Swings and Roundabouts

Or rather, Roundabouts and Swings

Said he “the job’s the very spit of what it always were,
“It’s bread and bacon mostly when the dog don’t catch a hare,
“But looking at it broad, and while it ain’t no merchant kings,
“What’s lost upon the roundabouts, we pulls up on the swings.”

Roundabouts and Swings by Patrick Chalmers

Poetry on 6000 miles…hoodathunkitt? But I always wondered where that expression came from.

After my minirant regarding the injustices of football and the backward mindedness of the FA, Karma (which I really don’t believe in) was happened – or whatever Karma does – yesterday as my beloved Blades scored an offside goal and a really soft penalty to win 2-1 in a crunch match against Birmingham City.  
I now expect to find similar rants all over the web from Birmingham City fans. Or at least I would if any of them could write. I guess that’s a bit of an ask when you’ve only mastered the basic vowel sounds.
And even those, incorrectly.

It’s hard to remember – especially in something as emotive as football – that things do tend to even themselves out. Thus, Birmingham’s “bad luck” will probably be passed onto whoever they play next and so on and so forth.

Of course, humans being what they are these days, with the general “glass half-empty” approach to life, will never believe that they are getting anything but a raw deal, especially us bloggers, desperately narcissistic, craving attention and sympathy like some sort of Münchausen Syndrome victims. Twitter just concentrates the effect.
You know who you are.
And if you’re thinking “maybe he means me,”  then I probably don’t, but you’re obviously heading that way. 

More happy “Joy of Rusk” style posts, please. With smiles and stuff.
Which, I accept, this one isn’t.

Ooh ,the irony.

Amanda on 567 Cape Talk

Hello all!

Just a quick heads up that Amanda Power – who is walking the Great Wall of China later this year raising money and awareness for cancer charities in Cape Town – is being interviewed on local radio station 567 Cape Talk today at 1530 CAT (1330 GMT).

If you’re in Cape Town, 567 Cape Talk can be found on… er… 567 AM.
Alternatively – you can listen live using the link below.

Please tune in, tweet, blog and publicise this endeavour in any way you can. Thanks.

LISTEN LIVE to 567 Cape Talk: http://www.capetalk.co.za/onair/tunein/tunein.asp

Other China Challenge stuff on 6000 miles…

Actually not that bad

I’m pleased to announce that I have made a full recovery from yesterday’s very mild bout of homesickness, which was brought on by the snow back in the UK. A couple of beers overlooking a Table Bay sunset last night and a trip up the R27 during a top secret (and failed) lunchtime mission – on which I got lost and ended up watching pelicans on the Milnerton Lagoon – soon sorted me out.
It’s a wonderful bird, is the pelican, for its beak can hold more than its belly can. And if you’ve ever seen how big a pelican poo is (like a large bowlful of fishy white porridge), you’ll appreciate that they must have really, really big beaks.
I did used to get lost in the UK occasionally as well, but there were no pelicans to see.

The view from that Lagoon goes out to Po, the microbiologist with whom I seemingly swapped my life, five years ago. I know she hates photos of Table Mountain in the sun, especially when she’s not able to look at Table Mountain in the sun. And, seeing as she’s snowed {UPDATE: slushed} in in Oxford at the moment – that’s now.


Famous view

It’s a very pleasant 36°C out there today, which might seem like an oxymoron, but there’s a lovely breeze and no fires… yet. I’ll be braai’ing this evening and celebrating the difference between here and the UK by daring to try a cold beer or eight with the pelican I caught*.

Of course, there’s far more to South Africa than just the spectacular weather and wide variety of large-billed edible waterfowl, but I see no need to go any further right now.
It’s going to be a weekend of sitting by the pool or on the beach.
So, you see, it’s actually not that bad.

* he’s not the dinner guest – he’s the dinner.

SE X1

Remember back in April, when I told you that my wife had a better cell phone than I did? Of course you do. 
Well, shame-faced and mildly embarrassed since that day, I have been plotting my revenge. Not because I had anything against my lovely wife, you understand. Well, apart from the fact that it was rather unfair that she had a better cell phone than me, obviously.
Back then, in desperation and dire need of some sort of hope, I was clinging onto the straws of the C702 and the G900. Silly me. Despite the big build-up, when I actually got to see them in the flesh, they were a big disappointment. (see Smith, Graeme and Zille, Helen).

So step forward the Sony Ericsson X1 XPERIA™.
The stats looked good. The video looked even better. I was quivering with mounting anticipation. For ages. Because the only issue was that MTN couldn’t seem to get them to Cape Town.
But now they have. And now I have one.

Simply put, it is a thing of exquisite beauty: form and function combining with consummate ease in a loving, caring symbiotic relationship. It oozes class and functionality.
It’s gorgeous and I am smitten in a way I have never experienced since a winter’s evening at the Wig & Pen in George Street, Oxford some years back. And look where that got me.
Even the name (when suitably abbreviated) looks a little bit naughty, doesn’t it?

So yes, I like it a bit.
Now all I have to do is think of a suitable name for it. Oh – and learn how to use it.
And by the time I’ve mastered that, it’ll be upgrade time again.

A different pace of life

Some better informed or more observant readers will know that I have links with the Isle of Man – the small and extremely beautiful lump of rock in the middle of the Irish Sea. In fact, that little red and white thing in your address bar just up there [points] is not just the symbol of 6000 miles… website, but also the symbol of the island: the three legs of Man.

While I am Sheffield born and bred, I spent a lot of my childhood on the Isle of Man, I have a lot of family there and even more family history. Thus, it’s always good to keep up with what’s happening on “my island”.
Before I continue, perhaps I should explain that while the IoM is now a technologically-progressive, global financial hub, there remains a far slower pace of life over there. If you’ve ever watched Father Ted – think of it as a slightly larger Craggy Island: same wild beauty, same fierce national pride, same bizarre local traditions and characters. After all, this is the place where in February 1990 (yes, nineteen-NINETY!), locals queued up to stare in wonder at the “moving stairs” at the new Strand Shopping Centre in Douglas: the first public escalator on the island. Thus, the IoM is often mocked as being a bit backward – caught in the past – by many in the UK. Well, vive le difference, I say (when I’m in that sort of mood).

Catching up on the the latest goings-on via the BBC website, I was distressed and distraught to learn that the Isle of Man seems to have lost out to Southern Lebanon in possessing the world’s heaviest potato.

The 3.5kg (7lb 13oz) potato was bought by Greens restaurant owner Nigel Kermode in Douglas after it became the official world record holder more than 10 years ago. But on Monday, it emerged that a farmer in southern Lebanon had grown a potato weighing in at 11.3kg (24.9lbs).

Lebanese farmer Khalil Semhat hopes the monster spud from his farm near Tyre, 85km (50 miles) south of Beirut, will take the crown. But according to the Guinness Book of Records, the current record is till held by the Manx potato.

And Mr Kermode said there was still a local interest in the original, more than a decade after it was found: “It’s not on display at the moment. We’ve had it out periodically because, to be honest, it doesn’t look very nice,” he said. “It’s gone all sort of grey and brown and it doesn’t look very appetising.”

Yes. That’s what passses for news on the Isle of Man. A big, 10-year-old, mouldy root vegetable.

I’m heading back there next year for a few weeks of relaxation and I can’t wait. Because life is different there: the rat-race doesn’t exist, the outside world doesn’t matter and no-one really cares how big your potato is.
I’ll leave the closing remarks to Nigel Kermode – because he sums it up so well:

We’re still a world champion – we’ll call it the second biggest potato in the world.

Perfect.