Tag Archives: Clarens News

14 November, 2014: The newsletters are back

Rainbow over Clarens

After all the recent welcome rain – how could we not head this newsletter with a photograph of a rainbow.   It’s so nice to see smiles on the faces of our farming friends, and to see the dams filling.

Yes – the newsletters are back

We had so many requests for our newsletters that we decided to post them out again.Thank you to all our faithful Facebook followers for staying in touch via facebook. We will continue to post news – especially about Clarens weekend music events – on facebook, but since facebook is not really that suitable for our more in-depth articles, these will be published in our newsletters as well as on the relevant pages on our website: www.clarensnews.co.za.


Website News

The Clarens News website is getting better and better, and we’re slowly catching up with all the business listings. And GOOD NEWS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, we have taken the decision to list all Clarens businesses for free.   So if you haven’t yet sent us all your details, please send them to editor@clarensnews.co.za.  We will get your business listed  as soon as possible.  (You may have to be a little patient, since doing the listings is a rather time consuming business.)   Clarens still does not have an official info centre (but we’re holding thumbs that the CTF may yet pull something out of the bag.)   In the meantime, Clarens News, will continue to strive to provide everything you need to know about Clarens.

 


Construction begins on delayed Stortemelk hydro plant near Clarens

Clarens News received the following google alert:

South African hydropower NuPlanet has broken ground on a new hydroelectric power generation plant on the Ash River. The plant, which will be built into the wall of the Botterkloof dam, is expected to cost R200m and be operational by the middle of 2016.The original plan, which was approved under phase 2 of the national Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement program (REIPPP) was due to come online this year, but was delayed by the REIPPP and a refinancing initiative, NuPower managing director Anton-Louis Olivier told htxt.africa.The existing dam will be unchanged, Olivier says, and the plant itself built on currently unused farmland.Stortemelk is a very small plant capable of producing just 4.1MW of energy at peak capacity – enough for a few thousand homes – and around 25GWh a year. It is being built with the backing of a local charity which will be returning profits from the plant back into other community project.NuPlanet already operates a similar hydroelectric installation at nearby Bethlehem.[Via – HydroWorld, Image – NuPlanet]


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Pachycarpus macrochilus 2
Head ranger Damien Coulson has added yet another plant to the list of Plants Found in the Claren Village Nature Reserve.   The latest addition is  Pachycarpus macrochilus (Large-lipped Pachycarpus in English & leshokhoa in Sesotho)  a perennial geophytic herb whose stems grow to 140-330mm tall.   Click here to read more about this interesting plant.

 

Click here To see all the plants that Damien has written about so far.

 

 

 


 November is Cherry Time

IMG_1358The Ficksburg Cherry Festival kicks off on  20th November,  and Ionia Farm has already started doing Cherry Tours.  For further details visit the Events page on our website.

But of course, there’s also a lot of other things happening in November.

This Weekend:  Welcome back Dan Patlansky

Dan Patlansky
This weekend we welcome Dan Patlansky and all the guitarists taking part in his guitar workshop.  Unfortunately, this event has been booked out months ago, but, as with previous Dan Patlansky workshops, Clarenites can get  to hear some of the guitarists on their last night here.   They will be playing at the backpackers on Sunday evening from about 7 pm onwards, and anyone wanting to braai something to celebrate the occassion will be happy to learn that there will be braai fires available for them to use.

 

 


This Weekend: Golden Gate Half Marathon (Saturday)

runnersSouth African National Parks (SANParks) together with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Setsing Super Spar will host the Working for Water QwaQwa Golden Gate Half marathon on Saturday 15th November 2014 at Basotho Cultural Village inside the Park. The marathon will end at Setsing Super Spar in QwaQwa.

The marathon, which aims to improve the wellbeing and heath of the surrounding communities, was initiated by Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP)’s Working for Water in the Park as part of SANParks vision of ‘Connecting to Society’. It is a follow up to the successful marathon held last year and this year promises to be even bigger.

Click here for further details


 

This Weekend:  Daniele Pascal at Bon Appetit (Sunday)

Daniele Pascal A treat for all music lovers – and especially for Francophiles.    Daniel – known as an ambassador of the French Chanson is renowned for her work on Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and the French Café Song genre.

Daniele will be performing at Bon Appetit on Sunday even1ng (6.30pm)  For bookings call 079 873 1318

Tickets are R230 per person, which includes a 2 course meal.


LADIES NIGHT at Artist’s Cafe  with Salon Norma Jean   (20th November)

Ladies Night 3

 

Salon Norma Jean have teamed up with Artist’s Cafe and are hosting a Ladies Night on the 20th November, to launch their exciting new range of Hannon products.

Booking is essential.

Click here for For further details

 


RICHARD RENNIE turns 82 on the 28th November

Richard Rennie 82

Richard continues to be an inspiration to all.    He will be celebrating his 82nd birthday on the 28th November, and everyone is invited to join him at the Richard Rennie Gallery from about  noon onwards. It promises to be a fun afternoon – extending into the evening.


Christmas Party – Phaphama Youth

 GIVE AND PUT A SMILE ON A CHILD

Letter from Ntsebe Mofokeng:  Paphama Youth Development

It feels unbelievable that it is Christmas will be approaching us soon! As we get into the spirit of giving and sharing with our loved ones, we must reflect on how privileged we are to be surrounded by our precious family and friends, that we need to remind ourselves that there are little children who are affected by HIV do not have a Mom & a Dad to love & feel loved and this time of the year is a sad and desolate time for them. We cannot fill this void but we can ease their sadness by showering them with gifts and a fun filled day.
You can replace the brick that the little boy is pushing as a toy car and the little girl whose eyes are shining bright and made the doll out of ragged cloths.

We are asking, most sincerely, for you to consider making a contribution to this special day. We would like to ask for any gifts for children aged between 06 – 14 years in supporting our Christmas Party for 100 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. We would also like to have the jumping castle sponsored. (Clarens News will be sponsoring the jumping castle.)We humbly request the company to purchase toys and refreshment for children. To most of these children it will be the first time receiving a gift and feel like they are cared for and belong somewhere.
The Christmas Party is planned as follows:
Date: 20 December 2012
Time: 12:00 – 16:00
Venue: Kgubetswana Community Hall in Clarens

Vision: Developing individuals, restoring relationships, motivated and revitalizing communities.

All the donations are needed and appreciated, regardless of the amount. Please think about this and how important the work of Phaphama Youth Development is, and consider about the positive impact it will make in the community we live in. Please, send the donation to Phaphama Youth Development at the below bank account. Your help will help us to expand and outreach every individual affected with the issue.

For more information or clarity you are welcome to contact Ntsebe Mofokeng @ 078 245 1709 during office hours.

Click here For more information on Paphama Youth Development.


 

Clarens Open – Time to book NOW

Clarens Open

Click here for further details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Comedy Evening at Shumba Valley (6th December)

Comedy Evening

 

I’m told that Brian Taylor is really funny and will appeal to all those of us who belong to the slightly older generation that still have a sense of humour.

Click here for further details

 

 


 

 

Cluny Animal Trust – Fundraising

Cluny bookshelf

This is our latest fundraising effort, a tiny library/bookstore. We would like to put them at guest houses, guests can then read, buy or exchange the books by putting a donation in the tin. We will exchange the selection once a month. Please leave us a message in the comments if you are interested in getting involved! Share, Share, Share with everyone that might be interested!    Click here for more information on The Cluny Animal Trust.

And don’t forget to buy  your copy of the new Cluny Animal Trust Calendar, on sale at various outlets in Clarens.


 

 Classifieds – and all sorts of other information.

Remember to check out the Classifieds Page on the website.   AND  if you’re looking for a plumber, electrician, or any other services in Clarens please to to the Eat, Sleep and do more page

 

September 12 2014: This Weekend

Weather

Some lovely sunshine to brighten up this weekend.

WEATHER FOR THE 12 SEPT


Music

Amigo’s Restaurant:

Friday: OB & Deon

Saturday: OB

Friend’s Restaurant:

Friday: 8:30pm- Slip stream


Other:

Article Must read:

Izak de Vries by Mary Walker: Afrikaans Article on Clarens  Click here  for more information.

Times gone by (Shop):

has all new Summer stock in this weekend don’t miss out !


Rugby Fixtures:

rugby fixtures 12 newsletter

currie cup fixtures 12 newsletterrugby fixtures 12 newsletter

currie cup fixtures 12 newsletterCURRIE CUP FIXTURES


Hope you have a lovely weekend 😉 Lauren May

Lessertia thodei

 

Clarens Village Nature Reserve, Lessertia thodei Clarens Village Nature Reserve, Lessertia thodei Clarens Village Nature Reserve, Lessertia thodei

 

This week we’re focusing on a member of the Leguminosae (Pea) family.

Lessertia  thodei is a perennial herb whose stems grow to 200 mm long. One will find this herbaceous species in moist grassland areas often in close proximity to seeplines and rocky flats at altitudes of 2100-2900 m A.S.L.  It is also an endemic to the EMR, occurring from the Free State to Mpumalanga.

The pods are characteristic of the Pea family and are visible from late spring through summer. 

The leaves of L. thodeiare hairless, in contrast with those of the similar spp., found growing in the region, such as L. depressa. The leaflets measure approx. 7mm X 3mm and occur in pairs of 5-9 and bear rounded tips. The inflorescence measures 30-75mm and individual flowers measure 10mm.  Flowering occurs from Nov-Feb.

Uses:

Gardening

An altogether attractive plant, it may find a suitable position in the garden as a hedge or pruned to form an ornate pathway through the garden.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for L .thodeiis listed as Least Concern.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson
Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

 

Click here for more articles on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

 

 

Sector Police Forum – Raffle

001 (2)[1]

 

The painting is on show at the Richard Rennie Gallery.

It is an original, framed, oil painting (110x80cm framed). Painted and donated by Richard Rennie to raise funds for the Clarens Sector Police Forum. The draw will take place on the 27th September at the Clarens Macnollie Challenge.

The tickets are R150 per number. Enquiries: clarensgallery@telkomsa.net

Click here to find out more about the Clarens Macnollie Challenge

Click here to find out more about the Clarens Sector Police Forum

4th July, 2014: It’s a holiday somewhere?

Clarens News 4th July, 2014: It’s a holiday somewhere?
Contents: It’s a holiday somewhere?; We have a Kokkedoor winner!;  Gauteng Adventure & Outdoor Expo 2014 – Report back; Save our Horses  AHS Campaign; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Delosperma lavisiae; CRA, CVC and CVFA Membership appeal; N3 Gateway:  Bon Appetit keeping Clarens in the limelight; The Platteland Preview – Report back; Music : This weekend; It’s time to plant your fruit trees; Restuarant Specials; Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens; Rugby; Classifieds; Something useful to know; An information tool; Making Clarens News Work for you; Congratulations


 

 

Clarens News header photo Freestate scene

Unfortunately, it’s business as usual in Clarens.   Our obsession with snow – will it or won’t it – continues.   Keep an eye on our facebook page where we will post all relevant snow reports as they come in.   It seems that there is not enough moisture in the air for there to be good snow falls (and the Freestate winter scene above which was photographed last week certainly looks dry.)   Even so, there seems to be some snow on its way and even a sprinkling would be fun.


We have a Kokkedoor winner!

ELSA BUYS - Clarens Kokkedoor winner

KOKKEDOOR

As anyone who has  ever stopped over at Cafe Moulin (on the road from Clarens to Golden Gate) knows – Elsa Buys is a great cook, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that she together with Johnny Hamman won the Kyknet Kokkedoor competition.

The Kokkedoor competition ran over 13 weeks culminating in a giant midnight feast where the prizewinners were announced. And what a feast it was – just watching it on TV was enough to make your tummy rumble.

Congratulations Elsa –  you’re simply the best!    Kokkedoor on facebook    Kokkedoor website


 Gauteng Adventure & Outdoor Expo 2014 – Report back

Clarens Tourism Forum logo

 

Fran Zaaiman and Louw van Biljon ” two Clarens soldiers” represented Clarens at the Gauteng Adventure & Outdoor Expo held at Waterfall Estate, Johannesburg on May 30, 31 and June 1, 2014.   Louw has submitted a report on their experience and how they went about marketing Clarens.   It makes very interesting reading but sadly, despite their very brave efforts,  highlights our shortcomings when it comes to marketing our town.   Click here to read the full report.  Since we are all dependent on  people visiting this town this report is a MUST READ for all our business owners.   We have a lot of work to do if we want Clarens to remain The Destination.


Save our Horses  AHS Campaign

Horses in Clarens - African Horse Sickness Campaign

There are 4 major viruses killing our horses in SA. : African Horse Sickness, West Nile, EEV and Middelburg Virus.   In an effort to stop our horses from dying  Fund raising rides  are being planned throughout the country to create awareness and to raise funds to vaccinate horses belonging to those communities who cannot afford to vaccinate their horses.  (The blanket vaccination of horses  is no longer done by the State.)   The rides are due to take  place in August, just before the major vaccination time which usually takes place in September.  The first ride is to take place on  16th August, 2014,  when riders will ride from Shumba Valley to a beautiful historic farm just outside Fouriesburg.   Click here to read more.


The Twitcher

Clarens News The Twitcher

Don’t you love a mystery?  A real one, I mean, involving a disappearing stream and sinking monuments.  Well of course you do.  Unless you are particularly fond of the Clarens village square, which you will note I have avoided terming a green for now.  At least for the next month or two, anyway.

So here’s the plot: Once upon a time, in a bygone era of creaking leather bridles and the clatter of unshod hooves, there was a tiny settlement hard by what we shall call Stone Mountain (well, they couldn’t spell ‘Horeb’ in those far off days).  The population, if that is not too formal a title for an unruly assortment of mountain people in veldskoens, spent their days wondering where they were and experimenting with new ways to render themselves insensible with Sotho Mountain Cabbage.  Entertainment was limited, apart from a one-legged duck, and their limited attention span was focused on the natural phenomena of the district.  The predominant feature, a mountain rising sharply to their west, presented a perfect profile of a well-known Boer Republic President, eyebrows and all, which of course they didn’t know, since there was no golf course to stand upon to contemplate the great man’s visage.  Nor did they have a street café to disport themselves in.  Or art galleries by the dozen.  In fact, all they had was what Oom Koos wistfully called two-thirds of bugger all.

Well, not entirely true: They had a stream of rushing water which tumbled down from a spring to the south, which was ironically (but lovingly) named the kleinJordaanstroompie. Read more


 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Delosperma lavisiae

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Delosperma lavisiae

Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village Nature ReserveDamien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a succulent of the Mesembryanthemaceae (Vygie/Ice Plant) family.

Delosperma lavisiae (Mountain Vygie in English, Bergvygie in Afrikaans and Mabone in Sesotho), is a perennial succulent herb which tends to form mats in higher attitude rocky areas. This succulent is endemic to the Eastern Mountain Region and grows at altitudes of up to 2650 m A.S.L.

D. lavisiae can be differentiated from similar spp. such as D. sutherlandii (covered in an earlier issue) by comparing characteristic features such as the number of flowers/plant (several vs. 1-3 for D. sutherlandii) as well as leaf morphology, size and colouration. The photos below were taken on a top of a mountain ridge in close proximity to a section of the Kloof Mountain Trail during the summer of last year. Most plants die when exposed to too much salt – D. lavisiae thrives in these conditions and it’s believed that the salt-content of the leaves lowers their freezing point to reduce the likelihood of frost forming  in winter and damaging them.  Read more

 


CRA, CVC and CVFA Membership appeal

Clarens News has been asked to to send out another one of those nagging reminders:
It is half way through the year, and it is disappointing to see that very few subs have been received for the three Clarens organisations – Ratepayers Association, Village Conservancy and  Village Fire Sector.  Most of you know how hard these folk work, tirelessly attending the dreaded meetings and physically getting stuck in with all the things that need doing in and around our Village, keeping it attractive, nagging the Municipality and keeping the Village safe from fire.
All that is asked is for you to support them with a subscription of R300.00 per year (until 31 December 2014) with 50% discount for pensioners.
They really do need all the support and help from these subs to keep these organisations going.  The list of things they do and continue to do is endless.
Please join up, but please ignore this if you have paid!
An EFT or cash would be preferable, as cheques have to be taken into Bethlehem.
Thanks,
CRA, CVC and CVFA    

Click here for your membership form, bank details etc.


N3 Gateway:  Bon Appetit keeping Clarens in the limelight

Clarens Bon Appetit Recipe: Melkkos

Bon Appetit is featured in the latest N3 Gateway blog with their recipe Melkkos a la French.  It looks absolutely delicious.  Click here to see the recipe.

When N3 Gateway’s representative Elsa Human was at the CTF AGM she mentioned that sending in recipes was a good way to stay in the limelight.   Well done Valerie for taking up the challenge.

Elsa Human can be contacted at  elsah@n3gateway.com


The Platteland Preview – Report back


Clarens News Platteland Preview  Smithfield

Last weekend’s Platteland Preview event at Smithfield was an eye opener: Fantastic Art, Amazing Theatre, Music, and a chance to meet and mingle with artists, actors and musicians on their way to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.   It was a fun-filled and enlightening event and a fine example of what can happen when a community comes together to do something special for their town.  The organizers were also clever enough to make use of the Preview Program to insert snippets of information and a map of the town so that it would continue to be used long after the event. We’ve taken the liberty of putting Carmel Rickard’s  (Festival director) Festival welcome notice on our website.    It provides an interesting insight into how the festival came about, the benefits for the town, and the amazing network of Smithfield residents that help to put it together.   Click here to read it.

Good news for us in Clarens is that many of the actors and musicians we spoke to sounded keen to do some shows in Clarens, so keep an eye on the Events page on the website.


Music : This weekend

Amigo’s:  OB is playing both Friday and Saturday afternoon.

The Grouse and Claret:  Ric will be playing on Friday evening.

Follow us on facebook where we’ll post any other music events, as and when we get to hear about them.


It’s time to plant your fruit trees

 

De Leeu  Fruit Tree Nursery in Clarens

Right now is the best time to plant your fruit trees.   De Leeu Fruit Tree Nursery has a variety of fruit trees available.

Peaches, Apricots, Plums, Prunes, Pomegranates, Quinces, Ornamental Apple trees, Mulberries …@ R30 per tree.

Cherry and Apple trees:  R55 per tree.

Phone Florette Naude: 083 3205 077 or Abraham Mokoena:  072 537 0473


 

Restuarant Specials

Brambleberry@The Ash (Old Cranford) 4TH OF JULY SPECIALS.  10 % OFF on all food and drink tonight.Steaks, Pizzas, Salads, Curry, Oxtail, Fish,Pork .  Please phone Michael At 0812701029


Monday:  Protea Hotel: 
17h00 – 19h00:  Soup and Sherry specials (R35) includes assorted breads and and the 1st sherry free.We also have periodic cake specials at R35 for cake and coffee/hot chocolate/cuppachino.Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee.

Wednesday:

Friends Happy Hour from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music.

Wednesday:  Brambleberry @ The Ash (Old Cranford):  Burger and Pizza Specials

Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm.

Thursday:  Brambleberry:  Happy Hour 17h30 to 18h30 followed by two-course meal special

Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00

Friday:  The Highlander: Happy Hour from 17h30 to 18h30. Need to make a booking?   Click here for a list of Restaurant telephone numbers

Sunday: Protea Hotel:  First Sunday of every month, carvery at the Protea Hotel. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment. Price R125  (Ph: 058 256 1212)


Quiltin Event ClarensComing Events: Always something happening in Clarens

Remember to visit the Martie Lotz Hall where Quiltin Clarens are hosting their event.   This event finishes tomorrow.

Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.


Rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!

Rugby


 

Classifieds

The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.   Need a washing machine, a house to rent, or a carpenter to fix up that old furniture?  Click here to have a look

email: editor@clarensnews.co.za to place your ad on this page.


Something useful to know

Yes – we know it’s the fourth of July.  Yes – we should probably done some sort of story on this day in history.  Yes – we did trawl the web in an effort to come up with an interesting twist we hoped would rivet all our readers.  Well – instead we tripped over something useful for people from Clarens trying to overcome traffic and parking problems when visiting one of our cities. Watch this video before you go – and even if you’re not going anywhere you it could be fun to try it out right here in Clarens. (Something the kids could do.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=0Uqf71muwWc


An information tool

The Clarens News website is an information tool.   Our objective being to give you  Everything you need to know about Clarens.   Since we do not have a dedicated info centre inClarens we all need to step into that role and be in a position to give Clarens visitors the information they need in order to keep them coming back. We also need to keep abreast of what’s happening in our community – and it is hoped that by visiting the community pages on the website everyone will be in a better position to lend a helping hand where necessary.  If you have information you would like to add to the website or our facebook page, please feel free to contact us:  email: editor@clarensnews.co.za.  In the meantime, please make use of the website – accommodation owners especially well find it a useful resource to answer questions such as how do we get to Clarens, what should do whilst we’re there, and even…. when is it going to snow?


Making Clarens News Work for you

Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and to promote all things Clarens.  Click here to have a look at our new website: www.clarensnews.co.za.  You may notice that we haven’t got all the listings loaded yet, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of what the website is all about.   email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to discuss how to go about getting your business listed.


Congratulations

Tammy Hancock - Old Stone Bottle Store Winner

Congratulations to Tammy Hancock! She is June’s Old Stone Bottle Stores lucky Wine Club winner!


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

6th June 2014: CLARENS NEWS POLAR BEAR

Clarens News Polar Bear jpg

Contents: Polar Bears get ready; Report back: Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity; Report back: Cluny Golf Day; The Twitcher; The Sunnyside Sunday Braai; Bowling; Clarens Village Nature Reserve; CVC Report Back April 2014; CVC Environmental Impact Study; Sungazers – Our gorgeous Free State Dragons; Paballos Nursing Sisters; Restaurant Specials; Coming Events; Making Clarens News work for you; Last Thought.


Polar Bears get ready:

Pictured above is Shifty – our Clarens News Polar Bear.   As you can see she doesn’t mind the cold in the least, and she’s ready to do her bit for The Cluny Animal Trust on 28th June.

Yes, It’s that time of year again, when the mad, brave and thermally irresponsible jump into near freezing water and swim float or splash desperately about for 50 metres in a dam amongst reeds and mud, all in the name of “doing it for charity”.

This year it is going to be a little different. There will be 2 distances: 50 metres, and about 100 meters (depending on how low or high the dam is). Also there will be a few “floating trophies”, or spot prizes attached to buoys that the swimmers can grab on their way past. The third addition is that there will be a dog category. This will, however, be only for dogs that truly enjoy swimming for the love of cold water. There will be no throwing of dogs into the water, and only minimal encouragement allowed. The owner may swim with the dog at theIr own risk, or throw a floating toy for the dog to retrieve.  Dry towels are essential for drying the dogs afterwards, and before and after the swim they MUST be under full control on leads, as there are resident dogs and other livestock on the farm.   Please contact Jan Sander or Katherine Barker for sponsorship forms, or if you are not going to brave the water, how about sponsoring someone who is?  Phone:  0782462553.   


Report back: Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity 

The “Awesome Autumn” 2nd Clarens Community Braai Challenge for Charity was held on Sunday 25 May on the beautiful Clarens Square. Six teams entered and nominated a charity of choice to whom they would donate their winnings in the event that they did indeed win!

1.    Clarens Village Conservancy (their charity was themselves) 2.       Sector Police Forum (their charity was themselves) 3.       Sandstone Vets (their charity was Cluny Animal Trust) 4.       Clarens Brewery (their charity was Thusanang Care Centre) 5.       Clarens News (their charity was Centre Ballet) 6.       Tsamahanste Tavern (who didn’t indicate who they were playing for)

The total takings on team entries, plates of food sold and cash donations came to R4550!   Generous cash donations were received by Mont d’Or Hotel and “Team Wildcard 2’ consisting of Bruce & Debbie Marx and Sjoerd & Anne de Boer. Therefore, the winners of the best chop (SPF), best pap en sous (Clarens Brewery) and best side dish (Sandstone Vets) split this money in three and will donate it to their charities. Therefore, the SPF, Thusanang Care Centre and Cluny Animal Trust each get R1516.  Well done!

Great prizes were donated by local business; thanks very much to them:

Post House Bon Appetit Old Stone  Bottle Store Highland Coffee Roastery Protea Hotel Courtyard Cafe Clarens Xtreme Clarens Brewery Homing Instincts

These were awarded to best overall team (Brewery), best spirit (SPF), first to serve (CVC), best looking table (Brewery), last team to serve (Tsamahanste), the smokiest fire (SPF – really!) and the best overall dish (Brewery).  Most of these were donated right back to charity to give those people an opportunity to enjoy the great prizes.

Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, donated and enjoyed the day


Report back: Cluny Golf Day

Clarens News Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

Jan Sander reports:  We couldn’t have hoped for better weather on Saturday in Clarens on our golf day. The sun was brilliant, hardly a cloud in the sky, and although the wind came up occasionally, it was not enough to ruffle any feathers.   


 

The Twitcher

 

woody_and_doris-1Birds?  Did that last time, if you remember, and quite satisfying it was too.  But time for something new, methinks, to satisfy the inner man, or should that be woman; perhaps even person?  That’s the problem with gender.  Just when you think it’s all buttoned up (or should that be unbuttoned?) it turns out there is yet another group of activists determined to advance their take on what I always thought was pretty straightforward.  But maybe straight isn’t a politically-correct word either! If you think I make light of the issue, bear in mind we areliving in a world of person-hole covers, door-persons, chair-persons and even tea-persons.   I feel sure there are more, but I will not tax you, dear reader, with my over-fertile imagination.  Writing documents, particularly for the development world, isn’t what it used to be, either.  For example, acronyms now cover the first 42 pages and incorporate abbreviations for types of person (?), acts, attitudes and unguents which stretch the boundaries of credulity.  But they are taken mightily seriously and seem to require the daily rewriting of the Shortened Oxford Dictionary.  Nice though that everyone now gets a shout at redefining their gender, what they elect to do with it and who gets a sniff at it too.  One of the reasons, perhaps, why we all live in this little sheltered nest, high in the mountains of the Eastern Free State.  A much-loved resident of Clarens, now sadly deceased, once defined the village as a refugee centre for eccentrics; certainly that was a large part of the reason why Mrs Twitcher and I settled here.  What you see is what you get, so to speak, although there are a few residents about whom you might wish to know less.  Read more  

The Sunnyside Sunday Braai:  A tradition dating back to 1932!

Clarens News Sunnyside braai

Tradition.  Tradition. Tradition.  Every Sunday, weather permitting, a Sunday braai is served at Sunnyside.  This is not the usual DIY affair, so you need to be there at 1 pm sharp, as this is when lunch is served.  (And you need to book beforehand:  Phone Ann Boland: 058 256 1099.) Ann told us that this has been the tradition at Sunnyside since 1932. The braai takes place in a beautiful setting, next to a little river:  George’s Spruit (named after George Mousley) where children can spend hours catching crabs (using home-made “fishing rods”).  If you’re into those traditional values where children run free, dogs can just be dogs, and you enjoy good wholesome food then this is where you should be lazing away your Sunday afternoons.  The cost of a lunch is R80 for adults and R50 for children.  Sunnyside is not licenced, so you need to BYO.


 

Bowling 

Clarens News Bowling at Sunnyside Clarens News caught up with the Sunnyside Bowling Group last Tuesday.  This is an informal group (no need to dress up in the usual bowling attire) and anyone is welcome to join.  If you would like to join be sure to be there by 9.00 am on Tuesdays.  And don’t be put off if you don’t have a set of bowls – phone Millie on 058 2561312 who has a spare set you could borrow.  It looks like great fun.


 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Disa versicolor Disa versicolor Article and photography by Damien Coulson with input from Wim Wybenga Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This time we’ve decided to focus on a specimen from the Orchidaceae (Orchid) family. Disa versicolor (Apple-blossum Orchard in English), is a robust orchid of between 300 & 600 mm tall usually found in damp grassland at altitudes up to 2400 m A.S.L. It’s widespread throughout S.A. and also occurs in Mozambique and Angola.It is interesting to note that unlike most plants which grow from seed alone, D. versicolor also spreads via an underground rootstock or sucker-system. The exact origin of the word Disa is unknown; however some have postulated that it stems from dis meaning “double” which refers to the 2 large “wings” on the flower style. Alternatively Disa may mean “rich” or “plush”, referring to the spectacular display of the original specimen recorded for the genus. The direction in which the spurs point is a useful means of spp. identification. Versicolor means “variably coloured” referring to the changing of colour of the florets through the flowering season. This specimen was photographed on the Scilla Walk.   Read more


 CVC Report-back April 2014

Clarens Village Conservancy REPORT BACK APRIL  4     Damien Coulson’s Report-back for April 2014  makes interesting reading: not only have the rangers been involved in the removal of  Alien and Invasive plants, but they’ve continued with the on-going battle of protecting the reserve (including the removal of cattle from the reserve,) trail maintenance, and the never-ending clearing away of rubbish.  (We find it extremely odd that people who visit this pristine area – presumably because they enjoy it – then not only find it necessary to leave their rubbish behind but to also damage or remove the trail markers.)     Cick here to read the full report. You can also lend your support and keep all their hard work going by becoming a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy.  Click here to find out more.


 

The Clarens Village Conservancy – Environmental Impact

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works:

Clarens Village Conservancy Environmental Impact Study I’m sure that most Clarenites are totally unaware of the work carried out by the Clarens Village Conservancy in looking after the Clarens environment in general.   Committee members not only keep an eye on the Clarens Village Nature Reserve, and the Clarens Village Recycling Centre, as well as the Working on Fire team, but also keep an eye on developments and planned developments in our area.   Earlier last week committee members Louw van Biljon and Toni B Walters met with Paul Scherzer of  E & D Consulting Services to discuss what environmental and visual impact of the proposed upgrade of the  Clarens Water Treatment works. would have on Clarens.   Click here to learn more about the proposed upgrade of the Clarens Water Treatment upgrade.  Please note that should you wish to participate in this process you need register and comment before the 9th June, 2013.


 

Sungazers:  Our gorgeous Free State Dragons

Clarens News Sungazer Clarens News received the following letter from Dr Ian Little, Manager, Threatened Grrassland Species Programme, Endangered Wildlife Trust

Hi All  We want to recognise the Sungazer as South Africa’s national lizard! We realise it seems like spam but we really need your vote and it’ll only take 1 minute. Please join us in this ground breaking initiative. You can be one of the key people to make this happen! Please sign the petition and pass it on to all of your contacts, regardless of their background or interests. This is important to all of us.https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Department_of_Arts_and_Culture_Make_Sungazers_South_Africas_national_lizard/  Thank you

I’ve been led to believe that these wonderful dragons occur in our area (although I confess I haven’t actually seen one yet.) We’ve been surfing the net to find out a bit more.  Click here for more information.   AND if you happen to spot one – please let us know:  editor@clarensnews.co.za


 

Paballo’s Nursing Sisters:  They’ll be back soon!  

Paballo’s Nursing Sisters:  They’ll be back soon!The sisters will be back at worK from  8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing CarePaballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens has one nursing sister available for a position as live in night companion/nurse, this is due to the sad passing of one of our dear patients. For more details, please contact Dawn Wainwright at 058 256 1037 or 083 635 5881.


 

Restaurant Specials:

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Monday:  Protea Hotel: 17h00 – 19h00:  Soup and Sherry specials (R35) includes assorted breads and and the 1st sherry free.We also have periodic cake specials at R35 for cake and coffee/hot chocolate/cuppachino. Wednesday:  Friends Happy Hour from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. Wednesday:  Brambleberry @ The Ash (Old Cranford):  Burger and Pizza Specials Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm. Thursday:  Brambleberry:  Happy Hour 17h30 to 18h30 followed by two-course meal special Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00 Friday:  The Highlander: Happy Hour from 17h30 to 18h30. Need to make a booking?   Click here for a list of Restuarant telephone numbers


 

Coming Events: 12th June, 2014:  Wine Tasting

Clarens News Morgenhof EstateWine Tasting Event


 


 

Coming Events: 14 – 16 June, 2014  Tanya Jansen Exhibition and Live Painting

Clarens News Tanja Jansen exhibition     Click here For more information


 

Coming Events:  26 June 2014 : Brel meets Hardy

Clarens News Supper Theatre Brel meets Hardy



Coming Events:  27 June 2014 :Rocky Horror Party Nite

Clarens News Rocky Horror Party


 

Coming Events: 2015 Beer Fest:  27 and 28 February 2015

NO – It’s not too early to make a note in your diary!   Clarens Beer Fest 2015 Clarens Brewery : As with this year, we appeal to accommodation owners to try and reserve their accommodation for beer festival goers. It made an huge difference to the festival this year and we are very grateful to them for supporting the festival in such a positive way.


 

Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday

Remember to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.   10am – 3pm, outside Bibliophile, Church Street.


 

Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens.

As you can see – we’ve got lots of supper theatre happening this month.  But that’s not all…… Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.


 


 

A “must have” for anyone who loves Clarens

 

Clarens capsNote from Rolf Schlub: I have now made another run of 100 Clarens-Clarens caps.

They are available from either Renel at the grocery shop or from Dean &

Maureen at the Maluti Tours at R 75.- each.

The proceeds will again go to someone local who deserves financial support.

To all Guesthouse owners, please tell your guests about this great souvenir.

Every local resident should have one also.


Springbok rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game! Rugby


Municipal Rates:

On a rather sad note:  The Clarens Village Ratepayers Association advise that Clarens July Municipal accounts will show a 6% increase.


 

Classifieds:

The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.   Need a washing machine, a house to rent, or a carpenter to fix up that old furniture?  Click here to have a look. email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to place your ad on this page.


 

Making Clarens News Work for you:

Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and to promote all things Clarens.  Click here to have a look at our new website: www.clarensnews.co.za.  You may notice that we haven’t got all the listings loaded yet, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of what the website is all about.   email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to discuss how to go about getting your business listed.


Last thought:  Today is the  70th Anniversary of D- Day. (June 6 1944)

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the Allied invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.


 

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6th June 2014

Birds?  Did that last time, if you remember, and quite satisfying it was too.  But time for something new, methinks, to satisfy the inner man, or should that be woman; perhaps even person?  That’s the problem with gender.  Just when you think it’s all buttoned up (or should that be unbuttoned?) it turns out there is yet another group of activists determined to advance their take on what I always thought was pretty straightforward.  But maybe straight isn’t a politically-correct word either!

If you think I make light of the issue, bear in mind we are living in a world of person-hole covers, door-persons, chair-persons and even tea-persons.   I feel sure there are more, but I will not tax you, dear reader, with my over-fertile imagination.  Writing documents, particularly for the development world, isn’t what it used to be, either.  For example, acronyms now cover the first 42 pages and incorporate abbreviations for types of person (?), acts, attitudes and unguents which stretch the boundaries of credulity.  But they are taken mightily seriously and seem to require the daily rewriting of the Shortened Oxford Dictionary.  Nice though that everyone now gets a shout at redefining their gender, what they elect to do with it and who gets a sniff at it too.  One of the reasons, perhaps, why we all live in this little sheltered nest, high in the mountains of the Eastern Free State.  A much-loved resident of Clarens, now sadly deceased, once defined the village as a refugee centre for eccentrics; certainly that was a large part of the reason why Mrs Twitcher and I settled here.  What you see is what you get, so to speak, although there are a few residents about whom you might wish to know less.

The tourists love it though, bless them, and keep coming back for more.  They seem to like looking at us, buying our jam and drinking our local brew.  Whatever are they going to say when we pull the top off our own Apple Brandy in the next several months?  Certainly, if you fancy a bit of gender-bending, that’s the perfect lubricant for the job, I would say.  Stay tuned, for the elixir is ruminating gently in its French oak casks as I speak.  If our gender defines us then, what do we think about the size 15 bovver-boots worn by sylph-like little girl-persons (is that term actually acceptable? – Editor) or the flowing locks and lashings of mascara worn by hugely overweight boy-persons (or that? – Editor) who would struggle to make it through the door?  I josh you not: such persons were tripping the light-fantastic just the other day, en route to our neighbouring mountain-cabbage Kingdom, and no-one raised an eyebrow.   But then we are quaintly notorious for looking the other way if said tourist-persons elect to expose a little body hair, or tattoos of their Giraffe, while unfolding their stiff notes of corruption or shiny new credit cards.  The banks don’t care either it would seem.

Where was I?

Ah yes.  Gender.  What fun it is, not least when you are engulfed in very waves of it.  I think the idea, voiced under the breath so to speak, of painting the Clarens Square pink is splendid.  Peter Reed, whose gentle hands have manicured the pre-winter greenery, would of course shudder, but what is the point of having a sense of humour unless you use it.  Just think, the Golf Estate could toss out its architectural guidelines (they don’t really have any, do they? – Editor) and paint all the roofs a verdant day-glow pink.  Imagine Lake Clarens up to the brim with pink champagne, and Bruce frolicking in its heady essence?  Ah, that’s what eccentricity is all about, particularly when little pink helicopters are raining money on our little businesses.  Gather your strength, Clarenites, for pink is the colour of the century it would seem, and we must embrace the fashion or die trying.  With a little encouragement, I feel sure the Brewery would rise to the occasion and produce a vibrant pink beer.   Yes, it is time to embrace our eccentricity once more, even if it involves artist-persons, theatre-persons and blue-wigged hologram persons.  Brace yourselves, citizens, I believe I can hear the future coming………………………..

