1811 – Extraordinary

The Manx Nostalgia group I’m a member of on Facebook is generally a succession of comments about “it’s a shame that [place] has been redeveloped now” or that “it’s a shame that [place] has fallen into such disrepair”.
The positive nostalgia is sadly lacking.

Still, it does, on occasion, come up with some interesting moments.
Here’s one now:

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First off, Pooilvaaish (to give it the correct spelling) is still a place: a small collection of dwellings on the eastern side of Bay Ny Carrickey, with beautiful views across towards Port St Mary, and the mouth of the harbour where John Comish perished. Interestingly, its name translates from Manx Gaelic as “Pool of Death”. Nice. 

And secondly, yes, there are newspapers from back then, although there’s no mention of what happened to John Comish. There is a lot about a tremendous and devastating storm which occurred “Tuesday last”, and which mentions PSM harbour, but that was the 24th September – the 22nd was a Sunday. So, (not having done a lot of further digging) I can’t see anything specific about his death.

However, that newspaper report is still worth a nice long read, as it does include some other really interesting stuff:

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Let’s get them documented:

  • Naval Longevity: It is a singular fact, that the united ages of the ten first admirals on the list of our naval heroes, amount to 814 years. This circumstance shows that fighting is not a very unhealthy employment.

Either that or pickling with rum is a very effective preservative.

  • Extraordinary Shot: Friday, Mr Levi Larkham, who holds the deputation of Radipole Farm, under I.H. Browne, Esq. killed a hare running and a brace of partridges, at one shot.

Eenhaasentweepatrysemeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein? That’s almost as good as Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein.

But then there was this:

  • Extraordinary growth of a Potatoe: There was last week taken up in a field near Ely, Cambridgeshire, a potatoe, which was of such extraordinary size, the when whole, it would not go into a bushel measure, and when cut in pieces, of the bigness of middling-sized potatoes, it nearly filled the bushel measure.

It could be straight out of Blackadder. It could have been the inspiration for Baldrick and his turnips. It probably was the inspiration for Baldrick and his turnips. I’m just sad that it happened 80 years too early for photos to be taken.

The fact that these 3 pieces of “light-hearted”, trivial news made it into the one page of the newspaper suggests to me that either the editorial staff weren’t really that concerned about other, more serious news, or more likely, that there actually was very little going on in the Isle of Man. That latter fact hasn’t really changed much in the intervening 200 or so years, as this other post, including connections to both the Isle of Man and potatoes, demonstrated.

It’s Election Day

Oh joy! The Municipal Elections 2016 to be exact.

And, for just about the first time since 1994, we could be looking at some big changes.


Always a politically active country, South Africa is not a particularly happy place right now and this has been a bitterly fought campaign. But with big cities like Johannesburg and Tshwane, and villages like Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) virtually neck and neck in the opinion polls, the previously all-powerful ANC looks set to incur significant losses.

Quite how they will take that remains to be seen.

Things Mmusi (actually) said

Much mirth and merriment yesterday as DA leader Mmusi Maimane told us all how “he voted for Mandela” back in the 90s. Trouble is, Mmusi was only 13 in the only presidential election in which Nelson stood (in 1994). Mmusi was old enough to vote in the following election (1999), but Mandela had already decided to move over by then – the ANC candidate that year was Thabo Mbeki.

A politician, lying? Colour me utterly flabbergasted. And wow, just a bit of a faux pas right before an important election. The ANC jumped straight in on it and it spawned the (actually rather amusing) #ThingsMmusiDid hashtag on twitter (I may have even joined in a bit).
But whatta mistake-a to make-a!

That’s why Phillip de Wet had to listen again:

Joke or no, #ThingsMmusiDid had me doubting my recollection. So I went back to the tape.

And it said?


Yep. You read it right. He never said that he voted for Mandela. He said he voted for the party of Mandela.

But let’s not let the truth stand in the way of a good story. And that’s why I’m just putting this out there. Not because I’m a DA fanboy: merely because of the Trevor Mallach effect. And that quote, ironically by the Mmusi-supported Thabo Mbeki:

It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our society. I also call on all of us as leaders and citizens critically to reflect on this practice in order to avoid the entrenchment of a culture which may eventually corrupt our society.

Vote how you want, and why you want. But don’t believe everything you read or hear.

More than half

Good news from Cape Town’s previously much maligned dams this week as the latest figures, released a few moments ago (we can like to bring you the good news first), show that we now have 53.7% fillage:

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That means that we’re some 10% better off than a fortnight ago, not least because of the deluge that hit us last Tuesday.

Woo hoo! *turns on all the taps*

We’re still well short of the (at least) 75% we’d like to see as a minimum by the end of winter, though.

Ah. *turns all taps off again*

However, at this rate, given another 4 weeks of reasonable winter weather, we might just make it. And there’s another hefty bunch of moisture coming through tomorrow evening already, with Windguru predicting almost an inch of quickfire precipitation over Cape Town in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Add to that the inexorable season creep that seems to have befallen the Western Cape in the last decade, and we’ve probably got another few weeks after that as well.

Be reminded that the ever-so-well-enforced Level 2 water restrictions still remain in force though.


News from the far North East of the country, and the Economic Freedom Fighters final pre-election rally in Polokwane, the report on which contained this quote from an enthusiastic fan of the boys in red:

Am I… am I alone in thinking that this might prove somewhat confusing for the good people of (the province currently known as) Limpopo?

How are you going to meet a friend in that bar at that junction when every pub is called “Malema’s” and is on the corner of Malema and Malema? No, not that corner of Malema and Malema, this corner of Malema and Malema. (Although, of course, thinking about it, Malema does cross Malema as well.) (Several times.)

Every business you call would have the same name too: “Hello, Malema’s. How can I help you?”. You’d never be sure that you were speaking to Malema Taxis or the accounting firm of the same name.
Well, let’s face it, absolutely everything would have the same name, wouldn’t it?

Just how far would this policy go? Imagine the chaos at Malema Park when a dog owner calls his pet over and all the dogs in the park come running, answering to their identical name. Apart from Malema the beagle, obviously, because Malema the beagle completely ignores any human command.
For whoever he is named after, Malema is still a beagle.

Even when everything changes, nothing changes.

Look,  I’m sure that the apparently Teflon coated king of the EFF would love the idea of an entire province of stuff named after him. I’m just not sure that it’s an entirely practical idea.