Sabi Sabi carousal

After a delightful game drive we rounded a bend and there before us was a fairyland under the acacias: Candlelit tables; white tablecloths; mounds of food and litres of grog; Dinner under the stars;

Litres of grog. We felt obliged to indulge. Wonderfully festive and everyone in expansive, friendly and bonhomie mood. Well, me anyway. I had fallen amongst thieves and was being happily led astray. Again.

Hyenas around the camp watched us just outside the circle of firelight. Every now and then someone would shine a torch round and there were those eyes, watching us and taking notes.

We drank all the bottles. We tried hard to drink all the boxes.

Landrovers left, one after the other. We drank on. Then came that fearful dirge, dreaded by all soaks: Time gentlemen please. Gotta go now. The last Landrover is leaving.

Go! we said. No Worries! We’ll catch the last hyena home. Bacchanalian Bravado. The rangers who’d drawn the short straw rolled their eyes and waited, then patiently herded us into the last Landrover and drove us home, pretending to enjoy our songs and wit. Some of us sitting on the bonnet passing the last box of wine from mouth to mouth.

Back in River Camp they resignedly open up the pub and we drank some more. Strangely enough we felt thirsty, they always say one should drink a lot – avoid dehydration. There was a bit of spillage on the bar counter due to enthusiasm and slight co-ordination challenges. But more No Worries, we dutifully mopped up the bar counter leaving it clean and tidy. Vicious rumours circulated that I played a central role, hoovering up the booze lake. Tall tales were told how I was held by the legs and torso by sundry drunkards and long-lip suctioned up the leftover moisture. I was only trying to help. One should act responsibly I feel.

~~~oo0oo~~~

internet pic from Timbavati, thanks

Merriam-Webster says (paraphrased): German tipplers toasting each other’s health sometimes drank a brimming mug of spirits straight to the bottom-drinking “all-out.” They called it – gar aus. The French adopted the German term as carous, using the adverb in their expression boire carous (“to drink all out”), and that phrase, with its idiomatic sense of “to empty the cup,” led to carrousse, a French noun meaning “a large draft of liquor.” And that’s where English speakers picked up carouse in the mid-1500s, first as a noun (which later took on the sense of a general “drinking bout”), and then as a verb meaning “to drink freely.”

dictionary.com says: carousal – [ kuh-rou-zuhl ] – noun: a noisy or drunken feast or social gathering; revelry.

Natural Health Drink

The conifers are a wonderful group of trees including pines, yellow-woods, redwoods, junipers, cypresses, larch and spruce trees.

From the bark and sap of the pine one can distill TURPENTINE; and

From the berries of the juniper one can distill GIN. – . . . sort of . . .

YAY!!

Juniper berries are actually modified pine cones, but fleshy and edible.

Gin was first mentioned in the 13th century (in Belgium – called jenever) and the first recipe for gin was written in the 16th century.

For all our lives we’ve had to drink London Dry Gin.

Now we can drink JOBURG DRY GIN!

YAY!!

Now, don’t tell anyone, but gin is actually distilled from ANYTHING and then that clear spirit is just infused with juniper berries to make it taste (slightly) better. It’s cheap! Shhh

The way they ‘infuse’ it is to sommer bliksem whatever they’re adding, into the container holding the gin (called ‘bathtub gin’); or to go fancy by sort of ‘steaming it with the botanicals.’ Right!

Gin was REALLY popular in London around 1750. Cos it was cheap, it was loved. So much so that there were 7500 ‘Gin Joints,’ and being drunk was called being ‘gin-soaked’ and gin was called ‘mother’s ruin’. In Victorian times Gin made a comeback in ‘Gin Palaces.’ Same thing, but slightly higher-toned.

So tonight we’re drinking – Local; – Anti-malarial; – Convivial – GIN & TONIC

To get gin-soaked and experience mother’s ruin.

And because IT’S MEDICINAL.

Tonic

The poms in India had to drink quinine to stay alive. Being poms, they mixed the quinine with gin.

It tasted awful but they persevered. They’re poms.

Someone began mixing the powder with soda water and sugar. That was a bit better, and thus a basic tonic water was created. That way the poms drank more gin.

The first commercial tonic water was produced in 1858.

So: The mixed drink “gin and tonic” originated in British Colonial India when the British population would mix their medicinal quinine tonic with gin. They’re poms, see.

So remember: IT’S MEDICINAL.

YAY!!

To make Pink Gin or Pink Tonic:
Simply add Angostura bitters, a botanically infused alcoholic mixture, 44.7% ethanol, gentian, herbs and spices, invented by a German doctor in the town of Angostura, Venezuela on the banks of the Orinoco River.

And remember it too, IS MEDICINAL!

Cheers!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Rainbow Flokati Pioneers

The wonderful African Jazz Pioneers were appearing at the RAINBOW Jazz Club in the Pinetown taxi rank! Could NOT miss the opportunity. HAD to go and experience their wonderful sound and vibe.

At Ben Pretorius’ Rainbow Restaurant they serve their beers in ‘quart’ bottles, about 750ml in the shade. What can you do? I ordered a small Castle. I wasn’t boycotting SAB yet. Then I noticed the guys next door were drinking Black Label and saw theirs was 5,5% alcohol while Castle was only 5%, so I ordered a Black Label next. No use wasting time and effort drinking and not getting full value.

But hey! Some okes were drinking Milk Stout quarts – and theirs was 6% alcohol! I smoothly oozed over to Milk Stout and then stuck with it. All the while the African Jazz Pioneers were playing their seductive swinging special jazz. Between sips we would stand up and dance like umLungus amongst them who really could sway and jive.

Many milk stouts later we might have been asked to leave, last song, last round and all that sad stuff. Tell you what!! Let’s gate crash Mike Lello for a ‘last drink’ on our way home! Good Idea! Who’s driving?

The delightful and hospitable Lellos were sober and just sitting down to supper when we staggered in. Feeling slightly hungry, I sat in Mike’s chair and polished off his supper. Feeling a slight need for a leak and maybe a small burp, I meandered down the passage and here’s where people start to embellish the story.

Rubbish!

Who has a white flokati rug in a loo anyway? Loo carpets are usually short-haired and much closer to a milk stout colour. In my experience.

