it’s Raaaaiiining again!

It might not be of any interest to many of you, but we’ve just had our first thunderstorm of the Spring.

Short, sharp and over in half an hour, but already the air is clearer, the mind sharper and the birds are singing in the trees.

The first showers hereld a new season. Our spirits are lifted and we can look forward to a magnificent summer.

In Africa many worship water in all its forms, rivers, lakes and streams. The thunder that sounds across our skies every summer evening will gladden our hearts and lift our heads.

The grey grass will be swept away in a riot of new growth, green stalks peppering the landscape, until the Earth is covered in a verdant carpet.

We can only hope that a new season will bring growth, prosperity and great happiness to all.

Wherever you are I pray that a new season of  growth on this corner of the Mother continent will bring your dreams to fulfillment.

The high veldt of Africa rejoices and hopefully will share its bounty with you.

Health and happiness, love and joy are spread by the rain.

May its waters fall upon you.

PS: God that’s verbose. But it comes from the heart.

Outraged and sickened

I sat down at my desk and was all set to complete the story of Anthony and I and the river of death (see previous posts).

I wanted to add a little amusement to your day  (goodness knows I do try). But then I couldn’t, the words wouldn’t come.

I’m sorry, but the last week has made me take a step back and wonder about humanity, where we are, who we are and where we want to be.

If you’ve been following the news you would have seen or read about Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

He is the man who was (at least in part, he was the only one convicted of the crime) responsible for the the death of 259 people (243 passengers and 16 crew) on board Pan Am flight 103.

He was released to his home country, Libya, where he was greeted with great fanfare, a returning hero.

The Lockerbie bombing killed all of the people on the flight, their body parts strewn over the crash site like so much bloody confetti.

FLIGHT 103 CRASH

He was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, apparently suffering from prostate cancer which has left him with (supposedly) three months to live.

This is a man convicted of a cold blooded, preplanned murder of 259 men, women and children.

“Compassionate grounds”? Did he show compassion? No he did not, he did not show an ounce of human feeling when he placed an explosive device on flight 103 that blew a half metre hole on the left side of the aircraft. The resulting impact in Lockerbie also killed 11 innocent people on the ground, when the wing section of the aircraft plowed into 13 Sherwood Crescent at more than 800 km/h.

BRITAIN LOCKERBIE

This piece of human filth will spend his remaining days being feted by the people of Libya and their ‘Brother Leader’ Colonel Gaddafi.

I deal in words, but sometimes words cannot adequately express feelings, in this case a deep visceral disgust of what I regard as liberalism run wild.

On what planet, on what sphere of existence, on what concept of nuanced morality can this be justified? By this action the Scottish courts have betrayed not only the victims of this crime and the families of those who died on that day in 1988, but have in fact betrayed the very concept of justice.

This fanatic, murdering psychotic piece of shit should have been left in prison to die in agony, new age liberalism be damned.

I’ll try to regain my sense of humour in the coming days, but this makes me want to weep; for those who died that day, for their families and finally for the concept of justice. They say justice is blind, but in this case Lady Justice, that proud bearer of the scales, has had her eyes removed by a blunt scalpel of misguided compassion, the mask she wears now preventing her blind gaze from falling on a travesty carried out in her name.

Among the dead were 5 members of the Dixit-Rattan family, including 3-year-old Suruchi Rattan, who were flying to Detroit from New Delhi, on their way home fate placed them aboard Pan Am 103.

Suruchi will never enjoy the playground, her laughter will never fill her parents’ lives, she will never skip and dance under an Indian sun, it all ended on 21 December 1988, 31,000 feet above a small field in Southern Scotland.

Her story, along with those of the other passengers on Pan Am 103 will never run its full course.

I hope and pray that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s last days are filled with the same sort of agony that he caused others.

Hopefully the next post will be more light hearted.

Traffic – Spongebob will be the weapon of choice

You’ve missed the best bits.

Go back to the previous post. Come on, you’ve got the time, it’s late and you’re bored.

Look back around your shoulder, (slowly, if life partners are  startled they might attack) . Inform the significant other that visiting my site isn’t against the law, at least until the litigation starts. Only a matter of time really, but until then you shouldn’t feel guilty. At least no more guilty than that time you slowed down to see an accident at the side of the road.

