Thursday, November 20, 2008

RIP, boet...

I got a call at around 7h30am today, of the saddest kind.

It was David, my ex's new husband, letting me know that my ex-brother-in-law, Chris, had passed away at 10h45pm last night. I had heard last week that he had suddenly been struck down with a virulent form of cancer that had ravaged his body and left him paralysed from the waist down in the last couple of weeks.

Since "V" and I divorced about 8yrs ago, Chris and I kept in touch now and then and got together on occasion for a beer and a laugh. What made this news worse is that Chris and I had gotten together in Shit Towne about just six months ago over a couple of beers and he appeared to be in perfect health. I don't know if he already knew he had the cancer, but he didn't let on and he certainly didn't mention anything. In fact, he was his usual joking, laughing, cycnical old self that I have always known which makes his sudden passing more difficult to comprehend.

Chris always knew life as needing to be lived, and there was never a dull or boring moment in his life. Sure, he made a couple of mistakes along the way, as we all do, but he always bounced back as humans tend to do and got on with living his life the only way he knew how full speed ahead.

Saddest of all is that Chris's father passed away a couple of years ago and now the family has to endure this heartbreak too.

Chris's widow, Belinda, is a lovely lady who, as much as she took Chris's shit in her stride, loves him for who he will be remembered as...himself. Chris also leaves two sons, who were the shining lights in his life.

I can still picture Chris's broad smile and I hope it never fades from my memory.

Take care, boet, and say "Hi" to your dad for me...go well...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There are strange things happening...

on some of the blog comment Word Verifications...

I was on TCD's photo site earlier and the word was "minging". While I didn't quite agree with Blogger's description of her site, it did get me thinking that there have been a few strange words popping up recently.

Once I'd posted that comment (and inserted "minging") the new word came back as "brasts". While this may be an incorrect spelling of a personal favourite part of a woman's anatomy, it would appear that Blogger have got themselves a new programmer with a sense of humour.

I know a couple of other bloggers have had some strange words as well...feel free to send them as comments to this posting...just for a laugh.

My Baby's back on the blog again...

makes her sound like some sort of a junkie, doesn't it?

TCD has started another blog, this time showing her photography talents, and some of her pictures are really good.

Check them out here...

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Weekend of Ups and Downs...

it has been...

Saturday started off as a nice peaceful day until the Scotland vs South Africa rugby match at 16h30pm. You can imagine how confident I was when, as an ardent Scotland supporter, it seemed that we were going to win the game...even the referee thought so as he was giving us much of the possession.

Then you can imagine how much I was shouting at the television set when that same referee gave the game to the Springboks...

The Boyz in Blue gave their all and were, aside from the referee, the better of the two sides on the field and should indeed have won the game. As it was, the 'Boks stole it with a result of 14-10 after the Scots went to sleep in the first twenty minutes of the second half.

Incidentally, living in SA, I support the 'Boks and the other SA national sides (except Banana Banana, who are a totally fucking useless bunch of overpaid prima donnas like their international counterparts) against whomever they are playing. All, except that is, as a born Scotsman, if the 'Boks are playing Scotland I will support the great land of my birth...and I will sing our national anthem "Flower of Scotland" with as much glee as it was written.

My daughter, born in Durban though now living in Glenrothes, Scotland, supports the 'Boks and was at the Murrayfield stadium taking some really good pictures, as shown below. She was "gutted" at half time seeing as her team was losing, but took great glee in sending the photo of the final score in response to my "send me a photo when Scotland wins" text message I sent her with the return message "here's your "winning" score"...thanks for nothing, babe... :-)

Here's some of the photos...

On Sunday, we awoke to a gloriously calm day, hardly a breath of air coming off the ocean, so we decided to go for a walk on the beach with the animals. This time, however, at my insistence we were going to start our walk from Kommetjie beach in the opposite direction to where we normally start our walks.

I found a little parking area right off the beach and piled the dogs out, on their leads. As it was the first time we had walked here, I thought it prudent to reign them in for a little while first.

The area onto the beach is quite rocky and a bunch of the local "subsistence" fishermen were launching their boats from the slipway. We walked in a northerly direction, towards Longbeach where we normally walk and let the dogs loose to explore. They had a great time until, a little while after we visited the wreck pictured below, fuckwit Duke decided a little boy was having too much fun with his dad. The brown bastard attacked the little boy, and although did not puncture the skin, did mark his ribcage and the little guy will have some bruises over the next few days. We all shouted and chased Duke but by the time we realised that he wasn't fully playing, he had made his mark.

