While the Consultancy has been toiling away at the coal face and hammering up the tarmac to Maitland and Tygerberg, the sun has streamed down and Cape Town continues to enjoy an avalanche of tourists and more revelations about the President’s sex life.

Unfortunately, this has blurred the significance of the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from Victor Verster prison (now called Drakenstein prison) and President Zuma’s ‘State of the Nation’ speech in parliament. Zuma looked like a chastised schoolboy in front of his ANC colleagues and had, obviously, not read the speech before.

At least, Winnie did not disappoint. As ‘Guest of Honour’ she did not pitch up at the prison memorial event and arrived late for the opening of parliament where she sat in state with ex-hubbie Madiba and his wife, Graca (what a lady!).


[Madiba and Graca admire a miniature version of the statue]

All this has resulted in Maria announcing to all and sundry that ‘we in the taxi will now vote for Helen Zille. Zuma is acting like ‘tata Mugabe’. Cluck, cluck, cluck.

Madame has kept herself busy with a cooking evening at Silwood Kitchen with Sue. The boys were relegated to feasting on hamburgers, lounging of leather couches watching old 7s rugby matches and insomnia-defying car rallies. Oh, and some of Windhoek’s finest brew was consumed.

Tie Stop Feb 2010 101

[the finished main dish: stuffed calamari with toothpicks to keep them closed. Madame and Andre, the teacher. They tasted v good!]

Friday dawned. The start of “Marie’s three day birthday” extravaganza in Onrus. Ron and Marie left early to prepare the garden for the cow and sheep arriving with Kulula.com at mid-day (it had been rumoured that the Western Cape did not have any meat). John and Jenny duly led the animals off the plane, into the small Merc and off we went down the N2.

Friday evening was quiet. Sam and Jacques had arrived. The new Boschendal pink bubble was sniffed, consumed and declared excellent. A few kilos of chops, sausage, and ribs were consumed.

Saturday morning saw things go up a notch or two. A visit to the Colibri towel factory shop, a few Hermanus interiors outlets and Mr Price saw two Mercedes boots filled to capacity as we pointed the three-pointed stars towards Stanford (only one three-pointed star actually as Marie’s had been stolen off her bonnet during the previous evening).

IMG 7413


[you know there’s been a bit if shopping when there is no space for shoes on the car floor]

Mariana’s for lunch. Soentjies, drukkies and a general wiping out of the delicacies on offer for take-away purposes. A swarm of locusts would have been impressed. The other guests had been discarded.

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[Mariana and Peter’s new award – second time they have been voted the ‘Best Country Kitchen’]

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[photo – Jacques]

We kicked off with some melon salad, aubergine, and Springbok rillette.

IMG 7427

Main course defies description. Suffice to say there was home made pasta, the duck special, lamb shanks (they breed the lambs big in the Overberg), pig neck (this one could not have worn a tie it was so big) and the famous two-pie option – refined version. The refined version now has a chicken pie and a venison (Springbok) pie along with a fair whack of atchar. Anyone for the three-pie option?

Sam (of Woolworths ‘Taste’ fame), like all good girls, had to lie down.

IMG 7458

She recovered enough for her and Jacques to display the ‘desert’ menu:

IMG 7447

It goes without saying that the lunch ended late – the boys off to watch the Stormers and France, the girls to continue drinking with Mariana and Peter until the sun had long since dipped under the horizon.

Sunday was a work day. Sam and Jacques were going back to Cape Town for a ‘rude food’ party. Copulating, Kama Sutra cookies had to be baked.

IMG 7470

Well, some baked, others scoffed:

IMG 7480

and here they are about to go into the oven:

IMG 7476

Once cooked, then the wise ladies came into their own. Decorating was necessary. A packet of Gum Chums (in my day, we called them Bum Chums) was cut up and used to simulate parts of the anatomy. Even Sam was hushed as she watched the experts at work – when you consider that there ‘approximately’ 180 years of experience there, no man could criticise the knowledge.

IMG 7482

[note the important presence of Bolly to assist in the process]

To round off a great weekend – a legacy: unwashed, unused, lonely and bereft:

IMG 7488

Tot volgende keer – Lovonne and Simon xx



Well done, Crikey – keep the spirit of independent journalism alive.

