Mud & Sunsets

It’s been a great afternoon. About half way through the Bulls versus Crusaders Super 14 semi-final, with the score a tantalising 27-23, Mrs 6k decided that it would be a good time for us to take the kids up to the local school field, let them run around and let me not watch the end of the rugby. Her plan was extremely successful on both counts.
But I’m glad we went. The kids enjoyed the mud on the churned up fields after the morning school rugby games and I booted a properly shaped ball around, chased Alex and took photos of the sky and the mountains.

I was even allowed to look up the Bulls score on the way home. Result. Literally.  

I was working hard on the first Peroni of the weekend when I glanced outside to see a completely orange sky. Now, I’m very used to blue, quite used to black with tiny white dots in and sadly, becoming used to grey again, but orange is still a bit of a novelty.

Quickly grabbing the point-and-shoot camera – mainly because I wanted to take photos and it’s the only camera I own – I ran outside, climbed on top of the braai, pointed and shot. I should probably inform readers at this point that we have a built-in braai and it wasn’t a Weber or one of those rubbish disposable things. That would have taken a monumental amount of balance or made absolutely no difference to my overall height whatsoever. Or both.
No, our braai is pretty big.
Fortunately the sky is also pretty big and I was able to not miss on a number of occasions. This probably being my favourite hit.

Although I quite like this one too. You can see the whole lot of them on flickr and make your own decision.

And once again, I must remind you lovely people that taking good photographs in Cape Town isn’t difficult. Most of the work is done for you. So yes, despite the fact that I think some of these are “good”, once again, none of them are exceptional. And, once again, I’m left wondering if I can at least partially overcome the paucity of my talent by buying a better camera.

The alternative, of course, is to spend that camera money on beer, and then see if my creative abilities are augmented by imbibing (what I calculate to be) about 1,000 bottles of Amstel. Being a scientist, I am tempted by the idea of exploring both possibilities as fully as possible.

Tony Leon on Concubinegate

Former DA leader Tony Leon spoke out today on the Concubinegate affair (that’s my name for it, anyway), in which current DA leader and Emperor of the Western Cape, Helen Zille had a pop at Jacob Zuma’s habits of sleeping around. Whatever “sleeping around” actually means. Floyd?

It’s an excellent analysis of the situation, drawing on his years as leader of the opposition and utilising common sense and logic instead of the knee-jerk, personal tactics of his successor.

I think Bill Clinton got it right when, in appointing his first administration in 1992, he announced: “I want a cabinet that looks like America.” The fact that the Western Cape provincial government doesn’t look like SA, or on the face of it is overloaded with testosterone, doesn’t mean it won’t deliver or won’t be vigilant on feminist issues. But it handed a sword to the party’s opponents, who were delighted to plunge it in with vigour. And politics is often more about symbols than substance.

And while Leon is somewhat critical of Zille, he balances it out with the facts which we never really got to hear in her defence – that the ANCYL’s response was at worse, offensive and infantile (which we knew) and at best, somewhat hypocritical, given the make-up of some of their Provincial cabinets across the country.

When I led the opposition, I made a book- ful of mistakes when it came to an overheated response or an incautious one-liner. And I know how a single phrase in a letter or speech can be wrenched from context, or can obliterate the most thorough defence.

Zille’s reference to Zuma’s personal history was factually correct but tactically questionable. It struck a discordant note in the upwelling mood music which flowed from the president’s inauguration and the wave of optimism it generated.

It seems almost strange to be citing a voice of reason in this whole sorry affair, where mud-slinging, slanderous comments have been the order of the day. But it’s a lesson to us all that sometimes it’s worth stepping back from the heat of an argument and actually THINKING before speaking, rather than just throwing some stupid statement out into the public domain.

While I can understand the ANC’s glee at the gift of the all-male Western Cape cabinet – and their further delight at Zille’s foolish response to their jibes – the people I don’t understand are the angered DA voters in the Western Cape.

Zille’s defence has always been that she didn’t have enough experienced women to appoint to her Provincial cabinet, simply because not enough experienced women were on the DA Provincial lists (something which should surely never have been allowed to happen in the first place). But those lists were freely available to the public in the run up to the election, published in all the newspapers and on the internet. Anyone who had bothered to read the lists would have been aware that this situation was going to arise given the DA’s widely (and rather accurately) predicted ~50% performance in the Provincial elections.
Thus, if you voted DA in the Western Cape and now have a problem with the demographics of the Provincial cabinet – well, it’s actually your fault. Just because you didn’t do your homework in the days before April 22nd is no reason to cry foul now.

So please stop moaning and pretending you wished you’d voted ANC. You’d do well to take a leaf out of Tony’s book and THINK before you speak out (or maybe even before you vote in future).
Otherwise, you really do risk making a fool out of yourself. Or is it too late already?

A couple of Micklethwaits

I was drawn to Brian Micklethwait’s blog archives in search of this staircase (don’t ask) and while there, started reading and stumbled upon these photographs taken in Bethnel Green last February.


As I have mentioned before, I enjoy Brian’s photography. It’s unpretentious, often imaginative, sometimes cheeky, occasionally rather clever. And then explained or narrated in much the same style.

Brian’s photographs are also mostly urban. And while many may appreciate beauty only in photographs of lakes and fields and mountains and trees, having lived in cities all my life, there’s something comforting for me about seeing wires, tower blocks, and cranes; industry and infrastructure, hustle and bustle.

In other news:
I recognise that the blog has been a little photo-heavy of late, but since the election, things have all gone a little quiet. Almost as if people are waiting for something to happen. It hasn’t. Yet.
There’s really only been the rather unexpected utterly bizarre behaviour of Helen Zille having a pop at JZ and the completely expected utterly bizarre behaviour of the ANC Youth League having a pop at Helen Zille, both of which have been done to death on the news sites and blogs over here.

So I didn’t bother.

I have always attempted to maintain a decent standard of writing on this blog and, if I’m completely honest, I notice that my standards drop when I’m writing about a subject that doesn’t interest my or that I don’t believe in. Thus, if I don’t find something worth writing about, I don’t write about it. All of which made sense when I started that sentence.

But, hey. Don’t worry. This is South Africa. Nothing ever stays normal for long.

Strike one…

Spectacular shot of Cape Town thunderstorm this morning, taken by Hout Bay photographer John Maarschalk, (bigger here) via here.


Alex and I stood for 30 minutes watching the lightning out of the window this morning. Although it wasn’t a particularly big storm, it was pretty active and there was plenty to keep him occupied. Alex is three years old and is less scared of thunderstorms than his mum. No comment.

Quick question:
Why is the lightning striking Kloof Nek rather than the 670m Lion’s Head or the 1050m Table Mountain?

EDIT: Many apologies to John. I emailed him to ask permission to use the picture, wrote the post and then managed to hit PUBLISH instead of PREVIEW. They should make those words easier to tell apart.
Thus, when he arrived on the site, his photo was already here.
How embarrassing.
Needless to say, I do now have the go-ahead. Thanks and sorry again, John.


What with a hectic day today, still reeling from yesterday’s Tall Penis herbs and with a football match to play this evening, I think that two quota photos are in order. And since I have two wonderful kids who – from time to time – allow me to sleep, it seems almost fated that I should share the honours between them.

al1 kp01

Those two were taken last month at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, where I discovered just how difficult it is to take photos of fish. Or rather good photos of fish. I put this down to a combination of difficulties: poor lighting, awkward camera settings and uncooperative subjects.

Which wasn’t far wrong for my offspring, either.