Keeping our heads above water. October 31 2017
Is it just me or has the world gone crazy?
Contrary to the opinion of some or rather one I think it is hard to ignore the recent weather
Our normally verdant and lush green Cape has had the most devastating drought which
has resulted in Capetonians having severe water restrictions with the imminent threat of
being like the Tiger Who Came To Tea and drained all the taps.
They will soon have no water at all.
Fires in California.
And storms over Durban that have caused flash floods.
And here in Jozi we have witnessed a few really bad hail storms that have resulted in
deaths homelessness and flooded shopping centres.
I am no weather expert .
I just know what happened to me.
Once a year the Friends of the Johannesburg Public Library have a two day book sale
where they sell books for between R10 and R20 .
The equivalent of a dollar in the first world!
It is a jolly event and one that I am proud to be associated with.
We advise the library and give them the use of our credit card machines for the duration of
We also set up a few tables of our remainders and when we are not eating delicious curry
or shawarmas from nearby Fordsburg we try and sell a few books.
We have had almost no rain here and although we are meant to have a summer rain fall
this has been a very dry summer so far.
Until Saturday afternoon that is when we experienced a huge hail storm.
And there we were sitting under a flimsy car port with water gushing in from all sides.
We tried to save as many books as we could but sadly some were too damaged to keep.
Sunday we were back.
This time I came with a blanket and towels.
The temperature had dropped from the late twenties to the late teens .
We were freezing.
And then mid-afternoon the skies grew darker and an electrical storm accompanied by hail
began in earnest.
We were prepared .
We packed and heaved boxes into cars and huddled miserably in one little spot with the
librarians who were desperately trying to fund raise.
But we survived.
Monday morning was slightly cloudy but then the sun came out to meet us and we went
about our work as usual.
My normal Monday is spent between our overstocked ware house and a double garage
packed floor to ceiling with books that we are trying to process.
We do not have the most comfortable of working conditions.
We sit on a box , pencil and eraser in hand and attempt to price boxes of books that have
not been looked at in years.
And so it happened while I was sitting on my box when I noticed a river coming under the
door and seeping toward the books that we had finished working on and that were on the
ground and not on a pallet.
Thanks goodness we were there.
We are used to a quick pack up.
The weekend taught us that much.
We packed and moved and dusted our hands and thought that was the end of our
And then came the call to say that the ceiling above our temporary display of tables at our
Blubird shop was gushing with water.
It was a deluge.
We rushed over to find our tables soaked and water seeping into the boxes we had stored
underneath to keep excess books in.
And while we were there I had a sense that maybe we should check on the store upstairs
where we keep the majority of the stock.
I went upstairs to find the floor under water.
Boxes collapsing and books damaged.
It was horrible.
But we had some amazing help on hand and once again we lifted and carried boxes.
We filled two shopping carts with wet books and came back cold wet and miserable..
And then I saw the news.
I saw cars being washed away.
I saw peoples homes being destroyed.
And I realised that a few ( OK a lot ) of damaged books is so insignificant in the scheme of
My back may be sore and my arms tired but yesterday I woke up with a roof over my head
and I went to a store that was not damaged by rain and hail and most importantly the sun
Things are getting better.
Our heads are above water.