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.
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:
This neat innovation leaves the mountain bike undisturbed, and bathroom still with 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 !
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”?
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) . .
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.
Terry B: Very insightful Steve (she obviously means the part where he said ‘brilliant’ . . )
Brauer: Insightful or unsightly?? (a biased judge obviously ignoring that ‘brilliant’ comment)
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.
I think all this interest and back-and-forth means I won the Design Contest
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.
Every time I see a new bird I look it up and learn all about it, its scientific name and which other birds its related to. Just recently Steve in Aussie sent me his picture of a ‘Bush Stone Curlew’ nesting on an island in a parking lot.
That immediately reminded me of our water dikkops – I looked it up and ‘strues Bob’ they’re cousins – his is Burhinus grallarius and ours is Burhinus vermiculatus; Gondwanaland cousins.
When I see historical facts I’ve never heard of I look it up and learn something new every day.
Who is Irvin S Cobb? I didn’t know; now I like him; he wrote these instructions for his funeral:
Above all I want no long faces and no show of grief at the burying ground. Kindly observe the final wishes of the undersigned and avoid reading the so-called Christian burial service which, in view of the language employed in it, I regard as one of the most cruel and paganish things inherited by our forebears from our remote pagan ancestors. . . . . perhaps the current pastor would consent to read the 23rd Psalm, my mother’s favorite passage in the Scriptures . . . it contains no charnel words, no morbid mouthings about corruption and decay and, being mercifully without creed or dogma, carries no threat of eternal hell-fire for those parties we do not like, no direct promise of a heaven which, if one may judge by the people who are surest of going there, must be a powerfully dull place, populated to a considerable and uncomfortable degree by prigs, time-servers and unpleasantly aggressive individuals. Hell may have a worse climate but undoubtedly the company is sprightlier. The Catholics, with their genius for stage-management, handle this detail better. The officiating clergyman speaks in Latin and the parishioners, being unacquainted with that language are impressed by the majesty of the rolling, sonorous periods without being shocked by distressing allusions and harrowing references.
How are Canadian and Eurasian beavers different – they look identical and Canadian beavers have even been introduced into Europe? One has 40 chromosomes, one has 48. Completely different animals! They just look and behave (almost) identically!
Obviously, I did all this on Wikipedia.
I was therefore thrilled to see motherjones.com has hailed Wikipedia as one of its Heroes of the 2010’s decade. I don’t like the overuse of the word ‘hero’ – I’m being so restrained here – but motherjones is American, so the ubiquitous American concept of hero – ‘anyone I like,’ it seems – is probably not amiss here.
This was the decade we learned to hate the internet, to decry its impact on our brains and society and to detest the amoral organizations that dominate it. Facebook steals our data and abets Trump’s lies. Amazon is a brick-and-mortar–crushing behemoth, like the Death Star but successful. Instagram is for narcissists. Reddit is for racists and incels. Twitter verifies Nazis.
Amid this horror show, there is Wikipedia, criminally under-appreciated, a nonprofit compendium of human knowledge maintained by everyone. There is no more useful website. It is browsable and rewards curiosity without stealing your preferences and selling them to marketers. It is relaxing to read.
It’s wrong sometimes, sure. But so are you, so am I, and so are all your other sources – and most of them, there’s nothing you can do about it. On wikipedia, you can. Its transparency is a big plus. Wikipedia critics often seem to think ‘encyclopedias’ are better – you know, ‘encyclopedia brittanica’ anyone? Hell, those books are out of date long before they’re printed. That really is (early) last century! Many of its critics say you have to go to the academic source and read the latest research. Well, many of the custodians of those places are knowledge-hoggers, wanting to protect ’eminence’ rather than sharing knowledge. Well, phansi with them, I say. Phansi!
If you actually know something is wrong on Wikipedia, become an editor (full disclosure, I’m one – a very inactive one) and fix the info – don’t withhold, share!
With wikipedia you can – indeed you should always – check sources. Use the footnotes. Some pages need more information? You can add some. Governments, political figures, institutions – especially dodgy ones – or lackeys and fans of those politicians, ‘celebrities,’ or institutions may manipulate the info on themselves. Liars will always lie. But because it’s transparent, they usually get caught. Wikipedia has rules against “conflict-of-interest editing,” which you can read about at “Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia.”
