A fishy business

Well, the penguins (see below) are gone, but their memory (and the mess around the pool) still lingers on. Nicole has developed an unusual taste for pilchards. Some husbands might be worried about this unusual craving having some “hidden meaning”, but not me. Why? Because the pilchards are being fed to Alex.
“The omega oils will do him good!” she exclaims.
“In what way?” I counter, ever eager to have my thirst for scientific proof of everything sated.
It’s usually at about this time that she smiles pseudo-knowingly and then ignores me completely until I forget to ask again.

I’ve no doubt that she’s right though. Dolphins and seals always seem to look healthy and indeed, Alex has already gained a wonderfully waterproof oily layer over his skin, which not only keeps him warm in the water, but also makes him extremely difficult to handle in the bathtub.
The only drawback is the smell. The boy, rapidly approaching his first birthday, has not yet completely mastered basic table manners. Why, only yesterday, he used his dessert knife to butter a roll.
OK, I jest (he’d never do that), but feeding him is an understandably messy business at the moment. And that pilchardy smell does end to stick around somewhat: hands, clothes, hair, walls, high chair, floor, cutlery, ceiling – you can imagine, I’m sure. One finds oneself just catching a brief whiff when one least expects it – in the car halfway to work, for example. And if you can smell it, surely so can other people. Hmm.

Still, as long as it’s more healthy than his diet over the weekend, I suppose we should be thankful. Two birthday parties and his first experience of chocolate cake – scary stuff. But then I guess no-one wants to eat carrots at a birthday party. And they shouldn’t be forced to either. Although, of course, we tried. Anyway, pictures from the Easter weekend and this weekend’s RSS feed.
Alternatively, get your computer to do it for you; such are the wonders of modern technology…

Sorry – did you just smell something fishy? Or was it just me?

Crikey! I’m back!

So what happened?
Well, that’s the confusing thing really – nothing. Life just raced past and I never found a moment to update. I’ve been gone so long that they’ve started work on the ARS and Alex has started walking.
Sorry, regular readers: you must both have been at a complete loss for entertainment and information.

First things first: it appears that my March 12th post was taken rather too seriously by some people. Please remember that the views on 6000 miles don’t neccessarily reflect those of anyone. Including the author. You’ll be suitably informed of any post on here that you are expected to take seriously.
In fact, in order to prove that I love attending kids’ birthday parties, I’m going to be going to a kid’s birthday party this weekend and another next weekend. Thanks [name].

One weekend that was devoid of birthday parties was the one we spent at Caronne and Haydn’s place in Simonstown. I’ve finally got around to uploading the pictures from a really cool break.
For those readers who don’t know about Simonstown, it is famed for its colony of wild African Penguins. Alex had never seen a penguin before – he was fascinated. In fact, he loved them so much that we took a couple home for him to play with. Just don’t tell the Table Mountain National Park authorities, please – they just don’t want to understand.
We’re thinking of taking them back anyway. It’s costing us a fortune in fish and the pool is getting cloudy from all their excrement. Also, the neighbours have begun complaining about the smell and to be honest, I don’t blame them.
I thought the damn things would double up as some sort of intruder deterrant, but all they seem to do is swim, eat and crap everywhere. Talking of which – thanks to Ant for the heads-up on this (coincidentally, I’d just read about it in one of those “pointless facts” books I’m so addicted to). Figure 1 is particularly special and definitely worth a look. Genius.


That said, it does make one wonder why some seemingly more important scientific projects looking into HIV, malaria and TB struggle for funding while Prof Meyer-Rochow is looking into the rectal pressure of the Chinstrap Penguin. Apparently: “Anyone who has then watched a penguin fire a “shot” from its rear end must have wondered about the pressure it generates.
Yeah right, Prof. Try investigating that on Boulders Beach and you’d be in a lot of trouble. Molesting a penguin carries a pretty heavy sentence here in SA. Right – I’m off – for the moment.

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I think he blew it

The thing with unwritten rules is that you can never go back and say to someone:
“Look – it says right here you shouldn’t have done that.”
I always thought that was because unwritten rules were so obvious that no-one would break them and there would be no need for any chastising or clarification (Darwin Awards nominees aside, obviously):
Don’t poke that tiger. Don’t touch that wire. Don’t chew on that razor blade.
Let’s be honest, it’s pretty straightforward stuff. But ignoring unwritten rules can result in consequences far worse than the traumatic amputation of your arm, a nasty electric shock or bleeding gums. Yes, really.