~~~oo0oo~~~

I’m beginning to suspect . .

. . that Soutar was sold a story which he swallowed as he swallowed the fourth free sample they gave him in Ballito.

I don’t think this whisky:

. . is made in KwaZulu Natal.

Reason being they also make Cape Gins and they talk of Cape florals n shit.

But Soutar roared back: They said it is made in Mtunzini and taken to Cape Town for barrel age-ing. (then he adds unpatriotically) . . it was not very nice in comparison to the single malt Irish and Scots of which I had many. I only had one tot of this SA one  – So Waaaaa !!!

Me: Mtunzini!? I’m beginning to like it again. I can just imagine . . . the connoisseur sniffs, sips, and says ‘hmmmm – subtle hints of crocodile shit . . . ‘

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Punters

Sorry Ma, I’m working late again today.

The boys are lined up outside the tote on the roof of our shopping centre. There’s horseracing at Kenilworth and they have a sure thing running and they can’t miss this opportunity to make an investment and win big and be able to treat the family. Maybe to a treat like getting home early?

Every day there’s races. If not at Kenilworth then at Greyville, Scottsville, Turffontein, The Vaal and elsewhere. Also overseas. In fact there’s hardly an hour when some horse isn’t pointlessly beating another horse somewhere in the world, so there’s always a good reason to be on top of the roof in Montclair rather than at home with all the kak you get that side. At home you say something and they tell you ‘Don’t talk kak.’ Here you say something and the boys say ‘Really!? You Swear!? Don’t choon me man, that’s kif!’ then they have their turn to tell a lie.

There’s a bar in the tote but hey man, bar prices are a squeeze man, also they charge you just for a single and what good is a single when time is short, I ask you? So there’s constant movement in and out of the tote to the cars parked just outside with their boots open. Small drinks are bought now and then and fortified with dop from the bottle in the boot. Polystyrene cups if you’re avoiding the bar altogether.