28th February 2014

There are times when birds simply don’t feature in a Twitcher’s life, overshadowed perhaps by events of apparently great public consequence: a riot; an earthquake; birth; death; or a beer festival.

In and of itself, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival was what you might expect.  Four and a half thousand thirsty visitors, more food of generally good quality than you can shake a stick at and the happiest little village in the Southern Hemisphere.  Oh, and seventy-two pregnancies, sixty-nine of them unplanned and one uncertain; the balance involved a twin-conception for a pair of lovelorn accountants from Parys who managed the feat in the toilets of the Highlander.  In short, it was a runaway success and confirms that people of all three genders will travel clear across South Africa to sample their favourite cup of foaming brew.  God knows what next year will bring, but odds on five thousand five hundred are pretty short.  So brace yourselves, Clarenites, and practice your dance steps.

Of equal interest is the re-emergence of our own Kaalvoet, a 3.5 metre princess of the Big Foot variety.  Readers may recall that she ran off to sink ski boats on the Vaal Dam before trekking south to mess with international shipping in Cape Town harbour.  Well, she was back for the beer festival.  Cunningly disguised behind an enormous pair of shades and wearing a fetching Korean engineer’s overall (retrieved from a fishing trawler in the fairest Cape) she called herself Edna and worked at a Durban brewer’s stall dispensing large volumes of Irish Red Ale.  For those in the know, her feet were a dead giveaway (size 18, matted brown hair and a beer cap on her pinkie toe) but at least two bikers from Pretoria proposed marriage to her before dusk.

The point is that she was very obviously with child.  No-one is talking (not surprisingly) but suspicion is growing amongst locals that she may have cohabited with a Japanese seaman on her travels.  It is generally agreed that the Japs are particularly non-discriminating when testosterone levels are up, and even Blue Whales have been known to move oceans when the moon is full in Tokyo.  So Edna may have been seduced by a bowl of Sushi and the promise of a visit to Yokohama.  Whatever happened, Slim Bruce is mad with jealousy and the Clarens Women’s Institute has started knitting quite large socks.  Perhaps the Creature Wall in the Brewery will soon have a new addition to its story of Big Foot colonisation, but spare a thought for the midwife to this quaint union.

As for the village, much gloom about the closure of three – or is it four? – businesses.  However, the opening of On The Square (yes, on the square) has introduced four new businesses to Clarens and relocated another; so we are still in credit, it seems.  Had Oom Paul been about, I feel sure he would have opened this spectacular creation in wood and iron with appropriate solemnity.  At least the architecture would have been familiar, and the taste of Portuguese tit-bits would have swept him back to Lourenco Marques and another, perhaps better, time.  The point is that Clarens is, like every other piece of geography, locked into cycles of growth and decline.  A brief examination of the last decade confirms explosive growth and now we are meandering through a national economic malaise which has in fact affected us far less than the rest of the country.

Time to start smiling again, notwithstanding only 258 shopping days to Christmas, and accept that we came to Clarens to have some fun.

The Twitcher

23 May, 2014: Big Blue Skies with a Touch of Grey

Clarens - Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey


Table of Contents:
Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey;
Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
The Twitcher; Report back:
Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014;
CTF call for assistance please!;
Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Zalusianskya microsiphon;
CVC Report-back April 2014;
Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works;
Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave;
Restaurant Specials:
This weekend’; Restaurant Specials: During the week;
Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity;
Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson;
Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014;
Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday; Coming Events:
Always  something happening in Clarens;
Super rugby;
Classifieds;
Making Clarens News Work for you;
Be amazed; Not on the mailing list? Click here to sign up


Big Blue Skies with a touch of grey

It may be winter – or is it still autumn, and we may have had the odd grey-day but in the main the sky over Clarens has been  particularly blue over the last few weeks.  Not that grey skies should not be enjoyed.  Paul Cezanne claimed that if you wanted to paint a good landscape it needed to have a grey sky.  In fact he was so enamoured by the way that the colour grey brings out other colours that he even painted his studio walls a muted neutral grey. 


 

Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project

 

Clarens News The Maluti Highlands Water Project Katse Dam

Two months ago, on 27 March 2014, the South African and Lesotho Governments met for a sod-turning ceremony.  It was the official launch of the long-awaited Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Phase One of the Project has been fully operational since 2004, with over 2 million cubic meters of water being transferred daily from Lesotho to South Africa via the Trans Caledon Tunnel, which runs under the Clarens Valley and emerges just north of Clarens at the Ash River Outfall adjacent to the R712 route to Bethlehem. The objective of the Project is to supplement water supplies to South Africa’s industrial heartland of Gauteng.  South Africa’s biggest river, the Orange (or Senqu in Lesotho), has its source in the Maluti Mountains and flows west out of Lesotho and across the arid central and western regions of South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, thus carrying vital water supplies away from the area where it is most needed.  One major drought in the Vaal catchment area, even with Phase One fully operational, could severely impact on water availability in the Gauteng region.  Eskom alone uses the equivalent of over 40% of the water volume transferred from Lesotho in any given period.  Read more


The Twitcher

Okay, birds.  Which is actually the remit of your faithful scribe.  After all, what else is there to write about in the autumn of one’s senses, here in Never-Never land.  Certainly not politics.  For her part, Mother Nature (why this gender distinction when no-one knows for sure?) seems undecided about the transition from summer to autumn to winter, so has apparently compromised on an exquisite combination of clear sparkly days and nippy nights.  Whatever, it is quite delightful and charms visitors out of their 4x4s and into the village shops in large numbers. But if only they would spread their wings, so to speak, and do the countryside as well.  They would discover, for example, blue-grey mountain ranges and verdant hidden valleys to die for, nestling countless guest houses, B&Bs, wedding venues and country shops.  The Golden Gate Park, literally around the corner, sports red sandstone formations that dominate deep blue skies and over 175 species of birds.  You’ll probably see Buzzards, Kestrels, Verreaux’s Eagles, Lanner Falcons, the Cape Vulture and even the threatened Bearded Vulture, but you really need to look!  And who wouldn’t commit a Schedule 4 crime for the sighting of a Buff-Streaked Chat or Gurney’s Sugarbird?  On an unrelated quest for fresh sightings, your faithful correspondent was press-ganged into taking the alternative route from Clarens to Fouriesburg, actually with a wine-farm destination in mind (yes, there is one and very splendid it is too!).   Read more

 


Report back:  Clarens Tourism Forum AGM:  22 May 2014.

CTF  logo  

The CTF AGM was interesting and informative.   The afternoon started off with an a short presentation by Elsa Human from N3 Gateway. As can be seen from the Chairman’s Report, N3 Gateway has played a massive role in supporting the CTF and facilitating its presence at  various important tourism orientated shows.  Elsa emphasized the fact that listing on the www.n3gateway.com business directory  is free and invited Clarens business owners to make more use of this facility. Of interest also was that N3 Gateway’s research indicates that tourists are mainly interested in what they can do in an area – and Elsa is keen for more information on Clarens. She can be contacted by email: elsah@n3gateway.com. We were then introduced to Professor Willem van Zyl:  Associate Professor: Geography (Tourism Development and Planning) at University of the Free State. Professor van Zyl is working on a heritage and travel guide for the area and is also involved in the University’s Afromontaine Research unit.  Needless to say all those involved in the Clarens Tourism industry will benefit from this work.  Professor van Zyl is however looking for people who would like to contribute to the work he is doing in the Clarens area.  email: vanzylwf@qwa.ufs.ac.za The next item on the agenda was the CTF Chairman’s report, presented by Victor Mokoena – as charismatic as ever.  It is obvious that Clarens is growing as a tourism destination.  Click here to read the full report. The evening finished off with Victor’s announcement that thanks to his promotion within SanParks he will be leaving Clarens and moving to Pretoria.  (Congratulations Victor, and all the best.)  There have also been other resignations from the CTF Forum committee, and it was concluded that rather than  elect a new committee, the existing CTF committee would first meet with other stakeholders in Clarens to plan a way forward. Thank you to the CTF for all the work they have done in promoting Clarens as a tourist destination.  All those of us who benefit  cannot however continue to leave it those few individuals who continue to promote Clarens at events such as the upcoming Gauteng Outdoor Expo.  We need to play our part:  See the CTF call for assistance below.


CTF call for assistance please!

The Clarens Tourism Forum will be representing Clarens at the Gauteng Outdoor Expo at the Waterfall Estate, Kyalami from Friday 30 May to Sunday 1 June.

We need assistance in manning the stand, and are calling for any volunteers to please contact Gavin Schoeman at Mountain Odyssey on odyssey@isat.co.za or 058 256 1251 Your travelling expenses will be paid, and accommodation will be arranged.

Advertising Brochures and business cards Any Clarens businesses that would like their brochures and business cards distributed at the Expo, please drop them off at Mountain Odyssey or Clarens Destinations by 3pm, Wed 28 May! See http://www.gauteng.outdoorexpo.co.za/ Thanking you in advance for your co-operation!


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Zalusianskya microsiphon


Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Zalusianskya  microsiphon

Article and photography by Damien Coulson with input from Wim Wybenga Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a less oft’ observed member of the endemic Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family. Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks in English, Kortbuis-Zaluzianskya in Afrikaans and malithungthung in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows up to 400 mm tall. It grows in the altitude band 1525-2745 m A.S.L., in rocky grassland areas. Z. microsiphon grows from the EC – Mpum. The Latin Microsiphon  translates to “small tube”, referring most likely to the very narrow stalked pollen tube of the flowers. This particular solitary specimen was photographed this week on a section of the Porcupine Trail prone to partial shade in the autumn season in which it grows. Interestingly enough, several references have stated that the flowers only open in full sun. The leaves of Z. microsiphon are arranged in a basal rosette, are tufted and may appear blue-green to grass green. Read more


 

CVC REPORT BACK APRIL  4Damien Coulson’s Report-back for April 2014  makes interesting reading: not only have the rangers been involved in the removal of  Alien and Invasive plants, but they’ve continued with the on-going battle of protecting the reserve (including the removal of cattle from the reserve), trail maintenance, and the never-ending clearing away of rubbish.  (We find it extremely odd that people who visit this pristine area – presumably because they enjoy it – then not only find it necessary to leave their rubbish behind but to also damage or remove the trail markers.)  Click here to read the full report-back for April 2014. Cick here to read the full report. You can also lend your support and keep all their hard work going by becoming a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy.  Click here to find out more.


Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Click here   for Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet      


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Paballos Nursing Clarens OrganizationsPlease note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:
Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014 Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Restaurant Specials: This weekend

JOIN THE ARTICHOKE RESTAURANT THIS WEEKEND FOR A  SEAFOOD BONANZA: ON THE MENU: Cacciucco, Grilled Trout, Spaghetti with Clams, Frittura di Mare. ARTICHOKE MUSIC: FRIDAY:  GAIL ON GUITAR AND VOCALS SATURDAY:  DION ON GUITAR AND VOCALS COURTYARD RESTAURANT Regular Sunday buffet lunch special:  R110 per head.  Booking is essential: 082 6501503 Calling all restauranteurs:  We plan to make Restaurant specials a regular feature on Clarens News.  These will be posted on the Clarens News facebook page on those fridays when we are not posting out a newsletter.   Please send your specials to:  editor@clarensnews.co.za


Restaurant Specials: During the week

Monday – Friday:  The Posthouse breakfast! Sart the day on the right note.  The Posthouse Breakfast ranges from R22 – R30, and includes tea and coffee. Wednesday:  Friends HAPPY HOUR from 20h00 to 21h00.  Live music. Thursday:   Golden Age Day at Bon Appetit Bistro: (Rosemary Centre) Every Thursday (except Public Holidays) is now “Golden Age Day” @ Bon Appetit Bistro. If you are in the Golden Age (over 65 years old), come enjoy Breakfast (served all day), a light lunch, tea, coffee or cake and get 10% discount on your bill.  Open from 9.30am till 4.00pm. Friday:  Courtyard: Specials at the Cafe every friday from 12 noon, and at the Restaurant every friday evening from 18h00 Friday:  The Highlander: HAPPY HOUR from 17h30 to 18h30.


Coming Events: 25th May: ‘Awesome Autumn’ Braai challenge for charity

Clarens Awesome Autumn Braai Challenge for Charity


Coming Events: Tuesday 27th May, 2014.   Meet the Authors :   Nick Norman and Chris Nicholson

Clarens Book Launch Geologist Nick Norman, co-author of the popular GEOLOGICAL JOURNEYS will be in Clarens on 27th May to talk about his latest geological   ’ guide, GEOLOGY OFF THE BEATEN TRACK. This companion volume offers insights into areas like the TANQUA KAROO, the RICHTERSVELD and iconic BARBERTON which illustrate so richly the unique geological heritage we South Africans are privileged to have on our doorstep.Copies of Geological Journeys, of particular interest to Clarens residents because it includes a section on the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, will be on sale at the talk at Bibliophile. Nick’s hope is that he can imbue his audience with some of the sense of enormous privilege he feels as he drives around our amazing country. Chris Nicholson – legal eagle, novelist and raconteur direct from Franschhoek Literary Fest, will be joining us on Tuesday to chat about his books “No Sacred Cows” (published May 2014), “One Hand Washes the Other” (published 2013), “Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend” (published 2005) and “Permanent Removal: Who killed the Cradock Four?” (published 2004). To find our more about Chris Nicholson and his books visit: http://www.chrisnicholson.co.za An opportunity not to be missed. Phone: 083 765 8901


Coming Events: Cluny Trust Golf Day: 31 May 2014

To all the Golfers out there The Cluny golf day will be on Saturday 31 May 2014 at The Clarens Golf Estate. We hope to see all the old supporters there, but there’s always space for new friends. If you would like to book a 4ball, sponsor a hole, or a prize please contact Jan Sander at info@clunyanimaltrust.co.za.


Coming Events: Clarens Country Market – every Saturday

Remember to visit the Clarens Country Market on Saturday.   10am – 3pm, outside Bibliophile, Church Street.


Coming Events: Always something happening in Clarens.

Next month sees Cat Simoni Paul Spence back with two totally different shows:  Noel & Gertie, and Rocky Horror Bite Nite! Click here:  For more information on what’s  happening in Clarens.


Super rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!



Classifieds:

The Classifieds page on the website has some very interesting ads.  Click here to have a look. email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to place your ad on this page.


Making Clarens News Work for you:

Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and to promote all things Clarens.  Click here to have a look at our new website: www.clarensnews.co.za.  You may notice that we haven’t got all the listings loaded yet, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of what the website is all about.   email:editor@clarensnews.co.za to discuss how to go about getting your business listed.


Be amazed:

Whilst this isn’t exactly about just Clarens, this fantastic video clip is worth watching.  Hidden miracles of the natural world


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Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks)

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Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a less oft’ observed member of the endemic Scrophulariaceae (Figwort) family. Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks in English, Kortbuis-Zaluzianskya in Afrikaans and malithungthung in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows up to 400 mm tall. It grows in the altitude band 1525-2745 m A.S.L., in rocky grassland areas. Z. microsiphon grows from the EC – Mpum. The Latin Microsiphon  translates to “small tube”, referring most likely to the very narrow stalked pollen tube of the flowers. This particular solitary specimen was photographed this week on a section of the Porcupine Trail prone to partial shade in the autumn season in which it grows. Interestingly enough, several references have stated that the flowers only open in full sun. The leaves of Z. microsiphon are arranged in a basal rosette, are tufted and may appear blue-green to grass green. Basal leaves measurements are 35-90 mm by 8-20 mm; stem leave measurements are 20-65 mm by 4-8 mm (stem leaves overlap with entire to faintly toothed margins with fine hairs present on the margins and midrib). Up to 3 stems may be visible however a solitary stem is also common for this species. The inflorescence can be dense, with flowers along the length of the stem but with a greater density towards the stem tip. Petals are held aloft a corolla of variable length – depending on where the plant grows. One will always see 2 lobes up, 2 to the sides and one facing down (reminiscent of an old lady in a night-gown with her arms open for a hug). The lobes themselves are deeply notched and white inside and reddish-pink outside.   Flowering Late Dec-April.

Uses:

Ecological Importance

According to some sources, the evening fragrance implies that the species in question are pollinated by moths, whereas day-pollinated species often have little or no obvious scent. Research is in progress on the ecological relationships between some members of the genus and specially adapted long-tongued pollinators (particularly night flying hawk moths). Day-flying hawk moths also seem to be significant pollinators of many species of Zaluzianskya.

Gardening

Until recently the plant had not been cultivated; however it has now begun to be recognised for its ornamental value in gardens.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for Z. microsiphon is listed as of Least Concern.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photopgrahps by Damien Couls0n

with input from Wim Wybenga

9th May 2014: A change in the Weather

 

Snow on Mount Horeb Clarens



Table of contents: A change in the weather; Other changes? Oh yes – we had elections this week; The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back; Parking in Clarens; Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works; The Twitcher; Clarens Tourism Forum AGM; Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014 Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign Coming Events: Mother’s Day Coming Events: Super rugby Making Clarens News Work for you


A change in the Weather.

No – we haven’t had snow yet, but since this editions photograph was taken on 11th May last year we can’t be blamed for thinking that it could snow at any time now.   We’ve certainly been blessed with the most fabulous weather recently, but  a quick look at accuweather – shows much coolet weather ahead.  They’re not predicting snow…….. but you never know!


Other changes?  Oh yes – we had elections this week.

Letter from Mandy Prior

Well another election has come and gone. There is some good news!! The DA has become the official opposition in the Free Sate. The sad news is that the voters’ numbers were down from the last Local election, however way up from the last National election.

Unfortunately in National elections the word on the ground is that “we must vote ANC so that the White government never comes back into power”.

Do not lose heart though because every year sees the majority become more and more educated in the ways of government.

Unfortunately, there still seems to be an apathy amongst White and youth voters to take ownership of the country. I can quite understand the resentment amongst the middleclass as they watch their rates and taxes squandered and the infrastructure of the country crumble.

The only way available to us to bring about change is to vote.

Thanks to all who made the effort, no matter which way you voted, to give a voice to the country.

Clr.Mandy Prior

For more comments on the elections see The Twitcher below.


The National MTN MTB Series –  Report Back

Letter from Clarens Toursim Forum:

And so another superb event concludes in Clarens. Sincere thanks to Advendurance, event owners and organisers of the MTN MTB Series in Clarens.

Thanks also to other contributors to the success of this event:A Massive thank you from the Advendurance Team to the entire Clarens Community for their support of this event. 2014 Saw their largest number of entries to date for the Clarens leg – 1825 unique entries with a total of +/-2200 riders over the 2 days. This event first started in Clarens in 2004 with 250 mountain bike riders so the growth over the last 10 years is evident! In a post-event meeting attended by Wessel van der Walt and Francois Theron (Advendurance), Paul Pretorius (Advendurance representative), Rodney Wainwright (CVC + Fire Association), Dawn Wainwright (Paballo’s Nursing Services) and Tammy Hancock (CTF), the future of the event in Clarens was discussed with the objective and vision to further improve, grow and enhance the event. To this end the date of the 2015 Clarens leg has been moved to 17 – 19 April 2015. Contributing factors to the date change are:

i.         to avoid the conflict with a usually productive long weekend in Clarens; and,

ii.         date change of another major mountain bike race event.

Read more


Parking in Clarens

Parking in ClarensIf facebook is anything to go by, the recent cycling event in Clarens seems to have sparked off the perennial debate on parking in Clarens.  We published an excellent article by  Louw van Biljon  in Clarens News last year.  Click here if you missed this well researched article.  There’s much food for thought.


Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Clarens Water Treatment Works Click here   for Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet      


The Twitcher

Whew!  Another election gone and everything stays the same.  Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block.  Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits.  Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast.  He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history.  Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader.  Ah, those were the days of real communicators.  Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.   Read more


Clarens Tourism Forum

Clarens Tourism Forum AGM The Annual General Meeting of the Clarens Tourism Forum will take place on the 22nd of May 2014 at 16hOO at Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens. Click here to see the Notice, Agenda, and Proxy Form


Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association

Hi There Dihlabeng Budget:  Attached ( Click here ) is the letter which Rodney and I compiled following the Budget meeting, which was held on April 23rd.  The letter was hand delivered to various parties in the Municipality and contains our concerns about the Budget and other serious matters.  Simultaneously an article from the DA, with similar concerns, appeared in the local “ Vrytstaat”.

High Mast Lighting:  We’ve had a number of complaints from around the Village and in Larola about the high mast lights in the Township, they are facing either upwards or into the village.  Shining into bedrooms of residents homes and the accommodation for visitors. The new one in the Stadium has exacerbated the situation.  We have talked to the Contractor at the Stadium.  He has agreed to call back the electrical contractor to adjust the lights and also to set them so that only 2 of them come on at night.  However, it may take some time to get the electrical contractor back.  Hold thumbs!

With regard to the other lights, Peter Reed advises that the guy with responsibility for these is on leave, but will be back early May, when the other lights will be adjusted as necessary. Knowing that these lights were installed in the Township for security purposes, they are not really doing much good shining in the sky.  Please pass this info to anyone else who has a problem – I don’t have the email addresses of all residents, only those who have joined the Ratepayers Association. Kind regards Pat Chairperson, Clarens’ Ratepayers’ Association 058 256-1123  raubenheimer@icon.co.za Click here for more about the Clarens Ratepayers Association

Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Protea Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Protea roupelliae Damien Coulson Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. Well it’s been some time since we’ve included a woody plant in our line-up of must-see-plants, thus this week’s plant hales from the Proteacea (Protea) family. Protea roupelliae(Silver Protea in English, Silversuikerbos in Afrikaans and seqalaba in Sesotho), is a small tree that grows to between 3 & 7 m tall. This plant is found on grass slopes in close proximity to rocky outcrops, usually at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. P. roupelliae is endemic to S.A. One also gets the feel that they are in a totally different part of the country when walking among the Protea’s. The photos below were not in fact taken in the Clarens Nature Reserve but on private farmland within 10 km (or 5 minutes’ drive) of Clarens.     Read more


Female Entrepreneur Awards : Closing date 14 May 2014

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.  Read more


Paballo’s Nursing Sisters Annual Leave

Please note that Sisters Henriette and Antoinette of Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens will be taking their well deserved annual leave as follows:

Paballos Nursing Care Clarens

Last day of work 1pm on Thursday 15 May 2014
First day of work 8.45am on Monday 9th June 2014Click here to see more notices on the Community Bulletin Board Click here for more information on Paballo’s Nursing Care

Helping SA – Cancer awareness campaign

Helping SA is having a cancer awareness campaign to raise funds for children with cancer in state hospitals.

There are a lot of children without winter pajamas or any pajamas for their stay in hospital, they also do not have much to keep them busy and their minds off what they are going through, the funds raised through this campaign will be used to buy the children clothing and toys and will also assist with the traveling for the children and their parents to and from the hospital. With this project in 2013 we made a lot of children smile and just for that minute or two they forgot about their pain and the scariness of what they are going through, we also did not just do this for children with cancer but also with other children that is ill or has dread illnesses. We will be doing the same this year to focus on all children to make what they are going through easier for them.

The fundraising will be done by asking for a R100 donation towards this project ….Read more


Coming Events: Mother’s Day

Mothers Day at Mont d'Or


Coming Events:

Click here:  To see what else is happening in Clarens


Super rugby

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game! Making Clarens News Work for you: Clarens News is here for you to enjoy, use, and promote all things Clarens.   Get it to work for your business by listing on the website.   Contact the editor@clarensnews.co.za

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9th May 2014

Whew!  Another election gone and everything stays the same.  Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block.  Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits.  Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast.  He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history.  Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader.  Ah, those were the days of real communicators.  Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.

Some commentators actually seem surprised by the opening surge of the Entertaining Fat Fellows, and their showing in third place; but who would you vote for if all you had to show for 20 years of democracy was a cardboard shack and lots of leisure time?  If nothing else, we can look forward to some riveting debates in the Big House down south and lots of frustration for the Speaker.  The real interest lies five-years ahead, when it seems likely that a coalition of opposition interests may make it difficult for our dancing President’s successor to rule unfettered.  Always something new out of Africa, as the actress said to the Greek Archbishop.

Closer to home, rumour has it that only about 10% of Clarens voters, of what might be dubbed a Typex complexion, bothered to vote this time around.  Pity really.  If they had, control of our mini-metropolis would have changed profoundly, much to the chagrin of Big Brother.  There really are times when complacency is rather counter-productive, but who am I to criticize the political process?  As least someone somewhere listened to Red Ronnie Kasrils, who in spite of his odd campaign to advocate a zero ballot, actually voted himself; just shows how dark and devious intelligence people really are.

What has changed, thank the Gods, is that Clarens is almost back to normal.  Six-weeks of rampant tourism have eroded our stocks of life support materials, such as beer, bread and venison.  Locals have been seen eating Mexican in desperation, but this is unlikely to become a habit unless the Good and the Great declare another 40 public holidays.  Talking of tourists, has anyone else noticed that they are getting younger, happier and actually spend money?  At risk of being repetitious, for those of you who have read more than one of these humble offerings, it appears that we are living through a sustained boom of sorts; pretty much everyone with a till reckons they are up between 30% and 50% over this time last year and are smiling in a rather self-satisfied way.

But given the volume of visitors and their interest in finding a new home in the mountains, it is simply remarkable that the Clarens Golf Estate remains a comparative virgin.   The obviously shy bankers who own most of the empty stands on the Estate seemed disinclined to advertise their holdings or even market their empty stands anywhere or in any way.  Amazing really, given the bank’s proclivity to spend millions in real money on international sports advertising, and the fact that properties in Clarens are selling fast and furiously without them.   Still, when you have already repossessed 11 golf estates, perhaps you would also prefer sipping Martinis at Old Trafford and ruminating about bad investments.

Finally, before some local busybody beats me to it, it has to be said that last week’s show at Gosto’s was pretty damn good, apart from some frivolous and rather risqué comments directed at your faithful scribe.  Dubbed ‘Mr Kiss’ by two-metres of gorgeous Bond Girl, your correspondent had to endure the sniggers of locals imbibing both too freely and too often.  What is wrong with an honest cup of tea at dinner, I ask you with tears in my eyes?  Fortunately, I have a hide like the last White Rhino (and freshly Botoxed lips, in anticipation of increased demand) so will endure these little barbs with fortitude.  And wait for Cat Simone’s next show, Rocky Horror and Abba, in June.   Winter is almost upon us, notwithstanding these last rays of Indian summer, so enjoy them while you can; the birds certainly are, but it has to be said that most of them have flown east to sun themselves on Durban high-rises and add to the nice white streaky effects down their aluminium and glass-sides.   Nice to be able to return a favour to our KZN visitors.

The Twitcher

Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Notice of Environmental Authorisation Process:  Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works.  Proponent: Dihlabeng Local Numicipality  EIA Ref: EMB/11(x&xi), 40 (ii), 13 (c)iii(dd)/14/25 Table of Contents:  Notice of Environmental Authorisation Process; Background information: Introduction; Environmental Authorisation Process; Overview of Currrent water infrastructure; Technical Details; Potential environmental issues; Registration to participate in Environmental Authrotisation Process; Comment Sheet       Clarens Water   Clarens Water Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works Overview of current water infrastructure Clarens Clarens Water Treatment Upgrade Technical details     Comment sheet

Clarens Tourism Forum AGM Notice

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NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE CLARENS TOURISM FORUM

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Clarens Tourism Forum will take place on the 22nd of May 2014 at 16hOO

at Mont d’Or Hotel, Clarens.

Registration will take place from 15h00.

 

PROXIES

– A member may be represented at a general meeting by proxy, who must be a member of the CTF.

– A proxy must be lodged with the Association at least 24 (twenty-four) hours before the commencement of the meeting.

– The chairman of the meeting may agree to accept a proxy tendered at any time before or during the meeting.

You are cordially invited to appoint a proxy to act on your behalf at the Annual General Meeting by completing the attached Proxy Form and forwarding same via e-mail or fax, to be received on or before Monday, the 19thof May at 15h00.   NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

– Committee members shall be required to rotate on an annual basis

– Committee members shall continue to hold office from the date of his/her appointment to office until the annual general meeting next following his said appointment, at which meeting each committee member shall be retired from office but will be eligible for re-election to the committee.

You are cordially invited to nominate Members (not more than two) who you would like to see elected as Committee members of the Clarens Tourism Forum. If you would like to nominate a Member/Person, please ensure that the Member/Person concerned is willing to stand for election. Once the nominee’s consent has been received, kindly complete the attached nomination form and ensure that both, you and the person seconding, and the nominee sign same in the appropriate places. The nomination form may be handed in at the Clarens Destinations offices or at the AGM.   VOTING RIGHTS OF MEMBERS

– Members shall be entitled to vote only on the matters raised at every general meeting.

– Each member, present in person or by proxy and entitled to vote, shall have one vote for each nomination.

– No person other than a member who have paid membership fees payable to the CTF in respect of or arising out of his/her membership and who is not suspended, shall be entitled to be present or to vote on a question, either personally or by proxy, at any general meeting.

Click here for Proxy form

Click here for Agenda

Female Entrepreneur Awards

Female Entrepreneur Awards

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.

Here are the Categories of the competition:

  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: COMMERCIAL
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: SMALLHOLDER
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: PROCESSING
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: EXPORT
  • BEST SUBSISTANCE
  • BEST FEMALE WORKER
  • MINISTERIAL AWARD: YOUNG WOMAN/ WOMAN WITH DISABILITY

Closing date for entering the competition is 14 May 2014.All interested farmers can contact Mr Tsepiso Mosia and get forms at his office in Dihlabeng Municipal office in Clarens.
Good news is that Clarens is running for the hosting of the district event on 29 May 2014.Let us go for this challenge Clarens Farmers,remember Clarens is the unique town of WINNERS!!!
Hope to hear from you soon.

Tsepiso Mosia
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development FS
Phone: 0710791332
E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com

Protea roupelliae

 

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Weekly Plant of Interest Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. Well it’s been some time since we’ve included a woody plant in our line-up of must-see-plants, thus this week’s plant hales from the Proteacea (Protea) family. Protea roupelliae (Silver Protea in English, Silversuikerbos in Afrikaans and seqalaba in Sesotho), is a small tree that grows to between 3 & 7 m tall. This plant is found on grass slopes in close proximity to rocky outcrops, usually at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. P. roupelliae is endemic to S.A. One also gets the feel that they are in a totally different part of the country when walking among the Protea’s. The photos below were not in fact taken in the Clarens Nature Reserve but on private farmland within 10 km (or 5 minutes’ drive) of Clarens.     The leaves of P. roupelliae are a bluish green measuring 60-160 mm X 15-45 mm and held in terminal rosette stems. Young leaves are covered in silvery hairs, while older leaves are hairless. The bark is thick and black, with narrow furrows observed on older bark. Flower-heads are 80-120 mm in diameter with brown outer bracts. Inner bracts are spoon shaped, deep pink and edged with silvery hairs.  As the flower-heads age they grade to pale pink-red then brown-purple/black. Flowering Feb-Apr. Uses:

Food

The nectar is probed from the flower-heads by sunbirds, in particular the spectacular malachite sunbird and Gurney’s sugarbird. Also used for fuel during cooking.

Ecology

A favourite nesting spot for the above-mentioned nectar-sucking birds as well as a few small mammals. Proteas’ are a Fynbos species of plant which rely on fire for their seeds to germinate. A fire interval of 10 -15 years is generally favourable for the growth of this species, any shorter and seed banks will not be able to accumulate sufficiently for the maintenance of the spp., any longer and the plants become senescent and no further seed are produced. The presence of this spp. in grassland could therefore act as an indicator of veld which is in a relatively healthy state.

Gardening

This plant can be grown from seed – and for those who enjoy birding and photography – a few of these in your garden will bring birds of stunning plumage to your doorstep. P. roupelliae is relatively frost tolerant and hardy. It seems to proliferate in wind-prone areas on shallow, slightly acidic soils.

Traditional Uses

The bark has been used in traditional medicines.

Conservation Status

This species has been recorded as of least concern by SANBI.

Eriospermum ornithogaloides

Eriospermum ornithogoloides

Weekly Plant of Interest

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’re focusing this week on a small plant of the from the Eriospermaceae family.

Eriospermum ornithogaloides (khonggoana-tsingoana in Sesotho), is a small plant that grows to between 100 & 250 mm in height at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. This unusually shaped plant is found growing in colonies on the edges of rock sheet and sparsely grassed rocky areas – often nearby or among succulent plants. Occurs from  the EC to FS.

E. ornithogaloides photographed here were observed growing just above the Scilla Walk – apparently unharmed by errant goats. It’s not often that one sees a plant growing with no stem and just a single above-ground leaf…Interesting.

 

 

E. ornithogaloides possesses a single solitary leaf which lies closely against the ground and measures approx. 35 X 25 mm. The leaf is roughly heart-shaped with red margins, sometimes fringed by hairs. The inflorescence is not often observed as it occurs separately from the leaves – on the same below ground plant. The flowers are 10 mm in diameter, with spreading outer tepals and white erect inner petals with a blue-green midvein. Flowering Oct – Dec. Uses:

Traditional Uses

Has been known to treat earache and even infertility in women of the Sesotho culture.

Conservation Status

This species has been recorded as of least concern by SANBI.

25th April, 2014

One long weekend down, two to go.  Judging from the reaction of the restaurants, bars, coffee shops and guest houses, you could be forgiven for thinking we had won the lottery.  But if you happen to be a gallery or retail store owner, maybe not so much.  The point is that spending is selective in these stringent economic times:  Fill the tank with gas, fill the tummy with steak and craft beer and lay your tousled head upon a rented bed – and all is well with the world, apart from an upcoming election of course.  But whether or not you were on the receiving end of tourist largesse, it has to be said that Clarens at Easter was simply gorgeous: The trees are somewhere between butter and brown and the sunsets are an extreme exercise in sky theatre.  And if the Easter Bunny forgot about you, go buy your own little slice of chocolate heaven at your nearest village grocer; they need some business too!

In the lull between a four-day weekend and a three day affair (no, I’m not talking about our unmarried guests) we have had a breath-taking insight into the Affairs of State.  Well, local actually; in fact, the Municipal Budget presentation.  Before you yawn yourself into a coma, pause to consider that our friends in Dihlabeng don’t do this for any old Eastern Free State town; it’s just us actually, and we get a pat on the back for our engaging criticism and friendly advice.  Ho ho.  After half-an-hour of comic relief in the Marty Lotz Hall, we moved into the Coffee Shop there, in order to actually hear the presentation, given the intervention of an eighty-five decibel hail storm on an old tin roof.  Point is that we run at an immense annual deficit (about R85 million) in spite of our weighty rates and taxes, not least because of the Municipality’s salary and wage bill, and there is no prospect of change any time soon.  The MEC for Finance, a very jovial chap, responded patiently to an hour of gripes about the ‘inability’ of some of our esteemed Councillors to pay their rates.  Given that he sighed and noted that this was always our main priority, it would seem that our annual bitching doesn’t penetrate the Council Chamber down the road.  So what to do?

Slashing Councillor’s salaries and allowances is clearly not an option two weeks before an election, so perhaps it’s time for Clarens to think it’s way out of this civic cul-de-sac.  Perhaps it is time for some creativity and lateral thinking:  After all, we are actually sitting on a tourist gold mine in idyllic surroundings, and about the most progressive idea in currency is to build a retirement home on the Golf Estate!  We have to do better than that if we are going to protect our business futures and operate in a municipal environment free from bankruptcy hearings.

So, let’s make a start: First, who fancies a cable car to the top of Mount Horeb?  Just think, bright young things taking your money in 11 official languages while you sweep skywards in a rainbow-coloured car to scones and coffee on the peak of our most dominant mountain?  Don’t laugh.  Think for a moment about half of Johannesburg and one-third of Pretoria queuing to give their hard-earned away to the Clarens Mountain Railroad and Scone Company.  Move over Cape Town, here we come.  Second, anyone remember that we are sitting on one of the country’s biggest aquifers, snug beneath the Clarens Golf Course?  Of course you do; why else would your little white ball swerve erratically away from the 12th hole every time you play?  Point is that we could go down as well as up.  Think for a moment about National Geographic running a deep-diving mini submarine to a wine and oyster bar on the bed of our biggest natural water reservoir.  Admittedly, you would have to hold your breath a while and it would be a bit of a mission clutching your oysters in the dark, but I’m betting that Free Staters would kill for the experience.

But third, and without doubt the clincher, how about the biggest adventure ice-skating rink in the country, smack in the Clarens Square?  Just imagine, Victorian balustrades encircling an immense stretch of ice, with ramps and slopes sculpted around towering Voortrekker ice-wagons; first-aid stations interspersed with ice-skate sellers and 44-gallon drums of Schnapps to keep your cheeks warm.  And that’s only in summer.  If it catches on, we could do a ski-jump down Main Street, landing on the Golf Course, and – you guessed it – catching a ride down to the Wine and Oyster Bar.  Oh, the money that will roll in………………..

So come on Clarens.  Time to brain-storm our way out of this Municipal delinquency and make our village the centre of the known universe.  Why spend trillions on space exploration with the prospect of a breathless hot and sticky planet to live on, when you can stretch your legs and minds in this splendid part of the planet, 1867metres above the predicted high-tide mark for 2019.

Oh bugger.  I forgot the birds again.  Sorry.

 

The Twitcher

Delosperma sutherlandii

image002

Damien1-100x100Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a striking member of the Mesembryanthemaceae (Vygie/Ice Plant) family.

