Dirty Dogs

As a microbiologist, I’m very much against the beagle being anywhere near my family licking my face.
I don’t allow it. You simply don’t know where that tongue has just been.

And so that’s just another of the many, many reasons that the above situation could (thankfully) never occur Chez 6000

And before you ask further household/canine hygiene based questions:

1. Lots and lots of hand-washing.
2. No. Not in the bedrooms.
3. No. There’s no point in having the 5-second rule, because:
a) It’s based on crappy science, and
b) The beagle eats anything that gets dropped on the floor within 5 seconds anyway.
4. No. Of course I can’t reach them. It’s just a cartoon. Jesus.

All good? Great. Happy to have been of assistance.

Southerly

We have a strange attraction to geographical extremities, don’t we? There’s a fascination with being the most Westerly person in Britain, or the most Northerly individual in Mauritius or whatever.

Regular readers will know that I like to spend quite a bit of time down by the Southernmost point in Africa. And actually, there’s something quite sobering about wandering down past the cairn there, turning to face North and knowing that each and everyone of the more than one billion inhabitants of the continent are in front of you. Even regularer readers will know that I hold the record for having written the most Southerly blog post on the continent.

For all that I love the place, it’s disappointingly nondescript. No towering cliffs, no jutting prominence (careful now). It’s flat and if there wasn’t the little monument there, you’d be hard pressed to identify the particular bit of coastline which is the official tip of Africa. And maybe that’s why so many tourists think that it’s Cape Point that matters, but for all it’s rugged beauty, including towering cliffs and jutting prominence, it loses huge marks for only being “the most southwesterly” point of Africa.
What does that even mean?

The most Southerly village in Iceland – as we all know – is Vík í Mýrdal. I bring that up because they’ve got a big, black beach and a stack there, as shown in this 8 second exposure:

Iceland has always been one of those places that I would love to visit, and if I ever do get to go there, Vík í Mýrdal (population 318) will certainly be one of the places I will want to see. Aside from the dramatic landscapes, other reasons to visit Vík í Mýrdal include it being the warmest place in Iceland with an annual mean temperature of 5.3°C, as well as the long overdue eruption of the Katla volcano which experts feel, when it occurs, will completely obliterate the village by melting the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which lies over the volcanic site.

Should this ever happen, much may be made of the fact that only the church survived the flash flood. But this is merely because it’s built on higher ground, just outside the village, rather than any divine intervention.

Not today, Josephine

As the rain falls over Cape Town again this evening, and we take time out to thank those who eventually got around to praying for it, I am writing this and then getting back off the internet, pronto.

See, when “big things” occur overseas, the internet – most especially the rage-first-(maybe)-think-later little bit of the internet called Twitter, which is where I spend most of my internet time – becomes an extremely unpleasant place to be.

There are always people out there who think that they know better than you. The ‘thought-leaders’, the self-appointed ‘Twitterati’.
And look, in some cases, maybe they do.
But the thing is that these people are of a mind that they always know better than you. They’ll go out of their way to remind you of that, and tell you what you should be thinking, feeling, saying or doing. I don’t like these people at the best of times, but at the worst of times (like when a “big thing” happens overseas), these individuals step up their obnoxious campaigns a hundred fold. We are policed, we are told that we must use this word and never use that word. And, again, I’ll happily say that if once you had evaluated their plentiful demands, and found that in some instances you were left wanting, well, fair enough. But in these cases, that doesn’t happen, because there are no right or wrong answers in these cases; only the dictionaries favoured by one political movement or ideology – theirs.

They get their kicks and their pleasure by preying on people, most especially after these “big things” happen. Of course, I don’t ever give in to this thought-policing, but that wholly justified resistance has, in itself, implications. And what I should be doing is sticking my head above the parapet and telling them to pipe down a bit and refrain from getting their knickers in a knot. But when you do that, well, then come the smears, the labels, the faux outrage, the anger (and that’s the only fun bit, really).

And why on earth would I, a mere microbiologist and reluctant beagle owner, want to get involved in that sort of crap? Sure, I’ll happily fight my own battles, but when it comes to repeatedly shouting at the abyss that is their collective beliefs, I’d rather save my time. But remember:

Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy

Because while these people are thankfully free to air their feelings across the internet and beyond, I am equally free to take note of who is saying what and pass my own mental judgement on them. So that next time, when they proffer an opinion or point of view – even on something wholly unconnected with any “big thing” – for me, it will come served with a side salad of pre-warning and prior knowledge.
If it sounds like I’m talking about you, I probably am.

And that’s why once I’ve hit the publish button on this, I’m going to switch off the internet and try to take a second-tier Danish side to the UEFA Champions League Final on FIFA 17.

You should try it – it’s much nicer than the real world.

Day

It’s Father’s Day today, but my first experience of the day was waking up from a horrible dream of being taken before sunrise, to a wine farm, which was closed, and at which there were over 50 beagles.
It could have been the virus I’ve got, but there were cold sweats all round.

Then I realised that this wasn’t a dream at all. The wine farm really was closed and there really were more than 50 beagles in attendance. This was a Beagle Run, and we were in the midst of it. With a beagle.

The cold sweats returned. And they were very cold, because Paarl is very cold on June mornings before sunrise.

The Beagle Run is a fortnightly (or so) opportunity over winter for Beagle owners to get together and wonder why the hell they got a beagle allow their dogs to run as a pack while chasing a scent trail. Which is basically what beagles are meant for.

Some beagles are very good at this. Those beagles win prizes. Other beagles (and here I include our beagle) are less good at it, and cower pathetically on the start line as the pack heads off, before glancing up half apologetically, half questioningly at you as if to say “Well, that was quite an exciting moment, wasn’t it? So what do we do now, then?”
What we do now is walk, beagle in tow, to meet the beagles that have done things correctly, and then repeat the process four or five more times until – covered in mud and disappointment – we get back to the car.

It was good exercise, in fresh air, with wonderful views. And then we came home and I got showered with Father’s Day gifts. I’m still a bit (very) bleugh from my virus, but I’m lucky to have such an amazing family, and the beagle is very lucky to have us too. Other families would have left it at the closed wine farm in disgrace.

Most of the photos were taken by Mrs 6000 because I was trying to find the beagle most of the time and the light was terrible.

A cold

I’ve got a cold.

It’s not Ebola, it’s not “man-flu”: it’s just a cold. But it is making me feel a bit crap, and thus – especially with commitments (very) early tomorrow morning – I’m missing a braai I’d like to be at, and taking to my bed, rather than writing anything hugely meaningful here today.

In Paracetamol we trust.