Monday, 31 July 2017

Cheap and Nasty

It is the last day of July and finally the timber poles are being erected in my street for the fibre rollout in Helderkruin, Roodekrans, and Wilro Park suburbs of Roodepoort. Just 1 month to go to the Go-Live date, and I am excited as a pig in Philistine but there is already such a who ah about it in the social media, that I feel I should give my 2 cents worth.

So as the lines are being drawn into the social sand, I feel it is a little too late to change the current course and do I want to... nah. We have be watching the fibre roll outs in other suburbs with a enviousness that could amount me moving to greener connected areas. A few months back this all changed as on the 14 June the company Vumatel and the local community met to discuss the matter of rolling out fibre here. This is what I know but please correct me if I am wrong. There are a few companies rolling out fibre into the neighbourhoods. Vuma one of the leading companies was bought out by Fibrehoods and formed Vumatel.

Like the rest of the fibre backbone companies the race was on, Vumatel operating under the profit principle are looking for areas of higher returns to roll out the fibre first, hence we are way down the list as there are more single stand dwellings compared to multi units such as town houses and clusters in Roodekrans, plus to make things worse it is very rocky here especially where I live.

Anyway, at the June meeting, Vumatel said that they only considered this area viable if they go aerial. This means that they will with the blessing of the City of Joburg, use the existing street light poles to run fibre aerially to each home and put where there is no street light poles these treated timber poles. Now this is where someone stood up and said that they have seen Vumatel’s aerial installations in Constantia Kloof and to them the aerial route is "cheap and nasty" and I quote verbatim. Cheap and nasty, wow that was rather harsh but I understand as in our area only one side of the road has street lights and the other side, well they would need the timber poles.

This small vocal group argued that digging trenches and lying the fibre underground was a better solution as aerial destroyed the beauty of the suburbs. Telkom laid trenching why couldn’t Vunmatel? But they are forgetting that Telkom was forced to trench as copper cable theft was rife and they were loosing money. In fact Telkom too is now installing aerial in Kloofendal. The nature of fibre optics does not have any monetary valve for thieves hence aerial is the cheaper, cost effective, and faster way.

Playing the Devil’s Advocate here, I would like to state for the other side of the coin, have you seen Vumatel’s trenching solution in Randpark Ridge? It took way too long and while digging trenches the sub-contractors cut power and water lines left right and centre.

Holding us by the short and curlies, Vumatel stated at the June meeting that they have only considered aerial in this area, trenching to them is a no go and they would look somewhere else more profitable. After a bit of back and forth, the final consensus was that fibre is needed and we cannot wait for another few years before another company comes along to offer us a trench solution. So yay we were given a Go-Live date of end of August, I can't wait.

For me trenching would be ideal but at what cost and when. So roll on the cheap and nasty please, we can argue about the semantics later.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

I laugh at the face of naps

It is the last day of the Winter Exhibition at Nirox, which means we are now officially heading towards spring but first it is the dry winds of August that must come, as it sweeps the chaff of winter away before the coming summer rains. Ahhh the African rains, how the African land now starts yearning for the blessing of the summer storms.

Robynne and Rebekah decided to join Lynda and I on this beautiful winter’s day for a relaxed stroll around Nirox and they both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Even little grand-daughter who was wearing a shirt that had “I laugh at the face of naps” printed on it, was running around enjoying the different and strange art work hidden all around Nirox. After this granddad needs a nap and its no laughing matter.

Being outside in the fresh air, in a stunning landscaped garden, far from the blustering crowds just does a lot of good to one’s body and spirit.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Erotic Nature

I must confess that I have a weakness for orchids, for they are to me the most sensual yet charismatic flowers of the plant kingdom, the yin and yang so to speak. Nature’s erotic beauty is so breathtaking that my words will not do justice so I will let the orchids speak for themselves.

If you are quick these beauties plus many more can be found at the Orchid Lovers’ Fair now being held at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, here in Johannesburg, this weekend.

This morning I walked into the small hall packed with prize winning orchids, and the perfume from these arousing displays just hit me between the eyes. I just wanted to find a quiet corner, lie down and breathe it all in.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Not worth the Stress

Today was a particularly hard stressful day for me; I had a client who sent me changes overnight that needed to be completed by close of day plus I had a small addition to add to another site today. I started on what I thought was an easy list of changes but right in the middle was a sentence that read “The emailing functionality on the form isn’t working”.