Delosperma sutherlandii (Sutherland Hardy Ice-plant in English), is a succulent herb growing to 120 mm high. The Latin Delos translates to “conspicuous”, whilst sperma translates to “seed”, referring to the large capsule-shaped seeds produced by the plant. In grasslands between KZN and Mpum it grows at altitudes of up to 2100 m A.S.L.

The seeds of D. sutherlandii require only a sufficient quantity of rainfall to open. One can “trick” the dry capsule into opening by sucking on it for a short while or dripping several water droplets on the capsule. The capsule opens before your eyes but will soon close as it quickly dries. Interesting to know that the vibrant looking flowers are among the largest of any Ice-plant. The photo below was taken on a section of the Kloof Mountain Trail during the spring of last year.

The leaves of D. sutherlandii are opposite, flat and somewhat joined near the base. The measurements are 50-80 mm long by 15-20 mm wide. The leaves tend to taper towards the end and are keeled on the ventral surface. The margins are covered in fine short hairs and the water-holding cells are clearly visible, giving the leaves a leathery appearance. One generally observes 1-3 flowers of 35-60 mm diameter in terminal clusters at the ends of stalks of length 50-100 mm. The colour of the flowers is a purple/pink colour fading to yellow white with white stamens. Flowering Late Oct-Dec. Uses:

Gardening

Heat, drought and salt tolerant, this adaptable evergreen plant thrives with little maintenance. It may be used as a groundcover or added to rock gardens.

Photography

The brilliant pink flowers complete with yellow “eye” make for an attractive photography subject.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for D. sutherlandii is listed as Least Concern.

Letter from the Clarens Ratepayers Association

Hi there

I would like to advise you that Chris Salt, Treasurer and Vice Chair of the CRA has resigned.

Chris has been with CRA for 6 years and before that he was Treasurer of the preceding association, RAG.  Thus he has been volunteering his services to the Clarens Community for many years and we would like to thank him for his dedication, expertise and support.

We will be advising you soon of the date for the CRA AGM for which Chris will prepare the financials; the meeting will most probably be held in early June.  At the AGM we will be electing a new committee; please give some thought to volunteering as a committee member – we have three to four meetings per year.

I am sure you will all join me in thanking Chris for his work for Clarens.

Kind regards

Pat
Chairperson, CRA
raubenheimer@icon.co.za

11th April, 2014: 257 Days until Christmas




Mzanzi Tour in Clarens

Table of Contents:

  • Festival of Dirt – Report Back;
  • Mzanzi Tour in Clarens;
  • Made in Clarens;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Female Entrepreneur Awards;
  • Community News: The great get-together;
  • Community News: News from Paphama Youth;
  • Travels with Beezus;
  • Travelground votes Clarens Amongst the Top Hiking Spots in South Africa;
  • Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Leonotis leonuris;
  • News from the Golf Estate:  Business league;
  • News from the Golf Estate: Friday competition;
  • Cluny Animal Trust Appeal;
  • The MTN Mountain Bike Race: How you can make it work for you;
  • It’s Easter:  Passiespele;
  • Church Services over the Easter weekend;
  • Easter Fleamarket;
  • Coming Events:  2nd May: Supper Theatre On the Square;
  • Coming Events: 3-4 May: National MTB in Clarens;
  • Coming Events: 31 May: Cluny Animal Trust  Golf Day;
  • It’s super rugby time again;
  • A quote to quote;
  • Not on the mailing list?

Mzansi Tour in Clarens

Mzansi Tour in ClarensIt’s certainly been quite a week for coming and going in Clarens.  The Festival of Dirt last weekend and then the Mzanzi Tour this week.  Clarens was abuzz with cyclists, road cars, motorbikes, cameramen, and of course bicycles.
This is the tour’s second year and going by the number of international riders, it seems to be all set to become The South African cycling event.
Thank you Mzansi for bringing the tour to Clarens.


 

Clarens Festival of Dirt

Clarens Festival of Dirt – Report back

The Festival of Dirt held their 3rd annual festival this past weekend with great success. Starting out of humble beginnings the 1st festival was held in October 2012 drawing but only 53 enduro riders, 24 Mountain Bikers and 3 Dual Sport Riders. This year we can boast with record numbers of more than 350 Enduro Riders, 100 Trail Runners, 40 Mountain bikers and about 30 Dual Sport riders.The weekend started off with some Super Enduro on the Friday afternoon with at least 50 participants. Saturday was of course the main event with the Enduro event as well as some rider training by pro rider Wild William Gillett. The Enduro event went off with minimal casualties and left the people raving about our coarse and majestic views of the country side. The Trail running event was also held on the Saturday morning in town from Mozziac Pizzeria. There was a 10km and 20km trail for the runners that looped through the wonderful Clarens Conservancy. People loved the trails and pure magic of the Clarens Mountains.The Sunday enduro mountain bike event was also held in town with the competitors craving for more. Everything went off without any hiccups and the Festival of Dirt will surely be back next year same time same place.Well done Clarens Xtreme…


 

Made in Clarens

Apple pressing in ClarensWe’ve long enjoyed the high quality range of beers and ciders on offer at The Clarens Brewery.  The range of award winning beers, bottled under the Clarens Brewery label are brewed at the brewery premises in  Market Street, and until recently the ciders were brewed out on Natalie and Stefan’s farm.  This turned out to be a bit of a logistic problem, and so now all the machinery has been moved to Sias Oosthuizen Street.  Read more

 

 

 

 


The Twitcher

Since Clarens is about to reel under the weight of public appetite for holiday weekends – yes, three on the trot lie ahead – I thought you might be interested to know that Christmas is only 257 short days away.  That’s right: Your turkey only has 36 weeks to live and you need all the practice you can get under the Mistletoe, so pucker up and start spreading love and contagion.   Just don’t let your partner catch you.

But to matters of the moment: Those of you who had the time and inclination would have witnessed 90 testosterone-loaded cyclists, from all points of the global compass, jostling to navigate their way around the Clarens square on Thursday, en route to exploring the Free State’s pot-hole collection.
Read more


Female Entrepreneur Awards

Hi All.

The National Department of Agriculture,Forestry & Fisheries is running the competition for women in different sectors of agriculture.As the Provincial Department of Agriculture & Rural Development we have been tasked to invite all interested female Entrepreneurs to take part in this competition.

Thabo Mofutsanyana District is inviting all Female Entrepreneurs to take part and represent our wonderful district in the Province.If they win in the Province then they will represent Free State Province in the National Competition.

Here are the Categories of the competition:

  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: COMMERCIAL
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: SMALLHOLDER
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: PROCESSING
  • TOP ENTREPRENEUR: EXPORT
  • BEST SUBSISTANCE
  • BEST FEMALE WORKER
  • MINISTERIAL AWARD: YOUNG WOMAN/ WOMAN WITH DISABILITY

Closing date for entering the competition is 14 May 2014.All interested farmers can contact Mr Tsepiso Mosia and get forms at his office in Dihlabeng Municipal office in Clarens.
Good news is that Clarens is running for the hosting of the district event on 29 May 2014.Let us go for this challenge Clarens Farmers,remember Clarens is the unique town of WINNERS!!!
Hope to hear from you soon.

Tsepiso Mosia
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development FS
Phone: 0710791332
E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com


Community News: The great get-together

Meeting of Clarens Organisations

A history-making meeting of the 4 Clarens Associations took place on Monday 7th April.
Pictured here are (clockwise): Tammy – CTF, Ollie – CTF, Malcolm – GCCC, Natalie – GCCC, Louw – CVC, Victor – CTF, Ralph (obscured) + Pat – CRA, Carl – GCCC, and Rodney – CVC.
With a team like this Clarens can only get stronger and stronger.  Well done everybody – we can see that Clarens in capable hands.


Community News: News from Paphama Youth

Paphama Youth Career Guidance


Travels with Beezus

It’s always interesting to read what people are writing about Clarens.  Cape info sent us the link to a delightful blog: Travels with Beezus.  Below is an excerpt from the blog. We can heartily recommend that you visit the blog and read some of the other interesting comments about Clarens. Click here

 

The Maloti Wonderland in the eastern Free State

Beezus' first road trip

The first question for the trek south from Johannesburg to Cape Town was where to stop first and what to explore.  Parys, on the banks of the Vaal River and just over an hour south of Joburg provided one option — it seems to be a town on the up — but a speedy yet not-terribly-helpful reply from the Parys Info office was discouraging.

So we settled on visiting Clarens in the Eastern Free State for the first time.  And… Wow!… we were not disappointed!

It’s about three hours out of Joburg (320km) taking the N3 toll road to Durban and then heading south on the R712 at Villiers and past Reitz and Bethlehem .  The roads were good and as one approaches Clarens the scenery is spectacular!  We left Joburg in pouring rain (which lead to flooding after we left) and arrived in a very  wet, lush and spectacularly green eastern Free State.

And while you’re surfing the net you should also take a look at http://jennafinch.blogspot.com/2014/04/postcards-from-clarens.html


Travelground votes Clarens as among the top 6 hiking spots in South Africa.

Hiking in Clarens

And if you’re not sure why – just take a look at the hiking page on our website, where you’ll find a comprehensive list of all the hikes available in our area.

This photograph was taken in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve. The trails in the reserve are well marked and there is a trail to suit every level of fitness.  Be sure to collect a trail map from Maluti Tours, Village Grocer, Bibliophile, or Mountain Odyssey.  The maps cost R10, and proceeds go towards the maintenance of the trails.

 

 

 

 

 


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

Leonotis leonurus

Damien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Mint Family or Lamiaceae.
Leonotis leonurus (Wild dagga in English, Wildedagga in Afrikaans and lebake in Sesotho), is a shrub that typically grows to 2 – 3 m in height.Leonotis is derived from the Greek words Leon–“lion” and Otis -“ear”. Leonurus means “lion coloured” referring to the mane-like appearance and also colouring of the inflorescence. It is widespread throughout S.A – from the W Cape – Mpum., and tends to grow in grassland amongst rocky outcrops up to 2000 m A.S.L..
The specimen photographed was observed on the Kloof Mountain Trail. It is one of few plants adapted to growing on very shallow and nutrient poor lithic soils.  Read more


News from the Clarens Golf Estate: Business League

The Clarens Golf Estate will be playing host to numerous entrepreneurs and business owners hoping to proclaim themselves champions on the Golf Course. Currently Art & Wine and Sir Henry’s has entered teams. Mr Rob Donald will captain the third. Mike Henry is also in the process of getting his team together. If you feel confident that you would be able to commit to playing with a full team the last Wednesday of every month please let us know. Teams will have to have four players representing.The format will be Fourball Alliance: 2 Mystery Scores to Count. Single players, barbarians with no alliances, will be accommodated  monthly forming a rugged bunch of players looking to topple the more structured teams.

Current Teams entered: Art & Wine, Sir Henry’s, Management, Rob’s Team.
Starting the last Wednesday of April and spots are still open for more teams.
Special rates will apply for visiting players in your teams.
Please invite your friends and business partners to join in the fun!
Francois Schoeman
Golf Operations Manager
www.theclarens.co.za

Clarens Golf Estate Business League


News from the Golf Estate: Friday competition

Clarens Golf Estate Friday Competition

New life in the Friday Competition,

On a weekly basis members, visitors, scholars and supporters gather for a Friday afternoon round at The Clarens Golf Estate. The Clarens Golf Estate is proud to have partnered with Ciglers Butchery in Bethlehem. They are generously sponsoring the prizes, and believe me the prizes are impressive!

Any golfer with a official handicap is welcome to join in the fun. With more players participating lately, growth is assured. The past two Friday’s has seen the competition run in conjunction with other events to boost participation and fun. Voortrekker High School played Jim Fouche High School in their inter Schools League, Voortrekker being victors. This week saw another local School, Jordania, defeat Fichardt Park Primary in their encounter. Parents, Teachers and supporters enjoyed the course and atmosphere as the “golfing bug” bit them hard.

The whole family is welcome even if they don’t participate, they will enjoy the atmosphere and fun after enjoying the spectacular views on course. Thank you Ciglers and all loyal supporters of The Clarens Golf Estate. (Francois Schoeman)


Cluny Animal Trust Appeal


The MTN Mountain Bike Race: How you can make it work for you

Organisers of MTN Mountain Bike Race have approached the Chamber of Commerce offering exclusivity of the water points needed on the two race days to businesses in Clarens.  This means that Clarens businesses have the opportunity to nab the huge exposure available at these water points, back from Bethlehem businesses.   This year more than 2000 cyclists are participating who will all see your brand.  What is needed is a gazebo (preferably branded), your branding such as banners, t-shirts, etc., 3-4 people and spirit.  You need to set up by 6.30 each day , it will be out on a farm road and the length of time will depend on the race route but will be no longer than 3 hours.  You will be provided with water, drinks, apples, bananas, banana bread and jelly babies to be handed to the athletes.  You will need to brush up your motivational phrases, bring your own good cheer and strong voices, and anything else to make your brand stand out and have fun.The race organisers need 4 water points.  Please respond to info@clarensbrewery.co.za if you want to grab one. Who knows – yours might feature on SuperSport?

The organisers also asked the Chamber to appeal to guest house & B&B owners to:

1 – offer an accommodation discount to the cyclists. (They realise this year falls on a long weekend but next year’s race has been moved to the weekend after the May long weekend)

2 – offer a discount if the cyclists skip breakfast on account of being out in the route

3 – be accommodating in a late check out if you have no guests booking in on the Sunday to allow the cyclists to have a shower after the race.

See upcoming events listed below.


It’s Easter!

Passiespele 2014: Bethlehem


Clarens Church Services over the Easter Weekend

Good Friday (18th April, 2014)
Methodist Church (cnr Bester and Roos Streets):  10h30
NGK (Main Street): Nagmaal: 9h30

Easter Sunday(20th April 2014)
Methodist Church (cnr. Bester and Roos Streets): 6h30 (Sunrise service)
NGK: Sonopsdiens at Methodist Church:  6h00
NGK: (Main Streer) Opstaandingsdiens: 9h30
Anglican Church (cnr. Bester and Roos Streets): 10h30
Dihlabeng Church: (Dihlabeng Primary School, Fouriesburg Road):  9h30

For more information for both Methodist and Anglican churches please contact Francois Brink (head of churches committee) on 083 769 5432.


Clarens Easter Flea market: 20th April, 2014

See you on the square for boerewors, skilpadjies, snoek, kerrie en rys en baie stalletjies wat versillende produkte gaan verkoop.  The Fleamarket is hosted by the NGK.  For further information 058 256 1341 or email: clarensngkerk@gmail.com


Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:
Supper Theatre On the Square:

Supper Theatre in Clarens

Phone Carol at Gosto’s for further details: 082 416 3687Click here to find out more about Cat Simoni


Coming Events: 3-4 May
National MTB in Clarens

MTB in Clarens

Click here For further information


Coming Events: 31 May 2014
Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day

Cluny Animal Trust Golf DayThe purpose of the event is to raise funds for the development of an animal hospital in Fouriesburg and the surrounding areas.

Why:

Animals are mans best friend, they are always there when we’re lonely, they never give up on us and share our joy and sadness

Contact Details: Jan Sander (c) 0782462553, (f) 058 223 0727 email: jansander22@gmail.com


It’s super rugby time again

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!

Click here to see the April 2014 fixtures


A quote to quote:

“The Budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt. People must again learn to work
instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, 55 BC

       So, evidently we haven’t learnt much over the past 2,068 years.


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Click here to sign up 

Leonotis leonurus

Leonotus 2 Leonotus 1 Leonotus 3

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Mint Family or Lamiaceae.

Leonotis leonurus (Wild dagga in English, Wildedagga in Afrikaans and lebake in Sesotho), is a shrub that typically grows to 2 – 3 m in height. Leonotis is derived from the Greek words Leon –“lion” and Otis -“ear”. Leonurus means “lion coloured” referring to the mane-like appearance and also colouring of the inflorescence. It is widespread throughout S.A – from the W Cape – Mpum., and tends to grow in grassland amongst rocky outcrops up to 2000 m A.S.L..

The specimen photographed was observed on the Kloof Mountain Trail. It is one of few plants adapted to growing on very shallow and nutrient poor lithic soils. The stem of L. leonurus is 4 sided, woody and velvety from the base. The leaves are long and narrow (approx. 60- 70 mm by 20 -30 mm), rough above and velvety below with serrated edges. Inflorescence is whorled in compact clusters (up to 3) on the stem. The flowers are tubular (approx. 70 mm long) and a bright-burnt orange colour. Flowering take place in autumn – End Feb/early March – Sep. Uses:

Cultural uses

Used in traditional medicine to treat fevers, headaches, coughs, dysentery and many other conditions (see uncle Google for more – he knows everything.). It is also used as a remedy for snake bite and as a charm to keep snakes away.

Gardening

Makes for an attractive garden plant which is well suited to the Eastern Free State as it is relatively hardy and frost resistant. It also attracts a variety of birds and insects as a result of the copious quantities of nectar it produces. L. leonurus can be propagated from both seed and cuttings.

Food

The nectar is sucked by children as a type of natural “sweet”.

Ecology

The flowers are pollinated by insects and birds of various species, which in return are privy to the flowers nectar. Insects and birds often pollinate several plant species and their presence ensures the continued existence of these species, thus helping to maintain the ecological integrity of an area and preserving local biodiversity.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for L. leonurus has been recorded as of Least Concern.

Damien1-100x100Article and photographs by Damien Coulson

Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Bidens formosa

 

Bidens 1 Bidens 2

Damien1-100x100Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. Well it’s that time of the year again – and so how could we not include this very popular specimen of the Asteraceae family!?

Bidens formosa (Cosmos in English, Kosmos in Afrikaans and moqhoboqhobo in Sesotho), is a bushy herbaceous species that grows up to 2.5 tall. The Latin word (bi)dens means 2 – toothed, referring to the hook-like awns on the fruit, whilst formosa means beautiful. Occurs in the Eastern Cape – Gauteng in S.A. and is a native of C America and the W Indies – also occurs in several African countries.

B. formasa may be observed in stands so large that they often resemble huge and rather dazzling multi-coloured mats on road verges, fields or even across entire landscapes. The Cosmos flowers depicted here were actually photographed on a back-road in Fouriesburg, however they can be observed throughout Clarens and surrounds.

B. formosa leaves are opposite, measure approx. 100 mm X 50 mm, are deeply lobed, very fine in appearance and soft to the touch. The flowerheads are medium – large, measuring around 90 mm in diameter; occur solitary on mostly long bare stalks and whose ray florets are usually light pink, deep pink or white. The disk florets are sunflower yellow. Flowering Late Feb – May. Uses:

Photography

Makes for an attractive and in fact rather spectacular focal point for amateur and pro-photographer alike.

Food

This particular species of the Bidens (formerly Cosmos) genus was originally introduced from the U.S.A. in the late 1890’s as a fodder source for livestock.

Ecology

Cosmos is in fact not indigenous to S.A., but is rather a naturalised alien weedy species proliferating in disturbed landscapes. B. formosa is so widely distributed and occurs in such densities that elimination is practically impossible. Each plant produces hundreds of highly viable seed which are distributed with the greatest of ease. One may surmise that the presence of B. formosa could in time lead to a loss of biodiversity, however their ephemeral existence in the autumn landscape has thus far (to my knowledge) not led to any significant ecological degradation.

Gardening

The attractiveness of its flowers make it one of those “must-haves” for avid botanists and keen gardeners. Easy to grow strains have been developed for this purpose. Check out https://www.mweb.co.za/gardening/PlantDetailsView.aspx?pn=Cosmos%20bipinnatus%20(=Bidens%20formosa)&type=BotanicalNames for more info.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for B. formosa has Not Been Evaluated as Naturalized exotics are not assessed for the National Red List.

Oxalis smithiana

Oxalis 0011

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Sorrel family or Oxalidaceae.

Oxalis smithiana (Narrow-leaved Sorrel in English, Klawersuring in Afrikaans and bolila in Sesotho), is a herb that typically grows to 250 mm in height. Oxalis is derived from the Latin words oxys, meaning acid or sour and als meaning salt, and likely refers to the taste of the flower if eaten. This wildflower can become a prominent feature in damp grassland and even among moss-covered rocks in forested areas. The plant has been recorded at altitudes of up to 2560 m A.S.L., and is relatively widespread from the W.C. through to Mpumalanga.

This particular specimen was found growing on a section of the Mallen Walk trail. The fusion of pink, white and yellow on the flower makes it an attractive subject for photography.

The 3 leaflets of O. smithiana are deeply divided with narrow lobes and measure approx. 20 mm by 3 mm, all held in a basal rosette. As is typical for the family, the flowers possess 5 petals, however unlike many wildflowers these flowers occur solitary rather than clumped. The petals are a bright pink grading to white in the calyx (throat) with a short yellow stamen and slender stalk of around 120 mm. Flowering in Nov – end Jan.

Uses:

Cultural uses

Used in traditional medicines as a remedy for tapeworm.

Gardening

Makes for an attractive garden plant or may be otherwise transplanted as a pot-plant.

Food

The leaves and bulbs of the plant are eaten by the children of the Sesotho whilst the entire plant is consumed by cattle.

Ecology

The flowers are pollinated by butterflies of various species, which in return are privy to the flowers nectar.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for O. smithiana has been recorded as of Least Concern.

28th March 2014

With Easter on the horizon and the Gods of Winter mustering their wrathful breath for a frosty blow through our little valley, autumn promises to be quite an interesting place to be.

That’s right.  There are only 276 sleeps until Christmas Day, so time to start ironing your old wrapping paper and breaking out the gifts you didn’t want or like from last year.  Try not to give them to the people who gave them to you, however, or there may be a long silence ahead.  Talking of which, what constitutes a shopping day in this Year of Our Lord 2014?

For starters it probably depends where you are.  In New York, for example, 275 days means 275 shopping days.  In Lusaka, by contrast, it probably means 27 shopping days, while in our sunny village it depends WHO you are and what your sleeping habits involve.  Ten short years ago, Clarens slumbered until 09h00 of a morning, most mornings, and certainly didn’t entertain any shopping on a Sunday afternoon, a Monday possibly or a Tuesday certainly.  In fact, this was quite variable and depended whether or not the Shad were running on the South Coast or there was a newly-divorced person (or either sex) in town.

The net effect was, and to an extent still is, that shopping, dining and/or wining in Clarens was an uncertain experience.  The interesting fact, however, is that our clientele does not read from the same page of the Hymnal.  Since the days of Oom Paul, we have stumbled uncertainly into a tourist era that has been equally uncertain; the meandering Transvaalers and Free Staters who passed through our village, admiring the Holy Acre and Security Key Point that passes as our Square, have grown up and changed nationality, language and interests.  For starters, they now have the temerity to come seven-days a week; they simply don’t seem to know that Clarens celebrates Mondays and Tuesdays as alternate days of rest, or that we work from 09h00 to 16h00.  Sometimes.

Anyone who is on the Square from 07h00 onwards will have noticed squadrons of tourists, hands bunching Euros, Pounds and Dollars in their designer-jean pockets, stalking about looking for a place to off-load their newly-inflated largesse.  More to the point, we’re talking about those sacred days of the week when tourists are not supposed to be here.  Oddly enough, there are growing numbers of Clarens business people (okay, insomniacs) up and about at that hour, who are actually selling stuff; moreover, unless they suffer a chronic illness during the trading day, they discover that these self-same tourists are still financially-active after 17h00 – an hour when Clarenites are traditionally into their fourth beer.

So what to do?  Well, best we recognise that the game has changed.  We have just had a brilliant couple of months when we were supposed to be hibernating, and the markers for a great trading year are up.  Weekdays are open-season for shoppers of all descriptions and the Rand is plumbing new depths and due to meet the Australian dollar coming the other way.  The Clarens shopping experience has matured almost beyond imagining and the range of dining experiences has reorganised itself to actually be quite inviting.  We have the best little Brewery on the planet, a wonderful bookshop and even a mini-casino in situ, all of which seems to be quite appealing to our European cousins, judging from their steely-eyed circumnavigation of the Square of a morning.

So, dear Clarenites, gear up, spread your wings and open your doors seven-days a week: You have 275 days to make some money and have some fun, before wishing your dear ones a Merry Christmas and facing the challenges of 2015.  You have been warned.

The Twitcher

28th March 2014: Equinox

 

Guinea fowl chicks at The Clarens Country House


Table of Contents:

  • Equinox;
  • Snakes;
  • Victor Victorious: Victor Mokoena;
  • Self Drive from Clarens to Katse;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Community News: Letter to Cattle Owners;
  • Dihlabeng Primary meets Clarens Xtreme;
  • C.V.C. Rangers Receive First Aid Certification;
  • In a Heartbeat – New business in Clarens;
  • Coming Soon – Mexican Restuarant;
  • Coming Events: Passiespele 2014: Bethlehem;
  • Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:Supper Theatre On the Square: The fabulous Cat Simoni starring in Double “O” Bondgirl;
  • Coming Events: 3-4 May 2014:  National MTB in Clarens;
  • It’s super rugby time again;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 

Equinox

The Equinox was last Thursday (20th March 2014) so we are now officially in autumn.  (And in the northern hemisphere everyone has started celebrating the beginning of spring.) There are two equinoxes every year : March and September –  a time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

The Equinox is also when according to legend the Mayan snake god Kukulcan returns to earth to commune with his worshippers and provide blessings before continuing on his was to the underworld.  And at every equinox  people from all over the world visit the Pyramid of Kukalcan (also known as El Castillo) in Mexico, where mathematically brilliant architecture and the sun/shadow patterns at  equinox combine to create an amazing illusion of a giant snake descending the side of the pyramid.

And, as if by some amazing coincidence, the snakes in our area seem to be particularly active at equinox. (See the story below.)  Not that I’m suggesting for one moment that the local Rinkals compares with the great Kukulcan, or that we could turn him into yet another tourist attraction for Clarens.

 


 

Snakes

 

Snake in ClarensThis is a good time of the year for snake spotting.  They’re particularly active in autumn, because they’re trying to fatten up in preparation for their winter hibernation. Problem is, that they’re very happy to search your house, garage, laundry or store room for food and are quite oblivious to the fact that they’re not welcome.  We had one having a look through our guest house on Monday.  Initial reaction?…….PANIC !  Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me, and Ollie and Detmar from Clarens Xtreme arrived with their snake-catching equipment in a matter of minutes. It took our coffee drinking, snake catching, adrenalin junkies a full total of 45 seconds to catch the snake and stowe it safely away in a bucket. Later on in the day, our non-paying guest was released in the mountains – in a spot where, Ollie assures me, he has a beautiful view of Lesotho.

What to do in case of a snake in your house:

Phone Ollie :  082 56 36 242

Keep an eye on the snake so that you know exactly where it is when Ollie and Detmar arrive to catch it.

Stay calm and ensure that the snake is not disturbed or threatened in any way.  (The snake is probably just as frightened as you are.)


Victor Victorious: Victor Mokoena

Victor Mokoena

by Natalie Dell

Meeting Victor Mokoena is like feeling the sun on your face after a few rainy days. The man has energy to spare and a megawatt smile. He is the Tourism Manager for the Northern Region of SANPARKS (Golden Gate) and the Chairperson of the Clarens Tourism Forum (CTF).

Born in Clarens in 1980, he is a loyal and committed Claranite. He attended the Clarens Combined School from Grade 1 to Grade 12. When I asked him about his first job, he proudly talks about the years that he was a gardener in the village, earning R12 per week. Although he is quick to point out that the money was not what excited him about the job – it was the doorstop sandwiches that he got from his employers that kept his motivation high. Read more


Self Drive from Clarens to Katse

Rose and Rod Smart from Howick in Natal recently visited Katse and sent us an article on their trip.  Anyone planning to self-drive to Katse will find the article full of useful tips and information.

Self-drive from Clarens to Katse Dam

Click here to read the full article


The Twitcher

With Easter on the horizon and the Gods of Winter mustering their wrathful breath for a frosty blow through our little valley, autumn promises to be quite an interesting place to be.
That’s right.  There are only 276 sleeps until Christmas Day, so time to start ironing your old wrapping paper and breaking out the gifts you didn’t want or like from last year.  Try not to give them to the people who gave them to you, however, or there may be a long silence ahead.  Talking of which, what constitutes a shopping day in this Year of Our Lord 2014?
For starters it probably depends where you are.  In New York, for example, 275 days means 275 shopping days.  In Lusaka, by contrast, it probably means 27 shopping days, while in our sunny village it depends WHO you are and what your sleeping habits involve.  Ten short years ago, Clarens slumbered until 09h00 of a morning, most mornings, and certainly didn’t entertain any shopping on a Sunday afternoon, a Monday possibly or a Tuesday certainly.  Read more


Community News: Letter to Cattle Owners


Environmental Education: Dihlabeng Primary meets Clarens Xtreme

Environmental Education is ongoing, and as you can see from the article below the CVC Rangers make sure that it’s fun.

Environmental Education Dihlabeng School meets Clarens XtremeThe sky was a perfect crisp blue and the morning was pleasant – perfect weather for 19 students of Dihlabeng Primary to enjoy a day of play at Clarens Xtreme.

As a result of winning a recycling themed poster competition, 11 students from grade 7 and 8 students from grade 2 got to spend an entire morning enjoying some really cool adventure activities including quad biking, put-put and zip-lining. The students were picked up early that morning by the C.V.C. rangers and several Working on Fire personnel and driven to their destination in (kids) style using the Clarens Working on Fire truck.
Read more


Clarens Village Conservancy Rangers Receive First Aid Certification


Clarens Village Conservancy Rangers get First Aid Certification
Damien Coulson

On Monday the 17th & Tuesday the 18th of this week the C.V.C. rangers took part in 2 days of first aid training. The attendees included the employees of Clarens Xtreme in addition to the rangers, all of whom were very kindly sponsored (at no small expense, may I add) by Ollie Esplin.

The course held at Clarens Xtreme, consisted of 1 full days combined first aid training, levels 1 & 2 followed by a half day combined training and examination. It included a theoretical component as well as hands on practical sessions. Topics covered included C.P.R. and other resuscitation based techniques; treatment of an assortment of wounds, ailments and injuries in emergency situations; survey of hazardous situations and reporting procedure – all drawing from real life scenarios.

Read more


In a Heartbeat – New business in Clarens


If you haven’t hear of In-A-Heartbeat yet, they are a new operation  opening up at The Base in Sias Oosthuizen Street, Clarens.  They describe themselves as an Info and Travel Bureau as well as Event Managers.  Mary Walker visited them a few days ago and got the low down.
Santa, previously of Dihlabeng Municpality in Bethlehem, is set to manage the concern under the direction of Werner, owner of The Base.   She told us that she has a background in communications, PR, marketing and tourism, and she believes that In-A-Heartbeat will enhance the tourism potential of Clarens and the surrounds, and will compliment and strengthen the town’s service to our visiting public.
The goal of In-A-Heartbeat is multi-layerd and will be rolled out in phases over a period of time.   Their immediate objective is to attract tourism accommodation product owners to register with them.   They are offering an accommodation booking service at a basic commission rate of 10%, and will negotiate full maintenance packages with interested parties in addition to this.
Following this they will phase in the other legs of the operation, which include team building and adventure biking packages, event planning and function catering among other things. Their commitment is also to fill a gap in the provision of tourism information, and they plan to provide this as part of their undertaking.
In-A-Heartbeat are planning to introduce the new enterprise by means of a launch in the near future. Clarens News will keep you up to date on developments.
Contact: Santa Bronkhorst – Manager: Events and Development
Office: 058 256 1699/082 727 1452  Email: santa@in-a-heartbeat.co.za


Coming Soon – Mexican Restuarant

Yet again we have something exciting to look forward to in Clarens. We are about to have our own Mexican restaurant opening here in our wonderful village of Clarens. The Mexican cuisine is considered a favourite by many people and it is always a good thing to allow our inhabitants and tourists of Clarens with another choice in dining. Preparations are in order as the venue is set to be where The Street Café was before.

Cecilia Morten, the owner of Restaurant Vito’s in Clarens explained that she is delighted to embark on a new challenge in starting this restaurant. She said that she will be joined by three other partners in this venture and they are all extremely excited. The name of the restaurant is Amigos as it is a well identifiable word or saying in the Mexican language meaning people. Opening a restaurant or business is a good decision because it strengthens our community by providing more job opportunities and this is but one of the reasons why we decided to start this restaurant she added. The Amigos restaurant is planning to open its’ doors during the month of April of this year if everything goes to plan. Should the owners experience any difficulties it might take a bit longer.

We here at Clarens News wish Cecilia and her business partners everything of the best and we cannot wait to try out their Taco’s amongst the many food options that the restaurant will offer.

Article and information by: Julio Ontong


Coming Events: Passiespele 2014: Bethlehem

 


Coming Events: 2 May, 2014:
Supper Theatre On the Square: The fabulous Cat Simoni starring in Double “O” Bondgirl

Phone Carol at Gosto’s for further details: 082 416 3687


Coming Events
3-4 May 2014:  National MTB in Clarens

Click here For further information


It’s super rugby time again

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!

Click here to see the April 2014 fixtures


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

Phoenix

 Phoenix 1Constellation of the Week

Johann Bayer, a German lawyer and astronomer, depicted the modern constellation Phoenix, for the first time in 1603. The constellation was named after the mythical Greek creature, the Phoenix. These birds are said to have lived on aromatic herbs, the like of Frankincense, Myrrh and Cinnamon.

When the bird reached the critical age of 500 years, it set about building a nest on the top of a palm tree using the mixture of aromatic herbs. Once the nest was built to the bird’s satisfaction, the Phoenix itself would set the nest alight. Shockingly the bird would die within the burning nest, but miraculously a young pheonix would appear from the ashes and continue to live its life cycle of 500 years.

 

Phoenix 2About the Phoenix Constellation

Chinese, Greek, Turkish and Egyptian are but a few of the cultures that revere the Sacred Fire Bird . The Phoenix was said to reflect the form of an eagle, with a brilliant scarlet and gold coloured tail,whilst its body was covered in the most beautiful purple, gold and red coloured feathers.

The seemingly small constellation, visible almost exclusively to those in the Southern Hemisphere, is associated with one meteor shower, the Phoenicids, which occur around 5 December annualy.

Nair al-Zaurak or “ the bright star of the skiff”, is an orange giant located nearly 80 light-years away and one of only two stars in the constellation with a magnitude brighter than that of 5.0 magnitude.

Did you Know?    

The Phoenix constellation has also been represented as an ostrich and a griffon.

The Egyptians believe the Phoenix to be a representation of the Sun.

The Phoenix is said to have magical powers and to be a bearer of luck.

Phoenix 3

How to find Phoenix

 

Phoenix is located in the first quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ1), and visible at latitudes between +32° and -80. Its neighboring constellations are EridanusGrusFornaxHydrusSculptor and Tucana.

 

 

GenevieveArticle and research by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: January 2014

Scabiosa columbaria

Scabiosa 1 Scabiosa 2 Scabiosa 3

 

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a not-so-familiar wild flower that is currently in full bloom…and has something to do with all the Meadow White butterflies Pontia helice helice we’ve been seeing lately.

Scabiosa columbaria (the Wild Scabious in English; Bitterbos in Afrikaans and tlhako-ea-pitsi in Sesotho), is a perennial that obtains an average height of 750 mm. It is usually found growing in grasslands and on basalt rock at altitudes of up to 3200 m A.S.L. This interesting wild flower is widespread all the way from the Western Cape through to Europe and Asia where it is believed to have originated from.

The leaves are arranged in a rosette formation arising from the base and are 40 – 180 long X 40 mm wide. The margins may be entire or deeply lobed. The flower heads are white – off-white/cream, 10 – 25 mm in diameter on a solid yet branched stem of 120 – 300 mm long. The flowers are actually white-pink, when viewed more closely and hermaphroditic. The calyx is easily recognisable with 5 purple-red lobes. S. columbaria flowers from end Oct – early Feb. After flowering, the seeds develop in interesting rounded bristle-heads, which gradually fall apart as the seeds ripen and are ready to be redistributed by the wind.

While photographing the small white flowers of S. columbaria, the author observed several small invertebrates, from beetles to wasps to bees to butterflies perching on the inflorescence. In fact several thousand of the Meadow White butterfly were observed in one location obtaining nectar exclusively from this flower despite many other flower spp. being present in relative abundance in the CNR. It appears that the Meadow White butterfly may have been selecting flowers preferentially based on the colour white. Uses include:

Grazing

A preferred snack of our favourite trail-roaming domestic animals; the cow, the sheep and the goat.

Traditional medicine

The plant is dried and used in traditional medicines.

Gardening

Makes for an attractive garden ornamental.

Conservation

It appears that the existence of the Meadow White butterfly and S.columbaria are inextricably linked. The Meadow White appears to provide an important pollination service to the flower and in return receives nectar which provides it with the energy needed for flight and reproduction. Without S. columbaria it seems that the annual migration of the Meadow White may not be possible.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, S. columbaria is classified as of Least Concern.

The Emu

Clarens Skies Emu 1
Forming the head of one of our most popular constellations in the Southern Hemisphere, “The Emu”, lies the Coalsack. This nebula appears as a dust cloud near the Southern Cross, blocking out the sky almost completely.

Nebula’s are formed by the dust and gasses from long-dead stars, but also signals rebirth as new stars are born from these same gasses. The dust particles gravitate with immense power towards each other, in order to create the required pressure for the birth of a star to commence. Nebula’s are extraordinary life-creating life forces and each react in a different manner to the light bodies that surround them. Some nebula’s, like the Coalsack, appear as dark patches against the sky, (absorbtion/dark nebula), others absorb heat from nearby stars and glow as effect (emission nebula) still others only reflect the light of the bodies that surround them (reflection nebula).

