Notes from the Editor

How very disappointing, I had planned to devote this week’s News to the Flutter byes streaming through Clarens, but instead, have had to focus on far less appealing events. To find out more about the butterflies click right HERE Belenois aurota, photo by Avril de Montille Belenois aurota, photo by Avril de Montille Troubled times indeed. Clarens has been shocked by another attack on a resident, and takes this opportunity to commend her on her quick witted escape from her attacker. Clearly there is a problem starting to rear its head, and we must strike it down before it gains any further momentum. In the first place we must remember that we live in South Africa, and we are subject to the troubles of the country as a whole. Secondly, we must remain vigilant for potential criminals and deny them opportunities for opportunistic crimes, by not leaving valuables lying around, and keeping doors and windows locked. Finally, we must take this opportunity ourselves to increase our security as a town, by supporting the initiatives of the Sector Police Forum, and calling on the local police to take action in the form of bringing in Mounted Police, who will be able to patrol the village as a whole, and hopefully retake control over the Conservancy and the illegal grazing and wood gathering that is an ongoing problem. Although it may not sound important, it is symptomatic of a collapse of order, and must be checked as soon as possible. The SPF is having a meeting this afternoon (Thursday 17 Jan), and I will give a report back on the Clarens News Facebook page in the morning (click here to visit and like Clarens News on Facebook) To find out more about the SPF please click HERE On a more positive note Richard Rennie is up and about and seems fairly recovered from his ordeal.

Evidently the new year is bringing with it heightened levels of spleen, and I am reliably assured that the local vent – Eish – will be blowing off steam again, starting this Friday. In other words: You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why ‘Cos Eish is coming back to town He’s making a list And checking it twice; Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice ‘Cos Eish is coming back to town He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake He knows if you’ve been bad or good So be good for goodness sake! ‘Cos Eish is coming back to town

At the Highland Coffee Roastery you will find locally made upcycled bags and tote carriers, made by local couple Johann and Susan Combrink from jute coffee bags and recycled clothes. To see their unique and stylish offerings, click HERE. If anyone has old denims which they would otherwise throw away, please take them to the Roastery. On the topic of the Roastery, Chris has a very interesting blog about coffee and his experiences in that world, to read it please click HERE.

For those of you sick of the taste of Caledon water and interruptions to your supply, please have a look at what DEW water catchers can do for you in terms of atmospheric water – click here Clarens News printed edition was snapped up over the festive period, the 1500 copies vanished at high speed, and special thanks to Clarens 66 Petrol Station for handing out so many of them. The next issue is due out at the end of Jan, you decide what you want it to do for you, and email me at For day to day events, updates, info and snippets, please visit the News on Facebook and like it. (click HERE)

And if you want support for your business, the Tourism Enterprise Partnership is bringing their South African Tourism National Road Show to the Golden Gate Hotel on the 24th of January. Industry experts will tell you how best to increase your business, and if you join up, you get 50% off on all your advertising costs among other benefits. To book clickHERE, and to find out more about the Partnership, you can visit their website by clickingHERE

Craft Beer Festival News

It might come as a surprise to people that there are internationally recognised styles of beer, as one would find in wine.  Therefore, if you ask for a lager in Johannesburg or New York, chances are you will get two beers sufficiently similar to call brothers, but with distinct nuances that comes from the brewer’s own take on the style, to make them each unique.  Whilst wines are categorised according to variety or cultivar of grape, beer is categorised according to flavour, colour, aroma, mouth feel and taste, amongst others.  Although the systematic study of beer styles is a modern phenomenon, the practice of distinguishing between different varieties of beer is ancient, dating to at least 2000 BC and local customs and names have been and are taken into consideration in the international style guide, which evolves all the time as brewers get more and more innovative.  (To read the rest of this article please click HERE Join the event on Facebook by clicking here To read more about Beer and the festival please click here

Live Music and Specials

Look out for the Highlander Happy Hour on Friday evenings, and the Friends Pub will enjoy Van Smith this weekend, will be good to hear them again. Don’t forget Friends Happy Hour on Wednesday evening with live music from Slipstream. Artichoke Restaurant has Deon Spruyt the Soutie from Toti on Sunday from lunch to sundown. Or if you are staying home, the Old Stone Bottle Store has a special on Klipdrift Brandy – R99 a bottle Street Cafe will be closed for refurbishment this weekend, breaking out a wall, redoing the whole place to make it more user friendly and a better time for all. Builders have assured them they will be done by Monday, but that may be ambitious. Good luck to them

Things to do

SCHAAPPLAATS – Bushman Paintings and Mountain walk I can’t think of a better way to start the day than taking an early morning walk to the cave at Schaapplaats.  But before you go – remember to phone Christine Walwyn on (058) 256 1176 or 083 630 3713 to warn her that you are coming. Schaapplaats is, after all, a working stud farm, and so it’s very important that the workers keep certain gates locked and that everyone knows exactly who is where on the farm. There is also an entrance fee of R50 which goes towards the upkeep of the trail and the safeguarding of the Bushman paintings. Shaapplaats Bushman Paintings Cave to read more please click here

Coming Up

Scooter Addicts are 4 guys on scooters, visiting 14 Children’ hospitals, over 8 months, covering 35000km’s from Cape Town to Dublin – all in aid of raising funds for the Children’s Red Cross Hospital. – read more about them. “We are sponsoring Dinner,bed and Breakfast at Witsieshoek on Monday 11th February and would like to offer a special for anyone to join them at R400 per person sharing. This includes dinner, bed and breakfast and we will donate R50 of this to  the Childrens Red Cross Hospital. Please, we would like you to be our guest and bring as many as you can!.  They have put so much effort and planning into this trip and are fantastic company, it would be great if we have some interested supporters.” To find out more about Witsieshoek (top of the Drakensberg and a stunningly beautiful place), click HERE 9 March 2013 – The SPF Macnollie fund raising challenge. Are you a hunting, shooting fishing kind of person? Compete to raise funds for the Sector Police Forum and keep Clarens safe. Click HERE for more details 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 see more about the event, click here

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

Community News

As mentioned in the opening paragraph of this letter, there is a lot happening in Clarens at the moment. To read about the SPF, Ratepayers and more, please click HERE

Ornithological Notes

219 shopping days to Christmas and village is so quiet, even the tumbleweeds have stayed away.    Parties of locals, with pitchforks and flaming torches have been combing the hills for our own Bigfoot, with no success, so there are no new postings on the Creature Wall in the Brewery.    My guess is that all the attention has made him/her lie low in the mountains, but I am grateful for the first round of suggestions for a name for our cuddly chap/chapess.   “Kaalvoet” is a definite favourite, but we have had one “Lofty”, one “Mattress” (which rather subjectively assumes the gender of the creature) and two “Oscars”, assumedly a play on Oscar Wilde.   Keep them coming; once we make contact, we will let him/her decide what s/he fancies as a moniker. (to read the rest of this weeks Twitcher please click HERE)