Friday, 30 November 2012

Cuff-links..... Cuff-links....... Cuff-links.......

Back to the bench for a bit, and I mean a bit, reason being; I popped my back yet again and haven't really been able to sit for long periods hunched over my bench peg, it should also be noted that a healthy layer of dust had to be moved with a shovel before work could begin again.

So happy was I when I could again sit down and do some work..... this time in the form of not one but two pairs of cuff-links that had to be produced, the first pair being a pair of keyboard keys.

I started off with one of my usual "brilliant" ideas, those jewellers out there in the know will probably hold their collective heads and gasp in horror, but me myself and I at moment of inception thought this was an epic idea.... start off with a small mould made by embedding a genuine keyboard key into Plaster of Paris and leaving it for a couple of days to set thoroughly, keys are then removed from said mould, a bit of oil dropped in for lubrication and the mold heated up prior to the molten silver being poured in.

Silver is melted in my crucible and then poured into the mould...... and here everything turned sharp left in a direction marked "totally pear shaped"....... the silver now did a very passable and oddly dramatic impression of Mount Vesuvius, as the shock and horror of the eruption set in, stupidity immediately took over and I cupped my hands over the eruption to prevent loss of still molten pieces of silver.... ahhh yes you guessed it hand got a tad hot.... picture holding a near nuclear powered  Guy Faulkes sparkler in your cupped hands.

So back to the drawing board.... I measured up each of the sides, top and bottom, then made up a set of templates.
I re-melted all the silver poured an ingot and rolled out a sheet of plate - back into familiar territory.
Piece of rolled out plate

Templates are glued to the plate and tshrret tshreeeet tshreeet <--- sound of sawing, twooiing <--- sound of say blade breaking, tshrret tshreeeet tshreeet <--- sound of sawing,  finally all the required pieces where cut out.
Sections cut out
 All the pieces where then assembled not without their own various problems and a couple of restarts when side pieces fell apart but finally they began to become that which they were meant to resemble

Assembly complete

Following a couple a finishing glitches namely the engraver who didn't seem to know which way up a computer key faced and engraved one key the wrong way round, then blamed the fault on me saying "I put the cuff-links in the box the wrong way so he engraved them that way around".... riiigghhtttt!!!! - note to self don't send work there again......

Anyway all things being equal, they reached a successful completion

Keyboard key Cuff-links

The second pair are the "Round Square" cuff-links which by contrast came together with complete and almost boringly undramatic ease, don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, it's just I am usually so used to exciting disasters haunting me that it feels somewhat odd when a piece just pops together.

Round Square Cuff-links

As with all the pieces I make these two sets of cuff-links have a story of their own and a motive for their existence;  they are farewell gifts for the headmaster at the school where my wife Pam teaches, the keyboard keys being significant in that Pam is Head of I.T. studies in the high school of which he was very instrumental in the development of I.T. Studies.

Final Note:

Round Square is an association to which he belongs, so members from the school are giving him my interpretation of the Round Square in the form of cuff-links as a farewell gift.

"Round Square is a worldwide association of schools which share a commitment beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility"

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Rhino poaching

Stop the Rhino poaching 

Rhino poaching continues unabated at a rate unprecedented in the history of nature conservation in South Africa.

Rhino mother with baby

Following our recent trip to the Pilanesberg, it was again brought to our attention just what is being shot or should I say executed for the simple reason of the removal of the horn to be ground down as an aphrodisiac.

Now I am of the rather Old Testament variety; of the go out and smite all and sundry perpetrators of the crime of rhino poaching.
I say shoot the poachers on sight and for the rhino that are untouched - Insert poison pellets into the horns so when ground up and ingested the expected lift  for the male members of the oriental persuasion will actually come in the form of a lack of will to    live .......   permanently - did I just advocate murder... definitely not, i'm just saying if you willingly choose to ingest an "illegal" substance then it is your choice as to the outcome.