Clarens Skies Emu 2

About the Coalsack

Running virtually the length of the Milky Way, lies the well-known constellation “The Emu”. The nebula at hand forms the head of the Emu, whilst the rest of the bird’s body can be seen as the shadow of the nebula extending to the ends of the Milky Way. The location of the Emu constellation acts as an indication of available seasonal foods. Carvings of Emu’s have been found scattered across Australia that line up with the Emu constellation. This correlates with the laying of the Emu’s eggs.

Different cultures have different interpretations for the Coalsack and the Emu. Some believe the dark patch to be a hole in one of the Milky Way’s rivers, whilst others believe the constellation and the nebula to be a pine tree with which one can ascend the heavens.

Did you Know?

Nebula’s can also be formed from stars that have died recently.

Smaller stars, like the Sun, can’t transform into a supernova, but the gasses expelled rather cause a planetary nebula. These nebula’s have nothing to do with planets as such, rather they were named “planetary” by William Herschel who named them based on their appearance almost 200 years ago.

The Coalsack lies almost 600 light-years from Earth and is 20 light-years across.

 

How to find the Coalsack

This nebula lies tucked between the brightest star (alpha Crucis) and Mimosa near the foot of the Southern Cross. The Coalsack then appears as a black patch of sky, above and to the right of the brightest star, Crucis.

Clarens Skies Emu 3

 

Genevieve

 

 

Article by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: January 2014

Disa chrysostachya

Disa chrysostachya - 1 Disa chrysostachya - 2

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the Orchid family recently spotted in relatively low abundance at just 2 localities in the CNR.

Disa chrysostachya (the Torch Orchid in English; and mametsana in Sesotho), is a perennial that rises to between 250 & 650 mm tall. It usually occurs in damp grasslands, marshy areas or below cliff seep lines at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo.

 D. chrysostachya has on average 3 – 5 densely overlapped leaves arising from the base of a thick fleshy stem. The inflorescence is tall and cylindrical and slender. The flowers are small, bright orange/yellow with a reddish tinge. A spur is present on each flower and hangs straight down. The flowers are 5 – 11 mm long, flowering from late December to mid Jan. This plant hasn’t been observed growing in great abundance, which would rather obviously make any sightings all the more dear. It’s growth form is also rather unusual and makes for an interesting observation.

Uses:

Ecology:

The flowers are often pollinated by sunbirds and a multitude of insects and offer a nectar rich meal in return for the pollination service provided by these animals.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, D.chrysostachya is classified as of Least Concern.

 

Gladiolus dalenii

Gladiolus dalenii 1 Gladiolus dalenii 2 Gladiolus dalenii 3

 

 

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a rather useful and aesthetically pleasing wild-flower recently spotted along isolated segments of the Spruit trail & Mallen Walk.

Gladiolus dalenii (African Gladiolus in English; Papegaai-gladiolus and khahla-e-kholo in Sesotho), is an indigenous species that rises to between 1m and 1.5 m tall. The Genus name Gladiolus (of which 14 species occur in the DMR) can be translated as “small sword” and refers to the appearance of its leaves. This easily-identifiable plant is found growing in grasslands and sometimes among scrub at altitudes of up to 2500 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Central Africa and even Western Arabia.

The leaves of G. dalenii are arranged in a loose fan formation, erect, approx. 20 mm wide, up to 320 mm long and grey-green in colour. The inflorescence may have support up to 7 flowers born on red-brown to green bracts. The flowers appear hooded and the colour is variable (although a red-fleshy orange colour is common). The flowers are considered “large” at 60 mm long by 30-40 mm wide, flowering from late Dec to early Feb. Uses:

Ecology:

The flowers are often visited by sunbirds (and insects)who are attracted to the flowers’ copious nectar. The sunbirds in turn provide an important pollination service to the plant.

Food

The corms of this plant are harvested and eaten by the Sesotho. The dug-up corms (known by locals as itembu or “fruits of the Earth”) are protein rich and provide a valuable source of energy to those who eat of them. The flowers are also said to be edible (Raw or cooked. The anthers are removed and the flowers are added to salads or used as a boiled vegetable) and yield relatively large quantities of nectar. A recent study however has shown the corms and leaves to be mildly cytotoxic in certain instances.

Traditional uses

Used in traditional medicines, placed in the medicine horn of traditional healers and also used as a lucky charm. It is rumoured to treat diarrhoea, chest ailments “caused by sorcery” and even sterility in women.

Gardening

Cultivars of this plant are grown in gardens throughout S.A. and in many overseas countries. It a popular garden plant and is easily cut and transplanted.  Some people have noted that the seeds are easily dispersed and may require careful tending to avoid garden contamination.

Other human use

The corms have been used as spinning tops by the Sesotho in children’s games.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, G. dalenii is classified as of Least Concern.

 

Ranunculus multifidis

Rananculus multifidus 1 Rananculus multifidus 2 Rananculus multifidus 3

 

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a wild flower that seems unremarkable, yet as always when dealing with nature – there’s always something of interest to be discovered.

Ranunculus multifidus (Common Buttercup in English, Botterblom in Afrikaans and hlapi in Sesotho), is an erect perennial herb that grows to around 150 – 300 mm in height, is commonly found in damp ground near streams or wetland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout S.A. It should be noted that a dwarf variety (at just 70 mm) of these species can be found at the upper reach of its eco-band/altitude.

R. multifidus may or may not have hairy leaves. One could deduce that the hairy leaves function as to trap moisture thereby retarding desiccation. If so, it is more likely that one would observe the hairy variety at higher altitudes where moisture is harder to come by. The leaves are a bright green with 2 – 3 pairs of deeply divided leaflets with heavily toothed margins. The inflorescence is branched and stems are hollow. Solitary flowers may be observed on small plants. The flowers are 15 – 25 mm in diameter and the 5 petals are a glossy mustard/rich butter-yellow colour. Flowers October – early Feb.

The Latin word multifidus means “divided or segmented” and likely refers to the appearance of the petals. The rangers have observed this plant at only 1 locality in the C.N.R., which despite its common name makes it not so common in the area. It is possible that the low density of this plant may be correlated with disturbed veld as a result of overgrazing or possibly overharvesting by traditional healers. Whatever the case one must exercise care in determining the cause of decline of a species. The pictures above were taken on a section of the Leucosidea Trail in close proximity to the Ridge Estate. Uses:

Gardening

The plant is simple yet attractive, and makes for an especially good garden plant in damp areas.

Traditional Uses

Used in traditional medicines to treat a variety of ailments including cures for headaches, urinary problems, ulcers, coughs, etc. The aqueous extract of R. multifidus shows high antimicrobial activity although the right concentration of the plant must be used in conjunction with several other medicinal plants or adverse effects may arise.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, R. multifidus is classified as of Least Concern.

14th March, 2014

Oh the luxury!  Two whole weeks between Twitching, not a care in the world and twenty-five hours a day of shooting hints for amputees on television.  Can there be anything better than this?!

Of course the weather has put a bit of a damper on outdoor activity: no nude sunbathing on the square; the Vaal River rising precipitously and lapping at Bethlehem’s back door; Gautengers fleeing for their lives and finding breathless solace in the flesh-pots of Clarens.  Oh, the drama, the drama!  Our minor leaks and wet washing are not too bad, comparatively speaking.  But what to say this week, with a hindsight view of events stretching back fourteen days?

Well, for starters, what a show at Gosto’s last weekend, the new porro restaurant on the square!  Almost two-metres of tantalizing temptress, nom de guerre of Cat Simoni, wowed audiences two nights running with her take on Barbra Streisand.  Best bit, for those with staying power, was the impromptu jamming session late Saturday night (well, Sunday morning actually), with Hansie on piano and matching chords in short supply.  How good to have supper theatre in Clarens, with more to come.  Rumours of whisky bars at the Highlander and Mexican cuisine (??) up the road abound.  So gird your autumnal loins, dear Clarenites; the good times are about to get better.

Talking of which, has anyone else noticed how busy our little village has been in what has traditionally been called the New Year vacuum.  I can understand the Rand-exchange rate of course: Who wouldn’t travel at R423.63 to the British Pound?  But it is not just itinerant Europeans and Poms.  Accents have ranged across the spectrum, not least Afrikaans, even without the impetus of escaping Johannesburg three-metres under old mine water (why do perfectly nice people still live there?).  No, it is more than that: Things, dare I say it, are looking up.  If you discount the repeated waves of Germans in their condom-wrapped, extra-secret Mercedes test cars, there is still a real sense that Europe has actually discovered Clarens.

We’re not talking about thrill seekers after Kaalvoet, but proper people driving cars (rather than dozing in buses en route to Kruger Park); people keen to see Lesotho and climb a mountain or six; and spend a few hard-earned Euros on our little trinkets.  If you are doubtful, spend an hour or three on the square (oh, alright, in a pub on the square) and use your eyes and ears; the brewery is a good place to start, by the way.  The point is that these nice folks are multiplying rapidly and probably won’t disappear even if the Rand surges to R320.56 to the Pound.  So, bone up on your French; wear orange and speak a little Dutch; or go all out and make jokes in German.  Okay, maybe that’s a bridge too far, but be nice and remember that we are in fact a tourist destination – employing a lot of people and feeding a lot of families.  And maybe even having a lot of fun.

So what next?  Well, if you are into risking your all (no, silly, not getting married) a casino opens its doors tonight; the community braais for charity; the multi-coloured Kgubetswana Stadium opens; local author Don Emby (Soweto Burning) launches his book next week; and Peter Badcock-Walters opens his Gallery On The Square.  On the list of things not to do, is dump your garbage on the village pavements: Clarens manager Peter Reed has given his all to transforming the village and its environs (is the rising tourist traffic really coincidental?), and is none too tickled by ‘dumpers’ spoiling the picture.  You know who you are, so stop it before you get struck by lightning.

Oh, about the birds, which is my real remit: They’re actually not very visible at the moment, for the simple reason that my grapes are ripe and the Mynahs, Starlings and others are just too fat to fly.  Expect more (hungry) birdsong sometime soon however.  Whew.

The Twitcher

Habenaria falcicornis

Habanaria 3 Habenaria 1 Habenaria 2

 

 

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Bi-weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the orchid family, Orchidaceae, from the widely distributed Habenaria genus – sometimes referred to as “bog orchids”.

Habenaria falcicornis is one of only a small group of wild-flowers that have featured in the bi-weekly Plant of Interest columns without an English common name. One could only surmise that the very reason for this upset is that the plant is really not all that common –at least not to the casual observer, and for that it earns its place as one of our “interesting” plants. It does however have a Sesotho common name: uklamkleshe. This not-so commonly observed wild-flower may be found in marshy or waterlogged grassland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m. A.S.L., and its range extends from the Western Cape all the way through to Zimbabwe.

The Latin word falcicornis means “sickle shaped”, whilst Habenaria can be broken down into Habena meaning “strap/belt” and aria meaning “possessing”. Together these words refer to the strap like/long spur characteristic for each flower of the genus.

H. falcicornis is relatively hardy, growing to between 220 and 800 mm tall – likely as a result of the environmental conditions prevalent in the area in which it grows. It has a stout light-green leafy stem with long lanceolate shaped leaves of 4 – 20 cm in length. The inflorescence is rather loosely arranged on short stalks. The flowers are white – light green with yellow stamens. The spur is longer than the flower at 20-40 mm which tells it apart from its close relative H. dives, who’s spur measures a mere 8-15 mm. The former species flowers from Jan – March.

Uses:

Gardening

This plant would make an attractive garden ornamental and be well suited to gardens that border on marshy or seasonally waterlogged areas in the grassveld regions of S.A.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, H. falcicornis is classified as of Least Concern.

 

 

Crocosmia paniculata

 

Crocosmia 3 Crocosmia 1 Crocosmia

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Iridaceae family.

Crocosmia paniculata (Falling Stars in English, Vallende Stetetjies in Afrikaans and khahla-ea-Bokone in Sesotho), is an evergreen herbaceous species that typically grows to between 1 – 1.8 m, usually in clumps rather than solitary. Krocos – saffron and osme – smell, refers to the saffron-like aroma of the dried flowers once placed in warm water. This vivacious wildflower bares an affinity for moist grassland areas and may be observed in close proximity to rivers, streams and forest margins. The plant has been recorded at altitudes of up to 1500 m A.S.L.

This particular specimen was found growing on a section of the Spruit hiking trail just above Lake Clarens adjacent to one of the recently installed wooden bridges (also in close proximity to an old willow covered in a form of bracket fungi/mushroom – giving the area a sort of magical ambiance and a slightly disconnected sense from the rest of reality).

The leaves of C. paniculata (not Cussonia paniculata as covered in an earlier PoI), are crimped and measure approx. 750 mm by 60 mm. The inflorescence is dense with ZigZaging (alternative common name) branchlets. These beautiful flowers are curved, tubular orange/yellow- scarlet red and around 75 mm long with 3 short (30 mm) tepals and sepals and 3 yellow anthers. Flowering Dec – end Feb. Uses:

Cultural uses

Used as a traditional medicine in the treatment of dysentery and infertility.

Gardening

Makes for an attractive and in fact rather spectacular garden plant when planted in the front garden, so long as sufficient moisture and semi-shade is provided. Many plants of this genus have been domesticated and hybridised for this very purpose. Has been known to become invasive in grasslands; however this has not been observed to be the case anywhere within the C.V.C.

Conservation Status

The SANBI conservation status for C. paniculata has been recorded as of Least Concern.

 

Article and photographs by Damien Coulson (Head Ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve)

14th March, 2014: Growing Up

Clarens News Growing Up Zebra

 Table of Contents:

Growing up;

Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce: Letter to business owners; What’s happening at the New Clarens Sports Stadium; Community Gardens :  Clarens comes out tops;
Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Plant of interest:  Crocosmia paniculata; The Twitcher; Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan; It’s all about the 3 R’s!; Fun D(Y)ay! at Dihlabeng Christian School; Clarens Recycling Centre; Other Community News; CCIA –  AGM; Cosmos – New varieties; This week:  Dihlabeng Christian School Autumn Fair; Book Launch:  Soweto Burning by Don Emby; It’s super rugby time again; Classifieds; Not on the mailing list?


Growing up

Take the Rebellie farm turn off the road between Clarens and Golden Gate, and drive up to the Rebellie farm entrance.  It’s an absolute joy to see how well last year’s baby zebras are growing up.   And Clarens too seems to be growing and growing. (See The Twitcher below.)   The new Clarens Sports Stadium is scheduled for opening on the 20th March 2014 (see Julio Ontong’s article below) and tonight sees the opening  launch of Mountain Breeze  – a new restaurant and pub in Sias Oosthuizen Street.   (Sorry – the opening party is by invitation only.)  The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce is also going from strength to strength. The only blot on the landscape is the weather (only if you’re not a farmer) which has resulted in the indefinite postponement of the Sensational Summer Sizzler Challenge for Charity on Sunday. Braai or no-braai, Clarens has some fantastic charities which could do with some help.  Have a look at the Community page on our website: www.clarensnews.com.


 Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce: Letter to business owners:

Dear Business Owner,

This a brief update on what is happening at the GCCC.

The Chamber’s constitution has not yet been ratified as the representatives from Kgubetswana have not been appointed because the Kgubetswana Cooperative has concerns about the number of representatives that they will have on the Chamber board. This was discussed with a representative of the cooperative at a meeting held on Monday 10th March. The Cooperative has asked that the GCCC board be made up of 6 directors, 3 from upper Clarens and 3 from Kgubetswana. The matter of representation has been referred back to the facilitators of the Chamber constitution.

Notwithstanding the above, the three directors appointed to represent Upper Clarens have met on a number of occasions to start addressing issues of concern to businesses in Upper Clarens. The most pressing issue (as expressed at the public meeting in January) is municipal rates and following a meeting on 6th March with Peter Reed and Raymond Provos (CFO Dihlabeng Municipality), we are pleased to report that –

– The Dihlabeng Municipality is very pleased about the formation of the Chamber and looks forward to interacting on issues of concern to business
 – The business property valuation objections lodged by Clarens business owners have been taken to the appeal board and new property values have been set
 – The Municipality has lodged some objections where it feels the new values have been set too low
 – These cases have to go back to court for settlement
 – We will be sent a schedule of the valuation amendments within the next 10 days
 – It was agreed by the Municipality and the Chamber representatives that in cases where the municipality has no objection to the reduced valuations set at the appeal hearings, that the ratepayers (businesses) be refunded the difference between what they have paid for rates and what they would have paid at the lower valuations; obviously in the case of valuations subject to appeal by the Municipality, this will only be done on the outcome of the appeal.
 – A further meeting of the directors from Upper Clarens was held on Tuesday 11th March in which discussions were held with a representative of MTN about their desired requirements for the hosting of cycle races in Clarens going forward. Clarens Tourism Forum were due to attend this meeting and have discussions on collaboration/association/integration but cancelled at the last minute. An impromptu meeting was held about the possible inclusion, in a Carte Blanche report on cattle theft, of a piece on crime (specifically car theft) in Clarens. It was agreed that this was not a major issue for Clarens and not in the town’s interest and that nothing would be put forward.
In closing, the meeting with the Municipality was so positive that we now feel that the Chamber’s “career” has finally been launched.

Please advise your e-mail address to stubrelaxed@gmail.com in order to be included on our mailing list. Other contact details for the Chamber will be advised shortly.

Regards

Malcolm Hickman, Natalie Meyer, Carl Swerts


Aiden Wampach - Project manger Clarens Sports Stadium

What’s happening at the New Clarens Sports Stadium

Julio Ontong

On The 1st of March 2014 I sat down to interview Aiden Wampach. To all of you that are not familiar with Aiden, he is the Project Manager of the Clarens Sport Stadium that is currently still under construction. Aiden works for Mofomo, which is the Project Management company that is building and constructing the stadium.

Click here to read the full interview


Community Gardens :  Clarens comes out tops

Tsepiso Mosia Department Of Agriculture & Rural Development

 

Hi All

Its a great pleasure to inform you that on the 01 March 2014 we went to the Provincial Event of the vegetables competition.It was held at Glen Agriculture College in Bloemfontein.

Great news is that out of 7 categories won by Thabo Mofutsanyana District, Clarens participants won four. They were as follows:

 – Best Existing School Garden – Clarens Primary School.  (They won R15 000 &  a 10 000 litres water tank.)
 – Best Song – Thusanang Care Group , they won R5000
 – Best Dish – Clarens Cooks representing Thabo Mofutsanyana District – second prize of R10 000 and 10 aprons and 10 AMC pots
 – Best Official – Thabo Mofutsanyana District & Province – Tsepiso Mosia – won first prize of training worth R6500.

I would like to thank all the sponsors, Clarens Business , Clarens Community, all the participants, stakeholders, our mentor Mr Thabo Olivier, my colleagues, my family, MEC Mamiki Qabathe, Premier Ace Magashule and lastly GOD ALMIGHTY.

Clarens is so special and let us keep up the good work for our community. This vegetables project is an ongoing project and let us grow it to another level. Remember Clarens is the Trend setter and others just follow.

Thank you very much, GOD BLESS OUR VILLAGE.

Tsepiso Mosia Department Of Agriculture & Rural Development
0710791332  E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com

Congratulations Tsepiso.  We know how hard you worked for this.  And congratulations too, to all the community gardeners who participated in this event.


 Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

 Plant of interest:  Crocosmia paniculata

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Crocosmia paniculata
Damien Coulson
Head ranger Clarens Village Nature Reserve

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Iridaceae family.

Crocosmia paniculata (Falling Stars in English, Vallende Stetetjies in Afrikaans and khahla-ea-Bokone in Sesotho), is an evergreen herbaceous species that typically grows to between 1 – 1.8 m, usually in clumps rather than solitary. Krocos – saffron and osme – smell, refers to the saffron-like aroma of the dried flowers once placed in warm water. This vivacious wildflower bares an affinity for moist grassland areas and may be observed in close proximity to rivers, streams and forest margins. The plant has been recorded at altitudes of up to 1500 m A.S.L.

This particular specimen was found growing on a section of the Spruit hiking trail just above Lake Clarens adjacent to one of the recently installed wooden bridges (also in close proximity to an old willow covered in a form of bracket fungi/mushroom – giving the area a sort of magical ambiance and a slightly disconnected sense from the rest of reality).

Read more


 The Twitcher

Oh the luxury!  Two whole weeks between Twitching, not a care in the world and twenty-five hours a day of shooting hints for amputees on television.  Can there be anything better than this?!
Of course the weather has put a bit of a damper on outdoor activity: no nude sunbathing on the square; the Vaal River rising precipitously and lapping at Bethlehem’s back door; Gautengers fleeing for their lives and finding breathless solace in the flesh-pots of Clarens.  Oh, the drama, the drama!  Our minor leaks and wet washing are not too bad, comparatively speaking.  But what to say this week, with a hindsight view of events stretching back fourteen days?
Well, for starters, what a show at Gosto’s last weekend, the new porro restaurant on the square!  Almost two-metres of tantalizing temptress, nom de guerre of Cat Simoni, wowed audiences two nights running with her take on Barbra Streisand.  Best bit, for those with staying power, was the impromptu jamming session late Saturday night (well, Sunday morning actually), with Hansie on piano and matching chords in short supply.  How good to have supper theatre in Clarens, with more to come.  Rumours of whisky bars at the Highlander and Mexican cuisine (??) up the road abound.  So gird your autumnal loins, dear Clarenites; the good times are about to get better.
Read more


Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan

If you haven’t had a look at this yet, do so now.  Time is running out:  you only have until the 28th March to make comments.In terms of s. 39 (2) of the National Environmental Management:Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003, the Clarens Village Conservancy (CVC), being the appointed management authority in terms of s.38 (2) for the Clarens Nature Reserve, hereby submits a DRAFT Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the public and relevant authorities for consultation. This draft EMP is compiled in reference to, and should be read with, the Dihlabeng Spatial Development Framework which was approved in 2013.

Hard copies of the draft EMP are available at:

– the Clarens public library in Bester street, Clarens,
– the Book Nook, above the Methodist Church Hall in Clarens (Tue 10h00-12h00 and Thu 14h00 – 16h00),
– Clarens Xtreme Adventure Company, Swart street, Clarens,
– Tshepong public hall in Kgubetswana,
– the Dihlabeng Municipal Office in Main Street, Clarens,
– the Village Grocer in Main Street, Clarens.
An electronic copy of the draft EMP is available for download at:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hs2nvg2xhcaqwvw/EMP-draft%20SM2.docx

All comments and suggestions to improve the draft EMP, and all requests by individuals or organisations to be registered as Interested and Affected Parties (I&AP’s), should be submitted to the CVC on the forms provided with the hard copies, or electronically to cvc@webmail.co.za, or in any format to any one of the CVC committee members listed in the EMP (and whose contact details are also available on the CVC website) by 28 March 2014, please.


It’s all about the 3 R’s!

Reduce, reuse & recycle. These are the words that encompass almost the entire concept of sustainability. The ways in which the 3 R’s may be practically applied are limitless; however they have a profound effect on the arenas of ecology, economy and human welfare.

Over the last decade the cost of living has really shot through the roof as petrochemical product prices keep going up, and in the last few years on an almost monthly basis. Globally, pollution of an anthropogenic nature has also never been higher. The need for ingenious solutions to common problems is therefore at an all-time high. Finding new means of cost-savings and improving overall quality of life requires that we now adopt these measures; we must adopt the 3 R’s. This week we give special attention to some people from within Clarens who are helping to realise the 3 R’s, and the manner in which they do this.


Fun D(Y)ay! at Dihlabeng Christian School

Clarens Village Conservancy Recycling Day at Dihlabeng School Clarens Clarens Village Conservancy - Recycling Day at Dihlabeng Primary School

 

 

 

 

 

 

In continuing with our theme we now focus on 2 more of the 3 R’s: Reduce & reuse. This past month saw the students of Dihlabeng participating in several C.V.C. hosted events. A new recycling station was also set up by Sherri & Laurence Gersh.

The first of which entailed a basic introduction to the concept of the R’s in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and recycling video, followed by a recycling game and interactive Q & A session and ended off with the announcement of a poster competition. Groups of students from each grade were asked to produce posters utilising reused materials and to explain how their posters best convey the concept of sustainability. The winners from the foundation and intermediate phases would be taken for a day of fun sponsored by Clarens Xtreme and the C.V.C. This helped to spark enthusiasm and the first event ended on a high note.

The second and main event held again at Dihlabeng involved the students from grades 2 – 7 in a series of 5 games, all of which were created using only recyclable materials and served as a means of showing the students that one can reuse and recycle and even have fun while doing it. It seemed that all who took part in the event thoroughly enjoyed it – including the students, WoF team, teachers, rangers and our committee member Sherri Gersh. The day ended with the judging of the posters and presentations and all the students were eager for our return to announce the winners.

Last week Wednesday was a cold, grey and windy morning. Thankfully we were all safely tucked away in the school hall where we announced the winners of the poster competition. Judging was not easy as many of the posters had their own merits. That’s why grade 7 saw both its teams win from the intermediate phase while a team from grade 2 in the foundation phase met our critical eyes.

The 3 R’s are part of our everyday lives whether we like it or not. The time is right to be a part of the solution. The time is right to improve our own livelihoods. Ladies and gentlemen, the time is right to start living again. One ant makes all the difference.

Clarens Recycling Centre

Recycling hasn’t always been big for Clarens, which is unusual considering that the majority of us living here are arty by nature and live outside-of-the-box, as conveyed by the wealth of art galleries, quaint and unusual shops and intriguing characters. All can be found right here in the little out-of-place, timeless Village.

Clarens Recycling Centre Prior to the 26th of August of last year, our pint-sized recycling centre struggled along in the absence of daily management, relying on borrowed funds and causing a big headache for the C.V.C. committee. Then things changed and she happened – Mrs Evon Els, a recent inclusion in the Clarens community voiced her intention to turn things around at the rec. centre – and that she has. Fetching, sorting, bailing and transporting loads of recycled materials to their penultimate destinations is no easy – and certainly not the most pleasurable task. Yet since stepping in, the rec. centre has observed more than a quadrupling of capacity; the precision and pace with which items are sorted has increased dramatically and now up to 4 loads a day, 3 days a week may be transported. This all at personal expense and utilising personal equipment without the expectation of a salary – yet day in and day out Mrs Els is there, often before anyone else arrives and is usually the last to leave.

Clarens Recycling CentreCurrently there are 3 individuals employed on a contractual basis with extra hands being brought in at peak tourism times for Clarens. Watching these individuals and their leader at work is actually most interesting and the sorting process is an educational experience for anyone with a few moments to spare. Certainly it helps develop an appreciation for the recycling process as a whole and respect for those who are involved in it. A big Thank you Evon for your team’s efforts and an extended thanks to all who already are involved in recycling in Clarens – your efforts are helping to keep the streets of Clarens clean and are definitely having a positive effect on the environment.

Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village ConservancyArticle and photography by Damien Coulson

 


Other Community News

Bird Interest Group: 
I would like to extend a warm invite to all bird watchers of Clarens and The Eastern Free State.

The SANPARKS HONORARY Rangers of the Free State host a birding weekend in Golden Gate every year during the 2nd weekend of February.

This year the event were attended by 64 guests. They spotted 132 species during the weekend.

Rick Nuttal a past president of Birdlife S.A and CEO of the National Museum in Bloemfontein and other birdlife experts normally take the guests on guided walks or drives through the park. Rick is also responsible for verifying the sytings.

We as Honorary Ranger will very much welcome some participation from our local birdwatchers.

Our next event will be the 2nd weekend of February 2015.

The Honorary Rangers were also responsible for the building of the Vulture Hide in the park. This is the first vulture hide in a national park in S.A.

There are still a challenge to help the park with the management of the hide. There is also a great need for farmers in the Clarens area to donate carcasses to the park to keep the hide functioning.

Anyone who wants more information can contact me, Div Bosman, on this e-mail address or phone me on the number 0824576743.

We would very much like the Clarens group to participate.

Thank you to the editor of Clarens News who keeps  us updated on all the events and your interest in plants and wildlife.

Regards

Div Bosman

Chairperson of The Free State SANPARKS Honorary Rangers.

 

Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?   We’ve been trying to contact other groups in our area – but there don’t appear to be any!  It looks as though it’s up to Clarens to get something going.  Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (editor@clarensnews.com) with their input and ideas.


Community Notice Board

Please note that we now have a Community bulletin Board on the website:  To view Click here


 

Clarens Combined Churches in Action –  AGM

Clarens Centre Ballet Ministries

The CCIA delivered on its promise of entertainment at its AGM yesterday, and everyone who attended had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Click here to read Julio Ontong’s article on the AGM and what’s happening at the CCIA


 

Cosmos – New varieties

Cosmos just outside Clarens

Would you believe that there are a whole range of varieties of Cosmos to be had in the USA.  These varieties come in a range of colours: pink, orange and even chocolate.  Doubles, singles, short and tall. Personally, I don’t think you can beat the variety that grows so generously along the road verges.  (The pic above was taken yesterday on the road to Rebellie farm.)  The flowers may be simple – but oh, how they dance in the wind!


 

This week:  Dihlabeng Christian School Autumn Fair

Dihlabeng Christian School Autumn-Fair

Book Launch:  Soweto Burning by Don Emby

Bibliophile Booklaunch Soweto Burning

Click here for more information about the book


 

It’s super rugby time again

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!

Classifieds

Looking for accommodation?  Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to open a restaurant?  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com


 

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

14th February 2014: Happy Valentine’s Day

Mushroom rock Clarens

Table of Contents

Mushroom Rock;

This weekend: Happy Valentine’s Day;
Let the cameras roll – Feature film to be shot in Clarens;
Hosa Treasure Hike Competition;
Clarens Village Nature Reserve:  Plant of interest:  Ranunculus multifidus;
The Twitcher;
Other Community News;
The end of an era – Simon and Megan are saying goodbye;
This weekend:  Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
This weekend:  Regional Festivals –  Bieliemieliefees;
This week:  Gosto:  A Taste of Portugal;
This week:  Get the beer taste-buds going;
Next weekend –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival !!!!;
More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens;
It’s super rugby time again;
Classifieds;
Not on the mailing list?

 

The landscape around Clarens abounds with mushroom rocks and the one photographed above can be clearly seen from the Clarens-Fouriesburg road.  (Stop at the St Fort turn off if you want to take a photograph.)   Hopefully, we will not become known as a town of mushrooms (ie people who are kept in the dark and fed on shit.)  But no need to worry, the editorial staff at  Clarens News will continue to keep you updated as to what is happening in and around Clarens with our newsletter (now going out every second week) as well as our facebook page. Then there’s always the website – which is continually updated and changed as we strive to build a website worthy of Clarens.  As to what’s happening in the rest of the world………well one sitting through any news bulletin shown on TV should not only keep you reasonably informed (even if you get the feeling that you’re being treated like a mushroom) but probably re-affirm why Clarens is such a special place.


This weekend: Happy Valentine’s Day

We can’t think of a more romantic destination than Clarens, and many of our Clarens restaurants are going the extra mile to make sure that this Valentine’s Day is specially romantic.


Restaurants with special Valentine’s Day menus:

278 On Main
Artichoke
The Courtyard
The Grouse & Claret
Cafe Xlent
The Millery @ The Base


Let the cameras roll – Feature film to be shot in Clarens

Bianca Isaac, film Producer based in Johannesburg. I am currently working on a feature film called:‘The Jakes Are Missing’, which she would love to set in Clarens. Since arriving here last year in search of the perfect location – I fell in love with Clarens immediately (and that was in winter:). It looks more beautiful every time I visit.
Bianca recently wrote to Accomodation owners in Clarens, giving details of the plot, and also outlining the Clarens community involvement in this project.   It seems that she is also going to need extras – and there are even some speaking parts up for grabs.   Click here to read her letter


HOSA Treasure Hike CompHiking Organisation of Southern Africaetition :

The Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa – HOSA – is running a fun event named TREASURE HIKE (based on the Geocaching concept), to be held for six (6) months – from  01 January to 30 June 2014.

For this kick-off project, only certain trails in South Africa will be involved. Only Green Flag Accredited trails, who are also HOSA member trails, will be participating. A list of these trails will appear on the HOSA website (www.hosavosa.co.za).  And guess what – two of these trails are right on our doorstep:  Cannibal at St Fort and Ribbok  in Golden Gate Highland Park. 
Read more


Clarens Village Nature Reserve:

 Plant of interest:  Ranunculus multifidus

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Rananculus multifidus Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Damien Coulson
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a wild flower that seems unremarkable, yet as always when dealing with nature – there’s always something of interest to be discovered.

Ranunculus multifidus (Common Buttercup in English, Botterblom in Afrikaans and hlapi in Sesotho), is an erect perennial herb that grows to around 150 – 300 mm in height, is commonly found in damp ground near streams or wetland areas at altitudes of up to 2900 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout S.A. It should be noted that a dwarf variety (at just 70 mm) of these species can be found at the upper reach of its eco-band/altitude.

R. multifidus may or may not have hairy leaves. One could deduce that the hairy leaves function as to trap moisture thereby retarding desiccation. If so, it is more likely that one would observe the hairy variety at higher altitudes where moisture is harder to come by. The leaves are a bright green with 2 – 3 pairs of deeply divided leaflets with heavily toothed margins. The inflorescence is branched and stems are hollow. Solitary flowers may be observed on small plants. The flowers are 15 – 25 mm in diameter and the 5 petals are a glossy mustard/rich butter-yellow colour. Flowers October – early Feb.   Read more


The Twitcher

Wouldn’t you know it: Valentine’s Day has come around again, much the same time as last year.  And the year before that.  In fact, checking my old diaries, it seems to be a perennial feature of life in the romantic lane.  As a social phenomenon, it stretches back centuries and has attracted the interest and witticisms of many a writer, professional and amateur.  The key difference of course, is that the amateurs don’t get published much, but probably score more dividends than all the pros put together.
Aberjhani, author of The River of Winged Dreams, waxed lyrical about love, saying, “What a lover’s heart knows let no man’s brain dispute”.  This suggests that idiots can function just as well as academics, although there are generations of respectable ladies who would put their money on a romp with a car mechanic in preference to a professor of Ancient Greek.  Ah well.  The same erudite author ventured that “This is what our love is––a sacred pattern of unbroken unity sewn flawlessly invisible inside all other images, thoughts, smells, and sounds”.  Confusingly, this may be more reminiscent of the public loos of Clarens than an ode to love.   Read more


Other Community News

Clarens Pharmacy change in trading hours
Wednesdays pharmacy will close at 15h00
Sundays closed for emergencies call 084-700 8558.
We will only be open on the busy Sundays like with the beer festival, long weekends, harley weekend etc.

Bird Interest Group:  
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?   Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (editor@clarensnews.com) with their input and ideas.

Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community bulletin Board on the website:  To view Click here


The end of an era – Simon and Megan are saying goodbye

Kerr family in Clarens

The Kerr family –  Simon, Megan, Melissa, Jenna and Cameron – are saying goodbye after 14 years in Clarens – and trekking back to Natal.  Fortunately, they won’t be totally out of touch, and their Clarens friends will be able to pop in and visit them whenever they are en route to Natal, especially once the road over Oliviershoek pass has been fixed.  (There are promises that the road repairs will be completed by 1st April – THIS YEAR!!!!)   Their new location known as The Phatt Chef @ The Border Post is sited where the Caterpillar and Catiish used to be.  Their B&B and restaurant will be open from mid-March onwards, and I can see many of us popping in to enjoy their special Sunday lunch buffet menu (even when we’re not en-route to Natal.)  Should you wish to contact Simon or Megan you can still use their existing cell phone numbers (Simon: 082 469 3832; Megan: 082 469 2072.  email: thephattchef@gmail.com)

Join Simon and Megan for a beer or a cider at the Clarens Brewery on Sunday 16th February from 13h30 onwards so that they can wish their friends goodbye, collect outstanding IOU’s and just generally have a good old time Clarens Sunday afternoon.  


This weekend:  Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information

This weekend:  Regional Festivals –  Bieliemieliefees

 

Bielemielie fees Reitz                     13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz

FEES MET GEES

For  more info:
 https://www.facebook.com/bieliemielie

 

 


This week:  Gosto:  A Taste of Portugal

Hot off the press:  The first Portuguese restaurant in Clarens opens next week, in time for the Beerfest!
Situated in the new On.The.Sauare centre at 328 Market Street, Gosto brings the real taste of Portugal to town.
Call Carol on 082 4163687 to book – and remember Super Theatre on March 7 and 8:  The Way we were with Cat Simoni in this fabulous Barbara Streisand show.


This week:  Get the beer taste-buds going

Clarens Craft Beer Food Pairing


Next weekend –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival !!!!

News for locals: 
Tickets to the next week’s Craft Beer Festival are selling fast and to ensure that you have a chance to get yourselves some should you want to, we will be selling tickets at the Clarens Brewery on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 Feb. Prices will be the same as on the web, R100 for a 1-day pass and R150 for a 2-day. Cash only, please.

