Got it!

I’ve been after this photo for a while. And then, yesterday evening, as we headed down the dirt road from Agulhas to Suiderstrand, I finally got it.
It was one of those few moments that was worth halting the journey for, albeit that it was only for a few moments.

This is posted unadulterated and raw. No filters, no cropping. As it was. Lovely. Try it with the lights off for an even better view. That thing poking towards the bottom right hand corner of the sun is the forecastle mast of the wreck of the Meisho Maru 38, and on top of that is a cormorant, wings unfurled.
All planned, obviously. Obviously.

Sadly for you, I’ve been taking quite a few photographs since we’ve been down here, and you can look forward to them late tomorrow or on Monday.

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


I’ve got a massively busy day ahead, including several (or more) experiments in the lab and then a fairly long drive later. There will be beer and brandy at the end of the fairly long drive, but that doesn’t help you much if you’re after a 6000 miles…  blog post.

In times such as these, I head for the quota photo cabinet, usually immediately delving into the lighthouse section, and today is no exception.

Fullscreen capture 2016-04-08 085217 AM.bmp

This is the Chicken Rock lighthouse, perched (appropriately enough) upon the Chicken Rock (well, where else would you put it?), just off the SW coast of the Isle of Man (and we’ve seen it before on the blog).

The 44 metres (144 ft) lighthouse is constructed of tapered granite and was designed by David and Thomas Stevenson, after the lights on the Calf of Man were insufficient at warning ships away. Construction finished in December 1874, with the first official lighting day taking place on 1 January 1875.

Thomas, by the way, was the father of famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.

If you’re interested, there’s some interesting Chicken Rock Lighthouse history here.

1 Comment | Tagged , , | Posted in quota photo

Oh, Autumn

You sly dog, you.

We were out at dinner last night, attempting – amongst other things – to plan the weekend. But there’s no point in planning outdoor stuff when the autumn weather forecast is decidedly autumnal. So I checked on just how bad it was going to be.


OMG! Batten down the Beagle!

Looks like it’s not quite time to pack the sunscreen away just yet.

The only down side (there’s always got to be a down side because there are no clouds to have silver linings), is that we are kinda desperate for some rain. And even though we got a bit last week, the damn dam levels are now down to 32.8% (from 34.1% last week), and just 2.8% above the critical level of 30%.
I’m not sure what happens then, but apparently, whatever it is, it’s not “panic”:

Without rainfall, the Voëlvlei Dam would only be able to supply the metropole until July and the West Coast municipalities until the end of May. However, the council said it did not want to “unleash a panic” and it has the situation under control.

I wonder what they have in mind? A time machine and a DIY Desalination Plant kit? Cloud seeding? Vague hope?
This assurance from our local city council comes after the government minister for Water and Sanitation went onto the radio and asked religious individuals to “pray for divine intervention” to end the drought.

That plan is evidently yet to kick in effectively.

Enjoy the weekend, and please don’t water your garden.

1 Comment | Tagged , , , | Posted in positive thoughts, this is south africa

Wine Whine

French Farmers are at it again. Only bettered in the violent protest stakes by South African Students and Turkish Taxi drivers (I just made that last one up for alliterative purposes really), they’re not happy about the alleged “unfair competition” from their Spanish counterparts over the Pyrenees.

And they are protesting by hijacking tankers full of imported Spanish vino, before doing… well, before doing this:

Sensitive viewers may want to look away now.


and this:


Ninety Thousand Bottles Full…. Ninety Thousand! That would have made for an awesome weekend…
Sweet jesus – will somebody please think of the children?

They’re annoyed that the regulations governing the Spanish winemakers from just over the border apparently aren’t as strict as those imposed on the local Frenchies.

“If a French wine maker produced wine with Spanish rules, he simply wouldn’t be able to sell it,” said Frédéric Rouanet, the president of the Aude winemakers’ union. “Europe’s all very well, but with the same rules for all.”

Sounds very much like the Namibian Sand Protests of 1997.
And the governments in question had better watch out, because first off, there’s history here:

Wine makers in southwestern France are notoriously hot-blooded and even have a shadowy “armed wing” called le Crav – the Comité Régional d’Action Viticole –  that has conducted various commando operations over the years [including terrifyingly recently], even laying explosives at “enemy” wine distributors it feels are not supporting local produce.

Outrage over such fraud led to the region’s first and most deadly wine riots in 1907, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Narbonne, and six people were killed when the army opened fire on the protesters.

And second off, this is just the start of their planned action:

Rouanet said the tanker hijack was “just the beginning” unless their demands were met, threatening action in the nearby port of Sète against the import of Italian wines.

“We will continue until we’ve proved that the illegal traffic of wine is going on. We are going to protect our consumers. You can trace our wine from the vineyards to the bottle and those same rules should apply to all.”

Because Italian winemakers are seemingly up to the same sort of dirty tricks as their Iberian counterparts.
And, while the French guys’ actions may be horribly depressing to watch, if what he says is true, then you can kind of understand the anger and frustration.

Still though… No. Just no. There must be some other way.

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Road Safety

Road safety ads are all the rage at the moment, presumably because people continue to die all over the roads. To be fair, people will always die all over the roads, so it are obviously the needless deaths that these ads are trying to prevent. I’ve seen three that have made me think, and I’m sharing them here.

There are a couple of approaches. And happy happy joy hoy, the first is the horrifically graphic approach, deminstrated here in the Western Cape’s First Kiss video:
In case you didn’t catch the warning just there, it’s rather graphic.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Erg. But you know, wear your seatbelt and that won’t happen. And apparently, it works:

The “First Kiss” commercial is adapted from the “Damage” advertisement produced by the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. This advertisement was credited by the Irish Road Safety Authority as having brought about a 100% increase in backseat seatbelt wearing and 50% increase in front seat wearing rates in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Sadly, one of the highest risk groups – ‘the yoof’ – tend tune out serious messages. So then you need to try a different tack: humour. Here’s a New Zealand don’t text and drive ad:

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Because no, as this final print (and my favourite) ad proves, when you’re texting while driving, you’re really not concentrating on the things that you should be:


Very clever, Land Rover.

Of course, in SA, all this falls against a backdrop of very limited adherence to the law and very limited enforcement of those laws. But still, anything is better than nothing, right?

Possibly, anyway.

Leave a comment | Tagged , , , , | Posted in in the news, that's a bit mad, this is south africa