53. Some owls. Or owlets. Or Scops-Owls. Some birds.

I’ve been threatening to carry on writing about owls for a while, and now that I’ve arranged a place for them to sit, today is the day I do so. As I have said, the Lowveld supports ten different species of owl. We’ve dealt with one of them, in a bit of a hurry. Today, we deal with another three.

When most people think of owls, they tend to picture the sorts of birds that flapped around in the Harry Potter movies; large, powerful birds that would have no problem carrying obscure magical packages around. These are not those sorts of owls. These are small owls. Tiny owls.

Not these.

Not these.

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52. Hot tub hero.

South Africa is a modest country. We are quite small, and not hugely rich. But in some things, we punch above our weight. We rock at cricket and rugby. We are world leaders in home and vehicle security. And now we have another feather to add to our caps.

This is Andre van Zijl;

Hello, ladies!

Hello, ladies!

He’s a world beater. A record breaker. Andre van Zijl is, as we speak, breaking the world record for the most hours spent in a jacuzzi. For those who may not know, a jacuzzi is what we South Africans call a hot tub. He’s going to spend two weeks in one. In a wetsuit. In a busy shopping centre. Continue reading

51. The Leadwood.

I had promised I would get round to writing about Lowveld owls soon. And I will. Soon. But when I sat down to write about them this morning, I realised I had not arranged a place for them to sit. Fear not. I’m on it. They can sit in one of these, in a few centuries time;

It will be well worth the wait. Look at those fine, spreading branches!

It will be well worth the wait. Look at those fine, spreading branches!

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50. The Tokolosh.

I have just come back from a night away in a game reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo province. It’s a strange old place. It’s a bit of a backwater in South Africa. It doesn’t have any big cities, and the provincial government is riddled with corruption and incompetence. But that doesn’t mean that nothing interesting goes on there. On the contrary. For example there has, of late, been a sudden and massive surge in sales of coloured salt in the Limpopo. Special salt. This salt;

As subtle as it is effective.

As subtle as it is effective.

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49. Seven Weeks.

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It’s Sunday again. Sundays are proving to be a little awkward. You see, I’m trying to do a hundred posts in a hundred days, and get 60 000 views while doing so. Sundays were, in my mind, going to be set aside for a sort of progress report. Which is all well and good, but I’m halfway now, and a couple of interesting things are happening. Continue reading

48. A tale of two magistrates.

I’ve just got back from a night away. It’s late, and it’s been a long day. I don’t have a post in me today.

I was busy. Sitting back and watching these.

I was busy. Sitting back and watching these.

 I did, however, have a post in me in April last year. I posted this on a news site before I wandered over to WordPress. There had been a news report that two men, impersonating policemen, had robbed a scrap dealer. I know this is cheating, But I’m 48 posts into a 100 post streak, and I can’t let mere honesty stand in my way. So take another stroll with me down memory lane. Here we go… Continue reading

47. A leprechaun with eyes on the back of his head.

I had promised to do a post on the owls of the Lowveld. I’m not going to. I’m going to do a few. And today, I’m going to do a very short one indeed. I’ve been called away on an emergency. I have to go the bush for a night. There I will be forced to spend an afternoon driving around looking at elephants and rhinos while sipping an ice-cold beer before being forced to endure yet another African sunset, while the meat sizzles over the fire and I force down a glass of chilled white wine.

How much does this suck?

How much does this suck?

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46. The Other Awards.

The first time I was nominated for an award on WordPress, I had only just started blogging, and had never heard of such a thing. I thought I’d won a Pulitzer Prize! So I checked it out. It was a chain letter. I give an award to seven people, who give it to seven people, and so on until everyone has got one. It’s just silly. I turned it down, as tactfully as I could, and went on about my business.

I'm afraid I can't accept this. I'm allergic to gold, and besides, it would clash with the curtains in my bathroom.

I’m afraid I can’t accept this. I’m allergic to gold, and besides, it would clash with the curtains in my bathroom.

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45. Not owls.

I woke up this morning in the mood to write about Lowveld owls. Actually, to tell the truth, I woke up this morning in the mood to not be awake. The cold has finally moved in, and I would like to take to my bed and stay there ‘til spring.

But life goes on, so Lowveld owls it is. Or rather owls it isn’t. Most places have one or two species of owls. The Lowveld has about seven. That involves quite a lot of research, and cannot be whipped off on a whim. And besides, there’s something in the way that must be dealt with first. The not-owls.

At a glance, the night belongs to the bats. There are tens of millions of them, flitting unseen through the dark. They are hugely successful; about 20 per cent of all mammal species are bats. But bats have their limitations. There are some things evolution hasn’t had time to do to their basic design yet. They have left some room, out there in the cold and the dark, for those other denizens of the air; the birds.

And now you are thinking of owls. But there are other birds out there in the dark. Certainly there are down in the Lowveld. So let’s get those out of the way before we tackle the owls.

The Bat Hawk.

It may look intense, but it's the worlds laziest bird.

It may look intense, but it’s the worlds laziest bird.

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44. Cat-hat.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I got my first proper job. On the first day, I arrived early. As one does. Three hours early. I don’t like to take chances. At least not on the first day. After that it all goes to hell. Finding everything completely closed, I sat myself down on the ground and settled in for a wait.

I always like to make a good first impression.

I always like to make a good first impression.

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