Back home on the Isle of Man

After a short trip to the ghastly Gatwick airport and the bumpy flight over the UK and the Irish Sea, followed by the most horrendous landing ever, I feel profoundly lucky to be safely “home” in the Isle of Man. Not many people know that I almost died here, on a runway at Ronaldsway Airport just after 1pm this afternoon. But it was not to be.

I’ve seen four airports over the past few days. Four very different airports.

Cape Town is in a state of development ahead of the 2010 World Cup. And while it looks pretty spectacular and is already a huge improvement on the previously dated and rather ramshackle terminals. One slight issue is the thick dust, which is covering everything – including the cars in the long stay car park, which are well on their way to becoming fossilised. Every car park ticket comes with a free car wash. Or at least it should.

And then the much maligned Terminal Five at Heathrow. Well, I was completely impressed. Quick, clean (although I probably still had Cape Town on my mind) and very modern and stylish. We sped through in record time via the internal transit train thing and then spent all the time we’d saved watching the dancing fountains outside the terminal building.


Photo by LightReflections on flickr

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Gatwick. Aging, poorly designed, ugly, overcrowded and full of chavs. The humourless security people made me take my belt and shoes off and then laughed as my jeans fell down. So not completely humourless then. But I didn’t find it funny. Shuffling across the apron in the kerosene-stained drizzle was even less fun. And difficult with my trousers round my ankles.

And then little Ronaldsway. I’d love to tell you all about it, but I was still stunned by the utterly appalling landing by the apparently novice pilot in the blustery crosswinds.

The Isle of Man is still as pretty as I always remembered it to be. But it seems even more beautiful when you thought you were never going to see anything ever again. I’d even have settled for another afternoon in Gatwick departures lounge.

The 2009 Kids in Tow Tour

The 2009 Kids in Tow Tour is almost upon us and I know that there is one burning question on your collective minds:

How will it affect us, the reading public of 6000 miles…?

It wouldn’t be right if, like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, I didn’t put you out of your misery, so here’s the deal as I see it.

  1. I am not guaranteeing a post every day, although I’ll certainly try. If you want to know when a new post is up, you can follow @6000 on twitter or better still, you can subscribe to the 6000 miles… RSS feed.
  2. Comments may take longer to get through moderation. Sorry and all that. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t comment, but I’m going to be on holiday, chasing my boy around a beach and generally drinking red wine and beer. Pretty similar to life in Cape Town then, but a slightly different beach.
  3. There will be plenty of photo action. Not least (I hope) with my new camera. Those photos will go onto my flickr and I will let you know when they are going up there. Some (if not more) will probably make it onto the blog as quota photos anyway.
  4. It’s possible that I won’t be reading your blogs as often as usual. Don’t hold it against me – I will try to catch up when I get back. However, SA blogs will be my main link with the Saffa world while I’m away, so please keep me informed of developments. (Or lack of them, if that stadium-building strike begins to bite.)

And that’s pretty much it. We fly tomorrow, Kids in Tow and, anticipating un jour ‘ectique, I’ve already pre-published a special KiTT send off post, which will appear here at 1800 CAT (or some other time, if I got my time zones mixed up) tomorrow.  That post may appear mildly trivial (although reading it now, rather prophetic) if there happens to be a nuclear holocaust between now and then; but then you probably won’t be reading it if there’s a nuclear holocaust between now and then, will you?

I leave you with the ever popular Simple Minds 1985 hit Don’t You (Forget About Me); firstly, because I love songs (with brackets in the title) and secondly, because I’m gonna miss you guys. *sniffle*

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAdaQhitdKg]

Listen to Jim:

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby

Don’t You Forget About Me
Don’t Don’t Don’t Don’t
Don’t You Forget About Me

See you soon!
6k.

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28

I’m feeling somewhat limited by my current camera, the 7.1MP point-and-shoot goodness that is a Sony DSC-W17 and I feel it’s time to move onward and upward and get something with a bit more power. Looking at the Flickr stats for the W17, it seems that I’m not alone in this. Following extensive research (of both cameras and bank balance), I have decided that while in the UK on the 2009 Kids in Tow Tour, I will be purchasing a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28.

panasonic-fz28
Coming soon to a cute blogger near you: The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28

Now, before you trash my ideas and tell me that I could get a bigger zoom this and a better lens that, that I should be buying Canon or Nikon, Sony or Fuji, I’d like you to take a step back. Because there are certain limitations here. Namely my skill as a photographer and my wage packet as a scientist. What I’m trying to say is, it would be pointless to buy anything more fancy, even if I could afford it.

And I’ve done my research. Plenty of it. I have been reading up on Brian Micklethwait’s thoughts for a long while now, although he appears to have about two limitations less than I have have described above. He is torn between Canon and Nikon, but the reviews of the Panasonic are excellent and this seems to be the camera to fit my needs, with a long extendy bit at the front (always nice), a button to press to take a photo and a little clip on either side to attach the strap to. All the boxes ticked.
And check out that DC Vario-Elmarit 1:2.8-4.4/4.8-86.4 ASPH. Leica lens. Whatever that means. Glorious.

The final clincher, however, was the name. Many hip-hop and rap artists from the 80s who have branched into photography went (obviously) with Kodak. But Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell were always a little different, a little ahead of their time and they headed for Panasonic.
What’s good for hip-hop is good for digital photography and the fact that it has taken them close on twenty years to bring this baby out tells me that it must be something special.

Bafana v Brazil

The Local Boys take on the Samba Boys in the second Confederations Cup semi-final this evening, buoyed by growing local support and the somewhat surprising result from the first semi last night when the USA beat Spain 2-0. That said, there are only 12 places between those two on the FIFA rankings. Brazil are 67 places ahead of South Africa and are playing like men possessed. Men possessed by really good footballers.
If they were playing like men possessed by kingklip or desk lamps or bits of polystyrene, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but I have this horrible feeling deep in my head than Bafana are going back to footballing school this evening.

That said, tickets are all but sold out for the game and the support for Bafana will be fanatical and will include at least some (or more) vuvuzelas (or so I would imagine). Maybe turn the sound down if you don’t like the noise.
Just an idea. Tolerance and respect for others, you see?


Confed Cup opening: Shine2010

Nothing would please me more than to be wrong about the scoreline – I have neither affiliation nor huge admiration for Brazil, but they’re on top of their game at the moment and are hot favourites.

One more thing: Boston.com have done one of their famous The Big Picture spreads on Soccer in South Africa. There are some superb photos in there, numbers 14 and 18 being my favourites.

Pinotage is nie my baas

Pinotage isn’t my boss…

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…but when it talks, I listen.

Taken at Beyerskloof, November 2008. Their 2004 Pinotage Reserve is probably my favourite SA wine, despite spirited competition from Diemersfontein‘s Pinotage range. However, I think it’s fair to say that I am applying myself to the task of searching for new contenders on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

It’s hard work, but someone (me) has got to do it.