9th May, 2013: Committee Season

Golden sunset

“Jack Frost comes in the month of May – all your greens to steal away….”  And in keeping with this old verse the frost has arrived – and stolen not only the greens but the beautiful orange poplar leaves as well.
But – as another saying goes: “There’s gold in them there hills…..”  and right now our golden sunsets are an absolute joy.

The season of Annual General Meetings and related elective processes is upon us!

Clarens Chamber of Commerce
The fledgling meeting of those interested in establishing a Clarens Chamber of Commerce (CCC?) met on Monday night and will meet again at 17h00 on Wednesday, May 15, at the Posthouse Restaurant.   Your faithful scribe was not in attendance but is reliably informed that the foundations are in place for democratic village governance.  It is our view that this approach to the future of the village and its business, social and cultural interests is the only viable option.  If every substantive sector of the village is represented on an overarching committee, with a simple but comprehensive mandate, we can move beyond the narrower interests of each of the sectoral committees and build for a shared future.  Read more
The Gallery Association
The Gallery Association, now with 15 fully paid members, also met on Monday to review plans for the Spring Art Fair, scheduled for 30 August to 8 September.  Sponsorship is being sought and the good news is that this will be a seriously professional event, designed to underscore the reputation of Clarens as a premier art destination.
Clarens Tourism Forum
Tuesday evening saw the Clarens Tourism Forum’s AGM and about 30 honest citizens met to listen to the Chairman’s report, the financial report and sundry discussions about matters relevant to Clarens and its future.  The Chairman’s Report claimed that business in Clarens was still on the rise, between12% and 15%, measured by bed occupancy.   Read more

This weekend Clarens will be hosted by Free State Tourism on their ‘state of the art’ exhibition stand at the International Travel & Tourism Indaba in Durban. A delegation of 3, Tsepiso Mosia, Ollie Esplin and John Martiens will be ‘doing it’ for Clarens. Thank you guys for giving up your time, and wishing you a successful Indaba experience!

MTN Mountain Bike Challenge

More than 2000 mountain bikers, most with their families, left Clarens on Sunday tired but happy, as the actress said to the Bishop.  The cyclists were, almost without exception, a delightful bunch and will serve as ambassadors for the village wherever they go.  Certainly, most will be back to ride in 2014, and many indicated their enchantment with the village and its unique setting in the mountains of the Eastern Free State.  The age-band of this group was significantly lower than usual (the 20km race was won by a 10 year-old!) and augurs well for future visits.  With (very) rare exceptions, village businesses had a bumper weekend and were delighted with the event.   This serves as an excellent example of a shared enterprise benefiting the entire village and surrounds, and links the district farmers with the success of the village.  Thanks and congratulations to everyone associated with this signal event, not least MTN, organiser Paul, the Fire Association, the Conservancy, our farming neighbours, the nursing sisters, village businesses and a patient citizenry!  Oh, andall the riders who cycled, stayed over, drank, dined and generally had the time of their lives.  And while we’re handing out bouquets, a brickbat to the head of Dihlabeng Traffic for doing her best to stop the event in its tracks; pity we’re not on the same team.
Watch our video of the week for some awesome footage of this event.

Matters Literary

Congratulations to local resident Peter Millin on the publication of his book, Stories My Father Told Me, available at the one and only relocated Bibliophile Bookshop.  Peter’s collection of stories, sourced primarily from his late father, will appeal to those with an interest in local and Swazi history and includes unique insights into the events that have shaped our lives in southern Africa.
The Bibliophile, in its new incarnation of red and grey corrugated iron, next door to its old location, celebrates a return to the traditional architecture of the district.  The exterior of this splendid building is clad with steel recovered from a farm on the Lesotho border and a century-old Sheepshed on the Golf Estate, making it instant history.  Book-buyer or no, consider yourself invited to this village treasure-house to celebrate with Debra Stewart.  We guarantee you will find something to amuse and entertain you.  Oh, and Saturday mornings see the Farmer’s Market on Debra’s doorstep.  Don’t miss it.


Steam Engine - Sandstone Estates

The Twitcher reports on matters less ornithological, your faithful scribe forsook his warm place by the fire this week to go to the Festival of Steam at Sandstone Estates, outside the Eastern Free State’s cherry capital.  And is he glad he did!  When it comes to scale and pure professionalism, there cannot be much in this Province or indeed country to rival the show that Wilfred Mole has put together on his farm. Trains, steam engines, tractors, trucks, buses, militaria and all things mechanical and steam-driven are there in their hundreds.  The fact that so little is known about it in the immediate vicinity of this extraordinary Estate is a very great pity, but Wilfred notes that theft by members of the public had discouraged him from opening the event to a wider audience.  Speaking personally, I cannot recall seeing anything to rival this week-long festival of male indulgence, but have to say that as an exercise in the preservation of history – against all the odds – this ranks as a major international event.  Certainly, the English, Dutch, German and other nationals decked out in their train drivers outfits would agree, and these contingents are growing every year.  This indulgence ends on Saturday and if you have the time and means to contact Wilfred, an invitation will make for life-long memories.   You can read more from The Twitcher in this week’s Ornithological notes.


