Birthday Observations

Angie turned 28 yesterday.

As part of the celebratory activities, we went for dinner at The Observatory Restaurant.

The restaurant is part of the Aloe Ridge Hotel which is situated in a game reserve. I didn’t properly register this fact before arriving there. The reality of a restaurant inside a game reserve was driven home to both of us as we drove there.
The tarred roads ended and we drove upon the dirt roads. Depending on where we were along the road, the quality of the road surface sometimes left much to be desired. As we drew closer we were warned to drive slowly as there might be hedgehogs crossing.
Didn’t see any though. Perhaps this was because of the next warning sign which mentioned the crossing of rhino and hippos at 40km/h. I felt a little more nervous at this point, but I figured they wouldn’t want to stampede over my car.

Once we finally reached the restaurant (for some reason I was surprised that it was placed near the top of a ridge) we got out of the car and were met by zebra.  Up close and personal. They wandered over to us and seemed to expect us to provide them with something to eat. When we didn’t oblige, they ambled off amicably.
We started to follow them since they were headed in the direction of the restaurant, but another restaurant patron stopped us.

“You can’t go there. There’s a rhino in the path.”

Ha ha. These jokers.
And yet there was a rhino in the path. I took some photos, but they came out blurry since I wasn’t brave enough to use the flash and risk enraging the rhino (who seemed a little restless in any case, especially when it started herding the zebra).
Eventually the hotel staff herded us to the restaurant and the security of brick and mortar.

Food at this restaurant is excellent, and I highly recommend it.
In addition, during the night one is called from their table to take a look at the night-sky. I vividly saw a cluster of stars on the edge of the milky-way that appeared as a fuzzy, barely discernible blob by the naked eye. I saw another galaxy, beyond our own.
My understanding was that we would also be shown a comet, and possibly other sights during the evening. Unfortunately we had to leave a little early because the Neil-and-Angie-Spawn was making Angie tired and nauseous. Even so, we both had a wonderful time and are probably going to be forced to return in the future.

The Breakfast of Champions!

It wasn’t long ago that people were describing custard on toast as an “unusual breakfast.”

How times have changed. More and more people are adopting the Custardy way of life.
Just the other day I persuaded my friend Rob, out from the UK, to give it a try. He added a little innovation of his own, first spreading strawberry jam on the toast for a treat most heavenly.
My brother Stuart has been converted, and has promised to evangelise about custard/toast combinations in Cape Town.

First they ignore the custard on toast, then they laugh at the custard on toast, then they attack the custard (with savoury spreads), then the custard on toast wins.

Tale of Three Cities — Part 3


We caught the train from London, King’s Cross, to Edinburgh. We did not take a plane.
Planes travel faster than trains, but everyone plays silly-buggers for a few hours before getting on a plane. Metal-detector scans. Discarding fluid. Putting things in transparent baggies. Taking off shoes. Taking off belts. Taking off pants and bending over. X-rays. Suspicious looks. Cattle-herding. What fun it all is.
Then, once on the plane you get to simulate Houdini confinement chamber experiences.

Trains are not like this. Trains are pleasant. There is space on a train. There are no queues getting on the train, and best of all, no-one looks at you as if you are carrying concealed weapons while you travel on a train.
That said, trains do have drawbacks. Drunken people get on trains and get a little rowdy, but mostly they stay near the bar.

We went to Edinburgh to help Jen and Kyle move house.
Jen paid good money to get us up north to help her move her belongings from one flat to another. Angie and I were lazy workers, and she could probably regretted not hiring more dedicated manual labourers who lived nearby (but possibly spoke in funny accents).

When not conducting heavy lifting, we watched Scottish people spit on the floor. Then Angie and Jen stood in the spittle. Apparently this spitting is good luck, but I wasn’t having any of it.

Spittle of the Scots!

In general, Edinburgh is a really beautiful and magnificent place. Not surprisingly, they have Indian people and Indian Restaurants (the whole of the UK is like that). Jen and Kyle took us to one (a restaurant, not a person) as pre-payment for helping them move house the following day.

Kushi’s (apparently world famous Indian cuisine. First I’d heard of it)

Edinburgh also has a castle, and if one cares to, they can visit it. We didn’t. They wanted £11 each.
Instead, we wandered about in the former moaty/lochy area that once, Jen tells us, was the dumping ground of all of Edinburgh’s sewage. The flora in the area was certainly thriving.
Then, Jen asked me the time. It was almost 1pm.
Excellent, they fire the canon every day at 1pm. Despite expecting a loud banging noise, I still jumped a metre or so into the air on hearing the canon go off, much to the amusement of the locals sitting behind me on a bench.

