Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Flip Stander

Earlier this evening I watched an awesome documentary on the BBC's Natural World. It dealt with the conservation/reintroduction of the desert lion in the Namib Desert. The photography was magnificent and I am always biased toward programs narrated by David Attenborough. But what I found most fascinating is an incredible man called Flip Stander.

Flip has a thick blond beard - perhaps a mane would be a better description - and skin that has been turned to leather by the sun. He tracks, studies and fights for the survival of desert lion in an old beat up Toyota Land Cruiser. Flip wears worn out t-shirts and rugby shorts. No shoes. There is no designer adventure wear (think North Face) in sight. Flip smokes Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes and spends his days doing what he loves under a big sky.

I remember thinking that I envy Flip.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Mrs Ball's

To anyone who grew up, or who has spent an extended period of time in South Africa, Mrs Ball's is is an institution. Whenever friends and family come over and ask whether they can bring me anything from home I always reply "Mrs Ball's please". Mrs H.S. Ball's Chutney!

If you don't know Mrs Ball's, it is positively the best chutney on earth. Generations have been raised on this stuff. Imagine my surprise when I saw a shelf full of Mrs Ball's in the supermarket today. "Tuna... where is the tuna? Over here? No, that's Mrs Ball's. Where is the damn tuna? MRS BALL's?!"

"Can't be", I thought, "time for a little authenticity test". But it was real, it said so right there on the cap: "Shake the bottle - Skud die bottel".

At the cash register I excitedly blurted out that this is "REALLY good stuff" and pledged lifelong loyalty to this particular supermarket chain. And "this is like mother's milk to me and..." The check-out lady lazily replied that as part of a seasonal promotion they will only temporarily stock this brand of "BBQ sauce".

BBQ Sauce?! Chutney you...! For the love of all that's decent, it's Mrs H.S. Ball's Chutney!