Now lets look at the horn specifically to understand just how stupidly insensitive this activity is: the horn is comprised of keratin, the same protein that makes up hair and fingernails, does this mean if I chew my fingernails or my wife's hair I will be "enhanced" in the nether regions.... I don't think so!!!

Reports below are taken from the to highlight the carnage:

20/11 Conserv reports 3 foot soldiers arrested today implicated in Vaalkop Dam incident. 
Will appear in Brits court tomorrow. Well done to all involved in the follow up operations!...

17/11 News of 7 rhino poached, 1 calf orphaned near Vaalkop Dam, North West...

07/11 Conserv reports white rhino cow shot, horns removed, calf shot, horns not removed, 
Mafikeng GR NW...

07/11 Rhino cow and calf darted and dehorned Shamwari, Eastern Cape. Calf has survived 
the attack...

06/11 Two rhinos poached Mauricedale...

04/11 Two Thai nationals suspected to be part of a rhino poaching syndicate arrested 
by SARS and the HAWKS at OR Tambo Airport. Well done guys!!...

04/11 Another 5 rhino down on private farm in the Amalia area, plus 3 known wounded...

01/11 Conserv reports white rhino found poached, Madikwe Game Reserve...afternoon 
follow-up: shot through heart and lungs, horns removed, carcass 3/4 days old, found 
approx 800m from Botswana border...

01/11 Conserv reports 1 rhino poached, horns intact, Amalia area NW....

30/10 Conserv reports 2 black rhino shot dead on Madikwe 2-3 days ago. Horns removed...

25/10 Last Javan rhino in Vietnam poached in April, with only 40-60 remaining in Indonesia...

24/10 Conserv reports: 2 white rhino poached yesterday, Sandveld, Free State...

19/10 Conserv reports 1 white rhino in boma near Vaalwter shot 3 x with a bow. Still alive...

10/10 Conserv reports 1 white rhino cow wounded, another shot/killed and horns removed. 
Carcass a week old, Kudoeskop area, Limpopo...

30/09 Groenewald case in court today, and a whopping 1 872 charges were served against them. 
Excellent work to the investigations team and prosecutors!...

28/09 23:40 Conserv confirms 1 rhino cow and calf shot, horns removed. Follow up in progress. 
Assen, North West...

28/09 Conserv reports: follow up on poaching in Rooiberg. 1 cow wounded, round removed and 
in stable condition...

19/10 Conserv reports black rhino bull shot Madikwe approx 5 days ago. Horns not removed...

17/10 Conserv reports 1 black rhino found poached, Madikwe. Shot, horns removed, 
carcass 3 weeks old...

01/10 Conserv reports 1 black rhino carcass found, 2 weeks old, Madikwe GR. Horns removed...

30/09 Conserv reports white rhino bull poached at approx 05h30 this morning, Madikwe. 
Horns neatly removed, eyes cut out...

26/09 4 White Rhinos poached in the Eastern Cape...

25/09 News of more rhino poached in KZN...

24/09 Conserv reports: Rhino Poaching latest stats. Sadly 396 rhinos down by 22 Sept. 
Another 6 down in Natal in the past 48hrs, 1 in North West. Total now 403...

31/08 2 men jailed for 29 years each for rhino poaching! An incredible sentence, well done all! ... 

21/08 Conserv reports 3 rhinos poached, horns removed on Pvt Game Farm NW. 2 shot 48hrs ago, 
1 shot 2 months ago...

12/08 Conserv update: The rhino that was dehorned alive has passed away. 2 calves found dead 
on Bora due to mothers being poached...

09/08 Conserv reports 7 rhino poached in North West. 5 in Bora, 1 Madikwe and 1 private. 
Private rhino darted, still alive...

19/06 Conserv reports White rhino cow and calf poached in the Vaalwater area last week. 
Cows horns removed with a chainsaw...on a positive note, 1 poacher was convicted of 2 counts
of poaching on Borakalalo, North West. 
He was sentenced to 10 years per incident. EXCELLENT NEWS!!! 

