Africa, Home, KwaZuluNatal

Design Excellence

We were talking bathrooms and cupboards and renovation projects. My friends are carpenters, like that Galilean ou, so they were vying for the gold medal.

There was Steve in Brisbane:

and Brauer in Tshwane:

If I was to enter the fray, I needed to lay down some groundrules if I was to stand a chance in this fiercely competitive minefield that looked vrot with danger.

So:

I tip-toed in:

Subject: Architectural and Conceptual brilliance – The Solution

When critiquing my design, please be fair and take time and motion and cost implications into account. I will admit to one advantage over you poor souls: bachelorhood.

I give you: My Bathroom Cupboard:

True, it’s actually in my bedroom, but wait! This neat innovation leaves the mountain bike undisturbed, and the bathroom cupboard ‘nook’ still with endless potential:

Great interest was shown by the judges . .

Terry Brauer: mmm . . – perhaps you . . .

(a) need to go shopping – a little sparse on the blue shirt thing; (b) there may be a light problem here unless you are saving on blinds to keep out the glare; (c) Yip no potential female species will fall for this design I fear !

~~~oo0oo~~~

I had to defend myself . .

Me: I don’t understand! I have a blue shirt for Monday, a blue shirt for Tuesday, a blue shirt for Wed, Thurs and Fri; and a darker blue shirt for Saturdays. What “shopping”?

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Amazing how one misses the wood for the trees, but I was in awe of your metrosexual side that had put up new blue curtains for the retro dressing room (although I was suspicious that it was a ploy to dodge having to do some manly woodwork) . .

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve Reed: I think for modesty sake you could consider hanging the shirts  at a lower level  to cover your nether regions and minimise offending the neighbours and the kids’ friends but otherwise … brilliant. 

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Terry B: Very insightful Steve (she obviously means the part where he said ‘brilliant’ . . )

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Insightful or unsightly?? (a biased judge obviously ignoring that ‘brilliant’ comment)

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me: Insightful. Even Mrs Suboohi Choudry next door would agree.

She can’t see into my bedroom at all, even though her driveway is only 2m from it. I mean it’s a JUNGLE out there. Her driveway is also about 2m lower. She would need a machete and a stepladder, and she doesn’t have a ladder, she borrowed mine to paint their house.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I think all this intense interest and back-and-forth means I won the Design Contest

~~~oo0oo~~~

UPDATE: many months later

Leaps and bounds.

The home decor front is proceeding apace.

I hope you two carpenters can keep up.

My window is once more filled with trogons and pittas and louries. Quite shirtless.

Built-in cupboards have sprung up in the bathroom. The mountain bike has been moved to the TV room.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Life

Late Night Bedroom Experiments

Peter Brauer wrote an email – it becomes this, my first guest post:

Subject: My latest Clinical research at its best

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions whether eye problems can result in general fatigue and lethargy – “If I read till late at night I feel fatigued the next am”. I’ve not been convinced and have always been rather skeptical of any such link.

However, after three very late nights (in fact early mornings) of computer work and reading, I woke this morning with abnormal fatigue and literally had to drag my weary body to work. So after thirty five years of thinking otherwise, I now thought I had irrefutable proof that eye strain could do this to me.

That was until I discovered that having removed my plus-fours before retiring at 1am last night, the little white tablet I had taken for cholesterol was in fact a very similar looking little white tablet for knocking you out for a good night’s sleep! I had taken a Stillnox and not a Prava!

So yes, my eye problem certainly resulted in the extreme fatigue and weary body that my legs could hardly drag into my office this morning. But it wasn’t eyestrain that did it – it was PRESBYOPIA.

So if you feel listless in the morning, forget the dietary advice on what constitutes a good breakfast . . maybe it’s just time for a good eyetest . .

Wisdom followed . .

Another Peter (Muller) wrote: Ja well no fine – the problem I see is having to drag your body to WORK at all at your age . . stop doing that, and the fatigue will go away . .

This Peter (Swanepoel – me) wrote: SOUND advice from Muller, as always. – and thank goodness that other little tablet is blue . . if it was also a little white tablet there could be pandemonium at 1am in this interesting bedroom clinic.

~~~oo0oo~~~

plus fours golfers and presbyopes use these; Peter Brauer is both; So who knows which ones he was removing in his interesting bedroom clinic . . ? Methinks we should install cameras . .

