Take the weather with you

I think it’s time I lifted my head from schools, houses, cars, banking and phone to show you where we are. Before we arrived there was a prolonged drought, but during our first week it pretty much rained every day – they say we brought it with us. The locals rejoiced and I tried too, but as an English girl I’m hardwired that rain = cancelled parties/ bad summer holidays/ disastrous days out etc. We are living right at the northern edge of the city so from our balcony we could watch the storm clouds over this arid area as far as the eye can see:

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The “Bloem” of Bloemfontein is pronounced in the same way as the “Zum” in Zumba. (Flat vowels remember – or should I say ‘flett vah-wels’. My name is now ‘Pemm’!) Bloem’s name means “fountain of flowers” or “blooming fountain” and when the rain stopped we started to see why:

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Massive aloe vera-type things – what are they called please, anyone? 

The whole place is tree-lined so it’s green as green can be now. I’ve started to get my eye in, and to see our new home city as very beautiful indeed.

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The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs”. We HAVEN’T seen why yet!

While I’m on Nature Watch, I’ll copy and paste an answer I got to the clouds-settling-in-lines question from a few posts back. It’s from Tim Bicknell in Canada Land. Thanks Timmy – a gold star to you!

“I dont like to leave things not finished so have included an answer to why clouds form straight lines. I dont understand it but heres why. Clouds forming straight lines: On days with steady wind, over fairly flat and consistent terrain, convection patterns will often organize themselves into stripes of alternating lift and sink. running parallel to the wind direction. Lift tends to beget more of the same, and since there is a downwind drift, a thermal will tend to kick off thermals downwind of itself. These suck air from the adjacent crosswind areas, preventing thermals from forming there. When the humidity is right, cumulus clouds (puffy, cotton ball looking) form where the lift is. These are known to soaring pilots as “Cloud Streets.” These can extend for tens of miles, allowing a glider pilot to fly in a straight line while maintaining, or even gaining altitude. This can happen on low humidity days when clouds do not form, but it is much more difficult to stay on a “blue” lift street without the clouds showing the way.”