Needless to say, we apologised profusely but the damage was already done and from there my day was totally fucked, I felt so shit. I put Duke back onto his lead and training collar so that he could not enjoy the rest of the walk while the two girls romped around. I think they could also sense something was not right as they were subdued for the rest of the walk as well.

Not that I care much, it is apparently in dogs' nature to attack a being that is exhibiting the same kind of behaviour that the little fella had been. I say I don't care as, if it happens again, Duke will not live to see that night.

I say the event really fucked up what had started as a great day as we went to the Barnyard Theatre in the afternoon to watch "Rock Me Amadeus" and I just didn't enjoy the show all that much, thinking about what had happened on the beach earlier.

Here's photos of the wreck, taken with my camera phone. I paced it out to be roughly 77m from stem to stern but I can't find out the name as it is not on any website (or our GPS) that I can find...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This is my drive home from the office...

as if you needed more reminding that we have great views around here...these are coming up over Ou Kaapse Weg, past Table Mountain National Park and into Noordhoek with Longbeach in the distance...

Some Pics from our short time in the Fair Cape...

Sunset 1
Sunset 2
Sunset 3
Bonnie on the rocks at Soetwater
Strange cloud formation at Soetwater
Another shot of the sunset (all four sunsets on the same evening, different times)
The dogs and SWSBO enjoying Longbeach
From Longbeach, looking at Noordhoek
Chapman's Peak from Longbeach
The dogs, going moggy, on Longbeach
More of the dogs and SWSBO on Longbeach
I wanted to buy this place in Camps Bay, but at $18m, I thought it a bit overpriced (each unit, regardless of floor, has its own pool)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spot the Difference...


It took me all of ten minutes in the local licencing office to change registration numbers. In Shit Towne, it would have taken all morning.

What is even more amazing is the willingness to help and manners the local government employees have. They don't have the negative "fuck you" attitude of the Joburg government employees and here they actually like their jobs. Maybe they just know that their customers are actually keeping them in those jobs.

The guy in the licencing office gave me the form to fill in, marking which sections I had to complete and, even when I'd missed a piece, he asked me for the old licence form and completed the form for me!!!!!!!! Unheard of in Shit Towne.

At the Telkom office, I was shown the same courtesy. Given a form showing what details were needed, called "sir" or "Mr DMDad" whenever I was spoken to, I was astounded by the manners and even commented on it to the branch manager. Telkom are so jacked up down here that they had our ADSL line installed this morning, on time and as arranged, by another friendly person calling me "sir".

In general, the people are 1,000,000,000 times more friendly than any of the government or municipal workers you come across in Shit Towne. The people in the street don't know you from a bar of soap and yet they call each other "sir" or "madam", they say hello to each other (with a smile, not a grimace) and actually mean it if they ask you to have a nice day...

Does anyone still doubt whether coming to the Cape was a good move??? I certainly don't...

Hello, it's me again...back in Laptop-la-la land...


Where do I start? It's been such a long time since my last rambling, and so much has happened that I'm sure to miss something out, but I'll see if I can recreate the most important things in chronological order. This is part 1...

Saturday 18th October

My bestest pal in the whole wide world, Bruthafromanuthamutha, arrived at 09h00 after an arduous flight from the United World of America. Arduous? He flew Business Class for fuck sakes. How arduous could that be? Actually, he had a long stopover in Heathrow's Terminal5, so it probably was that that made it arduous. Oh, and guess who he was ogling for a couple of hours? None other than the delectable Sophia Loren. Even at her age, she's totally shaggable, and Brutha was within groping distance of her...bastard.

Anyway, he had a couple of demands that had to be met on his arrival: (1) Rent a phone with a local contact number, (2) Copious amounts of Captain Morgan and Coke (it had been three years since his last Capn), (3) A decent bacon sandwich (apparently his brand of bacon in Obama-land is "shite"), (4) A blonde with big hooters, and (5) Curry spices of a specific kind.

With demand one out of the way within 10 minutes, the dilemma hit us. Do we head into the Keg and Aviator at the airport, or head to the News Cafe in Rivonia? Decision made, we headed for Rivonia and by just after 10h00 we had our first double Capns Organ in front of us. By just after that, we had our second and third, followed by the biggest-ass bacon sandwich you ever saw. Demand number four, by the way, was just a figment of my imagination...kewl, huh?

We staggered out of the News Cafe at around 14h30 and headed to satisfy demand number five, curry spices. Unfortunately, the place we used to get them, didn't have any and we left there empty-handed. Luckily though, SWSBO (she who shall be obeyed), had managed to find some from a different brand in Woolies and that had to do (sorry Brutha, I'll try and find some down here in the Cape and email them to you).

