Monday, December 19, 2011

How to keep your baby amused...

Tamlyn sent me a short audio file of LJ giggling away, caused by something really quite simple...a roll of Sellotape.

I added a few photos and words, to create a little FLV video file...

Here it is...

video

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's been a while since I posted anything...

...but it's been due to a surprise overseas trip I pulled off last week.

I couldn't tell anyone, except those that needed to know, as I needed to make sure I had a place to stay (sister) and that my daughter and granddaughter (son-in-law) would be in town (imagine going all that way only to find that they'd buggered off to Europ for a week, or something as equally disappointing).

I planned the whole thing at the beginning of September, just after the birth of Layla Jane (born 4 hours after my birthday ended due to complications) and had to keep it a secret until now.

That said, I'll write a whole piece on the trip and post some of the hundreds of photos that I took on the trip, sometime this week.

I just thought, for now, I'd better let my only reader know that I'd been away...


Here are some pics to keep you waiting in antici---pation...


The main reason(s) I went over. Mum, dad and granddaughter

The outside temperature, taken from the car, at 10h30 in the morning....-1degC!!

Imagine waking up to fresh snow on your first morning in Scotland....I did...


Some family and friends at one of the numerous get-togethers (piss-ups) we had

Full moon over the Scottish Saltire (flag), flying over the Edinburgh cathedral at the bottom of Princes Street, on my last night "back hame"

Edinburgh Castle lit up in all its glory, with the trees up the hill decked out in fairy lights

Drinking gluhwein in the German Market at the foot of the Castle. Usually I don't touch the stuff, but the stall was called "Fire Punch" so we thought we would give it a go...and I had three mugs

The snow I woke up to on the last morning of my trip...


These photos were all off my cellphone, but I'll post some better quality pics from my DSLR soon...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Surprised? Not me...

Whacko Jacko's doctor was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Is anyone surprised? Certainly, I'm not. He was fucked from the start. He killed America's favourite black and white son.

Still, it's highly unlikely that he'll serve any time in anything worse than a motel for celebrities.

According to the news, he's on suicide alert. WTF for? The Whacko family is already saying justice has been served, but has it? Will a guilty verdict bring the fuckwit paedophile back? No, it won't. But Murray's suicide will ring the old "eye for an eye" idiom true and then there will be closure. Then the Whacko's can claim closure, but not justice.


Damn Hollywood trials...hate the fuckin' lot of them. All they do is take up airwave space that would be better off used on other more menaingful news...real news...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Of Boulders, Blooms, Diesel Tanks and Dust - Part 3

Oops....so this escaped me for a while. I suppose I better publish the next episode...

From our campsite next to the sea, we had a short climb back onto another dirt road, which was to be the norm for the next couple of days. We camped so close to the water that you could just about pee into the ocean (but we wouldn't do that, we're conservation-minded folks).


At a pitstop a short while later, I came across a pile of sun-bleached bones which, althought we did not know for sure, were probably the remains of some small buck of sorts. This part of the coast is really desolate and we would go for days without seeing any other living thing.


The drawer system really paid itself off, even though this was just our first trip with it. SWMSBO didn't have to climb into the back of the Mazda-rati to get stuff out, and I didn't have to bugger my back up lifting heavy bins so that she could get a kettle out for a cup of tea. Win-win.


There were a large number of abandoned diamond digs along our route and this is where this one, like all the others, ended up...down the toilet. But is that a room-with-a-view, or what?


In the heat of the day, we came across the wreck of the wreck of the Namaqua, which ran aground in 1876. There is some confusion when researching the Namaqua wreck as there were two ships of the same name, and both wrecked in the same general area, the second one near Port Nolloth in 1889. All that remains of this one is the large pistons from the boiler room, still impressive. I could not get near to the wreck due to a deep water channel between the rocks and I wasn't going to risk my EOS in swimming across between waves.


Our campsite for the day was called exactly that on our itinerary, "Camp Site" and I'm still not sure what the proper name for it was. Needless to say, it was picked out carefuly, so that we were sheltered from the elements to enjoy the beauty of the nature around us.


The following morning, the clouds and miserable weather moved in and we had some rain along the way, but it also helped to cool things down for a bit as we had had some quite hot weather during the days to this point, even if they were a little windy.


Another lighthouse...short term memory loss causes me to forget the name now. Surprisingly, even with all the fog and low cloud, the light was not operating. No wonder it's called The Skeleton Coast...


Our next stop was at the mouth of the Groen Rivier (Green River), even though the water was definatley not green in colour (where do they get these names from?). Just after this, we turned off this road and into the Eco Trail and some decent sand driving, great fun in a 4x4.




On this part of the coast, there is a colony of Cape Fur seals and, while they look all cute and cuddly, they stink to high heaven. It's not a place for the queasy-stomach crowd, as the smell of urine and shit is quite strong. Even the offshore wind did not take all the smell away. Here are a few of the smelly inhabitants of the area.






