Thursday, 19 December 2013

Security is something I couldn't talk about...

Security is something I couldn't talk about until today, because I didn't want  everyone know that we didn't have any! Northcliffe is one of the nicer areas in Johannesburg with a relatively low crime rate, unlike the very wealthy areas where some houses are like fortresses; security lights and detectors surround the buildings, bars on all windows, electrified razor wire on all fences, big dogs patrolling the inner perimeters and armed guards look after the streets outside. You could never get near those houses, never mind break in!

A little more low key here… You drive up to the automatic gate and check there is nobody hanging around outside and that your car doors are locked. The gate opens, you drive in and close the gate behind you. This is where you disarm the alarm system. You then operate the remote garage door, drive in and bring the garage door down behind you before exiting the car; there's a door from the garage directly into the house. We have no electric fences, dogs or bars on the windows, but we do have an alarm system. When we go out, all alarms are on and if they go off the security company guarantee to have 4 armed guards at the house within 2 minutes, and they phone us. If we are in during the day, there's not much to worry about, and at night we can switch on the outside detectors until bed time before going to bed with the full system on. Either way, if the alarms go off we get immediate attention, and if we need fire, ambulance or police, the alarm company take care of that. If we come home at any time of the day and it looks like we have dodgy people outside, the security guys will come round and see us safely in, so we feel well looked after. Personally I'd feel safer still with a gun in the house but we are told that most robbers are armed and they nearly always operate in gangs. By being unarmed they might still rough you up but usually will not kill you!

Most South African's take 2 to 3 sugars in tea and coffee, I found this out from making a brew for the various visitors we've had this week. I told the security guy that most people in England don't have any in their tea or coffee and he was amazed. "Sugar is natural and gives you energy" he explained. I told him that in the UK people think sugar's bad for you and if they need to sweeten their drinks they prefer to use saccharin, which is a derivative of 'rat poison'. He seemed confused, but I assured him that we had complete faith in our health advisors. 

We now have the internet, no more bloody slow dongles which cost a fortune. So we are streaming our first film tonight and can't wait for the footie on Saturday. Just in time for Christmas too, though even saying that word in the middle of summer here still sounds daft. Where's my snow? Went through Facebook today and cut my friends list from around 300 down to 250. I worry about the 'friends' who are always looking in but never say anything; kind of spooky!

5 Mozza bites yesterday but I think my body's started to get used to them. Nowhere near the reaction I got during my first weeks. The mozza killer is called 'Doom' and I don't like using it but anything that wants to feed on me has to be seen as the enemy. We found a very big 'Violin Spider' in the kitchen last night, twice the size of our cuddly english spiders, it seemed to have muscles. Beverley caught it under a glass and as I tried to put it outside it ran back towards me, can't tell you have fast I can run backwards!

When you park the car at the supermarket, or anywhere else, there's always a guy, who looks after your car. Sometimes it's a homeless person who puts on a high visibility vest to make him more official, but whoever it is, he'll be there when you come back. We give a 3R tip and as part of that service they will guide you out of the parking slot. It's only a matter of time before I crush or kill one of these guys and when reversing, I try and keep track of them in my 3 mirrors as they jump from side to side waving their arms, signalling a code that I've yet to crack! 

Not far off the 50,000 hits on the blog now, never thought it would get that big when it all started 3 years ago. If I get say around 200 or so hits a day, of those, 110 will be UK around 60 USA and the rest dotted around the world in very unexpected places. China, Germany, Philippines, France, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and Poland all feature regularly, but I'm told that a lot of the USA one's could be automated drones that drag the internet for information; how frightening is that?

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