From then on, the rest of the afternoon and evening is a bit of a blur. The three of us had a little braai and only stopped drinking at around 21h00 when Brutha pleaded exhaustion. All told, we put away nearly two bottles of Capn between us...not bad for the first day.

Sunday 19th October

We were up bright and early as we had a two hour journey ahead of us. Brutha, aside from being my mate, was also the guest speaker at our seminar. He's quite a clever fellow, even though he'd be the last to admit it, and can talk the hind legs off a donkey. The seminar was at Monate Game Lodge and turned out, apart from the lack of a decent range of animals, to be a nice place. As I was to be bunking with the international guest speaker, we were granted lodgings in the owner's personal lodge. It was fully self-contained, with swimming pool and a sound system that would have looked great in my lounge, never mind a game lodge.

The delegates all started arriving around 11h00, some fashionably late as usual for SA standards, but the opening session started great. I gave the opening welcome message and went through the agenda for the duration, and then Brutha gave the keynote address. By the end of the session, what was supposed to have been an hour long, ended close to an hour late. It didn't matter though, as we had built in a little spare time in the agenda and it was used to good purpose. The delegates, instead of clamming up and only coming out of their shells (no pun intended) on the closing day, ended up shell-shocked at the presentation they had just heard and were jabbering like kugels at a kosher buffet. We ended the day with a game drive (well, what substituted for one, given there were no "real" animals to see) and copious amounts of alcohol and ended up only retiring at around midnight.

Monday 20th October

Day 2 of the seminar was pretty much like day one, except that Brutha and I retired early-ish (21h00) as we both had presentations the following day.

The only big thing that happened was on the personal side in that our removals company pitched up a day early to start packing our things for the move to the Cape. SWSBO was distressed by this as she had planned her day and was on her way out the door, but had to change everything to show these guys what to pack. In retrospect though, she does admit that they did a great job. We only had one breakage, a platter used for serving snacks, which wasn't bad considering the number of boxes they ended up packing.

Tuesday 21st October

The last real day of the seminar, we had three presentation sessions, mine being the last and between the delegates and a final game drive. I was my usual self, nervous, and botched some of the content but the ratings were okay. As it was the last night, it was customary for the entire delegation to "rip the arse out of it" and blow the booze budget. It turned into a great night and one of the guys from north west province had a great selection of 70 's and 80's music on his iPod which was played at extreme volume on the pub sound system. What was most surprising about the music selection was that it was on an iPod belonging to a black guy, yet it was music I had been brought up on by my folks. As I said, we ripped the arse out of the night and ended up going to bed around 03h30...{groan}...

Wednesday 22nd October

This was wrap-up morning on the seminar and was all over by around 11h00. Everybody bade their farewells of the new friends they had made over the previous couple of days and we too headed back to Shit Towne. I had a move to help with and relieve SWSBO of some of her stress. Usually, Brutha stays with us, but because of the move, I dropped him off at the Sandton Towers where he checked in and settled in for the night. It was a new experience for both of us and, as we have become very close over the last few years, very confusing for the both of us. I, on the other hand, went home and coordinated some of the packing, most of which had already been done though there was a few bits and pieces that required my attention. SWSBO and I had an early night as we were both exhausted (me from the indulgences of the previous night and SWSBO from the packing experience) and the removals truck was arriving the following morning.

Thursday 23rd October

The truck and crew arrived promptly just after 08h30 and, once they had packed a few more items, began carrying stuff out of the house and lining it up on the driveway. The guys were very good and considerate in their actions and, as it turns out, only one serving dish was broken or marked from the move. At around 14h00 I drove off to collect the trailer we had hired to cart some of our personal stuff as there was no way it was all going to, including three dogs, a cat and SWSBO (and me) were going to fit into the bakkie for that long trip the following day. As I was driving home, SWSBO phoned to let me know that the truck had just left, and that was just a little after 14h30. Only 6hrs to remove and pack all our stuff into the truck...quite amazing. What was more amazing was to come home to an empty house which, only hours before, had held all our worldly possessions. Now it was like walking through a cathedral, voices echoing eerily in all the rooms.

SWSBO and our housekeeper had pretty much finished cleaning floors and cupboards ready for the new tenant who was moving in over the coming weekend. At around 5pm, we said a teary farewell to Winnie, who had been with SWSBO for over ten years. However, it was satisfying to know that the new owner was going to retain Winnie's services, being new to the city and not having employed a new housekeeper before she moved into the house. The new owner is a single lady, a little naive to the ways of Shit Towne, but nice enough and who we are sure would look after the home we had built up over seven years of living there. Strange how it goes, that you just get a home the way you want it, and then you go and move...