This little episode was quite sad. A female seal had recently aborted her unborn pup and was now desperately trying to defend the body from the scavenging seagulls and other seals around her. We sat and watched this for probably a half hour so are not sure how it all ended, but it probably wasn't good for the mother. In this pic, you can see the foetus in her mouth as she tried to protect it.


You could see the sadness in her eyes and I think she knew that she would have to relinquish her baby to the predators around her. She was just postponing the inevitable for as long as she could.


Mr C, giving us his best Kilroy impersonation.


Our next campsite, at Koringkorrelbaai (Corn Kernel Bay). The weather had really closed in by now and even I had to dress warmly. During last year's trip through the Kgalagadi, I only once had to wear warm pants, but this trip was different and I ended up getting dressed up on a number of occasions. One of the nice things of this site were the stone walls built by the park authorities to act as wind breakers as they really helped to keep our campfire in check.


One of the gazebo's was erected for a bit more shelter and was a blessing with the side panel mounted to deflect the wind more.


If you enjoy camping and you haven't got one of these gazebo's, why not? This is where they pay themselves off...


This is what happens when you arrive relatively early at a campsite and it gets cold. We had a similar episode in Polentswa last year, where everything that could possibly put a heat in you, gets consumed at a rate to try and prove the point. In both cases, it worked. But what a view to get trollied with, huh?


Bundled up against the cold. Thank fuck for the new sleeping bags too.


The blazing campfire, with grids being fire-washed for the evening's braai. Can't beat a braai in the open, next to the sea, freezing cold, lots of "anti-freeze" being consumed...can't wait for my retirement in a few years so that we can go and do this more regularly.


By now, the wind had dropped a little and we could sit around the fire. Later that evening, Mr C and SWMSBO had headed for their respective tents and sleeping bags, and Mrs C and I sat and stared at the stars for a while, drinking Laphroaig 10yr Old Quarter Cask Scotch...best tipple in the world.



I'll try to not let so much time pass before the next instalment...promise...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I got published on Watkykjy...

I sent the guys at Watkykjy a couple of pics of a really fucked up car I spotted in Struisbaai when we were through there fishing a couple of weekends ago.

The guys published the pics, so go here to check them out (and read some of the comments...they're hilarious in themselves)...

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Gift in the Post...

I had an idea what the Post Office parcel notification was for, but wasn't sure, as it also could have been a speeding fine I think I may have committed a couple of weeks ago.

Thankfully, it was not a fine.

It was, in fact, the gift that the Daft Scots Lass (ADSL) sent me for winning her Caption My Photo competition recently.

How kewl is this? ADSL sends everyone, who wins her weekly competition, a "wee gift" as a prize. But, to top it all, in my case she also sent me a couple of fridge magnets that I can use to put up photos of my granddaughter, born recently, and a personalised note, "Fir Yer Wee Bairn".

In addition to the fridge magnets, there's also a pocket knife thingy which will be handy in the car (or when I try and break out of a wooden prison someday - that saw adapter on the tool is fuckin' sharp), a book which looks like it could be a good read, and a handwritten note in a card (not too often these days that someone sends a greeting card with a handwritten note in it).Very kewl...




Paper-clipped to the card were a couple of ADSL's unique peel-and-stick tattoos. Sometimes, folks stick them somewhere and send ADSL a photo of the tattoo, some in unusual places.

I thought that, to contribute my little bit of "unusual", I would do something a little different (perhaps ADSL has had one sent to her like this before, I don't know) and this is what I will email her shortly...I think the humour is right up her alley (or, case in point, right next to mine)...



ADSL, thanks for the gifts...they are much appreciated.

Tequila is your friend...

It never used to be, following an ugly episode when I was about 20, in which myself, my brother and an old friend got horribly pissed during a tequila drinking competition.

BTW...never do that. Never have a tequila drinking competition. It is one that you WILL NOT win. No-one ever wins a tequila drinking competition, but then nobody tells you that when you're 20 years old either.

I digress...

I was at a monthly meeting of our NSRI station and, with the command of the station having been handed over to a new bloke, we decided to go and have a couple of drinks to celebrate. Actually, it's the way he generates his popularity with the young crew we have.

Anyway, a couple of pints later and I decide I had better do my duty as a new grandfather and buy everyone a drink to toast her birth. I felt like something unusual so one of the guys tells me about this new caramel-flavoured tequila that's on the market. "Not a blinding fuck", I tell him, relating my competition-losing episode to him.

"Come on, you'll enjoy it", he says and takes me into the bar where a mate of his is the barman and asks him to bring down the bottle. "Sniff that", he says and, much to my pleasure, it smells really caramel-ish. My head's telling me "But it's tequila", but I tell my head to shut-the-fuck-up and order a dozen shots.

Three of the mates chickened out of the toast (fuck you lot) so I had more than my fair share of the stuff, and it wasn't all that bad, I must be honest...

So...go out and get a bottle. Arriba Tequila is now your friend...


Monday, September 05, 2011

Here's another pic...

This is a far nicer pic of LJ, I think.

You can see straight away that she's not as puffy after the birth experience as with the previous pic...

Gorgeous wee lass...


