Good cycle service

Sadly, SA is not noted for its customer service. Or rather, it is, but not in a good way. That’s why when I have some good customer service, I like to tell people about it.

So said some witty, intelligent, handsome individual some time ago. And not much has changed in the intervening period, so let me tell you about what happened this morning.

I’m not really into cycling.

Actually, maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m not really into cyclists.

Or cycling.

But look, the kids have got bikes and it’s a good way to get them out and about into the fresh air and all that important healthy stuff. Especially down in Agulhas where they’re less likely to be run over.

My daughter’s bike was a recent Gumtree purchase. No point in spending a ridiculous amount of money on something she will not be using seriously or every day, and will likely grow out of in a couple of years.

When we went and checked it out, all that was wrong with it was the front derailleur wasn’t working. I didn’t think it would take too much to sort out, the guy knocked a couple of hundred Rands ($1.15, 86p) off for the inconvenience, we shook hands and the deal was done.

But all the usual mendy things that I tried, didn’t work. And so, with my trepidation, I cycled – on the pink and lilac kids’ bike – down to the local bike shop.

This place.

I think they could see that I wasn’t a serious cyclist by the way I arrived on a pink and lilac kids’ bike.  But they were very professional and wheeled me out the back into a very organised, very clean repair shop set up in a garage and Brian sorted me in no time at all. Seized cable, apparently. Which I could have got to in the end, but I would have spent so much time, effort and petrol in finding out what the problem was, how to fix it and getting the bits I needed to do the job, that… well… let’s just say that the R130 ($0.84, 47p) bill was worth every last cent. And I’m still R70 up.

Bingo.

And I felt so proud wheeling my – now completely functioning – pink and lilac kids’ bike all the way back home. All I was missing was the little glittery tassels on the ends of the handlebars.

Anyway. The long and short of it is that I heartily recommend Cycle Teknix in Kenilworth (021 761 0099) for their amazing, prompt and friendly service.

Fine work, fellows.

Inspired by 6

I may have mentioned these things before, but not together, and even if I have, it deserves repeating.

First thing: I listen to BBC 6 Music at lot. I’m right in their target demographic, so they suit me and I suit them. Symbiotic, innit?

Second thing: I’m (still) really enjoying Spotify. I love having the flexibility to think of a song and just listen to it, there and then. I recognise that this has been something that’s been around elsewhere (and even here) for a while. But because Spotify is new here it still feels a bit like living in the future.

Now, I have tied these two things together in a wonderful marriage by starting a public playlist called “inspired by 6”.

What I do is to listen to BBC 6 Music all day and each time they play an amazing song (rather than just a really good song), I quickly add it to the playlist. Therefore, what’s currently on there is a collection of more than eighty songs which are the best of what’s available on the best radio station around.

All according to me, at least.

Great for solo listening, background listening or appearing cool (to that certain demographic) at a party.

If you are on Spotify, you can listen and follow the constantly-evolving playlist by clicking the clever little box above or here. You’ll need to be a member of Spotify too, obviously, but I’m told that there’s more than just me on there, so maybe it’s for you too.

 

Apartment To Let

From time to time, I like to help people out by mentioning their cause on this blog.
This is one of those times.

Here’s it:

Apartment To Let

Observatory, Cape Town.
Unfurnished.
Top floor of brand new building.
Excellent security, communal gym, rooftop braai area, pool.
2 bed, 2 bath.
2 secure parking spaces.
Viewz. For. Dayz. (Devils Peak, Lions Head, Waterfront, Harbour, Table Bay…)
Available now.
R11500pm.

Apparently, that’s R500 less than other similar units, so don’t hang around.

For more details – including more photos – drop me an email at:

and I’ll put you in touch with the people who are waiting for your call.

Oh, and please share this widely in case that dream tenant is on your timeline.
Thanks.

Got wood?

(Firewood, that is…)

We’ve covered this before, but after this weekend, I feel that it needs covering again.

And before we go ANY further, this ISN’T a paid-for post.
Not in cash, not in kind, not in… well… wood. Otherwise it would be utterly pointless in you reading it, because of course I’m going to say that [Company] is amazing, when [Company] has paid me to tell you that they’re amazing.

This isn’t like that. Although this company is amazing.

