Pete is very trying

As I mentioned earlier this week, things all get a bit confusified at this time of year when it comes to blogging. And despite the fact that I’m away from my beloved internet, that doesn’t stop the potential post suggestions rolling into my inbox. Here’s another one I thought might be worth sharing.

It’s evident that a great number of people remember my post earlier this year documenting the evening that Whale Cottage owner and all-round good egg, Chris von Ulmenstein fell foul of the parking attendants at the CTICC for parking her WhaleMobile where she shouldn’t have done. And then I won a Sour Service Award on her blog for documenting it. Proud days.

Joining me as a shining light on that most particular of lists last week was Asara Estate, and its GM Pete Gottgens. And, in the words of our dear Chris, here’s why:

I attended the Pure Food Market last Friday, a nice idea on a perfect summer’s day, but with a shortage of parking, and a shortage of waiters to take orders for coffees (the waiter-dressed staff had been rented for the day to only clear tables). Gottgens looked more like a security man than the hotel GM, and came to my car when I hooted at an elderly couple indulgently blocking all traffic into and out of the wine estate. He tried to poke the antenna of his walkie-talkie into my face, tried to break off my car side mirror, blocked my exit by instructing his security man to stand in front of my car, and finally tried to strangle me by pulling the safety belt which I had on.

Hang on, he did what? He rented (I prefer “employed” – after all, these are people, not objects – but it’s all good, Chris), he rented people dressed as waiters and got them to clear tables?  While they were dressed as waiters?

HOW DARE YOU, PETE? HOW DARE YOU?

Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens, can you not understand that Chris needs coffee? And parking? (this is a weakness Chris has which we’ve covered this before) (see above). How dare you rent people dressed as waiters and get them to clear tables. Whatever next? Hire people dressed as clowns and get them to juggle balls and entertain small children? Where will this madness end?

And, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens, why on earth did you approach Chris’ car when all she was doing was hooting at an elderly couple who weren’t just blocking all the traffic into and out of the wine estate, but doing it in an indulgent manner?

“I say Cyril – why don’t you park our little Hyundai right across the two lanes of traffic leading both into and out of this wine estate, thus comprehensively blocking said routes, and I’ll pop open some bubbly and get the oysters out?”

Yep – if you’re ever going to block routes in and out of places (like fire escapes, for example) do it indulgently.

It doesn’t stop there though, does it, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens? No, you approached Ms von Ulmenstein’s vehicle while resembling a security man.
Is this some sort of fetish, Pete? Is it? Because if it is, it’s ill-considered, given Chris von Ulmenstein’s previous run-ins with people resembling security men. Like at the CTICC, remember?
So next time when you’re approaching her car, maybe ditch the hi-vis waistcoat and try resembling a hotel GM instead.

Oh. And while we’re on about trying, can you not actually “do” stuff, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens?

You “tried” to poke the antenna of your walkie-talkie into her face.
You “tried” to break off her car side mirror.
You “tried” to strangle her by pulling the safety belt which she had on.

Look, we’re given very little detail as to why you failed in any one of these three tasks, so I’m going to take a few wild guesses here and suggest that the antenna thing was because your arms are quite short, the mirror one was because you’re not very strong and that the seat-belt strangulation attempt didn’t work because your arms are quite short and you’re not very strong.
Or because you couldn’t find Chris’ neck.

We have a couple of options here, Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens. Firstly, some sort of upper body exercise programme may assist with the strength issue, thereby allowing you to tear wing mirrors off vehicle with impunity throughout 2012.
The arm length thing is slightly more problematic, as it will require painful surgery and long-term physio and occupational therapy, which will also interfere with the upper body exercise programme suggested above.
Given these obvious limitations, might I respectfully suggest that you go with the upper body exercise programme and organise walkie-talkies with longer antennae for future face poking?

I must also point out that the loonies at Sea Shepherd will be on your case if they find out that you are endangering cetacean life. (Assuming they haven’t sunk yet, that is.)

I can only imagine that Chris will now be suing Asara Estate GM Pete Gottgens for malicious damage to property, and/or assault and/or attempted murder, given these now-redocumented heinous events in the Winelands. And maybe the SAPS might like to add on a charge of employing misleadingly dressed individuals at a country market as well. Oh – and impersonating a security man.

You’re going down, Pete. And not in a good way.
25 to life, I reckon, mate. Papa wag vir jou. And not in a good way.

