Day 298 – Back to it

It’s Monday the 18th of January. Notable for a couple of reasons.

It’s my Dad’s birthday. Not specifically a 2021 thing – it’s happened many (many) times before on the 18th of January. Happy Birthday, Dad!

And it also marks the return to whatever passes as some sort of normality this year as well.
The kids have gone back to school (don’t ask me, because I don’t know) and I went for my first run in ages. This is because they need to learn stuff and I need to sort out my lack of fitness.

I’m not expecting the school thing to last – at least not in person. That would be foolish and dangerous (and potentially a bit naughty, too?). But our two are now well-versed in the art of online learning, and I expect at least some of that to get done over the coming weeks.

We now have two High School kids. And if there was ever something – aside from one’s lack of fitness and the realisation that you’re not that far behind your father – it’s having both your kids in High School.

And so a gentle 5+kms to get me feeling a bit younger (and hopefully thinner, eventually). Hot stuff (the run, thanks to the prevailing meteorological conditions, not me), but it felt good. Even the beagle had fun. I’ll keep you posted on my continuing progress.

Even though I had to get up worryingly early this morning, I’m still feeling positive about today and the fresh starts that we’re making.

This has (so far) been a good day.

Day 295 – Postponed, Cancelled, Delayed

I’m looking at my desktop today and it’s a pretty miserable sight.

School reopening has been delayed until (at least) February 15th. Our two were due to go back on Monday. That’s clearly not happening now. Whether we (as a private school) will be allowed to work online in the intervening period remains to be seen. My boy had 16 months before his exams. Now he has 15. That’s more than 6% of his learning time gone already before he’s even started and that’s assuming that we’re able to stick to that 15th February date and that there are no further problems during 2021 (ha!).

I completely understand the delay – and I support it – but what I don’t agree with is the alleged reasoning behind it:

That will be 2½ months they will have had to “assess readiness”. I understand that the situation is fluid, and I understand that teachers need a break after last year, but is there really nothing that they could do to prepare a little more in the interim?

And then, an email from the school – before all this morning’s announcements – confirmed what we already knew: my son’s school camp has been postponed. This is on top of two scout camps being cancelled over the summer break, and his school tour – a real highlight in his educational journey – being chalked off at the end of last year.
Again, I get it, but I feel for him and his classmates: it’s just really crap.

Emirates have joined the party and suspended all flights in and out of SA for the next couple of weeks, due to “operational reasons”. I’m guess that this is a combination of not being allowed to fly in or out during curfew hours (currently 9pm-5am) and no-one wanting/needing to fly in or out anyway.

But they could just have said that.

Those who thought that 2021 might mark any sort of recovery in our fortunes*, were wrong.

I’m not even bothering to look at the calendar at all at the moment, because clearly, there’s going to be nothing that is currently on there which is going to remain in place. There will be no concerts, no gatherings, no festivals. I won’t be doing the Cycle Tour or the 2Oceans Ultra Marathon again this year. Even a social braai is going to be an ordeal.

Ugh. What a schlep.

I might go and write some online quizzes to cheer myself up and bamboozle friends and family.

 

* I was not one of these

Day 272 – Winding down

Mrs 6000 has finished work (which doesn’t explain why she’s still writing emails opposite me right now) (hmm) and the kids are long done with anything school-related.

Even the jobs which we need to get sorted before The Move are now getting put on hold for the next few days.

It doesn’t matter that this is going to be a very odd holiday: it’s also going to be a very important holiday after a year which has taken everything from us. And so no, I have no qualms about everyone taking a few days away from “stuff”.

Go for it.

I’ll be right here when you get back.

Day 270 – Interesting

Some interesting stuff I have spotted on the internet over the last few days:

Great Conjunction Day.
OK, not something I spotted on the internet, but tonight is the night of the Jupiter/Saturn ‘Great’ Conjunction, the first since of its kind since 1623 (and I don’t mean just before half past four this afternoon). Of course, Jupiter and Saturn aren’t actually going to bump into one another (although, 2020…) but they will look like a single bright star.

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

You’ll have to get in quickly after sunset in Cape Town before they disappear below the horizon.

 

You’ve Probably Snogged A French Corpse From The Late 1880s
This story seems almost too weird to be true, but it’s so good that…

…and the page is actually usually reliable, so…?

You probably haven’t heard of L’Inconnue de la Seine (the Unknown Woman of the Seine) but there’s a good chance you’ve kissed her directly on the mouth, in a manner of speaking.
In the late 1880s, the body of a young woman was discovered drowned in the River Seine in Paris. Nobody knows what happened to her, though at the time it was speculated to be suicide. More importantly, nobody at the time knew who she was either.

Long story short, the face of L’Inconnue de la Seine became the face of Resusci Anne – the CPR model that (if you’ve ever trained in CPR) you’ve given mouth-to-mouth to. Amazing.

 

Study: Nose Holes Connect To Lungs
We’ve all seen them. The chinstrap mask wearers:

Image for post

But now, a (satirical) new study has conclusively shown that it’s not just the mouth hole that connects to the lungs: the holes in the nose also seem to connect that way as well.

Yes:

All three face holes suck air in to your lungs and poof air out to the atmosphere.

Who knew?

Incidentally, we saw a “Karen” in a shop today being a “Karen”. And then her and her family were wandering around with their masks under their noses and tutting a lot about the “stupid rules” etc. And it occurred to me that trying to teach my kids that stereotyping people isn’t a good thing to do is actually really difficult when there are so many people around who are the literal embodiment of the stereotype. They exist for a reason. (The stereotypes, I mean; I have no idea why the people exist at all.)

 

Wait Your Turn
Another older one, but really interesting. In fact, if you look at the title of the subreddit this came from, you’ll see just how interesting it is.

The way these vultures wait their turn.
This was the most interesting thing I’ve witnessed as a wildlife photographer.

And in the great hierarchical pyramid of life, your average black backed jackal is clearly above your average (ironically white backed?) vulture.

Oh, and by the way:

A group of vultures is called a kettle, committee or wake. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee refers to vultures resting on the ground or in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding.

Here’s the (excellent) IG of the guy who shot the video above.

 

Have a lovely evening.

Day 255 – School reports

I allow myself one of these posts each year. I don’t think of it as showing off: MMIRIM, and these are the sort of posts that will make me smile when I’d old(er) and grey(er).

2020 has been the weirdest and most difficult school year I’ve ever known.

Instantly, I’m reminded of this classic Simpsons moment:

Ok, so maybe 2020 has been the weirdest and most difficult school year I’ve ever known… so far.

Ugh.

And yet, despite the adversity and the challenges, our kids have shone through – lockdown learning and all – and I’m just amazed at all the things they’ve achieved: both at school and in their extracurricular pursuits.

In no particular order:

We’ve had A* grades in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography and ICT.
We’ve had a distinction in Music.
There was a Gold Merit Award.
There were Scroll Awards for Cultural and Academic achievement.
She flew through her Grade 3 Vocal exam – submitted to London by video – with a score of 86%.
He captained his Scout team to winning the Upton Shield for his Troop – only the second time they’ve won it in 112 years.

They’ve had some wonderful support from their school, their teachers, their Scout leaders, and their peers. And from their parents, of course. (Of course…) But they’ve adapted so well to this weird, new world and they have actually thrived.

I allow myself one of these posts each year.
But given the situation this time around, I feel especially proud.