Then disaster strikes! The tote closes down! What to do now? Still they meet and still they drink and still they talk. But its not the same and it starts dwindling. Fewer and fewer cars arrive until its only the real stalwarts, the die-hards. The ous who will listen to your stories as long as you listen to theirs.

Maybe also the ous who never really were betting on the horses anyway?

Genetics

Hereditary traits can be passed on so strongly. And then sometimes not at all.
Take my daughter Jessie. In some ways she’s the spitting image of her Dear Dad: She’s kind, she’s funny, she’s thoughtful, she can crack me up with some of her observations on life. I love the way she teases me – gentle and just a few repeated themes which are well-known, thoroughly old and reduce us both to weak laughter. She especially loves the ones that sometimes catch me off-guard and get a rise out of me. ‘Dad, can we get a kitten?’ occasionally elicits my knee-jerk response Never Jess. They Eat My Birds! instead of the correct response Sure My Love, But You have To Get Six Of Them, Otherwise They Get Lonely.

But in other ways I don’t know WHERE she gets things from.

Like tonight she came to me and said ‘Dad, getting drunk is such fun!’
I mean, from where . . . I almost gave her a lecture but I was too busy hosing meself. So much so that she said ‘Dad! What’s so funny!?’

Sane Dad & Mad Daughter

I reminded her about the time – not so long ago – when she asked the out-of-the-blue curveball ‘Dad, Why does tequila make you vomit?’

Drink Up!

Headline News: Drinking Alcohol Doesn’t Actually Kill Brain Cells

Well, there goes that joke about the slow wildebeests (the bewilderbeasts?) being thinned out by the marauding hyenas, thus sharpening up the survivors’ gene pool.

The news:
Scientists once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was all you’d ever have. Thus, damaging these cells could be extremely detrimental to the individual. However, this isn’t correct.

Ha! New neurons are created all the time in the adult brain, in a process that is called neurogenesis, or more technically, imbibing wisdom. I knew it!

Yay! Neurogenesis! I just made a few new brain cells to host this new info. The picture above is a snapshot of me while that process was happening. Voila!

=======ooo000ooo=======

Remember how alcohol works to make you invincible?

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The alcohol you people drink is called ethanol. C2H5OH. This is a molecule that, in highly technical chemistry terms, looks like a hound dog with its leg cocked. Two carbon atoms (black) are stuck together to support an oxygen head (red). Six hydrogen atoms (white) spread out over the molecule to give each of the carbon atoms two feet, the oxygen atom a nose, and the rear carbon atom a tail. Ethanol is small, mobile, water and lipid soluble, so like a dog it can get into all sorts of places that maybe it shouldn’t. Like a dog it can also (sort of) head butt you in the crotch while sniffing to find out, or let others know, where you’ve been.

Ethanol Doggie

And where do you people want your ethanol? Why, in your brains, of course. That’s the point, innit? You might bulldust that you drink for your nose, or your palate, or your stomach or your blood. Rubbish. You drink to get that stuff in your brain. Once in the brain, alcohol acts on the nucleus accumbens. This area is a midpoint between the reward centre of a brain and the parts that make associations and memories. Ah, those memories, right? The good ones that you remember. And then there are those that your “friends” always insist on reminding you about!

Now everyone knows that too much alcohol at once can kill you, but how? It depresses nerve function, makes you sleep and suppresses the gag reflex, so people who are passed out can choke on their own vomit, like rock stars. So if you’re a wannabe rock star but can’t sing, can’t play, can’t grow your hair – there’s always that.

The brain also controls things like breathing and heart rate, and enough alcohol can shut down those parts of the brain too. People pass out and their brains simply forget to breathe.

BUT: Alcohol also has its good side, don’t forget! Scientifically, its a solution, and according to Homer Simpson, the solution to all life problems.

Homer alcohol

It causes a bunch of dopamine to be released, hot-wiring your brain-ular system.  It makes you feel confident and talkative, because it depresses some Shut Up! brain functions and deadens the Be Discreet centre. It also makes you feel good, dunnit? And invincible, right? Erudite, and a very good dancer and singer. Remember Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl?

