Monthly Archives: March 2013

Clarens News March 22 – Out and About in Clarens

Notes from the Editor

Human Rights Day? Darned good idea. Best idea since Winnie told the team to take their stompie out for a drag, and the national police took her at her words. Well, at least a public holiday means they can’t be implementing the State Secrecy Bill for one more day, so good result all in all. Been a busy week, generally, and looks to be even busier for the next 2 weekends. Keep an eye on www.facebook.com/clarensnews for up to the minute details of Clarens specials and events.
I remember clearly my first big concert, 1988, Harare, Human Rights Day: Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N’dour and Peter Gabriel. Chicken flesh it was, to be part of 50 000 people, singing along and going crazy for the final guitar march with all the artists together, and I treasured my copy of the Declaration of Human Rights that came with the ticket for many years. To read the full declaration go to thislink
Of course, when it comes to Human Rights, there are some lines that should not be crossed, and the Twitcher is clearly outraged, judging from his contribution (see sidebar Ornithological Notes), about the proposed Liquor act and its consequences for Clarens, SA, and the world at large

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING

Art Class with Tina de Beer


Last Friday Tina de Beer gave a workshop for 28 art students from Machabeng Maseru from Lesotho at the NG Kerk Saal. They arrived by bus and took directly to their task, painting a poppy in acrylic. I arrived after they had been busy for a few hours, and was amazed by how quiet they all were, totally involved in their work.When I spoke to Tina she almost brought me to tears by telling me about overcoming the “I can’t do it” reflex, and bringing students to an understanding of what they actually are capable of. She has been painting since she was 9 years old and shares her lifetime of learning with Tuesday art classes, Lesotho school groups and corporate art groups. She takes great delight in bringing students of all ages to a deeper understanding of the world of colour and form.   To see images of the class go HERE

Rebellie Game Lodge


We found ourselves looking out over a million mountains in perfect silence the other morning, on the stoep of Nic Prinsloo, manager of Rebellie Game Lodge. Herds of Eland and Black Widebeest step lightly on the crystal that litters the mountain slopes, and the view is majestic. Visit this link to see pictures of the hall (used for conferences, weddings and this weekend a craft art class), the Lodge next to the watering hole, the view, the other separate venues, and the picnic area. Give him a call on0836278391 to book some peace in the mountains.
There is no fence between Rebellie and the Golden Gate Nature Reserve, so the game comes and goes as it pleases. Fresh Eland poo on his stoep is a reminder that these magnificent beasts tend to come and eat the ivy growing on his walls at night, maybe just to hear the opera music Nic loves so much.
Rebellie also has one of the top 10 4×4 trails in the country, over some incredible mountains, definitely worth a spin.

JACKET SHOP

coat-jacket-shop
As I write these words I bask in the luxury of a new journo vest. Actually it might technically be a fishing vest, but it suits me just fine. The Jacket Shop (Park Wholesalers) is open and doing business, get down there now to pick up some of your best winter wear, and remember, we owe it to our guests to look good.
They have a huge range of stock, from Annapurna arctic gear, to full cammo bush jackets, faux fur coats and hoodies, all at ridiculous prices. To see some more of their range, and some of the bales of coats, go here

In other News:

ZAMA ZAMA

Ntsi-Mokoena-zama-zama-tavern-clarens
A story of hard work and maintaining your vision leads us to say well done to Ntsi Mokoena (Petrus). The 40 year old started working at Mont D’or in 2008 as a waiter, then went to Vitos until a month ago, when he finally had enough savings to buy the second oldest Tavern in Kgubetswana – Zama Zama. No drinking, smoking or wild life lead this local boy (born on Elim Farm, home of Sethuthuthu Quad Bike trails) to having his own place, and from here he plans to go further. He wants to bring in a traditional African dining experience for Foreign visitors, and ultimately work his way up to having his own guesthouse.
He says the greatest thing about going from waiter to owner is being able to say “Welcome to my house” instead “What can I get for you?”. The venue has a fantastic view out over Horeb and the mountains of Lesotho, and he tells me that early in the morning he looks at the mountain, and he borrows it with his mind…
They have a happy hour on Fridays from 7-8, and a Ladies night on Thursday nights, so if you have guests who want a traditional African tavern experience, send them on down to Zama-Zama
To book an evening and arrange for a feast, call Ntsi on 0784510494
zama-zama-clarens-tavern-township-tour

Tshepong place of Safety


“Tshepong Centre is a community project of the Combined Churches in Action operating in the Kgubetswana township, and is a non profit organisation relying on donations and gifts from donors and the community.  The Feeding Scheme called Bana ba Hlokang feeds & cares for about 200 children every day, so our needs are substantial.

