The British love to talk about the weather. However living in the lowveld in South Africa, there is not normally much to discuss weatherwise. It is sunny and hot most of the time. When we lived in the Soutpansberg Mountains, we would crack out our winter coats and woolly hats come June and shiver in our bed, but here a cardigan generally suffices. Well for me at least, Sam isn’t really a cardy wearing man thank goodness.
Last week there was a lot of weather talk. Cyclone Dineo was heading for the Mozambique coast and Limpopo Province was next in its path. Everyone was on high alert and started battening down the hatches. The government warned everyone to stock up on canned foods and the spokesman for Mopani District Municipality warned residents “not to attempt to cross rivers or bridges” and risk being swept away. Noggs’ school closed down for the day last Friday in anticipation of flooded roads and dangerous weather conditions. Yes, here in South Africa schools have cyclone days, not snow days. But Dineo mostly missed us, it shifted course and we got a bit of a rain shower in the night. We spent cyclone day playing outside in the garden. We even crossed a bridge.
One upside of Dineo kind of coming to Hoedspruit was that it cooled the weather down a little bit. As we have sun most of the time and temperatures at this time of year are often around 35 degrees celcius, everyone gets really excited if it is rainy or cloudy. South Africans look forward to their rare rainy days as much as Brits look forward to their rare sunny ones. One person posted this comment on a Hoedspruit Facebook page last Friday – “1 hour of sun today and 6 hours tomorrow, enjoy this beautiful weather”. They weren’t kidding. They love a bit of cloud. It is weird for us as Brits to hear everyone ecstatic about the beautiful cloudy / rainy weather. Dineo’s cooler weather meant that our toddler slept better and therefore we, his zombie parents, slept better. Noggs has been struggling to sleep through the night since we returned to SA in mid January. On the night that Dineo rained a bit he slept through and until 6:30 am (halle-fing-lujah! he normally gets up at 5:30 or somedays at 4:30 am which means we are permanently knackered). We think not being a sweaty beast at night helped him sleep.
We are very happy with our sunny days. Noggs plays in his little blue shell shaped paddling pool almost every afternoon. Weirdly, it is the exact same paddling pool that Sam and Chloe had in Yorkshire in the 1980’s. The fact that this item only just made it here illustrates how retro Africa can be. Noggs is reliving parts of my 1980’s childhood too. Sam recently downloaded the very first Sesame Street episodes for Noggs; afros, vintage clothes, and all. We watch it together sometimes and I wonder if I watched the same episode when I was 21 months old and living in Cairo. Noggs definitely prefers Paw Patrol to retro Sesame Street though!
A family in Hoedspruit recently had a big sale of second hand items before moving abroad. We went to scavenge for bargains. We bought an awesome industrial type fan for 20 rands (£1.20) and we are loving it. We have been teaching Noggs not to touch it so he doesn’t get his little fingers hurt in the rotating blades. As a result, he now calls the fan ‘no touching’ and sometimes talks about it as he is falling asleep. So we are now keeping a bit cooler inside the house as well as in the pool.
So that’s me done talking about the weather except for one final fact for the world’s leaders. Climate change is real and needs action now, you muppets! Don’t make us buy another fan or have more cyclone days or endanger our planet’s incredible wildlife by denying that.