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Boulders, Blooms, Diesel Tanks and Dust - Part 2

From Tietiesbaai, we had a long-ish day of about 300km ahead of us. A lot of it would be along sandy tracks but it proved to be fun driving.

We headed out after the morning "coffee and rusks" ritual, something we would do every day of the trip. Our first stop was Laaiplek ("Loading Place") a little fishing establishment on the edge of a dorpie called Velddrif ("Field Drift"?.....hmmmm). We wanted to see if we could get some fresh fish to enjoy on the braai for the evening, but it turned out that all they produced (that day, at least) was Bokkoms, a dried-out mullet which is savoured by many of the local folk. Personally, I stay away from them. My son-in-law, Scott, enjoyed them on their recent visit, but there's no choosing family, is there? ;-)

As it happens, there was no fresh fish, only dried stuff, so we stopped in at a little take-away place to order a toasted sandwich for the road and get some firewood. It must have taken almost an hour for them to sort out the toasted sarnies. I thought Cape Town was slow sometimes. Also, the lady who sells the firewood is not there on Mondays either, so we couldn't get any wood. Maybe she should take her sign down over the weekends...

Hanging from the rafters are rows of drying mullet, or Bokkoms, as they are known in these parts.

This is the Laaiplek harbour entrance, with the main channel running on the left. Not a swell or wave in sight, and yet no fishing boats moving in or out either.


These beautiful pelicans were hanging around the area where the folks were hanging out the mullet to dry. They are magnificent birds and are larger than most people realise. The unfortunate bird on the other side of the gate had a badly damaged left wing and would not be able to fly, so he probably hung around on the dock or in the water waiting for a freebie.


Why they would have called this lighthouse "Island Point", I have no idea. It was nowhere near an island and it wasn't on a point either. Still, lighthouses are always interesting. Maybe I like lighthouses so much because in my previous life I drowned because there was no lighthouse and now I see them as beacons of hope that I never had back then...hmmmm...


From Laaiplek, we had a short leg-stretch stop at Elandsbaai, a famous surf spot, which I had always wanted to see. There was a nice little goofy-footer break running of about two feet, but the guys were surfing in amongst the kelp. Not sure I would fancy that as I have swum in kelp before and it has a habit of tangling you in it. The seagull just happened to fly into the shot as I snapped it, but it looks like it's stalking the guy on the surfboard.


Here's another shot of a surfer, this time without the predatory seagull.


Our next stop was Lambert's Bay, famous for its I&J fish factory and harbour. Also, for its Bird Island, a nesting colony for Cape Gannets. Here, everyone is reading the information boards that are scattered along the route between the pier entrance and the hide.


I was first at this hide not long after it opened, about 12 years ago, on another trip I was doing down the west coast. It's good to see that the government hasn't closed this down, even though visitors look like they are few and far between thanks to the twenty bucks entrance fee at the start of the pier. I suppose they have to fund the colony somehow. On the far side of the hide are large glass windows, and an open section upstairs, that we viewed the birds from. There are great vantage points to snap a few photos of the birds.


A view of Lambert's Bay harbour and the fish factory in the background.


The Gannets circle around the spot they are coming in to land at, spy their spot and/or their partner (it's unusual for both of them to be off the nest at the same time), come round again...


...then just drop down from about five feet, more or less onto their nest, sometimes onto their neighbour's site. If that happens, there's all sorts of squabbling that goes on, but never malicious.


Touchdown...


When the bird lands, there are a number of ways they reacquaint themselves with their partners. One of them is "necking", which either entails both birds rubbing necks together, or the newly-landed bird sticking his head straight up in the air, almost like saying "Hahahahahahaha....made it!"


We saw lots of these little fellows...Toktokkies (not sure how that would translate). For communication with their own kind, they tap the pointy little bit on their butts on the ground in a rhythmic motion. Perhaps they have different patterns to express different emotions, I don't know...


Did I mention we were there for the flower show too? Here's a few we saw along this part of the route...






The chariots that would endure a battering on the trip. The black Mazda-rati is mine, and the cherry Ford belongs to Mr C, in picture. Basically, they are the same vehicle, both built by Ford, just a couple of years apart in age and cosmetics.



The beach view from our campsite, at Brand Se Baai (Brand's Bay). We were camped on a deep bed of mussel shells, and the entire crunchy beach was probably ten feet deep in them. The shells were all bleached, so they had been dredged up some time ago. It was quite pitiful to see all this as the destruction was caused by diamond concessionaries who dredged the sea bed in front of the campsite and sucked everything in its path into a huge vaccuum pipe, all in search of a few small shiny stones. The smell from the dead seal pup around the corner didn't add too much to the atmosphere either, but at least the wind wasn't blowing directly in our direction.

Form a laager, mense...haul those lorries in tight. Our campsites were always put together with a lot of thought for location, weather (wind) and whether or not our heads would be uphill or down.

View of the campsite from next to the ocean.


Similar shot, just zoomed out a little to show the gang chilling with a cold one.


As usual, a couple of arty-farty shots, this time of the blue sky from behind a silhouetted rock.




End of Part2 - number 3 coming soon...