Wet and cold!

What happened?! With the weather? OK, so we’ve had a long and very dry winter, and we need the rain. But does it really have to be completely gray and raining more or less constant for several days in a row?

We tend to be spoiled with rainstorms that lasts between 1 and 2 hours and then it’s over. Usually with a glorious spectacle in the form of lightning and thunder. But now it has been going on since Saturday night!

It also becomes cold when it keeps on like this, we probably haven’t had more 20 degrees today. And it’s a cold 20 degrees … So here we sit with thick socks on and a blanket over our knees. All those things were packed away … it’s summer (well almost anyway)!

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The thing is that although Johannesburg every summer gets quite large amounts of rain, the city is not equipped to cope with it. There will be floods, power outages, internet stops working, the cell phone reception becomes hopelessly bad, the newspaper can’t be delivered and traffic lights throughout the city give up – which, together with large amounts of water on the roads and some potholes that you have to zigzag between, creates nasty traffic problems in a city where driving in good conditions is trying your patience.

Unfortunately, the prognosis is not very uplifting either … next week seems to be cold and wet. I guess it’s time to rescue the pots with the lettuce from the balcony before they float away, and then just curl up on the couch. Well, at least we don’t have snow! 🙂

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Sea of purple!

jakarandaIt’s October and summer is fast approaching in South Africa. It feels absolutely wonderful! Even in South Africa it gets really cold in the winter and without any form of insulation in the houses, you never truly escape the cold. Wrapped in the blanket becomes a normal state…

But now winter seems far away, we’re back to skirt and tank top and right now Johannesburg is also graced with flowering Jacaranda trees. These are quite large trees with dark trunk and the flowers are beautifully purple. Along with many cerise bougainvillea bushes they transform Johannesburg into a beautiful sea of colour. Pretoria has even more Jacaranda trees than Johannesburg, between 40 000 and 70 000 trees, hence its nickname, The Jacaranda City.

Interestingly, the Jacaranda trees are not indigenous to South Africa. They were imported from South America in the 1880s, but due to the large number of trees they have become something of a South African icon.

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The South African government has quite recently passed new laws to try to bring down the number of invasive species and to ensure the survival of native species. Jacaranda trees fall into this category, but fortunately they are not in the group of plants that need to be removed. However, no new trees are allowed to be planted, so if existing trees die they can’t be replaced. So let’s hope all the Jacaranda trees here in the area will survive for many generations!