If you haven’t experienced – go to www.crikey.com.au

The fiction-reading public mourns the passing of one of the masters of the genre – Dick Francis.

Francis passed away in his home in the Cayman Islands aged 89. He is survived by his new writing partner (son Felix) and his other son, Max. Francis was a top steeplechase jockey in the UK during his active sporting career.

After an autobiographical Sport of Kings, and then turned his hand to thriller writing – all with a horse racing background. 40 novels have streamed from his pen and if you haven’t discovered him, get going.

His last two novels were written with Felix who is a former physics teacher. Felix added deep research to Dick’s novels and Silks (his last) is, in my opinion, his best.


[pic – The Guardian]

Dick, we’ll miss ‘the book a year’. RIP.

South Africa is agog at the sex -fuelled revelations about President Zuma.

The cartoonists are having a field day:


Mr Zuma

Above cartoon is the solution – the Tshirt on the little man throwing away the key says ‘gatvol public’ – for the non-South Africans, this mean “the public have had enough”.

[thanks L xx]

Celebrating its 10th anniversary Crikey broke this story about News Limited last week:


“News Limited has been forced to withdraw from the prestigious Publisher’s Cup cricket competition amid allegations of scoresheet tampering, sledging and dissent towards officials.

The 35-over tournament, played every second Sunday at Sydney’s Moore Park and featuring six teams from across the mainstream media, was thrown into chaos two weeks ago when News took its bat and ball and went home following an ugly January 17 fixture against Rest of the World.

In an extraordinary email sent to ABC team captain Michael Ward, and obtained by Crikey, organiser Derek Zilich condemns News for its “constant bullsh-it” in the competition.”During their opposing batting teams’ session, they [News] would constantly question how many overs have been bowled with the scorer.

“As such, they would have multiple, drawn-out, pointless arguments to deliberately slow the game down, break the batsman’s concentration and undermine the scorer and umpires … just about every team in the comp has their own version of that experience with them.”

But the most serious allegations relate to the adding of extra runs on the scorebook while their opponents were on the field.”Some of the other captains fed-back that specific personalities in the News Ltd team were ‘fudging’ the scorebook especially when they were chasing, but they have no conclusive evidence,” wrote Zilich.

“There’s an air of suspicion about them.”

It is not known if the “personalities” involved include any current News Limited journalists, although Crikey understands that the team may have been gradually overrun by ring-ins from local pubs who were happy to serve under the News banner. Zilich said he was forced to act after News deliberately raised the ire of other teams in the competition, which include The Walkers, a motley bunch of tabloid television producers, a Foreign Correspondent/AAP team led by Mal Scott from Bloomberg and an “Invitation 11” of freelancers.

“I needed to get their assurances and guarantee that they conduct themselves like gentleman, show respect for their opposition, correct their on-field attitude, behaviour, anti-social approach and un-sportsman like tactics in all future Publishers’ Cup matches.”

When Zilich asked News Ltd captain Rob Hodges if he could guarantee the behaviour of his players and proposed an independent scorer, he was reportedly told to “get f-ucked”. Hodges then withdrew News from the competition amid a torrent of further abuse.”If a captain cannot control and guarantee his players integrity and behaviour, then we can no longer welcome them in the Publishers’ Cup competition — so we accept their resignation,” Zilich said.

“Playing against News Ltd is not a pleasant experience and leaves a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.”

[news source: Crikey]

This was written by a black journalist who writes under the name ‘Loose Canon’ for the “Sunday Standard’, a newspaper in Botswana. It makes very interesting reading. The journalist in question is Black.

I hope black people will learn a lesson from the earthquake that hit Haiti.

If they don’t learn anything from it, then I throw up my hands in despair and give up.

Let’s start with a few basic facts. Until the earthquake, I never knew there was a place called Haiti. I was taught geography at school but I cannot remember a time when the mistress told us about Haiti. It must have been one of those insignificant countries that we had no reason to know about.

I was fairly good at geography because I knew which country was on which continent. I also knew many capital cities. But as for Haiti I was clueless.

