Waiting for Mum

Kids go through stages with regard to their relationship with their parents. Sometimes you can see obvious reasons why this might be; for example, when K-pu was born and had to spend a lot of time with Mum (because she’s the one with the boobs), Alex became firmly (often rather too firmly) attached to me. His rampant favouritism, caused by obvious and understandable insecurity, has worn off now though and we generally gauge who is flavour of the moment by his requests for bedtime story readers (Mum/Dad/Neither).

Perhaps it’s because she’s female (and therefore fussy), but K-pu has a very strict hierarchical list of favourites. I guess I should be flattered to be in second place and I have to remember that when Mum walks in and K-pu suddenly shows a complete lack of interest in me, it’s only the same as she does to other people below second place when she sees me.
(It’s still quite hurtful though).

This picture was taken while we were away last weekend. Mum had popped up the road to pick up the boy from the Kid’s Club and K-pu – outraged to have been left with only her dad for company – went and planted herself firmly by the front door and sulked until her mother returned.

That’s (another) one for her 21st birthday, then.

This must be an old map…

I can’t come on here and attribute this quote to the individual who actually made it, for reasons of personal safety. However, I do feel that it deserves sharing. So here I am, sharing it. 

It was while we were viewing a map of South Africa, that my companion remarked:

SA

“This must be an old map: it’s still got Swaziland on it.”

She was right though. It had.

Which is a good thing for all our Swazi friends out there (a whole 14 of whom have visited this blog in the last 12 months).

Name that bird

We were down at the Waterfront today, terrorising sealife in the aquarium, watching eco-friendly puppet shows and drinking chocolate milkshakes.
While I was enjoying a coffee at the pub [shurely shome mistake?], I spotted this little fellow, who later tried to defaecate on me. Despite consulting Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton’s Birds of Southern Africa (which, after all, is where I are finding myself today), I have no idea what sort of bird this is – anyone able to accurately ID it for me, please?

newbird

As there is nothing to relate the size to, I can tell you that it was about… this big. And it was only while reviewing the day’s photographs this evening that I noticed that it was ringed. I’m pretty sure that makes no difference to what species it is, though.

Answers on a postcard, please.
Or just leave a comment.

Winner!

News just in – I have won $25,000 in an SMS competition!! That’s serious moolah in SA: R200,000 no less. (Well, actually very slightly less, given that we’re running at $1 = R7.91 this morning, but let’s round it up and be happy.) I don’t actually remember entering the competition in question, but that is of limited interest to me or to anyone else given that I have now won it.

You have been drawn at 9:23 and won the check No. 509578!
Call 00239981103 to know the amount and withdraw it.

I called the number, which is based in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe – a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea; a place I have never visited, never mind entered an sms competition in – and the news was good: $25,000 good, according to the wonderfully cordial if rather heavily accented gentleman called Phillipe on the other end of the line.

And now all I need to do is to verify my bank details by sending them a measly $100 and they will pop the $25,000 plus my $100 into my account by return. Apparently, they have been on the receiving end of fraudulent transactions and that’s why this step is necessary. As I said to Phillipe, what is this world coming to when people try to trick each other in this way? Phillipe was momentarily quiet, presumably as he considered the misery that such individuals may cause to their unwitting victims.
It was a bonding moment, I feel, that he too felt my anguish at the evil that men do.

Anyway, I got his bank details and I contacted my bank, asking them to help arrange the $100 transfer to Phillipe. And that’s where things started to go wrong. My bank refused, saying that they were not going to allow me to spend my money on a fishing trip. I got angry – this is my money and where the hell did they get the idea about me going fishing, anyway?
Sure, São Tomé and Príncipe has some wonderful aquatic life and is, in fact, famed for its fantastic seafood, but I have no desire to actually go there in order to partake in a pastime which, in all honesty, leaves me rather cold. My brother would be there like a shot, but then he didn’t win the competition, did he?

I asked to speak with the manager, but the message was just the same. A point-blank refusal. He wouldn’t even call Phillipe and explain his reasoning. So I have written to the head office to complain. Idiots. 
Meanwhile, I have withdrawn R920, which I have now converted into US dollars and I am posting it to Phillipe. I have also photocopied my credit card and sent that along too – so now he has my bank details and the $100. I phoned him and I told him – sometimes a little trust in this world is all that’s required.
He seemed overjoyed – he couldn’t stop laughing.

And I will also be overjoyed when I get my $25,100 in a week or two. Bring on the good times!

The Curse of The Stig

In news that has shocked the world, and just a week after he was revealed as the human face of Top Gear’s “The Stig” , comes the sad news of the death of Michael Jackson. Few would argue that Jackson’s story was amongst the most incredible in modern day history. Having released the best selling album of all time in 1982, Michael went on to win no fewer than seven Formula One Drivers Championships, while successfully defending himself against allegations of child molestation and, less successfully, of being German.

Jackson’s trademark was the Moonwalk, in which he would go out on slick tyres on a wet track and spin backwards around the circuit, while the wheels would actually appear to be going forwards. He was also famed for wearing one glove while driving (and often, another glove on the other hand). 

Michael’s family played a large part in his career, most notably in Scream, a 1995 duet with his youngest sister Janet, and also many on-track duels with his younger brother Ralf who drove for Williams. In addition, bizarre allegations surrounded whether Michael and his sister La Toya were actually the same person and, while these rumours were discounted, Ralf did – at one time – drive for Toyota, who was Jackson’s older brother.
You can see where the confusion arose.

The most successful part of Michael’s career was spent with Ferrari, during which time he released the critically-acclaimed album Bad. A track on the album, called Speed Demon was his tribute to Jeremy Clarkson, and featured the lyrics:

I’m Headed For Gambon, It’s On My Mind
And Coming Round The Follow-Through, I’ve Got To Be On Time

while Man in the Mirror was seen by many as a dig at Jacques Villeneuve, who regularly finished behind him in races.

Jackson was also infamous for his repeated visits to plastic sturgeons around the world and is widely believed to be the mastermind behind the tacky “plastic singing fish” craze which swept across America in the late 1990s.
His nose was also made of plastic, but didn’t sing.

His final revelation, that he was racing driver “The Stig”, came as a huge surprise to fans of Top Gear and Jackson alike. However, doubts still exist as to the veracity of the claim and many believe that the revelation was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Commentators pointed to the lack of sequins on The Stig’s racing suit and his apparent fear of children.
However, the transformation of the ‘tamed racing driver’ from black to white while the King of Pop underwent the same change is surely solid evidence that Michael Jackson was indeed The Stig.

He will be sadly missed. He touched many people (and now they can’t sue him).