Smelly penguins are a thing of the past

Here in the Cape, we’re lucky enough to have a couple of local colonies of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) which one can pop along and visit, should one feel the need. Summer days are obviously nicest to spend in the sun, by the sea, getting up close and personal with these curious birds; with just one rather large drawback – the smell.

Penguins eat fish (which smells) and then they defaecate (which smells). It’s like smell². In short: penguins stink.

The penguins at Boulders Beach (so called because of the huge boulders there) and at Stony Point (so called because it’s all stony)* are a huge draw for the tourists, most of whom go home with a head full of wonderful memories, a camera full of wonderful photographs and a nose full of wonderfully fishy poo. Each time I go and visit Boulders, I am reminded of the need to do something about the dreadful whiff that greets me as I open the car door. And again when I arrive there.

But now I can, thanks to an offer from The Guardian in the UK. The UK isn’t known for its penguins, but there are, of course, several zoos and wildlife parks which have penguins in them. And I’m guessing that’s the market that The Guardian is trying to corner here, with the Penguin Steam Cleaner:

psc

They’ve even made it look a little bit penguinesque, so as not to frighten the birds on approach.

The Penguin Steam Cleaner features:

  • Continuous 1600 watt high-pressure (good for repeated penguin cleaning)
  • Steam exits at 105°C (bit warm, but penguins are well insulated)
  • Powerful jet nozzle, ideal for awkward spaces (beak, webbed feet, wingpits etc)
  • And it removes creased feathers. What more could you ask for?

    It’s expensive, but I reckon that the SanParks, who run Boulders, could get a better deal if they bought a job lot. After all – they have a whole load of penguins to clean.

    I will be pitching my idea to them later this week by getting one of these wonderful devices, “borrowing” a penguin and demonstrating the myriad of benefits a steam-cleaned penguin colony would bring to both their visitor numbers and their beleaguered olfactory systems.

    * I don’t make the rules.

    Bafana v Brazil

    The Local Boys take on the Samba Boys in the second Confederations Cup semi-final this evening, buoyed by growing local support and the somewhat surprising result from the first semi last night when the USA beat Spain 2-0. That said, there are only 12 places between those two on the FIFA rankings. Brazil are 67 places ahead of South Africa and are playing like men possessed. Men possessed by really good footballers.
    If they were playing like men possessed by kingklip or desk lamps or bits of polystyrene, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but I have this horrible feeling deep in my head than Bafana are going back to footballing school this evening.

    That said, tickets are all but sold out for the game and the support for Bafana will be fanatical and will include at least some (or more) vuvuzelas (or so I would imagine). Maybe turn the sound down if you don’t like the noise.
    Just an idea. Tolerance and respect for others, you see?


    Confed Cup opening: Shine2010

    Nothing would please me more than to be wrong about the scoreline – I have neither affiliation nor huge admiration for Brazil, but they’re on top of their game at the moment and are hot favourites.

    One more thing: Boston.com have done one of their famous The Big Picture spreads on Soccer in South Africa. There are some superb photos in there, numbers 14 and 18 being my favourites.

    At Newlands last night

    40,000 turned up last night at a bitterly cold Newlands to watch the Emerging Boks side taken on what was, in truth, a second string British and Irish Lions team. It was cold, stormy, windy, wet, very wet and very cold, but at least there was red wine and brandy on tap.


    The Lions’ new defensive formation left gaps out wide

    Of course, that was just for those of us in the posh seats. The guys down in the stands didn’t have such luxuries. Although one of them had a vuvuzela. Naughty! And then, with the Lions 10-0 ahead, Earl Rose set up the ball for a kick at goal (or whatever they call it in egg-chasing) and the heavens properly opened.


    So much of rain at Newlands

    Rose was unperturbed (although I’m sure I heard him murmur “Bugger!!” under his breath), got Luzuko Vulindlu to lie face down in the mud and hold the ball and went about missing the kick anyway.

    Half time and I headed off to expunge the brace of first half Peronis. Now, I know that there is a certain urinal etiquette and that one looks ahead or down, never left or right, but it is kind of difficult to obey the unwritten rules of public weeing when you find a six foot Danger Mouse on your right and a slightly shorter Mr Incredible on your left. Seriously. And then I passed a Ninja Turtle on the way out of the loos. Either the British contingent were there in full fancy dress or those beers had been tampered with.

    To cut a cold story short, the game finished 13-13 and we headed home, cold, but satisfied. My car said it was 6°C, but I’m sure it was lying. Either that or the minus sign (never tested) doesn’t work.

    Bed never seemed so inviting.

    Father’s Grey

    As it is a rather grey Father’s Day here in Cape Town and I’m full of cold, I have spent most of the day inside watching the T20 final, reading my new Jeremy Clarkson book (sorry Mum) and listening to Placebo and Kasabian’s latest offerings. I’m never sure about albums with completely ridiculous titles, but despite its name, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is absolutely superb. Underdog is still my favourite track, which many of you will have unknowingly heard on the Kaka Sony Bravia ad which features the world’s largest zoetrope.

    I think it’s a great ad and I’m not just saying that so that Sony read this and send me a free 42″ Bravia for my living room. I’ve still got the last one that they gave me and that’s working fine, thank you very much. So I’ll take the cash alternative this time, please.

    Incidentally, Mr Kaka – who will be playing for Brazil against Italy just up the road in Pretoria this evening – learnt most of those fancy footballing tricks he shows off in that ad from me. Not many people know that I have taken many of the world’s top footballers under my wing at some point in their careers in order to let them learn from the best. Those who regularly play football with me will appreciate that I (very modestly) take great care to hide my silky skills so as not to outshine those around me.

    And now, with the Sri Lankan innings coming to a close (although some would argue it was pretty much closed in the first two overs), I will return to my seat in front of the fire with my pipe and slippers and fulfill that traditional father stereotype.

    One final thing – it is the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere today, which means that today is the shortest day for us down below the equator. Summer is on its way*!

    * ever so gradually.