After months of negativity

As I sit here by the braai, with a locally-brewed wife and beer by my side, I am filled with hope, positivity and optimism about the future here in SA. And, for once, it seems I’m not the only one.

After a wholly-unsolicited ‘I’m going out of my way to tell your viewers this’ quote “Let me tell you, South Africa is going to be ready and it’s going to be a great World Cup” from a Daily Express football writer (recently returned from these parts) on Sky Sports yesterday, Piers Edwards of the BBC has come out with a brilliant blog telling the world the other side of all the negative BS and hightlighting the double standards of the international press:

When I asked the Australian delegation if they had any security concerns, they almost laughed in my face. Thankfully, they politely grinned instead while explaining how their sports stars have been coming here for years without any problems.
Indeed, their cricketers came over for last year’s IPL and Champions Trophy and there was great irony in both tournaments’ relocation to South Africa after security concerns in their original host nations – India and Pakistan (and wasn’t it strange how South Africa’s crime issues were ignored when the IPL changed venue?).

And it is, of course, the media that drives and fuels the negativity.
Why?  I’m not sure. Perhaps they’ve just lost the ability to actually write anything positive anymore. Maybe no-one would believe it.

While English-led questions about Bafokeng dominated Fifa’s news conference on Tuesday, it was interesting that not one Brazilian journalist, and there were a few there, asked about the five-time champions’ hotel – whose completion date is as late as England’s. In fact, the endless focus on Bafokeng drove Fifa’s urbane General Secretary spare.
“If the question is ‘could we host the World Cup tomorrow?’, the answer is ‘no’,” Jerome Valcke snapped. “Soccer City isn’t ready [and] we have 700,000 tickets still to sell, but we will be ready.”

Valcke is right. SA is not ready to host the World Cup. But that’s actually just fine, because the World Cup doesn’t start until June 11th and right now, we’re still in February. If the World Cup were to start tomorrow, we’d have failed. But it doesn’t, so we haven’t.
And positive quotes from big names like Marcello Lippi:

“I’m expecting a great tournament, in fantastic stadiums, with perfect security,” says Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning coach, who was here for last year’s Confederations Cup. “I’m not expecting anything negative.”

and Germany coach Joachim Low:

“I see the happiness in the locals’ eyes and their sense of excitement,” he said. “They can’t wait for the World Cup and South Africa will do everything for this World Cup – that’s what I am feeling.”

being reported are a welcome change from the usual doom and gloom that has surrounded the build up to this tournament.

But even as I read the comments below the post (and they’re worth a read), there were those in there who are still stubbornly waiting and hoping that South Africa will fail, still spreading their misinformation (CAPADONNA is a good case in point – WTF is he talking about??) and striving to pollute the excitement and belief around the World Cup. Piers has a message for them:

After 80 years of the World Cup, Africa – whether some Europeans like it or not – deserves its chance to host the finals: and had you decided against coming here because of the horror stories (rather than financial restrictions), when the media changes its tune from negativity to fawning praise as the World Cup begins, where would you rather be? 

I know my answer…

Wedded bliss

We’re off to a wedding this afternoon. Attending weddings is becoming a more unusual pastime as most of our friends have already tied the knot already. In fact, I’ve had to have a scroll through Flickr to try and work out when the last one was.

It turns out that it was nearly two years ago at Morgansvlei near Tulbagh. The weather that day was superb and it looks like today’s events in Noordhoek will be equally sunny. It should be a great evening.

Incidentally, Mrs 6000 and I are not so far from our own 5 year anniversary. I mentioned this to a friend and he said that in that case, we were also not that far from the 7 year itch and we should watch out. I assured him that neither my wife nor I suffer from any chronic skin conditions and that he must be mistaken.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s nothing that a anti-histamine and a hefty dose of penicillin can’t sort out, right?

Village population grows

Damn. While I disappear off 6,137 miles from civilisation, little Mrs Ordinary Life pops her sprog.
Obviously, we knew that this was coming, but we weren’t absolutely sure when.

But just as dawn was breaking, things happened.
And those things were announced to the world just 1 hour and 59 minutes later:

Kaylin Elizabeth born at 5.50 am!

This, of course, is what little children do. They mess with your inner clock. They tug on your internal hour hand. Without the intervention of modern science, you can be assured that babies will be born in the early hours of the morning or during the penalty shootout at the end of a really exciting FA Cup semi-final replay.

It is great training for the months and – dare I say years? (yes, I dare) – years that follow.  At no point in its first 5 years of life does a child wake up, check the clock (and for clock, read presence of daylight) and think “Hmm – maybe it’s still a bit early. I’ll turn over and go back to sleep”.

No. They wander into your room and demand entertainment and food. And if they are too young to wander into your room, they stay where they are and demand entertainment and food. Each night, we line the route between Alex’s room and ours with rusks. Our landing is now an Ouminefield. (Note: that joke only works if you’re South African and you have consumed a bottle of red wine before reading it, sorry).

