Tag Archives: South Africa

The Dark Ages

Angel Chimes

We have load shedding again! It has been Stage 4 for several days, meaning scheduled power cuts of up to 2 1/2 hours, 3 times in 24 hours.

Last night they announced it was going to Stage 6. There are jokes about this online: namely that at Stage 6 a man from Eskom comes round to your house and blows out your candles!

Mostly people work round the power cuts. Knowing the times beforehand means you can plan to some extent. It is still extremely annoying though. The other night our power went out at midnight and came back on at 2.20 am. The neighbour’s alarm went off both times, waking everyone up!

Your day becomes divided into 2 hour allotments. Either you have power, and watch the clock counting down with anxiety and dread, till it is switched off; which can be anything from on the dot, (mean!) to 13 minutes past the hour, as today, giving you the momentary false hope that maybe they’re not cutting your power!

Or you are sitting in silence and perhaps darkness, anxiously waiting with anticipation for the power to be returned. This can be from 10 past the hour to half past the hour, by which time you are beginning to wonder if they have forgotten about you!

It is not too bad here in Cape Town, as daylight in summer is from 5.30 am to 8 pm. Johannesburg, 1400 km farther north, only has daylight from 5 am to 7 pm. Believe me, they will notice that extra hour of darkness at night!

Also, I feel sorry for those who work online. Even if you do have power, the internet is slow because other places are down. Service providers try to re-route your connection, but there is still a bottleneck.

I even feel sorry for businesses. This time of year they make enough money to see them through the following year. In an already struggling economy, many businesses will fold next year.

Why is the power supply still so bad in South Africa?

Ageing power plants and equipment; poor maintenance and repair;  mis-management; lack of planning.

Well, the purpose of this post (OK I had a good moan!) was just to let my Readers know that I am struggling to keep up with my Blog, especially commenting on yours. So if you don’t hear from me as much as usual, at least now you know why.

– – – – –

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do.”*

*Can you guess who said this and which book it is from?

Sunbeams will be sent to those with the correct answer, which I’ll put in my next post.






Hooray! It is raining!

Look at the raindrops in Little Monkey’s water bowl.

Those of you living in wetter climates, with so much rain you are waterlogged or even flooded, may not appreciate the joy a good rain can bring.

Here in drought-stricken Cape Town, it is a major cause for celebration. Our dams are down to 52% storage capacity and summer has hardly begun. Our hottest month is February and rains were not expected until winter; next July.

So, though today’s unseasonal rain won’t be enough to fill up the dams, at least it provides some respite for our parched gardens and tops up LM’s water bowls.



Watering Hole

Doves 1

Doves 1

Just because I live in Africa doesn’t mean it is all about Lions and Elephants, Rhino and Cape Buffalo!*

Doves 2

Doves 2

We also have Cape Turtle Doves (pigeons). Who doesn’t?

Doves 3

Doves 3

And they all need water for life.

I love that these little guys are playing around having bath time fun, in a fortuitous puddle of rain water, in a deserted parking lot: the local watering hole!


post script: A little pop quiz for you. Above * I have listed four of the Big Five game animals. What is the fifth?



Dikkop 1

Dikkop 1 – photo credit Pix

Look what my daughter Pix found wandering round a neighbour’s garden.

Dikkop 2

Dikkop 2 – photo credit Pix

He was very aware he was having his photo taken, so stretched his leg and posed for a few shots;

Dikkop 3

Dikkop 3 – photo credit Pix

before ambling slowly off centre stage!

These birds are great fun as they tend to walk sedately around a flat area and don’t easily fly off.  They are not often spotted, even though they are called a Spotted Dikkop.


Cape Town Rules OK!

Cape Vineyards 1

Cape Vineyards 1

Seriously, if you lived here, would you ever want to move?

Cape Vineyards 2

Cape Vineyards 2

I haven’t cropped my photos, because I want you to experience the fields of potential wine, distant mountains and clear, blue skies.

Cape Vineyards 3

Cape Vineyards 3

Oops, this photo appears to be sloping.

OK! I’d had a glass of champagne, remember?




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.


Power to the People

Give me the Moonlight

Give me the Moonlight

–  or not!

– If you’re in SA at the moment!

Power cuts continue, under the name of ‘load shedding’. Why are we having them you ask? Good question. Power stations need maintenance and repairs and demand for electricity far outstrips supply.

The power cuts usually last 2 hours 20 minutes and are on a rolling schedule, so we take turns to have no power at inconvenient times. Our area has had power cuts during the dark of evening three times in the past week. You cannot boil a kettle or cook a meal as we have electric stoves. (Very very few people have gas cylinders to cook with.)

