Tag Archives: winter

All Hail

Hail!

Haiku 71

All Hail! Little stones

Dancing on my patio

So rare yet welcome

.

 

We had Hail!

It is quite rare for the conditions to be just right for it to hail here in Cape Town. However, after a storm raging all night at the weekend, we got this brief hailstorm in the early morning. It was great to watch the little stones bouncing on the slaster.

It seems we are getting our July weather after all – but in August!

.

post script: The weather is odd right now. When a cold front passes bringing rain, the temperatures drop right down. It was 9 C reaching a high of only 11 C when it hailed, which is cold for CT. But the sun, when it comes out, is hot!

The sun has been returning for two months already. It is higher in the sky, much warmer than it was and around for longer in the day. It is very pleasant for Little Monkey and I to take a walk after a rainstorm, when the air is fresh and clear, and the sun warm on our backs. 

 

Advertisements

Wintry Morn

Winter Sunrise

 

Winter Morn

The cool colours of

A Winter Morn

Seen through dark branches

Barren and shorn

.

The crisp cold air and

A weaker sun

Remind you winter

Is not yet done*

.

 

This is about the only winter scenery I get to see, as most of my garden – and everyone else’s – is Evergreen.

Here you see dawn, as the sun rises through the bare branches of a neighbour’s tree; the pinky-purple sky courtesy of a few clouds.

 

*Not yet done. This is an Americanism. My younger daughter used to say it sometimes as a teenager. In English you would tend to say something is not yet over, or finished.

But, you know, it rhymes so nicely with sun!

 

I Hate Winter!

Little Monkey

Little Monkey’s rebuttal to my last post.

Poor Little Monkey!

She is a Sun Dog and really hates the cold, damp, windy winters of Cape Town. So she puts herself back to bed in the kitchen and waits for the sun to return.

Lucky for her, our winter is short. (Like this post!)

 

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.

 

Winter Wonderland

Hibiscus

It may be winter down here in Cape Town, but many of my plants are in full bloom and my garden is full of life and colour. In fact it seems more colourful now than it is in summer.

Join me for a walk around my Mid-Winter garden.

Bougainvillea 1

The first photo is of my peach hibiscus, which produces large pretty blooms for most of the year.

Next, my bougainvillea is a welcome cheery pink, but seems to have suffered a bit from the drought; it is quite crinkly.

Bougainvillea 2

You have seen photos of some of my honeysuckle recently. Here is a yellow bush that I planted as a little thing only a year ago.

Honeysuckle

And my plumbago is still producing many lovely blue blooms.

Plumbago

My poinsettia is a tree reaching for the sky. This shot captures the bright red leaves from underneath, as the flowers are all way above my head.

Poinsettia

The recent rain has cheered up many of my plants, but has left these impatiens with muddy faces!

Impatiens

And Miss Camellia is absolutely bursting with blooms.

Camellia 1

Closer:

Camellia 2

Even closer!

Camellia 3

And last, but by no means least, my Old Faithful floribunda rose bush, still going strong.

Rose

All these photos were taken on the same day last week; 21 June, our Winter Solstice.

I hope you have enjoyed wandering around my winter garden with me.

 

Storm Front

Red Skies 1

Haiku 58

A beautiful sight

Clouds amass in red sunset

Presage to a Storm

.

Did you know that Cape Town is referred to as The Cape of Good Hope?

Did you know it is also referred to as The Cape of Storms?

Red Skies 2

We get some tremendous gales down here at the tip of the African continent. We are the first outcrop of land to take the brunt of those Antarctic storm fronts that come rushing in from the south west.

We are used to it.

When we talk about it being a bit windy, you can be sure the trees are bending furiously in the gales and your breath is whipped from your body when you walk abroad.

Red Skies 3

This year we are particularly grateful for each and every one of these storm fronts that actually does hit our coastline.

Last year, time after time, they passed by south of us, taking their tantalising rain clouds with them.

Last year was the third year in a row that we received a lower than average rainfall and the drought hit us hard.

So far, this year promises to be better. Already we have had more rain than the same time last year. The total dam levels in Cape Town are at 26%. This time last year they were at 19%.

And Capetonians are continuing to save water like crazy. We are still limited to a maximum of 50 litres per person per day.

This is what has saved us; so far.

We can only hope that our rainy months of June and July fulfill our expectations and the dams replenish enough to last us through to this time next year.

Bring on the storms!

 

post script: You can read about how different our winters were back in 2014, in two of my early posts: Give a Dog a Bone and Cape of Storms.

 

Preparing for Winter

Little Monkey and Hair!

Little Monkey is shedding again; getting her new winter coat.

Judging by the amount of hair coming off her at the moment, I guess it’s going to be a cold winter.

Are you thinking snow blizzards and Beasts from the West (our weather comes from the south west) like the UK has had recently?

Unlikely. Here in Cape Town it rarely goes below nine degrees – centigrade!

.

post script: Yes I know many of you will have shaggier dogs that moult way more, but this is still a noteworthy amount of hair from one brushing of a short-haired dog with no undercoat in a hot country!

Also, I love that she has her little front teeth! She is my only rescue dog to have good teeth like this. All the others had worn their teeth down to the bone by chewing; perhaps on wire cages, chains or stones. Those dogs would also have had poor diets most of their life and therefore worse teeth to start with. 

Little Monkey is lucky. Even if she did come from a rescue centre, she has never been on the streets fending for herself.