Now the whole world, including myself, knows about Haiti. I heard news of the earthquake on the radio. I wondered where Haiti was and what sort of people lived there.

Finally, when I switched on the television, I was informed that Haiti is an island out in the Caribbean. Television pictures revealed a place populated by black people.

From the non-stop television coverage of the earthquake, I got to learn about the history of Haiti. It was not a good history lesson. It would seem throughout its existence Haiti has suffered a series of natural calamities. In the process it has sunk even deeper into poverty and deprivation.

Like all places populated by black people, Haiti is poor. As I watched the television images, I felt very sorry for that forsaken place.

Then I was hit by a thunderbolt.

I wondered what if there were no white people. You see, when the earthquake hit Haiti somebody had to come to its assistance. There had to be a rescue effort. The Haitians who survived of course did their fair bit by digging out their families from the collapsed ramshackle buildings.

But such was the scale of the devastation and the loss of human life that a bigger effort was needed. For that sort of work, you need heavy lifting gear and other sophisticated rescue equipment. I have been following the story of the earthquake keenly. I can attest to the fact that the first people to arrive with sniffer dogs were white crews from all over the world.

The aeroplanes that set off carrying water and food were from white countries. Not only that, the teams of volunteer doctors that I saw on television comprised white people from across the world. As the sniffer dogs went into action, the organized rescue teams that carried the stretchers were made up of white people.

It was announced that a mobile hospital was on the way. It was coming from a white country. For all intents and purposes in the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti was literally swarming with white people. They had all arrived to save the poor blacks. And the locals were so happy to see them.

Granted there were teams from the Orient such as the Chinese and Japanese. They too had quickly left their homes and families to go and assist the stricken people of Haiti.

It is obvious to everyone that this was a devastating earthquake and the work to repair Haiti and return it to a modicum of normalcy will take many years. Somebody had to commit funds to this effort. Most of the countries that have committed funds to aid the recovery are white. In fact, it would seem the whites are running the show in Haiti.

What is my point?

My point is that ever since Haiti was hit by the earthquake I have not seen any of my folks from Africa.

Unless the television cameras deliberately ignored them, I never saw a rescue team from my motherland. Nor did I see any sniffer dogs from down here.

Heck, I never saw a single traditional doctor busy divining where to find people buried under the rubble.

Haiti is a land of black people. I would have expected the place to be swarming with black people helping their own. They were nowhere to be seen. I never saw any ships from black countries pulling into the harbour.

As the air traffic circled above the small airport, none of the planes was reported as coming from Africa. The blacks were nowhere to be found. They issued tepid statements of condolence to the people of Haiti and a few of the African countries donated small amounts of cash.

Granted that was better than nothing. But I must say I was disappointed. I was sad because the blacks did not behave as I had expected.

You see, for far too long black countries have been insolent to the point of being abusive. They have a tendency of insulting the white man and telling him to keep out of their countries.

In Fact, black people have the temerity to tell white people they can perfectly survive on their own.

So I had expected the black countries to be consistent and behave true to form. Why didn’t black countries tell white countries to stay away from Haiti because we were quite capable of leading the rescue effort? We should have insulted them as we often do at international forums.

There, our countries insult white countries and accuse them of imperialism and neo colonialism. I was extremely disappointed when our countries failed to accuse white people of practicing imperialism and neo colonialism by coming to rescue the blacks of Haiti.

We should have told them we have better sniffer dogs that have been taught only to rescue black people. We should have told their ships to stay away and their planes not to overfly Haiti because we were up to the job with our own ships and aeroplanes.

We should have brought in our traditional food instead of the strange rations the Haitians are not accustomed to.

I am so disappointed by the black leaders that I hope never to hear them again bleating about how bad white people are. The earthquake in Haiti was the most opportune time to show the whites, once and for all, that we don’t need them.

From now onwards, I want black leaders to shut up and never accuse ever again, white people of being bad. I am sick and tired of big words such as imperialism and neo colonialism which are unable to rescue victims of the earthquake.