~~~oo0oo~~~

~~~oo0oo~~~

Sport, Travel

Rugby Taifuu

Everyone has heard of Kamikaze, Karate and FuckuOkies, and they know you shouldn’t mess with these Japaneeziz ous;

So when Sonny Bill bumped into one of the Japanese jockeys that verpletter’d the Oirish, he was thankful he was wearing dark-coloured trousers.

The thing is these little okes – like this real live one with Sonny Bill – grin and bow but what they’re actually thinking is Aiee Ya!

– Sonny Bill with the menacing Japan futility back –

This one told Sonny Bill about the time he hoofed the ball upstream, FAF-style and Hubby fell on it and his underdog team beat the fearsome Enjin-Knees team. Sonny Bill listened and learned.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Taifuu – Japanese for Typhoon

Fukuoka – city in Japan

verpletter’d – pulverised

Aiee ya! – Japanese for pasop

pasop – watchit

Enjin-Knees – Mechanical, Civil, Chemical and Electrical

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Family & Kids, Food, Travel Africa

Sheffield Beach Tribal Gathering

When I found them they were huddled together like Vaalies on a beach. Oh, wait! They WERE Vaalies on a beach. I should have taken a picture of Brauer’s beach outfit: A double-padded fluffy anorak. Sort of a Tshwane Tshpeedo. And a hoed.

We soon scurried off the dreaded sand in search of lunch. In their defence, it was blowing a gale. I kindly took them on a guided tour of – what place was it? – and then speedily straight to Canelands overlooking ve beach.

Back at the cottage:

– ‘thinks’ – is this old top in an anorak in pain? What’s that noise? –

Their cottage overlooked the beach from on high and despite being grandkid-infested, was very pleasant except for the absence of beer.

Perched high on a cliff, it puzzled me. I thought I remembered our cottage back in 1980 as being right on the beach . .

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

. . and then I remembered: It was Blythedale Beach in 1980. Not Sheffield . .

Sat, Feb 12, 2011(Newser) – An asteroid all but buzzed Earth on Friday, NASA has revealed. The asteroid, known as 2011 CQ1, passed just 3,405 miles above the Earth’s surface as it hung a sharp turn around the planet. That’s the closest near-miss ever recorded, beating a record set by a rock in 2004 by a few hundred miles. The asteroid was just a meter wide, small enough that Earth’s gravity would affect its course, in this case bending its path 60 degrees. Not that there was any real danger if the asteroid had veered into Earth’s atmosphere . . OK, they’re starting to talk nonsense so we’ll cut them off there.

Me: Brings to mind the heroics on Blythedale Beach when we single-handedly (the other hand was holding cheap liquor) fended off the comet which was threatening planet Earth at the time. Whether it was the coleanders and coriander and spatulas or the alcohol fumes from our breath that caused it to veer away is a moot point: Bottom line is it BALEKA’d and the planet was saved.
Funny how little credit we have got for that over the years. Maybe we fell asleep at the medal awards ceremony . .

Steve reed wrote: Jees – I had [almost] forgotten that heroic weekend. I now recall the collander, and making do with some pretty substandard alcohol [probably not a GREAT wine as in 4 Hillside]. Also I recall some of us may have slept on the beach. Bulletproof days. Was that Filly with us as well as her friend whom I remember clearly was from Marandellas in Zim. Wait! A flashback:

‘Comet – it makes your breath small clean;

Comet – it tastes like gliserine.. ‘

Of iets. Not sure that I want to remember too much more…

Me: So many flashbacks! Maybe as the brain cells die, those old pickled ones gain more prominence? Maybe the flashes are vitreous detachments? Surreal. The sales jingle for comet continues:

‘Comet! It makes you vomit

So take some Comet

and vomit

Today . . ‘

Hooligans. I was innocent. I fell amongst thieves . .

But its all true. You can check the 1980 newspapers: How many comets hit Blythedale beach that year? NONE. Not one.

OK, so our comet – probably 8P/Tuttle 1980XIII – may have been further away at 37,821,000km, but it was 4500m in size, not a puny 1m rock. So it’s still a good thing we were out there all night shaking our fists at it, daring it to approach.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

The next day the weather improved, so I claimed some credit: ‘Did you get the good weather I prayed for for you guys?’

Brauer: You clearly have a more direct line then this bunch of unbelievers.

The sun shone down on them. Smiling grandkids, happy windloos days. Actually I hadn’t actually prayed. I pulled some strings. As St Peter I have connections, so I called on the Roman god Venti and the Egyptian god Amun about the wind. Together, they delivered. Bacchus was unable to help with the wine situation.

Africa, Life, Nostalgia

1966 and all that

I was reading about 1966 – when the Beatles got blasé and the British pop music invasion of the USA waned.

Yankee marketers stepped in:

Pop abhors a vacuum, and just as the originals (The Beatles) ‘disappeared’, a full-page ad in Billboard promoted a ‘different sounding new group with a live, infectious feeling demonstrated by a strong rock beat’. The Monkees, a four-man group, assembled after ‘research and development’, to star in a Hard Day’s Night-type TV series. The timing was perfect. Touted as ‘the spirit of 1966′, the four good-looking group members reproduced the elements of the Beatles’ unified 1964 camaraderie. It was a great record, but it also contained a clear message: if the Beatles weren’t around, they would be cloned by the industry, and the younger teens would hardly care: A typical comment: ‘I thought the show was great. It’s kinda like A Hard Day’s Night but it’s even better because it’s in color and we can see it every week.’ How very American.

I was appalled.

I scribbled to one of my many Rock Star wannabe friends:

The kak started earlier than we might think.

My first ontnugtering to ‘Re-Hality’ TV and ‘fake news’ -type shenanigans in my sheltered ignorance was in 1973 when I went to watch the Dallas Cowboys play in Dallas and found out that not all the players were Texans! In fact very few were Texans, they were bought and paid for from sommer anywhere. A year or two later there was even a Dallas Cowboy called Naas Botha!

Then I found out the amateur college football team we supported – OU – Oklahoma University – also had players from anywhere and they were anything but amateur! Everything was paid for under-the-table, and cash and cars were handed over left and right to these ‘amateurs’. A few honest journalists would actually call them ‘shamateurs’.

Then in South Africa, along came Louis Luyt who thought What A Good Idea! and he proceeded to cock up our rugby.

I had forgotten the story about the Monkees. They were a purely manufactured group, chosen for their looks and put together like a soap opera; Scripted. Nothing real, or spontaneous or natural about them. The Beatles had actually been real. They actually had started like other good bands, in a lounge in someone’s home in some obscure suburb. Like even the Gramadoelas in Tshwane.

Nowadays made-for-you-tube and made-for-social-media is the norm!

Peter Brauer wrote: The difference with the Gramadoelas group of Tshwane is that we were chosen for our undoubted, unrivalled talent and pin-up good looks. Insufficiently rewarded for years of the hard slog that us musos have to go through before hitting the big time . .

Me: A breakdown is probably imminent. I mean breakthrough. Hang in there,

What you need is a gimmick. Can any of you grow your hair? I thought not. Can the chick wear outfits like Cher? Maybe include a lot of vloekwoorde in your act like Die Antwoord? When last did you smash your equipment?

Have you strangled a rooster on stage?

Think. There must be something you can do.

Brauer: Where would biting a chunk out of a toilet seat rank in babe magnetism?

Me: I must say that is quite bad-ass. How do you keep repeating it on stage, though? You ous missed your chance to drown in your own vomit at age 27 like real rockers.

Brauer: A nightly dose of tequila and repetition on stage is a cinch . .

Me: Ja, but I’m worried you’d run out of teeth to send scattering across the stage after a while. So the impact wouldn’t be as dramatic.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Our thread ended threadbare, we didn’t solve the pressing issue at hand, of the day: How can a Tshwane Rock Group achieve fym? ‘Course, Brauer could always fall back on the real talent in the family and provide backup to his talented vrou:

– the Warbling Brauers belt out a rude song full of untruths . . . –
Africa, School, Sport

PBHS Complaint

We’re hosting a young man from Pretoria Boys High in the 2015 rugby season. One of the u/14 rugby squad on tour to KZN to get their asses whipped by Westville Boys High.

I feed them steaks (they ‘have to eat steak Dad, they’re rugby players’) and send them to bed early – the game is usually early when you’re in the D team.

Tom sidles over to me:
Dad, thank goodness he’s asleep, he talks non-stop, and HIS ACCENT! Hmm mm!

This about his PBHS guest Owethu (who told me earlier in a quiet chat when Tom and Jose were in the cottage that he only speaks English. He understands Ndebele when his parents speak it, but he doesn’t speak it himself). We’re hosting him on their rugby tour to KwaZuluNatal. They’ve been allowed to enter from behind the boerewors curtain. Special visas.

My son the accent snob.
I guess what probably happened was Owethu interrupted him. Once.