Take kids’ birthday parties as an example: An opportunity for a few mothers to get together and have a chat and a glass of wine, while the toddlers play happily with each other, eat sand and generally have a good time. Everyone wins. Especially since while the cat is away, the mice will play. And this proverbial mouse takes the opportunity to play FIFA 07 without fear of interruption from anyone asking you to make them a cup of tea and mow the lawn or anyone (slightly smaller) tugging the power cable out of the back of the PS2 and eating it. It’s a near perfect situation.
Or at least, it was until the Saturday just past.

That’s when someone tinkered with the system. Upset the equilibrium. Broke the unwritten rule.

It would be wrong of me to name and shame the person in question. He knows who he is. What he doesn’t realise, perhaps, is that with his attendance of a kids birthday party on Saturday morning, he has opened the floodgates. With him turning up, suddenly the rest of us have no excuse to avoid forthcoming events of this nature.
My wife was hardly through the door, a filthy but happy Alex in her arms, when she piped up, “[name] was there too – you should come along to the next one!”
At first I thought it was a bluff: no-one would be guilty of such folly – especially [name] – would they?
Sadly, my hopes were dashed – apparently [name] was indeed there and won admiration and brownie points deluxe from the assembled mothers at the party. Good work, sir.

The question is, will that reward be worth it when he meets all the fathers at the next one…?

Childcare 101

While checking up on the news from back home in the Republic of South Yorkshire, I came across a story detailing how an 18-month old toddler had injured his mother by putting an aerosol under the grill.
The aerosol – somewhat predictably – then exploded in her face and she ended up with some (probably quite nasty) burns.
The toddler, bless his little cotton socks, was unharmed in the incident.

Reading this story will have divided the 6000 miles… readership.
A percentage of you, who do not have children, and who enjoy watching shows like Jackass and Dirty Sanchez are thinking: “Cool, dude… Exploding aerosol!”.
This percentage will then probably snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

A disappointingly large percentage of you aren’t really very bothered and haven’t even read this far.
You’re missing out. Really. And you smell.

The remainder of you are either mature, balanced individuals (like I used to be) or parents (like I am now).
You are probably wondering what on earth an 18 month old was doing with access to:
a) an aerosol can, and
b) a grill.

Back at Chateau 6k, the jury is still out on whether we are going to allow the “naughty” coffee table to stay around after it “attacked” little Alex twice in as many days*. It’s currently on a final warning, and with plans for a braai this weekend and a sudden hike in the price of Namibian Camelthorn, it had better watch its step.
As for Alex, I can’t imagine that he will enjoy the company of aerosols and grills for several years to come. I don’t think that’s being over-protective, I think that’s being responsible. When he’s old enough, I’ll be there to demonstrate the dangers of putting an egg in the microwave. And then we’ll try a 60W lightbulb.
And we’ll both sit back and snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

* Actually, the first time, he just fell over near the table. But we blamed it anyway.
I think the second time was merely its act of petty revenge.

Laufstrupp’s there again – and that’s his hat trick!

I had a little time to myself this weekend, which allowed me to “relax” with FIFA 07 and a cosy warm Playstation while the cold front did its worst outside.
I say “relax”, because there really is very little pleasure in watching in vain as your Hull City side succumb to yet another defeat against some 3rd division Danish nobodies.
It did remind me just how much things have changed over the past few years though. In November 2003, I was sat in the Green Ridges house, playing FIFA 04 (presumably) while it rained outside, watching in vain as my Grimsby Town side succumbed to yet another defeat against some 3rd division Danish nobodies.

The difference, of course, aside from a few miles of Lincolnshire coastline is that back in 2003, I wasn’t able to look forward to the imminent return home of my wife and child as Norgaard-Olaf Laufstrupp headed the third past the hapless collection of pixels representing my goalkeeper.
And I miss those days, sipping chilled Cotes du Rhone from a tumbler and listening to Royksopp on the CD player in the corner. But I’m very happy to be where I am now too. I guess that “where is home?” corner has been turned and the question answered. Importing a few old chums, a bit of family, some decent football teams and real ale would obviously help, but life here is generally pretty good.

Of course, life changes. Some would say not always for the better either. But I would have to disagree. I’m with the woman of my dreams, I have the world’s cutest son and the new Precision Passing feature using the R2 button has allowed Hull to look almost professional from time to time. Add to that a superb range of reasonably priced local Merlot and you have the perfect recipe to while away your weekend with only a couple of sore thumbs and a hangover to worry about.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it’s the little things that matter in this world.
Well, those and the big things, obviously.
Sort them out and use the R2 button more often and you’ll have a great time. I promise.