Pete is very trying

As I mentioned earlier this week, things all get a bit confusified at this time of year when it comes to blogging. And despite the fact that I’m away from my beloved internet, that doesn’t stop the potential post suggestions rolling into my inbox. Here’s another one I thought might be worth sharing.

It’s evident that a great number of people remember my post earlier this year documenting the evening that Whale Cottage owner and all-round good egg, Chris von Ulmenstein fell foul of the parking attendants at the CTICC for parking her WhaleMobile where she shouldn’t have done. And then I won a Sour Service Award on her blog for documenting it. Proud days.

Joining me as a shining light on that most particular of lists last week was Asara Estate, and its GM Pete Gottgens. And, in the words of our dear Chris, here’s why:

I attended the Pure Food Market last Friday, a nice idea on a perfect summer’s day, but with a shortage of parking, and a shortage of waiters to take orders for coffees (the waiter-dressed staff had been rented for the day to only clear tables). Gottgens looked more like a security man than the hotel GM, and came to my car when I hooted at an elderly couple indulgently blocking all traffic into and out of the wine estate. He tried to poke the antenna of his walkie-talkie into my face, tried to break off my car side mirror, blocked my exit by instructing his security man to stand in front of my car, and finally tried to strangle me by pulling the safety belt which I had on.

Hang on, he did what? He rented (I prefer “employed” – after all, these are people, not objects – but it’s all good, Chris), he rented people dressed as waiters and got them to clear tables?  While they were dressed as waiters?


Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens, can you not understand that Chris needs coffee? And parking? (this is a weakness Chris has which we’ve covered this before) (see above). How dare you rent people dressed as waiters and get them to clear tables. Whatever next? Hire people dressed as clowns and get them to juggle balls and entertain small children? Where will this madness end?

And, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens, why on earth did you approach Chris’ car when all she was doing was hooting at an elderly couple who weren’t just blocking all the traffic into and out of the wine estate, but doing it in an indulgent manner?

“I say Cyril – why don’t you park our little Hyundai right across the two lanes of traffic leading both into and out of this wine estate, thus comprehensively blocking said routes, and I’ll pop open some bubbly and get the oysters out?”

Yep – if you’re ever going to block routes in and out of places (like fire escapes, for example) do it indulgently.

It doesn’t stop there though, does it, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens? No, you approached Ms von Ulmenstein’s vehicle while resembling a security man.
Is this some sort of fetish, Pete? Is it? Because if it is, it’s ill-considered, given Chris von Ulmenstein’s previous run-ins with people resembling security men. Like at the CTICC, remember?
So next time when you’re approaching her car, maybe ditch the hi-vis waistcoat and try resembling a hotel GM instead.

Oh. And while we’re on about trying, can you not actually “do” stuff, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens?

You “tried” to poke the antenna of your walkie-talkie into her face.
You “tried” to break off her car side mirror.
You “tried” to strangle her by pulling the safety belt which she had on.

Look, we’re given very little detail as to why you failed in any one of these three tasks, so I’m going to take a few wild guesses here and suggest that the antenna thing was because your arms are quite short, the mirror one was because you’re not very strong and that the seat-belt strangulation attempt didn’t work because your arms are quite short and you’re not very strong.
Or because you couldn’t find Chris’ neck.

We have a couple of options here, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens. Firstly, some sort of upper body exercise programme may assist with the strength issue, thereby allowing you to tear wing mirrors off vehicle with impunity throughout 2012.
The arm length thing is slightly more problematic, as it will require painful surgery and long-term physio and occupational therapy, which will also interfere with the upper body exercise programme suggested above.
Given these obvious limitations, might I respectfully suggest that you go with the upper body exercise programme and organise walkie-talkies with longer antennae for future face poking?

I must also point out that the loonies at Sea Shepherd will be on your case if they find out that you are endangering cetacean life. (Assuming they haven’t sunk yet, that is.)

I can only imagine that Chris will now be suing Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens for malicious damage to property, and/or assault and/or attempted murder, given these now-redocumented heinous events in the Winelands. And maybe the SAPS might like to add on a charge of employing misleadingly dressed individuals at a country market as well. Oh – and impersonating a security man.

You’re going down, Pete. And not in a good way.
25 to life, I reckon, mate. Papa wag vir jou. And not in a good way.

Unless it wasn’t actually all that serious and these reports have been somewhat exaggerated?

Surely not, though?

