Category: Johannesburg

Return to Muffinland (1)

I was recently reminded that the original Muffinland webpage had gone missing. For those who do not know Muffinland was where Muffin the cat used to post pics for his hordes of adoring fans. However, when I changed everything to a blog format Muffin was asleep and did not complete the migration of his stuff either (He was very tired because he only slept 27 hours that night). After some persuasion I managed to find the original material from then and am going to try to recreate parts of Muffinland. Bear in mind that the chief cat involved is still recovering from his last attempt at going into politics. 

Without further ado…  a fishy cookie for encouragement. 

This is Muffinland,  the home of Muffin. The cat with the cleanest foot in town. Him of the fishycookie habit. Occasionally known as Noodle, sometimes Osaka, but always Muffin deep inside. Fishycookies are one of Nature’s purrfect foods, and one of Muffins (that’s me below), favourite snacks. I will do anything for a fishycookie, and will endure hoodies, gloves, scarves and newspapers heaped upon my tormented body just for that moment of greatness when a fishycookie graces my pallet. I consider them to be the “Scooby Snack” of Muffinland.

Nom nom nom

Of course being somewhat of a debonair playcat has not gone to Muffin’s head. He acknowledges that he has many fans and wishes that he could thank them all, but he must wash his foot and of course catch up on his sleep. However, he does send this personalised pic for his fans.

Q&A.

Fans send Muffin lots of questions. Here are a few.

Q. How long are you Muffin?

How long is Muffin? 1491 x 636 pixels.

Q. What kind of cat are you?

A. A very tired black and white one.

Q. What is your favourite food?

A. Fishycookies! and cream and custard and fishycookies and whatever else I can scrounge.

Q. Is there a Mrs Muffin in your life?

A. No, but there is Pooty Applewater although she is kind of grumpy. 

Pooty Applewater

Q. I always feel motivated when I see you, what is your secret?

A. Fishycookies…. lots of sleep and a clean foot.

That reminds me. I must wash my foot.

Talking about motivation. Muffin was the star of a series of motivational memes and would like to share some of his favourites.

Unfortunately Dokes the cat crossed the rainbow bridge in June 2014, and he will be remembered with fondness by all who knew him. Read our tribute at Rest in Peace Dokes

Muffin would like to remind everybody that it will soon be winter

Muffin is no follower of fashion, although he does have his favourite no name wardrobe items.

And of course during this period of lockdown and social distancing…

Don’t forget that this pandemic is serious business, so Muffin advises that lockdown is the perfect time to catch up on your sleep (even if it is only for 27 hours), or get your hair done.

And that is Muffinland for today. Once Muffin gets more energy he will be back to enthral us all with more Tales from the Tail. 

DRW © 2008 – 2020. Originally created 15/07/2011. Recreated 26/04/2020  


OTD: The Westdene Bus Disaster

On this day,  27 March 1985 it was supposed to be yet another school day for the pupils of Hoërskool Vorentoe, in fact it was supposed to be a normal day for the whole of South Africa, but the events surrounding the Westdene bus disaster changed all of that in a brief tragedy that will remain with us all forever.   The day was subdued after that, even though that was not true at Westdene Dam where divers were frantically searching for bodies and parents were standing grief stricken, knowing that their son or daughter would not be coming home on that day. 

Westdene Dam. (1500x466)

Westdene Dam. (1500×466)

The actual cause of the disaster was never really pinned down to any singular factor; the driver  never really gave an adequate explanation, there was no mechanical fault with the bus, and the weather conditions were not poor. I seem to recall that he said another car had swerved, or he had blacked out. Faced with the imminent backlash and the trauma that he had gone through too, it was no wonder that no single cause was ever found.  I won’t delve into the disaster because I was not directly involved and do not know the facts, there are others more qualified to do that. It was one of those moments in South African history that has remained in our pysche since 1985.   

Those that died in the disaster are mostly buried in Westpark cemetery in a dedicated plot close to the main gate. It is a tragic place to visit because the sheer sale of the disaster is only experienced when you are faced with seeing all of the graves together. 

In 2011 I spent some time in Westpark photographing all of the graves, sadly they were all desecrated a long time ago and never restored. I spent time hunting down the graves in the general cemetery and they too had been desecrated. Nobody has even been able to explain why this happened, and who was responsible. It was a sad pilgrimage for me, trying to match headstones with names, and seeing those names in the registers made it just a bit harder. The funeral for all of the children was held on the same day, and a sad day it was for so many people.