So alcohol is brilliant and worth investing in. Also, depending on what research you choose to believe, a glass of wine per day can either not do any harm, prevent heart attacks, or make you functionally immortal. I believe the latter. Does that make me a Latter Day Saint? Long after you finally die, they’ll have to beat your liver to death with a stick. Or transplant it into some lucky recipient who can wake up in the operating theatre pre-pickled.

It’s kind of nice to know that – sometimes – relaxation, cheer, wittiness and immortality can literally be bottled. All that’s needed is to take care just how much alcohol you let into your brain at any one time.

Cheers!!

– – Paraphrased from a lovely article by Esther Inglis-Arkell. It’s worth a visit! It showcases Doug Adams’ cocktail, the ‘Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster’ from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and shows you how to set fire to grog in spectacular fashion. Marvelous stuff!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Road Safety and the Elderly

On Saturday, January 18, 2014, I wrote reasonably:

Subject: A PBH solution for the PHBrauers of the world

I’ve been very worried about people driving Audis into school walls, but I feel a bit better now, as a Pretoria Boys High (PBH) boykie has put his mind to a solution for the big Audi / Brauer problem and here’s what he has come up with:

Google is not the only company that thinks auto-piloted cars are the future. Tesla has estimated that their time frame for having automated cars on the road is ‘within the next 3 years.’ So Elon Musk says we could be seeing cars running on auto-pilot as soon as 2016.

And none too soon!! This way we could have inebriation AND safety . . among certain elderly drivers.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Steve Reed wrote enquiringly:

Regarding Audis getting driven into school walls, I need to be updated in this regard.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer quickly jumped in and wrote defensively:

Would you like an accurate version or will you settle for Koos’ ‘Clive Nel’-ified version?

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I calmly wrote the simple truth:

All I’m saying is,

The ingredients were:

– Golf;

– Beer;

– an Audi;

– a school wall.

The results were:

– Damage to two of the above (the elderly greying culprit / suspect escaped largely unharmed due to being limp at point of impact).

– Lo-ong boring tales of walls ambushing unsuspecting cars in the depths of Gramadoelas suburb in Tswanie at the dead of night; * yawn *

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Culprit / Suspect Brauer wrote:

Total distortion of facts. ‘Twasn’t beer. . . . whiskey, mate.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I fretted:

That’s a worrying development. I get worried when people start drinking stuff that slides down easily and stinks less when belched up. I feel that beer and red wine allow your companions to know more about your drinking habits, and give earlier warnings about ‘when’s enough’. Just by looking at his white flokati rug one night Mike Lello knew a lot about Milk Stout and the Rainbow Club.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Interloper Bruce Soutar now jumps in with his tuppence worth:

At the RAINBOW Jazz Club in the Pinetown taxi rank they serve their beers in ‘quart’ bottles (750ml). One special and memorable night The African Jazz Pioneers were playing, and Swanepoel ordered a Castle. He noticed the guys next door were drinking Black Label and saw theirs was 5,5% alcohol while Castle was only 5%, so he ordered a Black Label next. Then he saw some okes drinking Milk Stout and noticed that was 6% alcohol so he smoothly oozed over to Milk Stout and then stuck with it. All the while the African Jazz Pioneers were playing their seductive swinging special jazz. Many, many milk stouts later we decided to gate crash Mike Lello for a ‘last drink’ on the way home.

They were sitting down to supper when we staggered in. Pete S was feeling hungry, sat in Mike’s chair and polished off his supper. Then had an urge to burp? . . . but did not quite make the toilet bowl. Hence the flocked–up-carti rug.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Public Service Notice: This hugely exaggerated story is to be taken with a large pinch of salt. But as interesting aside, you can see what it MIGHT have looked like under a microscope.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I objected:

TMI !! As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted: Self-driving cars for the elderly – that’s what we need.

