Woodland Trio

I keep seeing these animations between programmes on Nickelodeon and I think they’re great.

They’re the work of Hungarian animator Alexeev Alexey.
Implausible name, great work.

Fish & Dragons

Sorry, the missus has just waved her fingernails under my nose, having just painted them with a range of volatile compounds, and I now find myself ducking to avoid the salmon leaping across the sofa and the dragons which are picking them off in mid air, in a style not unreminiscent of a cross between a eagle and a grizzly bear. But with scales and flames.

Actually, it’s good that she did (although perhaps not for you) as the depression of my disappointing attempted and aborted trip to Oslo is still responsible for the metaphorical grey cloud which hangs over me and I wasn’t even going to bother blogging this evening. Now I need to tell you about the dragons. I know there are always post-holiday blues post a holiday, but they can usually be tempered with the wonderful memories of the break. Not so in this case (sorry Mum, yes it was nice to see you but you know what I mean).

While Sheffield and most of the rest of the UK remains under wintery skies and freezing temperatures, here in Cape Town we have been enjoying (and I put the the word “enjoying” in inverted commas) (I know I didn’t actually do that, but I was thinking it) the 35°C temperatures thrown at us by Mrs Nature (Snr). I find the best way to deal with these conditions is to don a mask, gloves and a large super thick lab coat and play with infected sputum all day. With a promise of equally (if not more) unpleasant conditions tomorrow, I might take some of my wife’s nail polish to work to make the day pass more quickly entertainingly.

In other news, I discovered the fact that I had a new skill this evening. That skill is mending televisions.
I would usually never attempt to mend a television, but while we were round at the mother-in-law’s, my son decided to knock her TV off its stand and onto the floor – killing it instantly (the TV, the floor was already dead, you idiot) – and I don’t have the money to buy her a new TV set.
So, having opened it up and found nothing obviously broken within, I brought it home, poked at it a bit and then gave up. Imagine my surprise when it suddenly started working again. Obviously the bringing it home and poking it had some effect.
To be fair, I should have known that this experimental poking would work: after all, experimental poking has worked before with equally surprising results, one of which was responsible for the TV being broken in the first place.

And now, back to the imaginary flying reptiles…

Grow your own

Every muscle, every fibre of my being is screaming out in agony. If you listen carefully, you can probably hear them. It’s not as bad as Sicky Dion, but it’s still definitely not a pleasant sound – especially if it’s coming from within you.

The reason for that screaming is the new vegetable patch that I installed chez 6000 this morning. As you can see from the photos below, before work began, the area in question was covered with mutant, cyborg ivy.
Oh yes, it might just look like ordinary ivy to the untrained eye, but having gone in there armed with only a spade and a massive flamethrower, I can assure you there there was something distinctly “otherworldly” about that stuff: for a start, normal earth ivy doesn’t have tungsten roots, does it?

Before, during and after.

And that’s the reason I now sit here with a nice Marlon (for medicinal purposes) and a dread of what fresh pain tomorrow morning will bring. On the up side, we are now growing spinach, beetroot, baby cabbage and… something else which escapes my memory (Eggplant?).

The kids like it, I like it and next door’s cat (a big fan of digging stuff up in our other veggie patch) has already put in an appearance, which I enjoyably curtailed with a handful of gravel.

And then – a little later this evening: this.

Out of it

But not in a bad way.

We took the time out this weekend to head out into the beautiful Southern Cape,which has rapidly become a firm family favourite for weekend getaways. White sands, turquoise seas and deserted beaches where the kids can play safely and happily, Mum can read her latest crime thriller and Dad can wander about taking pictures and helping with the rockpooling – it refreshes the soul.
Less refreshing were the queues down Sir Lowry’s Pass on the way home, but even they might be a thing of the past once PAWC has mended Somerset West.

Such is the attraction of the place and the difference it makes to our family life that we’ve pooled together all we have and invested in a little plot on which will soon sit a tiny fisherman’s cottage. It won’t be much, but it will be ours (once we’ve given the bank a lot of money) and we went to have a look at the foundations this weekend. It’s surrounded by fynbos, beach and National Park and there is wildlife galore. There is electricity and water, but there’s no phone line and certainly no cellphone signal. It’s a far cry from busy city life and it really is going to be the perfect place to get away from it all.

This weekend was a good example of that – the only issue was the sunburn from Sunday morning’s shoreline quest – who knew that several billion tonnes of super-hot exploding helium could hurt so much? Even the SPF40 wasn’t enough to protect my unweathered and pale English skin. I’ll be ok in a few weeks though.


More photos here.

Better by tomorrow

After a weekend wracked by Mrs 6000’s tonsillitis and the consequent increased demands on my fathering abilities, I find myself concerningly nursing a sore throat of my own this morning. Both the kids have also been coughing and thus we’re off on another family outing to the doctor this morning. Oh joy.

Sore throats are never good, but this one is especially bad because tomorrow evening, we have plans (and tickets) to go and see (and hear) Crowded House at the Grand West Arena. Of course, laryngitis (I haven’t had any tonsils since a well-planned surgical intervention in 1979) will have no bearing on my eyesight or ear…sight(?), but it will make me feel generally crap and prevent me from singing along with the band in question.

Hits such as Four Seasons In One Day (written by Neil Finn after a particularly heavy 24 hours playing Championship Manager on the Playstation) and the much misheard Don’t Dream You’re Sober – an alcoholic’s worst nightmare – will have to be performed solely by the guys on stage and that would be a bad thing for the audience generally. Believe it, because it’s true.

Anyway, it would be foolish of me to strain my currently delicate vocal cords any further chatting to you good people. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with arepeejee’s stunning Warp Speed Winter Gardens:

Straight out of Sheffield, via Betelgeuse.

Make it so.