SA OK

Just a reminder on this Freedom Day that South Africa is fine and has been so since last weekend’s mass prayer meeting in Bloemfontein.

Malice, hatred, violence, murder and corruption here in SA packed their metaphorical bags and all left the country at midnight on Sunday, and thus we have spent the past few days luxuriating in what has been nothing short of a halcyon bliss; the placid tranquility a wondrous and welcome change from turbulence and barbarity we had encountered on a daily basis right up until Oom Angus intervened.

Sure, we were a bit put out by the violent protests in Lichetenburg and Lenasia on Monday, but at least one of the those was attributed to a mysterious “third force”, and we all know that God has quite enough on His hands sorting out first and second forces, and can’t really be expected to deal with third ones as well.

And then there was the new 5fm lineup reveal, which has caused shock, distress and anguish across the whole nation. But God has forsaken the SABC for many years now anyway. And rightly so.

Oh, and Helen Zille still has a twitter account. You must just have overlooked that though, right guys?

So yes. Thank you, Angus and your myriad disciples with your little misogynistic asides and dodgy, archaic views on homosexuality. Everything’s fine here now, and we’re all looking forward to you sorting out the Middle East, Justin Bieber, North Korea, Donald Trump, climate change and that Helen Zille thing over the coming weeks.

Get to it.

Protest

Bit of a weird one, this. Weird because I’m writing something about a very fluid situation and I’m writing it four days ago*. So it might not make any sense by the time you read it. Hell, it might not make any sense by the time I’ve written it. I’m struggling already and we’re only 50-odd words in.

Today is supposed to be a day of national protest in South Africa. Well, as I’m writing this (four days ago), it is. It’s also a normal day of work (except it obviously won’t be) and right now no-one seems to know what to expect, save maybe for the Presidency and chums ignoring whatever protests do occur.

The thing is, South Africa is such a diverse and divided nation that any coherent mass protest action is terribly difficult to organise. While individual political parties and organisations can raise their own demos, no-one has really managed to successfully mobilise across all racial, political and social classes. And that’s why JZ and friends have happily got away with it all so far. It’s also why things need to change if today’s action is to have any effect.

Look, there’s enough support for the protest, but it’s completely fragmented. Already, as I am writing this (four days ago, remember) people – supposedly on the ‘same side’ – are questioning the basis for people’s anger, arguing and fighting about the legitimacy of some protesters with superb logic like: “if you didn’t protest against (a) then you can’t protest against (b)”. Because obviously there are rules for being allowed to express your viewpoint on any given subject.

It’s a phat, public mess and Zuma must be loving every minute of it.

Obviously, people need to look past their individual grievances and try to find common ground if this is to have any chance of working. And I do recognise that that is much easier to say than to do.

I believe that there are many reasons for getting rid of this rotten, corrupt regime. Whatever yours is, today is a day – even more than any other – when you need to recognise and respect that others may have their own reasons too.

 

* All will become clear on this bit tomorrow. 

Eclipse later today

In Southern Africa (or Patagonia) this evening? Don’t miss the partial solar eclipse later on today.

Weather permitting, Durban, Johannesbeagle, Cape Town and the rest of SA will all able to see a bite-shaped chunk missing from the side of the sun as the moon passes between us and it.

The Astronomical Society of South Africa website has all the details you need, including (but not limited to) this gif:

Yes, I was a bit concerned when the sun suddenly fell out of the Durban sky first time I saw it, too. Everything’s ok though. It’s just that we get a bit more eveningsworth for our money in the Mother City.

PLEASE, PLEASE! check their “How Do I Look?” section for hint and tips on safely watching the eclipse. It’s never safe to look directly at the sun, even if it’s almost half hidden.

And please share this post far and wide so that others get the chance to see the eclipse too. Thanks.

Nearly ready

Sure, I’m a non-believer, but any excuse for a party, and the fact that it’s going to be 30ºC here tomorrow and there’s a swimming pool and some cold beer seems like a good enough excuse for me. Whatever the religious reasons behind Christmas, we see it as a time to get together with family and friends, eat some good food and reward the kids (and ourselves where possible) for surviving another year. The car got rewarded with R5100’s worth of new shoes this morning. My wallet is feeling decidedly unrewarded.

The beagle is roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost has just been in touch to say that he’s never seen Cape Town, but he might just turn up (he won’t – unreliable bugger). The Carols from Kings CD is prepped in the living room and the last gift was bought at an alarming 11:31am today. Beers are on hold until the last family member has been picked up from the Deep(ish) South, but that’s no big deal. Plenty of time for catch up.

I have lots of writing deadlines to meet, none of which I am going to manage to fulfill, and a million YouTube videos to look at. My drone didn’t make it in time for Christmas, which is sad, but much like the beers, plenty of time for catch up.

Yesterday’s rain would normally have been most welcome, but the drive home was testing and stressful. Mrs 6000’s Whatsapp images from the start and (almost) the end of the journey tell the story.


And then we had shedloads of holiday washing to do and no means of getting it dry. Disaster.
Still – it’s done and now we have green grass for a few days, so I’m happy enough.

I’m now off to hoover the beagle as part of the sprucing up of the house ahead of the potential arrival of this evening’s red-coated intruder.

Bye for now.

Whites

When Julius Malema becomes president and drives all the whites into the sea, it’ll be a real waste. Not least because the outstanding Chardonnay we tried at Groot Constantia yesterday would presumably be among those whites that we’d lose. To be fair, it’s already sold out (much like Julius will if that time ever comes), so there’s limited danger of any imminent loss, but still, it would be a mistake to lose such wonder to an unnecessary salty grave.

We went strictly old skool tasting yesterday. Groot Constantia, Steenberg and Klein Constantia. None of your Beau, Glen or Nest here.

We had a look around the cellars at Groot Constantia, assisted by the informative and interesting Rayno. (Voucher prize from mother-in-law’s church raffle used, so I’m actually not sure how much cellar tour/tasting costs. Professional, ne? Lol.)
As you might expect, it’s a groot operation, but all was carefully explained, and I was delighted to learn that they are releasing a brandy in the (very) near future.
Wine is nice, but I’m more of a fan of red than of white. But that Chardonnay was a revelation. Lightly oaked, butterscotch and toast, just… lovely. I was surprised at myself.

Steenberg’s whites were also really good, their Semillion and the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion blends particularly so. But it was their Pinot Noir MCC which stole the show. Really fresh, slight blush, fun to engage with. But enough about me – the wine was pretty good too. Stanley was our guide, taking us around the cellar, explaining the processes, answering our questions. All very professional and informative again.
(Flagship tasting @ R70. We also got a free cellar tour.)

And then to Klein Constantia with their rich history and Agapanthus-lined avenues.

Very inviting.

(Standard tasting, R50pp, one tasting waived per bottle bought)
Their stuff is good – no question about it – but generally I felt it rather overpriced. Sure, wine for special occasions deserves a bit more cash to be splashed, but if I were going to splash that extra cash, I’d fancy my chances of finding something better for those additional Randelas.
But then, as always, they brought out their Vin de Constance and nothing else really mattered. SA’s top wine and 10th in the world; it’s like no other. It was the last of [several] wines that we tried yesterday, and what a way to go out. It is unique. And utterly captivating.

We had a great day on the Constantia Wine Route. The farms we visited seemed geared up and ready for the upcoming holiday season and the wine we drank (especially those whites) was really noteworthy.

If you have the time in the near future, get out there and support local business while enjoying some amazing scenery and really world-class products.