23rd May, 2013: Fabulous Freestate

Fabulous Freestate

Clarens and the surrounding area is well-known for it’s sandstone formations:  mushroom rock, Queen Victoria, and Titanic to name just a few. One of my favourites however has to be the “freestate taxi”.  
Have you spotted it yet?  When driving to Bethlehem turn right on the first road out of Clarens.  Look out for the “taxi” further down the road, on your right

MTB Trails
Apart from the fabulous scenery in and around Clarens it seems that our MTB trails are fast becoming a major tourism attraction.  The recent MTN Cycle race not only highlighted Clarens as a fantastic destination for MTB enthusiasts but also gave the Clarens Village Conservancy a unique opportunity to study the impact that mountain bikes have on the environment and on the CVC hiking trails in particular.  Conservancy ranger, Damien Coulsen,  has already done a comprehensive study on the  impact of the MTN Cycle race on the CVC hiking trails. To read his report PRESS HERE

There are a number of MTB trails in and around Clarens, and if the photograph above is anything to go by, mountain biking can provide some wonderful opportunities for sightseeing. Ollie from Clarens Xtreme sent Clarens News descriptions of some of these trails.   CLICK HERE to find out more.

And whilst we’re on the subject of tourism:

Indaba Feedback:  Clarens were hosted by Free State Tourism at this year’s International Travel & Tourism Indaba in Durban on their new state-of-the-art exhibition stand. New energy and commitment from the FSTA placing Clarens in the No 1 Tourism spot for the Province. The Clarens delegates, Michael Scheepers, Ollie Esplin and John Martiens all delivered favourable reports. There’s been a re-shuffle at Government level with a Tourism consultant in place. Clarens is now ‘noticed and respected’. The challenge now is for all to keep the momentum going and to feed FSTA with marketing materials and information, use of their resources and facilities, i.e. website, printed media, etc. It is also extremely important to attend information sharing meetings hosted by the FSTA since Clarens will be used as a model to promote tourism throughout the Province. FSTA has also promised that an Info Centre will be in place in Clarens within the next 6 – 12 months!

Eco-Outdoor Show Gauteng:  This weekend Clarens will be hosted by N3Gateway and will be represented by Gavin & Sarah-Jane Schoeman, Chris Green and Andrew Flitton. The show organisers are anticipating 12000 people to visit!!


CTF Committee Portfolios:
To see the full list of CTF committee members, their names, telephone numbers, email addresses and portfolio please CLICK HERE


Ornithological Notes

107 shopping days to Christmas and Sandy Claws is sharpening his chisels in preparation for the sculpting of Presidential figurines; he is having difficulty, apparently, with miniature shower heads, so any contributions would be welcome.  Letters to Box 3, Greenland, to avoid disappointment for your nearest and dearest.

Much anxiety in the village about the Ibis convention of last week.  Several readers insist that the African Sacred Ibis, your faithful scribe reported, were in fact albino Flamingos, which had overshot the Welkom acid ponds (hardly surprising, really).  One reader speculated that they were a brand of heron, while another thought some inter-species mixing with Ostriches lay at the root of the confusion.  But your scribe is unrepentant: Careful study of the labels fixed to their undersides revealed the legend, Threskiornis aethiopicus, immediately under the statement of origin, ‘Made in China’.  Of greater interest is the fact that the rare Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus), reported last week, actually breeds in the Golden Gate’s Cathedral Cave; so if you are into Ibis orgies, that’s the place to be. To read more CLICK HERE

Editorial Comment:

Consensus, Unrest and Stability? 

Early days perhaps, but in the course of the last week, we have heard nothing but supporting comments about the establishment of the Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  Quite right too, but surprising in a village renowned for differences of opinion.   So perhaps it is an idea whose time has come after all.  We shall see.
Of more immediate import is the unrest besetting Lower Clarens, or Kubetswana, as it is also known.  The Clarens Sector Police Forum (SPF) issued a statement yesterday attempting to clarify events, not least the pops and bangs of Tuesday night.  This statement was drawn from information provided by Colonel Korff of the Public Order Policing Division, since our own Police Captain was unavailable for comment.  Latest information is that there is an uneasy truce in the area, pending a promised meeting with the Dihlabeng Council next week, to discuss service delivery.  The Clarens News will follow events and report these, since our role is to serve the wider community of this fair village, without fear or favour.   
On a positive note, the spat over the future of the village’s Police Reservists – largely responsible for the crime-free square around which our businesses operate – appears to have been resolved, or at least put on hold.  A written reply from the Clarens Police Captain has confirmed that these members are not suspended for any reason and that they may continue to operate.  We trust that this reply may signal a thawing of relations between the parties involved and that Clarens will continue to be free of any threat to our commercial life.  Business is tough in recessionary times, particularly in a tourist environment.  We need to be able to protect the commercial, social and cultural life of this rather unique village, and that means keeping our primary asset – the Clarens Square – free of strife and trouble.  Long may that continue. 

