As Capetonians know every day this week we’ve woken up to the thud of rain on the roof which is a huge disincentive to go up the mountain. Somehow I have become an African and the sound of rain is welcome, although I will never get over my Irish dislike of getting wet and don’t stand happily in the rain like some of my South African friends. I’m certainly not keen enough to go running in the heavy rain.

This morning the rain was not merely thudding; we had a warning of big storms today and during the night it started hammering and it didn’t let up until around 2pm and picked up again a couple of hours later. When it rains like this our thoughts immediately go out to those who have to cope in informal settlements all over the Cape. It must be hell for them.

Here in Paarl the rivers all look set to flood, any low areas of roads are flooding, and our mountains are disgorging water everywhere. It’s wet, but it’s also stunning and these long winter rains feed the Cape all year and make its fabulous wines and harvests possible. Dams are finally full and the winter is fulfilling its promise.

When the weather cleared for a while at 2pm, perhaps the eye of the storm or the bad rains finally wearing out I put on my running shoes and set off with the dogs to look at the rivers on the farm. The waterfall is amazing, gallons of water a second pouring down, white with fury and pressure. In the interest of a good picture I clambered down to the bottom of the fall to capture this photo. At the top of it you can see a pink flowering shrub – it’s the one I had identified as “purple gorse” but I went back to check and it is an Erica – Erica multumbelliferia.

The waterfall after heavy rain

The waterfall after heavy rain

Erica multumbelliferia

Erica multumbelliferia

The poor old fynbos bulbs are a bit tattered after a week of rain but the same rain that flattens then will only produce more flowers. Meanwhile the Lobostemum seems to glow in the grey light and definitely took the slot of Flower of the Day. Here it is again.

Lobostemum fruticosus

Lobostemum fruticosus

I’ve noticed over the years that after heavy rain the birds are always very active and it was true today with birds calling and flitting all over the place. Best of all was an outraged Malachite Sunbird who had clearly decided the weir belonged to him and and him alone; he called furiously while flitting from branch to branch. There is another who loves the scented flowers by the house and who sits on a high branch outside the backdoor shrieking with rage on spring mornings when we emerge. One day I must capture him on film and post him on the blog, the emerald green colour is extraordinary and fully merits the name.

Higher up the weir is also pouring water and upstream from the weir the pools look amazing. You can see the gathering water and the magnificent trunk of this beautiful Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly, with its foot in the stream.

Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly with his feet in this permanent stream

Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly with his feet in this permanent stream

While I was running merrily around the farm Peter was far more concerned with the dam, which looked like it might overflow and possible breach the dam wall which would be a disaster. He had sent the farm staff home – not much they can do in this weather, and spent the afternoon digging out above the wall to make sure we’d be safe. Fires a stiff drink and comfort food all needed at the farm this evening.

One comment

  • Thank you for this blog, I am also on a farm, Agterpaarl, all the flowers you find are here as well, so really interesting to have a name for them. Like you our dams are overflowing….but grateful for all this water. Keep posting. Thank you


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