Morning has broken

Morning has indeed broken with Cape Town shrouded in smoke from veld fires in Somerset West:

Fires in Somerset West have flared up again after being briefly brought under control, fire services said. Helicopters were unable to assist in fighting the fires because of the smoke clouds, platoon commander Clive Smidt told News24 on Monday morning.

The fire department had to rely on fire trucks to get the fires under control, he added. About 30 fire trucks were on the scene and more would be dispatched later on Monday morning. Smidt said the fires had been under control, but flared up again because of the wind.

Fire-fighting helicopters unable to fight fires because of the smoke coming from the fires they’re supposed to be fighting? There’s a limitation there: anyone spot it? 

Meanwhile, I snapped a quick pic in the rather ethereal light this morning.


Smokey sunrise

Everything is weird shade of peach, the mountain is still partially obscured through the haze and my car is getting covered in ash. 

EDIT: Here’s the view from town this lunchtime. Somewhere in there is 1,086m of flat mountain. 


Shrouded

EDIT 2: More smokey sun pics at CapeTalk (HT: Darkwing)

EDIT 3: Argus: “arson is to blame

Cyclists still at it

As yet another cyclist was knocked off his bike in Fish Hoek this weekend:

David Swingler was injured while cycling along Kommetjie Road in Fish Hoek late on Saturday morning.
Police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn said Swingler and a white Toyota Quantum minibus taxi had been travelling in the same direction on the dual-lane road. They tried to change lanes at the same time and Swingler was hit from behind by the taxi.
“The cyclist allegedly wanted to go into the right lane and the taxi into the left lane at the same time,” Steyn said.

Pedal Power Association vice-chair Elton Davids said although the recent spate of accidents involving cyclists had made many others reluctant to venture out, some were “not obeying the rules of the road”.
“They are not making it any easier for themselves,” he said.

And even the dangerously subjective Cape Argus finally admitted that not every cyclist is as pure as the driven snow:

Out on Ou Kaapse Weg, tempers frayed as motorists battled with cyclists for right of way on Saturday.
Motorists told Weekend Argus there had been scores of cyclists on Ou Kaapse Weg, and while most were cycling within the yellow lane, others either tailgated motorists or rode in front of cars.

Dave Bellairs, director of the cycle tour, said they did not condone cyclists disobeying the rules of the road, as they was for their own safety. But he pointed out that the majority of cyclists obeyed the rules of the road.

“Obeying the rules of the road is for the safety of the cyclist and the motorist and it shows mutual respect.”

A motorist said cyclists on Ou Kaapse Weg were riding three abreast. Another said a cyclist tailgated him on the scenic mountain drive.
Photographer Chad Chapman said even though most of the cyclists obeyed the rules, he saw some at the summit picking up speed and sweeping into the traffic lane, cycling in front of cars.

Meanwhile, in Milnerton:

Oh Lordie…
This morning, at half past dark, coming down the R27 to work, the fog/mist was so thick that in places visibility was down to 50m.
Bad.
At Woodbridge Island, scene of Saturday’s unfortunate death, it was especially heavy, and just past that, what do i see…?
Some **** on a bicycle, black shorts on, dark top, dark helmet, dark backpack, a rear light consisting of about 2 LEDs, and NO front light.
Now, one would have assumed that given the blanket coverage in all the Cape papers and other media, this two-wheeled tit would have ‘caught a wake up’.

Obviously not.

Live by the sword… die by the sword. But is this message finally beginning to get through their thick helmets?

EDIT: Please see Ordinary Life’s comment below with links to (allegedly – I haven’t read them yet) sensible posts about cyclists taking responsibility for their safety on the roads.

Less about weddings…

…more about prevention.

On the day that reality TV “star” Jade Goody married her boyfriend, who was (actually – checking the time) is being allowed to have the night off from his curfew as part of his sentence for assaulting a teenager with a golf club*, I’m left wondering what has gone wrong with the world.

Sky News has had the wedding as their top story for the past three days and even previously sensible newspaper’s columns have fallen over themselves fawning over Goody’s behaviour since she found out that she is dying of cancer.

The wedding is being conducted in the shadow of a funeral. The funeral is forthcoming, and it will be the bride’s. That fact feels crass and cruel to state outright, so accustomed are we to the comforting fictions that habitually weave themselves around terminal cancer.
It is a bitter reflection on reality that it has taken the very worst of times to make us glimpse the best in Jade Goody, but she finally has our respect now.

Not mine, I’m afraid. I haven’t followed this story from the beginning – I’m happy to admit that. But as Jade Goody’s biggest (pay)day draws to a close, I can’t help but think that there has been precious little actually said about how such a fate could be prevented. Not her wedding – although that might not be such a bad idea – I mean her imminent demise from cervical cancer.

Apparently, looking around the internet, her plight has “raised awareness of the disease amongst young women”. Good. But where – as the newspapers, magazines, international television crews et al. for some reason gathered in Hertfordshire or Essex (the Independent gets very confused) for the wedding of a dying racist and a violent criminal – was the message that cervical cancer can be prevented.

That message could have been plastered all over every TV screen in Essex (and beyond), be on every front page tomorrow and on every coffee table in Essex (again) by the end of the week. Instead, we get tightly closed hotel gates and the obnoxious Max Clifford. I think I count that as a missed opportunity. 

* nice guy.

Eyes on the ball

Yes, another quota picture, but in fairness, one I saw in the paper last week and meant to share earlier.

This from Halden Krog, a stark contrast to his Flames of Hate pictures of the xenophobic violence in South Africa last year.  

picture11

Why do I like it? It’s local, it’s in black and white – moody and atmospheric, the kid with the ball didn’t quite realise how high the dog was going to jump and there’s a sunken boat in the background.

All the boxes ticked.

Ticket time!

To those who said it would never happen. It is happening.
To those who were always so desperate for Plan B. Plan A is doing just fine.
To those who think the ball is the wrong shape. Open your minds.

And don’t forget to apply for your tickets, will you?

Around 3m tickets are available for the 64 matches, which start in June 2010. In the first sales phase, applications for tickets will be followed by a random selection draw in April. Some 450,000 cheaper tickets are being reserved for South African residents of which 120,000 will be issued free to stadium construction workers.

Although the tournament does not begin for 475 days, there is already huge excitement about the competition in Africa, says BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles in Johannesburg.

With trembling fingers (fear, nervous excitement, lack of alcohol), I somehow managed to get past the repulsive image of Sepp Blatter on the fifa.com homepage and applied for mine. It’s not as easy as it looks, but it can be done. Sadly, this being a combination of Africa and FIFA, you will need to pay two bribes rather than one. Have your credit card ready.