It took until 2007 for a memorial to be erected to the victims,  and even this has had its fair share of controversy.  

In 2014 I revisited the graves while I was down in South Africa and photographed the small photographs that were on some of the graves, one day I will match faces to names and make my own records of the disaster a little more complete. 

There are two graves that stick out for me, the first is grave number 7, where two sisters are buried together (Reinette and Linda Du Plooy) , and the grave of Caroline Brown who is buried in the general part of the cemetery in a grave that was stripped of its name like so many others.  The vandalism of the graves was not random, it was targeted, somebody went out of their way to hunt down the graves and desecrate them

It is just over 30 years since the disaster, had it not happened some of those children would have been mothers or fathers today, they would have had families of their own, and just possibly their children would have attended that same school that they had attended so many years ago. There are a lot of what if’s associated with the Westdene Bus Disaster, it was all a matter of timing. catching a different bus, or sitting upstairs or downstairs was the difference between life of death.

There were a lot of heroes on 27 March 1985, but sadly there were too many victims. May They Rest in Peace 

Images of the graves are available on eggsa. I sincerely hope that one day they get restored. 

My own page about the memorial may be found at Allatsea

DRW © 2016-2020. Originally created 27/03/2016


Litter Bug!

One nasty side effect of the recent flooding has been the proliferation of litter that is now on the tide marks of the flood water. Where I stay this is particularly true and the majority of litter is plastic bottles. 

Yes, somebody was too bloody lazy to throw their litter into a bin or take it home to dispose of it. Makes you feel proud to be a member of the human race! 

Our town has an active group of volunteer litter pickers that goes around picking up other people’s crap and keeping the streets relatively clean although it is a thankless task and a never ending one too. I occasionally help out but am not a registered picker and don’t really have the bags and place to dispose of the contents in.  This morning I took my handy picker and 2 bags and tried to make a dent on the landscape. I filled 2 black bags with litter, although it was mostly plastic drinks and water bottles. It looks better already!

Before

After

I am not done yet, just after I post this I am meeting up with others who want to tackle the mess. We are going to make a difference, even if it is a drop in the ocean. Unfortunately because of the nature of the floodwater the litter is not really recyclable so it will all end up in a garbage site somewhere. 

Hopefully I will get some pics a bit later today to show what we did. Watch this space and pick up that garbage!! 

Job done…

Before

After

Unfortunately the mess on the other river bank will need to be approached from a different angle and we have not worked that out yet. But things are looking so much better now. 6 bags of litter was collected on the riverbank, and there is probably enough to be found to fill another 3.

Out of interest I worked on a recycling line way back in 2015 and learnt quite a lot while wading through the conveyor belt that rushed past me. A large portion of what went past us was catalogues in plastic bags addressed to somebody that had been thrown away unopened. People throw anything away… from clothing to food, plastic, cardboard, polystyrene, electronic waste and tons of unidentifiable rubbish. We were doing this just after Christmas so we had the additional burden of unwanted gift wrapping and decorations, food packaging, and the normal run of the mill stuff. To help pass the time I used to count clothing items to see how many people I could cloth on a shift from clothing that had been binned;  I seem to remember one evening tallying up enough clothing for 8 people! (including shoes and underwear).  Naturally some things I wanted to save, quite a lot of old family photographs passed along our line and those were sad because one day somebody may ask about them.  They were not mere photographs but often the only tangible reminder of lives that have passed. 

So, having enthralled everybody with my tales from the garbage age I would like to share two photos that I took in Johannesburg in 2012.  

This is the daily slog for many of the informal litter pickers who trudge through the streets in South Africa with their strange cart-traptions, They recycle tins, paper, cardboard and almost anything that has value. White paper is particularly favoured as it does have a high resale value. People like this do not get the full value of their collecting as it is often sold to a middleman at a fraction of the price. As much as they tended to mess up traffic with their huge loads they not only kept our streets cleaner but also performed a very necessary role in the recycling chain.  Where I used to work in Kyalami Business Park there were many cardboard collectors vying for a place in the pecking order, and we employed one to help us clear out our workshop and we even gave him a few days casual work, but his already difficult life was messed up when somebody stole his trolley, forcing him to have to carry his loads by hand, and even at the bottom of society your life can change dramatically overnight. If I had 10 of these guys we could clean this town up in a week, although the odds are 20 more would suddenly appear out of nowhere for such is the nature of poverty and need.  Remember: there but for the grace of God go I.  

Right.. let me grab my goodies and go do my good deed for the day. 

DRW © 2020. Created 14/03/2020