Disaster

Remember Ireland in 1845? No. Neither do I.

However, at about 1745 this evening, I was at a local supermarket. Things were going well. Alex had enjoyed the journey there, boogie’ing away in his car seat to the energetic (yet somewhat inappropriate) Smack My Bitch Up by the Prodigy* and was now happily sat in the trolley, nibbling a chunk of biltong. Life was good.

And then – down the snacks aisle, right next to the puffs, this:

Potato Shortage

I have to admit, this was a new one on me. We’ve had shortages of oil here, which led to shortages of petrol and widespread panic buying. Been there, done that back in the UK. We had a lack of glass that almost meant they couldn’t make beer bottles. That was very worrying. We even ran out of carbon dioxide (yes, really!) which led to a scarcity of fizzy beverages. We soldiered on through (though strangely, Seth Rotherham seemed irrationally alarmed by the news of a Coke shortage).

But a shortage of chips really is a true cause for concern.

Immediately, I thought this must be a callous marketing ploy by the supermarket in question in order to raise the price of any available chips by preying on the minds of innocent chip-purchasing shoppers. There was only one way to find out – the leaders in South African potato news and information: Potatoes South Africa.
It’s where we all get our potato-related information over here. Sample quote:

They may not be celebrities, but potatoes certainly get their share of media attention. Read about how potatoes are profiled in the press, the news they generate by just being themselves, and who to contact for more information if you are one of our media friends.

I may have missed something here. Not that I’m a big reader, but are the pages of Hello, OK and the pisspoor South African You/HuisGenoot really packed full with our starchy friends sunbathing on foreign beaches, partying with some European royal or flashing their bits as they exit a sports car?
Can a potato really generate news by “just being itself”?

Surely not.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the great Cape Town potato shortage. It seems that the hastily-printed fluttering A4 warnings were all true. Not a single potato arrived in Cape Town today. Just look at that terrifyingly empty CPT column. Even SPG got more than us. SPG**, of all places!!!

It’s going to be a long, cold, chipless winter***.
I fear that increasing my beer consumption may be the only way to keep my carbohydate levels up.

Oh well. Needs must.

* 6000 miles… does not advocate smacking your (or anyone else’s) bitch up.
** No, I have no clue. Sorry.
*** Once we’re through our long, hot, chipless summer and long, mild, chipless autumn, obviously.

Glued to their blooming PlayStations

Look, there’s a serious point in all of this, namely that the “nanny-state”, a lack of decent funding and the constant threat of petty litigation have forced local councils to prevent Britain’s children from… well… “being children” anymore.

But fewer, smaller, safer, more expensive playgrounds mean more obese kids and a sorry decline in “those fascinating crusty objects” – scabs – as Boris Johnson laments, brilliantly describing the consequences of growing up in a scabophobic society.

First the outer edges would harden, leaving a raw red patch still faintly weeping in the middle. Then the whole thing dries into a miraculous integument, as firm and knobbly as the edges of a bit of cheese on toast.

You could tap it. You could stealthily probe its edges, with the connoisseurship of the man from Del Monte, to see if it was ready. Then one day it would all be gone, and we saw the skin underneath, pink and new and whole.

The scab experience was a brilliant lesson in biology, and it is in some ways sad that our children these days seem so scab-free. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not calling for more of them to have accidents.

I am not positively advocating that we encourage our children to fall out of trees or get whanged off roundabouts moving at 200 rpm. But the scabophobic measures we have taken to protect our children have had consequences we could not have intended.

While Boris is trying to score political points (and why not? – after all, that is his job) he’s certainly correct that we (we being parents, society) mollycoddle our children far too much these days – and the fact that that behaviour is having disastrous effects on them and therefore, by inference, on us.

I’m right behind him on this one.

And while political upheaval is upheaving all around me here in South Africa, it’s so refreshing to read his very entertaining (yet actually quite serious) analysis which somehow accurately ties the lack of damaged kneecaps in young children with the decline in basic common sense and the decay in the moral fibre of society my homeland.

Don’t you just hate it when this happens…

You know, you’re just wandering along one day, minding your own business, dressed (obviously) as a tomato, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a mayor runs up behind you and injures you (obviously) while trying to leapfrog over you.

leapfrogging mayor story
From BBC News website

Here’s the full story, which also has detailed footage of the incident. Sometimes even I am lost for words.
This is (obviously) one of those times.

Just so we’re clear…

As seen at the V&A Waterfront:

Parking
The open parking is not open.

More photos from 6000’s Cape Town Set on flickr.

Weather woes

While the weather here in Cape Town has been pretty miserable of late – a succession of cold fronts bringing wind, rain, more wind and more rain to the peninsular, life is no better in the UK.
Of course, it’s summer there, so they’d be expecting rain. Add that to the fact that Wimbledon starts today and it was the Glastonbury festival this weekend and you could have predicted precipitation.
That said, I don’t think many people expected it quite as bad as it was.
For example, check out this picture snipped from the BBC News website earlier today:


Bassey: grounded

That’s right. The weather in the UK is so bloody awful right now that they had to ground Dame Shirley Bassey. Apparently, there were worries that she would drift away like a giant zepplin. Extra cable had to be brought in from Poland to tether her securely to terra firma.


“This unprecedented action was taken due to the inclement conditions,” said a spokesperson for the singer, “Usually, we allow her to fly throughout the summer, before locking her away in a hanger near Cardiff for the winter months. But we had no choice but to ground her due to the heavy rain and strong winds. We hope to have her flying again before the end of the month.”