Founded in 2001, Wikipedia has spent the 2010s getting better and bigger. It now has over 377 million pages of info. It is a hero of the 2010s, because while the internet mostly got worse, it kept getting better, reminding us that the web can be a good thing, a place where we have instant access to endless information, a true project of the commons at a political moment when the very idea of the mutual good is under assault.
And it is free in a good way, not “free” like facebook and google which end up OWNING YOU.
(So I just sent Wikipedia my annual donation via paypal)
We were talking horseracing. About galloping knowledge and great expertise about the sport of kings, when along came someone who actually knows what he’s talking about (damn!). He also seems to have developed a disease since we last saw him: Horse Sickness: Probably ‘cos its lonely in the saddle in Port Elizabeth . . .
Dave ‘Scratchmo’ Simpson said: As you guys mention horse racing, meet my beloved Stormy Eclipse:
you can see, Stormy is the most beautiful horse with a wonderful
character and a great record – run 39 times with 9 wins.
Stormy’s sister is running at Turfontein on Saturday. So if you have (me: absolutely . . ) nothing to do, watch the 7th race on Channel 239. Her name is Storm Destiny. She has a chance. (And Hood was right! Could it be he knows what he’s talking about!?).
for you, I also have a filly – her name is Ample Glory and will
begin racing this year. I am secretly confident that Ample will be
the next Winx. Do you know when Winx will next race? – Her first
race of the season was usually the Apollo Stakes at Randwick in mid
Stephen ‘Spatchmo’ Reed replied: Howzit Dawid. Good to hear from you. My racing knowledge is scrappy but I see Winx is due to run on 13 April as you probably know in the Queen Elizabeth stakes. She is certainly big news here in Aussie. Racing seems like a big thing everywhere. I see radio and news channels run 24/7 with racing reports including the SA Turffontein and Greyville races. [free to air, not pay channels]
As for ample glory, I googled it and all I could find is:
i’m writing a story about the glory of my AMPLE thighs.
I will keep an eye out
Simpson: Hi Spatch, Well, it is really good to hear from you. My belated response comes from your mail going to junk. I still see Hubby around and he still calls you Spatchmo and me Scratchmo.
Hope all is going well in the mighty Oz. I guess my daughter Victoria will end up there, poor child, as she married an Aussie. Just joking – he is a hell of a nice guy – unlike those cheating cricketers and horse trainers. They have learned well from our insatiable politicians.
It is a little early to find the magnificent Ample Glory on the www as she will only make her first appearance in I guess about 3 to 5 months – but so far all is looking good. See attached pic of Ample with Frankie Dettori in the saddle:
If you don’t know Frankie – google him as he is a terrific character – getting most of the World’s best rides and has done some amazing things including winning the Arc de Triomf five times. When he wins, which is most of the time, he leaps out of the saddle in the winners circle, much to the delight of the crowds. Watch it on Youtube. I’ll convert you guys yet.
got up early last Saturday to watch Winx win the Apollo Stakes at
Randwick. She seems to not have lost any of her late speed from last
year. Her next will probably be the Chipping Norton Stakes also at
Randwick, this or next weekend, then George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill
and the then the QE Stakes before retirement to make baby Winx’s.
If you are living in Sydney, you and Wonderlikke Woman must go and
watch her, you will not regret it. If you need a ticket, Winx’
jockey is a guy by the name of Hugh Bowman and he comes from the
mighty metropolis of Mudgee. There is an optometrist there called
Hogan who looks after the Bowman family eyes. So maybe he could swing
you a ticket or two.
Keep in touch, Dawid Scratchmo Hood
Me: Hoodlum – I stared very hard at that picture after your glowing description, but all I could see was a brown horse and a tanned Italian. Am I missing summing?
have added the mighty Hogan of Mudgee onto this thread for cheep
tickets . .
Simpson: Yes Swannie, you noticed. Just testing your attention to detail. The dude on the back of my horse wishes he was Frankie.
Glen ‘Hogan’ Barker wrote: Thanks for adding me to this thread, Pete.
