My Boys

After the muddy and rainy on-again off-again weather we’ve been having my two boys needed a bath, desperately. As you can see from the photos below they’re getting on really well with one another. Max will be six this year in November and Shadow will be five months old in a week’s time. And as you can see Shadow is almost as tall as Max is and barely five months old – I’ve got a suspicion he’ll be bigger than Max when he’s fully grown.

Big Picture: End of the World Cup

And so, last night brought the 2010 FIFA World Cup to a close – not (in my opinion) as exciting a game as the 3rd and 4th place between Germany and Uruguay – but for all the Spanish supporters a nail-bighting finish. Spain narrowly took the hopes and dreams away from the Dutch team in the last 3 minutes of extra time, finally giving themselves a world cup win.

Personally I found the game very scrappy and dirty, from both teams (well, the 13 yellow cards explain it all) but at the end of it all Spain just played a better game.

The closing ceremony was partly impressive, although, apart from the very nice special effects displayed the singing portion wasn’t that moving. There was a nice fireworks display at the end, one photo of which you can see in the series following the link below.

The World Cup has definitely brought us, as South African together and I can honestly say it’s made me feel more patriotic, not just as a South African, but as an African. Maybe in 2014 an African team can make it further than Ghana did this year.

As usual, the team at Boston.com‘s Big Picture has put together another great array of photographs for you. Enjoy.

After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: 123), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup. (44 photos total) – source Big Picture


Spain's Andres Iniesta lifts the World Cup trophy after their final match victory over Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The Godfather

The title of this post has nothing to do with the Marlon Brando movies but with my Godfather.

It was just another ordinary day, except for Cape Town because it was the last World Cup match to be played in Cape Town with Netherlands clashing with Uruguay at the Cape Town stadium.

Late in the afternoon, a little after 5, I got a call from my brother with some distressing news – it seemed so unreal that I just couldn’t accept it as truth. I then contacted a good friend, my god brother who, for all intents and purposes is just like a brother to me to confirm the news. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not at all that I didn’t trust my brother, whom I do trust, but I just couldn’t fathom it as truth, it just didn’t make sense.)

A few minutes later, it was confirmed, my godfather had passed away, at home, from a massive heart-attack. Just like that, once again, the world is a little different.

The plan after work, usually around 6 in the evening, was to join friends along the fan walk (since our office is right on the fan-mile) towards the stadium, just for the spirit of it all, then head back and when things had subsided a little, head home. Since the office is right on the fan-mile, trying to drive is next to impossible, so I’m forced to wait.

We walked the fan-mile, and under normal circumstances, I’d be taking it all in, the sights and sounds, but today was just different. The only thing I can really recall, while walking the 2.5 km stretch there and back, was the Caltex garage on Somerset Road.

Why on earth, a garage, you’ll ask. Well for many years, my godfather owned and ran the Caltex garage in Rondebosch.

My godfather has always been involved with motor vehicles so much so that after he retired, selling the garage business, he worked from home, servicing vehicles at home, for family and friends. If you had a problem with your car you could ask him or have him fix it for you. Ever since I’ve had a car of my own, my godfather has always serviced it. For one, whom better to put your trust in to service your vehicle and know that it will be serviced properly and why not support family financially.

If you didn’t know my godfather and met him for the first time, you’d probably think he was your typical older generation Greek and stubborn. But that was only one side to him, he was a smart and respected man whose home was always open.

So after heading back to the office just a little before 8 in the evening, most of the people traffic had subsided and I could leave the office and drive through to my godparents house. I hadn’t spoken to my godmother yet, I didn’t want to call as I wouldn’t know what to say over the phone.

I stayed there until a little after 10:30 in the evening. Chatting with my godmother and some friends and family that were there and helping out where I could and with whatever was needed.