I hope this is not the last earthquake that hits a black country. I want the next one to specifically hit the residence of The Evil Self-centred Old Man in Harare, Zimbabwe who does nothing for his people. Then we will see if he will abuse the white crew coming to rescue him and his wife Ghastly Grace!

Ed’s note: This makes you think, doesn’t it?

[thanks Simon K for the heads-up]

I mentioned a few days ago that President Zuma is hogging the headlines in South Africa for all the wrong reasons.

Before he became SA President he was involved in a sordid rape affair and local satirical cartoonist par excellance, Zapiro, used to draw Zuma with a shower over his head as a nod to the fact that he (allegedly) raped a young girl in the shower.

when he became Prez. Zapiro was asked gently if he would now take away the shower head as a ‘mark of respect’ for the country’s leader. Like a good little white boy, Zapiro did so.

Well, now that Zuma has been found out having an affair, fathering a child (20 declared children from 10 women), being the world’s most famous bigamist and cocking a snout at the rampant HIV/AIDS problem in the country, the shower head is back.

Here’s Zapiro’s latest offering:


[cartoon source – Mail and Guardian]

You can always rely on the Northern Territory News to liven up the day!


Back in the Fairest Cape of them all.

It’s mid-summer and the joint is hopping. World Cup fever is everywhere, finishing touches made to a multitude of projects both large and small.

However, the major topic is the South African President Jacob Zuma and his fathering of 20 children from 10 different partners – and this, in a country racked by HIV/AIDS. Even though the most positive of people pass it off as ‘at least we’re not debating the harbouring of Al-Quaeda’, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that this is not a very good example.

The moral issues are being debated thick and fast.

We’ve had a week of ticking off the list – buying this, buying that, making sure that we return to France with the correct salt, cooks spices, curry, vitamins, artifacts etc (great ex-pats behaviour.)

Saturday saw us decide to breakfast in Kloof Street (Mannas). Technical hitch – no driving, only walking. For those unfamiliar with the terrain, its a steep hill up to Kloof Nek and then down, down, down.

Problem is: the return leg. It’s up, up, up, and then a little down and then up, up again. Murder.

IMG 7370

[Leave it all behind you as you go up to Kloof Nek]

IMG 7373

[Look up and Table Mountain towers above you]

Saturday afternoon was a great occasion. The first rugby match to be held at the spanking new Cape Town stadium – Stormers versus Boland XV.

We arrived in time for the curtain-raiser Overseas Legends vs Springbok legends held as part of the Cape Town 10’s rugby festival.

What a stadium! All the hype, all the build up – it’s true. Magnificent. World Class – the best of the MCG and Telstra Dome with a bit of Wembley thrown in for good measure.

IMG 7380

[Curtain-raiser in progress]

Access was too easy. Well handled, security polite but firm. Easy to find the seat – row 13, seat 27 (both our lucky numbers!). Settle in to comfortable seats and drink it all in. Everyone is seated, no -one will get wet, limited sun issues.

Small TV screens, though – hopefully they’re still temporary. But that’s really nit-picking.

IMG 7387

[player warm up]

IMG 7385

[seats 24,25 and 26 : the glamour section]

IMG 7396

[the stadium seen lengthways – note the small moat encircling the field; high tech billboards and high security presence. This was the second test event and the capacity was pegged at 40,000 (ultimately, 65,000). The grass was sown inside the stadium and an innovative computer programme used to determined the colour scheme and patterning of the seats to ensure that the stadium always looks full on TV. The stadium is a joint management between SAIL and Stade de France].

IMG 7412


IMG 7406

[We had to leave early due to another commitment and worry that the traffic may be bad so the above two pics show the ‘helicopter park’ outside the stadium and mounted police patrols on the massive piazza outside the main gate]

IMG 7392

[Rugby can be a serious business]

Tot later – Lovonne and Simon xx

Some pics have come through relevant to two recent stories (France Telecom and Ridley Scott)

Here’s the photographical evidence:

IMG 6936

[Our friends from France Telecom doing their best to disconnect Madame’s internet connection]

And, now for Ridley Scott’s little pile in Oppede:

IMG 6859

[peeping through the gate towards the house and walled topiary garden]

IMG 6860

[the walled topiary garden – about the size of a large rugby field]

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