We inflated the camping mattress and got our bedding ready for the night, before going out to dinner with Brutha and a couple of other close friends, as a kind of farewell to Shit Towne.

We probably got home at somewhere around 22h30, having said teary farewells to Brutha who we dropped at the hotel. We weren't going to be seeing him again on this trip as we were leaving early the following morning for the long drive down to Colesberg, where we would overnight before pushing on to Sunnydale. Saying "later" (never "goodbye") to Brutha is always a sad moment for me, but this was way different as it is usually just him and me at the airport. Now, someone else would be making sure he actually left the country.

Friday 24th October

Up at somewhere around 6am, I had packed most of the stuff on the trailer the day before, but there was still those last moment things that SWSBO wanted to finish off, as well as get the cat sedated and into her cage, and the dogs and their beds into the back of the bakkie. It was going to be a long day for all of us and I wanted to get this part of the trip over as quickly as possible. We left Shit Towne somewhere around 9am, not looking back as we left the driveway, looking forward to what was coming at the end of the 1,500km road trip.

We stopped every couple of hundred km's, in all probably four times, for the dogs to get out and have a runabout and a piddle. It also helped us with relieving the fatigue and monotony of the trip. The cat was fantastic...she mewed that sad sort of sound that only a cat can make, but only for the first half hour and then we didn't hear a peep from her as she settled down. The dogs, too, were great and once they realised that this was a longer trip than usual, settled down on their beds and only appeared when I had to slow down because of getting stuck behind a truck or a slower speed limit through a town. Once they realised that we were speeding up again, they settled back to sleep again.

We reached Colesberg somewhere after 4pm, having done the last 12km on dirt road to the stud farm where we were overnighting. The people there were very friendly and, it was apparent, they didn't get too many visitors from Joburg. The room was rudimentary, nothing like the photo on the website, but we were only there for some dinner and a bed for a few hours so I wasn't too concerned about the cosmetic appearance. Dinner was a home-cooked affair, chicken stew and loads of vegetables, followed by upside down pudding, in tandem with a couple of cold Windhoek lagers.

We pleaded exhaustion at around 9pm and retired to our room after letting the dogs out for a pee. The dogs had their beds in our room, which also housed six single beds. Cassie managed to find her way onto one of them sometime through the night. The cat, unfortunately for her, was jailed in the bathroom for the night, otherwise she might have run away. We certainly couldn't leave her in the tiny cage overnight so the bathroom was, though not completely suitable, at least acceptable for the couple of hours. The dogs heard her and on one or two occasions through the night, tried to claw their way in the bathroom door to see what was going on but went back to their beds after a quick squirt of water from the spray bottle from me. At dog training school you are taught, instead of shouting and beating the dogs, just to squirt them with a spray bottle. It works on small children too...I'm told.

Needless to say, after the excitement of the day and the long drive, I was exhausted and fell asleep straight away.

Saturday 25th October

Up at 04h00, I stumbled through and had a shower, making sure I kept the cat in the bathroom so that the dogs couldn't get hold of her. She lives in abject fear of the two Weimaraner's, does the poor cat. We were told by the "breeder", when we first got Bonnie, that the Weimaraner breed was bred for hunting wild rabbits. They traditionally have a tail that is seven digits long, so that they can be pulled out of the rabbit holes they get stuck in. NOT!!! FUCKIN' LYING BASTARDS!!!

Weimaraner's were bred in the 1800's by the Duke of the then Weimar Republic (now split into parts and annexed into Germany and Austria, I believe) to hunt wild CATS! It's no wonder the cat avoids them like the plague, and that Bonnie's pupils dilate to the size of something out of a Disney movie character's and she takes on the classic Pointer stance when she sees the poor furball. Anyway, I digress...

I showered, then woke SWSBO with a cup of coffee and then she took a shower too. We packed our few belongings back into the trailer and bakkie and hit the dirt road outta Dodge. Our hosts for the night had told us not to worry about the trailer and its contents as any theft, in their small community, is dealt with very severely. And they were true to their word, as our stuff had not been touched. I would have seen it anyway, as the entire trailer was covered in a fine dust that would have given prints away.

We must have been about 5km along the dirt road when SWSBO says "Where's the dog's collars?" She checks behind the seat where they usually are, but they're not there. We haven't picked them up off the garden furniture where we had been sitting having a cold beer with our hosts the evening before. FUCK!! Turn the bakkie and trailer around (I was getting to be a dab hand at doing a 53-point turn with a trailer by then) and head back to the farm, find the collars where we left them , and do another 53-point turn to get us back on the dirt road...a great start to the day.