Even though it is becoming exceedingly tiresome, we still look on the bright said, albeit via candle light!

Chatting to someone the other day, they told me how the family enjoyed a candlelit dinner during the last evening’s power cut, and how they all talked to each other, instead of watching TV. (I listened to Thumper and said something nice instead of what I was thinking; which was that as a family I made sure we always ate our evening meal at the dining table and talked to each other!)

During the last power cut, I simply listened to Chopin’s first piano concerto, without having to do chores as well.

While sitting out on the stoep as dusk fell, we saw a few bats flit swiftly around the garden. I haven’t seen bats for ages.

Standing in the garden at night while my dogs LM and SL visit the bathroom before bedtime, I could clearly see a myriad of stars, since town and street lights from around the area were all off. There’s Orion’s belt and the Southern Cross and its pointers. (That’s about the limit of my star knowledge!!)

So it’s not all bad.

But if you can’t change something, then change how you feel about it, or laugh about it!

Here’s a fun SA advert that sort of sums up SA’s and how the rest of the world sees us. At least we can laugh at ourselves, if nothing else!

Load Shedding

As the Sun Sets on 2014

Sunset over Table Mountain

Sunset over Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Say goodbye to 2014; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. And look ahead to 2015.

Australia is 9 hours ahead of me, Singapore 6 hours and India 3 and a half; while I am 2 hours ahead of UK and 7 to 10 hours ahead of USA. And though we may begin 2015 at slightly different times, it is marvellous to be a part of the WP family. I raise my glass to you all. Cheers!


Wishing Everyone a Wonderful 2015.


It’s all in the Wrist!


Scram! Cecil John Rhodes, the Gardens, Cape Town

After years of avian abuse, Cecil has finally had enough. He flings the bird from his head, striking a blow for freedom, for statues everywhere.*

Faster than the eye can see or the camera can click, Cecil rids himself of his unwanted guest and resumes his pose again.

*Party at midnight!

When breathing isn’t enough! – Wordy Wednesday

Let the Sun shine through

Let the Sun shine through

Yesterday was not a good day! – After an hour at the dentist, where I got my front tooth fixed, and nearly had a heart attack when I got the bill, I drove straight into a traffic jam, at 1.30 pm! Road works on the freeway! (Now, these were the roadworks I was expecting on the way to the dentist, as I’d run into them the last two times I’d been that way. But nope, the lanes were free and I arrived 20 minutes early for my appointment! So I sat in my car and did crossword puzzles.)

Still, not too bad? Yeah, I was recovering; having hugged my dogs and posted my blue skies photo.

Later in the day, after I’d walked and fed the dogs, I thought I’d do a bit of gardening quickly, and hack back some of the side vines to put in the big rubbish bin (wheelie).

Now, in South Africa (well the Western Cape for sure), people go round the streets in the dark of night and rifle through your rubbish bin, which you’ve already put outside on the street for collection the next day, because the refuse guys usually come before 7 am. There is nothing of use in my bin, as we recycle everything, but if I ever do have something that I have not already taken to a charity shop, then I put it on top for the guys.

When my parents were visiting here from the UK, years ago, and we were going out one night on rubbish night, my Dad whispered to me, “There’s someone going through your rubbish.” I’m like, “Yes, of course.” We are so used to it that you forget it is not usual in all countries.

Well, I don’t mind them going through my bin. But I do mind that they open and empty every packet and the bin gets very smelly, and there is rubbish on the street for me to pick up in the morning. One way round this is to fill up my bin with garden refuse. I do this every week. Only this week I hadn’t had a chance, because my right thumb was extremely sore, red and swollen at the base joint; my dog, Little Monkey, in her inexhaustible exuberance, had sprained it and I couldn’t do any gardening.

So, since my thumb was much better now, I decided to go out and cut some vines to fill up the bin. I fished around for my gardening gloves on the floor and then was looking for the good shears, when my left index finger got “stung”. I jumped back, only to find the large hack saw attached to my finger-pad by its nasty sharp interlocking teeth.


(I usually keep the hack saw blade wrapped in cardboard, so I don’t know what happened there. Yes, it is in thick cardboard now!!)

There was quite a hole ripped in the pad of my finger, and blood spurting everywhere. By the time I’d sorted that out I decided the bin could go out as it was. And looking at blue skies, hugging my dogs and breathing wasn’t going to work any more.

So I poured myself a large Pernod on the rocks! Cheers!

post script: If I had any computer skills at all, I would have removed the telephone line from the sky photo above!