The next day I arranged a half-day off to pick up both my god-brothers from the airport heading into Cape Town from London and Johannesburg. We’ve not seen one another for a while now, but this was not the circumstances that any of us thought or would have wanted to meet. But nevertheless, good to see them again and spend a little time together. I dropped them off at home and headed off to work. It’s such a strange feeling, wanting to do as much as you can, but at the same time stepping back and giving them the space they need and do what they need to do, as a family.

Today, I’ve taken the day off as in a little under an hour we’ll all be meeting at the church to say our final goodbyes and celebrate his life. It’s all still a little surreal to be honest.

Peace be with you, Nonno.

Update: Back from the funeral ceremony and wake and I realised I’ve come full circle. In the exact same church that my godfather baptised me, I helped carry him in and out of. A moving ceremony and time spent with family and friends – now, we keep moving and looking forward, cherishing those precious moments from before.

South Africa: Keep Flying

I’m gonna keep my flag flying for 30 days, because with one spirit, this nation can achieve anything. And we’ve only just begun.

Just because the World Cup ends this week in South Africa, it doesn’t mean we should pack away our flags and simply forget.

Keep flying the flag! [via Jon]

2010 World Cup: Ghana and Africa’s dreams shattered


We’re into the final day of the quarter finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with only Argentina vs Germany and Spain vs Paraguay left before reaching the semi-finals and final games next week.

Everyone outside of South Africa was worried about being robbed of personal belongings while visiting South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, but it was in fact Ghana and the rest of Africa that were robbed last night, by one single person – his name, Luis Suarez, from the Uruguayan team.

Why, because he deliberately and maliciously stood on the goal line in the goal box while Adiyiha took the free-kick. The ball bounced around between defenders and attackers but when it clearly went towards goal and was completely missed by the Uruguayan goalie, Suarez very clearly knocked the ball clear with his hands, earning himself a red card and a penalty kick for Ghana.

But by then the game was over – it was already the last few seconds of the second half of extra time, Ghana had played their hearts out but were unfortunately beaten 4-2 in the penalty shoot out.

Along with goal-line technology that needs to be introduced by FIFA to assist referees and linesmen make more accurate calls, FIFA also needs to introduce the additional rule of awarding the team an immediate goal should such an offence be committed.

The Uruguayans are saying that Suarez took one for the team getting a red card but that’s not enough.

People were worried that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa would be controversial but the reasons are clearly very different to those originally thought of.

Ghana, Africa mourns for your loss (and theft of a win by Uruguay). May Uruguay get the hiding of their lives against Netherlands on Tuesday.

Hup Holland Hup!

If you missed it see the video below – clear as day!

Big Picture: Halfway in – 2010 World Cup

I’ve posted a number of blog posts on various photographs from Boston.com‘s Big Picture photo gallery – and I guess it’s just fitting that I share these.

The World Cup is in full swing in South Africa and so far it has been regarded by FIFA as perfect – let’s hope we can live up to their expectations and keep the standard that high for the remainder of the tournament.

Nearly halfway through the month-long 2010 World Cup Tournament in South Africa, over a dozen teams have been eliminated from the original group of 32, with the Round of 16 beginning tomorrow, June 26th. Television and web viewership has been setting records all over the world as supporters tune in to watch the events in South Africa and react along with the fans and players in the stadiums as they celebrate their wins and suffer through losses. Collected here are recent photos from the 2010 World Cup, as some of the players and their supporters have been experiencing it – in South Africa and around the globe. (43 photos total)

Serbia's Milan Jovanovic (center) scores past Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (right) and Arne Friedrich during a Group D match at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth June 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

South Africa – World Cup 2010

There were many sceptics when it was first announced that we were drawn as host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For years after, there were many that said we could not do it, even rumours about Australia being asked to be a ‘backup’ host nation.

