Does anyone else think the weather’s been a bit weird recently?
I know it’s August and we’re on the cusp of a serious seasonal shift but I still can’t remember it being quite so up and down, temperature-wise. It’s hard to know what to wear when you get dressed in the morning and it’s no good checking the weather forecast because it changes so rapidly from hour to hour.
And of course it plays havoc with our health. Our bodies can’t adjust and we’re vulnerable to any coughs, colds, ‘flu strains and other assorted bugs that are floating around. And have you also noticed that we haven’t had a serious winter frost for the past 4 years on the trot? And that means that the weather never gets cold enough to kill off all the mozzies, ticks, flies and other bugs that bug us.
I know what you’re probably thinking – that winter has been with us forever and you’d be right. I stopped swimming in early March, when normally I might still be in the pool for most of April; so yes, winter set in very early and it’s dragged on for months so that even now, we’re still having the odd really chilly day and we can’t say it’s over till it’s over. It’s just that whilst it’s been persistently cool, it hasn’t really been cold. Strange days, as The Doors sang.
What really amuses me is that people overseas have a concept of ‘Africa’ as being forever hot and sunny. I say ‘Africa’ in inverted commas because that’s how they view the continent – one large amorphous mass of sameness.
They forget that whilst there are thousands of kilometres of coastline in dozens of different countries, some are above, below and in the tropics and that position affects the climate, just as the fact that some are washed by the Atlantic Ocean, some the Indian and both those factors hugely influence the climatic conditions.
Some countries are desert, come equatorial rain forest. Some countries, like our own, are so far inland, we’d have to travel a over a thousand kilometres to see the sea; and some places, such as Johannesburg are thousands of feet above sea level which adds a third dimension to the climates. So weather-wise, there are dozens of different ‘Africas’, not just one.
And speaking of Johannesburg, it’s said that it snows there on average about one every ten years; so how come I seem t catch it every time?! I’m always cold when I go down there – that goes without saying – but over the years I’ve found myself stranded at Sun City for 3 days because of snow in Jo’burg.
I’d flown there in a helicopter piloted by my ex-husband who was supposed to pick up some hotel execs when the bad weather set in and we had to sit it out for 2 days before he decided he could duck and dive around the clouds and we got back to Rand Airport which was covered in 6 inches of snow; another time I was flying out to London but my British Airways flight was grounded because what was then Jan Smuts Airport had been experiencing light snowfall all day, the 747 had been sitting out on the tarmac the whole time and the airport had no de-icing equipment so the passengers were bundled into a hotel for the night and we made a daytime flight the following morning; and don’t even get me started on the third occasion when I was doing a short course at Wits University and sleet set in which wouldn’t have been so bad had my room at the Milpark Holiday Inn had a functioning heater!
So no, don’t try and tell me that ‘Africa’ is hot and sunny.
Food-wise, this cuspy, unpredictable weather leaves me in a pickle. Instinct told me to put some white wine in the fridge (I only usually drink it in the warmer months), so I did just that but I haven’t opened the bottle yet – I still need the warming comfort of a hearty red; and it’s still cool enough in the evening to close the doors and cook something substantial for supper. And yes, I know it won’t be long before I’m once again sweltering in my air-condition-less house, wilting like the lettuce you buy and have to rush home and refrigerate before it cooks itself in the car. But right now I’m stuck in the middle and just wishing Mother Nature would make up her mind and decide exactly what season we’re supposed t be in.