OUT TO LUNCH
When we moved down to the Cape Winelands from a rapidly deteriorating Johannesburg back in 2013 I was very aware that we weren’t just moving from one province to another in South Africa – we were effectively moving to another country which just happened to use the same currency.
Also to a province that happened to boast a unique floral kingdom and one where the scenery never fails to soothe the troubled soul. I went on to the Property 24 website last week and saw that there are currently 115 properties for sale in the posh northern suburb in which I lived, some at prices which prevailed eight years ago. This tells me that there is a rush for the exit.
Three weeks ago there was snow on the Helderberg mountains near where I live and it was a wondrously uplifting sight. On the road outside my complex there are major works. The kerbstones are all being replaced, the road is being re-tarred and white lines have recently been repainted on some of our less travelled roads. After the heavy rains of a few weeks ago there were many potholes on some of the main roads leading into Somerset West.
Within three days they had been patched up and were ready for a more permanent solution, weather permitting. Last week I went with some dread to renew my vehicle’s license disk. Knowing that last year many renewals had been rescheduled for August due to COVID I was anticipating a long wait. I was in and out within 20 minutes, the service was friendly and efficient and I felt that warm glow one feels when you are living in a properly run province.
We don’t ever take this for granted down here but we are aware that what we experience is in sharp contrast to the experience in the rest of the country. The only logical explanation is that we are governed by the Democratic Alliance, a party much vilified by many woke white journos who live in and benefit from all the Western Cape has to offer. They must be utterly mad. As far as I am concerned you can postpone local elections for as long as you wish if it means the DA stay in power in the WC. The alternatives are too terrible to contemplate.
The year after we moved here I thought that it might be fun to do some serious whale watching. The year 2014 was a particularly good year for whales so I decided to charter a helicopter from Base 4 at Cape Town International and take a few friends along for the trip, among them the legendary Norma Ratcliffe, the Cape’s first female winemaker and a party animal of note.
The viewing was stunning and the light was perfect at around 4pm in the afternoon for some superb shots of Southern Right whales and calves along the coast near De Kelders.
With a legendary wine maker on board it would have been foolish to fly back to CTI without literally dropping in on a wine farm. So we landed at Bouchard Finlayson and were given a spectacular VIP private tasting in the cellar while the riff-raff who had only arrived in upmarket Mercs had to make do with the tasting room.
If you can arrive anywhere by helicopter I would strongly recommend it.
Back in December 2004, in the days when I was still ‘persona grata’, I was down in Plett test driving the newly released Rolls Royce Phantom for the Sunday Times and attending the BMW Polo at Kurland Estate. During the afternoon’s play I accompanied my host on a chopper ride to George airport so he could catch a flight to re-join his family on holiday in the Seychelles. On our return to Kurlands the polo was over and the partying was just beginning. You have no idea how desirable a guest you become when you’ve just got out of a helicopter on a private landing pad, particularly if you are wearing a white linen suit and a Panama hat.
But back to Bouchard Finlayson and the Hemel-en-Aarde valley which is home to so many stunning wine estates. Despite the uplifting name, the Hemel-en-Aarde valley was a leper colony between 1817 and 1846. When leprosy was first reported in Stellenbosch in 1756 it was decided that lepers should not be allowed to live with healthy people and they were sent off to a colony in Swellendam.
The idea of segregating those who carry disease seems to be gaining traction and I suspect vaccine passports are just the beginning. Before too long the great ‘un-vaxxed’ will be forced to live in designated areas for fear they will infect the rest of society.
It won’t simply be a case of not being allowed to travel, go to museums or art galleries, sporting events or nightclubs either. As the hysteria unfolds the un-vaxxed will be banned from shopping malls, restaurants, beaches, public parks etc. In fact, anywhere their foul contagion could infect others and delay the return to what used to be called a normal society.
Last week The Spectator ran an online piece by Laura Dodsworth who has just released a book with the title “A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the COVID-19 pandemic”. It has received mix reviews with The Times calling it “a Covidiot’s guide to the pandemic. An outrageously dumb book selling conspiracy hooey”.
However, not all reviews were quite as negative and some rather better qualified folk than The Times book reviewer give the book’s arguments a fairer hearing.
In her piece in The Speccie last week, Dodsworth wrote:
“We are simultaneously told that if you have the vaccine you can still be infected with and spread Covid, but if you don’t take it you are putting others at risk. The argument should fold under the weight of its own incoherence, but instead vaccine passports are being mandated in multiple countries with eerie synchronicity. It’s not conspiracism or paranoia to be alarmed by such developments”.
This is something that has long puzzled me. It is a very mixed message to claim both that vaccines are almost 100% effective and also that people who are not vaccinated (even those who have already had the disease) are a dire threat to those who are.
Something else that has concerned me as the MSM ramp up the COVID vaccine coercion is this. Forget the fact that the vaccine has only been approved so far for emergency use only and let’s give the scientists the benefit of the doubt for coming up with a vaccine in record time.
Why then would one need to immediately shut down those who dare to voice an opinion questioning the safety of the vaccine, rather than hearing them out, and then responding rationally and rigorously? This has the practical effect of entrenching rather than dispelling the concerns of people who have them.
Why would YouTube ban any opinion (however whacky it may sound) that doesn’t fit in with the official view? Why would governments make it a criminal offence to question the official response to Covid?
Surely if lockdown and vaccines were absolutely the right thing to do it would be unnecessary to have come up with the term ‘anti-vaxxer’, to label such people as selfish and tin-foil hat idiots and introduce measures to restrict their freedoms?
More to the point though, why would so many highly qualified medical, academic and science professionals such as Nick Hudson of www.pandata.org and those on www.hartgroup.org be prepared to risk their reputations and livelihoods to speak out? We know what’s in it for the pro-vaxxers but what’s in it for those on the other side of the debate?
I confess to being a complete fence sitter when it comes to the COVID jab. I would prefer to apply the legal test of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and at the moment, I feel that there are plenty of reasonable doubts; not the least of which are the totalitarian state tactics being used to bully citizens into getting vaccinated.
As a hesitant friend says of the vaccine, once it’s in you it’s in you. The fear is that one can’t then unscramble the egg. As Laura Dodsworth points out this is all about behavioural science and who, apart from places like China and North Korea, trusts that?