Oh dear now that was a critical component in this digital marketing page. I checked the form, and then checked all the other forms on the site and all gave the same errors.

After checking that nothing wrong with the code, I then checked the mail server side, nothing wrong. Well my next thought was the mail plug in to the CMS might have gotten corrupted, so I deleted it and re-loaded, still a problem. The error code was just telling me that the mail was not being sent. After narrowing down all the oblivious issues it had become a needle in a haystack.

Quickest solution was try another mail plug in, but this one said that it had sent the mail but after waiting the required time, whatever that was, no mail arrived at its destination, in fact nothing was sent. So I tried a number of other mail plug ins, all said that the mail was sent but nothing arrived.

Next was to reload the CMS, so I did a full backup and a database backup, deleted the CMS, and reloaded a fresh version, then found that the full backup was too big to load, I had to find a work around which I finally managed, then tried the original mail plug in and it still did not work.

I was chest fallen, about to call the client, something was wrong with the CMS and was in the full backup. My last ditch attempt was to clean up the server, reload once again the CMS and try the database backup.

And it work, that the Lord, I just walked out onto my patio, cracked open a beer, and collapsed onto the deck chair.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

And Down Goes Another Tree

Even while I write this blog post, down goes another tree! A few weeks ago, I wrote about the raw sewerage flowing into the Botanical Gardens from this very spot. Thankfully the councilors, conservationists, and concerned citizens, from City of Joburg, Mogale City, ARMOUR, Proteadal Conservation, and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch, all jumped and as the result, the flow of pollution into the Bot Gardens has stopped. And now this.

In Cape Town they call them the Bergies, here in the upper reaches above the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, I have heard them been called the Mountain men by the police or the Church people by the locals. Whatever you call them, they live in the cracks and crannies of the ridges running between Roodepoort and Mogale City.

There are quite a few of them, some permanent, some only come over the weekends, they mostly men that live like hermits in either make shift shelters or holes dug in the sides of cliffs. The worst part is that it looked like a swarm of locusts came through, cutting down the indigenous trees, digging up medicinal plants, and leaving behind them a wake of destruction and not to mention litter.

When we confront these itinerants, or whatever you call them, they say that they are here for religious purposes, as they are the ZCC or the Zion Christian Church, but what religion allows to their devotees to wantonly destroy the nature around them, please pray tell.

More than one occasion has evidence of petty crime such as house breaking been found in the veldt overlooking the kloof and it is easy to put these two groups together as one and the same or are there rouge elements posing as ZCC? Last week a huge veldt fire raced up the kloof towards the houses, most likely from an un-attended camp fire. Luckily no properties were destroyed although my home came close and if it wasn’t for my neighbours and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch it would have been a different story.

Today 2 itinerants were seen carrying freshly cut protea tree branches down towards the kloof. The problem is that these trees are not easily replaced. When are they going to stop? When there are no more trees left to support them?

My neighbour decided to confront them and I had to race after him with my camera in case he got into trouble. By the time I got half way down I heard his voice booming up the sides of the kloof as he demanded to know why they were cutting down the trees. The itinerants simply shrug their shoulders as if they did nothing wrong.

When will the authorities do something? Will the leadership of the ZCC do something? I can only guess NOTHING will be done. And down goes another tree.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Surveying the Kingdom

With the veldt in front of our home all burnt to a crisp, there is not much left to hide in, with its blackened earth dotted with protea trees.

Here is Minky, sitting on her perch in the cabbage tree which too was damaged by the intense heat of the fire, surveying her kingdom, or should I say queendom. Minky is not impressed with what she sees, the look of distaste in her face tells it all.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Herald the Coming

You better watch out; you better not cry; better not pout; I’m telling you why; Fibre is coming to town.

Yes fibre’s ETA is end of August and it is about time. We have being lagging in bandwidth from the rest of the world for a long time, struggling with antiquated DSL, LTE, and microwave systems. Okay not quite obsolete but very expensive none the less. Having fibre optics in my suburb during my lifetime, awesome.

Like a child waiting for Christmas, fibre is coming as these 3 workers herald the coming of Christmas a little early this year.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Missed You Lots

After being away for a few days on our winter seaside holiday, our fur family sure missed us. Here is Minky making sure that I knew that she missed me lots. It was hard to do any work with them following you around and climbing all over you, giving you head bumps.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

White as Black

Remember the fire I mentioned on Tuesday’s post, yip the veldt fire that decided to happen on the day we decided to go on our winter holiday to the seaside. When we got home our cats and dogs greeted us like the prodigal son returning but both Minky and Paddington were covered in black soot from the remains of the grass fire.

