I’m making excuses…

It’s something that I have won many awards in – or at least, I would have done if there were awards to be won for making excuses.
Which, I guess, is an excuse – I hope that you can see the dedication therein.

I still haven’t uploaded the pictures from London (including those of the pathetic and awkward Michael Jackson tribute in Trafalgar Square) onto flickr and Big Ant is not going to be happy when he finds out. This annoyance has either just begun upon him reading the last line or has already occurred when he ventured onto my flickr and failed to find the images I had promised.
Either way, you probably heard the roar of disapproval.
The excuse is that it’s been so nice and sunny here that I have just been playing outside, with the kids, with the braai and with the new camera.

My intention was to play catch up this weekend. I’ve lost touch with everything a bit: news, sport, gossip, music and everything else besides. However, with the weather being so beautiful and the kids being so… “interactive” (for want of a better word), it just hasn’t happened. So I’m sorry that there is a paucity of observations on current affairs and the like. I would say stuff, but I’m still in holiday mode and I actually don’t know what’s going on. I wonder if this is what normal people feel like most of the time?
Maybe by Thursday, when it’s pitching down with rain (as is more usual for a Cape Town winter), you’ll get the sort of incisive comment which youhave come to rely upon – and which 6000 miles… has become infamous for – on those important matters. Until then, it’s sunny. Sorry.

Right now, I have to go an “interact” with the kids some more – it’s bathtime.
After that, I have big plans to “interact” with a nice robust red wine and – quite possibly – FIFA 08 on the PlayStation 2 (Yes, I like to do things a little Old Skool).

More trivial posts will follow until precipitation arrives. Please feel free to leave trivial comments.
I deserve nothing more.  

P.S. Please note the lack of an apology for not uploading those photographs.
I would have said sorry, but I’d already published this post.

Simple


Flying high, originally uploaded by Ballacorkish.

It’s been a taxing day in many ways and so we’re heading quota photoward again. Sorry about that.
This one could have been taken in Cape Town today (although it wasn’t): bright and sunny with stunningly clear blue skies, so we chopped down some trees in the garden and burned the wood under some meat.

It’s nice to be back home. Although the trees aren’t hugely happy about the whole return thing.

Gansey – a parenting revelation

Behold! A picture of Gansey – the beach in the Isle of Man where I spent most of my childhood summers.


Gansey (gets bigger here)

It had everything a young boy could want: ample sand for beach football or cricket, sun, sea, rocks with the essential rock pools, a small river etc etc. It was perfect.
At the time it never really troubled me, but looking back, I wondered how come my parents were so happy to let us spend so much time on the beach each holiday? Finally, as I visited there for the first time as a parent myself, the answer came to me.
It was so bloody EASY!

Even at their young ages, my kids were completely visible, completely safe and completely happy. As parents, we didn’t have to do anything except provide the odd biscuit and relax. And it cost nothing.
This is obviously the Manx equivalent of dropping the kids off at Westlake and getting the police to bring them back.

I’m going to highlight this post to my son when he has his own kids. Because forget all that stuff you learn at parenting classes about diets and nutrition, about bathing and which soaps are best to use for baby’s skin. That pales into insignificance against this sort of information. This sort of information is invaluable. It’s gold dust. It’s priceless. (Pammie – I hope you’re listening)

And relaxed parents mean happier children. Or so I’m told.

Gansey flickr set here.

There’s nothing worse than a wet braai

Not having a braai in the rain: that’s perfectly acceptable. When you need to braai, you need to braai and precipitation shouldn’t change that.
No – I mean having damp braai apparatus. They go rusty, they get that nasty ash-paste in the bottom and they won’t light. Hence the age old expression: You never cry when you have a dry braai.

All of which is why you need a braai cover.


Braai Covers: Essential

Note that you must buy the correct “specially shaped” cover for your braai. And that the Kettle option doesn’t protect your braai from rain or rust, but does feature the scratch protection option. Perfect.

When looking at “dated” photos from South Africa, it is important to note that one must add about 7 years from the date you think it is if you’re basing your estimate on the UK and about 4 years if you’re comparing with the US. Thus – my first guess was 1984-ish, but that was based on fashion in the UK, so I’m putting this at about 1991 in South Africa. 

All of which means that we might have decent broadband by 2016 and a great national football team by 1973. 

Hmm. 

Pic snapped up from missmoss.co.za – thx! 

The Dangers of Wind Power

I’m not sure how much I believe in the global warming/climate change argument.
However, I do recognise that pollution is a bad thing and therefore that reducing pollution would be a good thing. Thus, I find myself in cautious favour of any steps being taken towards the reduction of pollution.

Wind power is one of those steps. Good old renewable energy.
Less dirty than coal, less challenging than solar, less dangerous than nuclear – or is it?

Take for example, this NY Times article in which it is stated that Britain could become a global leader in electricity production from offshore wind farms by 2020:

Britain could become the largest producer of electricity from offshore wind by the end of the next decade, according to the Carbon Trust, a group funded by the British government.
With carefully targeted subsidies and regulations, Britain could build 29 gigawatts of capacity compared to a global total of 66 gigawatts by 2020, giving it 45 percent of the offshore power market, said the Carbon Trust. By comparison, Germany would have 12 gigawatts by 2020, the group said.

All sounds very promising – even if Vestas is about to go under. But have these sort of plans really been thought through thoroughly? Not according to concerned, angry and apparently terminally stupid commenter Lyle Vos:

I am very concerned that these wind farms will affect the natural wind patterns thereby affecting weather patterns. A consensus of my friends who are scientists believe that a wind farm of this scale will shift the earth off its rotational axis and send it hurtling toward the sun in a matter of decades. Who stupid are these Brits? Don’t they realize that human actions on such a scale have worldwide consequences? Such an attempt to destroy the planet should be considered an act against humanity and declaration of war. Where is the condemnation from the UN?

Where indeed? What are the UN doing ignoring this blatant act against humanity and declaration of war against the entire planet?

As a scientist, I’d like to meet with Lyle’s “friends who are scientists”, partly to discuss with them their hypotheses regarding the shifting of the planet from its rotational axis due to the suddenshift of meteorological patterns, but mainly just to see if they exist.
And of course, hurtling towards the sun will also probably make the world hotter, thereby negating any of the positive effects of reducing the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. Which won’t help either.

Having given the matter a lot of thought, I think that the only way to combat these terrible implications is to build an equally big wind farm on the other side of the world and have it running the other way.