And if you have, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.

Johannesburg traffic is horrific. If you live in Los Angeles or London you have my deepest, deepest sympathy, but here in Africa it’s a dog eat dog world, survival of the fittest played out at 20 km’s an hour during the rush.

In these circumstances I feel it my civic duty to issue a public service announcement.

Here it is, for Johannesburg drivers – I’m warning you, if you slow down around blue lights, traffic cones, ambulances or fat men in official uniforms then I’ll be gunning for you. Watch out for the man in the Toyota with a glint in his eye, I’ll either be waiting for you at the next offramp with a baseball bat. Man or woman you’re at the mercy of congestion and my mood.

In fact your fate might depend on what’s on sale at the intersection. You might well be greeted with a genteel tap on the window by a slightly rotund, disturbingly smiley, gently vibrating man in his middle ages with a sampling of instant glue, a Spongebob Squarepants kite and a selection of fliers concerning tire prices, these items can be used in a variety of interesting / disturbing ways.

The baseball bat depends on mood, season and highway delays.

The end result might be horrific.  The glue alone is going to require a trip to the clinic and sharp medically orientated instruments. Your children are going to need psychiatric care to erase the idea of where Spongebob comes from. God, they’re going to need more in depth counseling about sponges in general. The bat might require surgical removal. you are going to have, in the words of Bill Bryson ‘a severe disinclination to boogy’ for quite a while.

So, don’t be a dick, just drive on.

But back to the blog, sorry,

If there’s a significant other in sight, then tell them your visit to this site is for purposes of research ( if you mail me I’ll even supply a subject – “the effect of recreational internet usage on today’s corporate executive”). I’ll even supply stats  if you think it’s worth a giggle.

If  he / she’s got a sense of humour then tell him / her to comment on this post, God knows I need all the help I can get.

If she’s  (let’s be honest, I only put the he/she in the previous paragraph in the hope of attracting female visitors through a PC attitude, if you’re a woman, send pics) caught you surfing for porn (I’m working on it) then reply in the comments and I’ll take the rap.

Read on. I promise to finish the fishing story. It just seems to take a bit longer in print than it does over a couple of beers.

Until the next entry.

So there we were, a day at the river 2

So, on to the riverside tale…….

Fly bitten, bleeding (at least I was, Anthony was in fine fettle, laughing all the way, bastard) and myself longing for some liquid refreshment that didn’t include tadpoles or mud we started for home.

After scrambling up the bank, dodging some hissing bushes (snakes, young women attracted to waders, I don’t know, give me a call if  rubber and thorns turn you on, I saw you, you little hussy) we retired to our chalet.

A quick change of clothing and shortly to the bar, where we were informed that the bar service was non existent due to the fact that a wedding party would be arriving within the hour.

Quick thinking prevailed. We purchased all the beers that were available. My thinking was that if there was a problem, the groom would confront his father in law, claim that the organisation of the wedding was deficient and the fault of the event organizers. The discussion that would take place should last until at least midnight.

We’d hopefully be well away by the time the wedding party arrived.

We were. But in the garden outside the reception area there were two best friends who had to agree once again the sleeping arrangements for the night. Up for discussion were the four poster bed and the gentle cradle made out of pine needles  (so it seemed on reexamination) . We decided that dinner would decide the issue.

It came down to intestines. Whoever ordered the most exotic meal (remember this is Africa) would be given the nuptial bed, a four poster, the other would sleep on the foam kiddies bunk (the gentle embrace of pine).

These negotiations took place over many (many) lager cocktails. Anthony has reminded me that 12 year old Irish whiskey was involved.

Up to the restaurant / bar where we, much under the weather by now requested that we would like to take dinner in our room.

Now, I’d like to say, for the record that the owner of this establishment and his good lady wife were the soul of accommodation, a kindly smile and a nod toward our so called ‘unique’ relationship.

The menu was presented, our choice was complimented and we were sent on our way to stumble back to the chalet.

We staggered across some tree lined paths, we intersected some frog filled pools, we discussed whether deadly snakes would actually lunge at you during the night and after stumbling over a couple of sleeping dogs (they were very understanding of our lurches and staggers, not a nip or a growl) we arrived at our accommodation.

