Should we stay or should we go?

I'm not debating whether to go to the next social event of the year, this time I'm wondering whether it is worth staying in this country…

With the power crisis still ongoing, and it looks like that will be the norm for the future with the planning they're doing now.  Eskom says it will take them 5 years to build enough power stations to fill the current gap, but in 5 years time, the demand will be higher, unless things take a turn for the worst, in which case it is not even worth debating this.

Then we have a looming water crisis, with 43% of the dams managed by the department of water affairs and forestry in dire need of maintenance because of safety problems and other issues.  We have radio active materials contaminating the catchment areas of Johannesburg, which means we could already have affected meat and other foods on our tables.

Our education system is in shambles, with way too few pupils getting the required literacy & numeracy skills, never mind more advanced maths & science skills.

Most of the higher officials in our country believe they're above the law, with two cops getting suspended and being disciplined after arresting our ex-speaker for drunk driving, this while he is out on parole for worse crimes.  Our police commissioner is a suspect for fraud & corruption, our president to be the same.  And then they plan on disbanding the one independent law-enforcement unit that can still get them convicted, nice life.

Our brilliant government have managed to take our country deeper into the sewerage in just 12 years.  And for the first five we had people in power that seemed a bit more competent than the current batch of government ministers, so how worried should we be for the things that are going to go wrong when these incompetent people's decisions become visible in 5 to 10 years time?

Don't get me wrong, I love this country.  Even after getting robbed at gunpoint in 2006 while out cycling, I did not even contemplate leaving, but then I only had to worry about myself.  Now I have a family to worry about, and honestly I don't see things improving very soon, and I could not lead my children into an uncertain future like this.

My question is, would you go, and if so where?  What would your reasons be?

Most painful gift ever

I finally have it, my new tattoo.

The love of my life gave it to me for my birthday, after a few weeks of me looking at and rejecting designs. I finally ended up combining two designs that I liked myself, and slept on it for another two weeks.

Baldy's Tattoo

The Kanji writing in the middle means “Never Give Up”, which sums up my general attitude, and yes I triple checked the translation…

I have to say that I cannot recommend the position of the tattoo on your body. The pain factor on this one was more than triple that of my previous tattoo.  It rates up there with digging tar out of your wounds after coming off the bike at speed, and then scrubbing the wound with a pot scourer.  The artist agreed that the place I chose was also the only one he did not like.

I went to Max from Evolution Tattoo at Princess Crossing.  It must be the cleanest artist I’ve seen.  He literally took about 15 minutes to clean his workstation in full view of the front of the shop before starting on me, even replacing the plastic covering over the machine’s cables.

Thank you Leigh!

Home alterations

We're currently busy with quite a few changes to our house.  One of the things we needed was a fence so that we could keep the dogs away from the main gate and the entrances to what would eventually our business premises.

I saw a guy putting up palisade fencing at the vet close to my house, and decided to get him to quote.  From the start the service was excellent, but unfortunately that only lasted until he started the job.  It was not a major job, with about 40 meters of fencing to be done.

Before he started painting I changed the order to add doggy bars at the bottom so that the dogs can't get through, and paid my deposit for that.

He did that job and then started painting, on a Friday morning.  By 4 the afternoon my wife phoned and said he needs his money because he can't pay his labourer, and I assumed he was finished with the job and duly paid the outstanding balance.  Only to get home and see that he used a spray-gun to paint the fence, so now I had white plants, white lawn, and the part that seriosuly annoyed me, was the white paint on the green palisade, and on the yellow walls, both of which we painted less that 4 months ago.

He also missed the back fence completely, forgetting to paint it and to put doggy bars on.

After almost a week of first being nice, and later starting to threaten, he eventually returned and fixed the walls and palisade, put doggy bars on the wrong gate, and painted the back fence, but still not properly.

This guy calls his business WWW.CON, short for Walter's Welding Works and Construction.  If you ever consider using him to do work for you, I would think twice about it if I were you.

Home Sweet Home

We landed back home this morning after a good last few days away.

We spent the last few days of last week visiting some more museums and other touristy attractions, and then went for lunch at Hard Rock Cafe in London on Thursday.  DON'T DO IT!!!  R1,500 for four of us, for some of the worst food I've had in my life!

Leigh-Ann also managed to find a shop with a Wii in stock, and bought it for Josh for his birthday, I may be playing with his birthday present as much as him.

On Saturday morning I was out of the house fairly early, and in town around 10.  I walked around the Prologue route making sure that the spot I picked on the map was a good one, which it was, and at around 12 I took my position when I noticed that the railings were starting to get crowded.

At around 1:30 the race caravan started coming around the route, I knew the caravan was long, but I did not expect it to last for almost an hour with continuous vehicles coming past.  Some of these must be very scary & uncomfy to drive for the full Tour route, but they do.

Once the first rider went off it was all action with a rider coming past at least every minute and few seconds, the million and a half crowd going wild every time a british rider came past.

At 6, a few minutes before the last rider went off, I decided to beat the rush, and left my spot to walk back up to Marble Arch to catch the tube back home after standing in the same spot for just over 6 hours, it hurt almost as much as riding for that amount of time, but definitely worth it in the end.

Next time I will make sure that I follow the Tour for a few days, and not only get to watch one.

Sunday was spent travelling back to Paris, and Monday we basically had to get to the airport with all our baggage so we couldn't do any more sightseeing in Paris.