There is nothing as permanent as a temporary emergency*


On 15 March 2020 President Ramaphosa declared a State of Disaster. He has just renewed it, officially into the third year.

The State of Disaster gives Government the right to make rules as they seem fit, and we went into lockdown from March 26, supposedly for 21 days — three weeks.

President Ramaphosa on Monday (23/03) announced the lockdown in South Africa for 21 days from March 26 to April 16, 2020, to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Yea, right. It lasted into May, when they eased it a little bit, but parts of it are still with us, two years later. And here we are. They’re not letting go of that sweet, sweet power.

There is obviously still some money left to steal.

* Robert A. Heinlein, The Man Who Sold the Moon.

Flea Market Find

The Cape Town Amateur Radio Club traditionally has a flea market at the beginning of March. This year I didn’t take anything to sell, and strictly speaking I didn’t buy anything either — I said “ooh nice!” the fellow said “take it” so I gave him R20 and said “take it”.

“SEC” is probably Something Electronic Company, there’s a “JAPAN” sticker on the back.

Inside is fairly mundane, a tapped transformer, a selenium rectifier which dates it to the late fifties / early sixies, a pi filter with two caps and a resistor, a series light bulb “O.C.L.” and a couple meters and associated resistors.

It’s pretty, it’s going on the shelf.


Easy mince curry

Let’s say you have some mince, and you feel like a curry. Get out your Dutch Oven.

  • Oil, onions, red or yellow bell peppers, quick heat, slow heat, leave onions to caramelise a bit. Maybe add garlic.
  • Add mince, heat, brown.
  • One or two tin(s) chopped tomatoes, one packet Ina Paarman Tikka Curry. Simmer for as long as you want to.
  • Maybe add halved baby or cubed potatoes, simmer until cooked.
  • Maybe stir in some frozen peas at the end.
  • Serve with rice, or wrap it in a roti, or stick it on a bun and call it a Sloppy Joe.


I blinked

Sometime yesterday. I only noticed when I reset the odo when I filled up. Yea, the price of fuel is going up again :-/

Next target, the second light-second.

New Look!

I have nothing against the “Ultraviolet” theme I’ve been using for years.

But it’s not phone-friendly :-(

So now you get “Blogstream”.

2 Strikes, no more.

Back in December 2017 I had Tanya’s Golf’s turbo overhauled at Turbo Repair Master in Ndabeni. All good, car went well, things were good for almost a year, and then Tanya phoned from Paradise Motors — oil all over the place, chrismas lights on the dash (fortunately the Golf tells you when things go wrong, soon enough to prevent expensive damage).

Had the Golf flatbedded to Alan Edwards, they said it was the turbo feed pipe, had the car flatbedded to Turbo Repair Master, I bought a new pipe (R1098) and they fitted it, R850 labour. Chalked it up to wear and tear.

Except not that long afterwards, Tanya phones me from work, oil all over the place, christmas lights on the dash… so I scheme maybe Turbo Repair Master stuffed it up when they replaced the pipe, lemme do it myself. Bought another new pipe (R1121, inflation), fitted it.

And not that long afterwards… yea, same story, different place. This time it was on Hospital Bend. By now I had figured out that these pipes can be brazed for a lot less than the cost of a new one (Hosefit are the people to speak to) so that’s what I did — had the one from the previous time brazed, fitted it, took the other one out, had that brazed and kept it for a spare.

But by now of course I was asking questions. The answer: the turbo oil line bracket in the picture above is rather important. And somewhere along the way the guys at Turbo Repair Master had not bothered to refit it. That leads to strain on the banjo, which causes a crack, oil all over the place, christmas lights…

OK, live and learn.

So here we are in November 2021 and I figure it’s time to overhaul the turbo in my Golf. Go on over to Turbo Repair Master, offer to do the R&R myself, ask for a quote on the turbo work only. Fellow there makes me a good price (2k less than in 2017) for the whole job. I tell him about the saga with Tanya’s car, point out the bracket to him… get the car back… check… not only is the bracket missing in action, the feed pipe is bent way out of line.

Something is wrong here.

As far as I can tell the fellow didn’t have the patience to wiggle the pipe into place. no, he applied brute force. The pipe is wrecked. Fscking butcher.

Fortunately I still had the spare.

So after trekking back out to Ndabeni to give the owner a heads-up on this fuck-wittery (and to get my bracket back) I fitted the old pipe and both brackets (there’s also one behind the engine) and all is well.

But I shall not allow Turbo Repair Master to wrench on a car of mine again.