Parking in Clarens
The “parking problem” in Clarens which we raised in last week’s issue (Clarens News: 16th May: Going Forward) has generated some very positive response.  
Do we have a “‘parking problem’ in Clarens? And if so, what should be done about it. Louw van Biljon has been studying this “problem”and come to some very interesting conclusions.
If you missed last week’s Clarens News (don’t worry – we all make mistakes) PRESS HERE 



Clarens Sector Police:

Another bouquet:

Dear hard working team,Just want to inform you of the excellent service the Sector Police gave me and my guests.
On the week-end of the 2 – 5 April ten ladies were booked into my guesthouse (Avante) Saturday the 4th April I got a call from one of them, informing me that they were broken into.I phoned the police, needless to say, there was no answer and out of despiration, I phoned Rampaai, he immediately told me he was on his way and informed me to try the police on another line. I must admit, when I got to the house, Rampaai and the police were already busy with the whole case.Well, a week later I got info on the case, phoned the police, again no reply!!! Well I phoned Rampaai again, he was on leave and Oupa was off for the week-end, but said that Ghate will contact me as soon as possible. Ten minutes later Ghate and another guy from the Sector Police arrived at Mountain Odyssey’s office. I gave them all the info and off they went.It was not long after they left, Ghate phoned me from his private phone, to inform me that the wife is in jail, with the one stolen phone and the one pair of stolen “tekkies” and that they were waiting for the husband to come from Bethlehem and half an hour later he phoned to inform me that they had the husband as well. He phoned me again to inform me on all the things that they got back.As we all know Ghate is cripple at this stage, but thank God there is nothing wrong with his brain or the way he is doing his work. He really went out of his way to inform me on everything and even helped to get the couples disabled child sorted.I want to thank the sector police for outstanding work. While I am at this, I just want to inform you that whenever we have a problem in the streets or see someone that we do not know, we contact them and they always there to help and assist everybody.   Well done, you doing an excellent job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Meleanor Heymans


Weekend Weather

Clarens Country Market
Be sure to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.
The Clarens Country Market is for local people to exhibit and sell local produce, arts and handicrafts. 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  

Friday 24th May:
Deon the Soutie from Toti will be playing at Artichoke from 18h00 onwards

Saturday 25th
Bendover will be playing at Street Cafe from 21h00 till midnight

Sunday 26th May
Shamrock (Denzel & Obie) will be playing at Street Cafe from 12h00 – 14h00

Rugby, Rugby, Rugby 

It’s that time of the week again: 30 men in coloured shirts meet on a piece of grass to kick the living tripe out of one another, for no better reason than money, patriotism and, well, money.  See it live at a big screen near you at one of several Clarens destinations……….
This weekend:

All times CAT (SA, GMT+2)

Vodacom Super Rugby 09:35 Chiefs v Crusaders Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Vodacom Super Rugby 11:40 Rebels v Waratahs AAMI Park, Melbourne

Vodacom Super Rugby

09:35 Blues v Brumbies Eden Park, Auckland
Vodacom Super Rugby 11:40 Force v Highlanders NIB Stadium, Perth
Vodacom Super Rugby 15:00 Southern Kings v Cheetahs Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Vodacom Super Rugby 17:05 Stormers v Reds DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Vodacom Super Rugby 19:10 Sharks v Bulls Kings Park, Durban



Other news

Katherine, our vet, has had surgery and will not be back at her consulting room until 24 June.  Please note though that the consulting room will be open during her absence, from Mondays to Fridays from 9-11am for over-the-counter and chronic medication sales, and also for the payment of accounts.  
Should you have an emergency with your animals please contact Dr Piet Louw on 058-303-4612 or the Bethlehem Animal Hospital on 058-303-2274.



Ubuntu Monday
27th May, 6.00pm at Clementines
Time again for Clarens locals to get together, drink wine and solve all problems big and small – until the next day, that is. Shelley and Mark Horton. NB Bring a bottle and a plate of food/snacks.

Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day 
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

Classical Soiree
The Classical soiree initially planned for 31 May has been postponed and will now be part of the Clarens Christmas in July event. Clarens News will bring you the program as soon as it has been finalised.

Sanlam Cancer Challenge
 5 June 2013  The Clarens Golf Estate
Support this worthy cause by taking part in the biggest amateur golf tournament in South Africa:  Sponsor a hole; Give a donation or register your four-ball and join the fun.  There are also big prizes up for grabs.
Contact Maryna Swart:  082-520 8909 or Fracois Schoeman 058 256 1270.
Incidentally, The Clarens Golf Estate now has recently added a new blog to their website. This blog is open to the public and updated as news and events become available.  The blog address is www.theclarens.co.za/news.

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

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 perentrant (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!
Entra free to spectators!!!
In aid of Cluny Animal Trust.

Ski Slalom

July 11 – July 14  at Afriski
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: 072 133 9615/082 921 3894

Bethlehem Kine

Find out what’s happening this week at http://www.facebook.com/BethlehemKines?

Movies showing 24-30 May 2013

PARKER PG:R 118min – Action/Crime/Thriller
A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a  new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew’s latest heist.  DIRECTOR: Taylor Hackford  Writers: John McLaughlin (screenplay) STARS: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis   SHOW TIMES:    FRI, MON, WED:  11:00, 14:30, 20:00   SAT, TUE, THUR: 14:30, 17:30, 20:00  SUN: 15:00

CHIMPANZEE G: 78min – Dcoumentary
A 3-months old chimpanzee is separated from his tropp and is then adopted by a fully-grown male. DIRECTOR: Alistair Fothergill, Mark Linfield.  Writers: Alastair Fothergill (original concept), Mark Linfield (original concept). Stars: Tim Allen

Show Times: FRI, MON, WED: 14:30, 17:30.  SAT,TUE,THUR: 11:00, 14:30.  SUN: 12.00, 15:00
HITCHCOCK PG:13 98min – Biography/Drama
A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcok and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959. DIRECTOR; Sacha Gervasi. Writers: John McLaughlin (screenplay), Stephen Rebellow (book).  Stars:  Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson
Show Times:  Fri, Mon, Wed: 11:00, 17:30, 20:00.  Sat, Tue, Thur:  11:00, 17:30, 20:00  Sun: 11:00

Quotes of the Week
Just in case you think you’re confused……….Press here


Video of the week

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight……….You simply must watch how Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke led her to an idea worth spreading. A stroke of insight !!!!  (With thanks to Ted)