Here and There

It’s no surprise that it’s around this time of year that the meteorological differences between my hometown and my adopted hometown are at their most distinct and obvious. That said, it’s always something of interest when there’s concurrently snow in Sheffield and a heatwave in Cape Town. Yesterday was one of those days.

IMG-20160116-WA0013 rsz_dsc_0028_7
That’s Sheffield on the left, by the way.
Eagle-eyed readers with knowledge of the False Bay coastline (it’s a small subset, but it must apply to someone), will already have noted that Fishhoek, Simonstown and the rest of the Peninsula are missing from the horizon on that apparently rather washed out second shot. That’s due to the thick smoke from the fires currently burning in Elgin over the weekend, (as you can see from the helpfully annotated image below).
Sadly, I don’t think this view will be quite the same a it was a couple of weeks ago.


Meanwhile, as Flickr friend SheffDave’s photostream confirms, things were altogether colder and whiter in the Steel City.

Personally, I don’t particularly mind either sort of weather, as long as I know it’s coming. The effects of the snow and cold can be overcome with warm clothing (or finding a pub with a fire); the somewhat unpleasant heat by wearing fewer clothes (or being lucky enough to live in a house with a swimming pool).

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2016 is the year of simple cooking.
Buy fewer, better quality, ingredients. Did I get the punctuation right there?

I’m not saying that I’m going to be buying less good stuff. I’m saying that I’m not going to be buying as much stuff, but that the quality of the stuff that I will be buying will be better.

I think I did get the punctuation right.

Anyway, to that end, I took the smaller child to the local butcher yesterday morning and we bought some homemade boerewors and a phat chunk of fillet, which I braai’d in the  afternoon. It was eaten with some fresh crusty bread and some green salad. Nowt fancy.


The fillet marinade was smoked paprika, coriander seeds and Hendo’s. Nowt fancy.

I recognise that Heston Blumenthal is spinning in his grave at the lack of polystyrene candy floss, and he’s not even dead yet, but I’m of the mind that when the food is of a decent quality, it should be allowed to speak for itself.

This, though I say it myself, chatted rather beautifully.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in learning curve, positive thoughts

Dry Your Eyes

Remember those teenage heartbreak moments?

Mike Skinner remembers those teenage heartbreak moments. Brilliantly.

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This made a surprise appearance on a random iPod playlist on the way to school the other day. This morning, I pulled up in the Keystage 1 car park to drop my 7-year-old off to the dulcet tones of the Wildhearts Caffeine Bomb.

Wakey Wakey.

If I remember correctly, those soaring Dry Your Eyes strings were from a royalty free sample CD which Skinner picked up from a car-boot sale. Unbelievabeagle.

Additionally, for proper trivia buffs, it’s Brisbane Road, the Leyton Orient football ground, that he’s sitting in.
I don’t know anything about the laundrette or the swimming pool. Sorry.

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How much does your country like its president?

(Not that I’m suggesting for a moment that this necessarily represents the view of the entire country. Or even the city. I think that I can safely say that it probably represents the view of the person that decided they wanted to put it up, though.)

Political leaders of countries are infamously unpopular – taxes, policies, disappointment often seem to get in the way of the love. But when was the last time someone put up a 6-storey high poster (just round the corner from Parliament, nogal) suggesting that your president “should resign from office”? (I’m sure it’s not as unusual as we in SA think.)

Initial reports suggest that the billboard (which usually is home to adverts for airlines, fast food restaurants and cellphone companies) could cost up to R200,000 a month to hire. Ironically, if the individual(s) involved are paying in dollars, it’s likely that they probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it without Zuma’s intervention, since that amount will have more than halved since JZ came into power in 2009.

There are people on twitter are asking when someone is going to “claim responsibility”, like it’s some sort of terrorist attack. It’s not. It’s just three words. Three words from someone frustrated with the current status quo, who has money to waste. I’m not sure how long it will remain up there, but given that it doesn’t seem (at first sight, at least) to be breaking any laws or regulations [see below], I’m not sure why it would need to be taken down anytime soon.

In the meantime, the local Photoshop experts are going to have a field day.

UPDATE: It appears that the billboard HAS broken some local by-law or other:

But, I think job done, as far as the allegedly guilty party is concerned.

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F Cancer

As the news broke that another talented performer had died this week, twitter was again full of sadness, anecdotes, video clips and personal memories. As before, aside from the obvious link of the individual involved, another fairly common denominator of these tweets was the hashtag #FuckCancer. And yes, as an expression of anger that someone else whose performances had given many of us fond memories and is no longer around to give us more of them, it works.

But that’s all it does. Maybe that’s all you wanted it to do, and if so, I have no problem with that. Most of us have been touched by this despicable condition in some way or other, and it’s very rarely – if ever – any sort of positive experience. So I’m not here to tell you how you should be managing your grief, rage, disappointment or any other emotion. S’not my job.

I will say, though, that I can quite easily foresee a situation in which we will continue to see the #FuckCancer hashtag twenty or thirty years down the line as the next generation of talent (yes, it does exist) also succumbs to cancer. Because using a hashtag this week isn’t going to make any difference to our fight against this heinous group of diseases.

I recognise that times are hard right now – especially economically, and especially in South Africa, where some (or more) of my readers reside. But (and I also recognise that this next sentence requires a bit of a stretch), if you felt strongly enough to express your anger is hashtag form, maybe you want to take it one step further and donate some money towards making a difference.

Now, I’m not here to tell you how to manage your pounds, rands, dollars or any other currency. S’not my job.
But I’ll just leave these links here, and if you genuinely do want to #FuckCancer, maybe you might want to click on them and do more than just share a symbol and ten letters.

Cansa (South Africa)
Cancer Research UK (er… UK)
Cancer Research Institute (USA)

Have a great day.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in economic issues, in the news, positive thoughts