Monthly Archives: January 2015

30 January 2015

Damien's photo

Sunshine piercing through the veils of darkness

A majestic sun tries to pierce its way through the veils of darkness. Captured shortly after sunrise on the Fouriesburg road into Clarens. The dark purple and undulating mountains contrast starkly with the brilliant golden rays of the rising morning sun.

Clarens has talent!   The photograph and text above was sent in by Damien Coulson (head ranger for The Clarens Village Nature Reserve.)   And – just in case you think this is just a flash in the pan (no photographic pun intended) he also sent in the following:

A hot-air balloon rises from the Golf Estate and drifts languidly on the light early morning breeze towards the Naauwpoort Neck. It moves silently and majestically with the occasional sound of gas billowing in short bursts from the burner from as far as 600 m away.
Thank you for sharing with us Damien.

Of course we all know that Clarens provides inspiration for many talented artists, writers, poets, photographers, cooks, designers  ….. oh the list goes on and on.  We’re also lucky enough to have one of the best book shops in the country, run by Debra Stewart who also manages the Bibliophile Writers’ Support and Social Club: A network of established and aspiring writers,storytellers, scribes and scribblers who inspire and support one another’s creative endeavours in a convivial environment.  Click here to find out more about Bibliophile


Curbing Crime in Clarens with the Sector Police Forum

Have you ever wondered, by way of a rhetorical question, why Clarens is comparatively crime free? To start with, look at the evidence. In December 2014/January 2015, only two crimes in Upper Clarens were brought to the attention of the Clarens SAPS: An attempted housebreaking in Collet Street and an unreported bicycle theft from the Clarens Backpackers. In a situation where close to 5000 visitors per day were strolling the streets of the village, climbing its conservancy trails or rafting its white waters, this is simply extraordinary.

Granted, there was also a partially successful SAPS drug-bust at a Clarens watering hole in early January 2015; neither do these statistics take account of the situation in Kgubetswana. That said, for a tourist town on the Lesotho border, in an economic downturn, it is remarkable compared with the situation one year before: Over Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014, Clarens recorded 12 break-ins, drunk driving, domestic violence and incidences of violent confrontations in various nightclubs.

Why the decline? One key reason is the presence on the Clarens streets of the Sector Police Forum (SPF) patrols (Kgali, Phillip and Patricia) as well as Stephen Vorster on mobile patrol with his mountainous dog, Fifi. This presence, part of the SAPS three-tier crime prevention structure, has contributed in no small measure to a community-led response to crime and its early prevention. The drug-bust referred to above was carried out on the strength of SPF intelligence, for example. With limited exceptions, the lack of vagrants on the Clarens Square is due to SPF vigilance and gentle persuasion. In short, this presence on the ground provides the eyes and ears so critical to early warning and detection of crime, from whatever source.   Read more


Feature Film:  The Jakes are Missing

The final scene of the movie is to be shot on the square this Sunday – and everyone’s invited to join in the fun.   It is however going to be a long day, so it’s suggested that you either pitch at 8am and be prepared to hang around until 3pm or come at 3pm and stay until 11pm.   This is your chance to be in the movies.


Click here To read more about the movie – and to see who’s starring in the movie (apart from you of course)


The Clarens Ultimate Frisbee team

Chris Pefanis, a self-confessed Frisbee fanatic, together with Graham Rodin is keen to develop aClarens Ultimate Frisbee team.  Chris has been in touch with a Pretoria team – The Labradors – who are planning to visit Clarens 13-15 March. They are willing to help us learn the rules and throwing techniques of the game that weekend.

If you’re interested, inbox Chris  (www.facebook.com/chris.pefanis) with your contact number and let’s get playing!


