Childcare 101

While checking up on the news from back home in the Republic of South Yorkshire, I came across a story detailing how an 18-month old toddler had injured his mother by putting an aerosol under the grill.
The aerosol – somewhat predictably – then exploded in her face and she ended up with some (probably quite nasty) burns.
The toddler, bless his little cotton socks, was unharmed in the incident.

Reading this story will have divided the 6000 miles… readership.
A percentage of you, who do not have children, and who enjoy watching shows like Jackass and Dirty Sanchez are thinking: “Cool, dude… Exploding aerosol!”.
This percentage will then probably snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

A disappointingly large percentage of you aren’t really very bothered and haven’t even read this far.
You’re missing out. Really. And you smell.

The remainder of you are either mature, balanced individuals (like I used to be) or parents (like I am now).
You are probably wondering what on earth an 18 month old was doing with access to:
a) an aerosol can, and
b) a grill.

Back at Chateau 6k, the jury is still out on whether we are going to allow the “naughty” coffee table to stay around after it “attacked” little Alex twice in as many days*. It’s currently on a final warning, and with plans for a braai this weekend and a sudden hike in the price of Namibian Camelthorn, it had better watch its step.
As for Alex, I can’t imagine that he will enjoy the company of aerosols and grills for several years to come. I don’t think that’s being over-protective, I think that’s being responsible. When he’s old enough, I’ll be there to demonstrate the dangers of putting an egg in the microwave. And then we’ll try a 60W lightbulb.
And we’ll both sit back and snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

* Actually, the first time, he just fell over near the table. But we blamed it anyway.
I think the second time was merely its act of petty revenge.

Back to the future (sort of)

I found a web-based version of HG Wells’ infamous Time Machine (thanks Ender) which has allowed me to relive certain moments of my life over the last 4 years. Sadly for you, it also means that I can let you relive them too, and thus the slow and tedious task of putting all that archived material together into a W3C compliant, user-friendly format has begun. Or at least, has been thought about being begun.

In other news, friend of 6000 miles, dear Manto, is rather ill. Her doctor suggests, among other problems that she is suffering from severe anaemia. I can sympathise – it’s the damn mosquitoes – at the moment, each night is like a bloody feeding frenzy. It’s my belief that they’re draining everyone in South Africa of blood and then they’re going to take over the world. Possibly. Either that or they’re in cahoots with the SA National Blood Transfusion Service.
Although saying that, I very much doubt that the opportunity to save Manto’s life would attract many more devotees to their cause.
Anyway, a quick count here indicates that I’m currently sporting 31 bites of various sizes. I itch.
It amazes me that I have any blood left.
While getting the link for the Manto story, I came across this little gem. Astounding.
If I didn’t know differently, I’d guess that story came out of South Africa – it’s typically bizarre enough: “sharpened kite strings”, indeed…

Finally, I was interviewed last week by a British journalist working for an emigration newspaper. They’re going to do a story about me and my experiences since I moved out to Cape Town.

No-one will believe a word of it.

Banner-tastic

I’m well used to people looking at me, shaking their heads, a pitying look in their eyes, telling me:
“You need help. Seriously.”
But as I go back to chatting to my tuberculosis bacteria, singing the Cookie Jar song and chasing lesbian mice around the lab (long story), I have to think that they don’t know what they’re on about. It would be hard to find a more balanced, more mentally stable microbiologist than myself. (Believe me, I’ve worked with a lot of microbiologists – they’re an odd breed).

When it came to updating my banner though, I was forced to admit that these people were right. I don’t have access to Photoshop and even if I did, I would have no idea how to use it. So even for the (apparently) relatively easy task of adding a Sheffield United badge and a picture of our dear Table Mountain onto each end of the title bar above, I had to turn to someone much more experienced (with Photoshop, not with microbiologists) (probably anyway).
Step forward Cloudgazer (presumably not his real name) (probably anyway).
I have no idea what he did, how he did it or how long it took him to do, but my banner is now a little more interesting than before. And a lot more interesting than what you’re reading now.

Anyway. The upshot of having a slightly more detailed banner is that now I think that this site is completely lovely. Since everything from last year disappeared in a cloud of 123-reg.co.uk incompetence, it’s nice to be up and running again.

Guess who’s found a cure for AIDS now!

There is a terrible disease sweeping across Africa. OK – there are several of them, but this one is really nasty. The symptoms include false hope, political gain and setting HIV/AIDS programmes back immeasurably.
We’ve mentioned South Africa’s own dear Health Minister – Manto Tshabalala-Msimang – on this site on more than one occasion, including her support for the Germanic conman Mattias Rath and her advice that a diet of garlic, african potato, turnips, lemon juice and olive oil can cure HIV. (Incidentally, even dear Manto is unwell). We even chatted briefly about the Deputy President of the ANC and his belief that taking a shower after having sex with an HIV positive individual will prevent you being infected with the virus.
Thank heavens that these individuals aren’t in positions of power and responsibility, hey?
Hmm.

Anyway – it’s all over now. Step forward Yahya Jammeh (ja, ja…) – who “just happens” to be President of The Gambia. He’s sorted all our problems out by discovering that a herbal remedy and a good dose of prayer will rid your body of HIV. And yes, that includes removing its intergrated nucleic acid from every last one of your cells. Incredible. He treats people on Thursdays and claims he can cure them in 3 days. Which should make for a pretty good Saturday night out, assuming all goes well. Sky News interviewed him while he was actually doing the biz – a superb demonstration of multitasking and altogether fascinating stuff.

The thing is, I can see you laughing at these stories in your comfortable Western homes and offices. What you need to realise is the terrible truth is that people believe these claims, they stop taking their ARVs and then they die.
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. The answers to curing HIV or the answers to the dubious methods of African politics.


Frankly, I’m just shocked that “Uncle Bob” Mugabe hasn’t got in on the act yet…

The Lowdown

Just a quick update on the news from ballacorkish.net and from South Africa.


Let’s get the dull bit over first.
Great news! My new RSS feed is up and running. This one is via Feedburner, so it should be universally acceptable. To subscribe, just click this little icon: Click me for updates! and we’ll tell you each time the site is updated.
It really couldn’t be simpler. (Unless of course the icon clicked itself.)

I’ve also spent a lot of time streamlining the page, so it should load more quickly than before and it’s also properly coded for the first time in years. The other pages on the site (pictures, Nix’s page and Alex’s page) will be returning soon. We’ll let you know.Meanwhile, in South Africa, it’s summer. You can tell this by just looking at the beautiful weather during this football match in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. You know that I don’t put YouTube clips on here unless they’re really worth it. Don’t miss this – it’s amazing. Finally, the most unjust criticism of the new Faithless album To All New Arrivals, which I think is just lovely, came from my wife, who I think is just lovely too. She described it as:

“Good, but a bit Faithlessy.”

Proof, if any were needed, that you really can’t win when it comes to women.