Sting

Another lovely day down at the Southern Tip. I moved some braai wood this morning to find this feisty little fellow:

I’ll update the image when I upload it to Flickr. [Note to self – update the image when you upload it to Flickr.] Yeah, yeah – I did this. [really cool Flickr link]

It’s a Opistophthalmus capensis. But of course you knew that already. Nasty, painful sting, (which he was more than ready to use) but not medically important.

So I was fairly safe while talking my photo.

Footnote: We also found a Parabuthus capensis the night before. [phone pic]

(I was a bit more careful with that one.)

Notes on the Rugby World Cup Final (and why I can’t lose)

A quick post on this event because it’s the only important thing over here at the moment* and it’s a matchup between my home nation and my adopted nation. But first, some groundwork:

Rugby is not my favourite sport, and thus, this game isn’t as important to me as it is to a lot of other people, for whom rugby is their favourite sport.

I do live in South Africa, but I am English. Therefore, I support South Africa in each and every sport and endeavour, unless they are playing against England, in which case, I support England. This is not an unreasonable stance: if any Saffas want to take issue with it (and there’s usually at least one who does), then they should consider their approach on an equivalent scenario should they be living in the UK. But then, even if they foolishly and disingenuously argue that they would drop the Springboks and follow England religiously, I still think my method makes sense.

It makes sense to me, anyway. And that’s really all that matters.

So yes, despite being in South Africa and being surrounded by South Africans tomorrow, I will be supporting England, cheering them on, hoping they are successful in tackling, running and scoring, and generally feeling optimistic that they will win the game. (A little assistance for anyone that hasn’t quite grasped the idea of “supporting”, there.)

But… (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) because of my lack of passion for egg-chasing generally, and because I’ve been here for almost 16 years now, I’m not 100% invested in my choice of prospective winner. If it were football and I’d only been here for a few weeks, I would be, but it’s not football and this is my home, so I’m not.
For context, the “big game” for me this weekend is Sheffield United v Burnley.

What I’m saying (and here, you might argue that I’m getting a bit soppy) is that because of the absolute state that SA is in at the moment, because we are faced literally each and every day with ever more tales of crime, corruption, general misery and impending economic disaster, I would dearly love a bit of good news. We all would.

It’s an old adage that sport unites, but it really is true. The passion and support that the Springboks’ World Cup run has generated has brought the nation together – it always does – and left the naysayers at the extremes of the political spectrum outnumbered and thankfully, thoroughly outvoiced.

And so, should South Africa defy the odds and lift the trophy tomorrow, I will really not mind too much. More than anything since JZ resigned as President, and more than anything until JZ is convicted on all those corruption charges, that would really make a huge positive difference to this repeatedly battered nation.

In conclusion, I really can’t lose tomorrow*.
I might as well just drink beer and have a good time.

 

* T&Cs apply

Split

The family has gone its separate ways across the country this week.

One to Johannesburg – his first proper trip away “by himself”. He’ll be fine. We’ll (probably) be fine.
One to Cape Town – not really very difficult, since that was where she started as well. Some would call it lazy, but I wouldn’t dare.
Two to Cape Agulhas – I am happy to report that it seems likely that I will be one of these.

The beagle has contented itself with remaining in Cape Town, where the smells are familiar and the kibble is plentiful. It’s always unwise to take any sort of risk where food is involved, if you are a beagle.

Mixed day

It’s been a decidedly mixed day.

On the downside, the country fell apart a bit more, with more appalling economic news, kidnapping, murder, violent protests and looting.

However, tonight marks the start of series 15 of Only Connect.
So there is at least something of a glimmer of hope upon the horizon.

Wildlife

Last week’s trip through the Eastern Cape may have yielded some excellent experiences and sightings, e.g.:

and:

…but urban Cape Town fought back this morning at breakfast with a mischievous baboon troop passing through the Groot Constantia estate, much to the delight of the tourists and the chagrin of the restaurant staff.

The local baboons aren’t really dangerous – indeed, they would rather have absolutely nothing to do with us humans – but they can be a pain: emptying rubbish bins and damaging the vines.

Watching the estate staff attempting to chase them away with compressed air guns, whoops and shouting was interesting. A real battle of wills, with the staff happy that they were moving the baboons away from the restaurant areas, while the baboons seemed pretty much unphased by the noise and the commotion, and were content to grudgingly head towards the mountain, but very much at their own pace.

More pics of more wildlife (and other autumn/winter photos) here.