Paul Yarrow is ‘Background Man’

Great story, this – and one that I’m sure you’ll be able to read on 2oceansvibe in the ever so near future.

It concerns Paul Yarrow, who seems to be cropping up on British TV an awful lot.
Not heard of him? That’s because he’s never credited – he is always DA DA DAHHHHH! Background Man!

Here he is at New Scotland Yard. He’s on the phone and he’s on ITV news:

And then in “Central London”, not on the phone but on the BBC:

And on the phone again outside the High Court.

You can almost hear the reporter saying to her cameraman:
“The fat bloke in the off-white top… He’s behind me again, isn’t he?”

But this is just a tiny, tiny part of Paul’s existence as Background Man: he’s also been behind reporters on Sky, Al Jazeera and Channel 4. He even managed an appearance (in the background, obviously) on Antiques Roadshow. Kudos indeed.
How on earth are we ever going to be able to keep up with his exploits? Well fortunately, this being the internet, someone is busy collating his numerous appearances.
That someone is Steve from

So if you see Pau… if you see Background Man, please email him, not me.


They’re at it again.

No sooner had we brought you the Spar/Nestlé Ricoffy erratic supply and demand debacle than another drama involving those two same protagonists has emerged. But this time, it’s not ditchwater, it’s something far more important.

This time… it’s chocolate. And the Spar printer has been set to work again.

There have evidently been some issues over the Current promotion, but the Spar management has swept away any confusion with this note. I think the lesson for us all to take away from this is that while the Current promotion includes Nestlé Bar-One 55g, Tex Large 40g, Smarties 40g & Kit Kat 4 Fingers, It DOES NOT INCLUDE CHUNKY.

Thus, when you are wanting to make use of the Current promotion, there’s no point in taking CHUNKY to the checkout and attempting to include it in the promotion. Clearly, the Current promotion, It DOES NOT INCLUDE CHUNKY.
(Feel it, it is not part of the Current promotion.)

What CHUNKY did to warrant this exclusion is immaterial. If you want CHUNKY to mask the taste of your unavailable Ricoffy, then it will not be as part of the Current promotion. OK?

I have no idea what the Current promotion is, because it wasn’t advertised anywhere. Only the fact that It DOES NOT INCLUDE CHUNKY.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Ricoffy Drama

Drama! As spotted at a local Spar.

Obviously, I was only passing by the Ricoffy section on my way to the real coffee section.
For those of you who are unaware of what the product entails, it’s basically granulated ditchwater.
It’s bloody awful.

And now they can’t make it anymore, though quite what the “erratic supply of coffee” has to do with this is beyond me. I never realised that coffee was involved in the manufacture of Ricoffy.

But then I looked again. And I read more carefully. And they’re only halting the manufacture of the 500g products.
How bizarre.

Will this really affect the average Ricoffy consumer? Did it really warrant a SORRY with two exclamation marks?
Surely one could always share a couple of 750g tins with two other people? Or if you’re more independently minded, just double up on 250g jars.
Apparently, Ricoffy 100g will be produced in very limited quantities – namely 100g – so five of them would work nicely as well.

But the smart choice is still to buy none of any of them.

P.S. “Ricoffy Decaf”? Zero squared…

Best line ever on the Cape Times letters page

This from yesterday. Sadly the original online version is hidden behind their silently ever-expanding paywall so I will faithfully and accurately recreate it for you here.

It relates to the biggest thing to come out of Cape Town since the Holland v Uruguay World Cup semi-final: that already infamous collision between flying whale and sailing yacht. The question now being asked is whether the whale had been “harassed” by boats before the incident occurred.
Nan Rice, “Marine Activist” and CEO of the Dolphin Action Group (thought – is there a Gramps Rice as well?) is looking into those claims and, almost as an aside, has these wise words for us:

On behalf of the South African Whale Disentaglement Network (SAWDN), I would warn members of the public not to try to disentangle large whales.

I think we have all learnt something there. Many of us routinely try to disentangle whales of all sizes, without even pausing to think about it. I tried to disentangle a couple last week in Kirstenbosch Gardens. And one the week before in the Canal Walk shopping mall.
Now I find that I shouldn’t have done it – although Nan Rice doesn’t explain why.

I feel so ashamed.

There are a couple of other questions I have to ask though. What exactly constitutes a “large whale”.
Surely this is elementary tautology?
When was the last time you saw a small whale? Even the damn calves are 6m long at birth. That’s not small, unless you’re comparing it with a skyscraper. And when was the last time you saw a whale calf next to a skyscraper for easy comparison?

I think you get my point.

And then who came up with the bright idea of having a whale disentanglement network? Surely that makes them just get more entangled? Why not a whale disentanglement group or society?
But no, volunteers (specifically trained personnel, not just members of the public, obviously) arrive on the scene of a “large whale” which is entangled and presumably rather distressed and introduce themselves to the stricken cetacean.
But whales (even “large” ones) don’t understand a huge amount of English and thus, all they hear is:

Blah blah blah blah blah whale blah blah blah net blah.

With friends like those, who needs enemies?
Is it really any wonder they’ve started chucking themselves at our boats?

UPDATE: And now there’s video of the allegedly harassed whale doing its thing.


There you are – happily sailing away in Table Bay, the most intrepid part of your day being the name of your yacht and then:


Yep. That would be a Southern Right whale (probably a calf) jumping  – or breaching, to be technically correct – onto the yacht belonging to the Cape Town Sailing Academy.

No Photoshopping here folks – this is the real deal, as reported by Joyanne’s SA Portfolio Travel blog and local newspaper Die Burger (which might be a bit Afrikaans for some readers).

The result: No injuries to crew. No apparent injury to whale.
R150,000 ($20,000) worth of injury to yacht.

UPDATE: And now there’s video of the allegedly harassed whale doing its thing.