Our current needs at Tshepong are for computers and musical instruments.  Our on going needs are for books, school books, sports equipment, toys, food, used clothing, furniture and curtains, cutlery, crockery, etc.  Should you have any of the above that you wish to pass on to Tshepong, we will collect it from you.  Please call Mark on 083 613 1079.”
tshepong-place-of-safety

And Finally

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events 23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ the newly opened The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00 – Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!!
24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks!
Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

GOLF

Cluny Animal Trust Golf day on May 31 at the Clarens Golf Club
We are looking for sponsors for the 18 holes. Sponsorship for each hole will be R1,000.00 per hole which allows you to advertise as you wish on the appropriate hole.We welcome any form of sponsorship either in cash or prizes.The competition will be a ‘four ball better ball’. The entrance is R1,200.00 for 4 players, which includes a light lunch at the half way and Prize giving dinner in the evening. If you would like to take part in our golf day or require any further information please contact the co-ordinators:JAN SANDER E MAIL ADDRESS; Jansander22@gmail.com  cell number 0782462553ROSE BAILEY EMAIL ADDRESS;jabailey@nashuaisp.co.za cell number 0828790161, fax No.0866747750

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend
Rugby specials always available, snack platter R120
Sunday OB and Denzl will tickle your earbuds
And Monday we have Awesome Slipstream as well as happyhour.

Artichoke
Dion the Souti from Toti Friday afternoon
Hensie and Denzl will be playing Friday Night
Rugby Saturday
Christiaan van Zyl on Sunday
Specials on Chicken Livers, Haloumi, T-Bone, Eischbein and Claudia has a Bean Potato and Bacon soup

Grouse and Claret
Rick & Friends playing at Grouse on Saturday night

Friends Restaurant
Van Smith will be playing this weekend, Friday and Saturday nights, Rib burger and T-bone specials

Bon Appetit
Proscuito crudo from Italy, Assorted pates from Belgium, Chorizo from Portugal, Brie, St Albray and Roquefort from France…
You can find it all at Bon Appetit!
(you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

15th March 2013

If you are not completely blind-sided by the imminence of Easter, you may be interested to know that you have exactly 170 shopping days left to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, before Christmas.   Be warned; for a number of totally inexplicable reasons, the economy needs you to spend every last cent you have and enter the great, wide world of debt as soon as possible.    So you might as well have some fun doing it.   For now, your attention should be focused on matters of far greater gravity than painted eggs and small children snapping at your ankles, demanding money and chocolate.   For starters, there is the small matter of winter’s stealthy approach and the strong possibility that you could be frozen to death in your car on the way to the shops.   Before June.

Clarens News March 15 – The Cosmos is yours

Kosmos

Weekend Weather

Lets hope for a proper rain storm, we need to fill the dams

Notes from the Editor

 Well, I think we can officially agree that Autumn is here, and with it the beautiful Cosmos flowers on the sides of the road, the golden browning of our poplars, and a stampede of photographers, jostling each other for the best shots of the season. There will no doubt be many tripod related injuries and the pharmacy has taken special precautions to treat people suffering from camera flash related burns. Most photogenic town in the country? Possibly, and the Clarens News takes this opportunity to challenge the country at large to dispute this in open competition. If you take any pics over the next couple of months showing our golden coat, send them to editor@clarensnews.com anD we will forward them to any competitions we can find, and put up a prize for the best one, as judged by you, dear readers.
cobras-in-clarens
The Cobra Car Club was on the square last Saturday
park-wholesalers-coat-shop-clarens
And the absolute proof that winter is on its way is that the Coat Shop (Park Wholesalers) has just unpacked a huge container of coats, so hurry on down and help make Clarens the best dressed town in SA (over winter anyway…)

St-patrick-clarens-brewery-ale
For those of you fasting for Lent, the 17th of March is a special day, all restrictions are off, and you can celebrate at the Clarens Brewery this Saturday and Sunday with our special St. Paddy’s Shamrock Ale at R18 per 500ml.
Internet News – Finally, almost 8 months later, Clarens News has made it to page 1 of Google search for the word Clarens! Ecstatic editor? You bet. In addition to sending out 1500+ newsletters a week to you (beloved readers), the facebook page www.facebook.com/clarensnews had its most viewed post with last week’s News – 1800 people took the time to have a look at it. It’s a demanding baby, but it is really starting to makes its parents proud. From here on in it can only get better, and add more and more value to the town of Clarens.
Another Printed Version? Yes, in time for Easter. If you would like to be in the printed News, or have a story or anything interesting (and positive) to contribute, please send NOW, right now, your ad or article or photo for publication. Remember, Clarens News is for and about Clarens, and depends on the input of Clarensians to really make a difference. Thanks are due to Tannie Nonnie for her letter, and I hope that her concerns can be addressed at the soonest possible opportunity (see below)

In other News:

