Day 462 – Not a good idea

I do recognise the need to stimulate the economy. I do see that we need money brought back into the country and businesses running again. I don’t miss the tourists, but I do know that we miss their cold, hard cash.

But surely this is not a good idea.

83 confirmed booking for cruise ships between October and the end of the year? Ah Jesus.

How’s the cruise industry looking at the moment? Awful.

That’s because cruise ships were one of the earliest vectors for Covid-19, and – despite their best efforts, things haven’t improved much. So alongside this sort of headline:

Are ones like this:

And this:

And once one or two passengers have got it, there will inevitably be a whole lot more to follow.
This isn’t rocket science. Stick several thousand people on top of each other for a few weeks and any illness is bound to spread. That’s why the government – very sensibly (gasp) – banned cruise ships from SA ports very early on in this whole ugly mess.

Before cruise liners, ships from foreign parts had a great history of bringing unwanted diseases to vulnerable populations:

Note: For “Black Death” read “Covid-19”; for “the Black Sea” read “Walvisbaai”; for “Messina” read “the V&A Waterfront; for “Sicilian authorities” read “Wesgro”, and for “covered in black boils that oozed blood and pus”… meh… maybe something about a fever, no sense of smell, and an inability to breathe. You get the idea.

And before Covid, cruise liners were food-poisoning hotspots, be it Norovirus, rotavirus, Salmonella or even unusual stuff like Staphylococcus. Thankfully, when that sort of thing is brought ashore, while it may not be very pleasant, it doesn’t close down entire cities and countries. If the statisticians and epidemiologists are right (and they’ve been pretty good so far) we will be a couple of months away from our fourth wave when the majority of these ships arrive. If they are bringing more Covid in with them, then we might see the whole of the summer washed out by more restrictions, and that would certainly be the death knell for any businesses who had somehow managed to survive that far.

Sure, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are high reward customers for our local tourism industry. But equally, cruise ships (especially 83 of them) are also very high risk customers for all our local industries.

Much as they did with the proposed Horseshoe Bat Market in Woodstock back in March, someone surely has to stand up and just nip this one in the bud. For all our sakes.

Day 420 – That weather, though…

It rained all night and it’s rained all day. It’s still raining. We’ve had 225mm (that’s the whole 9 yards inches) in the last 22 hours – that’s a lot of water – and it’s still banging down out there. Hard.
I’ve drained the pool twice already today: I’m going to have to do it again tomorrow morning.

It does seem that the first three cold fronts to hit the Cape this season have been particularly vicious. And there’s plenty more rain to come in the early hours of the morning.
You know it’s bad when there’s an old guy with a grey beard and a staff leading animals two-by-two towards the harbour. That didn’t happen today, because it’s all just myth and legend, but actually, it wouldn’t have surprised me.

I have been working inside all day and it’s been particularly satisfying to get a lot of longstanding jobs ticked off my list. There’s been some electrical work, plenty of painting, a bit of cooking, some organisation of “stuff”, and some angle-grinding. Barefoot and nylon shorts probably not the most advisable attire for that last one.
Things got a bit stingy and melty rather quickly.
Would not recommend.

And yes, I know I keep going on about this, but the fire has made the whole day bearable. It’s done brilliantly in spreading its warmth quite a long way across the ground floor of the house. It was a good decision. And it’s nice (and sadly uncommon) when you can look at something and really think “yes, money well spent”.

And now, with the boy out and about at Scouts, I’m going to settle down on/in the beanbag and watch a couple of Youtube videos that have been teasing me from my various devices and trying to get me to give up on today’s jobs. They did not succeed, but now with the list so completely decimated (not literally), I feel that I deserve to have a bit of down time.

Day 392 – More great customer service /s

Where /s = sarcasm. (For the uninitiated.)

Ah. South African customer service. It’s crap.

Our last major project for the moment is getting a fireplace put into the new house. We had a fireplace at our old house and it was one of the Best Things Ever. The beagle liked lying in front of it. And winter is coming, and I have a sneaky suspicion that the old, rattly windows on this place will stop the cold North Wester with the same efficacy as a colander. It’s a no brainer.

The fireplace is being installed today.

But obviously, it’s not. Did you not read the title and the first line?

I’d set aside time for the fireplace to be installed today and Mrs 6000 was staying home from the office to make sure that everyone was happy with where the fireplace was going to stand, because it weighs 135kg and once you’ve put it down and popped the flue through the roof, it ain’t moving. Ever.

I emailed the sales guy earlier in the week to check what time they were coming today. He didn’t reply. This should have been a bit of a red flag, because look, he always got back to me pretty quickly when he wanted me to buy the fireplace. But now that he has my hefty deposit, it seems that simple manners and common decency have left the building and eloped to the Free State (or somewhere equally distant).

So it’s me doing the chasing but he still won’t take my calls. Eventually, his PA has to do the dirty work, informing me without any hint of an apology that our unit wasn’t in the first container that they unloaded. First off, that really doesn’t make everything alright. But on the plus side, it does suggest the existence of a second container that might have been unloaded.
So, ok: there’s still hope. And… was it in the second container?
They don’t know.
And they don’t know because the second container is still on a boat and won’t even be in Cape Town for another 2½ weeks.

Good job I checked, hey?

Thing is, I could have got this job done by someone else and we could have a fireplace this morning. But we put our faith in this particular company because they’re local, they’re established and well-known and, well, you don’t survive for that long by being rubbish at doing literally the only thing that you do, right?

Right?

So we have to wait another three weeks for our fireplace, which isn’t the end of the world, but there are couple of things that have irked me. The guy not having the decency or the courage to call me is one of them. That’s so weak. Remember the mantra?

Mistakes happen. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference.

This mistake was not dealt with at all, let alone well.

The other is more practical. I paid the 70% deposit (it’s a serious sum of money) safe in the knowledge that my fire would be installed 9 days later. Hasn’t happened. And so instead of sitting in my account, that deposit gets another 3 weeks earning interest* for his company, even though they’ve done bugger all. And sure, if they’d come and installed the fireplace today, then that 70% – and the other 30% – would be obviously be doing the same thing. I’m not expecting never to pay them any money.

BUT I WOULD HAVE A FIREPLACE!

So now we wait. And wait. And wait. And we sit on our hands and we smile sweetly. Because we’re stuck with them and you don’t crap on your own doorstep.
But there will be another check in a couple of weeks time, just to remind them. And there will be an appropriate review and a terse email once the unit is in. Because no matter how perfectly they do the job when they do the job, no matter how nice the specialist installation guys are and no matter how good it looks, they can’t earn my 5 stars or my respect back.

Don’t buy a fireplace in Cape Town without talking to me first. I can’t tell you where to go, but I can tell you where to avoid.

* Significant sum of money in a savings account with SA interest rates – it makes a difference.

Day 353 – Garden shot

The work on the house continues with some painting, some lighting and some extra additions here and there. The pool is full, but it’s dark and wet (outside, not the pool), so I can’t do my after photo just yet.

Here’s one from yesterday then – a Citrus Swallowtail (Papilo demodocus) in the back garden:

We see a lot of these around (they’re probably the second most common butterfly locally after the Acraea horta) but they never stop moving: they’re flitty and flighty, so I’ve never managed to get a shot before. This one actually settled for a few moments, although it never stopped moving its wings (rapidly) for a single second and so I was forced to use high speed shooting in Sports Mode on the camera to get a decent image (and about 74 poor ones).

There are actually a couple of other reasonable shots, but I haven’t got as far as Lightroom yet, because the work on the house continues with some painting, some lighting and some extra additions here and there (I think I mentioned this), so those might have to wait for another day.