Clarens Craft Beer Festival


Welcome to all the breweries:
Clarens is looking forward to welcoming all those breweries represented at this year’s beerfest: Copperlake Breweries, Robson’s, Chameleon Brewhouse, That Brewing Company, The Cockpit Brewhouse, Black Horse Brewery, De Garve, The Dog and Fig Brewery, Kaya Craft Beer, Mtunzini Brewery, Porcupine Quill Brewery Co., Smack Republic, Pale Ale, Brauhaus am Damm, Old Main Brewery.  And of course – Clarens Brewery will also be on the square over the beerfest weekend.On- line tickets:  Visit the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage.   

Entertainment:  The organisers have put together a fantastic musical line-up for the festival, and have been thoughtful enough to cater for non beer-drinking music lovers wanting to attend the festival simply to enjoy the music.   Should you fall into this group you can buy a “designated driver” ticket for only  R40.
Click here to see the program

Accommodation:  Accommodation in Clarens over that weekend has pretty much been booked, but there is still accommodation available nearby and a list is available on the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage. Should you have problems opening the page  –  click here 

 


More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens

Clarens Theatre On The Square

For further details Click here

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming Events page.

There’s always something to look forward to.  It may still be a couple of months away but you need to diarize the book launch on 21 March 2014:  Soweto Burning by local resident Don Emby.Sorry – no information on forthcoming cricket events in Clarens………but watch this space: it could be happening soon.  (Read the Twitcher in last week’s issue  to find out more.)


It’s super rugby time again

Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke).  The atmosphere is great –   almost like being at the game!


Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? (There’s a good job going at The Grouse and Claret at the moment).  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

 

 

14th February 2014

Wouldn’t you know it: Valentine’s Day has come around again, much the same time as last year.  And the year before that.  In fact, checking my old diaries, it seems to be a perennial feature of life in the romantic lane.  As a social phenomenon, it stretches back centuries and has attracted the interest and witticisms of many a writer, professional and amateur.  The key difference of course, is that the amateurs don’t get published much, but probably score more dividends than all the pros put together.

Aberjhani, author of The River of Winged Dreams, waxed lyrical about love, saying, “What a lover’s heart knows let no man’s brain dispute”.  This suggests that idiots can function just as well as academics, although there are generations of respectable ladies who would put their money on a romp with a car mechanic in preference to a professor of Ancient Greek.  Ah well.  The same erudite author ventured that “This is what our love is––a sacred pattern of unbroken unity sewn flawlessly invisible inside all other images, thoughts, smells, and sounds”.  Confusingly, this may be more reminiscent of the public loos of Clarens than an ode to love.

Lisa Greenwald, lesser known author of Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes, states the obvious in her own simplistic way: “Today’s Valentine’s Day.  There’s a whole day devoted solely to love.  Does that make any sense?  Nah.  Love makes us all crazy.  But it’s fun too”.  Point taken, but Ernest Hemingway has a strange sense of irony in his 88 Poems, saying “If my Valentine you won’t be,
I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree”.   Jarod Kintz, in 99 Cents For Some Nonsense, gets right to the point and says “Why send roses?  Wouldn’t it be more romantic to deliver a dozen orgasms?  For only R99.95, I’ll deliver them to your woman any day of the year.  But be sure to book early for Valentine’s Day”.

Hardly surprising that Rae Hachton, in Frankie’s Monster, warns “Run, sweetheart, run”.

Then there is good old common sense:  “If every lover was treated like they matter — everyday – Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be so special”, according to philosopher Mokokoma Mokhonoana.  Well yes, although another philosopher, Mehmet Murat Ildan injects a note of advice to the occasion, saying, “The best thing about Valentine’s Day is that if you don’t have a lover, you badly remember to get one!”

Ooops, almost forgot the gender issue (which is somewhat buggered by the need to avoid specifying the gender of the parties involved).   “In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels”, said that arch cynic, Jane Austen.  And the French, in the form of Honoré de Balzac, wryly note that “First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint a second time”.  Samuel Johnson, with history on his side but pursuing the same theme, argues that “A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

And in a punt for that timeless illustrated tome, The Kama Sutra, Elizabeth Barrett Browning asks, “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways”.

Self-avowed genius Oscar Wilde said of love, “They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever”, but covered his back (?) by adding, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it”.  American comic and occasional philanderer Woody Allen confirms his reputation for the obtuse by musing, “To love is to suffer.  To avoid suffering, one must not love.  But then, one suffers from not loving.  Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer.  To be happy is to love.  To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy.  Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness”.  On a more positive note, Woody added, “Sex without love is an empty experience, but, as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best”.

And the last word goes to a tall anonymous blonde who waxed warmly in the Grouse & Claret about her hopes for Clarens on this Special Day: “Give me Bruce; a picnic beneath a full moon and iridescent stars; black olives; cherries; dark things; a canoe on Lake Clarens…that’s romance”.

Oooh.

The Twitcher

31 January, 2014: Moving Forward

 

 

Guinea fowl Clarens

Table of Contents:

  • Time to make a brand new start;
  • Guo Nian – Happy New Year;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE  (GCCoC);
  • Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
  • The Clarens Village Conservancy:  The big Clean Up;
  • Plant of the week:  Gladiolus dalenii;
  • The Twitcher;
  • The Clarens Golf Estate News;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • This weekend – Other Events;
  • Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival;
  • Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees;
  • Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
  • More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens;
  • Information Overload;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 


 

Time to make a brand new start

Today, the 31 January, 2014, marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year it’s the year of the Horse. Over 1.36 billion people in China and millions around the world will celebrate today.

Traditionally, this is the time to sweep out the old and make space for all things new.  Mother Nature certainly seems to be taking New Year seriously.   There are signs of new life everywhere and yesterday we spotted the tiniest little guinea fowl chicks going out for a stroll on the golf course. Mommy hen is however still very shy and she ducked off into the long grass along with the chicks as soon as she saw me. So sorry – no photo of the chicks….yet.


Guo Nian – Happy New Year.

Those born in the year of the horse are believed to be energetic, bright and intelligent, have excellent communication skills, and enjoy entertaining.   They are associated with success, although not always good at handling their finances. And it seems that they will have to pay particular attention to their finances this year as it is predicted that their fortunes may fluctuate.  For those not born on a horse year, the year ahead will bring health and prosperity. It is also said to be an excellent time to travel. And while on holiday, you are urged to mingle with the locals, savour the food and discover new things.


GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE  (GCCoC)

Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

Following the election of three Directors to represent Upper Clarens in the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce (GCCoC), an inaugural meeting was held on Thursday to consider the processes and protocols of the Chamber.  The three Directors, Natalie Meyer, Malcolm Hickman and Carl Swerts, established ground rules in terms of the draft Constitution and agreed to meet the Clarens Unit Manager and the Dihlabeng Municipality next week to introduce themselves.

The Board now awaits the nomination of two representatives from the newly-established Clarens Business Development Cooperative in Kgubetswana, in order to convene the first full GCCoC Board meeting.  The Board will then ratify the Constitution, establish a non-profit company and initiate a prioritised order of business.  The three Upper Clarens representatives were elected at a meeting of Clarens business on 27 January 2014, attended by 47 organisations.

While attempts have been made before in Clarens to establish representative business structures, the level of support for this initiative is unprecedented.  It follows considerable business concern over the issuing of business licences for traders on the Square and the collection of 63 signatures on a petition of complaint to the Dihlabeng Municipality.  The business community can therefore look forward to serious representation on its behalf in the future and the co-option of additional expertise from its ranks, as well as regular reports-back.


Phase Two:  Lesotho Highlands Water Project

 

Lesotho Highlands Water ProjectThis year sees the start of Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.  More than a decade after the completion of Phase One, the green light is back on and it’s all systems go.

Clarens and the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority, having played a key role in Phase One of the Project, have no part in Phase Two.  The entire process of Phase Two will be confined to Lesotho.  The objective of this phase is to radically increase the flow of water through the transfer tunnel by constructing a new dam in the Lesotho water catchment.  As we all know, this current of water flows right under our valley and emerges from the tunnel just north of Clarens, where it joins the AshRiver.  At the completion of Phase Two there will be a considerable increase in the volume of water emerging at the Ash River Outfall, but the structures completed in Phase One are designed to cater for this increase.

LHWP Phase One
Nearly three decades have passed since the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Treaty was signed.  On that day in 1986 agreement was reached that a significant amount of water would be diverted to the north via an underground tunnel into South Africa to supplement the inadequate supplies in the Vaal catchment. Three dams, the Katse, Meula and Mohale, were constructed during Phase One, together with connecting tunnels leading out of Lesotho under the Caledon River and into the Ash River, part of the Vaal catchment system.    Read more


The Clarens Village Conservancy:  The big Clean Up

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Spruit WalkThe CVC rangers together with Lothar Vogl  have started the New Year off with a big clean up. They’ve already  carted away a mountain of rubbish from the view site at  the entrance to Clarens on the Bethlehem Road,   (Nauupoort Nek)   and there are plans to cut the grass, refurbish the sign and generally make the village proud – and a lot more welcoming!  Sadly, the work of keeping the village litter-free is on-going, as the illegal dumping of rubbish  in and around the village continues to be a problem.  And, as if the rangers don’t already have enough to do, they also have to contend with idiots who deface, tamper with, and even remove the newly painted signs on the trails.   Oh well, I’m sure they’ll come up with an idiot-proof solution, but it must get very disheartening at times, especially when so much effort is put into maintaining and improving the trails.

Regular users of the Spruit Trail will have noticed the new bridges and are probably already using them.   Lothar (who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the Clarens Village Nature Reserve)  has however informed me that this project is still incomplete, and there is still much work to be done:   Read more   

 


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Gladiolus dalenii

 


Clarens Village Nature Reserve Gladiolus dalenii Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village Nature ReserveDamien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a rather useful and aesthetically pleasing wild-flower recently spotted along isolated segments of the Spruit trail & Mallen Walk.

Gladiolus dalenii (African Gladiolus in English; Papegaai-gladiolus and khahla-e-kholo in Sesotho), is an indigenous species that rises to between 1m and 1.5 m tall. The Genus name Gladiolus (of which 14 species occur in the DMR) can be translated as “small sword” and refers to the appearance of its leaves. This easily-identifiable plant is found growing in grasslands and sometimes among scrub at altitudes of up to 2500 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Central Africa and even Western Arabia.

The leaves of G. dalenii are arranged in a loose fan formation, erect, approx. 20 mm wide, up to 320 mm long and grey-green in colour. The inflorescence may have support up to 7 flowers born on red-brown to green bracts. The flowers appear hooded and the colour is variable (although a red-fleshy orange colour is common). The flowers are considered “large” at 60 mm long by 30-40 mm wide, flowering from late Dec to early Feb.  Read more

 


The Twitcher

The Twitcher has taken unofficial leave this week.   (Some might say he’s shirking his duties!)  Never mind, this is probably a good time to catch up on previous articles.     I must say that the rest of us at Clarens News are looking forward to the establishment of a bird interest group here in Clarens (See article in last week’s news.)   Then, perhaps, we might find someone to write about birds for a change.  Should you wish to be part of a bird interest group please contact editor@clarensnews.com.

 

 


The Clarens Golf Estate News

 

Lots of  action on the web for The Clarens Golf Estate.  You can now access a video tour of the golf course.  Click here to view.

The other exciting news is that The Clarens Golf Estate has been added to Golfscape:  an internet based network which allows golfers to access hundreds of destinations in 39 countries across the globe.    Click here to have a look.

Congratulations to the team at the Golf Estate for pulling this off.

 


Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

Bird Interest Group:  
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?  Read Mary Walker’s article “It’s for the Birds” in this issue. Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (editor@clarensnews.com) with their input and ideas.

Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community Notice Board on the website:


This weekend – Weather

This weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.


Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Thumbs-up for Clarens:   The Jan 19 Sunday Times Travel section gives a round up of “this year’s best festivals”. The Clarens Craft Beer Festival is listed under “Food and Drink”…. It’s the only Craft Beer festival listed and the only Free State festival listed. Well done Clarens!

Clarens Craft Beer Festival
Of course we’re all gearing up for the Clarens Beerfest.  We’re informed that the tickets are selling like hot cakes (or is that cold beers.)  Be sure not to miss out by buying your tickets on-line from the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage.   
Accommodation in Clarens over that weekend has pretty much been booked, but there is still accommodation available nearby and a list is available on the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage. Should you have problems opening the page  –  click here 


Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees

 

Bieliemieliefees Reitz      13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz

FEES MET GEES

For  more info:
 https://www.facebook.com/bieliemielie

 


Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information


More Coming Events –  Supper Theatre in Clarens

Clarens Supper Theatre On The Square

For further details Click here

Have a look at the Clarens News website Events page.

There’s always something to look forward to.  It may still be a couple of months away but you need to diarize the book launch on 21 March 2014:  Soweto Burning by local resident Don Emby.

Sorry – no information on forthcoming cricket events in Clarens………but watch this space: it could be happening soon.  (Read the Twitcher in last week’s issue  to find out more.)


Information Overload

We’ve been monitoring activity on the Clarens News mailing list.  (Yes – Big Brother really is here.)

We now have nearly 2000 readers who regularly read the newsletter, and a high proportion of these click through to the website.   Trouble is that the weeks fly by too quickly and many of you only get round to opening the news every second week.  Well, given that our own inbox is always full,  we sympathise and have come to the conclusion that it’s all about information overload, and have decided that from now on we will only be posting out the newsletter every second week.   You can however stay up-to-the-minute by monitoring our facebook page, where important events will be posted should they come up in the intervening weeks.


Classifieds

 

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to try a totally different gastronomic experience.  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

24th January, 2014

I have really tried hard to write about birds this week.  I really have.  But when a rumour of global proportions does the rounds, what can a boy do, especially when it’s about cricket?

It appears (as the actress said to the Bishop) that a local farmer and businessman has the healthiest of obsessions with red balls and white caps.  In short, he has the most laudable of ambitions: namely, to bring civilisation to Clarens by building a world class cricket pitch on his farm, thus liberating it from the lowly role of feeding the people and boosting the economy.  Well, he is a farmer, so maybe that’s not strictly true.

The point is that this farm, in the shadow of a mushroom rock, could soon be heaving to mammoth fours and sixes at the behest of tall, chisel-featured cricketers of every make and persuasion.  Yes, it may indeed be true.  Imagine, if you will, dear reader, the visiting Australian cricket team taking to the field and bowling cabbages back and forth – all to the rapturous applause of both Australian residents of our own dear village.  And imagine the opposition, the Clarens and Country Districts All Stars, gearing up in the nets, in the shadow of one of the village’s premier wedding venues?

Picture Bruce Weyers, trim in skin-tight Teflon strides and size 59 pads, leaping gymnastically to his left and right, demonstrating the fine art of wicket-keeping.  Conceive, if you will, of the Sector Police Forum Chair lying crumpled on the turf after receiving a vicious bouncer from Les ‘body-line’ Thake.  Picture Ollie  ‘the kilted catcher’ Esplin at silly mid-on and Greg ‘the prowler’ Mousley at silly mid-off, taking profane direction from team Captain and star of the third-worst batting line up in the world, Brad ‘one off the wrist’ Goldblatt.  Imagine!

And imagine the start of play, following the toss with an elderly Kruger Rand.  Crowd tense, cameras rolling, television viewers around the world aghast at the cattle grazing contentedly at third-man.  An expectant hush as a three-metre Australian ultra-fast bowler sends down an ultrasonic bouncer, missing the scalp-hair of Clarens All Stars opener Chris ‘expresso’ Pefanis by millimetres.  Minutes pass and the All Stars are 3 (extras) for 9 and wilting badly in the summer sun.  All appears lost, but wait: Last man standing (well, sort of) is Ray ‘the postman’ Meyers who fends the spinning ball away with alacrity.  The unnamed four-metre Oz spinner rushes down the track and glares down at our Ray with intimidating Antipodean fury and snarls, “Mate, why are you so fat?”

Ray glares back, sparky as ever, and replies, “Because every time I bonk your wife, she gives me a biscuit”.

The match is drawn, due to the visitors being incapacitated by laughter.  That aside, gear up, dear readers, with floppy white hats and cases of the bubbly stuff, because this halcyon vision may soon be a reality.  Just imagine!!

 

24th January 2014: The Chamber of Commerce

Clarens summer Hay bales

Table of Contents:

  • Making hay while the sun shines;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!;
  • GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Meeting;
  • Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds;
  • Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park;
  • Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya;
  • It’s for the Birds;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival;
  • Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees;
  • Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival;
  • More Coming Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 

 


Making hay while the sun shines

Summer is in full swing, and the last few days of heat have seen Clarenites wilting.  Shoo …. it’s hot – but who would want to live anywhere else, especially with reports of record snow falls throughout the northern hemisphere. So – as the saying goes – make hay while the sun shines and enjoy these beautiful days.   The farmers are certainly making the best of this hay-making opportunity, as can be seen from the photo taken from the road between Clarens and Bethlehem earlier this week.
This week’s headline – Chamber of Commerce – highlights an important development in Greater Clarens – and the invitation for all business owners to take part needs to be taken seriously.  If you run a business in Clarens – no matter how big or small – you need to attend the meeting on Monday. This is your chance  to make your voice heard.


GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Kgubetswana Comes to the Party!

 A meeting will be held at 10h00 on Monday 27 January 2014 to initiate the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, at the Dutch Reformed Church Hall on Main Street.

All business interests in the greater Clarens area will be able to discuss the concept and elect three directors to the first board of directors to represent their interests in the business growth of the village.  Three of five directors will be elected on Monday morning and Kgubetswana will elect two more to make up a board of five directors, including the chair.

In this regard, business interests in Kgubetswana met last night to establish their own business organisation, named the Clarens Business Development Cooperative.  This signal event is an important one for the whole community and confirms the interest of Kgubetswana in development, training and mentoring.  This body will then nominate two directors to the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, confirming the establishment of a single, representative entity to guide the future development of Greater Clarens.

Recent events, particularly the contentious issue of trading licences on the Clarens Square, confirm the need for such a body to negotiate issue of concern to business and ensure the survival of the village in these harsh economic times.  On a positive note, the establishment of an integrated representative body opens the way to a brighter future for all the residents of Clarens.

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.


GREATER CLARENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Meeting

Date:  27 January 2014

Meeting Time: 10h00

Venue:  Dutch Reformed Church Hall, Main Street

All business interests in Clarens and its surrounding farming area are invited to the meeting on Monday and nomination forms for the election of directors are available from The Clarens News .  Representatives of the Clarens Business Development Cooperative will also attend the meeting and provide an insight into their ground-breaking initiative.


Trading Licences on the Square:  Dihlabeng Responds

Readers will recall that on January 7 of this year, 63 rate-paying businesses signed a Memorandum of Complaint in respect of the granting of trading licences to vendors on the Clarens Square.  This Memorandum was forwarded, courtesy of the Clarens Unit Manager, Peter Reed, to the Municipal Manager in Bethlehem.

We have pleasure in reporting today that two representatives of the Local Economic Development Forum (Thembalethu Dladla, Manager Tourism and Business Development, and Lebohang Mofokeng, Officer Emerging Business) asked for a meeting with the facilitators of the Memorandum of Complaint, Peter Badcock-Walters and Natalie Meyer.  This was duly held in Peter Reed’s office last week and those attending were kindly introduced by Mandy Prior.  The meeting was positive and to the point: The Dihlabeng representatives went to great lengths to assure Clarens that they were seriously concerned and recognised the unique value of Clarens to the Municipality and the Province.  They were also somewhat in awe of the collection of 63 signatures in less than 24 hours!  The Clarens facilitators indicated that the memorandum summarised the concerns of rate-paying business and that straight answers were required to the questions put to Dihlabeng.

The following points were discussed and agreed:   Read more


Self – drive: Clarens to the Vulture Restaurant: Golden Gate National Park

Self drive - Clarens to Vulture Restaurant

Genevieve Blignaut

If beauty and the vastness of nature is what you seek, the Vulture Restaurant, located in the Oribi Loop in the Golden Gate National Park, is just the thing for you.  The drive of 58 km’s will spoil you with tremendously beautiful views of the Rooiberg and landscapes stretching as far as the Drakensberg. Leave Clarens on the R712  towards the Golden Gate National Park.  Continue straight and allow your eyes to follow the hypnotic lines of farmfields whilst the mountains overhead carry the whispers of ancient voices straight to your heart.  If you fancy some horse riding, why not stop at Bokpoort on the way, or if you have a rumbly tummy picnic at Sunnyside Guest Farm or lunch at The Gourmet Shed are both easily accessible from the drive.  Alternatively stop at one of the many other  treasures along your way:  Café Moulin, Sugar & Cinnamon, The Busstop, Kiara Lodge and the Koffiepot, all filled to the brim with delicious yummies and ready to welcome you with great hospitality.   Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Disa chrysostachya

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Disa chrysostachya Damien Coulson

 

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a member of the Orchid family recently spotted in relatively low abundance at just 2 localities in the CNR.
Disa chrysostachya (the Torch Orchid in English; and mametsana in Sesotho), is a perennial that rises to between 250 & 650 mm tall. It usually occurs in damp grasslands, marshy areas or below cliff seep lines at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L., and occurs from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo.
D. chrysostachya has on average 3 – 5 densely overlapped leaves arising from the base of a thick fleshy stem. The inflorescence is tall and cylindrical and slender. The flowers are small, bright orange/yellow with a reddish tinge. A spur is present on each flower and hangs straight down. The flowers are 5 – 11 mm long, flowering from late December to mid Jan. This plant hasn’t been observed growing in great abundance, which would rather obviously make any sightings all the more dear. It’s growth form is also rather unusual and makes for an interesting observation.   Read more


It’s for the Birds

Mary Walker  Clarens NewsThis Saturday, if you happen to be out driving on one of the dirt roads in the countryside and you find yourself behind an annoyingly slow car, your patience and restraint will not go unappreciated.  The CAR Project is having its summer day out and in various parts of the country slow cars will be driving along routes away from the main roads.  No, this is not a vintage car rally!  In fact, for much of the time these cars will be parked at the side of the road and the occupants will be out of the cars and standing on the veld grass verges, staring off into the distance; with binoculars glued to their eyes, and paper and pencil handy.

These are CAR Project volunteers, made up of many hundreds of persons around the country.  And a carload of ladies from Clarens will be among their count this Saturday.

The Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) Project dedicates two days each year, one in late July and one in late January, to a mass bird count, where specific bird species are counted in a certain type of terrain subject to specified criteria.  Sounds too much like work?  No, of course not!  It’s a fun outing in your own car, with your own padkos, and with something challenging and satisfying to do along the way.  And at the end of it you are contributing to a national ornithological database.   Read more


The Twitcher

I have really tried hard to write about birds this week.  I really have.  But when a rumour of global proportions does the rounds, what can a boy do, especially when it’s about cricket?

It appears (as the actress said to the Bishop) that a local farmer and businessman has the healthiest of obsessions with red balls and white caps.  In short, he has the most laudable of ambitions: namely, to bring civilisation to Clarens by building a world class cricket pitch on his farm, thus liberating it from the lowly role of feeding the people and boosting the economy.  Well, he is a farmer, so maybe that’s not strictly true.

The point is that this farm, in the shadow of a mushroom rock, could soon be heaving to mammoth fours and sixes at the behest of tall, chisel-featured cricketers of every make and persuasion.  Yes, it may indeed be true.  Imagine, if you will, dear reader, the visiting Australian cricket team taking to the field and bowling cabbages back and forth – all to the rapturous applause of both Australian residents of our own dear village.  And imagine the opposition, the Clarens and Country Districts All Stars, gearing up in the nets, in the shadow of one of the village’s premier wedding venues?

Picture Bruce Weyers, trim in skin-tight Teflon strides and size 59 pads, leaping gymnastically to his left and right, demonstrating the fine art of wicket-keeping.  Conceive, if you will, of the Sector Police Forum Chair lying crumpled on the turf after receiving a vicious bouncer from Les ‘body-line’ Thake.  Picture Ollie  ‘the kilted catcher’ Esplin at silly mid-on and Greg ‘the prowler’ Mousley at silly mid-off, taking profane direction from team Captain and star of the third-worst batting line up in the world, Brad ‘one off the wrist’ Goldblatt.  Imagine!   Read more


Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED
MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00
SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

Bird Interest Group:  
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group?  Read Mary Walker’s article “It’s for the Birds” in this issue. Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (editor@clarensnews.com) with their input and ideas.

Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community Notice Board on the website:  To view Click here


This weekend – Weather

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This weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.

 


Coming Events –  The Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Thumbs-up for Clarens:   The Jan 19 Sunday Times Travel section gives a round up of “this year’s best festivals”. The Clarens Craft Beer Festival is listed under “Food and Drink”…. It’s the only Craft Beer festival listed and the only Free State festival listed. Well done Clarens!

Have a look at the Clarens News website Events.

Clarens Craft Beer Festival
Of course we’re all gearing up for the Clarens Beerfest.  We’re informed that the tickets are selling like hot cakes (or is that cold beers.)  Be sure not to miss out by buying your tickets on-line from the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage.   
Accommodation in Clarens over that weekend has pretty much been booked, but there is still accommodation available nearby and a list is available on the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage. Should you have problems opening the page  –  click here 


Regional Festivals – Bieliemieliefees

      13 – 16 February 2014.  Reitz

FEES MET GEES

For  more info:
 https://www.facebook.com/bieliemielie


Regional Festivals –  Rosendal Festival

Click here for more information


More Coming Events

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming Events page.

There’s always something to look forward to.  It may still be a couple of months away but you need to diarize the book launch on 21 March 2014:  Soweto Burning by local resident Don Emby. Sorry – no information on forthcoming cricket events in Clarens………but watch this space: it could be happening soon.  (Read the Twitcher in this issue to find out more.)


Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to try a totally different gastronomic experience.  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

17th January 2014

Imagine the Clarens Sector Police Forum.  Imagine them engaged in earnest discussion of matters politic, community policing and social responsibility.  Stern, upright men of letters; steely-eyed, gazing into the future with determination and honest vigour.  Imagine them ordering a round of Coke to parch their strained throats, hoarse from the stresses of their unselfish task.  Wednesday evening in the quiet village of Clarens.

Imagine this halcyon scene outside a place of social interaction.  Well, actually, the Grouse and Claret.  Imagine that – coincidentally – an irresponsible driver, somewhat detached from reality, was to circle the Clarens Square on two wheels, at rather high speed, before executing an intriguing manoeuvre in which he rotates his borrowed VW Golf on the proverbial ‘tickey’ and spins around the corner into Van Zyl Street.  All the while, and this is a completely non-judgemental statement, with his car radio straining the range of human hearing.

Imagine, if you can calculate the odds against this, that this young man loses control of his borrowed and uninsured vehicle, and accelerates across the lane and into a parked car approximately one-metre from the assembled ranks of the Clarens Sector Police Forum, now arrested (if you will pardon the expression) in mid-swig.  Imagine, if you can, the moment of complete silence that follows as several brains attempt to re-assemble the chain of events that has, quite fortuitously, unfolded before them.

Fast forward as the SPF kick back their benches and leap into action to save the unfortunate driver (?) from a potentially flaming wreck, only to review their selfless action and switch to arrest-mode as what turns out to be ‘the culprit’ endeavours to reverse away/flee the scene/take a swing at the SPF/have a drink.  The resulting pursuit in a borrowed 5-ton truck of uncertain vintage rivals the Keystone Cops for authenticity but comes up empty.  Only half-an-hour passes before the Police roar onto the scene and begin processing the evidence.  Imagine that one of the stunned assembly considers the thought that the car hit in this incident looks remarkably like his.  Indeed, it is his, a fact confirmed by the long arm of the law in its patient enquiries at the scene.  Thank God for insurance; but – alas, alack – the offending driver doesn’t have any.

Moral of the story?  If you are a lawyer, you might want to avoid attempting the defence of a demonstrably dangerous and negligent driver when the witness list includes the entire Clarens Sector Police Forum, sober and wide-eyed with outrage.  And the owner of the recipient vehicle in this unintended automotive mating.

Oh, and did I mention the horse?  The appearance of an anonymous rider galloping a horse repeatedly around the Square added immeasurably to the wild improbability of the scene.  All we were missing was a young woman with blue hair skateboarding back and forth in front of the Brewery to qualify Clarens for the hologram of the century award.  But of course that’s simply impossible, since such creatures don’t exist.  Do they?

Finally, birds, which is what the editor pays me to write about.  I think there were one or two at the scene, possibly a Swallow or even a White-Faced Vulture, but I confess I was too shaken to take notes.  Not due to shock or moral outrage; but the fact that the aforementioned lunatic missed my car by millimetres, on his way into what will henceforth be known as Lucky Mark’s car.

I do love the quiet of post-Christmas Clarens.

17th January 2014: Summer time, and the living is easy..

 

Clarens to Fouriesburg Pierneef landscape

Table of Contents:

  • Summer Time, and the living is easy….;
  • IMPORTANT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT;
  • Self – drive:  Clarens to Fouriesburg;
  • CVC Report-Back December 2013;
  • Clarens Skies –  The Emu;
  • Plant of the week:  Scabiosa columbaria;
  • Letters to the editor;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Community News;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • This weekend – Music;
  • Coming Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

 


 

Summer Time, and the living is easy….

We couldn’t say it any better.  Beautiful days, long evenings, and a chance to recover from the holiday season.  Everywhere you look there’s a photo opportunity, and we had a tough time deciding which photos to feature in this week’s news.  The evening light under a stormy sky throws up the most amazing colours  –  reminiscent of a Pierneef palette.  No wonder so many artists come to live in Clarens.


 

IMPORTANT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT

The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce:
THE WAY FORWARD

Readers of The Clarens News and Eish! will be aware of efforts to initiate a Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce over recent months.  You will also be aware that a Constitution has been drafted and that many meetings have been held with business interests in Clarens and Kgubetswana to ensure the creation of an inclusive and representative body.  The Clarens News would like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved in the process to date and notes that the current facilitators, Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis, have decided to call a meeting of Greater Clarens businesses on Monday 27 January 2014, to adopt the draft Constitution and elect three members of the first board of the Chamber.

We note however that there are several issues of importance that must be recognised ahead of this meeting.  First, whilst businesses in Upper Clarens have already met in various forums to discuss this matter, those in Kgubetswana have yet to resolve the standing of their business association and its representation.  Equally, recent events in Clarens (such as the issuing of trading licences on the Square by the Dihlabeng Municipality) demand active management by a representative body competent to speak for the town’s business community.  For this reason, the facilitators have deemed it necessary to elect three of five board members immediately, in order to assume negotiations with the Municipality and other parties, but will reserve two seats for the Kgubetswana business community.  Representatives of the Kgubetswana business community will be invited to attend this meeting and agree to the election of two such representatives in due course.

Second, the draft Constitution of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce will be circulated with immediate effect to every business owner in Clarens, Kgubetswana and the wider geographic area surrounding Clarens.  This will include farmers, guest houses, restaurants and tourist operators in the area, to ensure the inclusion of everyone with an interest in the growth and development of this unique part of the Eastern Free State.  Circulation of this draft Constitution will be by means of a link to this copy of The Clarens News as well as Eish!, Clarens News Facebook page and/or printed copies delivered to those without electronic connections.  Businesses are asked to read this document and prepare to comment on it and/or support its adoption on 27 January.  If you regard yourself as a business owner and have not received a copy of this Constitution by Wednesday 23 January, please urgently contact either Peter Badcock-Walters (peterbw@eastcoast.co.za) or Chris Pefanis (comms@clarenssa.co.za).  Alternatively, if you are aware of a business that has not been included in this mailing, please feel free to print out this information, the draft Constitution and the nomination form referred to below, and pass these along.

Third, a nomination form will be circulated to all the businesses described above and situated in this area by 23 January.  This form will allow you to nominate up to three members of the first board of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce, including an interim chairperson, to represent Upper Clarens.  Your nominees must be business persons resident in the Greater Clarens area and must be willing to serve as board members of the Chamber.  We note that neither Peter Badcock-Walters nor Chris Pefanis will be standing for office, as their role is simply to facilitate the creation of this Chamber.  Voting for these three seats will take place at the meeting of 27 January following discussion of these points.

Finally, the meeting will take place at the DRC Hall on the corner of Main Street and Van Reenen Street at 10h00 on Monday 27 January, 2014.  As a business owner, you are respectfully urged to attend and participate in the election of the first board of the Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  Your business future in Clarens may depend on your participation and involvement.

The Editor


Self – drive routes from Clarens :  Clarens to Fouriesburg

Self drive route Clarens to Fouriesburg rainbow over Maluti Mountains

Many would agree that the drive between Clarens and Fouriesburg is one of the prettiest in the entire Free State.  A straight drive on the excellent tarmac road takes under half an hour, but it is wise to set aside more time for this beautiful route in order to fully enjoy the impressive sweep of vistas the area affords.  The route runs through the heart of the Brandwater Basin, with the Rooiberg Range to the north, the Maluti Mountains to the south and the Witteberg Range in the far west.  It is a feast of distant mauve peaks, lush green valleys, golden sandstone precipices and, for much of the year, big blue skies.

Leave Clarens on the R711 south, which is clearly signposted as the road to Fouriesburg.  Soon after you leave the town, you will pass a pretty valley on the left, with a small tree-lined river meandering through it.  This is the Little Caledon River, which has its source far to the east in the watershed of the Golden Gate Highlands.  The sandstone cliffs that frame the valleys in the early part of this drive flaunt typical examples of rock overhangs sculptured by many thousands of years’ weathering.   For map and further details click here  


 

Clarens Village Conservancy Report-Back December 2013

To read all the latest news on what’s the Clarens Village Conservancy have been up to Click here
We at Clarens News are particularly excited to learn that there will soon be markers for a new trail (currently unnamed).  Your faithful editor will walk it as soon as possible – and report back. This is after all,  a great time of the year for hiking with so many wild flowers in full bloom after the recent good rains.


 

Clarens Skies –  The Emu


Genevieve Blignaut
Forming the head of one of our most popular constellations in the Southern Hemisphere, “The Emu”, lies the Coalsack. This nebula appears as a dust cloud near the Southern Cross, blocking out the sky almost completely.Nebula’s are formed by the dust and gasses from long-dead stars, but also signals rebirth as new stars are born from these same gasses. The dust particles gravitate with immense power towards each other, in order to create the required pressure for the birth of a star to commence. Nebula’s are extraordinary life-creating life forces and each react in a different manner to the light bodies that surround them. Some nebula’s, like the Coalsack, appear as dark patches against the sky, (absorbtion/dark nebula), others absorb heat from nearby stars and glow as effect (emission nebula) still others only reflect the light of the bodies that surround them (reflection nebula).   Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Scabiosa columbaria

 

Damien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a not-so-familiar wild flower that is currently in full bloom…and has something to do with all the Meadow White butterflies Pontia helice helice we’ve been seeing lately.

Scabiosa columbaria (the Wild Scabious in English; Bitterbos in Afrikaans and tlhako-ea-pitsi in Sesotho), is a perennial that obtains an average height of 750 mm. It is usually found growing in grasslands and on basalt rock at altitudes of up to 3200 m A.S.L. This interesting wild flower is widespread all the way from the Western Cape through to Europe and Asia where it is believed to have originated from.

The leaves are arranged in a rosette formation arising from the base and are 40 – 180 long X 40 mm wide. The margins may be entire or deeply lobed. The flower heads are white – off-white/cream, 10 – 25 mm in diameter on a solid yet branched stem of 120 – 300 mm long. The flowers are actually white-pink, when viewed more closely and hermaphroditic. The calyx is easily recognisable with 5 purple-red lobes. S. columbaria flowers from end Oct – early Feb. After flowering, the seeds develop in interesting rounded bristle-heads, which gradually fall apart as the seeds ripen and are ready to be redistributed by the wind.

While photographing the small white flowers of S. columbaria, the author observed several small invertebrates, from beetles to wasps to bees to butterflies perching on the inflorescence. In fact several thousand of the Meadow White butterfly were observed in one location obtaining nectar exclusively from this flower despite many other flower spp.being present in relative abundance in the CNR.   Read more


 

Letters to the editor

On the 6 of January 2014 we were having lunch at the German restaurant on main street where my daughter choked on an olive.
I would like to send a big thank you to everyone that was involved, The Paballos Nursing, the man sitting behind us and the man on the street that helped with the Heimlich, the lady in the grocery shop, the waiter in the restaurant, the restaurant owner and all the people involved.
When we return to Clarens we will pass by to say hi to everyone and let you all meet our daughter Valentina.
I can promise to you all that we will teach our daughter to be kind and helpful as you all were to us that day.
Thank you again
Fausto and Anna Vietri
083 284 2563


The Twitcher

 

Imagine the Clarens Sector Police Forum.  Imagine them engaged in earnest discussion of matters politic, community policing and social responsibility.  Stern, upright men of letters; steely-eyed, gazing into the future with determination and honest vigour.  Imagine them ordering a round of Coke to parch their strained throats, hoarse from the stresses of their unselfish task.  Wednesday evening in the quiet village of Clarens.

Imagine this halcyon scene outside a place of social interaction.  Well, actually, the Grouse and Claret.  Imagine that – coincidentally – an irresponsible driver, somewhat detached from reality, was to circle the Clarens Square on two wheels, at rather high speed, before executing an intriguing manoeuvre in which he rotates his borrowed VW Golf on the proverbial ‘tickey’ and spins around the corner into Van Zyl Street.  All the while, and this is a completely non-judgemental statement, with his car radio straining the range of human hearing.