Ek is ‘n dame van die gemeente, so 88 jaar, maar nie te oud genoeg om hierdie godelose, vliende masjiene mis te kyk nie. Ek het slaaplose nagte oor daai helikopters wat dalk in my huis gaan vas vlieg en ontplof, of nog erger, in ons kerk. Laas week, toe ek mosbolletjies bak vir die agter kleinkinders, wat kom kuier en pragtige doilies hekel, vlieg daar weereens ‘n vervloekte helikopter oor ons rustige dorpie Clarens en land nogals oorkant ons kerk.  Ek het so geskrik, my beseer met die hekelnaald en mosbolletjies plat. Ek het ook so paar weke terug gehoor dat daardie jong man met sy elektriese nuus brief Eish se dat die versekering ons nie sal uit betaal as die vervloekte masjien in ons geboue vas vlieg nie.  Ek is nou te bang om te bak en miskien het ek binnekort nie eers meer ‘n huisie nie. Wat gaan ons doen? Slaaplose nagte sonder mosbolletjies ? Tannie Nonnie

And Finally Challenge to the Clarens Bass fishing community, please go out there and bring the trophy home MASSIVE BASS TOURNAMENT IN KZN What is probably South Africa’s – even Africa’s – largest bass tournament will take place on 18 farm dams in the area around New Hanover, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday March 16. It’s open to all fisherfolk, from novices to veterans. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, to raise funds for the 155-year-old New Hanover Preparatory School, and organisers hope to draw at least 1000 entries. The climax of the tournament is a 40-minute “fish-off” at the main dam where a generous cash prize is offered for the largest catch. Some years ago, a young child won it! Details are on www.newhanover.co.za. For further information, contact Dieter Oellermann on 082-577-9981

GOLF

mere-cat-cluny-animal-trust-golf-day-clarens

Cluny Animal Trust Golf day on May 31 at the Clarens Golf Club We are looking for sponsors for the 18 holes. Sponsorship for each hole will be R1,000.00 per hole which allows you to advertise as you wish on the appropriate hole. We welcome any form of sponsorship either in cash or prizes. The competition will be a ‘four ball better ball’. The entrance is R1,200.00 for 4 players, which includes a light lunch at the half way and Prize giving dinner in the evening.  If you would like to take part in our golf day or require any further information please contact the co-ordinators: JAN SANDER E MAIL ADDRESS; Jansander22@gmail.com  cell number 0782462553 ROSE BAILEY EMAIL ADDRESS; jabailey@nashuaisp.co.za cell number 0828790161, fax No.0866747750

RUGBY

Oh dear, as I write this the Cheetahs are playing the Waratahs in Sydney Great start Cheetahs with a try in the first minute – go Ebersohn. Full time score 27 26 VRYSTAAAAAAAT!!!!! Holding thumbs for the Kings when they host the Chiefs in PE Friday evening at 7pm Bulls continue their overseas campaign against the Crusaders at 8.30 Saturday morning in Christchurch And the Sharks will be snacking on the Brumbies in the Sharktank  at 5pm Saturday afternoon Street Cafe will have rugby specials throughout Saturday evening, including a Richelieu promo tomorrow, a scratch card kit, R24 for double and coke.

Bethlehem Kine

MARCH IS OSCAR MONTH AT BETHLEHEM  KINES DJANGO UNCHAINED   CINE 2 R: 165 Min – Adventure | Drama | Western

Django-Unchained-Bethlehem-Kine-Clarens-News

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino STARS: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio Writer: Quentin Tarantino

And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend Rugby specials always available here, snack platter R120 Also, there will be a brandy special- dbl with coke for R20. Please could you add something about our pool table & darts. And Monday we have Awesome Slipstream as well as happyhour. Artichoke Dion the Souti from Toti Saturday 12 – 3, then Rugby Specials on Chicken Livers, Haloumi, T-Bone, Eischbein and Claudia has an Italian Spinach and rice soup with Parmesan that sounds very interesting. Grouse and Claret Klipdrift brandy promo this weekend Friday and Saturday nights, funky prizes and giveaways

Friends Restaurant Slipstream Friday night and Ben Dover on Saturday, Rib burger special Clarens Interiors Biggie Best specials, mirrors, cushions, patchwork quilts, hurry on down Bon Appetit Expect a few treats from Valerie at her new premises behind the Brewery this weekend (you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events

23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00 Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!! 24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks! Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

Clarens Festival of Dirt

5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals.

The Fouriesburg annual 4×4 day will be held on the 27th of April.

This is an event not to be missed! It will be a fun day for the whole family. David Exley our very own 4×4 guru, will be designing the routes surrounding Fouriesburg. We will have a live band and entertainment for the kids. Please phone Nelis on 082 959 8120 or David on 082 820 0403 for more information.