Yes, Hood is quite correct as last Thursday 14th I had Hugh Bowman’s parents come in to get their eyes checked. Quite a coincidence as their daughter, Hugh’s sister, lives a couple of hundred yards down the street from us, and they stayed the night. Their farm (or property as they call it here) is an hour west and further away from the ‘Big Smoke,’ i.e. Sydney, before all three of them went down there on Friday to watch the Apollo Stakes on Saturday for Winx’s 30th consecutive win.
Me: 30th consecutive win! That’s insane. Must be a record, surely?
Tell me Hood, it’s a brown horse, right? They seem to be faster, generally . . .
(thought I’d throw in a bit of insider knowledge and expertise there . . )
But Hood came up with two other words for ‘brown’, can you believe it, just to pour cold water on my theory: ‘Sorry Swannie, but there are three main colours of race horses: Grays, Bays and Chestnuts, so the bad news is that brown horses never win.’
Now, I knew horse racing was rigged, but I never guessed it was this bad . .
PS: I think Ample Thighs would be a good name for a race horse.
Stefanus wrote about a new thing. I paraphrased his rant:
What a bloody stupid idea. The ‘Key Fob’ or ‘Keyless Start’ or ‘Keyless Go’ or ‘Proximity Key’. I have always thought it was a stupid idea but I wasn’t sure why. Tonight I found out why.
Our friend John gets home with his wife after several stops, including our place for a while. Cannot find his ‘fob’; realises the car might have started because his wife had the other fob in her handbag. Panics.
After much driving around and searching in various places, including our place, it ‘turns up’ under his drivers seat where he insists he had searched several times. But ‘it had gone into a crevice.’
Steve expostulates: It’s a lousy idea! You could leave your key fob behind and drive 300 km without knowing you don’t have it, because the car opens and starts with the proximity of the duplicate ‘fob’ in your wife’s handbag. Frikkin stupid, really. Although in hindsight he could have narrowed the search by checking to see if the car would start without his wife’s keys being nearby . . .
going to ask them to implant mine in a crevice so I can never lose
I won’t let them fob me off.
– yes. Ask my older brother.
Ja, but how will you avoid forgetting the rest of your keys – the ones that are attached to the – er – transponder? Having your own practice I am pretty sure you have a bunch of keys like a prison guard anyway.
am lucky enough to have an “Open Sesame” lifestyle. The practice
is always open when I get there at a leisurely hour, and my home is
always open. Overrun with bloody kids who all know the 1299# that
opens the gate from outside. Me and security are strangers.
goodness for Raksha and the keys at work and Cecelia and the no keys
Sadly, I do have to carry the one single key for the 2007 Ford 4X2 3litre diesel double cab bakkie. White. I lost the canopy key so now it doesn’t lock. Help yourself to my toolbox back there. At times I do spend some time looking for the damn thing on the odd occasions when I put it in a clever place instead of the usual on the kitchen counter. For some reason my Ford key says ‘Mazda.’
I should have realised I was speaking to the wrong person. We tend to lock stuff by and large. Someone came and had an overnight scratch around Wendy’s unlocked car a while ago. Front door gets locked at night or if we are not around. We regularly get wide-eyed warnings from the neighbours about dodgy people seen snooping around the street.
Office keys: I am the first to arrive by a half an hour (OCD) so key needed.
am weird that way. Partly slackness, partly – slackness. Been very
lucky and fully aware that could change.
1984 – Marriott road flat – nothing. No incidents.
1989 – 7 River Drive Westville – pre-kids. Zanele said she saw an umfaan in our room and she said ‘Hey! Wenzani?’ and he scuttled off through the burglar bars, which were big enough for him to get through.
Years later Aitch found her Zeiss binocs were missing. ‘Stolen!’ she announced. I thought no, ‘Misplaced.’ She thought ‘Poephol, stolen!’ Two years later we found them in the socks drawer.
post-kids I got hijacked and taken off in a friend’s car. That wasn’t
2003 – 10 Windsor Avenue Westville – Break and enter while we were out and Aitch’s binocs WERE taken. Also her wedding ring. She replaced only the binocs with a shiny newer model – insurance. I still have the new ones.
