The wisdom of the ancients.

I can’t remember how old I was when I discovered Thor Heyerdahl, but I remember being deeply impressed. Here was a radical new approach to archaeology. This guy wasn’t pottering away in some dusty museum office, or scrabbling around in the dirt looking for tiny bones with a tiny brush. No. This guy was doing it himself. He was living history! And he was doing it by making boats out of sticks and growing enormous beards! I wanted to be him.

It takes an almost mythical beard to overcome the ridiculousness of that hat.

It takes an almost mythical beard to overcome the ridiculousness of that hat.

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Oh the things that you’ll see.

Last Sunday, I nearly ran over a man from the bible. He wasn’t watching where he was going, and stepped into the road just as I rounded a corner. Luckily, he was quite easy to spot in his long, blue, flowing robes, so I managed to avoid him. It was a close run thing, but as they say; no harm, no foul. He seemed to think it was my fault, and waved his shepherds staff at me angrily. And that was it. Apart from the little spike of adrenaline, there was nothing unusual about the scene, so I forgot all about it. Until today.

Not my man from the bible. Another man from the bible, with a smaller man from the bible behind him.

Not my man from the bible. Another man from the bible, with a smaller man from the bible behind him.

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Four things to avoid in the bedroom.

I seem to have skipped out on one of the more exciting rites of passage that was promised to me. My mid-life crisis. Instead of rushing out and buying myself a Harley Davidson and some leather pants, I’ve apparently decided to make an early start on becoming an old curmudgeon. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since I am prone to chafing, but has meant that I now become arbitrarily annoyed by things that I never even noticed in my youth.

Hell's life insurance salesman.

Hell’s life insurance salesman.

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The Baobab. Part 1.

My mother doesn’t like rhinos. She doesn’t actively dislike them; they just leave her cold. She’s indifferent to them. She loves wildlife just as much as the rest of my family, and will happily spend hours watching a pair of squirrels running around the stoep or haul herself out of bed in the middle of the night to watch the shifting shadow of an elephant crash its way past the house in the moonlight, but set her up in front of a prehistoric 2500kg behemoth with a pair of sharpened spikes at one end, and she will set about wondering what to cook for supper or trying to remember whether or not she turned off the lights in the bathroom that morning.

Ho hum. I wonder if there's anything good on TV this afternoon.

Ho hum. I wonder if there’s anything good on TV this afternoon.

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How to be a winner.

I have been trawling the local news outlets for a couple of days, looking for something interesting or different to write about. It’s been a depressing exercise. I’m obviously in the throes of one of those phases which I go through every now and then when I get news overload. It’s all just the same, every day. Out in the world, it’s Syria, Syria, Syria, the economy, gay marriage in the States, gay existence in Russia, Syria. Back home it’s corruption and strikes, racism and violence against women and children.

They're all just the same newspaper with different ads.

They’re all just the same newspaper with different ads.

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How to cross the road.

It is my sincerest hope that reading my blog has made at least one or two people out there think of visiting South Africa. Should such a wonderful thing come to pass, I feel that I have a bit of a responsibility. 23thorns is not a travel brochure. It is not here to create some utopian wonderland full of bunnies and people who say “Have a nice day” like they mean it.

One out of two isn't bad.

One out of two isn’t bad.

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93. Corkwoods.

This is something that almost everyone reading this has heard of.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

If you live in a westernised country, you’ve been talking about it since you were small. You’ve sung songs about it. You’ve watched people carry it about in little boxes or in bottles on stage. And if you’re anything like me, you have never really bothered to find out what it was. Maybe this will help.

camels3wisemen

Yes, good people, that funny yellow dried snot looking stuff is myrrh. As in “gold, frankincense and myrrh.” It was of huge religious importance in biblical times. It was used by the Egyptians to embalm their dead and by other groups, including the Israelites, as incense in their temples. It was pretty hard to come by. So hard, in fact, that it could be mentioned in the same breath as gold as a nifty little present for a baby. And it was made by beating up a living creature and harvesting its blood. Continue reading

79. Packed lunch.

“I need”, said my nine-year old son in a panicked sounding voice, “a packed lunch! And we have to get to school early! We are going to Sandton to say our poem today!”

Unlike these fine people, I have not yet mastered the art of packing a glass of milk.

Unlike these fine people, I have not yet mastered the art of packing a glass of milk.

If this sounds obscure to you, welcome to the club. I had never heard anything about a poem. Sandton is a rather large suburb near our home. But I have all of the most important qualities of an investigative journalist. Within minutes, I had pieced everything together. My son’s school was taking him and his class on a field-trip. They were going to a sister school in Sandton, where they were going to recite a Roald Dahl poem to some sort adjudicating committee. For marks. He needed to take something to eat along with him. Continue reading

#£%&*#

I have my post for the day, written up and sitting quietly on my netbook. it’s not the greatest post, but at least the subject matter is interesting.It’s about saffron. And abelone. and biltong.

what I dont have is an internet connection. sorry. I’m writing this on my tablet, but i have fingers likee cucumbers, and writing a thousand words like this is somehow unappealing.

oh, well. i will chalk it up as  a day off and phone my service provider tomorrow.’til then, cheers.