We arrived as our hosts were in the process of setting out a table with silverware, covered dishes and as a hat toward our supposed relationship, a floral arrangement consisting of red and yellow roses.

For Anthony, a well done beef steak, for me ostrich steak, medium rare. For the entrée a small green salad. A good bottle of champagne would accompany our meal.

We were amazed and gratified with the table arrangement and with the effort of the hosts, and with many a thank you and ‘we’ll certainly recommend’ we sat down at our supposed nuptial feast.

Gosh, this is taking a long time to tell, but I promise it’ll be worth the effort.

In the next couple of days I promise I’ll finish the story and it’ll contain vomit, anal pain and bananas.

Anal Bananas – good name for a grunge band by the way.

Trust me you’ll love the rest.

PS: A good friend has just reminded me of death by fire, baaaad dogs and fishing. Another time, give me your feedback.

Did you ever have one of those days?

You’re going to need some time to read this, so go and make a cup of coffee.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Oh, you’re back. Good.

By way of introduction I have some thoughts for you. You’ve got to thank God that your country doesn’t have tiny things that fly and make you bleed, sun that doesn’t cause you to vomit if you don’t wear a hat and friends that don’t scream about fruit in the morning. Bear with me, it’ll all make sense.

Since I turned 40 I tend to think a lot about my younger days. About the events that shaped me into the person I am today, and the advice I’ll give my daughter as she leaves our home to interface with wider society.

One of the first things I’ll whisper in her ear is;  no weekends away with people who share Dad’s organisational abilities, no camping, no small riverside motels, no fun weekends. Absolutely not, no. If  Dad’s friends suggest the hills or mountains, head for the coast.  Just run, fast. Downhill is good, the sea, that’s the thing, build a raft, set sail, a life on the ocean free, aargh me hearty. I’ll buy you a parrot, just get the hell out of Dodge.

It seems that my personality as of 2009 can be directly linked to humiliations suffered, not at the hands of cruel fate, but at the hands of those nearest and dearest to me.

I’m thinking of one particular friend of mine, a fine man of outstanding values, keen judgement and a fine swimming stroke. Also I have been led to believe that for a man of his size he can run like the wind in the face of an explosion (but that’s an entry for another time, trust me I’ll get to it).

Let’s call him Anthony, because that’s his name.  I strive to protect the innocent at all times but in this case innocence is in the eye of the beholder.

Anthony is nothing if not a firm friend, a gentle soul who has always done his best to support me in hobbies and pastimes while steering me clear of the more unbalanced fancies that take me from time to time.

So, being the understanding man that he is, after weeks of my begging he agreed to accompany me to the Crocodile River for a weekend of Fly Fishing and lager cocktails.

Those of you with more foresight than me will immediately think ‘Crocodile River’  WTF?.

At the risk of spoiling the rest of the tale, there were no sudden lunges from the toothy stream and no one was dragged screaming into the dark depths to be devoured by reptilian monsters.

There was however howling pain, convulsions and fruity embarrassment.

So there we were, two heterosexual males (the SO will back me up) checking into a prime honeymoon destination (as we were later to find out) confirming a chalet built for, uhmm… more athletic nighttime pursuits than we had anticipated. To be fair we had thought about some night time activities, but more along the lines of beer, staggers, singing and shortly unconsciousness. The bar next to the check in was enticing, tables with flower arrangements, candle settings and padded seats.

Lovely, until we were told that there was actually no bar service and what we saw was a room set up for a wedding the next morning.

When a good friend places his trust in you in expectation of a weekend filled with urbane conversation, good wine, silly hats and fishing and you are faced with a situation like this there is only one escape. Lie, lie to yourself, lie to him and hope to God that what you have experienced is just a single instance of bad planning. After all the deposit was already paid.

Well, the chalet was attractive, fruit basket (apples, banana’s, grapes, pineapple) in the entrance area, comfy chairs and in the main room, a king sized, four poster bed and as an afterthought, a pine bunk suitable for the youngsters placed against the South wall, with a thin sunflower embossed duvet covering.