Edinburgh also has the “Baked Potato Shop.” I should have taken a photo of this shop. If you ever go to Edinburgh you have to go the this shop. Jen and Kyle raved about it. I was not convinced — until I received, and tasted my order.

Paternity Ward

In a comment, I previously mentioned the creation of another blog to document the trials and tribulations of of my experiences with respect to procreation. I didn’t link to it, and this caused some vexation.

I am now a Creator! My father, the Original Creator. Woman don’t appear to have much to do with creation in terms of this world-view. Really just incubation devices.

I digress by expounding on controversial views to which I do not subscribe. The point is, I have decided to link to Paternity Ward. I didn’t do this straight away because I started the blog to voice my frustrations. My views were not necessarily positive, but I needed to get them out.
My initial jitters are gone now. Positive things will be discussed, and so I no longer have fears about revealing its location to my loyal readership.
Still, there is a disclaimer. The commentary I post there will be very honest. I don’t intend to perform any self-censorship as I do here (that’s right, Waffle Master is restrained, but Neil the Creator is not). Sex with a pregnant woman, and how it differs to a non-pregnant woman is likely to be discussed along the way. Depending on your relationship with me and Angie, you may not want to know too much about that, because even if I discuss it in general terms, you’ll know who I’m referring to specifically. I’ll try to give readers decent warning on the posts themselves, but I won’t be held liable should I forget to provide such public-service announcements. Consider yourselves forewarned.
Don’t let that scare you off. Pregnant sex is far from the focus of the publication. The focus is me, and how I feel about the changes happening to my wife and, indirectly, me.

Cell C wants more of my money

I received a call the other day from Ezra at Cell C [warning: site not Firefox friendly]. I greeted Ezra warmly as I considered the merits of asking him whether there might be someone better to speak to. I declined to do so assuming that either a) the joke would be old (from his perspective); or b) the joke would be too subtle — he sounded more like a hip-hop, R&B kind of guy

Ezra happily informed me that he had been assigned to assist me with my contract upgrade. How exciting!
Except, I hadn’t requested an upgrade. Was it compulsory?
No it wasn’t, but it was recommended.
Why would I want an upgrade?
Because I could get a new phone.
But I already have a working phone. Afterall, I was talking to Ezra using it.
Sure, but I could get a better phone, like a Nokia N73 (or something like that).
Are you implying that the phone I have is crap? (Wish I’d said that, but it didn’t occur to me until afterwards).

Eventually I told him that I saw what the problem was. I was on a contract that Cell C were no longer offering. It has really cheap rates, no free minutes, and no bundled in phone. It also has no monthly subscription charge. Basically, if I don’t use the phone at all, I’d pay R50 a month. If I only make R50 worth of calls, I’ll pay R50. If I make R100 worth of calls I pay R100.
Basically, Cell C aren’t making any money off me (or are making very little).

Eventually, Ezra gave up. Perhaps Cell C will try again with someone better?

City tales to come

In lieu of the next instalment of the Tale of Three Cities, I present this teaser-trailer

Don’t miss the future episodes of Tale of Three Cities, because then you’ll miss out on…

  • Scottish spittle!
  • Hungarian pointy structures and non-pointy watercourses!
  • Cambell’s Soup — over and over and over
  • Fruit Soup — just once!
  • Wafflemaster Wii Review — with action-shots!
  • and much much more!

Things got worse, but then got better

More internet silence from my side. More good excuses.

After posting the last post on the woes of my dogs, I received a call from my mother telling me that my dad has prostate cancer.
Last week really wasn’t the greatest week in my life. I estimate that it pretty much rates in the bottom 3.

Serious depression set in by Friday, and so Angie and I decided to skip work and go through to Welkom to visit the parents. This was an excellent decision.

On seeing my dad for the weekend it became clear that he was doing fairly well and the prognosis in general was good (and that they weren’t just saying that over the phone to make me feel better).
He’s going to undergo brachytherapy, which I believe involves inserting radioactive pellets into his prostate, thus transforming my father into Strontium Dad! I wonder whether it’ll give him X-ray eyes?
We know for sure that he won’t be able to sit next to pregnant women or small children for extended periods.
My dad goes radioactive  on 16 November. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Then, on our return from Welkom we went to visit Kelty and he stood up for us. He wasn’t totally cured, but he was now standing! Unfortunately, vomiting and diarrhoea, reminiscent of the Bean dog had set in.
Even so, we were greatly relieved. And today I brought that Kelty home from the hospital. Walking, barking, mildly bouncy. A very happy, healthy fluffy beast.

I’ve reported the issue to the Pedigree petfood people. They seem to be handling things quite well so far. Once the issue is resolved, I’m sure to provide a full report. Today a courier came to collect the suspicious food to be tested for toxins. I’ve been promised feedback on the issue, and possibly even reimbursement of costs.