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Weather or not it will rain

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Down in the local pub the weather has become the main topic of conversation, beating even the election by a considerable margin

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Since Cape Town became a water-stressed city we’ve all become keen weather watchers. The big question we’re asking right now is whether we will have a “normal” rainy winter this year, or move to level 8 restrictions.

Of course, even if our supply dams fill to the brim, we will still probably have water restrictions because our population grows much faster than our water storage capacity.

Down in the local pub the weather has become the main topic of conversation, beating even the election by a considerable margin.

Everybody has a favourite weather guru. Some put great faith in the global weather report from Norway, which they follow on the internet. Fanie the fisherman swears that “if my Aunty Carol’s knee is aching you can be pretty sure it’s going to rain”.

In past years it’s been said the sun always shines on the annual Nederburg wine auction in Paarl. Couples who were planning to get married actually used to phone Nederburg to get the date of the auction so they could be sure of good weather for their wedding.

Having grown up in the Karoo I usually believe the negative side of any rain forecasts.

If the weather report says there’s a 20% chance of rain I hear it as an 80% chance of drought.

I once knew a Mr Robb who was an inventor and experimenter and regular contributor to the Tavern column.

He kept a detailed chart of the weather and an equally detailed chart of weather forecasts.

At the end of a year he compared the two and told me that if you just said every day: “Tomorrow’s weather will be the same as today’s”; you would end up being 50% more accurate than the Weather Bureau’s official predictions.

I found that interesting and slightly worrying, but I’m not sure why. Statistics often bother me. I still believe our best chance of winning the water war is to install storage tanks wherever possible.

Enormous volumes of water pour off our rooftops after even a light shower, and most of it runs back to the sea unused.

I think the city council should consider a rebate to ratepayers who invest in tanks.

The good people at the top of the political pile could also consider introducing rules making the installation of tanks a requirement on all new buildings.

In the meantime we all look hopefully at the sky and I send daily WhatsApp messages to Fanie the fisherman enquiring about the condition of his Aunty Carol’s knees.

It’s a tense time of the year.

Last Laugh

During their lunch break two municipal road workers went into a nearby local pub and each ordered a beer. They then took out their lunch boxes and started to eat the sandwiches they’d brought. The furious manager came over and told them: “Hey, you’re not allowed to eat your own food in here.”

The two workers looked at each other, shrugged and exchanged lunch boxes.