Postcard from Cape Town

Hello there. How’s the conference going?

I must say that at first sight, five days in a 5-star hotel overlooking the Victoria Falls in Zambia didn’t seem to be the worse scenario in the world, but I’m sure you’re all working damn hard out there between the drinking sessions, although the thunderous noise of the spectacular 108m high, 1.7km long wall of falling water must be a little off-putting. As you know, I’ve never been, but I’m guessing it’s something like our back garden a couple of weeks ago. I still haven’t found our goat, by the way.
I can’t believe your phone isn’t working – curse those yellow freaks at MTN. Curse them.

Not much news from here. Of course, we miss you. Alex regularly breaks off from tearing the pages of his nursery rhyme book to go and investigate the Case of the Missing Mum by peering round the nearest corner to see where you’re hiding.
I do try to explain, but by that time he’s moved onto hugging his teddy or playing with the contents of your underwear drawer. How come he’s allowed to do that, but I’m not?

Anyway, we’re getting on just fine, despite his “dirty protest” in the bath on Wednesday evening. It wasn’t as bad as the last time he did it – I wasn’t actually in the bath with him this time. *shudder*
I’ve been using that old South African Klippies-in-the-bedtime-bottle trick your mum said she used to use on you. I can’t say for sure if he’s been sleeping through but generally I have been as I’ve been finishing the Klipdrift off once he’s passed out. I can’t allow him to drink alone, now can I?
Interestingly, he seems to handle the blinding headaches of the following morning better than I do.
I’m quite envious. </font

I hardly like to mention it, but tonight is the big England v Brazil friendly at Wembley. You must be gutted. I know you would have loved to have watched it with me, so I’ll look up when it’s repeated when you come back and we can enjoy it together then. Maybe it’ll be repeated twice if you’re lucky.
But that’s assuming I can get out of the hospital past the picket lines this evening. I tried to appear all cool by joining in their songs and toyi-toying on the way through the gate this morning, but I just ended up singing “Shongololo” instead of “Shosholoza” and proving that white men really can’t jump. I like to think they appreciated my efforts though and that they were laughing with me. Possibly anyway.

Tomorrow looks like being Saturday and so I’ll plonk the boy into his car seat and we’ll hit the beach and eat some sand together (washed down with some more Klippies). He’s expressed a wish to take up ornithology ever since he saw that “Puffin with Muffins” page in his rhyming book, so I thought that Sandy Bay would be the obvious choice, where you can see plenty of Capetonian birds in their… erm… natural plumage. We’ll probably just sit back and admire them preening or something and knock back a couple more Klippies. We’re not addicted though. Oh no.

OK – I must get to the bottle store before it closes.
We’ll see you at the airport on Sunday.
If I’m too drunk, Alex has said that he’ll drive. If he’s too drunk as well, I guess you’ll have to get a taxi.
Til then dearest,

Me.x

On how life is right now…

So ends another mammoth gap in the annals of 6000 miles…. It’s really been a question of time and inclination. I’ve had both, but never at the same moment. I’m not about to disappoint my readership (or what’s left of it) with disappointingly poor social commentary, tired jokes and space fillers.

Neither of you would appreciate that.

Anyway: Yes, as widely predicted on this website, South Africa were humbled by Australia in the cricket, but that’s all well behind us now. New national pride is being sought through the Super 14 rugby and the progression of two South African teams through to the semi finals of that competition. I was fortunate enough to be at Newlands for the match between the Stormers and the Sharks last Saturday and I have to say that I was pretty impressed. The canap├ęs were delightful and the spring rolls a joy. Also, there was free beer. We watched some of the rugby too, which was OK.

My dear little son has turned one year old. No-one is more surprised than us that he’s made it this far with our previous parenting experience; i.e. none. I guess it just goes to show how resilient the little fellow is. I will, of course, have some birthday photos up on the 6000 miles flickr site in the very near future. I’m in trouble at home for not having uploaded them already, which I guess is fair enough.

In addition to Alex’s birthday, my wife and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary (do the anniversary/birthday maths – it’s all completely legal), which came as shock to no-one – we were always meant to be.

But while there have been some variable sporting results and impressive bar snacks, baby’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries and partially-justifiable husband chastising, one thing is overshadowing my life at the moment. Sit, dear reader, for this is a biggie. This may foretell of a catastrophe of epic proportions.
My iPod has developed a rattle. This is, undeniably, a “bad thing”.
It is widely accepted that iPods should not rattle.

So far, there has been no further problem with the device, but I fear that it is only a matter of time.
And while it may be a couple of years old and well-used, I would hate to be prevented from enjoying the great sounds of Favourite Worst Nightmare by the Arctic Monkeys and Peace Breaker by the interestingly named local band, Springbok Nude Girls, (careful with the title of the page on that one if you’re at work), both of which I would highly recommend.

I showed my wife the iPod. I explained my concerns and then, with all else quiet, I shook it and demonstrated its terrifying death rattle. I explained that I would need a new, improved 60GB model with funky colour screen.
She seemed unimpressed.
“That’s easy to sort out,” she told me, lifting my forlorn hopes, “Don’t shake it.”

Readers, sometimes there is just no arguing with female logic.

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 necessarily 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 deterrent, 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…?