2005 – 10 Elston Place Westville – nothing.
The reason I have a keypad at the gate where friends just enter the last four digits of their cell number and Open Sesame is I hate closed gates. I once – ca1982 – waited on the pavement in Argyle road outside the palatial home of one of Barks’ friends, ringing the doorbell in vain. Party inside, so they couldn’t hear. Pre-cellphone days. Eventually went home and resolved never to live in a fuckin prison. Still don’t.
Confession: I do insist the kids practice common sense security and keep doors locked if they’re alone at home and when they leave the home unattended!
There are about 6000 species of hoverfly. They disguise themselves as wasps but they’re harmless little buggers and they do a great deal of good pollinating and eating pests like aphids. They love flowers and nectar so they hang around lovely perfume-smelling things:
My cellphone pics and videos of the Khwai River hoverfly weren’t great so I didn’t post this until my ex-Saffer-turned-Kiwi, now in Aussie, mate Stephen Charles Reed sent a better picture of a Brisbane hoverfly.
They are amazing hoverers! They can hold dead still in mid-air and then flick to another spot in any direction, zip! just like that. They can do anything mid-air:
All this made me go looking and I found a new hero. Fredrik Sjöberg lives on Runmarö Island in Sweden and looks for hoverflies, butterflies, beetles and anything that else that might flit by. He wrote a wonderful book on hoverflies, life the universe and everything which his publishers thought might sell 1600 copies in five years. Well, he sold 30 000 and has since published it in numerous other countries! Then – I told you he’s my hero – he won the IgNobel Prize for Literature in 2016!!
IgNobel LITERATURE PRIZE [SWEDEN] — Fredrik Sjöberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead. REFERENCE: The Fly Trap is the first volume of Fredrik Sjöberg’s autobiographical trilogy, En flugsamlares väg (“The Path of a Fly Collector”), and the first to be published in English. Pantheon Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1101870150.
We humans finally started to learn how to hover in 1907 when the French brothers Breguet flew the Gyroplane No.1 quadcopter about 0.61 m above ground for a minute. Hoverflies all around the world laughed at us.
I don’t do DIY. I was going to say except for our wedding, but on reflection, I also did that the way I do everything: Stand back and watch as others do it all, while trying to save money.
What I did do was buy the booze and fill Mike Lello’s Isuzu Trooper and trailer with it and drive it out to Barry and Lyn’s farm Game Valley Estates – or just Hella Hella – on the Friday. Lots of rain, muddy roads. It had been a wet summer following the huge September 1987 flood.
Like most bachelors when they do fall, I headed off cheerfully to meet my fate, all my own advice forgotten, marching singing to the gallows!
Luckily Saturday cleared up. I always sing ‘The robots change when I go thru, the clouds dissolve and the skies turn blue, and EVERYBODY loves me baby – – – what’s the matter with you!?
And the clouds did dissolve . . It got Sunny. Then Hot. Then Scorching Humid Sultry.
Barry’s big old 4X4 Ford F150 gave people a tug up slippery Hella Hella Pass so they could get to their lodgings at the nearby Qunu Falls Lodge. The Brauers, the du Plessis, the Reeds, the Schoemans, the Stoutes, the Stewarts. The Hills live nearby. Family stayed in the concrete A-frame lodge on the farm.
The sauna was pitched on the lawn under the Hella Hella mountain.
The Porters were linked up to ESKOM but just because ESKOM has arrived does not mean that when you throw a switch with a flourish that anything will happen. And so it was on our wedding day that ESKOM was feeling a bit off that day and we were without krag, power, lights and fridges.
Enter David Hurle Hill !! He roared off in his bakkie and fetched a huge diesel generator on a trailer. David is a Drrrillerr and will drill you a borehole. In fact his company motto is ‘On The Hole Our Work Is Boring.’ He linked up and threw a switch with a flourish and nothing happened. She was not wekking, as David Hurle Hill would say.
Enter Enea Spaggiari !! All the way from Italy via Kenya and Petit outside Benoni. He climbed up onto and over and under the trailer and fiddled with wires and threw a switch with a flourish and Let There Be Light! Music! and Cold Beers!