Thanks You-Know-Who

7 Comments | Tagged , , , , , | Posted in annoying people, from your comments, that's a bit mad, the last hurrah 2010, this is south africa

Heads up for dishwashing parents

Just a quick Public Service Announcement from your genial hosts here at

Pick & Pay are currently stocking finish powerball™ dishwasher tablets (x30) with a free Madagascar 2 : Escape To Africa DVD included.

You can’t use it to wash your dishes, but at R84.95 for the 30 tablets or R84.95 for the 30 tablets plus a Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa DVD, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.


In fact, this post is brought to you courtesy of that very same DVD, which my kids are currently watching instead of pestering me.

I don’t think I need to tell you that this represents pretty amazing value. Just get there before stocks run out.

1 Comment | Tagged , , | Posted in 6000 recommends, economic issues, positive thoughts, this is south africa

Blogging by other people

This is great. While I’ve been out of the rhythm of writing blog posts and everyone else has been out of the rhythm of reading them, suggestions for blog posts have been coming in by email, facetube and twitter. It’s almost like you guys actually want me to write some stuff.

Do ya miss me? Huh? Do ya?

One such suggestion came from the UK, from an anaesthesiologist (I think that’s what she does, anyway?) and involved a retrospective cohort study, conducted in Australia, asking – after Amy Winehouse’s untimely but not entirely unexpected death and the fuss over the “27 Club” – whether 27 was really a dangerous age for famous musicians.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Australian scientists have pondered important questions in the BMJ using cohort studies. Who could forget the seminal research of Lim et al at an Australia research institute back in 2005, investigating the disappearance of teaspoons from er… an Australian research institute?

This 2011 paper on the 27 Club (or, as it appears, the lack of it), comes from Adrian Barnett and others from Queensland University of Technology and uses complex statisical methods to analyse the mortality rate of musicians who had number 1 hits (albums) in the UK between 1956 and 2007 and compare them to the mortality rate amongst the general UK population. During this period 71 (7%) of the musicians died.

The sample included crooners, death metal stars, rock ‘n’ rollers and even Muppets (the actors, not the puppets). The total follow-up time was 21,750 musician years.

The authors used mathematical analysis to determine the significance of age 27. They found no peak in the risk of death at this age, however musicians in their 20s and 30s were two to three times more likely to die prematurely than the general UK population.

The research team found some evidence of a cluster of deaths in those aged 20 to 40 in the 1970s and early 1980s. Interestingly, there were no deaths in this age group in the late 1980s and the authors speculate that this could be due to better treatments for heroin overdose, or the change in the music scene from the hard rock 1970s to the pop dominated 1980s.

The authors conclude that the “27 club” is based on myth, but warn that musicians have a generally increased risk of dying throughout their 20s and 30s. They say: “This finding should be of international concern, as musicians contribute greatly to populations’ quality of life, so there is immense value in keeping them alive (and working) as long as possible.”

Their frame of reference begins with Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! on 28 July 1956 (dead), and continues through to Leona Lewis’ Spirit on 18 November 2007 (sadly still with us). However, as with any research, it has its limitations:

Our sampling scheme only captured three of the seven most famous 27 club members), as one fell outside our time period (Robert Johnson, who died in 1938), and three did not have a number one UK album (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison).

Although we only captured three of the seven famous 27 club members, we did capture seven Muppets.

I can hardly wait to see what Australian statistical research provides us with in December 2017.

Thanks Lynn.

1 Comment | Tagged , , , | Posted in from your comments, learning curve, music



I know. I’ve been scarce.

And I have absolutely no excuse, save for the glorious sunshine and the glorious beach (literally) a stone’s throw from the front door. There’s copious alcohol available as well, which has led to some late nights under the stars, far from the madding crowds and maddening light pollution of Cape Town.

I’ve got a robust, yet annoyingly slow GPRS connection tethered from my cellphone (3G doesn’t reach this far into the wilds), which doesn’t really fit with the traditional fisherman’s cottage we’re staying in, but I love the juxtaposition of old and modern – especially when I have access to the internet.

The days have been spent catching millions of fishes and crabs in the rockpools and enjoying braai meat, beer and conversation in the evenings and I could happily live this way forever, until I missed the amenities and hustle and bustle of city life. Which will be about another 2 days, I reckon.

I’ll see you then…

Leave a comment | Tagged , | Posted in flickr, positive thoughts

Framed sunset


Standing in the kitchen of the cottage, beer in hand, and looking out at the ocean and this sunset, it’s not hard to imagine that life could be worse…

Yes, we’re away for a few days before Christmas, so the blogging may be a little scarce. I do have some wireless interwebs here this time though, so I’ll see what I can do…

Leave a comment | Tagged , | Posted in positive thoughts, quota photo, this is south africa