Being British, it’s long overdue that I conform to my cultural stereotype and talk about the weather. Despite living here in the Rainbow Nation, I think rainbows are just about the only weather phenomenon we have not yet experienced. We have shivered on cold and frosty mornings. We have sizzled, like sausages on a braai, under the baking sun. We have experienced wrathful thunder and lightning and traffic stopping rain and hail. We’ve even ‘survived’ a freak sandstorm.
As Europe slid into Autumn and soon winter, we enjoyed Spring’s awesome blossoms. We are now in the midst of the schizophrenic summer months where we often experience a taste of all four seasons in the space of 24 hours. Starting with a fresh spring-like dawn, the temperature creeps up until it soon becomes a too hot and lethargic summer’s day under the blazing African sun.
Then the clouds roll in for the 4 o’clock thunderstorm. The autumnal pre-storm wind blusters through urging you briefly to curl up with a book and a hot chocolate. To complete the four seasons we are occasionally pelted with wintery hailstones. My car insurer sends me warning sms’s to this effect, ‘We advise you to kindly move your vehicle undercover, as a probable hail storm is imminent in JHB’. (I presume that rather than being benevolent and helpful, this mitigates their responsibility with regard to any subsequent hail damage claims?)
Finally, the sun puts his hat on and comes back out to play. On the whole Jo’burg has what many consider to be an ideal climate. The sun here, much like The Cheese Thief, is almost omnipresent. The sun occasionally disappears behind the clouds, just as the dog sometimes wanders into the downstairs bathroom and gets stuck behind the door for a little while. Sunshine averages range between 250-300 hours monthly. That works out close to 9 hours per day! No wonder Jo’burgers are generally such a sunny bunch.
Despite the persistent shining of the sun, caveat emptor, when you are buying your air ticket to come and visit. Fabulous weather is sadly not quite guaranteed. Our track record to date with visitors is, in fact, extremely ropey. October 2013, it rained almost continuously when we were on safari with Mr Incredible’s mum. I loaned her a fleece sweater and we all huddled on the truck under raincoats and blankets.
Christmas is reliably pool weather, except when my family came to visit December 2013. Rain. Lots – of – it. November 2014, my parents returned and had optimistically packed summer wear and token light sweater. Although spending time with the grandchildren was an enormous draw, there is no denying they were looking forward to a healthy dose of winter sunshine.
The weekend before they arrived we had gorgeous weather. The children were in and out of the pool. We ate al fresco. We dozed on the patio. By the time our visitors arrived at 11pm on Sunday evening, it was dark, so we didn’t notice the clouds gathering and temperatures dropping.
Having been awoken at 6am the following morning by our two very own little rays of sunshine, Mum poked her head expectantly out of the guest room door. Glaring at the leaden sky she stepped across the threshold and was accompanied by, (and no this wasn’t Mr Incredible’s imagination dramatising the arrival of The Mother in Law), an epic clap of thunder!
The sun was out on Mum and Dad’s last day… ….but so was the power supply. Ho hum. Can’t have everything. We are experiencing a lot of outages at the moment exacerbated by all the rain and to add insult to injury, the piddly piddly camping stove Mr I bought (to provide us with emergency cups of tea and coffee) came with the wrong sized gas canister…and it’s wonky, so the pan falls off. We are a gnat’s whisker from needing hot tea and sympathy folks, but thankfully the corkscrew works even when the electricity doesn’t. Phew.