The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival

which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest.

2013/05/04 MTN National Marathon #4 Clarens Clarens Freestate
2013/05/05 Nissan National Half Marathon #4 Clarens Clarens Freestate

31 May Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day at the Clarens Golf Club AFRI SKI – it’s almost that time again – July 11 – July 14 A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669 Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Video of the week

TED talks have some of the finest minds in the world, talking right out of the box, this week we feature Amy Cuddy, in the hopes that Clarens can have the best posture to fill their beautiful new coats and welcome the wonderful visitors. At the very least it might change your life – “Fake it until you become it” http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

The Dog Lovers

So they bought you And kept you in a Very good home Central heating TV A deep freeze A very good home – No one to take you For that lovely long run – But otherwise ‘A very good home’. They fed you Pal and Chum But not that lovely long run, Until, mad with energy and boredom You escaped – and ran and ran and ran Under a car. Today they will cry for you – Tomorrow they will buy another dog. Spike Milligan 1970 – from Small Dreams of a Scorpion

Swan

Ornithological Notes:

If you are not completely blind-sided by the imminence of Easter, you may be interested to know that you have exactly 170 shopping days left to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, before Christmas.   Be warned; for a number of totally inexplicable reasons, the economy needs you to spend every last cent you have and enter the great, wide world of debt as soon as possible.    So you might as well have some fun doing it.   For now, your attention should be focused on matters of far greater gravity than painted eggs and small children snapping at your ankles, demanding money and chocolate.   For starters, there is the small matter of winter’s stealthy approach and the strong possibility that you could be frozen to death in your car on the way to the shops.   Before June. ….

Clarens Village Conservancy

What to do in the event of a Structural fire, click on the image above. And the RECYCLING CENTRE is in dire straits, desperately in need of someone to supervise the Centre and organize pick up of material. Without someone helping this project may well collapse.

Clarens News March 8 2013

Clarens News – Notes from the Editor

Clarens News Lightning StrikeBest photograph I’ve ever taken, right here in Clarens

I finally got it, the photo I have chased for the last 5 years, and here it is for you lovely Clarens News readers

