Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stormy Cape Town

Here's a little something I wrote for a client, which they didn't like, so I'll bung it up here, just for shits and giggles.

Capetonians have had enough rain, is the consensus of opinion among city dwellers and farmers alike. We’ve been sloshing around in galoshes and raincoats for nigh on three months now, and the shops are sold out of brollies. Enough is enough. Talk about an extreme climate. It’s either too dry and windy or it never stops raining. So we’re either spending a fortune on water bills to keep the garden alive, or bailing out the fishpond before the goldfish make a break for it down the stream running through the garden.

People in the Cape are tired of almost being blown away as they step out of the front door, or watching their car float past along the river that was once a road. Many are considering investing in a boat. Yup, the good news is, the dams are overflowing too. Apparently we have enough water to last for three droughts and still fill our swimming pools, although the advice around town is still to save water. Why? Because it costs money to filter out the dead cows, cars, shantytowns, bicycles and other unfortunates that didn’t make it to high ground in time, of course. Not to mention the unmentionables.

At least the storm drains had a good scouring, and all those annoying newspapers that we didn’t ask for that get stuffed in our post boxes every day, only to be blown all over the street by the wind, have been washed away. Another plus would be the amazing greenery that has sprouted up all over the place, especially in gardens, where avid gardeners are now seen pushing lawnmowers on a weekly basis just to keep up. For those of us who don’t have a lawnmower, or the time or energy to partake in such strenuous pruning, it’s a question of fighting one’s way to the front gate through the foliage. Here’s a tip for those in need of exercise; lawnmower-pushing – Cape Towns’ new national sport – is an excellent way to keep in shape.

Count yourself lucky if there’s now a lake at the bottom of your garden, at least you won’t have to look after the swimming pool, and if your house is still above water, that’s a bonus too. One small mercy is that in Cape Town, it usually rains at night, so you don’t have to watch your garden flooding, but can wake up to the amazing sight in the morning and don galoshes to get to your car. Joy. Then again, the unpredictability of Cape Town weather means that you can leave home on a bright, warm day with not a cloud in sight and be soaked before you reach your destination, even if it’s just the corner cafĂ© up the road.

Yes, apparently it’s the wettest spring we’ve had in fifty years, and there’s no end in sight yet. More rain is predicted every week, which makes weather reports really boring these days. The weathermen don’t have to do much research, just chuck some cloud icons and raindrops on the weather map at Cape Town, and they’ve got a 99% chance of being right. Even on those rare occasions when the weathermen do forecast a sunny day – probably just to break the monotony – don’t believe them. Chances are, they’re wrong, so it’s not a good idea to leave your house without the raincoat, brolly and galoshes, just in case.

Of course, rain causes road accidents – well it’s not actually the rain, it’s the drivers who don’t drive carefully in the rain who are the problem. City of Cape Town Traffic Department spokesperson Merle Lourens said, "The bad weather is in very few cases the cause of road accidents. People should be careful and remember they are not alone on the road." That’s quite hard to do in Cape Town’s bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, which has to make you wonder how they manage to forget it.

To top it all off, if the rain wasn’t bad enough, it’s freezing cold too. Just when summer-lovers are expecting an end to the misery of winter, it gets colder - and wetter, just to add insult to injury. So don’t even think about putting away the raincoats, brollies and galoshes, because more rain has been forecast, and chances are, the weathermen – who usually struggle to accurately forecast Cape Town’s haphazard weather - are 99% right yet again. The ducks are loving it.

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