Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bill Stickers is guilty

Unfortunately, it seems that Dubai is one place where the Goat's particular incarnation of Mr William Stickers is not going to be prosecuted.

Not a day goes past without unsolicited crap being hung on the gate of the Crumbling Villa. The cast alimininium curlicues all over the outside of the gate seem to encourage the practice. The Goat isn't particularly interested in the new pizza joint, nursery school, hair salon or dental clinic; he has little use for a borehole in the garden (which is apparently illegal anyway), and always gets his cooking gas from the same outfit. So it's futile hanging the garbage on the garage.

One thing is certain. The Goat always removes the paperwork and stacks it unread on the footway for collection. If that constitutes littering, then address the cause and not the effect. If you prevent everyone from plastering the Crumbling Villa with junk, the Goat won't dump it in the street. Simples.

Just lately, things have got worse. Cars parked outside get additional copies of the same handbills stuffed in the door handles and under the windscreen wipers. These blow off eventually, but the Goat will certainly not read them, nor avail himself of the product or service advertised. The purveyors of cooking gas and of satellite TV rather unfortunately have self-adhesive stickers that get plastered by the elusive Mr Stickers all over the Goat's electricity meter cabinet. They get removed and dumped.

The Goat made the mistake of leaving the gate open the other day. He found yet more junk, left all over his parked motorbike and even shoved under the BACK door of the Crumbling Villa.

He's tried complaining. The Municipality seems to do nothing, and calling the number advertised on the junk results in somewhere between: "The manager isn't available, and will return your call" (which he doesn't, of course), to "Neanderthal grunt."

On the rare occasions when the Goat catches Bill Stickers in flagrante lectaro, on the footway on his motorbike, and asks him to refrain from littering, the relief is extremely short-lived. About ten minutes. Then it's back to paper and plastic waste being stuck to the wall, attached to the car, shoved in the gate, hurled over the wall into the front yard, and even hand-delivered under the Crumbling Villa's door.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wet winter weekend

The rain, it raineth every day
Upon the just and unjust fella;
But mostly on the just, because
The unjust has the just's umbrella.

Beloved Wife and Goat headed off to Istanbul for the UAE National Day long weekend. Despite dire warnings from the Authorities that over-decorating cars and engaging in impromptu parades would be regarded with a very dim view, it was generally considered over at the Crumbling Villa that simply avoiding the mayhem was a more acceptable option.

The Goat hopes that everyone enjoyed the UAE's 41st birthday celebrations.

The wonderful thing that is the internet revealed that going away for the weekend was also an excellent choice for anyone who didn't fancy experiencing torrential downpours and the flooding that followed. Facebook was briefly full of photo stories of blocked drains, flooded houses, surfing in the streets. Yes, really: there was a video of a Toyota Land Cruiser driving down the road with someone water-skiing on a surfboard behind. The Crumbling Villa remains mercifully waterproof, except for one small area in the bathroom that the landlord has failed to fix for over two years and counting.

Not that escaping to Istanbul involved an escape from wet weather. It always rains in Istanbul when the Goat visits. At least because wet weather is more common in Turkey, the infrastructure is better able to cope with a deluge than the UAE where rain is regular but very rare.

The Goat took his waterproof motorbike jacket and a flat cap, and spendthrift Beloved Wife lashed out around Dh5 on an umbrella. Most of the walking was timed to miss the showers, and when it rained, there were indoor things to do.

It does seem bizarre to think that one sunny morning, for the rain wasn't constant, Goat and Beloved Wife hid in the Cistern, an underground water tank with no sunlight and constant drips from the vaulted roof. The "No Big Cameras or Tripods Without Paying an Additional Fee" was not enforced, and the Goat's gorilla pod was great for wrapping around handrails during long-exposure shots.

Over at Hagia Sofiya, once a church, then a mosque, now a museum, tripods were absolutely forbidden, and had to be surrendered to Security. This is when a very steady hand, VR (vibration reduction) lenses, and ISO Auto comes in very useful. It's the first time the Goat has been in Hagia Sofiya and it's not been full of scaffolding.
The nave of Hagia Sofiya: Part church, part mosque, part museum
Beloved Wife wanted to see the mosaics at Chora museum, which turned out to be a long taxi ride away. As usual, mosaic details were stunning. Curiously, the taxi ride back was a lot shorter. Other public transport, the trams, were cheap and easy to use, and obviously very crowded because of the wet weather.

Madonna and Child, Chora Museum

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar were both open, and extremely crowded owing to the wet weather. Beloved Wife engaged in Christmas shopping, and also compared rug prices with what had been quoted elsewhere. One of her colleagues has worked as a rugmonger in Istanbul, and that was the shop that offered the best value by an order of magnitude. Guess what the Crumbling Villa household got for Christmas.

Meershaum pipes in the Egyptian Bazaar
Lights for sale in the Grand Bazaar
Carpet detail
Apart from spices, rugs, genuine fake designer handbags, and coloured lamps, Istanbul is famous for meerschaum pipes. But the Goat could't find one anywhere where the face on the front had a beard and horns. Plenty of stunning dragons, grizzled old men, buffalo and horses, and even a unicorn for the pipe smoker who's very secure in his sexuality. But no goats, at least, not in Istanbul.
Neither hide nor hair in Istanbul


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wheelie becoming a problem

The pile that is "Too Difficult"
Something that has – literally – been getting up the Goat’s nose of late is the lamentable state of local refuse collection. The wheelie bin on the corner of Crumbling Villa Crescent has until recently been regularly emptied by the Municipality. But the bin on the corner has become broken; someone has even gone to the effort of wiring it shut. Sadly, the local residents do not go to the effort of taking their domestic trash to one of the other bins. It is much easier simply to pile the trash up against the empty - but sealed shut - wheelie bin on the corner. Apparently the bin is all distorted and won’t fit on the machinery that empties it into the back of the truck, and that is why it’s been sealed shut.

The Goat telephoned the Municipality. It seemed odd that a Public Cleanliness Foreman of the Waste Management Department found it necessary to make an appointment to meet the Goat to have the problem pointed out to him in Small Words and Big Letters.

The foreman advised that the bin in question was privately owned and nothing to do with the Municipality. This is a bin on a public street, not within a private compound. It does have ‘V-49 A-E’ spray-painted on the side, and Villas 49a to 49e are indeed just over the road. However, unless the Crumbling Villa’s landlord also owns Villas 49a to 49e, it’s not the Goat’s landlord’s responsibility or problem. Nevertheless, the Environmental Health foreman insisted on obtaining contact details for the Goat’s landlord.

The Goat argued that vermin attracted by miasmic piles of festering refuse was surely an Environmental Health issue, and it mattered not one jot who owned the broken bin. This got the response that the Municipality would lean on the landlord and a new wheelie bin would be procured. The Goat should call the Municipality in a few days if this didn’t happen.

It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that the Goat is disappointed to see that the broken wheelie bin and its attendant odious festering pile of mephitic trash remains on the corner of Crumbling Villa Crescent a month after making the complaint.

Meanwhile, attempts to call Environmental Health now go unanswered. Welcome to the “Too Difficult” pile. The Goat rather hopes that this particular health hazard gets dealt with before the summer...


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.