Well, it’s been 4 years along and we’re just past half-way through all the games for the 2010 World Cup. What do people have to say now? Just positive things – all the stadia were built on time and to the FIFA standards. Additional infrastructure, road upgrades and additional public transport (free to game ticket holders) and very well organised safe and secure venues, fan parks and fan walks. Even as someone working in the city center, right smack-bang in the middle of the fan-walk no less, I’ve not been inconvenienced any more than I’d normally be in normal traffic. In fact with the school holidays coinciding with the World Cup traffic has never been better or easier.

There are always security people, officials and/or ushers wherever you look and they’re friendly and helpful. Where are all the sceptics now?

As for Bafana-Bafana? Many are saying they, and we the South African host nation, should be disgusted in ourselves? First host nation to be knocked out of the first round World Cup.

Excuse me, did you forget to take into account we’re ranked 83rd in the world? Did you forget to take note that between ourselves, and two previous world cup winners, France and Italy. We tied with 17th ranked Mexico in our opening game. We were the only country team of the three to actually win a game? One of the games, which knocked out the former world cup champions, France?

Well done South Africa, well done Bafana-Bafana.

Enjoy a short video clip put together (it has done the round as a PowerPoint presentation too).

Fila said it best, “have faith, like rugby balls!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW4nwsqgz8I

Poison – a close call

We had a scare yesterday afternoon – Shadow had managed to get hold of an old bag of snail-bait in the garage but was more interested in tearing the plastic bag apart than actually eating the snail-bait.

However, he did ingest some of the snail bait. Now I wasn’t initially too concerned since we’ve always been taught that invertebrate poisons are generally not deadly to vertebrates – however, it seemed to have affected him.

About 4 hours later he started shaking, breathing very heavily and convulsing. This all just before we were about to go through to Stellenbosch to visit family for the day. I was still on my way home from dropping off the kids at my folks and Dina called to say that he was having, what looked like, seizures, and all his muscles were constricting – he was also salivating quite badly. She called the veterinary ER who said we should bring him in immediately since snail-bait is very deadly to pets and he might die from it if not caught and treated early enough as it attacks their nervous system.

I raced back home, picked up Shadow and Dina and raced off to the ER. Unfortunately our vet, literally a few blocks from our house, is not open on a Saturday afternoon so we had to race to the nearest one which is, under normal circumstances a 20 minute drive. I raced as quickly as I could, driving in the emergency lane to get to the ER as quickly as possible.

He was immediately taken in and there was a strong possibility that if they could not get the seizures under control quickly enough that they’d need to put him in a medically induced coma until they could flush out the toxins from his system. Unfortunately it had been too long since he’d ingested the poison to induce vomiting, which is the usual course of action immediately after ingestion.

We didn’t have much choice but to leave him there for the night. Later that evening I gave the ER a call and waited for a call back from the doctor on the prognosis, who at the time, was busy with two other consultations. He called back about half an hour later with some great news. He was so amazed at Shadow’s reaction and improvement to the medication to flush the toxins from his body. He said we should call again in the morning and find out whether Shadow’s situation had improved or not. The worst-case scenario would be that he’d need to be put down since the cost of keeping him in a medically induced coma is highly expensive and not always successful. Thankfully, Shadow seems to have some great genes in him and a very good immune system to be able to bounce back so quickly. The next morning, before we could call, the doctor called back to say he was amazed at Shadow’s recovery and we could come and collect him this morning still.

When I went to pick Shadow up the doctor told me again how amazed he was at his recovery and that he’d never had a case of poisoning before that the animal went back home the next morning. Shadow’s due for another course of inoculations next month and they also want to take a blood sample again at that time to do liver function tests to ensure there’s no damage to his liver from the poison and that he’s recovered nicely.

He’s definitely doing much better as he was jumping up and down playing with Charlie as soon as we got home – close call.

I had to vacuum the front garden to suck up all the snail-bait that was left in the grass to ensure that he didn’t accidentally eat more of it while playing outside. Can you picture it? Having to vacuum the garden?

*whew* that could have gone horribly wrong. So what do we take away from this experience – treat all poisons as deadly, no matter whether it’s intended for vertebrates or invertebrates.