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve


Agapanthurs campanulatus 2
DamienArticle and photography by
Damien Coulson
Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Agapanthaceae (Agapanthus) family.   Agapanthus companulatus subsp. paten (Bell Agapanthus in English, Bloulelie in Afrikaans & Lera-laphou in Sesotho) is a deciduous perennial herb which may grow to 100mm tall. This species prefers moist rocky areas such as waterways and drainage lines, near valley bottoms and rocky slopes. A mid-high altitude species, it is commonly found growing at the 1800-2400m A.S.L. band. A. companulatussubsp. paten is found occurring in the Eastern Mountain Region (EMR) of the Drakensburg in montane grassland through to Mpum, the Eastern Free State and Gauteng.       Read more


Paballo’s Nursing Care: New Hours etc for 2015

Hours for Nursing Rooms
Monday           09h00-15h00
Tuesday          09h00-15h00
Wednesday     CLOSED
Thursday         09h00-15h00
Friday              09h00-15h00
Saturday         09h00-13h00
Sunday            On call

On call for Emergencies every day until 22h00 (after this time, the nurses’ need to be available for the elderly folk with whom they live).
After 22h00 telephonic advice will be given.
Or – Telephone Hoogland Medi Clinic (058 307 2424) emergency ward} (private patients)
Or – Telephone Dihlabeng Hospital (058 303 1000) (government patients)
Or – Telephone Ambulance Services:
ER 24                                      086 108 4124
Netcare 911                            079 146 9144
Government Ambulance         058 303 1226
Click here for more about Paballo’s Nursing Care
Click here for other important telephone numbers


Radio Maluti

Clarens is featured on Maluti Radio’s Hoezit program with Garth Brook from 09h00 every Saturday  Be sure to tune in.

 

 

 


EVENTS

Clarens Country Market1618453_361809250627472_967076778_n Clarens Country Market

Cluny Farm Goats Milk products will be on sale tomorrow at the Clarens Country Market and every Saturday thereafter for the duration of the season (summer) Feta. Cream Cheese and Plain Yoghurt will arrive tomorrow. See you from 10 am onwards 

31 January 2015
Shades of Broadway at Bon Appetit
6-8 February, 2015
Annual Birding Weekend at Golden Gate
7th February, 2015
Book launch:   “Woord-engel” by Azette Wiesner. 
(With songs on the Woord-engel CD  performend by Jeanette Jacobs, a local singer, and the Clarens Vintage men’s choir with René Human.)
13-15 February, 2015
Love Rosendal Festival
13-15 February, 2015
H.O.G. Valentine’s Rally
SPF will host the Harley Owners Group, or HOGS, as they are better known.  This event will be hosted off the Square, on Market Street West, and include live music until 11:00pm; there will be no road closures, parking on Church Street and ablutions facilities will be brought into Clarens.  Arguably most importantly, all the drinks involved will be locally-purchased, adding some weight to the local economy.  All proceeds of this weekend will go to the SPF.
19-22 February 2015
Bieliemielie Fees
23-26 February 2015
Richard Rennie “Paint with me” workshop
27-28 February 2015
Clarens Craft Beer Festival
28th February 2015
Cansa Shavathon

Classifieds

Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website – especially if you’re looking for space or a flat to rent.   There’s also a new employment opportunity this week.

Agapanthus campanulatus

Agapanthus campanulatus
Agapanthus companulatus (Photo: D Coulson)
Agapanthus companulatus
Agapanthus campanulatus (Photo: D.Coulson)

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Agapanthaceae (Agapanthus) family.

Agapanthus companulatus subsp. paten (Bell Agapanthus in English, Bloulelie in Afrikaans & Lera-laphou in Sesotho) is a deciduous perennial herb which may grow to 100mm tall. This species prefers moist rocky areas such as waterways and drainage lines, near valley bottoms and rocky slopes. A mid-high altitude species, it is commonly found growing at the 1800-2400m A.S.L. band. A. companulatus subsp. paten is found occurring in the Eastern Mountain Region (EMR) of the Drakensburg in montane grassland through to Mpum, the Eastern Free State and Gauteng.