Iona coaches her daughter: Make all the big decisions, but make him think he made them . . . Aitch: Ha Ha I already do that . . .
Then the usual stuff, the ominous music Tun Tun Ta Da!; The father of the bride having second thoughts; Guys thinking hm hm hm; Ladies smiling; Aitch saying – ‘Honour? OK; – Obey? Are you mad!?’ and so on:
Then the cake, made by Lyn’s talented friend with a green frog couple in tux and wedding dress – probly a strongylopus and an arthtroleptis. In the heat they keeled over. We should have got a pic, but something like this, except not from alcohol:
Then The Lies! You just can’t trust some people. Ten years prior to this I had done a very good job being his best man and if he had paid attention he’d have learned something. Like, to stick to the flattering truth and not tell scurrilous alternative truths that nobody wants to hear. At least nobody called the object of your attentions wants to hear them . . .
Followed by The Truth, plain and unvarnished:
At last, we could change into shorts and relax and party. Later came The Getaway:
Which took a while, handicapped as we were. We wore getaway kit appropriate for our intrepid honeymoon. We were headed for Deepest Darkest America.
On the Monday friend Allie Peter flew over Hella Hella in a helicopter and took pics of Rapid 5&6 looking downstream and then back upstream:
Twenty Five Years Later – 28 Feb 2013
Crazy, innit! 25yrs ago today Aitch and I got hitched down in the Hella Hella valley in a fun DIY game farm wedding. She made it to 23yrs of married bliss (OK, she might have had something to say at this point . . ) and one month short of 26yrs together. We celebrated that 25yrs-together milestone in August 2010.
Thinking of all you good peeps that made our wedding so memorable – that’s the bachelor days before, the day itself, and the 25yrs since!
Lotsa love – Pete – and now Jessica & Tommy!
BTW, Lyn and Barry Porter of Hella Hella also died in 2011: Lyn in January – also breast cancer; Barry in April – hospital infection; And then Aitch in July.
Dave Hill: I remember it well – I ‘nipped’ home to fetch my generator when the power went off.
Pete Stoute:Remember the week-end like yesterday! Struggling up the other side of Hella Hella to the Qunu Falls hotel in the mud and rain – Dave Hill saving the day with a BIG generator.
Will have an extra glass of vino this evening – great mates and good times.
Sheila Swanepoel:Those pics are great. What a wonderful record of a very special day. I remember the incredible heat and how you, Pierre and Pete sneaked off and changed into shorts straight after the ceremony. And how the phone kept ringing in the middle of the ceremony in the house. Linda was flower girl, Robbie was so proud of his brand new red “tight”
. . and Jeff kept putting off going to change, saying that he was charge of the antelope on the spit – he dithered for so long that there was no time to change and that pleased him no end. Bess & I sneaked down to the pool for a kaalgat swim and found Iona had beaten us to it!
Steve Reed: Will always remember the weekend; a great occasion. I think it was thanks to Mike and Yvonne in the 4×4 that we traveled safely back through the mud to our lodgings. Fond memories – raising a glass tonight to all of you!
I remember Brauer chasing a tight deadline speech writing – wise.
Pete Brauer:Damn. Been holding my breath during this stroll thru memory lane hoping that no-one noticed at the time or that no-one would still remember that poor last-minute effort.
Terry Brauer: Steve nothing has changed! PB has his own website called lastminute.com
Steve Reed:Speech was excellent. Not many can compose a wedding speech while putting on a tie with the other hand. Besides, Swannie probably tasked Brauer with the job as he was getting dressed himself.
Terry Brauer:Yip Brauer remains an orator of note and Swanepoel continues to notify me he is coming to stay usually on the day when he lands in Pretoria – 😀 Those old dogs ain’t gonna learn new tricks but love them both! T
Pete Swanie:I had prepared well in advance.
Brauer procrastinated and ignored my two rules: Keep it short; and NO LIES.
Pete Brauer:If I stuck to the latter rule the first would have fallen into place quite easily.
Tanza Crouch: Thinking of you, Aitch, Tommy and Jessy at this time. My spider days at Hella Hella are very special to me and Aitch, Barry and Lyn were very special people.