MORE apartheid follies. Denzil Moffat, of Kloof, writes in apropos last week's piece on Ciskei International Airport – a super-swish extravaganza 10 minutes' flying time from East London airport, where the only aircraft ever to land were two jet liners from America that never took off again.
"Did you know they also bought two snowploughs from Europe at a cost of R5 million each?"
No I didn't, but I suppose it's as well to be prepared for any eventuality. The old Durban Station – which today houses Tourism KZN and Durban Tourism, among others – had a roof designed to hold 40 feet of snow. And in more than a century it never once let us down.
Some say the Natal Government Railways borrowed an architect's plan from Canada. Others that it was just a mix-up at the Colonial Office between Natal and Canada.
There's probably a station in Winnipeg that has terrible trouble every winter with the thatch caving in under the snow.
ONE HEARS a lot of whingeing these days about declining standards – traffic lights not working, this collapsed, that in disarray. But at least the South African Bureau of Standards is still doggedly plugging away. I'm obliged to Lilian Develing, of Hillcrest, for gleaning this item from Government Gazette 6784A/45297/BZ/a of August 14.
New SABS standards for pipes to be used in South Africa:
· A pipe is defined as a long hole with a suitable, non-leaking material surrounding it.
· The shape of the holes must be the same as the shape of the surrounding material, and also properly aligned, otherwise leaks may occur.
· All pipes are to be hollow throughout the entire length of the pipe. The holes may not be of different lengths than the pipes.
· The ID (inside diameter) of pipes may never exceed their OD (outside diameter) - otherwise the hole will be on the outside.
· A pipe is supplied with nothing in the hole, and the contents should be supplied by the user.
· All pipes under 6m in length should have the words "SHORT PIPE" clearly painted on each end of the pipe, so the contractor will know it's a short pipe. The same with pipes over 6m in length, which should have the words "LONG PIPE" clearly painted on each end of the pipe, so the user will know it's a long pipe.
· Pipes over 10m in length must have the words "LONG PIPE" painted in the middle as well, so the user does not need to walk more than 6m to know what pipe he/she has.
· All pipes over 1m in diameter must have the words "LARGE PIPE" painted on them, so the contractor won't mistake them for small pipes
· Flanges may be used on pipes. Flanges must have holes for bolts, but these holes are quite separate from the hole in the middle of the pipe.
· When ordering elbows, be sure to specify left-hand or right-hand elbows, otherwise the pipeline will end up going the wrong way.
· Be sure to specify whether they should be level, uphill or downhill pipes. Using downhill pipes for going uphill, will end up with trenches that are uneconomically deep. On the other hand, long uphill pipes on a downhill or level terrain may be hazardous to aeroplanes.
· All pipes shorter than 3mm in length are very uneconomical to use, requiring too many joints. These are generally known as washers.
Er, do you think Lilian is having us on?
THE CIA are looking for an assassin. They're down to a short list of three – two men and a woman. It's the deciding interview. Each is handed a gun and told to go into an adjoining office and shoot his/her spouse, who is waiting there by arrangement.
First man: "Shoot my wife? You're crazy! I love her!"
Second man: "Shoot my wife? I'll do anything for America but not that!"
The woman takes the gun and walks coolly into the office. Shots ring out. There are sounds of smashing and crashing, screams.
Then she comes back. "This gun's loaded with blanks. I had to beat the bastard to death with the chair!"
Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.