Wellington. 6050 miles from civilisation…

Believe me. That 50 miles makes a hell of a difference. We popped out to Wellington – more specifically to Diemersfontein – for a wedding this weekend. What an interesting experience.

Maybe it didn’t help that it was raining, but Wellington is nowhere near as pretty as some of the other towns in the Winelands. It also doesn’t seem anywhere near as geared up for visitors. Aside from the KFC and Wimpy (God help us!), we managed to find just one restaurant (D’Olive, if you feel the need) open for that most unusual of mealtimes… er… Sunday lunch. (It was bloody good though.)

In addition, maybe it didn’t help that we had booked into the bewilderingly named La Rochelle B&B, run by a lady who spoke only a smattering of English – Afrikaans being die taal of choice in the Winelands. The name wasn’t the end of the French connection, however; the olde worlde charm of the place included an olde worlde mattress with a depression so great in the middle of it that the Frenchies would have build a damn great viaduct from one side to the other and raised goats in the valley below.  Still, several beers and a bottle or more of the wonderful Pinotage at the reception probably assisted with my getting a decent night’s sleep – and also probably explains the utterly bizarre dreams about treading grapes with gold-shoed Croatian ladies.  

In a final cruel twist of the La Rochelle knife, the “B&B” turned out to be just “B”. 9am, mildly hungover and pretty much exhausted from freeclimbing my way up the side of my mattress to get out of bed really wasn’t the best time to find this out.

“The price you pay are not including the breakfast. There is a good place in town to eat, but I think that they is not open for breakfast.”

Looking back, the wedding was wonderful, I would heartily recommend the Diemersfontein Pinotage – “I’m getting chocolate, I’m getting coffee, I’m getting quite drunk” – and Wellington is another town to cross off my SA list. Whether it will be one I revisit remains to be seen…

Return of the Mac

Remember Guy MacLeod of Plumstead? Of course you do. He was the guy that wrote to the local paper comparing Jacob Zuma with Princess Di. I did take the mickey a bit, but in one way (most especially the comparison that he made, rather than the ones I suggested), Guy was right. They both appeal to the public (known locally as the masses) and it makes them both very popular figures with every chance of taking on the ANC Presidency and presumably therefore being President of South Africa in 2009.

Well, JZ anyway – Di is dead like Elvis.

If you read the post, you’ll see that Guy dragged me out of a period of not writing. Perhaps I did the same to him. After he commented on my infamous Big South African Crime Post, he appears to have been inspired. Another letter to the Argus and it appears that Guy thinks that criminals have had their day!

Imagine if anyone (including a burglar or hijacker) placed his/her hand on a “technologically treated” door handle on which you have a chemical/electrical imprint indiscernibly placed but which lasts for days or weeks and is satellite-trackable? Criminals will be unable to hide!

This isn’t actually so far away, I guess. We already have datadot which is the vehicular equivalent and which seems to be having an effect, despite not really catching on just yet. But hang on. There’s more…

Better still is the next generation development where an individual’s criminal thoughts can be identified by a remote control “intelligence base” – well before the criminal act is implemented, so that counter measures can be taken.

Hmm. These “counter measures” worry me. I hope they’re not monitoring what I’m thinking right now… But wait, there’s… even more!

And a later development that enables the central intelligence base, at the touch of a button, to trigger an instantly disabling electrical charge that also also serves as an effective remote-controlled punishment for premeditated serious crime.

Argh. Mnnurgh Mnuff.

Mnnnnnnn. Mn.

Sorry – I’m back. Not sure what happened there. Or how I ended up twisted on the floor like John Travola gone wrong. It also appears that I have a slight nosebleed.

Sadly, I think these wonderful ideas from the realms of Fortress and Demolition Man (both of which were on the TV last night – hmm) are about as fanciful as Superman coming to save the earth next Tuesday (Monday is a public holiday) or me getting this blog sorted out by February.

February 2009.

Meanwhile, according to K Dawson (also of Plumstead) there are more pressing matters to be attended to. “K” – if that is its real name – has noticed at the turnstiles at Cape Town Station:

… you are met by only two people manning two turnstiles at rush-hour, with a no-care attitude. And I have noticed that people of a certain race are left to go through without their tickets being verified properly.

Well K, if they singled you out for being white(?) then it sounds like they are at least paying some attention. But well done for getting this out in the open now. 50 years down the line, you’d be writhing on your carpet just for thinking about writing something like that.

The doctor will see you now…

Here’s the post that I was going to put onto 6000 miles last night, but couldn’t.
Ha – you’d thought you’d escaped, didn’t you?

No. No-one escapes the long arm of Doctor Perez…

In the letter box this morning…

Dr Perez will help you out

Dr Perez – He can do magic. (click for bigger)

May I draw your attention in particular to three unfortunate claims:

Need to take long in action (24 hr results)
It was long ago that I last claimed to understand the female mind. It’s a foolish thing for a male of the opposite sex to try and comprehend or predict. But even I feel confident in suggesting that 24 hours “action” might be a little too lengthy for most ladies. In a single stint anyway.
Presumably, if one were to actually attempt such a feat, one would have to plan in advance and have food and drink readily to hand (I’d avoid garlic). A completed sponsor form for an abused women’s charity would probably also be appropriate. And you’d have to set the video to avoid missing your favourite shows. In addition, from a male perspective, try to plan the session over a Thursday evening when there’s unlikely to be any decent footy on.

