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Winter Solstice 2019

Winter Solstice

Today, Friday 21st June 2019, is the winter solstice here in Cape Town; the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

We finally had some good rains (it rained twice in May and, counting today, twice in June; our rainy season!) and the temperature dropped. It has been 10 C in my lounge and has dropped to 6 C just before dawn. I don’t have a heater, (just as I don’t have an air conditioner) so we just wear extra clothes.

I realise that this will not seem cold to my Northern friends. Then again, when they complain of a heatwave at 25 C, I understand. It is the difference in temperature that affects you. If you are used to 15 C and suddenly it is 25 C, you will feel too hot. Likewise, if you are used to 25 C and suddenly it is 6 C, you will freeze!

Also, every morning, I open all the doors and windows. This may seem crazy, but once the sun has risen, and I can stop seeing my breath when standing on the stoep, it is warmer outside than in. Certainly during the day, the sun will warm up the air and hopefully some will penetrate into my cold house.

I have to keep quiet about how happy I am, because everyone else is moaning about how cold it is! At least, with the drought, they don’t moan about the rain anymore!

But I love it!



I Love Winter

Raindrops 1

In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I love winter here in Cape Town!

I realise I am in the minority in this, as most Capetonians prefer the summer heat. However, I’ve always found it too hot and humid here in Cape Town in summer. Growing up in the freezing North of England I am used to the cold; proper cold!

If you’re too cold you can always put on another jersey.

If you’re too hot, what do you do? We don’t have air-conditioning in our house (and neither does anyone I know).

All you can hope for is some breeze. And there are many summer days here when there isn’t a breath of air. You sit outside under the trees and drink copious amounts of ice cold drinks and just survive till evening and a slight lowering of the exhausting day time temperatures.

One year in March temperatures in Cape Town reached 40C. This was excessive and rare. And also sweltering!

I love wearing jeans and a jersey and a scarf. I have a special Comfort Jersey, which is baggy and thin and I love it to bits. I look at it longingly in summer and practically live in it in winter.

The only trouble with winter here in CT is that most of the shopping centres are heated, so I find myself stripping off layers and walking round in my Tshirt, sweating!

Raindrops 2

It can be jolly cold first thing in the mornings, especially when the sky is clear and there are no clouds to keep the heat in. It’s a damp sort of cold. These are the mornings when I walk Little Monkey wearing gloves and a scarf and I can see my breath billowing out on front of me. The nice thing is that I can walk her any time of the day in winter and not be incinerated by the sun! In summer it has to be early morning or late afternoon, avoiding the sun as if we were vampires!


So how cold does it get in Cape Town?

Monday was about the coldest we get. A large storm front had passed through Cape Town, bringing heavy rain, with floods in some areas, and snow on Table Mountain* and in areas to the north.

When it snows on Table Mountain and the winds blow over that, it gets jolly cold. So, yeah temperatures may only drop to 8C, but it is a biting cold.

I do have a little heater, but never use it the whole of winter. It’s stored somewhere gathering dust. We just put on more clothing if it we’re too cold.

Also, the first thing I do every morning is open all the windows and doors. I like to have fresh air to breathe. The temperature on the barometer in my lounge this morning was 11C.

But in a few days the sun will be out again and it will heat up to 22C outside.

Raindrops 3

Of course, I am waxing lyrical about winter here, because we have had three dry winters in a row. In the old days it would rain just about every day for three weeks at a time and you got heartily sick of it. Everything was damp; you had washing hanging inside on the clotheshorse for days before it was dry enough to put in the tumble dryer. The kids never got to play sport at school, as every afternoon was rained off.

But now, even if it did rain like in the old days, I would still welcome it, because we really need the water and it would break the drought.

Meanwhile I am very much enjoying not being hot!


The photos show respectively, raindrops on the window with my poinsettia outside in the background and the last one is rain falling in Little Monkey’s water bowl on the stoep.


*Table Mountain has its own little ecosystem and climate. There are about as many plant species on Table Mountain as there are in the entire British Isles. There are over 2200 species of flowering plants on the mountain, 90 species of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Click on the links for more info, or simply google Table Mountain.



Prelude 1

This was our view at sunset last night, while we all awaited the promised rain storm.

Finally, in the night, the clouds rolled in and we got our much-needed rain. (Photo below is before sunset, as the clouds just start to gather.)

Prelude 2

It’s not a lot of rain though. The total dam storage is down to 19%, which is effectively 9% as the last 10% is very hard to use. We need way more than one cold front to make any impression on that.

And yes it is windy. (Apparently it took the roof off the local school’s new pavilion.) But it’s not that bad! We’ve had way worse. Not a tile was rattled on our old roof. Which just goes to show that they don’t build things nowadays like they used to!

The worst result of this storm, as far as I’m concerned, was the power cut we had from 5 am to 11 am this morning. Boy did I rush to make that first cuppa once it came back on. It is way too chilly to be drinking cold water!!


A Wee Bit Chilly



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