Imagine, if you can calculate the odds against this, that this young man loses control of his borrowed and uninsured vehicle, and accelerates across the lane and into a parked car approximately one-metre from the assembled ranks of the Clarens Sector Police Forum, now arrested (if you will pardon the expression) in mid-swig.  Imagine, if you can, the moment of complete silence that follows as several brains attempt to re-assemble the chain of events that has, quite fortuitously, unfolded before them.

Read more


 

Other Community News

Clarens Family Pharmacy:  Trading Hours from 19th January to NOTICE CHANGES in TRADING  3 February 2014

SUNDAY 19/01/2014  : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

SUNDAY 26/01/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED

MONDAY 27/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00

WEDNESDAY 29/01/2014 : WILL CLOSE AT 15:00

SUNDAY 2/02/2014 : PHARMACY WILL BE CLOSED


 

This weekend – Weather


 

This weekend – Music

Friday 19th January 2014
Friends:  20h30:   Slipstream


 

Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.


 

Coming Events

Have a look at the Clarens News website Coming Events page.


Of course we’re all gearing up for the Clarens Beerfest.  We’re informed that the tickets are selling like hot cakes (or is that cold beers.)  Be sure not to miss out by buying your tickets on-line from the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage.   
Accommodation in Clarens over that weekend has pretty much been booked, but there is still accommodation available nearby and a list is available on the Clarens Craft beerfest webpage. Should you have problems opening the page  –  click here 


Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to try a totally different gastronomic experience.  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com


 

Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

10th January 2014

I promised you birds last week, and birds you shall get.  Well, a few anyway.  First, the baby Ostriches over the Nek are not so little any more.  Half the height of their parents, they are looking positively adolescent and quite chubby, in the irritating way that adolescents have.  Point is that the Ostrich population in the immediate neighbourhood seems to have doubled overnight and, save a raid by the valley’s surviving jackals, may be competing with us for space on the Square.  And if they have R50 for a year’s trading licence and the phone number of the Dihlabeng Economic Development Forum, their presence is a certainty.

More parochially, I literally tripped over a Piet my Vrou in the garden last weekend, having never laid eyes on one before.  Like every other resident of Clarens, their call rings in my ears year-round, but for some reason I haven’t actually seen the little buggers before.  So, glass of wine in hand as I perambulated about my little corner of God’s green acre, I swung past a gum tree to confront the little fellow leaping about in search of food or some other social adventure.  I was with guests who masquerade as Twitchers in a neighbouring country of limited economic significance (just saying), and they brightened visibly at the sight of what was for them also a first sighting.  I have to say, as first times go, it didn’t rival my sexual debut a century ago, but was still rather satisfactory.  The little fellow is quite stout and sports a striped chest like a public school tie.  Most importantly, he was not the slightest bit put out by our presence and bounced about for about five minutes, almost at our feet in fact, turning over bits of twig and gum.  So, in summary, I can confirm the presence of this lovely little not-so-brown-job in my garden, and now wear a smug smirk every time he (she?) pierces the afternoon with a distinctive cry.

Finally, Indian Mynahs.  And Red-Winged Starlings.  In my grapes.  I have just finished construction of a machine gun emplacement overlooking my fledgling vineyard and with tears streaking my ancient cheeks, watching as these unspeakable creatures split grape after grape in search of a drop of sweetness.  Needless to say the gun jammed at the critical moment and I was reduced to bayonet-charging them with limited success.  What to do?  The factories that make bird netting are closed for the summer, it appears, and another year of satisfying grape-trampling and bottling is rapidly slipping by.  So, notwithstanding my deep respect for the Indian Cricket Council’s abbreviated tour of South Africa, I may have to make a formal application to have the visas of all adult Indian Mynahs rescinded.  I know, I know.  It’s hard to make ends meet back on the Sub-Continent, but these fellows will have to learn not to interfere in our wine industry if they know what’s good for them.  In any event, they are lousy eating and I’ve just remembered that these are actually table-grapes.

So birds can be quite interesting, after all.  But not half as interesting as our Kaalvoet who has apparently tired of dunking water-skiers on the Vaal dam and is, as we speak, on her way to the South African base on Marion Island.  A series of hitch-hiking adventures took her to the Cape (not to be confused with the Mother City of Fouriesburg) and a XXXXXX-overcoat got her on board the Navy’s Good Ship Venus.  So we bid her farewell, at least for now, and hope her search for an equivalent partner (check Singles365 for 2.5 metre tall, sensuous silver-backs) and a long and happy life here in the mountains.

What we all want really.

The Twitcher

Aloe maculata (Common soap aloe, Bontalwyne)

 

 

Aloe maculata 1 Aloe maculata 2 Aloe maculata 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we are looking at a succulent from a well known genus with a few cool medicinal uses.

Aloe maculata or the Common Soap Aloe (known as Bontalwyne in Afrikaans or lekhala in Sisotho) is a small aloe of up to 1 m in height. A. maculata is commonly found growing on north-facing rocky slopes in grasslands & open savannah, at altitudes of up to 2000 m A.S.L. This succulent is widespread throughout S.A. and has even been observed along the coast in the Western Cape’s Garden Route (Pers. Obs.). Its wide distribution range indicates that it can tolerate a variety of soil types and moisture regimes.

The leaves are green-red (redder when more water stressed), with pale white spots on the leaves surface. The leave tips are dry and the margins are often brown with small hard brown teeth.  The inflorescence is bright orange -pale orange/yellow, flat topped and appears to resemble a mop. The flowers are typically 45 mm in length and can be seen from June through to September. This plant adapted along with sugarbirds which have long slender beaks with which to access the nectar at the base of each flower. It is an ecologically important plant as it attracts sugarbirds to the area, and its presence in a landscape therefore has good implications for ornithologists. Uses for A. maculata include:

Medicinal

  • Used to treat colds
  • Soothes burn wounds, scratches, stings and insect bites
  • Natural mild “sun-block” , soap & facial rub to smooth skin

Cultural

  • Believed to protect against lightning as a lucky charm

Horticultural

Popular as a garden ornamental (hybridizes readily with a number of other aloes, both in the wild and in gardens).Weekly Plant of Interest

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we are looking at a succulent from a well known genus with a few cool medicinal uses.

Aloe maculata or the Common Soap Aloe (known as Bontalwyne in Afrikaans or lekhala in Sisotho) is a small aloe of up to 1 m in height. A. maculata is commonly found growing on north-facing rocky slopes in grasslands & open savannah, at altitudes of up to 2000 m A.S.L. This succulent is widespread throughout S.A. and has even been observed along the coast in the Western Cape’s Garden Route (Pers. Obs.). Its wide distribution range indicates that it can tolerate a variety of soil types and moisture regimes.

The leaves are green-red (redder when more water stressed), with pale white spots on the leaves surface. The leave tips are dry and the margins are often brown with small hard brown teeth.  The inflorescence is bright orange -pale orange/yellow, flat topped and appears to resemble a mop. The flowers are typically 45 mm in length and can be seen from June through to September. This plant adapted along with sugarbirds which have long slender beaks with which to access the nectar at the base of each flower. It is an ecologically important plant as it attracts sugarbirds to the area, and its presence in a landscape therefore has good implications for ornithologists. Uses for A. maculata include:

Medicinal

  • Used to treat colds
  • Soothes burn wounds, scratches, stings and insect bites
  • Natural mild “sun-block” , soap & facial rub to smooth skin

Cultural

  • Believed to protect against lightning as a lucky charm

Horticultural

Popular as a garden ornamental (hybridizes readily with a number of other aloes, both in the wild and in gardens).

Eucomis autumnalis (Autumn pineapple, herfspynappelblom)

Eucomis autumnalis

 

Eucomis autumnalis : Autumn pineapple

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. Sightings of the often semi-cryptic species are less common – rare, making it a valuable find for keen botanists or avid photographers.

Eucomis autumnalis or Autumn Pineapple Lily (known as herfspynappleblom in Afrikaans or Umbola in Sisotho), is a small  bulbous perennial of up to 60 cm that may be found growing in clumps near damp grassy montane gullies, and on stream banks. The plant has been found growing at altitudes of up to 2800 m A.S.L., and has a widespread distribution from the Eastern Cape to KZN/Mpumalanga.  The word Eucomis hails from the Latin word meaning “beautiful hair” or “topknot” (looking at the images one understands why).

The leaves are usually a dark – grass green colour with some purple mottling at the base and measure 600 X 100 mm on average. The leave margins are often wavy with a purplish – red tinge. The flower tepals are white – green or mauve. When the flowers have been fertilised they gain a green tinge. The stamens bear an unpleasant odour. A characteristic inflorescence is visible above the tepals, with large terminal bracts. The following uses have been recorded for E. autumnalis:

  • Tradition medicines to treat colic
  • Garden ornamental ( natural form or cultivar) which has been honoured with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Not many sightings of this plant have been reported from within the Clarens Village Nature Reserve and the CVC rangers have only observed E. autumnalis in 2 or 3 localities thus far.

Euphorbia clavaroides (Lions spoor, Melkpol, Fingerpol)

Euphoria clavaroides 2 Euphorvia clavaroides 3 Euphorbia clavoides 1

Euphroba clavaroides  (Lions spoor, Melkpol or Fingerpol) Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to the first of many “Weekly Plant of Interest” snippets.

This week we introduce for the first time Euphorbia clavaroides commonly known as Lions Spoor, Melkpol or Fingerpol – a cryptic succulent species that appears from a distance to resemble the smoothed sandstone rocks that is typical for the eastern Free-State area. This plant is only revealed from afar when it is in flower with many small yet spectacular bright yellow flowers. This plant although small, is important in the ecosystem and to humans due to its many uses. These include:

  • A source of nourishment for local baboon  populations and other animals
  • Dried sap has a historical use as an alternative to chewing gum by children
  • Used in the preparation of bird lime
  • Use in traditional medicines.

It is found only on steep rocky cliffs and rock faces at altitudes of up to 2750 m A.S.L. and has a widespread distribution, occurring from the Eastern Cape right through to the Limpopo Province. The plant was observed for the first time last week by the rangers on the sandstone cliffs above the Scilla Walk hiking Trail in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.  The unusual growth form of the plant is in part due to its location on cliff faces and is a biological protection mechanism used to prevent excessive amounts of evaporation and protection from the wind and other elements.

10th January 2014: Driving Around

Table of Contents:

  • Driving Around;
  • Self drive routes – Ash River route;
  • A great time of the year for hiking;
  • The butterflies are back;
  • Clarens Skies –  Phoenix;
  • Plant of the week:  Zantedeschia albomaculata;
  • The Twitcher;
  • Other Events;
  • Classifieds;
  • Not on the mailing list?

White_Water Raafting on the Ash River Clarens


Driving Around

The best way to explore the Ash river from Clarens is undoubtedly to go by River Raft. (Read about White Water rafting on the Clarens News website Adventure Page :  White Water Rafting.) Alternatively, you can access parts of the river by road.   Read Mary Walker’s description of the route we took this week.  Highly recommended to visitors looking for something less strenuous to do.


 

Self drive routes from Clarens – Ash River route

Self-drive from Clarens Ash river loop map

 

Self-drive from Clarens Ash River Outfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A short distance from the village of Clarens is the Ash River Outfall.  The word ‘outfall’ refers to water being ejected from an underground tunnel into a weir before it flows into the Ash River.  Clarens was well known during the nineties for the part it played in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, and the Ash River Outfall bears testimony to the project’s ultimate success.  A self-drive tour of this area will provide you with a fascinating couple of hours of splendid vistas as well as access to the visual legacy of this acclaimed engineering project.  In addition, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of white water rafters bouncing down the rapids.  Leave Clarens on the main tarred road north towards Bethlehem, route R712 (on some maps R711).  On the left, just before the majestic Titanic Rock, you will see the Maluti Mountain Lodge, which was the favoured “watering hole” of tired construction engineers during the nineties.  As you rise out of the valley over the Naauwpoort Nek, the Free State farmlands stretch before you, framed on the right by an imposing flank of Mount Horeb running away to the north east.  Further on are some examples of free-standing sandstone rock formations, so typical of the Eastern Free State landscape.  Read more


 

 

A great time of the year for hiking

This is a great time of the year for hiking – especially early in the morning or in the late afternoon during the cooler hours of the day.   There are excellent hiking trails in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve, within easy access of the town.  Hiking in the nature reserve is free, and the trails are well marked. Some of the trails are easy enough to suit even young children, whilst there are also more challenging trails for those in search of adventure.   Maps of the trails are available from the Clarens Village Grocer, the Old Stone Bottle Store, Bibliophile, Mountain Odyssey and Maluti Tours.  You should also look out for the Clarens News Plant of the week column  (written by head ranger Damien Coulson) which looks at the various plants found in the reserve.   (You can access all these articles on our website) Should you wish to become a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy and support the excellent work done in the nature reserve.  Click here for your membership form.


Falko Bushke sent us an email from chilly Belgium.
Falko has uploaded some great information on hiking trails in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park on his website:  The Solitary Ecologist.

Falko has given Clarens News permission to upload information to the Clarens News website:  I‘ll be grateful if as many people as possible have access to this information.

You’ll find more information on these trails as well as the many other hiking trails available in the area on the Clarens News website hiking page.


The butterflies are back

It’s also that time of the year when we are inundated by butterflies.  Craig Walters wrote Butterflies Flutter by for Clarens News exactly a year ago, and since our present editorial staff cannot come up with anything better…..here it is again.

Belenois aurota, photo by Avril de Montille

Butterflies Flutter by… Single minded things these flutterers flapping fecklessly by. Single minded and of a singular mind and direction. White, brown veined and photo shy. I have tiptoed through tulips and lain among the daisies armed myself with lensed cameras and hunted these connected petals for 2 days now, and when finally one deigned to alight on a flower in front of me, with the focus finally in and the lighting almost acceptable, the battery died… I can tell you that they are of a species called Belenois aurota aurota or otherwise brown veined white butterflies and there are reports of this migration from as far afield as Nairobi in Kenya. Apparently it is not a true migration as they do not return to their place of origin, but instead gun it on a one way mission to the beach, and beyond. Although the entire species seemed programmed on a Journey To the East, some few have been reported to exhibit Durban’s inherent craziness, and these fly against the flow, Westward Ho. Apparently the wind has nothing to do with their direction, and some of them have been reported in Madagascar, impressive since they apparently start in the Kalahari area… There is another species in Asia, but they aren’t this quality, despite being a lot cheaper. I will upload the one or 2 pics if  I manage to capture somein the next couple of hours, but in the meantime these links have some beautiful pics, especially http://momsmeanderings.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/brown-veined-whites-belenois-aurota/ 

See also http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-30514/butterfly-migration-spectacle-cityhttp:/

http://impenjati.tripod.com/info.html


 

Clarens Skies –  Phoenix


Genevieve Blignaut

 

Constellation of the Week
Johann Bayer, a German lawyer and astronomer, depicted the modern constellation Phoenix, for the first time in 1603. The constellation was named after the mythical Greek creature, the Phoenix. These birds are said to have lived on aromatic herbs, the like of Frankincense, Myrrh and Cinnamon.

When the bird reached the critical age of 500 years, it set about to build a nest on the top of a palm tree using the mixture of aromatic herbs. Once the nest was built to the bird’s satisfaction, the Phoenix itself would set the nest alight. Shockingly the bird would die within the burning nest, but miraculously a young pheonix would appear from the ashes and continue to live its life cycle of 500 years.

 Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Zantedeschia albomaculata

 

DamienDamien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a monocotyledonous species of the Araceae family that many of you may already be familiar with and could probably recognise growing in your own garden. Heck, many of you may have probably even planted it there intentionally!

Zantedeschia albomaculata  (the Arrow-leaved Arum in English; Witvlekvarkoor in Afrikaans and mothebe in Sesotho), is a deciduous plant that obtains an average height of 750 mm. It is usually found growing in moist or marshy soils or on moist rocky mountain slopes at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. Rather unusual is the fact that the so-called “petal” is actually a modified leaf called a spathe, in botanical terms. Minute male and female flowers are carried on one central column or spadix. 8 endemic species occur in S.A., of which 2 species have been recorded occurring in the Eastern Free State.  The word maculata means “spotted with white” or “white-spotted”.

The author has often observed small creatures stowed away in the relative safety of the spadix. These include but are not limited to the Arum-lily Frog and an assortment of bees, beetles and other such animals. This unusual little plant is widespread throughout S.A. all the way to Central Africa.   Read more


 

The Twitcher

I promised you birds last week, and birds you shall get.  Well, a few anyway.  First, the baby Ostriches over the Nek are not so little any more.  Half the height of their parents, they are looking positively adolescent and quite chubby, in the irritating way that adolescents have.  Point is that the Ostrich population in the immediate neighbourhood seems to have doubled overnight and, save a raid by the valley’s surviving jackals, may be competing with us for space on the Square.  And if they have R50 for a year’s trading licence and the phone number of the Dihlabeng Economic Development Forum, their presence is a certainty.
More parochially, I literally tripped over a Piet my Vrou in the garden last weekend, having never laid eyes on one before.  Like every other resident of Clarens, their call rings in my ears year-round, but for some reason I haven’t actually seen the little buggers before.  So, glass of wine in hand as I perambulated about my little corner of God’s green acre, I swung past a gum tree to confront the little fellow leaping about in search of food or some other social adventure.  I was with guests who masquerade as Twitchers in a neighbouring country of limited economic significance (just saying), and they brightened visibly at the sight of what was for them also a first sighting.  I have to say, as first times go, it didn’t rival my sexual debut a century ago, but was still rather satisfactory.  Read more


Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.

Music lovers are in for a treat at the Bethlehem Kine on January 13, 2014:  wine, apperitifs and movie:  Behind the Candelabra : The Life of Liberace


Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to try a totally different gastronomic experience.  Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to:
editor@clarensnews.com


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

Zantedeschia albomaculata

Zantedeschia 1 Zantedeschia 2 Zantedeschia 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a monocotyledonous species of the Araceae family that many of you may already be familiar with and could probably recognise growing in your own garden. Heck, many of you may have probably even planted it there intentionally!

Zantedeschia albomaculata  (the Arrow-leaved Arum in English; Witvlekvarkoor in Afrikaans and mothebe in Sesotho), is a deciduous plant that obtains an average height of 750 mm. It is usually found growing in moist or marshy soils or on moist rocky mountain slopes at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. Rather unusual is the fact that the so-called “petal” is actually a modified leaf called a spathe, in botanical terms. Minute male and female flowers are carried on one central column or spadix. 8 endemic species occur in S.A., of which 2 species have been recorded occurring in the Eastern Free State.  The word maculata means “spotted with white” or “white-spotted”.

The author has often observed small creatures stowed away in the relative safety of the spadix. These include but are not limited to the Arum-lily Frog and an assortment of bees, beetles and other such animals. This unusual little plant is widespread throughout S.A. all the way to Central Africa.

The leaves of Z. albomaculata are roughly arrow shaped and usually occur with white spots, although some have been recorded without.  The spathe is usually an off-white – cream or even pale yellow colour, cyclindrical (approx. 170 mm long) and has a relatively narrow mouth when compared to some other spp. of the the Zantedeschia genus. The spadix is 40 mm long and a bright mustard yellow. A deep purple spot may be present on the inside base of the spathe.This pleasant looking plant flowers from  Nov – Dec. The fruit are green and cause the stem to bend towards the ground. Uses include:

Culture

A yellow-green dye is derived of the plant.

Commercial value

Due to high demand, Z. albomaculata has been harvested extensively in certain areas of the country in years gone by.

Kniphofia ritualis

IMG_70889153061455.jpg Knifofia

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a striking monocotyledonous plant of the Asphodelaceae(Red-hot poker) family that is just now coming into flower.

Kniphofia ritualis (leloele-la-Lesotho in Sesotho), a hardy perennial, ranges from around 0.8-1 m tall. The name Kniphofia is derived from the Surname of a Professor of medicine JH Kniphof. Ritualis refers to the fact that the plant is used by Sesotho girls in Lesotho during traditional initiation rituals.

K. ritualis is generally solitary, occurring on wet grassy slopes or in loose damp soil at altitudes of between 1800-3000 m A.S.L., and is endemic to the Eastern Mountain Region from the Free State to KZN.

The leaves of K. ritualis are 400-900 mm long by 12-24 mm wide, soft, v-shaped and the margins are finely toothed. Running ones finger against the grain may result in a papercut that although superficial is painful nonetheless. The inflorescence range from 90-140 mm in length by 40-50 mm wide. The buds are a bright orange and the flowers a bleached yellow – 25-35 mm long. This striking plant flowers from  late December through to March. Uses include:

Culture

Used in traditional rituals during rites of passage for Sesotho women.

Gardening

Makes a striking ornamental garden plant.

Medicinal use

It’s thought that the roots of the plant may possess pain relieving properties.

Other human use

The leaves of this plant have been used to plait rope.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, K. ritualis is classified as of Least Concern.

Rosa rubiginosa

rosa 1 rosa 2 rosa 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a non-indigenous species of the Rosaceae family that many of you may already be familiar with, but is of great interest nonetheless.

Rosa rubiginosa (known as the Eglantine Rose or Sweet Briar in English, Wilderoos in Afrikaans & mamarosa in sisotho), is a deciduous shrub of around 2-3 m high. The name eglantine is from Middle English eglentyn, from Old French aiglantin or from aiglent meaning ‘sweetbrier’. Sweet refers to the subtle fragrance of the leaves which are reminiscent of the scent of apples, while briar or brier refers to the plant being a thorny bush. R. rubigonosa may be found growing in dense groves in disturbed areas and near rivers or streams, and even on moist south facing slopes in the Eastern Free State. Widespread from the WC – Kwa-Zulu Natal. The leaves of R. rubigonosa are pinnate and vary between 50-90 mm in length with 5-9 oval leaflets with serrated margins and bearing small hairs. The stems are green-reddish brown, approx 1 cm in diameter and have numerous small hooked thorns. The flowers are 18-30 mm in diameter, with 5 petals – white in the centre grading to pink with multiple yellow to burned-orange stamens. The flowers are usually produced in clusters of 2-7. Flowering occurs from Oct – Dec. The fruit – called “hip” (hence the common rose-hip association) are globose to oblong, deep red and 10-20 mm in diameter.

 

Uses include:

Cultivation

R. rubigonosa can be trimmed to make a stunning and effective hedge. Many also value the plant for its pleasant scent.

Food & Drink

The petals can be used to draw an infusion of sweet scented flower-water. The hips can be used to make, jam, jelly, syrup, rose hip soup, beverages, pies, bread, wine, and marmalade. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit. The young flexible green stems can be peeled-back to reveal a succulent section of the plant reminiscent of cucumber in taste and texture (edible –chew and swallow). The hips and stems have often been used by herdsmen and young boys of the Sesotho culture to appease their appetites, especially during summer.

Medicinal

The hips are a nutrient-rich source of nourishment. 100 grams of the hips may contain up to 710% the r.D.A. of vitamin C. Hips are also rich in vitamin A, (86%), Calcium (16%), B-6 (5%), D, E, iron (6%), magnesium (17%), K, Protein, sugar, fibre, essential fatty-acids and flavonoids . Rose-hip syrups were developed during World War 2 at a time when citrus was difficult to import and soldiers needed a dose of vitamin C to stave of colds and flu. Rose-hips also possess compounds found to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis – apparently due to both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Conservation Status

According to SANBI, R. rubigonosa is a declared category 1 invader species in S.A. and has become naturalised in the EC, WC, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpum, North-West and Limpopo.

Papaver aculeatum

Poppy 1 Poppy 2 Poppy3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small dicotyledonous plant from the Papaveraceae (poppy) family.

Papaver aculeatum (known as the Orange Poppy in English, Doringpapaver in Afrikaans or sehlohlo in sisotho), is a small herb of around 0.1 – 1.5 tall depending on the surrounding geology. It may be found in rocky places, among scrub, in dry riverbeds and on cliffs, often proliferating in areas of disturbance.  P. aculeatum grows at altitudes of 1600-2950 m A.S.L. and is generally widespread throughout S.A. Spp. Of the Papaver genus are all moderately frost tolerant. This small herb is interesting as it is the only poppy originating from the Southern hemisphere.

 This is not a herb that one would generally hand-pick without gloves as it is covered in stiff yellow spines and fine hairs and could result, if nothing else in itchy hands. The leaves are approx. 120-130 mm in length and are deeply lobed, with the toothed margins appearing almost tattered.  The flower, although simple in design is an attractive light-burnt orange, flowering from October through to March. The fruit are tiny (10-20 mm wide), ribbed and oval.

Human uses

P. aculeatum, distant relative of the Opium Poppy, are used as a pot herb by the sotho culture, having been grown from seed.

The Papaver genus is synonymous with several illicit activities but also has many beneficial medicinal uses. I find that a wealth of information on this interesting genus may be found online.

Coprinellus disseminatus

Fungi 1 Fungi 2 Fungi 3

 

DamienDamien Coulsen

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. Interestingly enough these little fellows don’t actually belong to the Plantae kingdom at all…

Coprinellus disseminatus (known as Fairies’ Bonnets in English or Bondelinkmus in Afrikaans) belong to their own unique kingdom – Fungi. Fungi can be classed into 2 major groups – micro (scopic) or macrofungi. Fungi are either saprobic (deriving nourishment from decaying organisms) or pathogenic (disease causing) and in essence facilitate the cycle of life to death to life again. Fungi have been associated with plants, wild animals and humans since time immemorial.

C. disseminatus may be found growing on woody material, such as fallen logs and the likes and even grows on ground in close proximity to decaying wood. The fruit bodies are clustered in groups and are attached to the substrate by a stipe. Unlike most coprenoid class fungi, these do not dissolve into a black-gooey ink-like mess when mature.These little mushrooms are widelly distributed throughout S.A. and “fruit” (refering to the development of the visible section of the fungus above-ground)  in summer. The cap (up to 20 mm) is roughly oval or hemispherical. The margin or rim is even with a grooved surface that is cream-white and eventually fading to grey-brown with a brownish central spot. The stipe or fungal stem, is both central and slender and always short. It is also cylindrical, white, hollow, ringless and fragile. The lamellae (underside of the cap) is white and fades to either grey or black with time. The flesh of the cap is very thin and almost odourless.

Human uses

C. disseminatus are actually edible, however they shrink so much during cooking that unless you have access to a large grove of them, they are virtually useless for that purpose.

Dianthus basuticus subsp. basuticus

Dianthus 1 Dianthus 2

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be looking at a member of the carnation family.
Dianthus basuticus subsp. basuticus (known as the Lesotho Dianthus, Lesotho Carnation or Drakensberg Carnation in English, Lesothose grootblom-wilde angelier in Afrikaans or hlokoa-la-tsela in Sisotho), is a dicotyledonous herb which often forms small mats on rocky grass slopes, crevices of rock sheets and on cliffs. “Dios” refers to divine (scent) whilst “anthos” refers to the flower, most likely referring to the heavenly scent of some species in the genus. What makes it interesting is that there are only 4 species of Dianthus growing in the entire Eastern Free State. D. basuticus subsp. basuticus was photographed on the Kloof Mountain Trail (Distr. Eastern Mountain Region – Mpumalanga) which would make sightings of this species rare unless you are eager for a bit of a climb. This little herb grows at altitudes of between 1400 and 3050 m A.S.L.

 

The leaflets are basal (arising from the base of the plant) and resemble a dense tuft of grass. From a biological perspective this is interesting as it ensures that the plant remains well concealed for the part of the year when its not in flower. The leafes measure approximately 100 mm long by 15 mm in diameter.The flowers are always solitary on their flowering stems (110 – 450 mm long) but may occur in their myriads in one specific location. The flower is relatively small (30 mm diameter) and shades from white to pale to bright pink. What makes it attractive is the toothed or even long fringed margins which gives it a somehow almost feminine or elegant appearance. Flowering occurs from late November – March.

Human uses:
Traditionally used in the sisotho culture as a love charm (ahem single ladies and gentlemen). Also used in other traditional medicine’s and magic.

Live-stock
D. basuticus subsp. basuticus has reportedly been used to increase the fertility rate of bulls.

Conservation Status:
Although no status was found it is most likely classified as of Least Concern (LC).

Searsia divaricata – Fire thorn Karee, Common Currant-rhus

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata

 

Searsia divaricata (known as the Rusty-leaved Currant or Mountain Kuni-bush in English, Berg-koeniebos in Afrikaans or kolitsana in Sisotho), is a shrub with multiple stems that grows up to 3 m tall.  The word divaricata is translated as spreading in English and refers to the spread of its branches. This shrub grows among rocky outcrops and cliff bases. This currant reaches the highest altitude of any currant at up to 2750 m A.S.L and occurs from the Eastern Cape through to Gauteng.

The leaflets are somewhat leathery, a dark olive green above, with grey-green to redish-brown hairs below. The margins are slightly rolled under and the leaf apex varies from flat to pointed.  Leaf sisez vary from 28 mm long by 13 mm wide to 51 mm long by 28 mm wide in adults.  The flowers are often red-brown and grow in small sprays (up to 30 mm long) on the leaf axis in January. . The midrib and the secondary veins are conspicuous and raised below. The fruit are very small (3 – 5 mm) and are reddish-brown, round and glossy when mature. Expect to find them from October – January.

Human uses

Traditionally the heartwood has been used for making “knopkierries” and has its uses in the sisotho culture as one of several plants that is believed to induce rain during traditional rain-making ceremonies.

Medicinal

The leaves are dried and crushed and then smoked as a means of alleviating symptoms of coughs and colds.

Conservation Status:

Classified as of Least Concern (LC) according to CITES database.

Geranium robustum

Geranium 1 Geranium 2 Geranium 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant from the Geraniaceae family that has just recently come into full bloom.

Geranium robustum (known as Cranesbill in English), is a medium sized shrub of up to 1 m tall. The Greek word Geranos is translated as “crane” in English, referring to the shape of the seed, which resembles a crane`s bill. This plant grows on moist shrubby mountain slopes and along stream at 1600-2590 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape through to Mpumalanga.

 The leaves of G. robustum are around 50 mm in diameter and usually 5 lobed right down to the base. Each lobe is sub devided several times with venation of a peculiar appearance on the upper basal surface. The leaves have a silky texture and a silvery hairy upper surface whilst they are yet more silvery below. The leave stalks can be up to 100 mm long. The flowers’ elegance lies contrary-wise  in their simlicity as they consist of 5 light purple petals with purple venation which draws focus to the off-white centre colouration. Flowers are approximately 25 mm in diam. Flowering occurs from November  – March.

Uses:

Gardening

G. robustum makes a lovely natural looking cover and the trailing stems look very effective growing through shrubs, large perennials and over or even between garden fencing. Geraniums generally take some shade, particularly in the afternoon and are one of the most sun tolerant, only needing protection in the hottest of summers. G. robustum is one of the few Geraniums that can be propagated by cutting and rooting a terminal or lateral shoot from the parent plant in autumn. May spread relatively easily if not kept in check.

Conservation

Forms a beautiful matt-like ground cover and could therefore be used with the duel-function of stabilisation of eroding stream banks as well as increasing the aesthetic appeal of mentioned banks.

Conservation Status:

Although no definitive status could be sourced, this plant is capable of growing in harsh conditions amongst other shrubs, and is therefore likely to be of least concern.

Helichrysum callicomum

Helichrysum 1 Helichrysum 2

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a relatively conspicuous plant that many of you would have seen if you’ve recently found yourself walking our trails.

Helichrysum callicomum (known as motoantoanyane in sisotho – English common name not available), is a medium sized perennial tufted herb, growing up to 400 mm tall.Kalli is Greek for beautiful, kome is the Greek word for hair and likely refers to the numerous flowering branches and golden inflorescences resembling a beautiful hairdo. This plant grows on river flats, gravelly banks, and overgrazed areas at 1800-2400 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe.

H.callicomum has thin, flexible and tufted woody stems. The stems range between a grey-white and the leaves are densely tufted. The leaves are 25 long by 6 mm wide, are blunt tipped, felted and a light grey. The inflorescense is is usually 60-80 mm in diameter and is roughly rounded. The individual flowerheads are 4 mm long by 1 mm wide and bracts are close to straw coloured. Flowering occurs from Feb – May.

Uses:

Used traditionally as a protective charm. Indicator of veld condition and recent disturbances as it tends to proliferate in overgrazed areas.

Conservation Status:

Least concern (CITES), as it proliferates in disturbed veld.

Gnidia capitata (Gifbos)

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Gnidia capitata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Gnidia capitata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Gnidia capitata

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at another plant of the Gnidia genus (family of Brandbos which was published in one of the very first PoI snippets).

Gnidia capitata (commonly known as Gifbos in Afrikaans and setele in sisotho), is a medium sized perennial shrublet of up to 300 mm tall. The genus name Gnidia is derived from Knidos – an ancient Greek city. This plant grows in rocky grasslands at up to up to 1800 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout the eastern regions of S.A.

The leaves on G. capitata are blue-green to grey, sharply tipped, relatively narrow (30 mm long X 3-6 mm wide) and appear tufted. The plant is generally multi-stemmed. The infloresecens is surrounded by a somewhat wider collar of leaves and the flowers are small (aprox 6 mm diameter with calyx tube of around 15-25 mm long), glossy and five lobed. Fine silky hairs cover the flowers and the sepals are a mustard orange-yellowand silky hairs below. The petals are smaller and scale-shaped. The flowers are in full bloom from Oct- Dec.

Medicinal uses:

Traditionally G. capitata has been used in the treatment numerous ailments. Laboratory analyses indicates over 90 secondary compounds that have known medical value. Consumption has resulted in livestock casualties and is also fatal if ingested by humans.

Other uses:

Indicator of veld condition and recent disturbances as it tends to proliferate after fires.

Conservation Status:

Not threatened (CITES), however caution is advised as this plant is widely harvested for its medical values.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photography by Damien Coulson (Head ranger Clarens Village Nature Reserve)

 

 

 

Click here for more articles on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Dichoma anomala (Fever bush, Aambeibos)

Dichoma 1 Dichoma 2

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small perennial herb that grows in summer rainfall areas and tends to conceal itself between tufts of grass.
Dichoma anomala (commonly known as Fever Bush in English, Aambeibos in Afrikaans and hloenya in sisotho), is a small monocotyledonous plant with stems approximately 50-600 mm long. Dichoma means “two-tufted” (Di-two & coma – tuft of hairs) and refers to the hair-like appearance of the floral bracts. Anomala is Latin and means irregular or deviating from the normal. D. anomala is widespread, growing in stony poor-soiled grasslands and in the crevices of rock sheets up to 2075 m A.S.L.

D.anomala is a reclining herb, with long narrow leaves (90mm long by 2-10 mm wide) which are green above and velted white beneath. The most noteworthy part of the plant is its conspicuous flowerheads (30-50 mm diameter) of a bleached purple-pink hue with sharply pinted narrow bracts. The small branchlets tend to curve upwards. The flowers are in full bloom from Jan – May but are visable in their dried state through most of the year as an off-white colour.

Medicinal uses:

Traditionally the plant has been used in the treatment of a wide-variety of human and plant ailments, some more in-depth descriptions of its uses may be found online. Interestingly enough a compound (identified as dehydrobrachylaenolide) in this plant has recently gained interest in the pharmaceutical industry as it has been found to bear anti-plasmodial properties that act against the malaria microbe.

Other human uses:

Consumed in a beverage as a variation of herbal tea. Could potentially make for an interesting household ornament in its dried state. Can be planted in gardens under variable soil conditions.

Conservation Status:

Not threatened (CITES), however caution is advised as this plant is widely harvested for its medical values.

Albuca pachychlamys (Soldier-in-the-box)

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Greetings to all our  Clarens Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”  found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.  We’ll be looking at a small geophyte that requires a keen eye and a bit of an adventurous spirit to locate.
Albuca pachychlamys (commonly known as Soldier-in-the-box in English, and mototse in sisotho), is a small monocotyledonous plant of approximately 250 mm in height, usually occurring singly. A. pachychlamys is widespread, growing in grasslands near rocky outcrops up to 2400 m A.S.L.

A. pachychlamys is a bulbous plant, with a brush of dark bristles topping the bulb and several thick tunics. Bulbs function as food storage devices for times when conditions are adverse, thereby acting as a protection mechanism in times when most other plant forms begin to deteriorate. The leaves are narrow (often less than 3mm wide). The flowers are located atop long erect pedicels with 10 – 15 mm long white tepals which are green striped, flowering from September – December. The flowers scent is also said to resemble a spicy variety of vanilla.

No medicinal uses have been attributed to A. pachychlamys as it appears that information relating to species of the Albuca genus is limited. It is this very fact that makes the plant interesting – there is still much research to be potentially conducted around the plant and until then it’s possible uses remain a mystery. The unique growth form of this small bulbous plant makes it also of aesthetic interest and could possibly make an interesting pot-plant.

Merwilla plumbea – Blue Scilla

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a bulbous perennial that has in recent years been much targeted and depleted in the Clarens Nature Reserve by domestic goats.

Merwilla plumbea (commonly known as the Blue Scilla in English, Blouslangkop in Afrikaans and kherere in sisotho), is a small sized plant of approximately 1 m in height, sometimes occurring in “colonies”. M. plumbea is widespread in the eastern summer rainfall regions and grows on cliffs and rocky slopes from 1675 – 2100 m A.S.L. This striking plant is frost resistant and may be grown from seed.