Given the cold snap, we’ve been burning a lot of wood and we needed a new supply. And given the fact that Cape Town can also be ridiculously warm on some days, I needed some braai wood too.

Step forward, metaphorically at least, The Fireman.

I ordered 16 bags of Bluegum and 10 bags of Rooikrans (other woods are available) on Friday evening, and was offered delivery on Saturday lunchtime, but we had plans.
No problem: how about a delivery slot at 4:30pm on Monday?

Perfect.

They arrived at 4:27pm. You can’t fault that. Much, anyway.
And I will judge you if you do.

When I came home last night from a busy day in the lab killing TB, my wood was stacked neatly in bags, exactly as I asked, exactly where I asked. It’s good wood, too. (Not Goodwood, I don’t live there – I mean that it’s well-seasoned, dry wood, ready to serve purpose.)

Good service is getting harder and harder to find in Cape Town. Rather than just constantly whining about the bad stuff (although that is a completely legitimate approach), we should celebrate and support those companies which are doing things right, doing things well.

So, if you need braai wood or firewood (or both) delivered free of charge to your home address and stacked to your liking (T&Cs apply), then please support The Fireman. And please share this post.

 

M: 021 712 2251 | E: firemanjack1@gmail.com

 

And please just remember that this isn’t a paid for post. If anyone pays me to blog about their product, I’ll tell you very clearly that they have done. And then I’ll spend that money on beer.

Sun City Thoughts

We leave Sun City today, after a whistle-stop 4-day, 3-night stay.

Herewith a few (or more) thoughts on the last few days. In no particular order.

Sun City isn’t my kind of place. On arrival, the guy at the gate asked if I had reservations.

“Plenty,” I replied, “but the kids seem to be looking forward to it.”

Bdumtish.

Jokes aside, it is a ghastly, hideous place. Faux opulence, faux history and gaudy buildings are the order of the day. It’s repulsive… and it’s also completely incredible. It’s Grand West on South Joburg steroids. The scale of the place and the attention to detail is amazing. It’s other-worldly. And The Palace Hotel (where we’re not staying, see below) is an absolute work of art. You might not like it, but you have to admire the place.

And that’s the thing. If it’s not your thing, you need to get over it and just go with the flow and if you do, you’ll probably have a great time, like I did. Like we did.

This was a last minute, unplanned trip. One we wouldn’t even have considered were it not for the free air tickets that came with our new fridge. We’ve already spent a bomb on our Europe trip later in the year, so economy was key here. We chose the Cabanas to stay in, to save a bit of money. It’s been small and not very luxurious, but it’s been somewhere to sleep – we’ve been out and about the rest of the time.

The staff have been really helpful and are always smiling. That must take a lot of doing at the end of a long season. In fact, the only exception was a rude waitress at the posh hotel we had dinner at on Sunday night. She really did make an effort to be that exception though. Wow.

The breakfast buffet is cheap, cheerful and amazing value (included in the price of the budget accommodation). Two words for you:

Unlimited. Bacon.

Mmhmm. I know.

The Valley of the Waves is a lot of fun. There’s something weird about watching a hundred-odd people standing chest-deep in an outdoor swimming pool, facing a wall and waiting for a single artificial wave every 10 minutes or so. But again, you join in and it’s kinda enjoyable. The tubes were great fun. I didn’t die on the Boomeranga ride, despite a couple of attempts.

The bus service is either brilliant or disastrous. Possibly both simultaneously. We never really worked it out.
(Or you could walk the 550m to the main centre. It won’t kill you.)

Resort-wide free wifi actually works, and it’s literally everywhere: from our room to the beaches of the Valley to the Forest at the back of the fancy hotel. Incredible.

We did a Family Safari Walk on our first morning. It was excellent. Zebras, Wildebees, Kudu and Impala and a lot of stuff you’d never have seen from a truck. The kids learned a lot. 10/10 would recommend.

Sun City is massively incongruous in the North-West Province, which is like an Eastern Cape Lite. You pass Marikana on the way here. It’s a massive reminder of how unequal South Africa is.

There’s water! I have had several long showers. You don’t realise how much you miss them.

There was a bottle of wine for R130,000 on the wine list on Sunday evening.
We did not indulge.

I need to enjoy our last morning before we head back to Lanseria and Cape Town, so I’ll leave it there. Photos will follow. Normal blog service will be resumed tomorrow.