’TIS THE SEASON TO BE GRATEFUL
AUTUMN IN THE CAPE is a season of many faces. The region’s characteristic deciduous trees and huge fruit industry transform the landscape into vibrant reds and golds prior to that period when the American term “fall” seems so much more apt.
It’s the season of wind, too. Proper gales, not the powderpuff breezes that summer holidaymakers complain about. Anybody who has ever ridden the city’s annual Cycle Tour knows this only too well. Speaking of which, autumn is the season of big sporting events in the Mother City: the Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon a month later, at Easter, bring in thousands of visitors and millions of rand.
It’s also the season of fire.
On the eve of the 2015 Cape Town Cycle Tour, you’ll recall, the mountain chain that symbolises the city was ablaze. Fierce winds drove the flames first this way, then that, up the mountainside and down. Communities were evacuated, vast tracts of vegetation and property destroyed, wildlife killed, roads closed and lives turned topsyturvy. It’s a scenario not restricted to the leafier suburbs, either. Areas of informal housing are particularly at risk and annually many thousands are displaced while seeing their meagre possessions
go up in smoke.
Besides being profoundly grateful to those brave souls – many of them volunteers – who battle the inferno on the frontlines, we need to understand more of the whys and hows of these conflagrations. Popular Mechanics will endeavour to bring those insights to you next month.
In the meantime, hug a firefighter today.
The latest addition to our team, Lindsey Schutters, had a fairly relaxed introduction to life at PM. A week after he started in December 2014, we went on our annual shut-down.
Since then, though, he’s been keeping busy, it seems, squeezing into telephone booths (assuming that any can still be found) and re-emerging clad in a mask, cape and with underwear over a leotard. In his words: “As a world citizen and friend of the people I have a personal mandate to seek out awesome, uncover good and expose evil.” When he finds some spare time between fatherhood and learning new things, he enjoys pushing his body to physical extremes. “I’ve heard my wife is a great person to spend time with,” he adds. “She does all the responsible adult things so I can hang on to my day job.”
Having spent much of his career in the editorial engine room editing copy, Lindsey is relishing the opportunity to spread his writing wings. And how: for this issue he has made several substantial contributions, including our cover feature. This wasn’t necessarily planned, but that’s how it turns out. Stories sometimes take longer to develop than expected, things stop and start, interviews are rescheduled and trains are delayed. Trains? You’ll just have to keep an eye out for next month’s Popular Mechanics to find out.