The derivatives agapé – love and anthos – flower, hint at the attractive nature of this particular wildflower. A conspicuous plant, it’s almost always found in colonies and it is hard to confuse the sky-blues and characteristic long, slender, bell-shape with other wildflowers. This particular specimen was found growing along the Titanic Trail and again along the Spruit (always in close proximity to water). This plant contrasts nicely with the various shades of green vegetation amongst which it grows, and is large enough to photograph without having to first get dirt on your elbows and knees…

The leaves of A. companulatus subsp. paten are long and slender (150-400mmX10-25mm) and dark green-grey grading to a red-purple colour towards the base of the stem. The umbel inflorescence is characteristic for this plant and the florets are wide-open to slightly reflexed. Each floret comprises 6 light-blue to purple tipped petals (approx. 35mm X 10mm) with a dark blue vertical mid-stripe and 6 stamens. The floret tube is shorter than the lobes by 1/3, with each floret borne on its own stalk and supported by a long, slender stem. Flowering occurs from Jan-March. Uses:

Ecological role

The flowers of this plant attract a host of pollinators such as bees whilst the seeds are wind-dispersed.

Traditional Uses

New-born Sesotho babes are bathed in a cooled infusion of the leaves to strengthen them against the elements. A soothing baby-lotion is also made from the rootstock to treat “cradle cap” (a dermatological condition of the head, unique to infants). It’s also been reportedly used as a lucky charm against lightning.

Gardening

This is amongst the most popular and sought-after of garden ornamental species and is great at growing from cuttings. Many of the gardens in Clarens have these growing where the soil is moist.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

 

Click here to read other articles on The Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

 

 

Paballo’s Nursing New Working Hours

26 January 2015

DETAILS OF NEW WORKING HOURS ETC. FOR 2015

Dear Community Members,

Hours for Nursing Rooms

Monday           09h00-15h00

Tuesday          09h00-15h00

Wednesday     CLOSED

Thursday         09h00-15h00

Friday              09h00-15h00

Saturday         09h00-13h00

Sunday            On call

 

On call for Emergencies every day until 22h00 (after this time, the nurses’ need to be available for the elderly folk with whom they live).

After 22h00 telephonic advice will be given.

Or – Telephone Hoogland Medi Clinic (058 307 2424) emergency ward} (private patients)

Or – Telephone Dihlabeng Hospital (058 303 1000) (government patients)

Or – Telephone Ambulance Services:

ER 24                                       086 108 4124

Netcare 911                             079 146 9144

Government Ambulance      058 303 1226

We also have to inform you that our prices have increased as from 1 January 2015. Please note that this is our first increase since 2011. A list of price increases is posted in the nurses’ rooms and on the community notice board.

Thank you all for your support.

Kind regards,

Dawn Wainwright

Trustee/Secretary – Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens

17 January 2015

Mount Horeb, Clarens

Mount Horeb

As I wake up to the music of the birds early on a warm summers day
When I open my window
There is sunshine in my eyes
I close my eyes and when I open them again I can see you in a distance smiling proudly back at me.
You stand bravely not afraid to express your beauty
From place to place
From town to town
There are others,but none Can be compared to you.
Your beauty is like that of A precious pearl

Poem by Nthabiseng Constance Nyefolo
First published on the Bibliophile Writers Support and Social Club website page

The Bibiliophile Writers Support and Social club is a of established and aspiring writers, storytellers, scribes and scribblers who inspire and support one another’s creative endeavours in a convivial environment.   For more information please contact Debra at Bibliophile: 058 256 1692


More news on the literary front:

31 degrees eastLocal author Don Emby’s new book 31 Degrees East, is now available as a digital download from Amazon. As a promotion, Don has arranged for downloads to be free from Monday 19 Jan to Friday 23 January, and says that any feed-back would be very welcome.

Resume:
Even if the current global campaign against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) continues at its current level of success, it will take 60 years until the total of more than 125 million women and girls now affected, is reduced by half.
Excerpt from a statement by Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and former High Court Judge.

