From today’s papers:
I don’t often get snail mail letters from South Africa and thinking it may be for my landlord who’s company is also called Emerald Seedlings I opened it to find out whom it was for (very unlikely to be personal). It wasn’t.
Now I’m sure that most of you have received this sort of scam letter before, by email. I should think I get about one a month. They are deleted, often without being read (NEVER reply to these by the way). I’m told they are of Nigerian origin, usually. That this one came from South Africa, where there are lots of Nigerians, was a first as was the method of sending. It follows a fairly standard formula; a deceased estate that the sender has authority over which in a fit of huge generosity he wants to get rid of for what seems like very minor personal gain and somehow evade a bank audit in the process. Quaint English too. But what really is a give away in this letter is the sentence that states “…60% shall be for me for personal investment purposes in your country…”. I mean seriously, someone wants to invest in Zimbabwe?
The power went off on Sunday afternoon as it often does when there’s a storm nearby. We didn’t mind – it was a small price to pay for a respite from the incessant heat and the smell of damp earth was just wonderful. There was even a bit of hail which is very unusual for this time of year. I have also recently finished installing the solar panels and inverter so I was actually feeling a bit smug, secure in the knowledge that the fridge, freezer and of course the WiFi were going to function as normal.
The power was still off yesterday morning when I got to work and the foreman suggested I go and look at the transformer which in his opinion had been “bitten by the lightening”.
I could see his point – it was unlike any wiring I have ever seen on a transformer. Now we have had a lot of problems in the past with the wiring and the fuses (in those black, cylindrical things) often get loose and burn the contacts and as the original fuses are no longer available the power utility technicians insert washers, bits of copper wire and generally anything that will do the job.
I could see the fuse holders had been bypassed entirely with some not so thick copper wiring that was completely open to the elements and the unwary and all of 2m off the ground. It is “only” 220 volts on this side of the transformer but that is enough to be lethal.
The other problem we’ve had in the past is theft of the transformer cooling oil (for what purpose I’m not sure) which resulted in the transformer core burning out. A cage was made around the new transformer to keep would-be thieves away but I reckon this new wiring setup is just as effective and quite Darwinian too boot.
I told the foreman that as far as I could see the problem of lack of power was not at our transformer and sure enough later in the day it did come back on. But I did recommend he have a look – just for educational purposes.
Pleased to see you Mr Roberts he said. Of course he was pleased to see me; the car park only had one car in it and it was theirs. Yes, I was making an order for more advertising banners but it was only a small one but these days you cannot be fussy – it’s money or nothing!
More of interest to me was the tree I’d parked under – a Natal Mahogany or Trichilia emetica to use its botanical name. It was in full fruit and there were a myriad of old seeds on the tarmac, squashed mostly, the evidence of their high oil content smeared around. The oil is valuable and used in cosmetics and is also edible but the seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate, especially when not fresh, so here was a challenge the horticulturist in me could not refuse. They are beautiful indigenous tress of medium size with dark green evergreen foliage and I always know when the one next door is in fruit – there’s a constant stream of hornbills flapping in to feast on the fruit!
The seeds really are this intense red as in the photos. I have no idea if the black mark serves a purpose – it is not visible in the seed shell. Despite the literature saying the seeds are edible I am not tempted; one of the myriad of uses in traditional medicine is to make an emetic (it induces vomiting) from the bark!