Minky’s white chest was now a mid grey colour and Paddy a much darker ginger. Oh well they can be thankful that it is winter as the both of them would be in the bath. Not that their bath has been cancelled but rather postponed till a warmer day.

All we can now do is explore the damage along with the guinea fowl scratch at the remains. Like the vynbos in the Cape, the Protea trees and the ground orchids here in the veldt need the veldt fires to burn off all the stubble and rejuvenate the new growth.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Beach Ice-cream

No visit to the beach can be without an ice cream and a wonderful lady at your side. To prove that I have both at the beach, my babe and ice-cream here is a selfie. This is our last day of our family seaside holiday at Uvongo. The weather has been great, the kids have enjoyed themselves and us well we are relaxed on the beach with our soft serve ice cream filled sugar cones with flake and dipped in caramel.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Sunrise ANC

Strange title, Sunrise ANC, but it has nothing to do the African National Congress’ sunrise, all will be revealed below.

Okay Matthew had two requests for his holidays, one was to spend a few hours on the beach at night and the other was to see the sunrise from the beach. Last night Matthew, Bradley, and myself, had a boys night out. First we had supper at C-Bali restaurant at St Michaels just because previously when we had lunch there 2 days ago, Bradley fancied one of the waitresses. So this called for another visit so that he could strike up a conversation but sadly she wasn’t on duty. Later on we ended up in Margate but it was just about dead there.

This morning Matthew and I got up at 4 in the morning and went down to Shelly Beach to watch the ski-boats launch into the rising sun. It was impressive watch these brave men launch small little boats into the ocean. First to head out just be sunrise was the Sharks Board to check on the shark nets, followed by the fishermen and the chartered boats.

So far this post has been all about ski-boats launching into the sunrise, where does the African National Congress come in. well... Later on we went to Shelly Mall to get some shopping done and while there we stumbled upon this book for sale, Reason to Vote ANC. Now I have heard all about this best seller and have seen photographs but it was the first time I saw one in the flesh.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Being the Tourist

They say while in Rome, do what the Romans do, so even though I grew up here, the family didn’t so while on holiday at the lower South Coast, why not do the tourist thing. This is us being the tourists.

First on our agenda was the famous Waffle House in Ramsgate for a yummy waffle breakfast. The morning was slightly nippy as the sun still had to warm up so it was hot Mocca to start while Matthew had tea, of course while we waited for our waffles.

A visit to Ramsgate Beach was squeezed in between the waffles and our next tourist stop, the Butterfly World as it was now starting to get warmer. The wind had picked up and the sea a little choppy so we didn't stay long before we were off again.

Now the Butterfly World was a little of a disappointment as it seemed a little run down. Maybe it is supposed to look like a grotto but the decor did not get a huge thumbs up from me. As for the butterflies, well there were lots and lots of Golden Piper butterflies everywhere but not a lot of other species. But for our grand daughter they were the thing to see. Along with the butterflies Rebekah was also enthralled with the tiny tortoises.

By now it was way past Rebekah’s bedtime, so Marco, Robynne and Rebekah headed back to our holiday apartment while Lynda, Bradley, Matthew, and I headed inland to the Oribi Gorge. I spent many times up here at Murchison, Paddock, Oribi Flats, and of course the two gorges. So acting as the tour guide I showed my charges the spectacular Oribi Gorge. But as usual I didn't pay too much attention to the fuel as being a tourist guide was taking a lot out of me and by now my guests were getting tired. But even though we were a little low on fuel we did managed to get back to the coast on a whiff of a oil rag.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Life’s a Beach

The weather turned out spectacular and the beach at Uvongo perfect for our seaside family holiday. Lynda managed to find an AirBnB townhouse that sleeps 6 for only R300 per night. It was a clean apartment on the 2nd floor with just a smudge of a view of the ocean but walking distance to the beach. We invited Lynda’s daughter Robynne with her family Marco and Rebekha, her son Bradley, and my son Matthew. That made up the 6 for our family holiday.