A large quasi-above ground bulb is always visible and is covered in layers of purple-brown sheathes, somewhat resembling an oversized onion. The plant possesses few leaves as these are usually shed annually. The leaves are erect prior to flowering and broad, tapering to a point. After flowering the leaves become much larger (30-80 mm X 10-35 mm) and appear wilted until they turn a coppery gold in autumn and are finally shed. The flowers are small, less than 10mm in diameter and are born in great numbers on a single erect green stem (approx. 15 mm diameter) of up to 2-3 feet. The flowers are a purplish blue colour with white filaments. It’s worth mentioning just how visually striking this plant is, even at great distances. The Blue contrasts rather nicely with the earth toned rocky surrounds and the stem appears to “reach for the heavens” in defiance of the barrenness of the apparently water scarce surrounds.

Animal Interactions

Despite its strikingly attractive appearance, the Blue Scilla is toxic to animals such as sheep, although goats frequently make a meal out of the poor plant. This is usually the case with both plants and animals in nature. Striking beauty (or aposematic colouration in scientific terminology) is often a visual cue that warns potential predators of the unpalatable and potentially lethal nature of the organism (sounds like the human dating game – guys take note!). Any animal trying to take a bite soon learns from its mistake.

Medicinal uses

Parts of M. plumbea have been used to treat internal tumours, boils, bone fractures and even in the treatment of lung disease in cattle.

General Human Uses

The bulb has been used to make soap.

Gymnosporia buxifolia (Pioneer spikethorn)

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

DamienGreetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” (based on plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.)  We’ll be looking at a woody plant species that is part of the spike-thorn family.

Gymnosporia buxifolia (commonly known as the Pioneer Spikethorn in English, Gewone pendoring in Afrikaans and Sephatwa in sisotho), is a medium sized plant of 2 – 3 m in height and is widespread throughout Africa. Gymno is Greek for naked and spora means seed. Buxifolia refers to the shape of the leaves (similar to the Boxwood Buxus). G. Buxifolia grows in a wide variety of habitats including forests and grasslands – often among rocks. This tree grows alone or in dense intermingled clumps at altitudes of up to 2100 m A.S.L.

G. buxifolia has a single stem with an angular, untidy outline formed by haphazardly upward growing branchlets. The bark of mature trees is rough, dark grey to brown and is deeply furrowed, forming regular, protruding blocks. Spines of variable length are common and leaves may grow on the spines themselves. Simple pale grey-green leaves are clustered on the end of short, stubby twigs, forming “sleeves” around them. The clusters of conspicuous, white star shaped flowers have a smell that is reminiscent of decaying meat. Tough, yellow to brown –red capsules grow in clusters and each capsule encloses 3 seeds which are covered in a fatty pulp (aril).

G. buxilfolia is evergreen and a combination of leaves, spines and bark are characteristic of the tree. Flowers are in season from February – June and the capsules from December – May. Leave size and shape is variable but always have a shallowly toothed margin. Young leaves have red-edges (10 – 90 X 4-50 mm). Flowers grow on thick twigs with male and female flowers on separate trees. Spines may be absent on some branches and from some young trees though in general young trees have more spines than older specimens, which grow from below the leaf-bud.

Gardening

Even though it looks very attractive when flowering, G. buxifolia is not generally used as a garden tree and the smell of the flowers can be off-putting for some. It has however been used to make a suitable bonsai.

Human Uses

This irregular plant has been carved into musical instruments, used for stools, spoons as well as in making knobkerries. The fruit are edible however they will not be replacing the tastier supermarket options. There have been accounts of the use of G. buxifolia as a medicinal tree and the bark has been used to treat dysentery and diarrhoea and the roots and thorns utilised for colds and coughs. Rumour has it that the plant may be used in the treatment of snakebites.

Animals

Flies are attracted to the putrid smelling flowers which they then pollinate and the fruit is eaten by birds such as the Cape White-eye. The flowers and young shoots are often browsed by cattle and goats. This plant is therefore of some minor ecological importance in the landscapes in which they are found to occur and of great botanical interest.

To read about other Plants of Interest found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Moraea stricta

Moraea

Damien

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant at the far end of the spectrum as opposed to last week’s PoI – this time around we’ll be looking at a small bulbous wildflower that has only been observed in 2 localities over the last month.

Moraea stricta (commonly known as Bloutulp in Afrikaans), is a small plant of between 15 & 25 cm in height and is widespread throughout Africa. Stricta refers to the straight or upright appearance of the flower. M. stricta grows in grasslands in close proximity to rocky outcrops and slopes at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.LM. strictais interesting in that the leaves are usually absent during the flowering stage (Sept – Nov). A single long narrow leaf (600 mm X 1.5) will appear after flowering. The flowering stem is erect with 3 – 6 short branches. The flowers themselves are small, with the outer petals 19 – 24 mm in length and very in colour from pale lilac to blue-violet. Each petal has a small yellow-orange spot which is thought to function as a nectar guide which helps pollinators to locate the flowers nectar. Around 3 flowers will open simultaneously and close at sunset. This small wildflower is often found in greater numbers in areas that have been recently burned and therefore plays an ecological role as an indicator of disturbed or recently disturbed veld. Another interesting habit of M. stricta is its propensity to appear towards the end of the dry season (it is drought tolerant); just before the first spring rains (could this be regarded as another one of nature’s peculiar ways of keeping us “sophisticated” humans in the loop?).  Keep a close lookout for a similar looking species, M. alpina which flowers from Oct – Dec.

Gardening

This interesting little wildflower can be grown from seed and from transplanting the corms, although most report a low survival rate – thumbs up to those persistent gardeners that manage to grow the little devil!

Cussonia paniculata

Cussonia 1 Cussonia 2 Cussonia 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at woody species whose unique growth form and bark make it a visually striking plant, thus enabling it to be easily recognisable all-year round.

Cussonia paniculata or the Mountain Cabbage Tree (commonly known as Suidelike Bergkiepersol in Afrikaans, or Motšhethše in Sisotho), is a medium sized tree of up to 8 meters. Cussonia is derived from the name of a French professor – Pierre Cusson (1727 – 1783), who studied botany at Montpellier, France. paniculata refers to the form of the branched flower head. Cussonia occurs singly in most instances, or in widely scattered colonies found at up to 2000 m A.S.L. It is found at higher altitudes on warm north and west facing slopes in Kloofs and at lower altitudes in Low-Altitude Grassland among Rocks.

 Cussonia has a central trunk with a dark gnarled looking bark and a canopy of variable size. The hand shaped compound leaves are pale blue-grey to green and form clusters at the ends of thick stubby branchlets. The margins of each leaflet are so coarsely serrated that the leaflets look gnawed (which may actually be the case in certain instances).  Fruit are small capsules which are purple when ripe and grow on conspicuous spikes. The tree is Deciduous or evergreen. Greenish yellow flowers are densely packed in conspicuous spikes. Flowering occurs from Jan – Apr and the capsules form between May-June. The leaves have fairly long leaf-stalks and are crowded towards the end of the twigs. The 7-9 leaflets all grow out of the same point on the leaf-stalk. Leaves are around 600 mm in diameter, leaflets are 100-300 long X 20-60 mm wide, leaflet stalks are on average 200-500 mm.

Human uses

C. paniculata heartwood has historically been utilised for the construction of brake blocks which are then fitted on ox-wagons.

Gardening

This is an attractive plant to be grown in large gardens or along pathways in botanical gardens (if visiting the Western Cape’s Garden Route, the Bot. Gardens in George are a must see). C. paniculata is heat and drought resistant but may succumb to thick frosts and is thus relatively hardy. This plant grows slowly so gardeners should intent to reside at their current dwellings for a good deal of time before the plant can be observed at its full size and glory.

Wildlife & livestock

This plant makes for good fodder while still in its sapling stage. Appropriate barriers would need to be put in place around the tree if animals such as goats occur on the same property.

Rhamnus prinoides

Rhamnus 1 Rhamnus 2 Rhamnus 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a shrubby “bling” species that is easily distinguishable from the majority of the surrounding grassland vegetation.

Rhamnus prinoides or Dogwood (commonly known as Blinkblaar in Afrikaans, or mofifi in Sisotho), is a scrambling shrub of up to 2-6 m in height. Prinoides is derived from the Latin for like the holm-oak (it is possible that both plants share similarities in bark morphology). R. prinoides is generally found growing on forest margins, stream banks and among scrub at altitudes of up to 2150 m A.S.L. This shrub is both widespread, growing from the Western Cape – Ethiopia, and is relatively abundant.

The most characteristic feature of R. prinoides is its conspicuous glossy deep green-blackish leaves.  The leaves are alternate at 30-100 mm long x15-40 mm wide. Flowers are small, greenish and in clusters, usually flowering in summer (Nov-Jan). The fruit are small (5 mm) and round, fleshy and purplish to red in colour.

Food

The fruit of R. prinoides attract frugivorous birds to any garden in which it grows. The flowers and their sugary nectar also attract pollinators such as bees.

Garden

This shrub is frost resistant and makes for a sturdy hedge. It grows quickly and easily and makes a good bonsai.

Medicine

Certain parts of the plant are used in traditional medicines. Root infusions are said to purify blood and treat pneumonia. Parts such as the leaves have been used to treat rheumatism and colic. Leaves have been applied as liniment to treat sprains. The heartwood and root can be applied to beer to produce a narcotic effect. It was also used as a snuff to treat mental disorders.

Chrysanthemoides monolifera

Chrsanthemoides 1 Chrsanthemoides 2 Chrsanthemoides 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a shrubby species that many of you who have ventured out onto our trails will no doubt have noticed, and whose importance will soon become apparent.

Chrysanthemoides monolifera subs. canescens or the Bush-Tick Berry (commonly known as Bietou or Boetabessie in Afrikaans, or ntlou-ea-lekhoaba in Sisotho), is a succulent bushy shrub of up to 2 m in hight. Monilifera is derived from the Latin for necklace (it refers to the arrangement of the fruits on the plant). The word canescent is the Latin for grey.  C. monilifera is generally found growing around the rocky bases of cliffs, among boulders and sandy slopes at altitudes of generally between 1880 and 2240 m A.S.L. This shrub is widespread, growing from the Eastern Cape – Mpumalanga in S.A. and from Namaqualand – tropical Africa. C. monilifera has undergone several name changes since first identified.

Small white and woolly hairs can be observed on the leaves and stems of C. monilifera, giving it a soft felted appearance and texture. The leaves vary in length from 15 – 75 mm and width from 5 – 40 mm in mature plants and narrow until they resemble short stalks.  The leaves are generally thick and slightly leathery with coarsely toothed margins. Flowers are sunshine yellow at approximately 30 mm and occur in small terminal clusters. C. monilifera is unique in that it flowers all year round – an interesting and costly strategy that could possibly serve to increase the chances of seed dispersal. The berries are small and green to glossy black when ripe and fruit from March – July. Some common uses of C. monilifera include:

Food

The fruits are often eaten by birds and humans and the leaves are browsed by antelope.

Garden

This plant is relatively hardy and makes a good windbreak when used in hedges. It can also be grown from seed or cuttings.

Medicine

Certain parts of the plant are used in traditional medicines.

The importance of C. monilifera in an ecosystem cannot be understated as it attracts insects such as ants and beetles which are known to disperse seed, as well as pollinators such as bees and butterflies that are essential to the life-cycles of many flowering plants.

Felicia filifolia

Felicia filifolia Felecia filifolia Felicia filifolia 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a semi-cryptic herbaceous species that may, with a sharp eye be observed on several of the Clarens hiking trails when out of season. In season however spotting is much, much easier.

Felicia filifolia or the Fine-leaved Felicia (commonly known as Draaibos or Wilde Aster in Afrikaans, or sehhalahala-se-seholo in Sisotho), is a small shrublet of between 80 cm and 1 metre when fully grown. Felicia is reputedly named after Herr Felix, a German official who died in 1846 (the genus name could also be derived from the Latin word felix meaning cheerful). The species name filifolia means leaves like fern fronds (referring to the fineness of the foliage). It is usually found on stony flats and slopes as well as amongst the boulder beds of dry rivers. F. filifolia can be found growing at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. and its distribution ranges from the Western Cape through to the Limpopo Province. It is therefore widespread throughout much of S.A.

The stems of this aromatic little shrub are much branched with tufts of fleshy, needle-like leaves. The flower-heads, of approximately 15-20 mm, are arranged in a radiate manner and grade from blue-faded mauve in colour. The disk is yellow with 3 – 4 series involucral bracts on stalks of up to 50 mm. One feature of this plant is its massed flower-heads that put on a spectacular display during its flowering season from September – November. Some common uses of F. filifolia include:

Fuel

Often used as a substitute for firewood by the locals of Lesotho.

Garden

Makes a good frost resistant, attractive and aromatic garden ornamental. There is a good deal of information on the cultivation of F.filifolia available online.

F. filifolia is known to occur prolifically in overgrazed areas and is thus an ecologically important species as an indicator of misused veld. It is also toxic to sheep and thus does not make for suitable grazing. The toxins serve as an anti-feedant which helps protect this seemingly delicate plant from becoming fodder for an assortment of game and domestic animals. The slightly aromatic flowers will attract a multitude of pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies, which in turn helps to attract insectivorous birds, thereby playing another ecologically important role in all areas where it’s known to occur.

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photographs by Damien Coulson

Buddleja salviifolia (Quilted Sagewood, Saliehout)

 

Buddleja salviifolia Buddleja salviifolia 2 Buddleja salviifolia 3

 

Buddleja salviifolia, Quilted Sagewood, Saliehoud

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a woody species that most of you will have already seen in the reserve and on several of the C.V.C. hiking trails.

Buddleja salviifolia or Quilted Sagewood (known as Saliehoud in Afrikaans or Lelothoane in Sisotho), is a small tree of 3 – 8 m tall. It is usually found on forest margins, along rocky stream-banks and near cave sandstone overhangs.B. salviifolia can be found growing at altitudes of 1800-2435 m A.S.L. and its distribution ranges from the Western Cape through to East Africa.The twigs are roughly rectangular and woolly and the leaves are oppositely arranged. Leave dimensions are a maximum of 30-140mm and a minimum of 7-40mm. The leaves are soft and textured above and a velvety white beneath with a deeply lobed, stalkless base. The flowers of B. salviifolia are white – mauve and arranged in long dense spikes of 120 mm. They give of a subtle sweet scent and flower from August – October.

The Quilted Sagewood has several uses, these include:

Medicinal

The leaves are dried then crushed and boiled for several minutes and drank as an herbal tea. The roots are also used for medicinal purposes.

Fodder

The leaves are sometimes browsed by livestock and game.

War

The dark brown heartwood has often been used for assegai shafts as they are heavy and sturdy.

Fuel

The wooden stems and branches have often been used in fires for cooking.

Food

The heartwood makes for suitable fishing rods.

Erica alopecurus (Foxtail Erica)

Erica alopecurus 2 .png Erica alopecurus Erica alopecurus 3

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we will be looking at a dwarf-shrub species that is most prominent from summer – mid-winter.

Erica alopecurus or Foxtail Erica (also known as Chalbeke-e-nyenyane in sisotho), is a small and compact shrub that grows up to 300 mm. It is often observed in damp grassy stream banks and on marshy grasslands or near grassy montane seep-lines. E. alopecurus grows from 1370 – 3000 m A.S.L. and is distributed widely from the Eastern Cape to Mpumalanga.

The leaves grow in 3’s with an erect and incurving midrib visible beneath. The inflorescences are dense cylindrical spikes while the flowers are tiny, tubular and pink fading to brown out of season. The Latin word Alopex refers to the inflorescence that some say resembles that of a fox’s tail. The uses of E. alopecurus include:

– Burned for fuel by rural communities

– Garden ornamental

– Makes a good subject for photographers wishing to add a unique composition to their photographs.

This particular shrub offers a unique and visually stunning hiking experience along the CVC hiking trails during its flowering period. The rangers suggest that residents indulge themselves and their photographic talents with E. alopecurus once it begins its late summer bloom.

Leucosidea sericea

11th July 2013: Leucosidea sericea

 

Plant of the week 1 Plant of the week 2 Plant of the week 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we will be looking at a plant species that most of you will be familiar with (although you may be surprised with some of its uses)

A woody species, Leucosidea sericea (commonly known as Old-wood, Ouhout in Afrikaans, or Che-che in Sisotho) is derived from the Greek word leukos meaning white – the overall appearance of the leaves, and sericea refers to the silky texture of the leaves. Ouhout is a prominent plant and is therefore easy to spot in and around Clarens – there are no similar looking naturally occurring woody plants that it could be confused for. It is visible on most of the hiking trails and throughout the reserve and riparian areas in the eastern Free State region. L. sericea grows from 1000 – 2400 m A.S.L. and has the ability to dominate areas of disturbance, erosion and overgrazing, thereby playing a role in landscape management. Habitats where it grows include high altitude grasslands, kloofs, north and west facing slopes, along rivers and streams and wooded rocky ridges. The tree has a gnarled windblown appearance and the leaves are compound, some turning a characteristic yellow in autumn. Ouhout has several human health, gardening and animal related uses including:

– Used as a durable fence-pole in permanently wet places

– Crushed leaves are soaked and used to treat eye infections

– Makes a good fire-wood

– Believed to bare magical properties such as protecting the inhabitants of homesteads

– Used as a wind break or garden ornamental in frost prone areas

– Grows quickly from seed and cuttings and therefore makes a suitable bonsai

– Browsed by cattle, goats and eland

It goes to show that nature has more planned than often meets one’s eye, even with a plant that is as abundantly growing and seemingly plain as the way under-valued Ouhout.

Article and photographs by Damien CoulsonDamien1-100x100

Gnidia anthyloides (Brandbossie)

Gnidia anthylloides

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. The rangers recently photographed a plant species that many of you will recognise from within the Clarens Nature Reserve and it may occasionally be observed on farmlands. This plant has become of interest in scientific literature, for reasons you will discover below.

This week we introduce Gnidia anthylloides, commonly known as Brandbossie (a close relative of Gifbosssie for which it is often mistaken) in Afrikaans. Many of the species from the Gnidia genus have historically been used in traditional medicines to treat multiple ailments (headache, sores, nightmares, snake bites, tonsillitis, etc.). Unfortunately ingestion of parts of the plants of this genus without proper preparation may result in severe irritant effects as well as death in humans and animals due to several types of toxins (hence the common name). Scientists are now rediscovering some truth in the use of plants of the Gnidia genus as extracts have shown antileukemic properties and several of the compounds may also prove helpful in the synthesis of analogs for treating various ailments. It is not eaten by livestock (for the obvious reasons) and may therefore become a problematic plant in overgrazed veld.

G. anthylloides is a slender silvery silky shrub that grows to between 0.4 and 1.2 m in height. It is commonly observed on steep grassy, rocky or shrubby slopes amongst boulders or rocky sheets at altitudes up to 2425 m A.S.L.  The leaves are 15-30 mm long, and appear to be crowded into a star-like formation on the upper stem. The flowers are hoisted by a slender calyx tube and are an unmistakable bright yellow and are observed in clumped heads.

Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric, Vlieegifswam)

Amanita muscaria   

Plant of the week 3

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Although the days are still growing colder, the rangers have been hard at work and keeping their eyes peeled for any “Weekly Plants of Interest” that they may encounter on our trails or in the reserve.
This week we introduce Amanita muscaria commonly known as the Fly Agaric or Vlieëgifswam, in Afrikaans. Strictly speaking, the Fly Agaric is not a plant at all but it is classified as a form of fungus. This species is widespread throughout South Africa (the author has observed A. muscaria in the Garden Route of the Western Cape), and occurs in combination with certain plants in gardens and even plantations. The Fly Agaric “fruits” (think blooms) in summer up until late autumn/early winter. The cap is globose to flat, with small white “dots” and an overall orange to yellow colour. The stipe is white, firm and cylindrical.

Some of the uses of the Fly Agaric include:
– The fruit body was used traditionally as a natural fly trap (hence the common name)
– As one of the “magic mushrooms” it intoxicates the system inducing hallucinations.

Warning: This week’s PoI has poisoning symptoms that may be fatal in large doses and include nausea, vomiting, giddiness, hallucinations, convulsions and loss of consciousness.
Fungi occur in 2 major groups: macro and microfungi, the latter is only observable with the aid of microscopic lenses. The roles of fungi in nature are often overlooked but they nonetheless play a crucial role in most ecosystems. Some of their many functions include the decomposition of soil, dead wood and dung, controlling certain plant populations and some fungi may even be the cause of diseases in animal populations including humans.  Fungi have also had a profound influence on humans in the medical industry (think of penicillin), as culinary delights and have even been used in beverage production.

Selago galpinii (Tsitoanenyana)

Selago galpinii 2Greetings 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.

S. galpinii flowers between January & May but may be observed in bloom up until late June. This plant is named after Earnest Galpin (1858 – 1941), a South African naturalist renowned as a “prince of plant collectors”.
S. galpinii occurs in rocky grasslands at an altitude of 1500 – 2600 m A.S.L. It is a species with limited distribution as it is endemic (only occurring within/limited to) the Eastern Free State/Mountain Region. Don’t let it fool you – despite its meek appearance the plant is relatively hardy, surviving on shallow lithocutanic (rocky/coarse) soils.

No known medicinal uses have as yet been attributed to this small gem, but the flowers make for good sport for budding and keen photographers.

 

 

Damien1-100x100Article and photograph by Damien Coulson

Euphorbia clavaroides

 

Euphoria clavaroides 2 Euphorvia clavaroides 3 Euphorbia clavoides 1

Euphrobia clavaroides  (Lions spoor, Melkpol or Fingerpol) Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to the first of many “Weekly Plant of Interest” snippets.

This week we introduce for the first time Euphorbia clavaroides commonly known as Lions Spoor, Melkpol or Fingerpol – a cryptic succulent species that appears from a distance to resemble the smoothed sandstone rocks that is typical for the eastern Free-State area. This plant is only revealed from afar when it is in flower with many small yet spectacular bright yellow flowers. This plant although small, is important in the ecosystem and to humans due to its many uses. These include:

– A source of nourishment for local baboon  populations and other animals

– Dried sap has a historical use as an alternative to chewing gum by children

– Used in the preparation of bird lime

– Use in traditional medicines.

It is found only on steep rocky cliffs and rock faces at altitudes of up to 2750 m A.S.L. and has a widespread distribution, occurring from the Eastern Cape right through to the Limpopo Province.

The plant was observed for the first time last week by the rangers on the sandstone cliffs above the Scilla Walk hiking Trail in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.  The unusual growth form of the plant is in part due to its location on cliff faces and is a biological protection mechanism used to prevent excessive amounts of evaporation and protection from the wind and other elements.

Constellation of the Week – Scorpius

Clarens News Clarens skies Scorpio

Scorpius   is the southernmost constellation of the Zodiac and is thought to be older than the Greeks. It was the Sumerians who dubbed it GIR-TAB “ the scorpion”, over 5000 years ago.

About Scorpius

Scorpius was documented by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy during the 2nd Century, and is located near the center of the Milky Way.

Scorpius is a gem in the sky, as the red star Antares is located precisely where the imagined Scorpion’s heart should be, whilst the Scorpion’s Sting dips deep into the Milky Way, leading your eye to discover many more impressive starry treasures.

The Sting of the Scorpion was responsible for the death of the Mighty Hunter Orion, according to star lore, thus when the time came for both Orion and Scorpion to take their resting places in the heavens above, the gods thought it good to place the two archenemies in opposite ends of the sky. As result the two constellations can never be seen together in the night sky.

Did You Know

Scorpius used to be twice its current size. Scorpius was featured with two enormous claws in Greek mythology, but the Romans declawed Scorpius in 100BC, transforming the claws to become the scales of justice in the constellation now known as Libra.

How to find Scorpius

Scorpius is one of the brightest constellations in our skies and from the Southern Hemisphere, it sits majestically high in the sky. The constellation occupies a space of 497 square degrees, containing ten stars with known planets.

 

Scorpius replicates its namesake and all one has to do is to find the fish-hook-tail that extends into the Milky Way alongside the heart of the constellation (a bright red star) known as Antares.

Antares is Greek for “rival of Mars” and is a supergiant star deep red in colour. At a distance of 520 light-years away, and with a diameter 700 times larger than our Sun, Antares will be sure to guide you directly to the infamous Scorpius constellation.

Other Interesting Facts about Scorpius

larens News Clarens skies ScorpioIn Tarot Cards the Scorpian is thought to be a representation of the Death Card.

Pablo Picasso, Bill Gates and Martin Luther were all born under the sign of Scorpio.

Imagination, passion and self-confidence are all traits of the constellation.

 

 

Clarens Night Sky : A beginners guide to watching stars

Clarens is renowned for its fresh mountain air and as a result our starry skies are absolutely impeccable. Why not follow and learn from them then?

A Beginners Guide to watching the stars

The sky is filled with mysterious and fascinating things. We can observe the wonders of the sky with the aid of telescopes or by the unaided eye – did you know that you can see a galaxy 2 ½ million light-years away with your unaided eye? All these wonderful marvels can be observed and enjoyed, all one has to do is look up and ask, “What’s that?”, and a lifetime of cosmic exploration will unfold.

When starting to follow the movements of the stars, or trying to spot constellations in the sky, there are a couple of valuable tips one needs to follow.

 – Use a Star Chart

Star charts are a bit like road maps that help us find our way, instead constellations, stars and planets act as our road signs. Although star charts may be a bit daunting to use at first, it later becomes one of the easiest ways to learn the starry skies.The most important thing to remember is to use the correct star chart according to the month, time of year and season. Sky maps are easily available online and Starmaps provide some of the most accurate maps available.Determine what direction you are facing and point the star map accordingly. If you are facing south the southern hemisphere of the map should show as well. The compass on the map may look like it’s the wrong way round, but the trick is to hold the map over your head and look up, as the map is that of the skies the compass will now be correct.

 – Get a Twinkle in your eye

Familiarize yourself with the patterns in the sky on any clear, dark night. Constellation maps are easily available online and we at Clarens News will post one constellation per week to ensure that none will be disappointed.The ability to look up and name a constellation provides pleasure and a sense of one’s place in the cosmos that will last a lifetime.

 – Start with Binoculars

There are multiple reasons for using binoculars as a first telescope. Not only do they give a wide field of view, ensuring that one doesn’t get lost, but they also show the sky the right side up making it easy to see where you are pointing. Binoculars are fairly inexpensive, versatile and their performance remarkably respectable. Larger front lenses are ideal for astronomy and high optical quality is of importance too, but any binocular will be sure to launch your amateur-astronomy career.

 – Use guides and maps

Binoculars can keep one busy for years and with the use of maps and guides one can identify many miracles in the sky. When you know where and what to look for, you will be able to observe galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, track the movement of Jupiter’s moons and the crescent phases of Venus, and even follow the fading and brightening of many variable stars.

  – Seek out other amateurs

Stargazing is a wonderful interest to share with others and as long as you remember to have fun, you’ll soon know your way around the sparkles in our magnificent sky.

Getting started

–       What are constellations?

A constellation is a group of stars that together form an imaginary picture in the sky. Constellations are usually named after mythological creatures, characters, animals and objects, and finding them is like a game of connecting the dots.

–       Important words to know

Sky Measures

Beginners often have trouble describing distances in the sky; the problem is that these distances can’t be described in linear measures such as meters or kilometers, thus angular measure as result.

Astronomers might say the two stars are 10 degrees (10°) apart. That means if lines were drawn from your eye to each star, the two lines would form a 10° angle at your eye. Simple!

Hold your fist at arm’s length and sight past it with one eye. Your fist from side to side covers about 10° of sky. A fingertip at arm’s length covers about 1° and the Sun and Moon are each 12cm wide.

There are finer divisions of angular measure. A degree is made up of 60 arcminutes, and each arcminute is made up of 60 arcseconds.

Sky Coordinates

If the earth beneath us had to vanish, we would be suspended in the middle of a star-speckled sphere. The positions of the stars are designated by where they are on this celestial sphere.  Imagine the earth hanging in the middle of this sphere, and the longitude and latitude lines ballooning outward into the edges of the sphere. These lines now form a coordinate grid on the sky that can tell us the position of a star. In the sky latitude is referred to as “declination” and longitude is called “right ascension” and these terms are the standard celestial coordinates.

Brightness

The word magnitude refers to the brightness of a star and this term will be encountered many times.  Stars are divided into brightness classes starting from 0 and under as “1st magnitude”, and continuing upward as the stars gets dimmer. Vega is zero (0) magnitude, and Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is magnitude –1.4. Venus is even brighter, usually magnitude –4, the beautiful full Moon shines at magnitude –13, and our warm, nourishing Sun at a magnitude of  –27.

Distances

The Earth orbits the Sun once a year at a distance from the Sun averaging 150 million kilometers. That distance is called one astronomical unit (a.u.). It’s a handy unit for measuring things in the solar system.

The distance that light travels in a year — 9.5 trillion km, or 5.9 trillion miles, or 63,000 a.u. — is called a light-year. Note that the light-year is a measure of distance, not time.

Most of the brightest stars in the sky lie a few dozen to a couple thousand light-years away. The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is only 4.3 light-years away. The Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest large galaxy beyond our own Milky Way, is 2.5 million light-years distant.

Professional astronomers often use another unit for big distances: the parsec. One parsec equals 3.26 light-years. (In case you’re really wondering, a parsec is the distance where a star shows a parallax of one arcsecond against the background sky when the Earth moves 1 a.u. around the Sun.)

A kiloparsec is 1,000 parsecs, and a megaparsec is a million parsecs

Watch out for regular articles in Clarens News about the constellations visible from Clarens.

 

Genevieve

Article written and researched by

Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News:  November 2013

Waiting for ISON

 

ISON 1

Photographs: PlanetSave

Discovered on 21 September 2012 by two Russian astronomers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, many still wait in eager anticipation for the arrival of the much-discussed Comet ISON, as amateur and professional sky watchers hope that the comet’s increase in brightness will sustain, until ISON reaches it perihelion in little less than a week from now on November 28 2013.

There are concerns that the rapid brightening of the comet may very well be due to fracturing of the core. Media sources originally predicted that the comet might be as bright as the full Moon, but ISON is now expected to only reach a magnitude of -3 or -5, about the same brightness as Venus.

 

ISON 2

Comet ISON will be visible in the Eastern Sky before sunrise, and will easily be seen through any pair of binoculars.

Below charts are given of predictions of Comet ISON’s location over the next few days.

ISON 3

ISON 6

November 23

ISON will be very low and quite hard to see, but use Mercury and Saturn as your guides before dawn, and you’ll be sure to see the tail of the comet shining bright.The Moon will be clearly visible parallel to the comet.

November 24

From now onwards ISON will start its swoop around the sun, and therefore will not be visible for a couple of days.

The tail of the comet might be so bright that it will produce a spectacular tail, with planets adorning it.

November 25

The tail of the comet might be so bright that it will produce a spectacular tail, with planets adorning it.

ISON 8

On November 28 2013 all might be in for a magnificent show in the skies, due to Comet ISON circling the sun – if it remains intact and all goes as predicted. Let’s hold thumbs, as this will truly be an unforgettable sight.

The comet will be rising with its tail parallel to the sun and therefore probably won’t have a tail to see, but once the sun has cleared the possibility of ISON shining as a bright spark next to the Sun, still remains…

In order to see the comet at this time, one needs to cover the sun completely by hand (always taking care not to hurt your eyes), whilst exposing the part of the sky with the comet fully.

And if we’re lucky we might see something like this:

ISON 5

November 30

By now ISON will hopefully have rounded the sun intact and should be visible to the opposite side of Mercury and Saturn. Only then will we know whether or not the comet will have a bright shining tail.

Happy Comet Spotting!

Must see Astronomical Events of December 2013

ISON 9

  • Venus will be remarkable to watch during December, as it will be the shiniest it will be for all of 2013 and 2014. A crescent Moon phase will accompany the beautiful star on December 5th and the following night Venus will reach its pinnacle of brilliance, the likes of which will not be experienced until 2021.
  • A Geminid Meteor shower will take place on 13 & 14 December 2013, exciting Astronomer’s due to its proposed brightness and reliability. Unfortunately the Moon’s light will obscure much of the smaller meteorites, but once the Moon has set, as many as two meteors per minute, or a whopping 120 per hour might be seen!

Genevieve

Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut

 

Clarens Night Skies: Ophiuchus – The Snakeholder

Snakeholder

The Ophiuchus Constellation, also known as “The Snakeholder”, lies on the celestial equator and is depicted as a man holding an enormous snake with both hands. The snake is represented by the adjacent constellation Serpes, with Ophiuchus splitting the Serpes constellation into two parts.

About Ophiuchus

Often times referred to in its Latin name “Serpentarius”, the constellation is associated with Aesclupaius, the famous healer in Greek mythology.

Clarens Night Sky The Snakeholder

“The Serpent” represented by the Serpes constellation, is divided into two separate parts by Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput forms the head of the snake whilst Serpens Cauda forms the tail. The snake is usually depicted coiling around the Ophiuchus man.

The Serpent Holder, Ophiuchus, is associated with the noted Greek healer Aescupalius.

In Greek legend, Coronis bed with the god Apollo and eventually fell pregnant. However, her love for a mere mortal, Ischys, could not be ignored.  A white crow was instructed by Apollo to keep watch over Coronis, and upon the news of her infidelity, Apollo commanded the crow to pick out they eyes of Ischys after which the crow was turned black. Appollo’s huntress sister Artemis was so appaled by Coronis’s actions, that she shot Cornonis with a quiverful arrows.

Appollo managed to save his unborn son Aesculapius after which he took him to the centaur Chorin. Known for his kindness and extreme wisdom, Chorin taught Aesculapius the art of medicine and healing. The young man mastered the art so completely that Hades, king of the underworld felt threatened. Hades thought that Aesculapius might grow to raise the dead, and therefore appealed the death of Aesculapius to Zeus. The great god Zeus regrettably agreed to the death of the young master healer, and so Aesculapius was struck down by lightning and given an honourable place in the skies. To this day, Aesculapius and the serpent are associated with healing, and all physicians take the Hippocratic oath (Hippocrates supposedly being a descendant of Aesculapius).

Did You Know

Ophiuchus is actually the 13th Zodiac sign.

It is not included in the Zodiac, as we know it, due to the fact that astronomer’s previousy thought that the Sun proceeds directly from Scorpius into Saggitarius. This is not the fact however. It was found that the Sun moves over the Ophiuchus constellation from Scorpius for 19 days, before it crosses into the region of Saggitarius. Thus, the sign of OPhiuchus is patterned after the original ‘Serpent holder’, Enki, a sumarian god.

The Zodiac sign of Ophiuchus is the only sign depicting a real man.

How to find Ophiuchus

It is located in the third quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ3) and can be seen at latitudes between +80° and -80°.

The neighboring constellations are  Aquila, Hercules, Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpius and Serpens.

Ophiuchus also has seven stars with known planets.

The brightest star in the constellation is Rasalhague, Alpha Ophiuchi, with an apparent visual magnitude of 2.08.

There are four meteor showers associated with the constellation: the Ophiuchids, the Northern May Ophiuchids, the Southern May Ophiuchids and the Theta Ophiuchids.

Ophiuchus belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Aquila, Ara, Centaurus, Corona Australis, Corvus, Crater, Crux, Cygnus, Hercules, Hydra, Lupus, Lyra, Sagitta,

 

Clarens Night Sky The Snakeholder

Scutum, Sextans, Serpens, Triangulum Australe and Vulpecula.

 

Genevieve Blignaut

Article and research by

Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: 2014

Update on ISON

Ison update 1

Gerald Rhemann in Namibia in SW Africa captured this photo of Comet ISON on November 21, 2013

 

 

Comet ISON is still holding its own after many speculations that it might’ve broken apart by now.

The video in the link below shows the comet as it passes Mars and Earth, heading for the immense heat and incredible beauty of the Sun.

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/11085768164/

Thursday November 28 2013 marks the perihelion of the comet that has captured and held the gaze of so many. At 20:24:57 SA time, Comet ISON will be at its closest point to the Sun at 1.1 Million Kilometers away, and if it stays in tact, will then start its journey past our beloved Earth.

Ison update 2

The Planetary Society

 

Never before have we humans had the opportunity to witness a comet the size of ISON. Never before has a comet passed us from that  distance, and never before has a comet come so close to our Sun. Thus we simply don’t know exactly how the comet will behave at its perihelion, nor if it will stay in tact.

The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society

The sungrazing comet (passing the sun at a distance of only a few thousand kilometers), has travelled one light year from its origin in the Oort Cloud (a giant shell of icy bodies), marking it as a phenomena that no-one has ever seen before!

If all goes well Comet ISON will be visible in the skies from early December, reaching its closest point to the Earth on December 26. We in South Africa will unfortunately only be able to spot it before dawn, whereas those in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see it shining bright and proud for most of the night or day.

ison update 4

 

*Many are worried about the extreme silence from NASA concerning comet ISON: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii4e_NrT-zA

ISON COMES TO AN END

The comet of the century has brought about mixed feelings in many that have religiously followed its path – there are those who would’ve loved the comet to produce a spectacular show in our skies during December, and those who have always predicted its imminent death upon perihelion.

According to NASA the comet that has captured and held the gaze of millions is now declared dead with only a tail of dust left behind.

The fading dust debris cloud will not be visible with the naked eye and so many have said farewell to ISON. Although there were those that predicted the tail would hit Earth from mid-December until mid-January, NASA states that the cloud of dust debris will stay on its predicted course at 63 million kilometers away from us – ensuring our safety.

The comet of the century has brought about mixed feelings in many that have religiously followed its path – there are those who would’ve loved the comet to produce a spectacular show in our skies during December, and those who have always predicted its imminent death upon perihelion.

