The Southern Suburbs Sprout Shortage

There are no Brussels sprouts in the Southern suburbs of Cape Town. In fact, there seems to be an overall shortage of Brassicaceae generally.

I’ve never really understood the huge rush to buy stuff just before Christmas.  The shops are, after all, only closed for one day. In fact, since every branch of Woolworths (the South African version) is open on Christmas Day*, that’s not even true this year. Thus, I was both slightly surprised and rather disappointed to find empty shelves reminiscent of Eastern Europe when I was out and about this morning.

And there were no sprouts. If there’s ever a time of year when demand for sprouts will be somewhat increased, it’s surely now. Am I really the only one who feels this way?
Don’t even get me started on parsnips… Really.

I’m back home and settled now, having come to terms with a sproutless Christmas dinner, so please don’t post comments telling me where I could have or should have tried in my quest for traditionally festive vegetables. I will be happily quaffing a beer by the pool and not listening.

Have a lovely Christmas, dear readers and thank you for all your support this year. That’s not to say that I won’t be blogging tomorrow or any other time before the New Year, but I recognise that you may just too busy shopping (or just too drunk) to come and read. 

 

 * obviously, the UK version is very closed.

Scorchio!

Cape Town seems a bit knackered after this weekend. And who can blame it?
The hottest weekend of the year sapped the energy and forced people across the city onto beaches and into swimming pools. And they were still too hot. Some of us (me) were additionally “forced” into the pub on Saturday night and onto the cricket field on Sunday morning.

The pub was an interesting experience. Suddenly, from a quick draught Windhoek and a chat about holiday plans, I found myself surrounded by a quorum* of good-looking women who were discussing boobs, underwear and girls kissing other girls. Staying quiet, not wanting to give the game away in case I had somehow become invisible; pinching myself occasionally to ensure that I wasn’t actually dreaming, I listened. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?
I’m a man of simple pleasures – the beer and the holiday chat were enough to make it a pleasant evening, so the additional er… let’s say “enlightening”… entertainment came as something of a bonus.


WPCC: If the match is dull, there’s always the view 

Determined not to wake up with a hangover, I woke up with a hangover and headed out to Western Province Cricket Club to take part in the annual Rondebosch Old Boys versus Bishops Old Boys cricket match. Since I wasn’t even educated in South Africa**, let alone at either of those fine halls of learning, you can see that the rules governing who was eligible to take part weren’t ever so tight. And with me not having even touched a cricket bat or ball for seven years, it was evident that there was something of a paucity of potential talent available for the Rondebosch side. Given the obvious gravitas of the match between these two old foes, together with the soaring temperatures and a banging head, I was slightly apprehensive about the whole experience.

I needn’t have been. Good humour and good sportsmanship prevailed and despite my hardly troubling the scorers with my batting, I was at least able to contribute a little with the ball towards a thumping win for our side in the blistering heat. Heat so hot, in fact, that hardly anyone stayed around for the post-match braai and beers.

I stopped around for one (just to celebrate, you understand) and then headed gratefully home to our pool and merciful relief from the sun. Today, I’m wondering when the train hit me. Every last muscle aches, even the ones I use regularly for football and drinking. Head to toe, literally. I’m all broken.

Never again. Until next year, perhaps.

* no idea of the correct collective noun, sorry.
** well, I was a bit on Saturday night, believe me…

Cape Town sunset

It’s not difficult to take good photographs in Cape Town. Decent subject matter is nearly always available, all you have to do is point and shoot. But because of that, the bar is raised and because good is the norm, exceptional becomes the goal.
Having only wandered outside to fix a drainpipe (what else do you do at 8pm on a Monday evening?), I grabbed the camera, pointed and shooted, Micklethwait-style. Result:

I don’t claim that all these Sunsets & Skyscapes are exceptional, but I do think they’re mostly at least good. However, as I said, I can’t really take a huge amount of credit for that. Even the sky seems so much more photogenic over here.

Got bus?

Did you leave your bus in Heerengracht?
Still planning to work on that rattle in the cooling system when you’ve finished your lunch?

Umm. Too late.

    
Heerengracht, Cape Town, 1330 CAT, 1st December 2008

Sorry and all that…

UPDATE: More from News24.com. And I should think so – that’s their big yellow building.

Not blameless

The flyers for last night’s Cape Argus newspaper were still clinging to the streetlight poles in an act of abject defiance against the gusty south-easter as I crawled my way in to work this morning, decrying (amongst other stuff) another accident involving a city cyclist and a motor vehicle.
Once again, in this rather unfair duel between 1500 kilograms of car and 150 kilograms of bloke on bike, the latter seems to have come off rather badly. No surprises there.
The Argus has had a bit of a bee in its bonnet (as newspapers are wont to do) regarding these sort of incidents, which – once again – is no surprise since it is the co-sponsor of South Africa’s largest cycling event each year. This also explains their hugely one-sided approach to the whole issue. Because, let’s face it – cyclists are a menace anywhere in the world, but they have taken it to a whole new dimension on the streets of the Mother City – and most especially on the roads of the Cape Peninsular. I hesitate to use the word “tossers”, but only because it would upset my mum. (Be warned, Goblin’s mum doesn’t read her blog.)

Don’t get me wrong: I recognise that the deaths or injuries of these people is terrible. But simply blaming the car drivers completely misses the point. Cyclists are anything but blameless. No licences, no registration, no lights, no insurance and – in the vast majority of cases – absolutely no regard for the rules of the road or other road users. 
I almost killed one in Kalk Bay the other day when he decided to go straight on from the left hand turn lane (I was using said lane for the evidently unprecedented purpose of turning left).
Whose fault was that? But who would have got the blame? Ooh – I wonder.

But the Argus is completely blinkered, even giving us some unconnected background information on injured cyclist, Steve Ryan and his wife, Lara:

The couple are from Johannesburg, and moved to Cape Town in April. Ryan has participated in several cycle tours in Johannesburg and completed five Comrades Marathons.

So what? In fact, I have found that those individuals who have attained such dizzying heights of athletic achievement are often the worst offenders. Perhaps they think of themselves as superhuman or invincible. Or just too “special” to bother with that red traffic light. 
Not, of course, that I am suggesting Mr Ryan was in any way to blame for the accident he was involved in. I’m sure he was riding safely, respecting other road users, obeying traffic signals etc etc like all good cyclists do.

I’m not advocating the widespread slaughter of anyone on a bike, tempting as that may be. All I’m asking is for due consideration to be given to the possibility that in the event of an accident, the individual previously on two wheels may actually be at fault once (or twice) in a while. Given the standard of many of the cyclists on the road, it’s not that hard to imagine.