Wouter does feel pain

And then this happened

My back’s been bothering me since Y2K. I could handle that. My foot started bothering me about five years ago, debilitatingly so. After two neurosurgeons, one neurologist, a podiatrist, biokinetics, three orthopaedic surgeons, four MRIs, many X-rays, and a nuclear scan,  It Was Time.

The good news is that I have 100% medical aid cover. The bad news is that doesn’t mean what you think it means — good doctors (And Dr Makan is good, no doubt about that) charge 225% or more. So I’m in the hole for about R20k of Dr Makan’s time, as well as some amount towards the klaas vakie, but it’s money well spent for professional service.

The other good news is that the medical aid fully covers the hospital (Life Vincent Pallotti, recommended) charges, and there are many.

I went into theater at around 13:30 on Tuesday. Started being aware of my surroundings maybe somewhere around 17:00, 18:00, thereabouts, up in High Care. Saw Dr Makan, briefly, at a distance, he waved, said all had gone well.

Moved down to Protea ward somewhere between breakfast and lunch the next day, all was good. Very nice staff, great (well, for a hospital) food, morphine drip, catheter… lay back and enjoyed it.

Thursday was… not so good. They started taking me off the painkillers and the drain (pipe coming out of my back and into a bottle) was really making its presence felt. So also the catheter. Thankfully Dr Makan came around, I asked, he told ’em to lose all the plumbing, and once they’d removed that (needle in my wrist, drain in my back, catheter) life was much more rosy.

So I started swapping food pics with my mother-in-law, who was in Life Knysna at the time. Crappy cellphone pics, but still.

05:30, coffee and a rusk.

08:00, breakfast.

10:30-ish, coffee and a cookie.

12:00, lunch.

14:30, coffee and two cookies nogal.

1700, supper.

20:30, coffee and sarmies.

Hobbits would like this place.

With the Medical Aid paying, everyone was cool with me staying the maximum allowed 6 days, but I booked myself out on Sunday to make Tanya’s life easier. So now I’m supposed to spend six weeks on my back…



“Recoil was brisk but manageable”

I’ve been shooting high-end 45 Colt loads* in my Freedom Arms revolver, because that’s the only brass I had. Until today — I finally found some pukka factory 454 Casull ammo.

Hornady 300 grain XTP at 1650 fps claimed muzzle velocity. I didn’t get a chance to chrony the actual velocity though. Price was good — RRP is something like $35 / box in the ‘states, and I got these for R350, and that includes 14% VAT (current exchange rate is about R9/$ but these were probably brought in at closer to R8/$).

Acceptable Combat Accuracy…

I shot five shots, then played with my M30PK 9mm a bit. After that I invited one of our range officers to shoot the thing, his shot was the topmost on the above target. After some persuasion, the range officer in training then made that hole in the bottom corner… he certainly did not bring his part.

I finished the cylinder. Shots are all low because notice the front sight? It’s taller since the gun shoots way high with the abovementioned 45 Colt load.

This isn’t really a gun for standing. The barrel is way too heavy, very difficult to hold the sights steady. And the trigger is fairly light, which is good for Creedmoor but not so much for standing.

Edit, Monday morning. Well, I can certainly feel my wrist this morning. This is not a gun for a lazy afternoon of plinking, at least not with full power ammo.


*  255 grain cast bullet chronied at 1160 fps — factory spec for a 255 grainer is just under 1000 fps. The same bullet can be persuaded to clock around 1600 fps in a 454 Casull.


I haz a sad.

I miss my* crazy cat.

But he just got impossible to live with.

I won’t miss his peeing on everything or his crazy noises at all times.

But my lap is empty and cold.

* Tanya rescued him. It should have been her cat. But in the end we both got banished to the garage, so he became “my” cat. OK, he also sat on my lap and hardly ever tried to chew my face off, we had an understanding like that.

Last minute fun and games

Y’all might have noticed that we’re preparing for a 25 day trip to the USA. Today’s my first day of leave, we fly out tonight.

So this morning 08:30 my boss phones, tells me that a customer is having problems, and that I need to go visit them while I’m in Los Angeles (we’re there for two nights and one day, which is a Sunday) to see if I can help.

I’ve been plotting on Google Maps, and we need 5 1/2 hours to drive from the customer’s place to where we’re sleeping on Monday evening.