With the stress of yesterday’s fire, now is the time to let the waves wash away the muck that has already been built up this year.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A Long Way Down

A trip down to the seaside was organised, our car packed, and off we go, a long way down to the beach. Winter is here, weather predictions looked good, what better way to spend a week on the Lower South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

We decided to take the long route down along the Oliviershoek Pass instead of straight there on the highway. And as expected the scenery was spectacular, especially at the Sterkfontein Dam just above the mountain pass down to Natal. At the dam, we saw this large Cape Vulture low down drifting in the air currents.

Just before reaching the coast we received news that there was a large veldt fire outside our home. Why did this had to happen while we away? Are our fur family safe? Was the house alright? Do we turn around and head back? These were the questions screaming through our thoughts. Thankfully our neighbours and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch jumped into action. Our home is still standing and all our cats and dogs have been accounted for.

With the stress of the fire and that we took much longer driving down took its toll now let our holiday begin.

Monday, 17 July 2017

10 Minutes Apart

The sunsets are awesome here in Africa, they are forever changing and no one are the same even with from the same vantage point of my deck 10 minutes apart.

Every time you look up the sky and see the clouds, sunrise, or even sunset, you will never see the same one again, time is ever changing every second unless you are a Time Lord then time is a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey thing.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Not Far Away

Last week I reported on the raw sewerage that is flowing into the stream near us. The one sewerage leak that falls under the jurisdiction of City of Joburg has been reported to the right people but it is the bigger blockage which is overflowing that seems more difficult to find the right people to report it to from Mogale City. Lets hope that both leaks can be sorted out soon.

The both spillages flow into the stream at the source of the Crocodile River. Here the stream is called the Muldersdrift se Loop as it flows through a steep gorge and down 2 waterfalls before reaching the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. After flowing though the Bot Gardens it forms the boarder of the elite Featherbrooke Estate before it leaves the urban sprawl and joins up the Bloubank Stream and becoming the Crocodile River.

Now today’s post is about this stream, the Bloubank Stream, and the tranquil Nirox Sculpture Park which is situated in the armpit of the Bloubank stream. Now you won’t think that this place started off as a trout farm with the surrounding farming putting a lot of strain on the stream.

All that has changed as Nirox has become the beating heart of the Cradle of Mankind with landscaped gardens and waterways. Looked after by the Nirox Foundation, Nirox serves as a residency for both local and international artists, with concerts, exhibitions, events, and private functions thrown in, normally at a price but twice a year they open their gates in a Summer and Winter Exhibition to the public. And it is at the Winter 2017 Exhibition that Lynda and I found ourselves once again at Nirox Sculpture Park on a beautiful Highveld Sunday sitting on two deckchairs, surrounded by art and beauty just breathing in the splendour not far from the maddening crowds and sewerage.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Liquor Drive Through

Now I have seen it all! Don’t drink and drive but you can buy your liquor without leaving your car. I kid you not; only in Krugersdorp are they so advanced that they can have a liquor store drive through. I suppose Monument Liquor Warehouse will state that they don’t promote drinking and driving but a more convenient way of buying your liquor from the comfort of your car.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Red Flower

Here is the post to all the unknown plants in our garden, and Lynda and I do have many, most of we don’t have any clue of what they are. Call us ignoramus if you want but we are trying. We are not anywhere near botanists or a horticulturist like Lynda’s dad but we do love our South Africa garden. It is a beautiful garden with lots of indigenous trees and plants overlooking a beautiful Protea forested veldt that drops into the deepest gorge in Gauteng and still within city limits. And did I mention lots of birds and creepy crawlies like caterpillars which become butterflies.

Doing image searches on the internet sometimes comes up fruitless or in our case flowerless. I am not even sure that this is a flower but searching for “Red South African Flower” did not even help one iota. You get stacks of the wrong type of flower and only once did the right flower come up on a Route 62 site but they never gave a clue of what it is.

So Jurassic Park looking red flower in my garden, you can hide your identify from the internet, but I will find out who you are.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lazy Afternoon

After yesterday’s long post, just for my friend Gary who only likes long posts and not my short ones, hey Gary how about a short one again? No! Well if you share yesterday’s post about the raw sewerage flowing into the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, then I promise after today’s post on our cat Tiger, having a lazy afternoon in the winter’s sun, I will do longer posts, I promise. Look no fingers crossed behind my back. See even Tiger agrees as he is tired of all this camera in your face when you are trying to have a cat nap.

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