Four young, newly qualified doctors, set out on a celebratory safari to visit the spectacular Murchison Falls in Uganda. On a lone night drive one of the doctors discovers the body of a young girl lying in the middle of a disused track in the Murchison Falls National Park.  Read more


The As(h) River

CLARENS   NEWS received an the following interesting letter from Pieter Olivier in response to our article “Tight lines on the Ash River” published in last week’s newsletter.   It seems that our reference to the Ash river is totally incorrect.  Pieter wrote as follows:

The only historic reference to the naming of the As (Axle) River which I know of, is the following from the “Bethlehem 125” history book by the late A P J van Rensburg (1989) : Page 10 : “ Vanaf Uys-se-Kuile is Retief se trek oor die suidelike gedeelte van die plaas Smalfontein (tans Bonnington, die plaas van mnr. F S liebowitz), oor die rand van die plase Poortjie en Trekpad en deur die Asrivier – so genoem omdat die as van ‘n wa hier gebreek het en hoogs waarskynlik die drif geblokkeer het en so die trek vertraag het. Hiervandaan het die Voortrekkers Klipnek deurgegaan en op die middag van 23 September 1837 in die Liebenbergskloof, vandag Liebenbergsvlei, uitgespan.”

The Liebenbergsvlei River and the Axle River come together in the Saulspoort Dam (now called the Sol Plaatje Dam to commemorate the 51 residents from the Sol Plaatje Municipality – Kimberley – who drowned there in on 1 May2003. The Axle River carries the water from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to the Wilger River and onwards to the Vaal Dam. The Bethlehem dam is the first municipal storage dam in South Africa to receive the high quality water via the Project.

I did try two or three years ago to convince SANRAL to rectify the matter at the river crossings but to no avail. The other gross fault is the big signboard near Clarens indicating the “ Ash River Outfall” (!!!). Greetings, Pieter


Annual Birding Weekend in Golden Gate Highlands National Park 

Registrations are now open for birders to participate in the Sasol Golden Gate annual birding weekend which takes place from 6th-8th February 2015. This event organised by the Free State Region of the Honorary Rangers, raises funds for SANParks conservation projects within Golden Gate Highlands National Park. 

The Golden Gate Vulture Hide was partly funded by previous birding events and provides birders the opportunity to spot the rare bearded vulture.   Read more


CVC Report Back:  December 2014

CVC Dec 2014 header

 

Damien Coulson has sent in another one of his interesting reports on the work being done in  the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.   Highlights in the December report back include news on a new trail specially for cyclists.   The trail is not complete yet, but work is well underway and the trail will be completed well before the MTN cycle race in April.   Click here to read Damien’s full report.


EVENTS:

Clarens Country Market 17 January 2015
Clarens Country Market
Burns night 24 January, 2015
Burns Night at Coutryard Restaurant
26 January, 2015:   Klopse Friendship Club Meeting
6-8 February, 2015
Annual Birding Weekend at Golden Gate
Shades of Broadway 31 January 2015
Shades of Broadway at Bon Appetit
Woord engel Azette Wiesner 7th February, 2015Book launch:   “Woord-engel” by Azette Wiesner. (With songs on the Woord-engel CD  performend by Jeanette Jacobs, a local singer, and the Clarens Vintage men’s choir with René Human.)

 

Love Rosendal 13-15 February, 2015Love Rosendal Festival

Bieliemielie 2015 19-22 February 2015

27-28 February 2014
Clarens Craft Beer Festival


Classifieds

Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website – espcially if you’re looking for a flat to rent.

9th January, 2015

The “week” that was

Chirstmas has come and gone we are now in 2015 and  I’m sure that most of us have already forgotten those New Year’s Resolutions.    Traditionally, this is however, a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved and to set our goals for the year ahead.   A thought that immediately springs to mind, is that we live in a fabulous place and one of the reasons why Clarens is so special is that we are lucky enough to have so many wonderful community organisations and generous individuals who are prepared to give of their time and resources to ensure that our village just keeps on getting better and better.   Please have a look at the Community Page on our website:   You too, may be able to make a positive contribution.