Ornithological Notes

Black Eagle

Don’t ask me why, but there have been two Black Eagles circling my house for days.  I have hidden my elderly cat in the wash basket and put flak jackets on my Whippets, but so far so good.  With only 121 shopping days to Christmas, who needs a pet going to the big kennel in the sky?  I doubt my hearth and home has any particular significance in the life-cycle of the Ictinaetus malayensis, other than the prospect of a full tummy and a warm, fuzzy feeling, but felt in necessary to warn other owners of small, cuddly pets given to ambling on the front lawn.  Of course, a scrap between a pit bull and male Black eagle would be entertaining, but I have it on good authority that these dogs are comparatively ineffective at 3000 metres, so it might be somewhat one-sided once the eagle has got the collar between its claws, so to speak.
I have also noticed that my Guinea Fowl flock has suddenly vanished, so perhaps the Black Eagles are more traditionally inclined after all.

The Twitcher

read more

Editorial Comment:
Working Together
On the face of it, just about every villager belongs to one or other committee in Clarens.  Well, perhaps not, as the rather dreary record of subscription payments and repeat-faces on committee after committee suggest.  The point is that while this sectoral representation is great, it adds up to fractured governance rather than a collective voice for the village.  Clarens faces some major challenges in the years ahead, not least ensuring that it remains an attraction – and destination – for growing numbers of visitors and new residents.  This means that the village must present a consolidated picture of representative local governance.  That doesn’t mean declaring UDI (however tempting that may sometimes sound) but working within a municipal and provincial context to realise our potential as a premier highland resort.
We are a remarkable package of goods one way and another, but remarkably divided on issue after issue.  What we need is an overarching mechanism to bring the community together to take decisions for the greater good.  In the absence of a perfect democracy, that implies representation from each of the major sectoral groups in the village to form a mechanism to guide the way forward and combat threats to our welfare and growth.  No-one will be happy with everydecision, but an objective balance needs to be struck and that requires a decision-making body to be formed to represent Clarens.  And the proposed Chamber of Commerce – if that is indeed the right title for it – is the way to go.



Rugby and other Bored Games
There are screens big and small all over the village, mostly accompanied by flowing drinks and snacks.  While away the weekend watching your favourite teams make fools of themselves, or not, but enjoy the action!   The schedule is as follows:
Friday, 10 May:
09h35 Chiefs vs Western Force in Pukekohe, NZ
11h40 Reds vs Sharks in Brisbane, Australia
19h10 Cheetahs vs Hurricanes in Bloemfontein, SA
Saturday, 11 May:
09h35 Blues vs Rebels in Auckland, NZ
11h40 Waratahs vs Stormers in Sydney, Australia
17h05 Southern Kings vs Highlanders in Port Elizabeth, SA

This weekend 

After the last few hectic weekends, we recommend you relax, eat, drink, take long walks in the Conservancy, and SHOP. You can, ofcourse, also play golf or watch rugby. Those of you in a more energetic mood should also check out the Adventures and Tours pages on the website.

Business Opportunity

The Highlands Centre has 2 shops recently refurbished and available to rent. The old pharmacy and the the upstairs gallery are both situated in a prime area which sees a large number of feet passing on a constant basis.

The shop downstairs is double story, 62 square meters, this shop is also prime location being on the bottom floor. All operation costs are included, electricity is excluded but the shop comes with roughly 3 months free electricity that has already been loaded.
To find out more or arrange viewing, contact Candice on 0824909332 or Natascha on 0823337552

Bethlehem Kine

Moerdersdag ete word die 12 Mei 2013 in samewerking met die Piano Lounge aangebied.
Die menu van die ete is soos onderaan in advertensie. Die koste is R130 per persoon en R70 vir kinders onder 12.
Die prys sluit die kaartjie in vir die 15:00 fliek Sondag.

Die flims wat wys Sondag is LES MISRABLES en FANIE FOURIE’S LABOLA vir 15:00. OZ: THE GREAT & POWERFUL wys 12:00 ook.

Dis belangrik om voor die tyd te bespreek aangesien slegs beperkte plekke beskikbaar is vir die ete.

Sien julle daar

Find out what’s happening this week at http://www.facebook.com/BethlehemKines?fref=ts
And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Coming Up

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

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

Fabulous video of the Mountain Bike Race……….great for Clarens.