20th June 2013: Christmas is Coming

 Christmas is Coming

No – it hasn’t snowed  properly yet.  But we’re all dreaming of a white Christmas next month when we celebrate Christmas in July.  (12-14 July) The Clarens Tourism Forum hasn’t quite finalised the program yet, but quite a few events have already been confirmed.   The dry-land mushers and their huskies are coming, and wouldn’t it be fun to some them sledding through the snow?  There’s also to be a Christmas Dinner Dance on Friday the 12th of July at The Courtyard Restaurant, a Caberet: Die nuwe FAK, at Brambleberry, Christmas carols, Township tours, Classical concerts, Art Route tours, and lots more.  To see the draft program CLICK HERE .  Clarens News will update the program as more events are confirmed. 


Editorial Comment: Bumper Weekend in Clarens! 

Well.   The long weekend just gone (remember?) was extraordinary.   The Clarens Brewery broke its Easter record and most of the shops and restaurants in the village reported a bumper weekend.   Quite why remains a mystery, but this surge in business confirms that Clarens is still on the rise.   Perhaps the most important feature of the weekend was the good-natured atmosphere in what might be laughingly referred to as the CBD.   Usually taciturn retailers were wreathed in smiles and there were no serious problems in evidence.
The village grey-beards often remark that the business year really only begins in June, although there are some flutterings of business excitement between New Year and that date.   If so, we can look forward to a good second-half year and a satisfactory 2013.   Oh, and the display of XK120, XK140 and XK150 Jaguars contributed in no small measure to the festivities; it is quite remarkable how some vintage hardware brings a glint to the eye and facilitates the shovelling action of the right arm – particularly opposite the Brewery!
Even better news was the fact that there was no uncontrolled rioting at the sight of this cavalcade of British motoring elegance, as anticipated by our masters (and mistresses) in Bethlehem.   The concept that sufficient physical space for 2000 people equals rampaging mobs and a solid dose of arson (based on outdated Football World Cup legislation) is simply silly and does not warrant the attention of mature adults in municipal office.  Perhaps it is time they returned the village square to the village and leave us to decide what works and doesn’t work in our own space.   While the idea of Sodom and Gomorrah long-arm dancing on the square obviously excites Bethlehem and Pretoria, we are actually quite moderate in our collective behaviour.   Well, most of the time, anyway.  Perhaps a declaration of sovereign independence is the only solution?  


As the Actress said to the Bishop……..

Clarens citizens as yet unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease may recall the last town manager of Clarens.   Smiling, facilitative and genteel to a fault, he left our collective employ under something of a cloud, as a number of village ladies will confirm.   Well (as the actress said to the Bishop), you can’t keep a good man down.   Having been removed to face several complaints of a, ummm, personal nature, he has simply resurfaced as town manager of Rosendal.   This shuffling of personnel makes a mockery of the judicial process and confirms the supremacy of political pull in Dihlabeng.   That said, we confidently predict a short stay on the other side of the hill.   Leopards do not change their spots, wherever they may be (the spots, that is).


The Clarens Village Conservancy:

Damien Coulsen has found another interesting plant in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve….. and there are lots more.  (See the sidebar or go directly to the page on the Clarens News website.)
Everyone is invited to enjoy the Clarens Village Nature Reserve – and I think it’s really special that we can take our dogs with us when we go walking in this beautiful environment.  Cyclists must however get a permit (available from Clarens XTreme) and quad-bikes are not allowed.  Trail Maps are available at the Bibliophile, The Old Stone Bottle Store, and The Village Grocer. You can also phone Toni on 082 4492 082 to order maps for your guesthouse, restaurant or shop.
I know I wrote this last week, but since illegal dumping of rubbish in the nature reserve is an on going problem, all residents and guest houses are once again asked to delay putting their refuse out until well after dark the evening before collection or just before leaving for work on the morning of collection.  (Not just this week, but every week.)  Read more.

Plant of the week

Greetings again to all our Village plant enthusiasts.
This week we introduce Selago galpinii, the Sesotho common name (this species has no English common names) is Tsitoanenyana. It is a perennial herb that grows to between 150 and 300 mm in height. The leaves are small and semi-needle shaped, occurring in clusters. The inflorescence is slender with small rounded heads of approximately 10 mm in diameter. The flowers, although small are a blue – violet colour which contrasts pleasantly with the hues of the surrounding winter vegetation, making it especially visible during the cooler autumn/early winter period.     Read more

Ornithological Notes

Alert theatre fundis will know that well-known impresario Pieter Toerien (who must be 104 by now) is running a show in the Big Apple called, appropriately, Twitchers.   Apparently the script (?) has two couples sparring in a hide, much to the amusement of the audience – we assume.   Which got me thinking.
Internal theatrics notwithstanding, what if Clarens built a hide on the square and opened it to keen observers of the human condition?    It would make a cool alternative to hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, shopping and even, yes, drinking.   Just think.   Under cover of darkness, a dozen or so keen twitchers could sneak into a camouflaged hide on the square and await the arrival of our weekend visitors………To read more (and find out how many shopping days there are until Chirstmas)  Click here



Weekend Weather

Sorry –  no snow this weekend.  Just more beautiful, clear sunny days in Clarens.


Clarens Country Market   NOW RUNNING FROM 10AM TO 3PM
Get your Christmas “goodies”here.  To see some of what’s on offer  CLICK HERE to visit the Clarens Country Market facebook page.  Because The Clarens Country Market is where local people to exhibit and sell local produce, arts and handicrafts, here is your chance to show your support for all things Clarens. . It is held in the front garden of the Bibliophile Bookshop in Church Street, between Van Zyl and Market Streets, every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, weather-permitting.
For more information or to book a stall, contact Debra 083 765 8901 or Megan 082 469 2072.



