A man in the know speaks

There’s no doubting that SA is in a bad place at the moment regarding its power supply. Years of corruption, mismanagement and poor maintenance have left us in a deep hole. What I didn’t know was quite how deep.
Fortunately(?), expert Chris Yelland has now filled us all in.
(The hole, however, remains very much unfilled.)

1. SA is out of diesel
2. Pumped storage dams low
3. No power from Mozambique (2 lines down)
4. 5000 MW (8 generator units) down due to boiler tube leaks
5. Three units running but with boiler tube leaks
6. Other unplanned outages

and on point 3:

Both HVDC lines (1420 km, total capacity 1400 MW) from the Cahora Bassa hydro plant between Tsongo substation in Mozambique & Apollo substation in Gauteng are down due to the tropical cyclone. Damaged lines inaccessible, Extent of damage unknown. Time to restore lines unknown.

Oh dear. About as bad as it could get then.

Chris has also come up with a 6 point plan to try to help us climb out of the hole: click here for curated thread, which no-one with any authority will pay any attention to. This attitude is at least some of the reason we’re in this mess already.

Fifteen

15.
Fifteen.
Vyftien.
Shumi elinantlanu.

It’s fifteen years today since I moved from the UK to South Africa.

A lot has happened in those fifteen years, including (but not limited to): one marriage, a few jobs, two kids, some houses, a beagle, an awful lot of braais, many litres of Castle Milk Stout, and several thousand blog posts.

No, I’ve never really thought about going back.

Sometimes we celebrate this anniversary, sometimes it passes us by and we only realise after the fact. Today, I marked it by smashing out a ridiculously vigorous workout at the gym, which will mean that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.

Lovely. See you again in 2034.

Twenty Nineteen

I’m a great believer in being positive. Not to the exclusion of all reason: I’m a realist before an optimist, but I’m very much an optimist ahead of a pessimist. So with that said, I’m both hopeful and not ever so hopeful about the year ahead for South Africa.

Hopeful because I feel that the vast majority of people here are decent, honest and willing to work towards making this a better place.

Not ever so hopeful because the loony fringes of left and right are out to make any meaningful progress harder than ever.
And to be honest, despite their small numbers, they’re still in the pound seats right now. They have a miserable public to speak to, there’s an election coming up real soon now and a clear lack of leadership at the top of the two leading political parties, while the guy in third place – currently holding 6% of the vote – is happily directing matters via a seemingly sycophantic media hanging on his every rant.
The economy is in tatters, with the promise of more bad news to come in the months ahead, unemployment continues to increase, and the government seems unable or unwilling (maybe both) to do anything about any of it.
Our newspapers and news sites are filled with biased, puerile, inaccurate and sensationalist crap and yet still people read and believe every word. There are a million bandwagons lined up like free Ubers just waiting to be leapt upon and an increasingly depressed and desperate population needing a ride.

But despite all this, I still believe that there is hope. We just need to avoid being dragged down by the really dreadful stuff to the exclusion of all of the good things and good people that there are out there.

Clearly, that won’t happen. But it would be nice if it could.

And let’s also look elsewhere before we bury ourselves in self pity. Not that it improves our situation at all, but it’s not as though we’re alone in having struggled through the frying pan of 2018 only to be shown the fire of 2019.

So I completely accept that things are some distance from rosy as SA heads into 2019, but I don’t think it’s the cataclysmic end that so many people seem to believe it will be.

Unless I’m wrong of course, in which case, we’re completely buggered.

Have a lovely 2019.

 

How to save money (for South Africans)

Here’s one that’s going to divide the readership.
Oh, and the way this panned out in my head overnight, it may include some swearing.
So… you know… be warned.

Earlier this week, I saw a lot of people tweeting, sharing and generally acting holier-than-thou online about Black Friday:

“Save 100% this Black Friday by staying at home and not buying anything!”

Which is your prerogative, of course. And I really do understand the sentiment. But if you have been after a flatscreen TV for a couple of months like my mother-in-law has, then why not wait until Black Friday and get the model you want for 30% less?

(She did, yes.)

So, if you need something or if you have planned and saved to buy something, then actually, Black Friday is a very good day to go and buy it.

This isn’t a post about saving money on Black Friday though. This – at least as far as I can work out – is an absolute no-brainer of an idea which will not only save South African individuals a chunk of change, but will also make the world a much nicer place. Which is why it will never catch on.

Yep: we’re back on the concert thing. We have been here before. Often.

We went to see James at Kirstenbosch last night. Here’s them.

Great band, great venue, great gig. Tickets were R545 each. And here in SA, that’s a reasonable price to pay to see an international act. (For reference, Ed Sheeran is coming to Cape Town Stadium next year and prices range from R395 to (eina!) R1360.)

Only the one issue then: once again, many of the crowd talked loudly to one another throughout the entire fecking concert. Not quietly, because that would have been only mildly disrespectful and would have necessitated actually thinking of other people. No. The band played loudly, so they shouted to each other across their picnic blankets about this, that and the other.

Why?

Look, I don’t get it. And [deity] knows I’ve tried to understand. If you want to talk to each other, stay home and talk to each other. If you want to shout to each other, stay home, turn the tele on loudly and shout to each other. If you want to shout to each other across a picnic blanket, why not chuck one down in front of the loud TV and shout at each other across it?

It’s not rocket surgery.

Don’t spend five hundred and forty five fecking Rands each to sit on a dark grassy slope and ruin things for people who – really weirdly – have actually turned up at a concert to hear the band playing and not you shouting to your mate about taking junior to the fecking Constantia Uitsig fecking bike park in the morning.

Stay home.

I just saved you R1090. That’s, like, two overpriced coffees while he’s on the pisspoor dirt track tomorrow. Boom.

Or if you really did pay your Rands to come along to hear the band, then couldn’t your utterly mundane shouty conversation just have waited for an hour and a half?
You bunch of self-absorbed, stereotypical, Southern Suburbs twats.
No wonder everyone hates you.

[deep breath]

Look, I know things won’t change. [narrator: and he was right.]
But they should. [narrator: *chuckles*]

If any of the promoters or venues are reading this (spoiler: they’re not), then please consider designating a section of the audience to be a “quiet zone” like this. Not for people to sit there silently and still, but just for them not to talk throughout all the songs.
An area where people who want to hear the music, who paid to hear the music, can hear the music and not details of the personal experience of one student in last week’s 1st year Economics exam at UCT.
Because I really don’t want to hear that ever anyway. But least of all when I’ve paid 600 bucks to enjoy a concert.

 

Rant over. Until next time, obviously.

Suddenly… Spring?

Not quite. In fact, some well-read experts have suggested that special precautions be taken in view of the iffy forecast for today.

But yesterday was quite Spring-like.

The Boy Wonder had a photography assignment to do, so we went out looking for proteas. Is this one? It’s definitely a Leucospermum spp. I think, anyway. Rupert will doubtless let me know.

Cycling (yeah, I know) around the posher areas of Cape Town, we found several or more. Lots still to come at “that bush” on the corner of Glastonbury and Rhodes Drive, as well.

This one was just up the road from there. Planted outside a big house with a big wall. Probably out of place. Maybe not even a protea at all. But the colours and the intricate design caught our eyes and our lenses.

I’ll get some photos up on Flickr soon enough, but in the meantime, here’s one to brighten up a grey day.