What a week. Possibly one of the best of my entire life, and a perfect reminder of why Clarens is such a perfect place to be, not just for itself, but as a jumping off platform to visit some of the best parts of SA if not the world. My brother came up for the weekend, to celebrate my birthday with me (hardly a day over 97 I hear you ask…) and we did it in style. Saturday sparrows saw us on our way to Lesotho, to have breakfast and lunch at the 5 Star Maliba Hotel in the middle of the mountains. You drive for an hour and a bit over the border, and bang, the people and houses give way to rolling majestic mountains, curtaining a glorious boma, filled with art all the trappings of a luxury destination, with rock pools down below and pony rides along a crisp mountain stream. A very filling 3 course lunch would have been an elephant sufficiency, but then Dean from Maluti Tours had to go and surprise us with a decadent chocolate cake bigger than my head, with roses on top…
And later the Sharks won!
Sunday was my turn to treat the family to a new experience, and I drove them down to Meiringskloof. Where is that you may ask, you may well keep on asking, because unless you know I shouldn’t really tell you how to find that green mossy overhanging piece of sacred earth and crystal strewn pools (hint, the Skoorsteen was started there, when the women and children hid during the Anglo war, and it is the old Free State capital’s original waterworks). We left feeling blessed and blissed.
Finally on Monday I secured the precious time of the Painted Lady, and we set off on an adventure through the Golden Gate Park, ignoring the official routes (after a brief detour past the vulture restaurant) and turned left onto a dirt road that took us into the heart of the park, on the road to Kestell. We explored the abandoned Raath family house and graveyard (I would love to know more about them if anyone can shed light) with gravestones dating back to 1850, discovered a seam of amazing (really amazing) crystals, and pushed on to explore Kestell itself.
Not much to say about the little town itself, but we were drawn to visit Karma Backpackers, where we met practicing Buddhist Vera-Anne, the owner, who let us into her getaway secret – Incosana Backpackers, in the Drakensberg – Monk’s Cowl and Champagne Castle area. Since we had procured a bottle of bubbly from the Old Stone a little earlier, it sounded appropriate, and off we went, allowing Karma to direct our path down a sunset Oliviershoek Pass and into the Central Berg. Along the way a porcupine couple graced us by stopping us in the road and slightly further on an owl sat quietly on the warm tar, awaiting our arrival, looked at us as dispassionately for over a minute, and flew over our car. Somewhere on the journey (a bit before Bergville) we had a feast of a dinner at Bingelela lodge, a sumptuous must for anyone en route to the Berg, and a destination in itself.
Next morning we awoke in our cosy little rondhavel, with the mountains looking down beneficially from above, twinkling waterfalls glittering and sparkling through rock teeth of dark basalt and grins cut by sandstone layered erosion. A brief chat to Eddie, our host (and resident climbing lodge owner for the last 30 years), and off we went in search of Nandi (very nice in Zulu) waterfall. Let me not mislead you, 8km of mountain side in the hot sun left us dizzy and slightly exhausted, cursing the man who had said the whole route was 9km, and then we discovered the Hlatizana forest. Faerie land couldn’t be a better description of the twisted roots, creeping greens and dangling lianas that cooled our weary bones, and we almost collapsed then and there at the first sign of shade. Instead, bloody mindedness ensured that we must push on, to find these bloody falls that we had heard about, and as we stepped under a canopy of green, it all made sudden sense. A glorious curtain fell at least 3 stories from a sheer cliff face, and there, next to this torrential downpour was a path!
Up we went and sat in perfect dry, looking out over what we came to feel was our forest and the berg beyond, popped the bubbly (star picked grapes and crisp chill air drops rising through space), and felt the grace of the world upon us, and the realization that great rewards come only after great effort became a lesson to take home.
Yes, that’s right, we came back to Clarens for the night, rested aching muscles in a hot bath, checked emails the next day, and then it was time to head back to the Berg for a fire show at Alpine Heath luxury lodge, this time in the Northern Drakensberg, for GlaxoSmithKline – multinational pharmaceutical company – with top SA fire crew, Dreams of Fire. It turned out we were the prelude to a corporate fire walking event, courtesy of Ken Andersson, and he didn’t mind in the least that the Painted Lady and I joined in. An hour later and the key word  ”HASHIBI” hoarsening our throats we had both fulfilled a life long dream of strolling delicately down a path of red hot coals. Fantastic!
A good dinner later, we awoke to different mountains in the same range (our peaks from – was it only the day before? – looked tiny in the distance). A full buffet breakfast first thing, and we were off into the Berg for another trail. This time to Tiger Falls past the stunning Cascades – a series of pools separated by waterfalls of gentle disposition – through under bellies of rock and under icy mountain showers. Straight up a 45 degree path for a couple of km (puffing and panting like steam trains) and we were sitting behind the second most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever witnessed, looking down into another jungle…
We dried ourselves briefly in the sun, filled a water bottle with pure waterfall energy, and raced a storm back down to the car park, before taking the hour and a half trek back up Oliviershoek, past the immense Sterkfontein Dam, through the Golden Gate park, and back to the little village we call home.
So, I know this is no excuse for the lateness of the News, at least 12 hours after its normal release time on a Thursday, but thank you dear reader for sharing in an epic journey of a week, which I would not have imagined possible this time last week, and one which is certainly not conceivable from many other places than Clarens. I realized then that we live in a destination, and that to visit Clarens is to stand on the edge of a springboard to the imagination. Don’t come for a weekend, come for a week, or a month, or, what the hey, where else would you rather live?
The editor thanks you for your indulgence, and promises not to bore you with his little adventures again.
Until next time…

In other News:

Clarens News has to report some Storms in teacups! Those of you familiar with the goings on and internal workings of Clarens may remember a little Centenary Festival last year, and some may even have read the feedback report from that festival. It seems to have asked more questions than it answered, and has elicited responses from our local Councillor, the chairman of the Tourism Forum, and the General Manager of the Golf Club. Since it is not the habit or philosophy of this rag to engage personal issues or wash laundry in the open air, I refer those who really must know to the Forum page of the website, where all the various correspondence is contained.
The most important thing to remember in this trying time, is that the Tourism Forum is there for Clarens as a whole, and works extremely hard to benefit local business in general. Their Agm is on the 16 April and there is community meeting set for the 9 April, for people to come and get involved with the process at hand. I strongly urge anyone with an interest in the town to come along, discuss the issues, and most importantly, to find a way to benefit the area at large, and help build Clarens as a brand as well as a safe haven for the sane to escape the outside world. The Forum exists for the benefit of all, so rather than taking issue, please take part.

And a huge vote of thanks to the Dihlabeng Municipality for upgrading 2 and a half meters of road in the Swartland. Without their valuable work of transplanting potholes from one small town to the next, Fouriesburg would have no road problems at all… The pothole they have removed will be sorely missed, but even more sorely hit by anyone who doesn’t notice the big hole in the ground where our beloved pothole used to be.

(e)Skom has asked consumers to please be sparing in their electricity usage as the grid is under stress due to among other things, Koeberg having a repair session (again) and the Limpopo line from Cahora Basa being affected by heavy flooding recently.  It would seem that the recent 8% price hike may take years to actually allow SA to get back to full functionality, but in the meantime, maybe this man has the solution http://www.linktv.org/video/8605 – Solar cooking options for Africa

(e)Skom: “We appeal to all customers to reduce their electricity usage and to switch off all non-essential appliances as the power system is extremely tight at present, particularly during the evening peak hours between 6pm and 9pm,” it said in a statement.Eskom said this would make it significantly easier to manage the power system. The utility said reduced electricity usage would also enable Eskom to do planned maintenance to ensure the reliability of its power plant.

