrels from time to time. And now this Cape Weaver.

So I do begin to feel that all I have to do is sit here and wait for the world to come to me. Or at least all the little animals.

 

Size Matters!

SA cf c UK

SA compared with UK

It’s all a matter of size.

I thought that in view of recent comments I received about the weather in Cape Town, South Africa, particularly on Spangles, where I was talking about frost, or not, I ought to explain a bit about South Africa.

It is big!

See above how the UK fits neatly inside SA.

No, it’s not as big as the USA.

SA cf c USA

SA compared with USA

But it’s pretty big all the same.

SA cf c Germany

SA compared with Germany

So, just like in the USA, the weather, and just about everything else, is different in different parts of the country.

Cape Town is at sea level and has mild winters, rarely dropping below 9C. Although it is a winter rainfall region, we never get frost or snow. Summer temperatures are high 20’s to 30’s, with a record 40C last April; which was the hottest day here in 100 years.

Johannesburg has an elevation of nearly 6000 ft and is inland. It is much drier than CT, which is quite humid. Jo’burg has hot summers like CT, but does get cold in winter, with frost (minus 8C one year and the fountains froze in town). However, it is a summer rainfall region and the conditions are not right for snow. Maybe once every 15 years or so you might get a smattering of snow.

Elsewhere are other patterns. A few hours North and inland of CT, you get very hot summers: frequently over 40C, but also very cold winters: -4C and snow. Durban on the East coast is always warm, right throughout the year.

 

Looking at a Distance Chart

CT to Jo’burg: 1400 km

CT to Durban: 1600 km

Jo’burg to Durban: 560 km

 

So when I talk about something in CT, it does not apply to the rest of SA.

After all, they don’t have Table Mountain! Now one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

 

post script: If you would like to see how your country fits into SA, or if you live in a large country, how other countries fit into yours, you can find the link here at overlapmaps.

 

 

My Kingdom for a Cup of Coffee!

My Kingdom for a Cup of Coffee

My Kingdom for a Cup of Coffee

So if I haven’t been around as much as usual the last few days it is because we have been having hectic power cuts!

On Thursday we had no electricity for six hours! And on Friday none for four hours.

This wasn’t part of the scheduled load shedding, but something must have broken, like at a substation or the transformer – whatever.

I usually make a thermos of hot water before a scheduled power cut, so at least I can have a cup of coffee. However, with these long unexpected outages, I was left high and dry. I had to resort to drinking plain water. I know!

Even though these days (because of rubbish internet and power cuts) I usually prepare my posts in advance and schedule them to publish the night before, it sill affected my blogging abilities, since during the day I read and I comment on other people’s blogs.

And it’s not as if the moment the power is back on I rush to my laptop and start blogging away! I do have other things to do also. (Like rushing to the kettle!)

The next thing I’m wondering is: After 10 hours of power cuts in a 28 hour period, what food will have gone off in my fridge? And will I remember this a few days from now, when the expiry date is fine, but the food is iffy?

 

Ruffled Feathers!

Mossie 1

Mossie 1

This little bird flew straight into my window the other day.

He sat on the ledge for a moment, obviously a bit stunned, then flitted up onto the fence to recover.

Mossie 2

Mossie 2 – Ruffled!

He fluffed up his feathers in a shrug, looking like a dancer swishing her skirts.

Mossie 3

Mossie 3 – That’s better

Then he looked around for a second, wondering what had just happened, before flying off again.

The male Cape Sparrow, or Mossie as he is locally known, is a splendid little fellow, much more brightly attired than his European counterpart. Though, perhaps not surprisingly in the bird world, the female is a plain drab brown!

 

post script: Once again, these photos were taken from way back inside my lounge, which explains the hazy look. I really must wash that window!!

 

Evening Star

Evening Star 1

Evening Star 1

Purple evening skies with unearthly lights.

Evening Star 2

Evening Star 2

A new Moon and the Evening Star.

Evening Star 3

Evening Star 3

Hanging in the purple mists, Venus and a Cheshire Cat Moon.

Evening Skies

Evening Skies

Out of all the sunset colours I prefer the purple hues.

You may know of Venus as the  Morning Star, if you live in the northern hemisphere.

 

A Wee Bit Chilly

Barometer

Barometer

This is what our temperature was yesterday morning.

Barometer 2

Barometer 2

Yes, I know 12C is nothing to you guys in the Northern hemisphere: probably even in summer!

But the barometer stands in my lounge. This definitely feels jolly cold!

Yes, I could switch on a thermostatically controlled electric oil heater, (many Capetonians will heat their homes, or at least a room, somehow), but electricity is expensive. The last time my heater was used was during a cold snap in winter about 4 years ago, when a friend was over for afternoon tea and I took pity on her shivering! Remember I am from the North of England.

My husband and I just wear more clothes, or blankets in the early morning or evening.

Most of my dogs, Lady, Madam, TJ, have been fine, as they had that extra downy undercoat. Mr Spaghetti Legs, although not having the under-layer, has a thick coat and never appears cold (you know, curled up in a tight ball with nose tucked under tail and all legs plaited.)

But two of my dogs, who looked very similar, have bred themselves on the streets of Cape Town to withstand searing summer temperatures, even going so far as to lie baking in full sun on the hottest of days. This was old Jack, and of course, Little Monkey. For her, and previously for him, we throw a thick blanket over her little curled up, plaited body, as she lies on her bed. She soon gets toasty warm. Snug as a bug in a rug!

Jack sunbathing

Jack sunbathing

Little Monkey Sunbathing

Little Monkey Sunbathing