Live Music

Thursday 20 June
Street Cafe: Shamrock  8pm onwatrds
Friday 21 June
Street Cafe:  Slipstream (8pm onwards)
The Grouse and Claret:  Grumpy Old Men
Saturday: 22nd June
Friends:  Bendover  (8pm onwards)


Rugby, Rugby, Rugby!
Stop in at one of the many pubs in Clarens to enjoy the atmosphere.  It’s almost like being at the game. (And if you want to see it on a very big screen stop in  it at Artichoke.)
Everyone is holding their breath to see whether or not Jean de Villiers will be fit enough to play tomorrow, following an injury to his sternum last week.
22nd June 2013.  (Kick off 17.15)
South Africa v SamoaCricket ICC Champions Trophy
Oh what a shame.  England beat South Africa by 7 wickets on Wednesday.  But, just in case you’re still interested the semi finals are as follows:
20 June 2013:  Sri Lanka v India, Cardiff
25 June 2013: England v New Zeland, London.


Mid-week wining and dining

Ubuntu Monday:

Time once again for Clarens locals to get together, drink wine and solve all problems big and small – until the next day, that is! Warren and Amanda are kindly hosting at Mosaic Pizzeria. NB: Bring a Bottle and a plate of food / snacks.
Tuesday and Thursday:   Clarens sushi.  To see whats on offer go to:  Clarens sushi

Locals breakfast: Clarens locals (Clarenites ?) can also visit The Posthouse for breakfast, where being a local means that you can enjoy a good breakfast for as little as R16 – R20. (Being a local really is lekker!)
And ofcourse – we still have all the other fabulous Clarens Restuarants, as well as a wonderful selection of delis – so we really are spoilt for choice.  Visit our website – there’s quite a selection.


In Clarens

8th Clarens Quilt Festival 
26-28 June 2013
Quilt in Clarens is the only annual quilt festival in the Free State, and over the last eight years has grown from 7 to 261 participants.  The festival offers small classes (7 per day) and personal attention, as well as courses (both novice and advanced) in quilting, creative knitting, crocheting and embroidery. The festival offers ann ideal opportunity for all those who want to quilt in a relaxed environment.  For more information contact the organiser Alae Grabe on 082 5772232 or email quiltinclarens@gmail.com

Clarens Country Market:  Car boot sale.
29th June 2013
Everyone is invited to clear out the garage – and turn all those unwated items into cash.   For further details please contact Megan  Megan 082 469 2072

Wine  Tasting:
6 July 2013 :  Mont D’Or
With Winemaker Wynand Grobler from Rickety Bridge Winery – Franschhoek
Limited seats available.  To see the menu and make a booking CLICK HERE

Chrismas in July
12 -14 July right here in Clarens.
Those of you who can’t wait for Christmas will be happy to know that it’s only a month away.  (I will have to ask the Twitcher exactly how many shopping days until then, and will let you know next week.  And of course, there are going to be Christmas Carols – and lots to eat and drink.  Warm fires, great company, and if you’re lucky there may even be a present or two under the Chirstmas trree.
The Tourism Forum are working on a varied program: caberet, music, huskies, tavern tours and lots, lots more. To see the draft program PRESS HERE

The Clarens MacNollie Challenge 
12 October 2013
Based on the famous Royal MacNab challenge the Clarens Macnollie is aimed to stay true to the spirit of the original – but with an interesting ‘green’ twist  Participants will compete against each other as corporate teams in three disciplines i.e. hunting a Reedbuck will be replaced by shooting an Impala target on a shooting range (best grouping), the Trout fish will be replaced by a Bass (catch and release) and the shooting of  Grey-wing Francolin will be replaced by shooting clay pigeons (electronic laser system). All three disciplines still to be completed in 12 hours. The event being a prestigious one, only corporate team winners and second place winners will be eligible for the Clarens Macnollie Trophy and Macnollie Shield respectively. Our main sponsor NISSAN Betlehem, NISSAN Welkom and UD Truck Division Welkom challenges you to the Macnollie. Click here for the NISSAN challenge invitation. For any inquiries contact Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925 or email spf@macnollie.co.za  or visit their website: www.macnollie.co.za.  All funds rasied will go to the SPF.(Sector Police Forum)


Fouriesburg Polar Bear Plunge
29th June  (2pm)
Meet at the Arpa Dam (at Arpa Adventure Farm S325 off the R711, 7km outside Fouriesburg
Swim 50m in the dam. Change rooms available.  Bring your own blankets!
R100 per entrant (includes a T-shirt “first come first served”- and a boerewors roll.
Boerewors rolls, pancakes and cooldrinks for sale at the dam before, during and after the plunge!
Entrance free to spectators!!!
In aid of Cluny Animal Trust.

Afriski – Lesotho
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.
BUT WHY WAIT until then to visit Afriski, when you can have fun in the snow NOW.  Phone Dean of Maluti Footprints: 072 133 9615/082 921 3894 to arrange a trip in the Maluti Footprints bus (which is equipped with snow chains, a satellite phone and all the necessities (including back-up) to ensure you get there and back safely.   Should you wish to drive there yourself please be advised that the Lesotho Traffic Department requires that each vehicle has two triangles and one fire extinguisher. You are also advised to check the road conditions before you go:  ice covered roads can be hazardous.
Remember to bring your passport.


Other news:


2005 Citröen Picasso 2.0 diesel in exceptional condition.  
One owner from new with full service history, available in Clarens.
Excellent value at R62,500.  Contact Peter on 0828510484 or 
Email peterbw@eastcoast.co.za