We hit the tar highway after about a half hour of more dirt road and from then on it was plain sailing until we reached Three Sisters. Well, almost plain sailing...I noticed that the fuel light had come on with about 40km to go to Three Sisters and figured I'd make it. I knew there was a petrol station as you go into the town and a long downhill if I needed it. I also didn't know how long the light had been on, or how the trailer was affecting the fuel consumption on the bakkie, so I was cruising on a wing-and-a-prayer. As it happens, we made it to the Shell Ultra City and I put 82 litres of diesel into an 80 litre about cutting it fine.

Following that, there were no more near-mishaps and we passed the removals truck just outside the little town of Touws Rivier. I also noticed that he had turned off the highway just after we passed him and I wondered where he was off to. I asked the driver when they got to the house and he said he had pulled off for fuel and I said it was strange as we had fuelled on the highway and he'd just passed the only station I'd seen on the stretch.

Once we came through the Du Toit's Kloof Tunnel, I put the GPS on as I was unfamiliar with coming into Cape Town from that side. I've driven the tunnel twice, but on both occasions was going away from Cape Town. Once I punched in the co-ordinates for the house, it took us straight there, and it was a wonderful sight coming across the mountain on Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Way).

Coming into the Hex River Valley...beautiful countryside...there was still snow on the tops of the mountains.

We had all had enough of the car for the day and, at just after 2pm, we had been on the road for almost 800km and numerous stops for the dogs to pee. I gave the removals truck a call to see where they were to which I was asked if they minded if they arrived the following morning at 8am. I guessed it had something to do with the stopover which I'd seen, but I also thought that it would be better if they got there the following day to give us and the animals a chance to settle down, as well as give them enough daylight on the sunday to offload the truck.

I never thought we would be spending another night on that horrible blow-up mattress, but we had to. At least that would be the last...

Sunday 26th October

Up early after an extremely uncomfortable night, we had a cup of coffee and a biscuit as breakfast, finishing just before I heard the truck coming around the corner. SWSBO got the dogs together and I supervised the unloading of most of the boxes and furniture. There was only three of the removals guys with the truck as it is their company policy to hire local temp guys to help with the unloading. They ended up finding some guy who they absolutely worked like a horse, only to pay him a measly R70 at the end of it. When he started creating hell, the driver showed me a copy of the policy document and I resolved to drop the removals guys an email to say they need to change that.

The unloading was finished at about half past noon and SWSBO went off to get some lunch for everyone. She came back about a half hour later with KFC and a couple of bottles of Coke, which we split up fairly and sent the temp guy off with lunch and an extra R150 in his pocket (on top of the R70 from the removals company). I could hear him mumbling away to himself from 150m down the road. Hopefully the R150 we gave him will keep him and his mates from deciding to come back and see what of our stuff they fancy for themselves.

When the truck had left, we sat down to eat and then took on the job of unpacking the most critical of our stuff. We are only renting the house for six months while we decide where we want to buy a place, so we don't want to have to repack everything in a few months time. My first task was to assemble the bed and having kept all the bolts to one side, had it done in a jiffy...and we slept like babies that night, I tell you...

It gets dark here at after 7pm these days and I believe it will stay light until about 9pm in the peak of summer. That suits me fine cos at least you can come home from the office and have a sundowner in the garden, or take the dogs for a walk on the beach before nightfall.

On Sunday evening, we took the mongrel hordes for a run on the beach, more to get their legs exercised after the drive of the days before, but also to see how they would enjoy it. I was surprised to even see them jumping into the back of the bakkie. Let me tell you...those dogs had an absolute ball on the beach. It was Bonnie's second time, but the other two dogs' first time, on the beach. All three of them ran about like mad idiots, revelling in the space. We must have walked about 2km when we decided to turn back and call it a day, as we were all tired.

In the two weeks we've already been here, we have had them on the beach at least every second evening, even getting caught in the rain once. I'll go into the philosophical side of being in the Cape in another posting. For now, I'll restrict it to the drive and the move...

In closing this edition, friends told us that it was going to be an emotional experience, leaving the home we'd known for all those years but in all honesty, looking back, we were so busy getting things done that we didn't have a chance to get emotional about it. I even looked into SWSBO's eyes on our way out the driveway for the last time, but I was surprised to see that there wasn't a tear even though I'd expected there to be floods. Perhaps she was having a silent moment, I certainly was, even though in the bigger scheme of things I knew we were moving to somewhere better.

More to come in the following few days...hope you lot are all well...

View from Kalk Bay Harbour Wall

Another shot from the Harbour Wall, towards Simonstown