Now Anthony is a well proportioned man, six foot four and big with it, while I, although not petite, come in comfortably under 5.9. Feet. So in the interests of not being beaten to death with a 5/6 fly rod I surrendered the four poster bed to my good friend, who after a couple of celebratory resilience testing bounces, suggests that we investigate the lunch menu.

So picture if you will two virile young(ish) men placing an order for a picnic basket, replete with strawberries and cream to be eaten in full view of the honeymoon couples strolling past on their way down to the river (I’m cringing as I write this).

There was a small dog that ate the remains of the lunch, a couple of beers, some Champaign (and strawberries and cream remember,  seriously, we threw some of the strawberries to the dog), conversation, etc.

So to the fishing.

Back to the chalet. Rods, fishing vests. Selection of flies. Beer, more beer.

Stumble through the bush toward the stream. We had been assured by the owner, who had thoughtfully served us with our strawberry filled basket, that that we should be aware that deadly snakes (I am not making this up) had seriously inconvinced a visitor some weeks ago.

And so to the riverside, very, very carefully.

Now I will not make light of the terrors of, for instance the United States, where everything is bigger and better. All I will say is this, they have Bobcats, in Africa we have Lions. In America they have cows;  in Africa we have the Cape buffalo, one of the most dangerous animals in the world.

When I say to you that African horseflies are a different breed to those found elsewhere in the world, I am not exaggerating. Those buggers can take a piece of skin the size of a postage stamp off you. Due to them you can have a sip of beer, bleed, scream, fall off a rock,  catch yourself behind the ear with a number 3 Mrs. Simpson, take three large gulps of water, almost choke to death, see a friend convulsed with laughter and still stand upright and curse the day that you took up fishing.

So there we were at the riverside.  Tomorrow I’m going to tell you about bananas, sunstroke, the runs, nakedness, fright, vomit, poo and indignant neighbours. Anthony has threatened me with legal action if I do.

But I’m going to,  Look to his comments (come on Bro!) for further information. Keywords: Kill, Legal, no holiday ever again.

Oz, wait until I write about the Midlands. Keywords, Chess, Snoring and TV tipping. I have the pictures.

The rest of the story in the next couple of days. Log in, you’ll love it.

The irony

The Significant Other has just left the building to purchase a new iron, apparently she’d like to do some housework while I do the heavy lifting of writing down the dribbles that pass for my thoughts.

In my experience I’ve never had an iron last more than six months, many only survive the rigours of the Mallach World Headquarters for the briefest of instants before their flux capacitors or pistons or something suffer irreperable damage.

Now, is this just an experience which is confined to my household? Does everyone else sail blissfully onward with irons that are passed from generation to generation like Granny’s fine China tea set?

If this isn’t so then it strikes me that there are at least two business opportunities.

First, a dedicated ironing consultancy and training academy, because clearly our ironing / maintenance skills neeed brushing up and secondly an iron refurbishing enterprise (there may be a franchising opportunity here).

I’ve done a quick calculation (actually I haven’t, but for the sake of argument let’s say I have) and the rate of iron consumption is staggering, it beggers belief. If Wikipedia is right, and when are they ever wrong, then the amount of households in the world (with electricity, I’ve found no mention of solar powered irons during my research) multiplied by the amount of defunct irons exiting households around the globe  each month means that there should be in the region of (approximately) 4 gazillion irons lying around.

Think of that number 4 gazillion, that’s enough to cover the surface of the Earth to a depth of 2 metres. So the question is, where are they?

Perhaps my business opportunity is not as original as I thought, perhaps these ‘new’ irons we’re buying in such vast quantities aren’t really new at all, but rather refurbished, made new, the same irons leaving and entering the market all the time, in a sort of wash day version of the circle of life.

This is only an example of the questions that we, as the only truly sapient beings on this planet (although the dolphins are always smiling about something) should be confronting each day.

It’s a burden that we have to shoulder. I’m just here to furnish a few theories, throw out a few ideas and stand firmly on the side of the dry cleaning industry.

That is all.

A proud day

Well it seems that the Doctor in question was not to blame, no problems with his eyes. No foreign bodies in the ear canal, musical or otherwise (see previous post).

A second opinion has indicated that my daughter is in possession of a highly polished imagination and a worldview that, not to gild the lilly, is slightly on the colourful side. A proud day at Mallach world headquarters.