“Eskom continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance but the system remains tight.”
And Finally
The News has started looking into going into comic book format, using pictures rather than words over the next 5 years. This has not been an easy decision to take, but recent revelations from the SA Democratic Teachers Union have made it a necessity. Not only are they threatening an indefinite strike against being put on time clocks to measure their absenteeism, but they have also warned of action in the event that the Department of Education does the unthinkable, and brings back sckool inspektors… How can this be allowed? Given the record pass marks for Matric last year (now that there is 30% average pass mark required) they are clearly doing a wonderful job, and should be encouraged to continue teaching in SMS, WhatsApp and Mixit rather than colonially oppressive reading and writhing. Yrs in gr8 hpe fr 2moros lrnrs.

This Weekend

Also happening this weekend is the Bethlehem Antique Car and Machine Show at Bethlehem Airport, a must for old car enthusiasts and fans of the internal combustion engine. Leave the wives at the day spa and bring your kids to see how we used to spin the world beneath our wheels.

PRINTED VERSION

Rumours abound that the News may have found support for a regular printed version, watch this space, or even better, write to us with suggestions or ways in which you would like to be involved with this project. It aims to include Kgubetswana location News, and ultimately to grow into a regional publication, promoting the entire E Free State, specifically from the standpoint that Clarens is the ideal central base to explore this fascinating and beautiful area.

GOLF

Clarens Golf Course
Despite what you may have read in the feedback report, this picture shows that the Golf course is looking fantastic from a distance. Well done to all involved in maintaining this jewel of Clarens.

RUGBY

After a serious drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs last weekend, Clarens News can only hope for a miracle when the Cheetahs face the Highlanders, hoping to break a 7 game losing streak to them. The Highlanders had a bye last week, so should be well rested after also losing to the Chiefs the week before. Maybe Heinrich Brussow can pull it out the bag for our boys “VRYSTAAT!!!” 8.35am Saturday morning kickoff

At 5pm most of the country will become de facto Stormers supporters when they square up to the current champions the Chiefs at Newlands. hopefully Jean de Villiers comment “I’ve got a really good feeling about this weekend” will translate into revenge for the punishment of the Cheetahs at their hands. Of course the closeness of their loss to the Sharks last Saturday (nail biting stuff) will mean that they have a lot to play for, and despite what my head says, I’m prepared to lose a spot of wonga betting on the home side.

At 7pm the Southern Kings will discover what home derbies are all about when they host the Sharks in PE. Disappointing is the fact that Luke (vomiting) Watson will start on the bench, and so will be spared the full wrath of an as yet undefeated school of Sharks. If they win it will be the shock of the year, and a poke in the eye of all Lions fans, who saw their team relegated in pursuit of transformation, courtesy of Cheeky the Pure.

And serious fans will be up at 5 on Sunday morning to see if the Bulls can start their tour in Auckland against the Blues against the odds and run of history. Hougaard starts on the bench in favour of Jano Vermaak, and let’s all hope that they can wave the flag high at the end of the day. Should be a great clash.

Street Cafe will have rugby specials throughout Saturday evening, including a Richelieu promo tomorrow, a scratch card kit, R24 for double and coke.

CINEMA

Bethlehem Kine

Since the closure of the Labia in Cape Town, Bethlehem Kine is one of the last remaining independent cinemas left in SA. Here’s their newest movie and other offerings for the week

CHASING MAVERICKS 
CINE 2
PG: 116min – DRAMA/SPORT
When young Jay Moriarity discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson to train him to survive it.
DIRECTOR: Michael Apted,  Curtis Hanson
STARS: Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler
Writers: Kario Salem (screen play), Jim Meenaghan (story)
SHOW TIMES: FRIDAY, MON, WED: 09:30,14:30,20:00
SAT, TUE, THUR:,12:00,17:30
SUN: 15:00

Argo – CINE 2 PG:(R) 120min – DRAMA/HISTORY/THRILLER
A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.
 Oscar Winner- BEST FILM 
DIRECTOR:  BEN AFFLECK Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay), Tonny Mendez (book)
STARS: BEN AFFECK, BRYAN CRASTON, JOHN GOODMAN SHOW TIMES: FRIDAY, TUE, THUR:14:00,20:00
SAT, MON,WED:11:00, 17:00
SUN: 15:00