Unless it wasn’t actually all that serious and these reports have been somewhat exaggerated?

Surely not, though?

Thanks You-Know-Who

Sweet and Sour

Today’s big news was that I was a big winner of one of the week’s most prestigious awards: The Sour Service Award of the Week on the notoriously bitchy controversial Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog. In receiving this honour, I join other luminaries such a Sea Point parking marshall [sic], Coco’s in Hermanus (is that a strip club?), the entire V&A Waterfront, ADT and, in at least one instance, The City of Cape Town.

To be singled out for the difference I have made to Chris’ life has made me very proud.

However, apparently the blog post that I wrote (because I “had nothing better to do”) was “most unprofessional” and displayed “a libelous [sic] ‘journalistic standard'”. It was “riddled with errors”, although apparently the spelling was pretty good, which must have upset her a bit.

Being a proud Yorkshireman and having a devastatingly concise scientific mind, I don’t like making errors. And it is for that reason (and not because “I have nothing better to do”) that I write this post this evening. I want to right the wrongs. I want the truth. I can handle the truth.

Things Chris says I got wrong:

I said that she rents out self-catering accommodation, when actually, they’re B&Bs.
Fair play, Chris – I’ll give you that one. Huge difference between the two, as breakfast is something you can stick another mark-up on and also, you don’t have to buy those annoying mini ovens for the rooms. Well done.

I quoted an eyewitness (in a “maliciously false fabricated  report”, nogal!), but she says that there was no-one close to them.
Well, yes Chris, I did quote “an eyewitness”, but I had the choice of at least 4 eyewitnesses to quote.  One of them took a photo of your car, clamped. Either they were very close to the scene or they have a hell of a zoom lens on their phone.
How do you know that I wasn’t quoting the parking attendant, Chris? After all, he was very close to you, wasn’t he?
Or perhaps there really was no-one there and you were you talking to yourself.
You might want to seek some psychiatric assistance about that, Chris. It’s not normal.

Chris says that I was not at the Convention Centre, and that I admit that I wrote the blog post purely on hearsay.
In alleging this, Chris undermines the entire journalistic profession. Indeed, if we are to use the von Ulmenstein method of reporting, then it means that only those actually present at any given event can mention it.

A great example would have been the news yesterday.
But when asked if  Muammar Gadaffi was dead, the boss at Al-Jazeera didn’t turn round and tell us:

Well, actually, we can’t say, because there were no reporters actually on the scene.
All we have is eyewitness reports. And photos. Pfft – that’s just “hearsay”.
To report that would be irresponsible, and damaging to the reputation of newsrooms generally.

…now did he? No, he didn’t.

That minor issue aside of course, Chris would never stoop so low as to report on an event at which she wasn’t present, now would she?
N… oh wait… yes – yes, it appears from this typically scathing post on the WDC judges’ visit to Cape Town that she would. Because – and I’m revealing this in an effort to continue the spirit of openness and honesty which has characterised our brief yet fulfilling relationship thus far, Chris – you wrote about a million words (give or take) and expressed some pretty strong opinions about the visit, for which you comprehensively failed make the guest list.

No. I had enough sources, enough evidence. I think that one belongs to me. And that makes it 2-1.

So – now I have reviewed and researched those three alleged errors that “riddled” my “libelous [sic]” blog post and I feel that my conscience is a little clearer, let’s quickly fill you in on the things that Chris didn’t highlight as being falsehoods and which I believe I’m therefore entitled to consider – given her meticulous eye for detail (if not spelling) – that she accepts are correct.

Things Chris accepts are correct:

That she parked illegally at the CTICC. If not in a disabled bay, then blocking a fire exit. Well done for not inconveniencing one person and merely potentially endangering everyone in the car park. Top marks.

That she is one of the more unpopular online figures in this city.

That she was singled out in Mandy de Waal’s scathing review of Cape Town food blogs (wherein the description of her included the word “libellous”, but spelled correctly).

That someone set up this site, which alleges all sorts of nasty things about her properties.

That there’s a video showing how “disgustingly dirty” her Franschhoek self-catering B&B is.

That her Franschhoek property is ranked 48th out of 49 in the area, based on 30 reviews.

Don’t you just love blog posts “riddled” with facts?

I always wonder in these situations if our online paths will ever cross again. Part of me feels that Chris will, in some way, attempt to even things up. Part of me wonders if she’ll want to risk bothering.

Either way – I’ll be here, hanging around 6000 miles from civilisation…