Also:

Women who can not produce Female discharge
I’m gathering that the good doctor is actually claiming to cure two separate ailments here – infertility and well… female discharge. But could he not have separated them a little better? It’s just confusing.

And:

Need to control your speed of reaching orgasm premature (24 hr doze results)Yes. Nodding off for an entire day will almost certainly delay orgasm. Anyway – there’s a “100% refund if it fails”, so why not give him a call and see if he can help you with your problems? The International Dialling Code for South Africa is +27. And drop the first zero. Let me know how you get on. (And if you’re able to get back off again afterwards)…

In the back seat

I was going to write some more about rugby and how the rugby authorities in SA are already well into their task of destroying the good work of the team on the pitch, but it’s getting rather monotonous now.
No. It’s not sour grapes. It’s not even a lack of interest or understanding. It’s simply the way that rugby has permeated everything in this country over the last two months. It’s even permeated this blog.
And I don’t even like rugby.
And while I can completely understand this obsession (although not from me), it’s actually becoming a little tiresome now. So, like Bok coach Jake White – let’s move on now. Although preferably not to Australia. There’s rugby and Australians there. Where’s the fun in that?

A couple of months back, I wrote about the negative stories about South Africa that ended up on the front page of the BBC News website. Last week there was another. But I’m not sure whether this one opens the country up to criticism so much as widespread ridicule.

Cattle rustlers in South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province
have been trying to outwit police by transporting the animals in small cars.
Police say they seized two cows and two goats found squashed into the back of a tiny Fiat Uno.

Full story here. In actual fact, squashing several fat, dumb animals into the back of a small car isn’t a purely South African thing. Anyone who has seen the minicab rank in Newcastle’s Bigg Market on a Saturday night will happily back me up on that one. But they’re obviously experts at it in this country – who can forget this pic of 4 burly security guards being transported around in the back of – yes – a Fiat Uno?

Tight Fit
Bit of a squeeze.That photo, along with several others, is available via the my flickr link in the sidebar, by the way.

But it’s the reasoning behind these criminals’ behaviour that I want to understand. Picture the scene. A rural road somewhere in eastern KZN. Two policemen have stopped their car at the side of the road for a well-earned cup of coffee.

A car drives past. Nothing.
A small truck drives past. An eyelid is batted, but no more.
A Fiat Uno drives past, engine screaming, rear axle on the floor, sparks coming off the back bumper because of the 750kg of stolen livestock in the boot.

Cue the sirens.

Back to life, back to reality…

It’s over. And South Africa won it. Which is great news for all concerned. Well, all concerned with South Africa, anyway. National pride is swelling, flags are being flown and… and… well look, that’s actually about it, but that’s just fine. Now – can we get back to normality, please?

It’s true. The last couple of weeks have just been odd. Everything else has taken second (or even third or fourth) place to rugby stories. It would have been a very good time to do a Jo Moore and hide your dirty laundry in the depths of the SABC bulletins.
In fact, thinking about it, maybe they have and we haven’t noticed yet.
I think that would be unlikely though. Even the spin doctors were probably more focused on events in France than lying about their respective parties political achievements.

But who needs spin doctors anyway with photos like this?

Up he goes
Thabo: Had a great game

For one such as myself, craving a return to reality – or what passes for reality in this country, anyway – it was almost a relief to see that the Springbok victory was being used for political purposes. It just wouldn’t be right otherwise. Check out that pic of Thabo – that’s mighty political currency right there.
Could you see Gordon Brown being hoisted aloft if England had won it? No. Despite the obvious weight issue, he’s Scottish anyway and no, he’s not “the President of England” as the local commentary here repeatedly described him. That almost suggests that he is some sort of despot who simply slipped into power without being elected, which is obviously incorr… well, never mind…
The SA Minister of Sport, Makhenkesi Stofile, has also not been backward in coming forward after the win in Paris. His argument?

If South Africa can win the RWC so easily with a largely white squad, perhaps they’ll struggle more if we pick the team based on colour rather than ability.
This will obviously be good for national morale.

OK, I’m paraphrasing him, but it looks like the quota system is rearing its ugly head once again. Politics and sport, hey? A heady mix. As The Telegraph’s Brendan Gallagher points out, it tarnishes the victory, the celebrations and – once again – the image of the country.
I’m not sure I ever bought the “unifying power of a shared positive experience” theory anyway. Yes, the people welcoming the team back this morning at OR Tambo were all happy, cheering and smiling, but they were probably going back to decent housing with water, electricity and an inside toilet or six.

 Anyone imagining that Percy Montgomery’s boot and a helpful (but apparently correct – just!) decision by the TMO on Saturday evening will solve all South Africa’s problems is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Or “The Presidential Residence”, as it is locally known.