In 1994, South Africa was at the brink of a civil war. People were being killed for the colour of their skin, their political affiliation, or their ethnic background. Car bombs were going off in Johannesburg. Banks, the airport, restaurants and even Churches and the people in them were targets and yet on the 27th of April, a country united to stand together to vote for the amazing democracy we have. Not once during that time did I feel scared. I had caught the underground in London when the IRA were bombing them, and that did not scare me. I have been in Israel when the threat of suicide bombers was an every day occurrence, and I was not scared. But this past Friday night I was scared! Somerset West experienced flash flooding. If you have never witnessed first hand what a flash flood does, then you cannot relate. I have seen them on television and held my breath watching the devastation. A friend of mine was badly injured in an accident that happened during a flash flood, and still, it means nothing until you are there, in the water!
photograph via News24
Dave called me just before 18h00 to say that he would not get home in time for us to be collected, as Victoria Road, the main road leading into Somerset West, was closed off and the roads were blocked. We were going out for dinner and I got our friends to fetch me 15 minutes earlier than we had planned. We drove through to Strand and the roads were fairly flooded, but ordinary cars could still navigate their way through them. We had to take a few detours to the restaurant as Victoria road would have been the easiest route for us. The next ‘easy’ road was also blocked due to the storm. We finally arrived at the restaurant and enjoyed our evening. We then headed back the way we had come to return to our offices to collect Dave’s car. We were directed down to Bridgewater, away from the hospital which was the way we had come. The hospital was flooded and evacuation of 129 patients was underway, with the National Sea Rescue Institute being called in to assist. Our next detour proved to be futile. Due to the floods the area experienced in August, storm water drains are busy being put into Bridgewater. One of the drainage pipes had ‘swum’ across the road and blocked our route out. We turned down a road, and that is when I realized how bad the flood was! We were in a 4×4 and with the ride height raised, the water was still up to our windows. I was scared. There was no way the driver could see if anything was in the road. We could have hit a car, an animal, a manhole, in fact anything. But we were lucky and we managed to get out of the flooded roads and headed uphill. We collected Dave’s car and found that the N2 heading home was closed off. Another detour down Main road and again, another road blocked off. We eventually got home – our 20 minute drive taking us 70 minutes. We escaped the river that burst its banks and at home there is barely evidence it has rained. But many people have been affected by the scariest thing I have ever witnessed!
One thing I am not scared of is making candied orange peel. It is simple and results in an ingredient that is extremely versatile. This is not the first time I have made candied peel, but it is the first time I have boiled away the bitterness from the peel before the candying process.
have you ever been in a flash flood?
- 2 oranges, peeled, pith removed and cut into thin strips
- 168g fructose
- 250mls water plus extra for boiling
- Place the orange peel into a sauce pan and cover with cold water
- Bring to a boil and strain
- Repeat twice more to remove the bitter taste
- Place the peel back into the saucepan with the fructose and the water
- Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour
- Strain the sugar syrup, reserving it for use in sorbets, etc.
- Place the orange peel onto a wire rack to cool
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