 

The Twitcher returns

Yes indeed.  Can’t keep a good man down, as the actress said to the Bishop.  The Twitcher is back to enlighten and entertain, and in some rare cases, abuse.  But no-one in our fair village of course.  It seems like an age since we last talked; well, you listened possibly while I rabbited on.  After a spell in a Siberian prison for a small, perhaps even insignificant demonstration in Red Square, in support of the Bolshoi Ballet’s cake sale, I came to understand that the key to the meaning of life is in fact Cricket.  Yes, nothing like a set of rusty prison bars to focus the mind and all mine could conjure was the sight of Dale Steyn, thundering down the pitch to decimate an innocuous Australian, flailing his bat helplessly at the oncoming bouncer.  The rest is history of course.  Our own thugs at the top of the heap, verbally abusing the rest.  Glorious game, cricket.

Which brings me to the subject of this return to Clarens News.  In short, the need to share a cricketing highlight from the glorious annals of this noble sport on our own oblong, er, square.  I quote verbatim from a missive recently to hand from a foreign Sporting and Hunting Correspondent, RW ‘Belcher’Agar:  Read more


 

It’s all about Trout

A recent article on the CNN website:  African sushi:  Mountainous fish farm links Lesotho with Japanese chefs     http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/21/business/lesotho-trout-for-japan/   highlights the trade in trout from Katse Dam to Japan.   Have a look – it makes for an interesting read for anyone living in or visiting Clarens, since Clarens played an important role in the construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.   This project has featured in quite a few articles which were written for our newsletter and which appear on the Clarens News Website:

Launch of Lesotho Highlands Water Project- Phase 2  (Clarens News: May 2014.  Article by Mary Walker)
Lesotho Highlands Water Project – Phase 2  (Clarens News: March 2014. Article by Mary Walker with  historical insight into building of Phase 1)
Water – Lesotho Highlands Water Project (Clarens News: September 2013.  Background on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, with reference to the impact of this project on Clarens)
Self Drive – Ash River Outfall Drive  (Clarens News: April 2014) Map and information.
Self drive: Clarens to Katse Dam  (Clarens News: March 2014.) Article by Rod and Rose Smart on their Katse experience – with tips on driving in Lesotho.)
Katse Dam  (General information on Katse Dam, Tours to Katse Dam from Clarens, and the Katse Botanical Gardens.)


 

Tight lines on the Ash River


(Photograph:  Clarens Fishing)

A subject seldom touched on (but featured in the WildFly Fishing Series on Supersport) is the excellent trout fishing to be had in the Ash river just below the Ash River Outfall.   It seems that trout in our local rivers has become a bit of an environmental hot potato, with purists arguing that they do not belong in our rivers where they impact on the local indigenous fish population, and pragmatists that argue that the benefits of having trout in our rivers far outweighs the damage that these fish may cause.   Whatever your beliefs, the fact remains that we have a thriving trout population in the Ash river which provides almost perfect conditions for trout – and these fish are not only thriving, but also breeding in the river.   So much so, that the Ash river is now considered by many to provide the best trout fishing in South Africa, and Clarens is attracting fly-fishing enthusiasts from far and wide.
For more information on Fishing in the Clarens area – visit the Clarens News website page on Fishing:  http://clarensnews.co.za/fishing/  


 

Annual Birding Weekend in Golden Gate Highlands National Park 

Registrations are now open for birders to participate in the Sasol Golden Gate annual birding weekend which takes place from 6th-8th February 2015. This event organised by the Free State Region of the Honorary Rangers, raises funds for SANParks conservation projects within Golden Gate Highlands National Park. 

The Golden Gate Vulture Hide was partly funded by previous birding events and provides birders the opportunity to spot the rare bearded vulture.   Read more

Please note that registration for this event closes next friday: 16th January, 2015


 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Article and photograph by Damien Coulson

Head ranger
Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Lamiaceae (Sage and mint) family.

Ajuga ophrydis (Bugle Plant in English & Senyarela in Sesotho) is a perennial herb which may grow to 250mm tall. This remarkable yet understated herb grows sparcely distributed in rocky grassland areas, in close proximity to rocky slopes at higher altitudes up to 2700 m A.S.L, occurring from the Eastern Cape through to Mpum.

An altogether attractive plant, this specimen was observed above the Porcupine Trail, along what will soon be our new cycle route – the Caracal Contour. Interestingly this specimen and several new wildflowers were only observed in the area in which cattle have been excluded and in which an intact portion of fence remains, and is evidence of the need to conserve our natural heritage. As a matter of interest, this is the only member of the Ajuga genus which has been recorded in S.A.