It’s going to have to be a brief visit…

Bit of a clean up


These are the invoices for most of the stuff I bought for the first year of renovating the house. Of course I don’t have invoices for the labour. I stuck it all in a spreadsheet and *gasp* threw the originals away (I *never* throw anything away).

It represents about R 230 000 I spent between April 2008  and April 2009. Amazing how a hundred here and a thousand there can add up to real money.

Silhouette Nationals, 2009

The SAMSSA National Championship was held at the Eastern Cape Silhouette shooters‘ headquarters at Kuduskloof. I wasn’t really planning to attend, but Tanya saw the opportunity to get me to park the kids off at the in-laws in Knysna, leaving her free to attend her scrapbooking course.

Which is what we did.

Left for PE at oh-dark-thirty on Wednesday the 30th, popped in at Fuller Firearms along the way, dropped the kids, some books for Charl, and some stuff for my boss off in Knysna, and got to the Blue Skies Country House just before 17:00.

Thursday morning I was at the range at 08:00 and… it was raining. Bugger. No fun shooting in the rain. But first, I’d been squadded as Range Officer, so that’s what I did — walked around making sure that people don’t do silly things, as we are all likely to do when things go wrong under pressure.

Now my first set of licences for silhouette guns took six years, and I’ve been waiting for the current set for a bit more than a year already, so the reality is that I need to borrow guns to be able to compete in all the events. By design, I was squadded with Francois, who also borrowed some of Juan’s guns, so we decided to start with Event 1, Big Bore Revolver, and he, being somewhat foolish, elected to go first.

Which means that when my turn came, we had the sight settings for Juan’s Freedom Arms .357 Magnum pretty much sorted, and I klupped 8 chickens, 7 pigs, and 10, yes, count ’em, 10 turkeys. And this is where the wheels came off. It was raining all the time, and dripping on me through the awning, and I was not particularly happy, but what doesn’t kill us makes us strong. But then some well meaning fool went and stuck a pole under the awning, causing all the water which had pooled on top to come over the side and drench me completely. This made me more than slightly unhappy. Fortunately there were no kids on our side of the range.

I managed to get two rams, for a total of 27, earning me a bronze in A class.


Of course after all of this I was cold, wet and miserable, and in no mood to get even more wet, so I called it a shooting day and went to support the tannies in the food tent, who made hamburgers for R15 and pancakes for R2 — absolute bargain.

Friday was a lot better, weatherwise, and I shot a 25 in Small Bore Revolver using Gunther’s Freedom Arms, a 28 in Production using my Anschutz Exemplar, an 8 in Standing (I suck at standing) with my Browning Medalist, and a 30 in Unlimited, again with the Anschutz. Believe it or not, 8 out of 40 gave me a silver in B class. And I got a gold for Unlimited, but only because I hadn’t entered for Unlimited before, so I was shooting B class — I’m now firmly bumped up into International, and bound never to win anything again (I’ll need a 37 to get bronze, and then only if the other guys are shooting badly…)


Saturday I shot Smallbore Rifle, for the first and second times in my life, scoring 10 and then 11, not bad, but I’d need around 15 or more to start winning anything. Saturday evening was the prize giving, which was all good, despite the last minute venue change, and Sunday was the long drive back (750 km, a bit over 8 hours).

Thanks to the EP silhouetters, they’re a great bunch.

Results on the SAMSSA page.

My scale is trying to kill me.

If you have a Boardman’s BF103 Digital Scale, take note.

yin This symbol denotes female,

yang and this one denotes male.

If you get it wrong, the POS will look things up in the wrong table, and pronounce you, the guy, underweight, and her, SWMBO, the love of your life, the one you promised to love and cherish,  and the person most likely to kill you if you Don’t Watch Your Step, as obese.

You Have Been Warned.

I suddenly realised why I’m so damned tired

Emotionally tired, I think, more than physically.

I looked back through some photographs… we’ve come a long way, and we did a helluva lot, but it’s not so obvious if you’re living it day-by-day — it’s much more striking when you look back.

This was the stoep area outside the kitchen door, back in April.

By July, it was looking a lot better.

Of necessity, Frank paved the bricks at quite a slope. This is good, from a water runoff point of view, but I had to chock the washing machine with a couple of 2x4s, otherwise it would bleat piteously and give up on the spin cycle.

I had planned a platform to keep the machines dry and off the deck, as well as a partition to keep the wind and dust at bay, and a table for sorting and folding the washing.

I’ll move the chest freezer when I have help :-)