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Category Archives: Cape Town

 

Have you heard of coffee cupping?

It’s the method of smelling and tasting the aromas of freshly brewed coffee.

 

I’m not a coffee person, I drink tea in litres every day, and when I have coffee, then with lots of milk.

 

The more interesting it is to actually smell and taste coffee the way it’s done professionally.

If you get the opportunity I recommend to at least witness professional coffee tasting, it opens up the world of coffee:

 

Different coffees grouped by country of origin / plantation are presented in cups lined up on a large table. If you like, you can smell the coffee grounds before brewing, how often do you get the chance to compare so many different coffees.

Different coffees are presented in a line of cups and freshly brewed for #CoffeeCupping.

Different coffees are presented in a line of cups and freshly brewed for #CoffeeCupping.

 

The coffees are freshly brewed in the cup. Pouring the water over the coffee is an art in itself:

 

While the coffees are brewing, each coffee is being presented and described to give context and background:

 

For the freshest and most intense smelling experience, you get close to the coffee cup with your nose, and then break the coffee crust, pushing it away from you with a spoon. It’s like the coffee aromas are protected beneath the coffee grounds floating on top and you get the best smell the moment you crack through this thick crust of coffee:

 

Then foam and remaining coffee grounds are removed from the coffee with two spoons:

 

Now the coffee is ready for tasting. Just like tasting wine there’s a lot of slurping and swooshing the coffee around in the mouth going on:

 

It is absolutely fascinating to watch a professional coffee tasting, even if you don’t participate in it yourself.

I for one am inclined from now on to try the coffee black before I add milk, to actually really taste the coffee unperturbed by the sweetness of the milk.

 

 

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Metal bits and bobs that I find plentiful in our garden soil.

Metal bits and bobs that I find plentiful in our garden soil.

 

These are the contents of only one hole.

 

You might think I excavated this over time.

 

Far from that: The dogs start digging and I start collecting. This is the result of only one of their digging holes. I don’t even know what half of these things are.

 

The metal bits sit compacted on top of each other. Like parts of a house that has collapsed and been buried.

 

In a matter of one session of removing all items from the ground that could pose a danger to digging puppy paws, this is what I collect. Besides gazillions of nails and other unidentifiable scrap metal.

 

What happened to The Broken Palace that once stood here? Are these the remains? How come this never got cleared up? If you know more, kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

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When faced with potential disaster, and overcome it, there’s a great urge to make things better.

 

Like it was so close but we managed to escape catastrophe unscathed, it’s not possible to carry on the day as usual.

 

What better thing to do than put our new learnings into action:

 

Rubbish is a fire hazard, so let’s get rid of it!

Wild growing shrubs can also easily catch fire, especially during drought, so let’s pull them out!

 

So now the empty corner plot at 23 Greatmore Street is clean again:

People power: Together we can clean up even Woodstock! :)

People power: Together we can clean up even Woodstock!

🙂

 

Because this is how the council leaves it:

All the council had to do was to maintain it clean.

All the council had to do was to maintain it clean.

😦

 

Seems like this is going to be same procedure as every year, because this is how we cleaned up last year:

All cleaned up and neat! This 'earth' is actually compacted rubbish that collected over the years and needs to be removed.

All cleaned up! This ‘earth’ is actually compacted rubbish that collected over the years and needs to be removed.

 

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The fire brigade managed to get the blaze under control quickly, thank goodness!

The fire brigade managed to get the blaze under control quickly, thank goodness!

 

I would’ve never thought that 3 shacks could threaten to burn down the entire neighbourhood: Especially with the drought crisis, informal settlements pose a dangerous fire hazard!

That’s what I learned after a representative of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management assessed the abandoned plot at 27 Greatmore Street.

The verdict: We were very lucky the fire didn’t spread to the neighbouring properties. Who knows what would’ve happened then. Well, clearly disaster enough for the City of Cape Town to be very concerned!

From my perspective, no luck was involved, but the combined efforts of neighbours fighting the fire with whatever means we had, keeping the blaze at bay until the fire brigade arrived just minutes away from our house going up in flames.

 

See our everyday heroes in action

The fire brigade is hosing down the fire:

Lots of smoke and steam from the fire:

After the fire all the rubbish is still smouldering:

Our back wall is so hot from the fire it is steaming:

This fire and then the water hosing is causing structural damage to our house:

 

But the real heroes to me are still our neighbours who did what had to be done without thinking twice:

As the fire had started in the early morning hours, we were all not dressed properly as we climbed onto our roofs to combat the flames with what little water we had.