Driverless Car

~~~oo0oo~~~

Chernobyl Gas Leakage

April         1986: Disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the Ukraine.
September 1986: Disaster in the Gillmer’s old kombi near Cradock en route to the Fish.

The trouble started with Black Label beer and Ship Sherry. I had wanted to buy a bottle of Old Brown, but I had fallen amongst thieves and my chairman was in the bottle store with me. “No man Swanie”, said Allie Peter, “Buy Ship Sherry. Then you can get TWO bottles”. Who was I to argue? He was a Kingfisher heavy, he was a Eesin Kayp local and I was blissfully unaware that this decision would not turn out to be in my medium-term best interests.

The night at Gattie’s place was a lot of fun and I clearly remember that clever feeling as I decanted more Ship Sherry into my bottle of Black Label. There was an aura of invincibility at one stage, but eventually – as happened too often in my youth – I looked around mid-sentence and found I was lonely. There was no-one else still vertical. I had no more friends. I dutifully (why does one DO this!?) downed the last of my blend and found a floor to lie down on.

Very soon after this I heard a loud noise. It sounded like someone was slitting the throat of Gattie’s prize bull. I knew vaguely that it was actually me and the loudness was due to the porcelain bowl echoing my distress. Gattie came to check, but seeing that it wasn’t one of his bulls protesting lustily, went back to bed.

Very soon after this it was morning. I was fine, but on the way to the race in the light blue Gillmer bus there was a low rumbling and some inner turmoil and I considerately thought to warn the inhabitants of the kombi of the pending gaseous pollutant. “Open the windows! There’s been a Chernobyl-like disaster” I shouted. They looked at me uncomprehendingly for half a second. And then the green cloud hit their nostrils, and they understood.

The hardest part of the Fish River canoe marathon – by far – was keeping my upchuck behind my tonsils on the dam we were cruelly forced to navigate before we were allowed to start the real paddling. Once on the river all was hunky dory and I ambled downstream in my white Sabre at my usual blistering pace (equal to the current) with frequent stops to stretch my legs or tie my shoelaces.

That night I ignored Allie’s advice and stuck to plain Black Label. Much safer.

Senior Citizens Hippy Revival

Just returned from a gathering in Harrismith where my sole function was to bring the average age of the attendants down to a respectable level.

Pierre’s joint 60th along with Jill Venning and Mark Raz Russel. Pierre builds, Jill farms, Mark runs Finlay’s general trading store – and the golf club – in Harrismith. At their age a “joint” gathering also describes one of the main topics of discussion among the creaking decrepit.
60’s themed, most of the inmates came predictably dressed as hippies. I went as a hippie who admired Elvis’ dress style post-cheeseburgers. I was Sure to Wear some Flowers in my Wig. Some wore safari suits with a comb in vey sock. One wore an old English-type boys school uniform: blazer, cap, short pants and polished shoes. Most wore wigs – and most needed them. Oh, and John Venning very predictably – but later than usual – got round to dropping his trousers.

Fine mates from way back!! With Tuffy Joe Joubert and Pierre duP du Plessis
Fine mates from way back!! Posing with young Tuffy Joe Joubert and old Pierre duP du Plessis. We might not fit together on the back seat of a Saab, nor in the rear compartment of a Beetle anymore.

Actually the evening was saved visually and average age-wise by a flock of kids and their friends, so I could relax and act second-childhood. There were two of Pierre’s blondes there, Michele & Natasha, Mark’s son & daughter and Jill’s two as well, Kirsty was one. They were also dressed as hippies, and they were looking like the pictures from back then and how we all imagined we looked. Luckily there were no mirrors at the venue that I saw. Some aesthetically-delightful sixties-style minis and boots on show.

An excellent one-man band played all the right stuff, so it was a good thing it was loud or it would have been ruined by everyone singing along. Myself I would have had half-hour gaps with no music so we could hear each others’ lies, but no, when the band-man was resting someone cranked on some good ole vinyl LP or other. Probably the bloody youngsters (we must start practicing to grumble).

Pierre gave a speech! Well, he joined Jill & Raz in a well-rehearsed threesome form of poetry rending in which they painted themselves in a good light and we listened politely.

Sheila rounded up a flock of ancient Methodists for a group shot, so three Swanepoels, three du Plessis, three Woods, and Tuffy Joubert posed for the Methylated Spirits Revival. Lulu tried to join in but we wouldn’t have it, her being blerrie NG Kerk an’ all. She protested that she had come to guild once, to no avail.

Funniest thing was the youngsters drilling us for tales of yore. We told them tales of what their Moms and Dads got up to when they were their age to gasps of outrage when they thought of how their folks had raised them all strictly and with rules and curfews. I had to tell Lettuce Leaf’s kids the old one about how all the trouble started in the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve “Ek het your leaf”.

I went home soon after 2.30am leaving quite a few senior citizens and even more young uns still dancing. A few were slurring so that I couldn’t get what the hell they were saying but they seemed happy with my nods and smiles and ‘Quite right!‘s and ‘Serious?‘s. Of course some of those were nearer 70 than 60 which makes the ‘hoesê?‘s quite frequent!

We stayed at Heritage House, Pierre & Erika’s beautifully restored old house-next-door which they run as a bed & breakfast, so post-party we gathered in the kitchen till after 3am. Later we gathered for a big breakfast at the Table of Knowledge in Heike’s restaurant on the slopes of 42-second Hill just below the quarry where Jock Grant would blast his dynamite, rattling the dorp’s windows.

Some of the Harrismith farmers are doing spectacularly well. Lodges in Tuli Block, Lodges near the Olifants river, big herds of disease-free Ramaposas, massive wild free-range earthworm farms, lodges on their farms (see http://www.buffalohillspgr.co.za/ and http://www.lalanathi.co.za/). They’re also buying “townhouses” – big old sandstone houses in town which they revamp and extend for staying over if they’re a bit too aled to  drive home to their farms! I spose you could call them Safe Houses.

And so some more upstanding citizens became senior citizens!

That whistling noise you hear in your ears is not tinnitis. It’s the sound of the plummeting reaching terminal velocity . . . . .

Pearls Before Swine

On Friday, August 3, 2012, Pete wrote: You can’t understand teenagers. Whenever I offer to sing to Jess and her friends to save her the cost of tickets to hear Justin Bieber or whoever, she says “OmiGawd, Dad, NO!”
When she’s in the car with friends and I offer to sing instead of listening to their CD’s, iPods, Blackberrys, bluetooth to my speakers, or whatever, I get a loud chorus of “No Thanks Pete!!” and whispered giggles to Jess about her weird Dad.

But she has a soft heart. Yesterday she came to me and said “Dad maybe old people would want to listen to you sing.”

