Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All hail the king!

Today we have loads of pictures because yesterday was an extraordinary day.

Quite remarkable.

Yesterday was hot in Zimbabwe, and at La Rochelle in particular. Windows were open, the dogs collapsed, and not too much happened for most of the afternoon. Then, as dusk began to fall, clouds gathered, the wind picked up, and rain was imminent.

As the sun started to sink below the horizon, great big fat drops of rain began to fall; blood-warm, they spat up little puffs of dust everywhere they landed. And then the hail started - small hailstones at first - bouncing and dancing over the grass...

This is about the closest I have ever come to seeing snow - so pretty cool (pardon the pun) to see.

We don't normally have hail more than a couple of times a year, so I figured I should photograph some of the larger ones for the blog..

Then larger hailstones started falling and I managed to collect a few. These were not 'round', but all different shapes. And I thought these were huge, as we don't normally get hailstones this big...


After about 15 minutes, even larger hailstones started falling, until they were landing on our roof and the concrete path with a resounding 'crack', and shattering into many particles. The ones that landed on the grass stayed in one piece.

But they sure were getting bigger...

We didn't have many large hailstones - but just imagine one of these (and they are the largest I managed to collect) hitting you on the head from a distance of 3km up in the sky. They were about the size of a baseball, I reckon...

They were, I promise, solid lumps of ice - and somehow they felt colder than normal ice. Don't ask me how, but that is the way they seemed.

And in case you might think that the hailstones were 'about the size of golf balls'... here is a golf ball for comparison:

The damage done was substantial. The local school had their asbestos roofs badly broken, and we have lost several sheets of roofing in our own Staff Quarters. In fact, I was told that the largest hailstone to land was only slightly smaller than the size of an adult human head - but unfortunately no pictures were taken of it. It was apparently made up of several dozen 'smaller' ones all melded together into one solid lump.

One Guest who is staying in the hotel, though, had quite enough trouble with hailstones of the size I have pictured above...

My Night Security Guard is called Takawira... and regular readers will remember him from the time that he was clobbered over the head by robbers (see the post of 26th November 2012) though not that many folk will have read that particular post because there were only 21 page-views as the Blog was still new.

Yesterday Takawira was on his way to work - and he got caught in the middle of the hailstorm. Fortunately for him, he managed to hide under the bridge which crosses over the Imbeza River, and so escaped relatively unscathed. However, I spotted him coming to work this evening - and he is obviously taking no chances that a second hailstorm will catch him unawares....

Don't you just love an African solution to an African problem?

Have a great day!


  1. Loved your pictures! And thanks for your great description. So sorry about all the damage at Hillcrest School, AND at La Rochelle. You got it worse than AU.

    1. It was SO unusual! Jannie Martin, who lives at La Rochelle and who has seen many things in his life - has never seen anything quite like that before!