~~~oo0oo~~~

PBHS is Pretoria Boys High and we’ve been having a lot of trouble with their past pupils as far as decorum goes. One is blasting polluting rockets into the atmosphere and one is blasting Audis into buildings.

Small wonder Tom was wary of this one.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Before this, I had written: The feisty flank of the u/14D’s (DEE, not EEE* now, take note) scored two tries against Kearsney as a warm-up to the impending doom facing the wimps of PBHS. I was working, but it was as if I was there as he modestly told me about bouncing people left and right as he zipped down the touchline like a wing (his preferred position) for the one near the corner, and forcing his way over near the uprights for his second. My suggestion that this was in part due to my influence and advice got a snort of derision.

The PBHS victims bus down to KZN in trepidation this coming weekend.

*and hopefully one day to be my BEE

Steve wrote: Sheesh – good lad. Especially against Kearsney. PBHS  should be shitting themselves. Great stuff. Well done Tom. 

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Nostalgia, Student Life

‘Samiracle

Its amazing that old oke in the middle is still ALIVE!

In that photo you see 150 years of contact lens practice, lecturing, innovation and expertise. It’s clear from the way their specs are carefully centred that these okes KNOW their contact lenses!

Sid Saks on the left started practising as an optometrist around 1958, Brauer in the middle around 1978 and Des Fonn on the right around 1968 (I’m guessing, but it’ll be close).

Des lectured me in contact lenses; Brauer was in my class actually, so maybe he isn’t THAT much older than me – but definitely older; Sid mentored us when we ventured into private practice – me over the phone occasionally, but Brauer needed direct supervision. In fact, in order to get a job Brauer married Sid’s daughter.

A recent booze-fuelled reunion in Pretoria – Des visiting from Canada.