Silver Linings Playbook – CINE 1 PG:(R) 122min
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Oscar Winner-BEST FEMALE ACTOR
DIRECTOR: David O. Russell
WRITERS: David O. Ressell (screenplay) and Matthew Quick (novel)
STARS: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence,Robert De Niro
SHOW TIMES: FRI – THUR:10:00,12:30,15:00,17:30,20:00
SUNDAY:12:00, 15:00

And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend
R80 for fillet & chips, R85 for T-bone & chips and R75 for ribs & chips. Sunday they have Denzel & OB playing
Happy Hour with Slipstream unplugged on Monday evenings, always great

Artichoke
Grilled Halloumi R35, Chicken Livers R35, Eischbein with Mustard Italian sauce R75, 350gm T-Bone R70

Friends Restaurant will have live music over the weekend(you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events

23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00
Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!!
24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to
The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks!
Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

Clarens Festival of Dirt

5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals.

The Fouriesburg annual 4×4 day will be held on the 27th of April.

This is an event not to be missed! It will be a fun day for the whole family.
David Exley our very own 4×4 guru, will be designing the routes surrounding Fouriesburg.
We will have a live band and entertainment for the kids.
Please phone Nelis on 082 959 8120 or David on 082 820 0403 for more information.

The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival

which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest.
In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE

2013/05/04 MTN National Marathon #4 Clarens Clarens Freestate
2013/05/05 Nissan National Half Marathon #4 Clarens Clarens Freestate

AFRI SKI – it’s almost that time again – July 11 – July 14
A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669
Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Video of the week

Amanda Palmer talks about giving away music and trust in a mutual recognition process. From the amazing TED talks, which everyone should watch at least some of in their lives

http://www.upworthy.com/an-8-foot-tall-woman-is-destroying-the-entire-music-industry

Thanks

The Twitcher

08 March 2013

177 shopping days to Christmas, with Easter, Workers Day, Women’s Day and many more along the way to frustrate and upset your plans and civic responsibilities.   Talking of which, the skies over our fair village are darkening with gathering clouds of vultures and other carnivores, ahead of the Tourist Forum’s report back on its endeavours to market the Clarens Centenary.   Indeed, the internet is awash with reports, questions, accusations, counter-accusations, independent views, scientific assessments and even more reports.   So what a good time to avoid the entire subject and talk instead about sex, rose-growing or anything else unrelated to matters politic. A good place to start is with the letter ‘A’.   For example, “As the Actress said to the Bishop”.    This is generally adjudged to be a useful sequel or precursor to any important statement, such as, “the Tourist Forum report back will be a bloodbath – as the Actress said to the Bishop”.    The letter ‘B’ is also good, and starts off many important words, like “Balls-up” and “Board”, as in, “the Board will avoid any direct answers to questions”.   Skipping unimportant letters like ‘C’ and ‘D’, we proceed to ‘E’, and a statement like, “Elections for the Board have not occurred in living memory”.   Jumping forward to that sparkly letter ‘M’, we have statements like “Mandy Prior is less than happy with the Board’s report”, while ‘R’ can be used for “the general manager of the Golf Estate refuted allegations that the course was in poor condition”.   And finally, with due discretion, the letter ‘X’ commends itself to statements such as “what the XXXXXXX XXXX has the XXXXXXX board been doing all this XXXXXXX time?”    So you see, children, when there are contentious issues in prospect it is so much healthier to focus on other, less controversial issues. Turning to matters ornithological, as indeed I should, I can report that the Guinea Fowl flocks are burgeoning: My own little troop has increased by 12 hatchlings, taking it to 23, alternatively expressed as a 5kg bag of broken maize every 3 days.   At this rate, either I will be insolvent within 6 years or the local feed suppliers will move to the South Coast to avoid the growing complications of the supply chain.   On a more positive note, I can report that Kaalvoetappears to have decamped!    There is no trace to be found of him/her in the surrounding area and the paths are quiet again.   But who knows? And finally, as the Actress said to the Bishop, the seasons are turning: The first sharp temperature fluctuations are in evidence come sundown and the leaves are turning on a good many trees around the valley.   While winter may be a little way off yet, the signs are there, so be warned and rush to the Little Coat Shop without delay and avoid the coming rush!

The Twitcher

Last week I suggested that Clarens was on something of a roll.  Well, in terms of building anyway.  Imagine my surprise when the long weekend (yes, OK, happy Woman’s Month yet again) inundated the village with more visitors than Easter, apparently confirming the level of interest in the Clarens experience?  Sure, there were well-founded rumours of snow in the high mountains of Lesotho but breaking every sales record in the history of the Clarens Brewery??  Now that’s a measure of success.

Being an exploratory sort of fellow, I ventured out of my darkened study into the Clarens CBD on Saturday night and into a maelstrom of sound and light.  Mrs Twitcher and I shimmied into a well-known hostelry and found ourselves nose to speaker with Rooibard, the band.  No birds to speak of, other than a thicket of young things moving myopically to the beat, but an experience of serious note.  Through a haze of cigarette, smoke the band sashayed their way through three-hours of amazement without doing a single cover.  And were they good!!

