Actually not that bad

I’m pleased to announce that I have made a full recovery from yesterday’s very mild bout of homesickness, which was brought on by the snow back in the UK. A couple of beers overlooking a Table Bay sunset last night and a trip up the R27 during a top secret (and failed) lunchtime mission – on which I got lost and ended up watching pelicans on the Milnerton Lagoon – soon sorted me out.
It’s a wonderful bird, is the pelican, for its beak can hold more than its belly can. And if you’ve ever seen how big a pelican poo is (like a large bowlful of fishy white porridge), you’ll appreciate that they must have really, really big beaks.
I did used to get lost in the UK occasionally as well, but there were no pelicans to see.

The view from that Lagoon goes out to Po, the microbiologist with whom I seemingly swapped my life, five years ago. I know she hates photos of Table Mountain in the sun, especially when she’s not able to look at Table Mountain in the sun. And, seeing as she’s snowed {UPDATE: slushed} in in Oxford at the moment – that’s now.


Famous view

It’s a very pleasant 36°C out there today, which might seem like an oxymoron, but there’s a lovely breeze and no fires… yet. I’ll be braai’ing this evening and celebrating the difference between here and the UK by daring to try a cold beer or eight with the pelican I caught*.

Of course, there’s far more to South Africa than just the spectacular weather and wide variety of large-billed edible waterfowl, but I see no need to go any further right now.
It’s going to be a weekend of sitting by the pool or on the beach.
So, you see, it’s actually not that bad.

* he’s not the dinner guest – he’s the dinner.

Parlotones at Kirstenbosch

As promised (although I’m not sure by whom, to whom), we headed out into the blisteringly hot February sunshine to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to see the ever-popular and completely sold-out Parlotones.

I was disappointed. They weren’t up to their usual standard and they were much, much smaller than I remember them. This could have been because we were sat so far back with a million* people and a small forest between us and them. Or it could have been because they had shrunk and weren’t as good as before.
Thanks to several beers and a mild case of heatstroke, the  jury is still out on that one. 

Thankfully, as ever, it was less about the music and more about the idle chatter, the free-flowing alcohol and the people watching. And so we chatted, drank and people watched, including Faceless pandas, Camps Bay queens, Posing dudes and Schalk Burger and Andries Bekker.
And I couldn’t resist one more quick shot for my Sunsets and Skyscapes set.

  
  
More pictures in the Parlotones – Feb 09 flickr set.

 Next week, Arno Carstens. Bigger, better and something else beginning with B.

 * teeny exaggeration.

More sky stuff

A few weeks ago, I gave you a lovely picture of the sunset taken from my front garden.

Just one month later, I found myself pointing my camera skyward once again:


Clouds

With just a touch of imagination (or a quart of Milk Stout), it could be a dove of peace, bringing hope and love for the New Year. Or, I suppose, a seagull ready to poop on your dreams for 2009.
Alternatively, you may choose to opt for the more realistic “it’s just some clouds” option. That would also be entirely justified and is probably the most sensible course of action.

Learning the hard way

“Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”

It’s been a “fun” morning.
You know – “fun”? Like going to a local shopping mall with hopelessly inadequate parking 12 days before christmas. “Fun”. 
Yet, desperate to get into the festive spirit, despite the temperature outside being in excess of 30°C, we had headed out in search of a christmas tree. We chose to go artificial this year. Not ideal, but when you consider the utterly appalling range of twigs and mangled branches which claim to be the genuine article, together with their propensity to shed razor sharp needles all over the floor after being in one’s house for more than an hour, not really a tough decision.
Better then to go with the neatly boxed plastic version with integral fairy lights and needle-free-carpet guarantee.

“Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”

Game at the Kenilworth Centre was suitably over-priced, under-stocked and chock full of clueless employees being unhelpful and impolite customers binging their 0.5% interest rate reduction away. Thanks for that, Tito
While the season and the weather here may be rather different from back home, it’s nice to recognise some of the christmas traditions have made it safely over. We went for the 6′ (180cm) version – anything else just looks foolishly small – threw it in the trolley with a bit of tinsel and some baby food and set off on the 3 mile trek back to the car, which was parked 3 miles away.

 “Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”

Feeling slightly weak after the ordeal of fighting our way through a billion (apparently blind) shoppers and inhaling lungfulls of car fumes during the return expedition through the parking lot, the wife suggested a stop at the McDonald’s across the road for suitable sustenance. Namely a chocolate milkshake for her, a really unhealthy burger for me, a Happy Meal for the boy and absolutely bugger all for the baby (we’re still trying to wean her off chicken mcnuggets).
And here, after all those other hard-learnt lessons about fir trees, Kenilworth Centre’s parking problems, foolish times of the year to go shopping and so on, is where I learnt the hardest lesson of all.  
“Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”  “Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”

McDonald’s Happy Meal toys now make noises. Did they ever do that before?
Sure, some of them moved and stuff, but Alex the Lion from Madagascar 2 – Escape to Africa (I tried it, it’s not too bad, but avoid Jo’burg) goes  “Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!” every time you shake go within 10 feet of him. My little Alex is delighted that, although his chesseburger wasn’t up to much, his small leonine namesake makes a noise. Repeatedly. An  “Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!” noise. 

Alex the Boy has gone for his midday nap now. Alex the Lion is still “Ooh!” “Ha ha!” “ROOOOOOOOOAR!”ing despite currently residing at the bottom of the swimming pool. 
Yep, you can say what you like about the Chinese, but when it comes to making annoyingly resilient cheap plastic crap, there’s no-one that comes close.

EDIT: And in reponse to this, these (with more at flickr):

        

Scorchio!

Cape Town seems a bit knackered after this weekend. And who can blame it?
The hottest weekend of the year sapped the energy and forced people across the city onto beaches and into swimming pools. And they were still too hot. Some of us (me) were additionally “forced” into the pub on Saturday night and onto the cricket field on Sunday morning.

The pub was an interesting experience. Suddenly, from a quick draught Windhoek and a chat about holiday plans, I found myself surrounded by a quorum* of good-looking women who were discussing boobs, underwear and girls kissing other girls. Staying quiet, not wanting to give the game away in case I had somehow become invisible; pinching myself occasionally to ensure that I wasn’t actually dreaming, I listened. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?
I’m a man of simple pleasures – the beer and the holiday chat were enough to make it a pleasant evening, so the additional er… let’s say “enlightening”… entertainment came as something of a bonus.


WPCC: If the match is dull, there’s always the view 

Determined not to wake up with a hangover, I woke up with a hangover and headed out to Western Province Cricket Club to take part in the annual Rondebosch Old Boys versus Bishops Old Boys cricket match. Since I wasn’t even educated in South Africa**, let alone at either of those fine halls of learning, you can see that the rules governing who was eligible to take part weren’t ever so tight. And with me not having even touched a cricket bat or ball for seven years, it was evident that there was something of a paucity of potential talent available for the Rondebosch side. Given the obvious gravitas of the match between these two old foes, together with the soaring temperatures and a banging head, I was slightly apprehensive about the whole experience.

I needn’t have been. Good humour and good sportsmanship prevailed and despite my hardly troubling the scorers with my batting, I was at least able to contribute a little with the ball towards a thumping win for our side in the blistering heat. Heat so hot, in fact, that hardly anyone stayed around for the post-match braai and beers.

I stopped around for one (just to celebrate, you understand) and then headed gratefully home to our pool and merciful relief from the sun. Today, I’m wondering when the train hit me. Every last muscle aches, even the ones I use regularly for football and drinking. Head to toe, literally. I’m all broken.

Never again. Until next year, perhaps.

* no idea of the correct collective noun, sorry.
** well, I was a bit on Saturday night, believe me…