12/06 Conserv reports 5 suspected poachers arrested north of Brits last night, .375 rifle & 
Double Cab confiscated. WELL DONE GUYS!...

04/06 News: 7 people arrested and 12 horns seized in two stings in Gauteng last week. 

At this point I would like to suggest that the word be put out that outer Mongolian hair salons  or Amazonian Pygmy toenails are far better sources of the required ingredients for the required "lift" but this would only result in the unprecedented deaths of both outer Mongolian women and the demise of their hair salons and the possible slaughter of Amazonian pygmies.

But then again if we look at this logically the pre-mentioned Amazonian pygmies could however start a whole  new home industry with beauty parlors trimming toenails, grinding them up and giving the male members of the again pre-mentioned Oriental persuasion the required "lift" they so ardently seek.

I wrote up this entry and then debated whether to actually publish, until I read this entry on the website.

Please be warned the link takes you to a page as they put it "a story containing extremely graphic and upsetting images"

Notes :

  • No insult was intended to either Outer Mongolians or Amazonian Pygmies, but was used only as a means to try to highlight the ludicrousness of the situation.
  • No Amazonian pygmies or Outer Mongolian women or hair salon's were harmed during writing of this blog.

All creatures great and small....

Back at work after a fantastic four days with Pam in the Pilanesberg. 

The Pilanesberg for those who don't know; is a National Game reserve situated in the Bojanala Region of the North West province 2 hours from Johannesburg in South Africa, so it makes for a nice easy getaway for the weekend.

So we peddled out of town on Friday getting there in time to take a leisurely drive through a part of the park before sundown, At this point I will mention we go to the park twice a year for our timeshare weekends but have missed the earlier one this year due to other travel commitments... we like to travel a lot; if you are interested, our last years entry can be read here.

Weather to start with was a bit rainy, not that that worries us, but as the weekend progressed so the temperature went up, on one of the evenings we were still experiencing 30 Degree heat at 6 PM at night, and that was when it was cooling down.

But back to the main point.... firstly there were thankfully no baboon incidents as experienced the last time, but we did see creatures of the muffin stealing variety (see earlier post)

Now let me explain something to you who uninitiated into sight seeing in a game park, this is not a zoo, the animals walk around wild and free while you sit closed up- nice and safe in your car..... no you cant get out of the vehicle except at designated spots where you can picnic safely behind a large game fence. So to continue.... because said animals are roaming around free you don't walk or in this case drive from one "exhibit" to the next, you have to drive and drive and drive..... and .... d...r...i...v...e until you find  something, so you get to look at a lot of great bush scenery and you start looking at the smaller creatures .... the very small creatures, like dung beetles and locusts and shongololo's (African milipede). There we go who says you don't learn something new everyday.
Shongololo (African milipede)

Dung Beetles

But then you turn a corner and the vista's open out teeming with wildlife, and as usual the Pilanesberg never disappoints with what we saw and the amount we saw.

Geek/Nerd moment:
We like to keep a log of everything we see, this is usually done on a pre-prepared sheet of papers done in Excel and then manually written on. This time however we went all high tech and took an iPad with said form created in Numbers all ready for electronically ticking off, this was then uploaded each day to my repository for safe keeping, soooo soooo geeky!!!!

Any how moving literally and figuratively along, the vast vista's flowed past, inundating us with creatures large and small, an abundance of recently new borne's were the order of this trip, tiny elephants, warthogs, zebra's and springbok all pointed to a very healthy park.


Zebra Colt/Foal

Warthog mother with young

Young warthog 

The weekend progressed much in this fashion, following are a random selection of photo's from the 331 photos I took over the weekend



Family of elephants strolling down the road

Elephant up on hill

Elephants with baby elephant

Scene in the bush

Elephant on the move
Elephants with Baby



Warthog with "passengers"

General view

Wildebeest at a salt lick


Guinea Fowl


Kudu relaxing in the shade

Kudu ram
Iron Age site circa 1700AD

Springbok in the road
Is it a rock??

No its a hippo !!
Zebra relaxing in the heat of the day