Click here to read more


 

EVENTS:

10 January 2014
Clarens Country Market
24 January, 2015
Burns Night at Coutryard Restaurant
26 January, 2015:   Klopse Friendship Club Meeting
6-8 February, 2015
Annual Birding Weekend at Golden Gate
31 January 2015
Shades of Broadway at Bon Appetit 
Azette Wiesner 7th February, 2015

Book launch:   “Woord-engel” by Azette Wiesner. 

(With songs on the Woord-engel CD  performend by Jeanette Jacobs, a local singer, and the Clarens Vintage men’s choir with René Human.)

 

13-15 February, 2015Love Rosendal Festival


Classifieds

Remember to have a look at our Classifieds page on the website – espcially if you’re looking for a flat to rent.

9 January 2015: The Twitcher is Back

The Twitcher is Back!!! Yes indeed. Can’t keep a good man down, as the actress said to the Bishop. The Twitcher is back to enlighten and entertain, and in some rare cases, abuse. But no-one in our fair village of course.

It seems like an age since we last talked; well, you listened possibly while I rabbited on. After a spell in a Siberian prison for a small, perhaps even insignificant demonstration in Red Square, in support of the Bolshoi Ballet’s cake sale, I came to understand that the key to the meaning of life is in fact Cricket. Yes, nothing like a set of rusty prison bars to focus the mind and all mine could conjure was the sight of Dale Steyn, thundering down the pitch to decimate an innocuous Australian, flailing his bat helplessly at the oncoming bouncer. The rest is history of course. Our own thugs at the top of the heap, verbally abusing the rest. Glorious game, cricket.

Which brings me to the subject of this return to Clarens News. In short, the need to share a cricketing highlight from the glorious annals of this noble sport on our own oblong, er, square. I quote verbatim from a missive recently to hand from a foreign Sporting and Hunting Correspondent, RW ‘Belcher’Agar:

Dateline: Friday 26 December 2014

Subject: Clarens Brewery Eleven (?) Win Famous Victory on Clarens Oval

Release date: ASA bloody P

The second in a 19 match series between the Clarens Brewery and Agar Brewery was played on Boxing Day, a tradition that originates in the pre-dawn of this famous sport, perhaps more accurately, religion. The Agar Brewery lost the toss of the double-headed coin and was put in to bat. The sneering joviality of the Clarens Brewery captain, Aiden ‘Fifer’ Pollock, confirmed the great satisfaction of the home side as they limbered up for the conflict.

Clarens Brewery fielded two robust youngsters from their Academy on the Square, sons of long-time imbibers at the aforementioned Brewery. These young legends tore into the Agar Brewery’s batting line-up (suicidal at best!!) with Ross (6 years), Grandpa (78 years), Georgina (14 years), master brewer Mike, Tom (16 years) and captain ‘Belcher’ Agar himself falling to the onslaught. The latter, in the great tradition of teams from Puddlington-on-the-Swamp, ran himself out for 3. This left the visitors tottering at 7 for 6, or, as the Australians are wont to say, 6 for 7. Agar Brewery, heads hanging low, was reeling and an embarrassingly short match was in prospect. Clarens Brewery was sparking on all cylinders and took time out to make a batch of Clarens Blonde. However, in the grand tradition of the Guinea fowl rising from the ashes, Agar Brewery staged a comeback: The captain’s nephew, Duncan (12 years old) struck an exquisite 8 colossal runs while brother Donovan (31 runs, and possibly a sneak inclusion from the ranks of the Proteas) as well as Brian (16 years), who struck back with 10 invaluable runs. Agar Brewery looked smug at their modest score of 56, some 11 more than they scored in the first match of the series, in April 2014.