Okay, audio-anarchy pretty much sums it up, but what can you say about a group which plays (?), in addition to three guitars and clump of drums, a whistle, a violin, a squash-box, a scratchy thingie and a didgeridoo.  The latter did serious damage to my sternum and moved my gonads to a different plane of, dare I say it, enlightenment.  All in all an experience that our visitors will not forget in a hurry – and the whole thing fired by Tequila!

Which brings me neatly to the drop in temperature and the onset of winter.  Rumour has it that the Clarens Coat Shop has bribed Mother Nature to revert to type and bring in the clouds.  Whatever, the plunge in degrees Celsius has knackered the local bird population, who are now sheltering in the Old Stone Bottle Store’s technicolour dustbins.  So, if you are in need of a Yellow-Billed Hawk or two, a few Drongoes or a brace of Pigeons, you know where to look.  Don’t dip your hand in however; there are baboon droppings in the vicinity and signs of a Merecat, so do your bird-shopping with care.

Speaking personally, I have started waxing my skis, filling the brandy barrel on my St Bernard’s collar and checking the candles.  Don’t know about you, but I have no intention of being snowed-in, much as I love this idyllic little village.  Happy snow.

Ornithological Notes

Ornithological Notes:

 

128 shopping days to Christmas and counting.   Clarens, currently bathed in the balmy warmth of an Indian spring, is bracing itself for the arrival of 2,500 mountain bike riders, their loved ones and possibly their families.    That, as the actress said to the Bishop, is an awful lot of people, beers, Boerewors rolls and toilet paper, to be compressed into our little village in a single, frenetic weekend.    So what should we be doing about it?

 

First, in keeping with the national imperative to move money offshore, we obviously need to erect toll gates within the next 24 hours.    Mountain bikes do an immense amount of damage to tar roads, as several never to be published studies will show, and so must be protected from this annual onslaught.    Teams of municipal workers should therefore be tasked with building boom gates and camera systems at 100 metre intervals around the square, down the Main Road and up to the Nek, with immediate effect.    There is, of course, the small matter of planning, materials acquisition, deployment, wages, overtime and leave.   However, on past form these issues take about 12.6 months to resolve, if ever, so that probably negates the municipality as a role player in our bid to increase the nation’s offshore account holdings.   Second (there is always a Plan B), we could levy a voluntary tax on the use of the road.   Since a fuel levy is probably out of the question, maybe a Rubber Tax (no, not that kind of rubber, silly).   Perhaps we could ask every rider to put R1,000 into a large tin, marked National Retirement Fund, on the square?    But perhaps not, as there are no municipal staff available over the weekend to guard it.   Whatever happens, we have finally got an explanation for the little red light on top of the very large MTN toilet brush next to the Public Toilets (to be commissioned in June 2029) on the square: It is required to guide home the lame and lazy after dark, to ensure they can slumber in the collective warmth of their family bosom and have the odd drink or nine at the village’s fine hostelries.

 

In fact, what we really need to do, is make these athletes (and their extended families, handlers and pets) very, very welcome.    With a little effort, we can turn 2,500 cyclists this year into 25,000 next.   Where they will all sleep is anyone’s guess, but then what better reason for keeping the pubs open all night.   Making this race a success means avoiding running any of them over and helping wherever possible; see the Stop Press below for starters.   So, in addition to everything else you were planning to do this weekend, let’s make the MTN Race a winner in every sense.

 

The Twitcher

Solar Eclipse

 

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Skies : Hybrid Eclipse of the Sun on November 3 2013

The wonders of our universe can be experienced this Sunday with a final and rare hybrid eclipse of the Sun. This is a rather unusual eclipse due to its movement from annular (the edge of the sun is still visible around the moon) to total ,and many across the world wait in eager anticipation for the show in the skies.

To understand how rare this eclipse is, one need only take a look at the history of hybrid solar eclipses.

Over a span of 5000 years 11 898 solar eclipses have been listed in Fred Espenak’s Five Millenium Catalog of Solar Eclipses, and of that a mere 569 or 4,8% were hybrids.

The track of the eclipse starts in the Atlantic, about 875km Southwest of Bermuda, from where it will move southeastward passing Cape Verde parallel to the African coastline. Liberia seems to be the lucky winner, as the greatest eclipse of 100 seconds will fall just 402km off the coast.

The eclipse will then sweep across Africa, covering Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya before reaching its grand finale at the Ethiopia-Somalia border.  We will not be able to see the eclipse from Clarens – but perhaps we’ll notice a difference in the light.

 

GenevieveArticle by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News October 2013