Car

Trixie, my 9-year-old Korean SUV, is dead.

One minute she was fine, then there was a bit of a weird noise from underneath her front bit, and now she’s dead. Long story painfully short, it would have cost more to repair Trixie than Trixie was worth (in monetary value at least, for who can put a price upon emotional attachment?). And so Trixie has been sold off to a third party, who will likely put a second hand engine in and sell her for a first class price.

Good luck to him. I have moved on*.

Or rather moved across… the Korea Strait to Japan. Word on the street is that their engines are “bulletproof” (I assume that this was meant to mean indestructible, although the literal meaning could also be quite useful here in SA). Trixie’s replacement was sourced in East London of all places, but is already headed westward towards what passes as civilisation here**, and should be with us by this time next week.

I’m looking forward to the new vehicle, but (surprise surprise) we could have really done without this sort of expense. Cars aren’t cheap, hey?

Also, I will need a new Sheffield United sticker for the back window.

 

* at least, that’s what I’m telling my broken heart.
** Jeez. I’m just joking. Calm down, sweetpea. 

Cold, wet… Charity

It’s about this time of year that I make my regular annual plea to help out people stuck out in the cold in our area. A couple of cold fronts have brought some very heavy rain and some alarmingly chilly temperatures to the Cape and this sort of weather obviously really exacerbates the difficulties for the homeless people in the city.

Last night, I was in my car, battling my way through floods, gales and torrential rain when I heard that my football match had been called off. I returned home (direct access from garage to house), got changed into some cosy warm clothes, lit the fire and got myself a coffee.

Nice life.

The Haven is a group of shelters which can help or local homeless people with – at the very least – a bed for the night. And they have very strict and well-enforced zero tolerance policy on drugs, alcohol, weapons etc.

If you can donate just R12 (that’s 64 pence or 82 US cents), then you can provide a bed for one person for one night.

And it’s really easy to do. Snapscan here, for you locals:

Or via this page if you don’t have Snapscan or if you’re overseas.

I’ll be making a donation and I’ll also be encouraging my kids to use their charity pocket money to help The Haven out this month too. Why don’t you make a difference as well. 12 bucks. De nada.

Thanks for reading.

Outlay

It seems like only the week before last that I was saying just how good the Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is. And with Aston Villa promoted to the Premier League this afternoon via the playoffs, this graphic made it on to my twitter feed:

Now, in no way am I saying that £8.6million is not a lot of money, but everything is relative and when you see it relative to how much others have spent (and you note that Leeds and Derby didn’t even get promoted), suddenly it doesn’t seem like that much of a lot of money.

In fact, compare it with the money flying around the top leagues of Europe and it’s less than 10% of a Paul Pogba (hopefully you don’t get the 10% with the mouth or the mood swings), and just 4% of a Neymar.
And that’s all we’ve spent in the last three years.

Wilder is clearly very shrewd when it comes to the transfer market, and very good at getting the best from the players he has. That’s a great skill to have in the lower leagues, but can it translate to buying the right players (here I am assuming that he has the right money to do so) to stay up in the Premier League? Obviously, I hope so. But I’m also a realist:

Just checking now, we’re the hot favourites to be relegated next season (4/6 on), with Norwich (4/5) and Villa (11/10) close behind. Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle and Southampton are considered the most at risk of those who survived this season. Given the recent record of promoted teams, that’s no surprise, but we’ve bucked the odds before and I’m sure we’ll make every effort to do it again.

Come on you Red And White Wizzzzzzards!

Minor manifestos (1)

Over the next week and a half, I’m going to have a wander through the manifestos of some of the smaller parties fighting the elections in search of the best election promises. I’m not promising a thorough review: I simply don’t have the time or energy for that. But I’m hopeful that I can find some good stuff in amongst all the promises that these guys will never get to break.

Inclusions/exclusions should not be viewed as approval or disapproval of any given institution or party.

Today: A quick look at some highlights from the LAND party manifesto.

Tagline: Reform and Open Up

They say: The LAND PARTY will secure victory through a new democratic LAND revolution and found a South African people’s democratic dictatorship through PEOPLE’S POWER

Some excerpts:

We will make sure that all schools have the resources they need.

Magic Money Tree™

We will reduce the cabinet to a maximum of ten worthy and dedicated ministers. We will abolish irrelevant departments like sport, small business, women and so on.

Ouch. Interestingly, a little later on in the document, there’s a whole 8-point plan under the headline “Advancing the Rights of Women”, but only once they’ve got rid of the “irrelevant” department concerned.

We will not allow prison or juvenile correctional facilities to be an option when dealing with juveniles and youth. They must rather be placed in military schools.

This sounds like the prologue to the A-Team.

LAND PARTY will order a complete strategic review of defence and security. We will asses emerging threats from all potential platforms, including cyber warfare.

Who’s going to do the donkey work on this, though?

We will build police stations out of glass. The people must SEE that the police is working and the police must be held accountable by the people they are serving.

Smashing idea.
Glass police stations, indeed. Given the lack of respect for the current ones made of bricks and mortar, I’d suggest that perspex might have a longer life span.

Look, as with any manifesto, there are probably some good ideas in there (glass police stations is not one of them). But equally, as with any other manifesto, it’s all completely pie-in-the-sky stuff. Until they get that Magic Money Tree™ orchard going, it’s laughably unachievable.

Earning curry

Because of events earlier in the week, and because of event this evening, I needed to get some exercise in.

Let me explain.

My Medical Insurance gives me money off things like healthy food, sports equipment, gym membership, and vaguely healthy smoothies at the local vaguely healthy smoothie outlet. There are other benefits too, shopping vouchers, cheap flights (although not for 50p), car insurance; the list goes on.

All I have to do to earn these discounts, vouchers and vaguely healthy smoothies is to stay active, and all I have to do to show them that I’m staying active is to use my smartwatch to log my exercise. 10,000 steps a day gets you 100 points, as does a gym visit. A parkrun (just going and doing it, not achieving any specific time) gets you 300 and there are various steps for points depending on how long you can keep it up for (your age-related heart rate, that is).

It’s not a perfect system, but it works. People (generally) stay more active, (generally) stay healthier and – in turn – (generally) cost the medical insurance company less. Symbiotic, innit?

I’m on the top target (for mere mortals) of 900 points a week and that might seem like a breeze – I always get there – but you can only score points for one thing each day. So today, for example, where I have visited the gym (100), done a really hard workout (85% of my maximum age-related heart rate) (300), and done 10,000 steps (100), I’ll “only” score 300 points, even though I separately scored (100 + 300 + 100 =) 500.

This week wasn’t good for scoring points. Saturday was a write-off, Sunday was only very slightly better, and Tuesday’s football remained unrecorded because there was so much blood running down the outside of my arm that it masked the heart rate detector on the back of my watch.

Long story. I lived. Thanks to the Brandulance.

All this means that I have had some hard work to do over the last couple of days before tomorrow’s deadline. Again, I’ll make it, but it’s a reminder of spreading one’s exertions across the week, rather than trying to play catch-up, albeit that it really wasn’t my fault this week.

It’s curry night tonight, and I feel that I am fully deserving of plenty of the good stuff given the hard work I’ve put in over the past 72 hours.