No thanks to Noah

The first mosquitoes of the season moved in last night. To be fair, we’ve had a good run: usually, we’ve been roundly devoured several times over by the beginning of January, so I shouldn’t really complain, despite the fact that certain members of the family are sporting several (or more) red blotches this morning. Yesterday’s hot weather, coupled with a unusual lack of wind, meant that conditions were perfect for the little bastards to buzz around us like an even more irritating Robert Marawas constantly blowing tiny vuvuzelas over our beds. If, like me, you have a musical ear and decent pitch, once you have heard one in the room, you can constantly hear one in the room, even if the offending insect has gone elsewhere to bite someone else.

No-one is quite sure how mosquitoes managed to get through the ancient trial of Noah’s Ark. Why would he allow something so pointless, annoying and destructive (malaria, anyone?) on board his Ark? Some opine that he was struggling with mental issues brought about by stress at the time: hearing booming voices in his head, building a huge boat, worrying about the inclement weather forecast, wondering where he was going to put all the dinosaurs (something he never managed to find work out, obviously). It seems likely that he just made a bad call when he signed off on the mozzies, a bad call that inadvertently resulting in the deaths of millions of people, primarily infants across Africa. Oops.
Perhaps we shouldn’t blame Noah though: maybe his hands were tied with overly politically-correct rules and regulations. Maybe there wasn’t time for a full hearing of the local Equal Opportunities Committee to be convened before the flood, thus meaning that the mosquitoes’ objection to their omission on the passenger inventory couldn’t be heard and they were therefore entitled to board. To be honest, they could have just sneaked on anyway. Unlike the Brontosauruses (RIP).

Fast forward several million a few thousand years, and mosquitoes have evolved (“no they haven’t” – Creationists) to become one of the most bothersome species on Earth, a title willingly contested by the likes of the Herpes virus, Maltese poodles and Steve Hofmeyr. Fortunately, while the Cape Town wind sadly has little effect on those other three, it does at least seem to deter the mosquitoes from successfully getting into our bedrooms. It’s windy today and my sleep-deprived body is glad of that.

Tonight, the mosquitoes will be going sideways past the window, rather than wandering in and eating bits of me. Tonight, I shall sleep – no thanks to Noah.

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An Open Letter to writers of Open Letters

Dear Writers of Open Letters,

I trust this finds you well.

What a 2014 you had, hey? Barely a day went by in South Africa without someone, somewhere, writing an open letter about something to… well… to everyone.
We had open letters to white South Africans, open letters to black South Africans, open letters to Julius Malema, Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille (and every political party and organisation in the country, often), open letters to Oscar Pistorius, to Muslims, to Woolworths and Pick n Pay. Khaya Dlanga wrote open letters to everyone, Richard Branson didn’t write an open letter to the EFF and Thuli Madonsela wrote an open letter to herself.

There was even an open letter from an injured tourist to South Africa.
All of it.

Such was 2014, and we shall remember it thus.

But this is 2015, and digital guru (he’s good with his hands) Mike Sharman has spoken:

If Mike’s right, “folks”, then not only is 2014 dead and gone, but with it, the alleged curse of the open letter. But let us note that Mike made his announcement as a PSA in a tweet. And (as Mike knows full well) a PSA in a tweet is basically just a short open letter.
Sure, nous sommes Charlie so he’s welcome to his (incorrect) opinion, but he’s trolling us as he makes it. And that smarts a bit.

My message to you, open letter writers of South Africa, is to keep on writing. How else would we know that you have a very important viewpoint on any given subject if you weren’t to scribble it down on a bit of keyboard and send it to news24 so that everyone else can read it too? Yes, gone is 2014, and it may indeed turn out to have been the heyday of open letter writing, but this is an art form that must not die. Because gone also are the days when it was good enough to send a private email or – god forbid – an actual letter in an envelope straight to the individual or organisation concerned. And look where getting rid of that got us: now, apparently everyone needs to read your dirty laundry and your grubby opinions. You seek support and validation for your views and actions and someone out there will give it to you, just as long as they know you’re angry about the same thing that they’re also angry about.

In this world of myriad communications, a personal letter can easily be overlooked. Indeed, cynics will tell you a personal letter expressing upset, anguish or annoyance will be overlooked. But it’s very, very hard for an open letter which has been shared on Facebook by Auntie Edith and her Bridge Club and by the lady that left SA for Perth and/or Canada in 1994 to be overlooked.
No, open letters are routinely ignored, not overlooked. So don’t expect any response from the party you’re actually writing to. That’s not going to happen. The response will come as a groundswell from blog followers, from the grunting hoards of news24 commenters (if you’ve stooped that low) or, if you’ve been particularly radical, in the form another open letter from someone who has equally radical opinions which radically disagree with your radical opinions.

Talking of radical opinions, open letter writers and fans of the same, Mike Sharman has just told you (and everyone else) that you are unwelcome to continue your beloved hobby into 2015.

I think you know what to do…

Best retards,


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Pocketed photography (1)

I’ve got a couple of galleries of amazing professional or semi-professional photography which I have placed in Pocket for sharing as and when I have time, inclination and energy. Amazingly, despite this being a Monday morning, it appears that those metaphorical planets have aligned and now there are going to be fireworks – literally.

Yes – belatedly, some photos of the New Year fireworks around the world via an email from professional and semi-professional photography website 500px:


Some Germany, some Austria and a bit of Dubai there. Yeah. Pretty good stuff, putting my Instagram efforts from Struisbaai beach over recent years (which I was going to link to, but frankly, they’re not worthy).

I’m not going to shoot my bolt on the other gallery of amazing professional or semi-professional photography just yet. It’ll probably make its appearance later this week when there’s nothing better to blog about or when I have a spare moment. Or, more likely, both.

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Football in the hot sun, followed by some gardening in the hot sun, followed by playing with the kids in the hot sun, followed by rescuing my daughter’s cross-stitch kit from the jaws of a reluctant-to-give-up-a-cross-stitch-kit beagle (in the relative cool of the evening), has left me knackered.

More tomorrow. When I have time, inclination and energy.

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Looking up (QP)

Quota photo time (because of braai and weekend task commitments) and I’ve chosen a view of the London Eye taken last month:

A touch of monochrome drags the pale blue from the winter skies, but also accentuates the extraordinary engineering work that makes the London Eye so incredible.
Also present – one (or more) of the ubiquitous vapour trails from the planes flying over London. We don’t see them in Cape Town because nothing flies high enough over here to produce them, for the simple reason that there’s actually nowhere to go from 37,000 feet over the bottom corner of Africa.

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