~~~oo0oo~~~

Steve Reed wrote: Want to listen to you sing?  Only old people who are drunk and who are also wanting to sing. I suspect this type of forced exposure to our dubious talents ( though with only the best of  intentions ) would have been responsible for a substantial degree of traumatic stress to our own kid . . . Character building though. 

Anyhow, good to see the SAfricans doing well in the Olympic medals. 

Aussies have brought a bunch of retired sportsmen out to have a go. The pre – Sydney games sports development initiative is now a thing of the past.

Go the ZA’s! . . and good on the Kiwis.

I wrote: Ah, austerity over posterity? The calvinist ideal. Usually used to deny poor people their fair share; but in this particular case I agree with it, I’m afraid. ‘Specially here, where much money is spent looking for medals (and my favourite: building plush, empty, white-elephant stadiums) while people have no jobs, houses or electricity. Even lotto gives money to ruddy sports clubs rather than genuine charities. Bums me.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Back to singing: Fine tradition, drunk warbling.

Steve: One of Australia’s best has yet again done his country ‘proud’ . . .

Australian Olympic rower will offer his apologies to the shop owners whose windows he damaged. Booth will also pay more than $2000 to the owners in a bid to avoid criminal charges. The 21-year-old Melbourne University student was intoxicated during the incident as the team was out celebrating.

The men’s eight rowing team qualified 6th just hours before the incident. The Australian Olympic Committee have little doubt of Booth’s involvement and say he is responsible for all reparations. Many believe the incident has caused embarrassment for the Australian Olympic team. (Me: Drunkenness has cause Aussie embarrassment? C’mon! Get real).

Booth fainted and hit his head at the police station after being arrested. He was then taken to hospital as a precaution. 

And no, they take NO DRUGS…

I wrote: Having once (long ago) experimented with this very same drug, I have to keep quiet at times like this . . .

Steve: Still doing controlled experiments myself. Let’s call it research. 

I wrote: Yep – C2H5OH taken internally . . ongoing experimentation.

~~~oo0oo~~~