Homework

High School is no party, hey?

Today, I’ve been helping the boy with his homework.

I have learned about Teutonic family relationships with specific reference to the inter-generational understanding of the Holocaust, I have assisted with the conjugation of several (or more) French verbs, and aided him with describing the differences between natural and synthetic structures, including the specific roles of frames, solids and shells.
We did some stuff on levers as well. Types 1, 2 and 3.

And it’s not even lunchtime yet.

Oh – and then we both worked out how to apply an unsharp mask in Adobe Photoshop to make a photo of the beagle look like this*:

Because yes. If you’re doing a High School photography extra-mural, you get homework for that, too.

 

* A bit overdone for my liking, if I’m honest, but that was the brief. 

Beagle Encounters

I’ve written a letter of complaint to the kids’ school.

It concerns my daughter’s class outing to Stellenbosch today.

They’re going to a place called Beagle Encounters.

It’s at Spier.

Now to be fair, I haven’t done a massive amount of research into this place, but to be fair, I really don’t need to: the name is pretty much self-explanatory, and the fact that it’s at Spier means it will be overrated, expensive and achingly zeitgeist.

Much like my feelings regarding forcing specific religion and/or political views upon my children, I don’t believe that there is any value in the promotion of certain, troublesome breeds of canine either.

We get quite enough of that nonsense at home, thank you very much.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the value of knowing about these things. It’s the pushing of the kids in any one specific direction that bothers me.

Also, having reviewed the proposed Learning Outcomes for Term 2 this year, I can see no link between this visit and any of their classwork. Let’s face it, visiting several slobbering, disobedient, tri-colour dogs is not going to help with Maths or English, PE or Languages, is it?

And even in Science, they’re supposed to be learning about birds. Not dogs.

I’m all for school trips and all, but surely it’s not that hard to simply link them in with something that the kids are currently doing? This seems, at best, a bit of a jolly. And one with an unnecessarily excessive number of flappy ears involved as well.

No, I think I’m well within my rights to let the school know my feelings on this matter.

Sun City Thoughts

We leave Sun City today, after a whistle-stop 4-day, 3-night stay.

Herewith a few (or more) thoughts on the last few days. In no particular order.

Sun City isn’t my kind of place. On arrival, the guy at the gate asked if I had reservations.

“Plenty,” I replied, “but the kids seem to be looking forward to it.”

Bdumtish.

Jokes aside, it is a ghastly, hideous place. Faux opulence, faux history and gaudy buildings are the order of the day. It’s repulsive… and it’s also completely incredible. It’s Grand West on South Joburg steroids. The scale of the place and the attention to detail is amazing. It’s other-worldly. And The Palace Hotel (where we’re not staying, see below) is an absolute work of art. You might not like it, but you have to admire the place.

And that’s the thing. If it’s not your thing, you need to get over it and just go with the flow and if you do, you’ll probably have a great time, like I did. Like we did.

This was a last minute, unplanned trip. One we wouldn’t even have considered were it not for the free air tickets that came with our new fridge. We’ve already spent a bomb on our Europe trip later in the year, so economy was key here. We chose the Cabanas to stay in, to save a bit of money. It’s been small and not very luxurious, but it’s been somewhere to sleep – we’ve been out and about the rest of the time.

The staff have been really helpful and are always smiling. That must take a lot of doing at the end of a long season. In fact, the only exception was a rude waitress at the posh hotel we had dinner at on Sunday night. She really did make an effort to be that exception though. Wow.

The breakfast buffet is cheap, cheerful and amazing value (included in the price of the budget accommodation). Two words for you:

Unlimited. Bacon.

Mmhmm. I know.

The Valley of the Waves is a lot of fun. There’s something weird about watching a hundred-odd people standing chest-deep in an outdoor swimming pool, facing a wall and waiting for a single artificial wave every 10 minutes or so. But again, you join in and it’s kinda enjoyable. The tubes were great fun. I didn’t die on the Boomeranga ride, despite a couple of attempts.

The bus service is either brilliant or disastrous. Possibly both simultaneously. We never really worked it out.
(Or you could walk the 550m to the main centre. It won’t kill you.)

Resort-wide free wifi actually works, and it’s literally everywhere: from our room to the beaches of the Valley to the Forest at the back of the fancy hotel. Incredible.

We did a Family Safari Walk on our first morning. It was excellent. Zebras, Wildebees, Kudu and Impala and a lot of stuff you’d never have seen from a truck. The kids learned a lot. 10/10 would recommend.

Sun City is massively incongruous in the North-West Province, which is like an Eastern Cape Lite. You pass Marikana on the way here. It’s a massive reminder of how unequal South Africa is.

There’s water! I have had several long showers. You don’t realise how much you miss them.

There was a bottle of wine for R130,000 on the wine list on Sunday evening.
We did not indulge.

I need to enjoy our last morning before we head back to Lanseria and Cape Town, so I’ll leave it there. Photos will follow. Normal blog service will be resumed tomorrow.

Thirteen

Unlucky for some. Or so they say.
Fortunately, I don’t subscribe to that sort of nonsense.

Mrs 6000 might do though, and maybe she feels that she walked under a black cat or something, because it turns out that she’s been married to me for a whole thirteen years today. Back of the net!

Two kids, a couple of houses, a beagle and a lot of fun and laughter later, we’re still the best couple that ever there was.

Here’s to the next thirteen years, and beyond.

Big Issue Cover Fail

It’s been a while since we mentioned the pisspoor (but lovely at heart) SA version of Big Issue magazine (it was October 2017). That’s because my life is a better place without the Big Issue in it.

I have to ask about this month’s cover though:

I see no need for the Antarctic Peninsula(?*) to be exploited. I’m actually with Greenpeace on this one [audience gasps]. But despite this unusual alliance, I am still going to take exception with the Big Issue cover.

Q. Why don’t Polar Bears eat Penguins?
A. Because they can’t get the wrappers off.

Or because one inhabits the Arctic and the other, the Antarctic. They are literally poles apart. And yet this incorrect and profoundly misleading cover is being shown to impressionable kids at traffic lights and road junctions all over South Africa.

And then we wonder why the education system is broken here.

It’s only a matter of time until the Bunny Huggers start using it as part of a misinformation campaign, telling us how OMG! you can’t find a Polar Bear anywhere in Antarctica anymore and how we must give them lots of money before the penguins disappear too.

(I do know that the penguins are disappearing though.)

 

* is it really actually a peninsula though?