Clarens Brewery, acknowledging the tumultuous applause of the capacity crowd on the terraces, started with a flourish and had the scorers sweating as they ticked along merrily, losing only the odd wicket. Your correspondent must report that this situation was occasioned by the appalling fielding of the Agar Brewery team, which included an ‘own goal’ from the captain in the first over and dropped catches in the deep by Tom, Brian, Grandpa and yes, the captain, again. A missed run-out by, yes, you guessed it, the captain, added yeast to the wound. As Clarens Brewery supporters sipped champagne in the VIP boxes and threw strawberries at the fielders, Agar Brewery’s heads were bowed. Clarens Brewery’s team of valiant (and quite good-looking) heroes raced to within spitting distance of the Agar Brewery’s negligible score, with only half the overs bowled. However, in a reversal of fortune, Agar Brewery brought fast bowler Brian into the attack to bowl the second of his two overs with as much fire as he could muster. Brian, normally very relaxed to the point of sleep, was pumped to the gills and determined to lift his team to victory. He steamed in and stopped Clarens Brewery’s race to victory in its tracks, picking up 4 wickets to leave him with a 6 wicket haul. Clarens Brewery was teetering on the brink of an unprecedented disaster and was down to their last batsmen, still needing 5 more runs. However, in the great tradition of the heroes of old (April 2014?), their surviving batsmen (dropped twice by, you guessed it again, the Agar Brewery captain) duly knocked off the remaining runs in singles and Clarens chalked up their second win in the 19 match series.

The umpire, duly rewarded by the Clarens Brewery for his partial and selective blindness, called time and Donovan won Man of the Match with a fine innings characterised by timing, placement of his strokes and the cleanest socks on the oval. Other notable events in this stunning victory by what was unanimously agreed to be the better (best?) team was stellar bowling and fielding by both sides, notwithstanding occasional visits to the Clarens Brewery by both teams. Also noteworthy was secondment of Agar’s Jessica to the Clarens Brewery team to even the numbers, giving the Agar Brewery its only taste of victory on the day.

For the record, Clarens Brewery, humble in their second series victory, have refused promotion to the national first league on the grounds of other commitments, including the tasting of Clarens Red, 1912 and IPA. Agar Brewers were left to reflect on missed opportunities and what might have been. Both teams retired to the Brewery forecourt to have a nice cup of tea. Stay tuned for match 3 in this tumultuous series, with rumours flying about the recruitment of ‘ringers’ by the Agar Brewery for the next encounter!

Ajuga ophrydis

Ajuga ophrydis
Ajuga ophrydis (Photo: Damien Coulson)

 

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Lamiaceae (Sage and mint) family.

Ajuga ophrydis (Bugle Plant in English & Senyarela in Sesotho) is a perennial herb which may grow to 250mm tall. This remarkable yet understated herb grows sparcely distributed in rocky grassland areas, in close proximity to rocky slopes at higher altitudes up to 2700 m A.S.L, occurring from the Eastern Cape through to Mpum.

An altogether attractive plant, this specimen was observed above the Porcupine Trail, along what will soon be our new cycle route – the Caracal Contour. Interestingly this specimen and several new wildflowers were only observed in the area in which cattle have been excluded and in which an intact portion of fence remains, and is evidence of the need to conserve our natural heritage. As a matter of interest, this is the only member of the Ajuga genus which has been recorded in S.A.

The paddle-like leaves of A.ophrydis are basal and rosetted for the most part, measuring 30-170mm long by 15-40mm wide. The margins are covered in fine hairs and are toothed, sometimes slightly roled inwards. The inflorescence measures approx. 200mm long and is spiked. The whorled flowers are relatively small (12-14mm) and are blue-mauve. Each flower consists of a 5-toothed calyx with 1 reduced upper “lip”. 4 brown curved stamens appear as “eyes” on each floret, giving each flower the semblance of a miniature face. Flowering occurs from Oct-Feb. Uses:

Ecological role

The flowers of this plant attract a host of pollinators thus assisting with pollination of both wild plant and food-crop species.

Traditional Uses

This plant has been used in the formulation of traditional medicines and has apparently been used in traditional medicine to relieve menstrual pains.

Gardening

Those who’ve tried to propagate A. ophrydis have found it an easy plant to grow from cuttings.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for A. ophrydis is listed as Least Concern

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

 

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