Winter comes early to the Cape Point Peninsula

I sat for most of the day watching the rain sweep across the Fish Hoek Valley, driven from the west by squally winds, lamenting the fact that the endless sunny days have come to an end. It is one of the quirks of our weather patterns here on the Cape Point Peninsula that summer seems to stretch on forever- during the hottest parts of the year, when it is too hot during the day to do much, and everything is so dry you can almost hear it crackle you cannot actually visualize that it can possibly rain ever again. Then winter hits, and in a few months we will begin to think that something has gone wrong with the weather and we will never see the sunshine ever again.

Now I am a self confessed grass hopper when it comes to garden chores (as in the fable of the ant and the grass hopper). I am seducedĀ  by the idea of an everlasting summer and fall into the trap every year of being caught out by the turn in the weather. So suddenly I find myself stuck indoors feeling a deep sense of frustration that I am not able to be outside doing all the things that I haven’t done for the last six months.

Then it comes time for actually having to go out into the storm (my dogs don’t seem to care how bad it is, they still bully me into it mid afternoon) and for the duration of my expedition I do nothing but bemoan how bad it is out.

Which is strange when you consider that I grew up in a place where a double figure daytime high is considered summer, even with the howling wind and rain (break out the bucket and spade it must be a bank holiday). My family are famous for picking the worst week of the year for our annual holidays- the local wisdom was to make sure that you never booked your holidays the same time as us. So I was raised to make the most of it, despite the weather. I’ve just gotten soft from all my warm weather travels and from living in the Cape.

So there I was, tramping round Fish Hoek sports field in a full length rain coat with enough clothing on to mount an expedition to Antarctica, cursing the dogs with every step. I got into the house (was blown in would fit it better) and said to D, “its absolutely foul out,” and her reply made me stop in my tracks. “Oh well, at least its dry and warm in here!”

Yes, it is, but in this weather I have to wonder how many people are not that fortunate, how many people are holding onto a make shift shelter, hoping that it doesn’t blow away in the night? How many are cold and wet, unable to get dry or warm no matter what they do? I’m no believer in communism, I have always got off my backside when life got tough and sorted out my own state of affairs and through hard work and a willingness to do the necessary have gotten myself into a nice position in life. I am a firm believer that if you want your situation to get better then you had better take care of that yourself.

There are a lot of people in this area who are in a horrible situation, one that I would hope to never find myself in.

Do I want to move them all into my spare room? I am afraid not, but during this time of year spare a thought for all those less fortunate than you, cut them some slack, put out some old jumpers on bin day, or donate them to a charity that will hand them out. At the very least cut people some slack. We are all very quick in this area to want to be rid of certain elements of our society. Crime is high, but if you were in such a bad situation could you take the moral high ground, I think the temptation would always be there, even to use drugs to escape from it all.

Be safe, be warm and appreciate what you have, and remember the old moral- do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes!

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