Well this Christmas came with some surprises. The best being, of course, the arrival of my two sons from London who, within 24 hours, depleted my wine stocks by 10% and increased my food budget by 1800%.
The Tesco vouchers they gave me will, I am sure, come in handy some day.
As for some of the other gifts (not from them) I’m not so sure.
Take, for example, the ‘Slushy Magic’ gift. It comes fully equipped with a beaker and three ‘magic’ ice cubes. Oh yes, and a straw with a built-in spoon. The idea is that you freeze the magic cubes and pour ANY liquid into the beaker, add the cubes and “shake shake shake” for a “slush-a-licious” drink. The idea behind this gift was that I could make frozen daiquiris for everyone.
I experimented firstly with some straightforward peach juice. After shaking for longer than an average Zuma speech I got half a glass of sludge. Not slush. Not crushed ice. Just sludge that melted before I could even try my ‘spoonstraw’. Subsequent experiments with other beverages also failed miserably.
Oh well, another martini-less New Year.
But if you’d like one of your very own magic slushy makers you can get one from Verimark. Or you could simply take a R100 note and wipe your bum with it – much better value.
Then I thought I’d give my ‘Maple Braai Plank’ a go, (less expensive than the sludge maker at only R40 – a steal really).
This is truly a miracle. It’s a short plank that you soak for between one or 24 hours (they’re non-specific on the issue). Then you place the wet plank on your grill above medium low to medium coals. When the plank begins to smoke you “place food on the plank and grill until cooked.”
That, at least, is the theory anyway. To be fair they do add a warning which says “should the edges catch fire…spray with water.”
But mine didn’t catch fire. Mine formed a bow-shape that caused the food to fall off onto the grid itself and showed no interest in steaming anyway.
Net result? One uncooked pork rib. One bent Maple Braai Plank. Net loss R40.
Should you wish to try some similar fun you can buy them from any Woolworths. Verimark shops are normally close by so you should be able to get a slush maker during the same shopping trip and double your frustration in one go.
New boss & new money at SAA
So SAA has averted yet another crisis (or has it?) by getting a short-term loan of R550 million from the government.
The problem is that when newspapers (and competitors) start casually mentioning that both local and international SAA flights came “close to being grounded recently” (whether true or not) is enough to scare the shit out of any potential traveller.
The new guy, Vuyisile Kona, is currently saying all the right things and promising to make everything better – and he’s actually making sense. I’d like to believe him (honestly) but there have been too many before him who surround themselves with incompetents and then they all shove their hands in the cash register at the same time. So, for the moment, I’ll just wish him good luck.
And if you’re reading this Mr. Kona – many SAA employees do after all – then don’t forget that I’m available for consultations should you require any input whatsoever from someone like myself. I should however warn you that I am white (well, pink really, with bits peeling off) but I do know quite a lot about flying, if that’s any use? I can also sign you into some pretty smart clubs in Pall Mall (that’s in London) if you ever want to make a real impression on anyone.
The carnage on our roads
The death of Burry Stander was a tragedy (as were each of the 1 400 people who died on the roads over the holiday period this year).
But I have to take issue with those who say that the 1.5m ‘passing cyclists law’ will make a major difference. It won’t.
There are a large number of drivers in SA who are simply reckless – a danger to themselves and everyone else. They speed. They cut corners. They actually drive faster when the roads are wet (go figure that one out). They drive drunk. They race each other (it’s a macho thing – I must get there before you).
Every time I see a young man (or woman) speeding over Ou Kaapse Weg I want to sob. They’re not called “donors on wheels” for nothing. All their speed brings is heartbreak for their mothers and fathers.
And if they’re not speeding then they’re easy prey for dickhead driving like an idiot who, in his heavy car, will wipe out cyclists, joggers and bikers by the dozen.
We’ve got laws in place already – just enforce them with heavy penalties. And a good place to start would be with Lonwabo Fezekile Mahloti who, it seems, can drive at whatever speed he likes and as drunk as he wants to be. He’s been arrested six times in seven years (including drunk driving) and his current speeding and alleged drunken driving case has been postponed for 12 months. Yes, TWELVE months! He must know some very influential people!
As for cyclists, I know that many of you ride erratically so please be careful – and avoid narrow roads where there just isn’t enough passing space because impatient motorists will get very close. No matter what the law may say, it won’t help you one bit when a driver in a hurry hits you with his two-ton lorry.
So train somewhere that’s safer.
As for bikers…when you zoom past me at around 180 then I’ll pray for you because you’re not going to be around very much longer. But please try and drive into a brick wall or lamppost or something and not take anyone else with you to the mortuary.
A touching wildlife story
I can’t end on such a sombre note so I thought I’d share a joke that my friend Ian sent me. It’s Australian so you know in advance that it’s going to be crude…
A koala was sitting in a gum tree smoking a joint when a little lizard walked past, looked up and said ‘Hey koala! Whatcha doing?’
The koala said “smoking a joint, come up and have some”.
So the little lizard climbed up and sat next to the koala where they enjoyed a few joints.
After a while the little lizard said that his mouth was ‘dry’ and that he was going to get a drink from the river and off he went. But he was so stoned that he leaned over too far and fell into the water.
A crocodile saw this and swam over to the little lizard and helped him to the side. Then he asked him “what’s the matter with you?”
The little lizard explained to the crocodile that he had been sitting with the koala in the tree, smoking a joint, but got too stoned and fell into the river while taking a drink.
The crocodile said that he had to check this out and he walked into the rain forest, found the tree where the koala was sitting finishing a joint.
The crocodile looked up and said “Hey you!”
The koala looked down at him and said ‘Fuck me, how much water did you drink!?’
Oh well, on with 2013 – at least the world doesn’t end this year (does it?)
Chris Brewer is the author of Brewer’s Droop. He asks readers to be as rude as they like in the comments section.
The post is republished with his kind permission.