But no. In he comes and before I know it, Handy Manny and his seven trusty tools are singing their half-English, half-Spanish songs about fixing Mrs Portillo’s stove while the boy spreads crumbs across the bed. So I head to the kitchen in search of coffee and end up crunching a roomful of breakfast biscuits down the stairs. And then people wonder why I’m grumpy in the mornings.

These are the challenges that Mr & Mrs Ordinary Life have to face in the coming years. They are fortunate to have me doing reccies for them 4 and 1½ years ahead. Indeed, the only bad news for them is that I will be telling the truth.

But for the moment, many congratulations to Pammie and her husband.
And welcome Kaylin Elizabeth.

I told you it was going to be a boy.

Struispost

Season’s Greetings (mid to late summer) from Struisbaai, home of the southern hemisphere’s longest stretch of white sand beach, a bewilderingly large variety of birdlife and – for this extended weekend, at least – family 6000.
I love the Southern Cape – perhaps because the rolling farmland, rugged coastline and friendly residents remind me of the Isle of Man. But whereas there’s plenty of stuff south of the Isle of Man, you don’t get much more south than here without getting very wet (and then very cold). After all, we’re about 10km from Cape Agulhas, site of the most southerly blog post this continent has ever seen.

We’ve rented a fisherman’s cottage for the weekend and it’s perfect for our needs. It’s really just a base for sleeping and braai’ing, within a minute’s walk of the beach and situated directly beneath clear blue skies. But it’s clean, pleasantly cool inside, nicely appointed and actually rather pretty to look at. I’ll post the details on here once we’ve moved on – it would be both awkward and annoying if a host of 6000 miles… readers turned up looking for autographs and locks of hair like when I was away last time. If you were better at stalking, you’d know where I was anyway.

While the beds are comfy and the air is fresh – usually a recipe for prolonged slumbers – Alex was up dangerously early this morning. While a 5am wake-up call isn’t to everyone’s tastes when trying to get some much-needed R&R, it’s par for the course when you have two small kids. After some negotiation and a couple of sausages from last night’s braai, I took both him and the camera down onto the beach for walk and some quick sunrise pics, Joyanne-style.
And look – I can see the attraction in one way – it was nice exercise, the views were pretty spectacular as the sun burst out from behind the morning clouds and turned the turquoise ocean a deep gold and – save for a couple of fishermen – the beach was ours. But on the other hand, I can also see the attraction of a deep bed, a cosy duvet and a warm wife.
So I’ll be honest: the jury is still very much out on the whole sunrise beach trip thing.

It’s now lunchtime and by some miracle, both kids are fast asleep. Later this afternoon, we’re going to take another step towards cementing our relationship with this beautiful area by inspecting a plot of land near here with a view to purchasing it and – at some stage in the future – having our own little fisherman’s cottage by the sea. I guess that what they call “living the dream”.

Posted from my Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1

The bobsforgood post

I had some business down on the Waterfront this lunchtime and my visit happened to coincide with the 2oceansvibe live webcast from Bob Skinstad’s cell in the Barrow Court.

In case you’ve been living under a stone for the past few days, let me explain.
Ex-Springbok rugby player Bob Skinstad has locked himself up for a week to raise funds for his charity, the bobsforgood Foundation. bobsforgood is all about putting shoes on the feet of the 7 million South African children who go to school each day without shoes. That’s 14 million shoes. (I can like to be good at maths.)
So, as the poster says:

Today you can help our local sports hero, Bob Skinstad and his bobsforgood Foundation raise ‘bail’ money that will be used to put school shoes on the feet of underprivileged children across South Africa.

And they’re right – you can. Like this:

I also grabbed a few shots of the infamous Seth Rotherham hard at work in the cell with Bob. Seth is shorter than you might imagine. And he’s not very tall either.
He was mainly busy leaping about from laptop to laptop, presumably sating the needs of Cape Town and South Africa (not to mention the not inconsiderable international contingent) to ‘live the holiday’.

            

At one point,  he obviously detected the scent of another blogger and uttered a low growling sound – I guess it was a territorial thing.
Shoppers all around the mall stopped and there was a moment of worrying silence as he glared straight at me. Somewhere, a pin clattered to the floor. But just then a chick in a short skirt wandered past and his attention wandered off with her.
The mall breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Perhaps, Highlander-style, there can be only one, but there was to be no fight today (and just as well for Seth, since I am known to be pretty amazing with my sword and he was stuck in faux prison cell anyway) and two of the more famous names in Cape Town blogging lived to fight another day.

As recompense for the brief stalking and in recognition of a good cause, 6000 miles… has donated R250 to the bobsforgood foundation and we urge our readers to help make a difference as well.