In moments of potential disaster, nothing matters but action. It is thanks to this heroic act that nothing worse happened. Luckily, no-one got hurt, but we’re all left with structural damage to our properties.

If you don’t want this to happen to your home, report any illegal housing constructions right away: Report a problem building.

 

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A firefighter is hosing down the smouldering debris at 27 Greatmore Street.

A firefighter is hosing down the smouldering debris at 27 Greatmore Street. Watch this space for more pictures to come.

 

 

Today in the early morning hours the informal settlement at the abandoned plot of 27 Greatmore Street went up in smoke. The flames leaped so high, they came over our second storey roof and burned through the telephone overhead line.

 

 

It was thanks to the group living rough on the empty field next door that I was alerted about the fire. They saw the smoke rising behind our house. As I ran upstairs to look, I could already see the flames licking at our windows, which means they were about 5 metres high.

 

We have all emergency numbers on our fridge, so I called the fire brigade who had already been informed by our community.

 

As the house started to react to the heat of the fire with bangs and cracks, I realised I had to protect our back wall.

 

Since the drought crisis we collect our rainwater in water canisters, the only problem was just:

How to get those 50 litre containers from the other end of our house up onto the roof?

 

First I had to untangle our folding step ladder and then, and I’m not really sure how, but I managed to heave that 50 kg water container up onto the top of the ladder and from there up onto our flat roof.

 

By that time the flames were coming at me and our roof fascia was smouldering. I poured the 50 litres down the back wall into the fire. I just lay the canister on its side and dragged it along the roof while the water was spurting out to get as much surface wet as possible.

 

Opposite me, from the back of Oxford Street, our neighbour stood in his blue boxers atop the roof, hosing down the fire with what little water pressure they got. It was reassuring to see we were just doing whatever we can.

 

I was busy heaving another canister up, when the fire brigade finally reached the blaze and contained it quickly.

Just in time, as our water distribution efforts were only holding back the fire for a short while.

 

It appears no-one got hurt as the people living in the shacks had made a runner.

 

As the firemen were hosing down the smouldering debris, the smoke cleared away and revealed the mess of burnt rubbish. The fire had eaten up everything and blackened the ground to a grotesque landscape like from an apocalypse movie.

 

Our back wall got so hot, that it was steaming as soon as the fire hose hit it. The plaster and one of our windows cracked.

 

Thank goodness for fire regulations which demand to set back the windows 1 metre from the boundary wall, I see now that this is for a good reason!

And thank goodness our windows are double glazed, which means only the outer pane cracked.

And thank goodness we’re storing water at home, it came to an unexpected helpful use.

 

As quickly as the fire had spread, it was all over within the hour. It was still before 8am when the fire brigade left.

 

And as another hot and sunny day commences in Cape Town be extra careful: Especially now during summer season coupled with a drought crisis, it is so dry, anything can just go up in flames.

 

 

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It doesn't take long to dig out a variety of nails from our garden soil.

It doesn’t take long to dig out a variety of nails from our garden.

 

This is the reason why I start excavating when our dogs start digging: Rusty nails.

 

They are everywhere in the ground of our garden. When the dogs are digging, I have to extract the nails, preferably before the dogs even reach them. Who knows where they come from, but best to get rid of them before they come too close to any soft dog paws.

 

Only one hole dug by the dogs contains a variety of numerous nails making me wonder how it came to be that The Broken Palace was destroyed.

 

From masonry nails to tiny screws, from bolts to cut clasp nails to staple fasteners, this is a collection of pretty much every nail type there is. So how did all of these come to be in our ground?

 

If you know more about The Broken Palace please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Top Ways to Save Water indoors

Top Ways to Save Water indoors

 

For years we’ve been warned about the scarcity of drinking water, and yet we continue wasting it down the drain.

In Cape Town we’re living with a water shortage and it puzzles me most how we could ever be so wasteful to literally clean up our shit with perfectly healthy drinking water.

Unfortunately it seems that us humans first have to experience a crisis in order to change our habits.

 

So it comes that the City of Cape Town activated water rationing to forcibly lower water usage, as we’re still not saving enough, even with level 5 water restrictions in place.

They started a whole campaign urging us to make water saving a way of life: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater.

Because let’s face it: This is not going to be the last drought crisis.

So be the change and be mindful with water: There are steps everyone can implement to save water.

 

Let’s all learn from this and share our #WaterSaving tips in order to create a universal Drought Crisis 101 manual.

Email me your ideas and I’ll try and test them and blog about it: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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