According to NASA the comet that has captured and held the gaze of millions is now declared dead with only a tail of dust left behind.

The fading dust debris cloud will not be visible with the naked eye and so many have said farewell to ISON. Although there were those that predicted the tail would hit Earth from mid-December until mid-January, NASA states that the cloud of dust debris will stay on its predicted course at 63 million kilometers away from us – ensuring our safety.

 

ISON Dec

 

 

Taurus

 

Taurus

One of the oldest known constellations Taurus, also known as “The Bull”, houses many fascinating objects nestled in the darkness of our skies. The constellation dates back to that of the Bronze Age and Babylonian Astronomers commonly referred to it as “The Heavenly Bull”.

 

About Taurus

The Bull, embodied both Osiris and his sister Isis in the eyes of the Egyptians. The brother and sister were respectively represented as bull-god and cow-goddess.

Acctaurus 2ording to Greek myth, the passionate god Zeus was thought to have disguised himself as a bull in yet another of his love affairs.The exquisite Europa, daughter of King Agenor, was strolling along the sea shore with her companions at her side, when Zeus noticed her and instantly became completely infatuated. The clever god immediately disguised himself as a magnificent white bull and upon appearing amongst the group, none felt fear as his calm demeanour radiated brilliantly. Europa and her companions made fine-looking flower garlands to hang around the animals neck, and such were they trust in his composure that Europa climbed onto the animal’s back. To their shock the bull hurried to the sea and feverishly swam away with the poor Europa terrified beyond belief. Upon their arrival in Crete, Zeus revealed his true identity to the girl. Here he ravished the woman who was to bear him three sons, the oldest of which was meant to bring the bull cult to Crete.

Did you Know? 

taurus 3

Although Taurus is visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, it will appear to be upside down in the Southernparts during spring and summer.

Cave paintings suggest that “The Bull” has been depicted by man for over 10 000 years.

The brightest star in the constellation, called Aldebaran, shines 500 times brighter than the Sun!

The constellation is probably best known for the Pleiades (Messier 45), also known as the Seven Sisters, and the Hyades, which are the two nearest open star clusters to Earth.

 

How to find Taurus

Taurus 4In the Southern hemisphere, Taurus rises in the north-east and sets in the north-west, in December and January the constellation will first appear low on the horizon in the north east and continue westwards, before dipping below the horizon. From February to March it will appear in a more northerly or northwesterly direction.

In addition to the Pleaides star cluster, neighbouring constellations can also help to easily find the bull of the heavens. These constellations include Aries, Cetus, Eridanus, Gemini, Perseus and Orion.

Gilgamesh from Mesopotamia is sometimes associated with the nearby Orion, another ancient constellation, and the two constellations are depicted as Gilgamesh and the bull in combat.

Next week we will take a closer look at the seven sisters of the bull, the infamous Pleaides/M45.

 

 

 

Genevieve Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut

 

Clarens Night Sky: Pleaides

Many have been hypnotized by the lure and beauty of the Pleaides, a constellation that have inspired writers, artists, kings and noblemen alike.

Pleiades 2

About the Pleiades

The seven mountain nymph daughters of the Titan Atlas, were under the guidance and leadership of their sister Maia. Hermes was to be born to Maia and Zeus and a life with the gods inspired the other sisters so, that five of them continued to enjoy the affection of the gods. These five sisters would become the ancestresses of various royal families such as that of Troy and Sparta. Unfortunately the lustful Orion could not contain his fascination with the sisters, and therefore Zeus thought it best to finally give the nymph daughters a rightful place in the skies. The seven-starred constellation is known as the Pleaides meaning “plenty”.

Only six of the seven sisters are visible. Many account this to the fact that Elektra left the circle of dance and her beloved sisters, due to the fall of Zeus and Troy, choosing to mourn forever more in the Arctic circle. Others agree that Merope, the sister that married a mortal, feels ashamed by her choice of a mortal lover and so hides her shame and face in dimness.

Did you Know?   

Modern day Halloween finds its roots in the Pleiades? This old Druid rite is thought to have coincided with the midnight culmination of the Pleaides. At this culmination, the veil between the living and the dead is still believed to be at its thinnest.

Many of the stars in the Pleiades shine much brighter than our Sun.

The famous sisters are thought to have come into existence by the same dust cloud some 100 million years ago.

The Zuni of Mexico call the Pleaides the “Seed Stars”, as the disappearance of the constellation in the evening skies during Spring signals the time for planting.

How to find the Pleiades

If one can see the famous constellation Orion in the night sky, you’ll easily find the seven sisters, Pleaides. Draw a line straight through Orion’s belt to the right, until you find a V-shaped pattern of stars with a very bright star in its midst. You have just found the head of Taurus the Bull. The very bright star is Aldebaran, depicting the eye of the bull. The Pleiades cluster lies not to far from the Aldebaran, as these stars represent the shoulder of the bull.

Virtually visible to every person on Earth, the Pleiades have inspired many over the years, acting as the seeds to poems, songs, rituals, folklore and mystical writings, and this icy cluster is sure to continue to mesmerize and inspire the hearts and souls of many many more.

 

 

Pleiades 3

Article written and researched by Genevieve Blignaut.

 

 

Genevieve

 

3rd January, 2014

Well, a little passé perhaps, but Happy New Year to all our faithful readers!
Assuming you survived the fireworks of course.  We are used to Kgubetswana lighting up, come midnight on Old Year’s Night, but having the Clarens Square turned into the Edinburgh Festival with 86-decibel sound effects was a new experience.  Great fun, notwithstanding the bangs, and may introduce a new tradition to the village calendar.   The village dogs may not of course agree; ours had a shared bowel collapse and hid behind the loo all night.  Perhaps the compromise is limiting the level of noise and controlling the time of the event, this 2014 New Year.  The good news is that we aren’t living in the maelstrom of Durban, which rivals the First World War for explosive sound and light – although the acrid stench of mustard gas is replaced by the curry aromas of mince samoosas and bunny chows!The curious thing about Clarens though is its failure to do anything about Christmas.  Nary a light on the square, or for that matter in most shops and restaurants.  Your faithful scribe is not, for the record, a Christmas tree hugger or much into Carol singing, but the sight of our square without a car in sight on Christmas Day, no festive trappings and almost no shops open really begs credulity.  If we aspire to being a holiday destination, we have to review our approach and remember that our clients and customers expect us tobehave like a tourist attraction.  I have a creepy feeling that many (most?) retailers and restaurateurs will contest this view, but perhaps a debate on the subject is long overdue.  After all, who do we blame if our Clarens Christmas season slowly fades and dies?  Our annual rate of retail and accommodation growth is probably four- or five-times higher than that for the rest of the country, but we need to wake-up to the fact that this can turn on its head if our visitors go cold on us.  About as cold as we were over Christmas, actually.
But enough banter: 2014 has started in grand style with idyllic weather.  Post-Christmas tourists are gambolling happily along the trails, packing out the Brewery and spending with gay abandon.  I even saw two farmers smiling, so the rain must be good.  But perhaps best of all, we haven’t had a newspaper to speak of for over a week, so the mood of the town has skyrocketed: No Zuma, no Nkandla, no E-tolls, no politics.  If that’s not a seasonal gift from the Gods, I don’t know what is.  Next week, birds, birds, birds.  Until then, blessings for the New Year.

3rd January 2014: Welcome to a New Year

 

Mary photo

Table of Contents:

  • Self drive routes – An Introduction;
  • Clarens Skies –  Pleaides;
  • New Year’s Resolutions;
  • Plant of the week:  Kniphofia ritualis;
  • The Twitcher;
  • This weekend – Music;
  • This weekend – Weather;
  • This weekend – Other Events;

 


 

Self drive routes from Clarens – An Introduction

Mary WalkerSituated just east of the central regions of South Africa, Clarens is well placed as a stopover on many of our long distance travel routes.  A mere two and half hours  from Joburg, Bloemfonten and the the Natal midlands, Clarens is has become a weekend destination of choice.  With many of the overseas tour operators passing through the area now, Clarens is also becoming one of South Africa’s hot destinations in the overseas market.  Overseas tourists on self drive tours around our country are increasingly seeking a night or two in the area and, with southern Africa’s Mountain Kingdom, Lesotho, right on our doorstep, the scope to drive, explore and experience what’s on offer in the area is almost without limit.
Clarens News is developing a website portfolio of Self Drive Routes in the area.  A new route will be introduced each week, with a small map of the route, a photo and information about the route, featuring any interesting bits and pieces about history, natural features, culture, interesting characters, guest facilities or activities on offer, and so on.
The Eastern Free State Highlands, quite apart from its spectacular natural beauty, has a host of interesting features.  The sandstone buildings are one of its hallmarks, and a number of historically significant sandstone structures dot our towns and landscapes, and are well worth visiting.  Our mountain ranges, and there are three of them forming a virtual triangle of the whole area, shelter fascinating valleys and afford views that rate amongst the most photographed scenery in the central parts of the country.  While the area has a fair rainfall in the summer months, and occasional snow in the winter months, for the most part you will be able to take advantage of big blue skies and dry weather, making this an ideal area for outdoor pursuits, for both adrenalin junkies and the more laid back.
When driving around the routes of the Eastern Free State Highlands it is important that one remembers to take the normal safety precautions relevant to our country.  While the area is reputedly friendly and safe with few incidents reported, local and current advice is invaluable and shouldn’t be dismissed.  Of course, being largely a rural and mountainous area, cell phone signals are sometimes unreliable.  Travellers venturing around our countryside should ensure that there is someone who is aware of the route planned and the intended time frame of the outing.
So we invite you, over the next few months of this new year, to check out our Self Drive Routes Portfolio on the website, and to pick up a route that interests you, take yourself out on a little excursion, and discover the things that you might have missed before, or discover places completely new to you.
Look out for the first Self Drive Route due to be published in next week’s issue of Clarens News.  And have a great 2014!


 

Clarens Skies –  Pleaides

Pleiades 1

Genevieve
Genevieve Blignaut

Many have been hypnotized by the lure and beauty of the Pleaides, a constellation that have inspired writers, artists, kings and noblemen alike.

About the Pleiades
The seven mountain nymph daughters of the Titan Atlas, were under the guidance and leadership of their sister Maia. Hermes was to be born to
Maia and Zeus and a life with the gods inspired the other sisters so, that five of them continued to enjoy the affection of the gods. These five sisters would become the ancestresses of various royal families such as that of Troy and Sparta. Unfortunately the lustful Orion could not contain his fascination with the sisters, and therefore Zeus thought it best to finally give the nymph daughters a rightful place in the skies. The seven-starred constellation is known as the Pleaides meaning “plenty”.

Only six of the seven sisters are visible. Many account this to the fact that Elektra left the circle of dance and her beloved sisters, due to the fall of Zeus and Troy, choosing to mourn forever more in the Arctic circle. Others agree that Merope, the sister that married a mortal, feels ashamed by her choice of a mortal lover and so hides her shame and face in dimness.  Read more


New Year’s Resolutions

Group 2 Rangers uniforms

We live in a fabulous town, in fabulous surroundings with fabulous people.  Let’s keep this town and its surroundings the safe, clean and beautiful destination that we have all come to love, by supporting The Clarens Village Conservancy, the Clarens Fire Association, Fire and the Ratepayers Association.  (Only one subscription for all three) and the Clarens Sector Policing Forum.
Click here for your membership form for the Clarens Village Conservancy.    
Click here to sign up and support The Clarens Sector Policing Forum


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week:  Kniphofia ritualis

 

Damien Coulson
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a striking monocotyledonous plant of the Asphodelaceae(Red-hot poker) family that is just now coming into flower.
Kniphofia ritualis (leloele-la-Lesotho in Sesotho), a hardy perennial, ranges from around 0.8-1 m tall. The name Kniphofia is derived from the Surname of a Professor of medicine JH Kniphof. Ritualis refers to the fact that the plant is used by Sesotho girls in Lesotho during traditional initiation rituals.
K. ritualis is generally solitary, occurring on wet grassy slopes or in loose damp soil at altitudes of between 1800-3000 m A.S.L., and is endemic to the Eastern Mountain Region from the Free State to KZN.
The leaves of K. ritualis are 400-900 mm long by 12-24 mm wide, soft, v-shaped and the margins are finely toothed. Running ones finger against the grain may result in a papercut that although superficial is painful nonetheless. The inflorescence range from 90-140 mm in length by 40-50 mm wide. The buds are a bright orange and the flowers a bleached yellow – 25-35 mm long. This striking plant flowers from  late December through to March.   Read more

 


 

The Twitcher

Well, a little passé perhaps, but Happy New Year to all our faithful readers!
Assuming you survived the fireworks of course.  We are used to Kgubetswana lighting up, come midnight on Old Year’s Night, but having the Clarens Square turned into the Edinburgh Festival with 86-decibel sound effects was a new experience.  Great fun, notwithstanding the bangs, and may introduce a new tradition to the village calendar.   The village dogs may not of course agree; ours had a shared bowel collapse and hid behind the loo all night.  Perhaps the compromise is limiting the level of noise and controlling the time of the event, this 2014 New Year.  The good news is that we aren’t living in the maelstrom of Durban, which rivals the First World War for explosive sound and light – although the acrid stench of mustard gas is replaced by the curry aromas of mince samoosas and bunny chows!The curious thing about Clarens though is its failure to do anything about Christmas.  Nary a light on the square, or for that matter in most shops and restaurants.  Your faithful scribe is not, for the record, a Christmas tree hugger or much into Carol singing, but the sight of our square without a car in sight on Christmas Day, no festive trappings and almost no shops open really begs credulity.  If we aspire to being a holiday destination, we have to review our approach and remember that our clients and customers expect us tobehave like a tourist attraction.  I have a creepy feeling that many (most?) retailers and restaurateurs will contest this view, but perhaps a debate on the subject is long overdue.  After all, who do we blame if our Clarens Christmas season slowly fades and dies?  Our annual rate of retail and accommodation growth is probably four- or five-times higher than that for the rest of the country, but we need to wake-up to the fact that this can turn on its head if our visitors go cold on us.  About as cold as we were over Christmas, actually.
But enough banter: 2014 has started in grand style with idyllic weather.  Post-Christmas tourists are gambolling happily along the trails, packing out the Brewery and spending with gay abandon.  I even saw two farmers smiling, so the rain must be good.  But perhaps best of all, we haven’t had a newspaper to speak of for over a week, so the mood of the town has skyrocketed: No Zuma, no Nkandla, no E-tolls, no politics.  If that’s not a seasonal gift from the Gods, I don’t know what is.  Next week, birds, birds, birds.  Until then, blessings for the New Year.


This weekend – Weather


 

This weekend – Music

Saturday: 4th January 2014
Friends: 20h30:  Slipstream
The Grouse and Claret:  20h00:  Fumadores (Denzl & Hensie)


 

This weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more.

Wolfgang is having a garage sale on  4th January 10h00 at 733 Van Zyl Street (next to Clementines). Items include TVs, Fridge freezer, tables and desks, tools, electric motors, wood working machinery, camping gear, old rifles, camping gear and much much more. Phone Wolfgang 083 6000 746  Visit Classifieds on the Clarens News website. ClassifiedsDo you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  Remember to check out the classifeds section.  Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert toeditor@clarensnews.com

 


 

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3rd January 2014

Well, a little passé perhaps, but Happy New Year to all our faithful readers!

Assuming you survived the fireworks of course.  We are used to Kgubetswana lighting up, come midnight on Old Year’s Night, but having the Clarens Square turned into the Edinburgh Festival with 86-decibel sound effects was a new experience.  Great fun, notwithstanding the bangs, and may introduce a new tradition to the village calendar.   The village dogs may not of course agree; ours had a shared bowel collapse and hid behind the loo all night.  Perhaps the compromise is limiting the level of noise and controlling the time of the event, this 2014 New Year.  The good news is that we aren’t living in the maelstrom of Durban, which rivals the First World War for explosive sound and light – although the acrid stench of mustard gas is replaced by the curry aromas of mince samoosas and bunny chows!

The curious thing about Clarens though is its failure to do anything about Christmas.  Nary a light on the square, or for that matter in most shops and restaurants.  Your faithful scribe is not, for the record, a Christmas tree hugger or much into Carol singing, but the sight of our square without a car in sight on Christmas Day, no festive trappings and almost no shops open really begs credulity.  If we aspire to being a holiday destination, we have to review our approach and remember that our clients and customers expect us to behave like a tourist attraction.  I have a creepy feeling that many (most?) retailers and restaurateurs will contest this view, but perhaps a debate on the subject is long overdue.  After all, who do we blame if our Clarens Christmas season slowly fades and dies?  Our annual rate of retail and accommodation growth is probably four- or five-times higher than that for the rest of the country, but we need to wake-up to the fact that this can turn on its head if our visitors go cold on us.  About as cold as we were over Christmas, actually.

But enough banter: 2014 has started in grand style with idyllic weather.  Post-Christmas tourists are gambolling happily along the trails, packing out the Brewery and spending with gay abandon.  I even saw two farmers smiling, so the rain must be good.  But perhaps best of all, we haven’t had a newspaper to speak of for over a week, so the mood of the town has skyrocketed: No Zuma, no Nkandla, no E-tolls, no politics.  If that’s not a seasonal gift from the Gods, I don’t know what is.  Next week, birds, birds, birds.  Until then, blessings for the New Year.

The Twitcher

Sagittarius

Sagitarius 4.jpg

Sagitarius 1

 

Nestled in the middle of our Milky Way lies the ‘Archer’, poised in the Sagittarius Constellation. The constellation is 27 000 light-years away from Earth, and therefore most of the constellation’s stars are easily concealed in the steam of starry lights. This is due to cosmic dust. The bow (with its teapot shape) of the Archer however, is fairly easy to see.

 

Sagitarius 2

About Sagittarius

Many a centaur in Greek Mythology was violent, untrustworthy and drank too much. The centaur Chiron however, was different. The Sun-god, Apollo and Goddess of the Moon and Wild Animals, Diana, thought it good to educate Chiron with kindness, wisdom and gentleness.

Kings from far and wide found Chiron’s skills invaluable, and so the kind and wise centaur became the teacher and friend of many many princes. Among the princes blessed to receive wisodm and guidance from such a great centaur, were Hercules and Aesculapius. The myth continues that Hercules had to travel very far and upon arrival at a friends house, requested a bottle of wine to quench his thirst. The bottle at hand though, belonged jointly to all the centaurs. As the scent of the wine drifted through the woods the centaurs became outraged and hurried to Hercules in a fury – little did they know that many would meet their end as the great Hercules slew all that lifted their hands to him and his friend.  Those that survived were exiled from the forest at Hercules’ demand, never to return again.

 

Sagitarius 3

The great Chiron was observing all from a distance and sadly lost his life.  Through all the chaos Hercules could not recognize his dear and revered friend and it was one of his poisoned arrows that brought the centaur down.  Zeus empathized with his son’s Hercules’ loss of a close friend and thought it good to give the centaur a resting place in the starry skies, easing the sadness of his son’s heart.

According to another myth, the Archer is thought to be pointing the arrow straight at Scorpius’ heart, in case he might try to do harm to another. Furthermore there are others that believe the Sumerians found the constellation and named it ‘Nergal’ – the supreme god of war.

 

How to find Sagittarius

The very bright constellation Sagittarius is the biggest constellation in the Southern Hemipshere and the 15th largest constellation overall, making it esily visible with the naked eye.

Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac, situated between Scorpius (the Scorpion) and Capricornus (the Sea Goat). The constellation is located in the fourth quadrant of the southern hemisphere (SQ4), and can one can observe it at latitudes between +55° and -90°.  Another attribute that distinguishes the constellation is it’s peculiar teapot shape. The star that represents the top of the bow of The Archer, is at the top of the teapot, with the bottom of the bow at the bottom right of the teapot. The star Kaus Media represents the middle of the bow. Finally, the three stars are a combination of Arabic and Latin meaning northern, middle and southern.  The steam above the spout includes two nebulae that are giving birth to new star clusters: M8 (the Lagoon Nebula) and M20 (the Trifid Nebula).

Sagitarius 5.jpg.gif

The Lagoon Nebula is a large interstellar cloud classified as an emission nebula sits approximately 4,100 light-years away. Discovered by the French Astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil in 1747, Messier 8 is one of only two nebulae that are star forming regions and can be seen by naked eye.

 

Sagittrius 6

The M20 also known as ‘The Trifid Nebula’, is a bright and colourful constellation that is the combination of an emission nebula (the lower part), a reflection nebula (the upper part) and an open cluster.

The Lagoon Nebula also includes the bright radio source called “Sagittarius A”, pronounced ‘Sagittarius A-star. What makes this a significant are is the fact that scientists believe that it houses a black hole.

 

Sagitarius 7
Pistol Star and nebula

 

Genevieve Article by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: December 2013

20 December 2013: Season’s Greetings

rainbow

 

Table of Contents:

  • We wish you a Merry Christmas;
  • Thank you;
  • Clarens Skies –  Sagittarius;
  • New Rangers in town?;
  • Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association;
  • Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens;
  • Plant of the week: Rosa rubiginosa;
  • Clarens Village Conservancy Christmas Trees;
  • Golf News: Caddie Championships;
  • Golf News: Festive Season operating hours;
  • Festive Season – Weather;
  • Festive Season – Wining and Dining;
  • Festive Season – Music;
  • Church Services;
  • New Year’s Eve;
  • Other Events;
  • Note from the editor

 


 

We wish you a Merry Christmas

May you find your pot of gold under the Christmas tree.


 

Thank you

Kobus Rust phoned in yesterday to say what awesome people we have in Clarens. He arrived in Clarens yesterday morning, in his convertible, and since the morning was bright, hot and sunny, he decided to leave the top down whilst he went off to explore our town.  Then – once he was a fair distance from his car the heavens opened, and since he knew he would never make it back in time to his car, he accepted that his car would soon be turned into a water-bucket, and that its electronics would probably be severely damaged. Imagine his relief and surprise, when on returning to his car he found that some thoughtful Clarenite had covered the car completely in plastic.  Kobus has not been able to establish who this thoughtful person is, and has asked Clarens News to pass on his thanks.  In fact – he is so struck with Clarens that he has decided to buy property here.  (Now isn’t that a nice story.)


Clarens Skies –  Sagittarius


Genevieve Blignaut

Nestled in the middle of our Milky Way lies the ‘Archer’, poised in the Sagittarius Constellation. The constellation is 27 000 light-years away from Earth, and therefore most of the constellation’s stars are easily concealed in the steam of starry lights. This is due to cosmic dust. The bow (with its teapot shape) of the Archer however, is fairly easy to see.

About Sagittarius

Many a centaur in Greek Mythology was violent, untrustworthy and drank too much. The centaur Chiron however, was different. The Sun-god, Apollo and Goddess of the Moon and Wild Animals, Diana, thought it good to educate Chiron with kindness, wisdom and gentleness.

Read more

 

 

 


 

New Rangers in town?

No.  They’re just the same fabulous four Clarens Village Conservancy rangers dressed in their new uniforms. And wow – don’t they look great.  Look out for them as they do their rounds around town and in the Clarens Village Conservancy. The rangers provide a valuable service keeping our town crisp and clean, maintaining the trails as well as the environmental integrity of the Nature Reserve, providing environmental education and encouragement for recycling in our schools and always willing to help  out with numerous other projects whenever extra hands are needed. Show your support by becoming a member of the Clarens Village Conservancy (and if you already are a member, be sure to renew your membership.)
Click here for your membership form.   (See the letter below from the Ratepayers Association for a breakdown on how the membership money is spent.)


Letter from Clarens Ratepayers Association

Firstly, season’s greetings to all and if you are travelling over the holidays, drive carefully.

The Numbering of Clarens’ Properties in line with the South African Protocol is now complete, i.e., approved by Province and is being handed over to the Municipality for inclusion in their billing system; so you should see your new house number next year on your Municipal Account.  Thanks Ralph and Rodney for your had work on this.

It is time to call on you for your support by either renewing your membership or, if you are not already a member, joining these three associations.  The cost of subscriptions is as follows:

  • Village R300.00 per annum for each household, with a 50% reduction for pensioners
  • Housing Estates R120.00 per annum

As most of you are aware, the funds are shared as follows – 50% to the CVC, 25% to the CRA and 25% to the CVFA, with top-ups from the CRA to the CVC and/or the CVFA as required throughout the year.  We have to pay our Rangers and of course, we want to keep them, so please dig into your hard earned cash and join us.  Of course should you wish to donate more that the subscription amount, any sum will be most gratefully received.

Click here for Membership Form and Bank Details  (Please let me know if you require an invoice)

Many thanks.

Pat
Ph:  058 256 1123   email :raubenheimer@icon.co.za


Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens

Paballo’s Nursing Care @ Clarens wish all their patients, friends and visitors to Clarens a Happy and Healthy Fetive Season and New Year.  Both our professional nurses will be in the village during this period for normal and emergency care.  The nurses provide a variety of services as well as relevant information and advice and are even prepared to do home visits.   For medical assistance visit the nurse’s rooms behind the pharmacy (opposite the Protea Hotel).  Sister Henriette Hohne (phone 082 327 1035) or Sister Antoinette Earle (083 236 1293) will attend to your needs. To see the list of services provided and their charges please click here. 

We really are very very lucky to have 24 hour professional nursing available in Clarens. A big thank you to Paballo’s Nursing, and our best wishes for the festive season and the New Year.  Let’s hope that the nurses are not kept too busy to enjoy this very special time.


 Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Rosa rubiginosa

Damien Coulson
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a non-indigenous species of the Rosaceae family that many of you may already be familiar with, but is of great interest nonetheless.
Rosa rubiginosa (known as the Eglantine Rose or Sweet Briar in English, Wilderoos in Afrikaans & mamarosa in sisotho), is a deciduous shrub of around 2-3 m high. The name eglantine is from Middle English eglentyn, from Old French aiglantin or from aiglent meaning ‘sweetbrier’. Sweet refers to the subtle fragrance of the leaves which are reminiscent of the scent of apples, while briar or brier refers to the plant being a thorny bush. R. rubigonosa may be found growing in dense groves in disturbed areas and near rivers or streams, and even on moist south facing slopes in the Eastern Free State. Widespread from the WC – Kwa-Zulu Natal. The leaves of R. rubigonosa are pinnate and vary between 50-90 mm in length with 5-9 oval leaflets with serrated margins and bearing small hairs. The stems are green-reddish brown, approx 1 cm in diameter and have numerous small hooked thorns. The flowers are 18-30 mm in diameter, with 5 petals – white in the centre grading to pink with multiple yellow to burned-orange stamens. The flowers are usually produced in clusters of 2-7. Flowering occurs from Oct – Dec. The fruit – called “hip” (hence the common rose-hip association) are globose to oblong, deep red and 10-20 mm in diameter.   Read more

 


Clarens Village Conservancy Christmas Trees

If you haven’t secured a Christmas tree yet, pop in at the Farmer’s Market at the Bibliophile on Saturday, and get one from The Clarens Village Conservancy.  Christmas trees (harvested from the Clarens Village Nature Reserve as part of their alien vegetation control program) will be on sale. A small tree (1 – 1,5m) will cost you only R50, medium (2 – 2,5m)  is R70, and a large one (3 – 3,5m) is R100.

Should you require any further information, please contact Damien on
076 833 8910.

 


Golf News: Caddie Championships

The Clarens Golf Estate caddies had a fun filled day of competitive Golf. The yearly Caddie Championships was held today on 19 December. Prizes were sponsored from by members of the golf club,  Clarens Golf Estate Home Owners, as well as The Posthouse, and Serendipity.  Four caddies: Piet Colin Mokoena, will be Mpho Motaung, Frank Nhlapo and Piet Miya  were selected to become part of the Clarens Golf Estate official Caddie team, and will represent the Clarens Golf Club at forthcoming events in Ladybrand and Bloemfontein. If you would like to contribute towards the costs of sending the caddies to these events please contact Ray Meyers:  082 4905617

 

 

 

 


Golf News: Festive Season operating hours

Course will be operating 7 days a week from 16 December until 6 January during School Holidays. On days before and after Public Holidays the operating hours have been adjusted to give staff well deserved time with Family and Friends.

December 24th: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

December 25th: Course and Clubhouse closed. Christmas Day

December 26th: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing.

December 31st: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

January 1st: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing. New years Day.


Festive Season – Weather




 

Festive Season – Wining and Dining

If you haven’t booked a special Christmas dinner yet you may still be able to get a table at the following venues, who are all offering special Christmas Delights.

Christmas Eve  24th December 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 058 256 1795
The Posthouse: 058 256 1534
The Phatt Chef: 058 356 1742
278 On Main: 082 5565208
Artichoke:  058 256 1283
Protea Hotel: 058 256 1212

Christmas Day: 25th December 2013
The Phatt Chef: 058 256 1534
Artichoke: 058 256 1283

New Year’s Eve
Artichoke: 058 256 1534
The Grouse and Claret: 058 256 1785  Music: Slipstream
278 On Main: 082 5565208
The Phatt Chef: 058 356 1742


Festive Season – Music

Friday 20 December 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  Slipstream

Saturday 21 December 2013
Friends: Slipstream
Artichoke: Gail (vocal & guitar)

24 December; 2013
278 On Main:  Gail

Friday 27 December 2013
Friends:  Slipstream
Artichoke:  Gail (guitar and vocals)

Saturday 28 December 2013
Friends:  Slipstream
The Grouse & Claret:  Denzl & Hensie
Artichoke:  Gail (guitar & vocals)

Monday 30 December 2013
Friends:  Van Smith

Tuesday 31 December 2013 
Friends:  Van Smith
The Grouse & Claret: Slipstream
Artichoke:  Denzl & Hensie.   Deon
278 On Main:  Gail


Church Services

Christmas Eve:  Carols by Candlelight
Garden at the Pastorie, Main Street, Clarens:  19h00
Bring your own chairs and warm clothing

Christmas Day
NG Kerk:  Main Street, Clarens:  08h00 and 10h00
Methodist Church:  134 Roos Street:  09h30  Christmas service
Anglican Church:  134 Roos Street:  06h00  Communion service

New Year’s Eve
NG Kerk:  Main Street, Clarens:  18h00


 

New Year’s Eve

Midnight in Paris:  Musical Tribute to Edith Piaf & Jacques Brel and music clips Les Miserables
Soloists:  JJ and Samantha Clark
Venue:  NG Kerk:  Churchhall:     19h30
Bring a picnic basket and your own refreshments.
Cost:  R60.   To book phone Lizette: 083 375 9900 or Karla: 082 302 5920


Other Events

Farmers Market: Be sure to visit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. This is the place to buy fresh local produce, home baked goodies, and lots lots more. (Including Christmas trees.)Click here to find out what is showing at the Bethlehem Kine ClassifiedsDo you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  Remember to check out the classifeds section.  Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to: editor@clarensnews.com


 

Note from the editor

This is our last edition of Clarens News this year, so we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas, and everything you wish for yourselves in 2014.

20th December 2013

Apologies!  Your faithful scribe had matters constructive to attend to last week, attempting to ensure at least the partial completion of Clarens’ newest commercial building, ‘On The Square’, and was otherwise occupied.

It is Advent Calendar time again, following the previous week’s introduction to this time-honoured tradition of communicating gay (?!) Christmas tidings in the 24 days leading up to the Big Day itself.  As will be obvious, these Advent greetings are entirely out of kilter and sequence as they arrive daily, and I write weekly at the behest of my dragon editor.  So, welcome to the 8th and 15th Days of Advent, respectively, on the 20th of December, the point of which will soon be revealed.

In the first window (8th Day of Advent), we are advised that the ancient Germanic calendar was divided into six periods of 60 days each, known as tides. Yuletide, then, refers to the two month ‘tide’ corresponding to modern December and January.  Within this time period falls the Twelve Days of Christmas and the winter solstice.  Like Samhain (Samhain or Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead and was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year.  The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld), the ancients felt that the spiritual veil was thinner during Yuletide, and ghosts and spirits walked the land.  It was also considered an ideal time for divination.  And drinking.  So why am I telling you this?

First, it reminds us that Clarens is a very spiritual place and that there are a number of houses unquestionably inhabited by, well, things that go bump in the night.  Given the season – and Yuletide specifically – we can expect even more bumps than usual, so brace yourselves, boys and girls.  A renowned authority on the subject, ‘Jenny’ (real name Jenny), cautions that you must not betray any fear but rather go with the flow, so to speak.  In other words, if your lights start going on and off without rhyme or reason, offer up a glass of good red wine and drink it immediately.  Similarly, if you happen upon an unknown visitor in bed with your loved one, close the door discreetly and havetwo glasses of red wine.  Or call your lawyer.

Second, given the note about the ghosts of the dead mingling with the living during this Samhain season, here is a tip on spotting the difference: If a stranger claims to be an accountant, Member of Parliament or banker, simply punch them hard on the nose.  If they vanish in a puff of noxious smoke, you hit a genuine ghost.  If however they reel backward screaming hysterically, they are quite possibly living and, again, I suggest you call your lawyer asap.

On the 15th Day of Advent, we are advised that, according to Swiss legend, Tante Arie (also known as Aunt Arie, you Anglophile), is a creature that’s a bit like a cross between a witch and a fairy.  She lives in a cave among gold-filled treasure chests (the Holkranz perhaps!?) and wears a diamond crown.  Supposedly having iron teeth and goose’s feet, she rides on a donkey during Christmas Eve, giving gifts to the good children but punishing the disobedient ones.  Well!  Clearly Clarens has its own Tante Arie but the question is, who is she?  Answers on this delicate subject to the Editor, Clarens News, but by way of a clue, it is not our own Kaalvoet, now resident on the Vaal Dam and sinking boats with a happy passion.

That’s all for the final lap into Christmas, so to all our feathered friends and their two-legged companions in Clarens, our felicitations and greetings.  More Advent windows in a year’s time, but for now, be well.

The Twitcher

13 December 2013: Oh dear, it’s a Friday

 War in the valley

Table of Contents:

Oh dear – it’s a Friday; Light a candle for Madiba; War in the Valley; Stella Hancock – 93 years of memories; Christmas is coming; Clarens Skies –  Taurus; News from Clarens Village Conservancy; Plant of the week: Papaver aculeatum; Golf News: Festive Season operating hours; This weekend – Weather; This weekend –  Music; This weekend –  Other Events; Coming Events; Calling all Restauranteurs


Oh dear – it’s a Friday

Considered by many to be an unlucky day.  We at Clarens News have however always found that friday 13 can also be an incredibly lucky day. With Monday being a public holiday, many South Africans are closing up shop early this year to go on their well-earned Christmas holiday break and just about everyone in Clarens has shaken out their welcome mats as we ready ourselves for the holiday influx. Monday is South Africa’s Day of Reconcilation,  The 16th December is associated with two momentous historical events in South African history: The Battle of Blood River which took place in 1836, and the formation of Umknoto we Siswe in 1961. From now on, however, I am sure that it will also be associated with Nelson Mandela whose great example laid the foundation for true reconciliation in this beautiful country of ours.


Light a candle for Madiba

27_mandela_r_lead1-e1372978055244-650x262


War in the Valley

In a game of chess it is a risky move to retreat to a corner of the board when your defences are compromised.  In a corner and thus ruling out further retreat, you must be sure that effective frontal attack, or even attack from the rear on your opponent, is still an option open to you.  Without adequate opportunity for this, the outcome is most likely not going to be in your favour. This is the hard lesson learned by the Boers in the Brandwater basin during the Anglo-Boer War. Our photograph this week is of the Sunnyside area, looking west towards Clarens and further on, towards Fouriesburg, with the RooibergRange straddling the northern side of the landscape, stretching all the way to the Witteberg beyond Fouriesburg.  This is the view that Olivier, one of the Boer leaders who refused to surrender to the British, would have seen, had he looked back while on his hurried march to Golden Gate, the last remaining escape route out of the valley. Read more


 

Stella Hancock – 93 years of memories

Stella Hancock – A Full Life Article by Mary Walker Imagine a turquoise sea so flat and clear you can see the shadow of a small boat gliding across the sand below it.  Imagine small outcrops of lushly vegetated islands rising like shaggy green pillars from the water.  Islands with frilled skirts of ivory sand, too numerous to count, untouched, unspoilt, languid in vast fields of sea and sky.  Imagine sea-gypsies, nomadic, living in their wooden boats, subsisting from the sea.  In this place, idyllic beyond conception, Stella Hancock spent most of her first few years of life.  Read more


Christmas is coming


Clarens Skies –  Taurus

Genevieve Blignaut     The Bull, embodied both Osiris and his sister Isis in the eyes of the Egyptians. The brother and sister were respectively represented as bull-god and cow-goddess. According to Greek myth, the passionate god Zeus was thought to have disguised himself as a bull in yet another of his love affairs.The exquisite Europa, daughter of King Agenor, was strolling along the sea shore with her companions at her side, when Zeus noticed her and instantly became completely infatuated. The clever god immediately disguised himself as a magnificent white bull and upon appearing amongst the group, none felt fear as his calm demeanour radiated brilliantly.  Read more


News from Clarens Village Conservancy

Damien Coulsen has sent us a report detailing the rangers activities in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.   Below is just a short paragraph on work done on the trails. November proved to be a busy month for the rangers who have completed the revamping of the trail directional markers along the Spruit, Kloof Mountain Trail and Mallen Walk, and initiated work on the Porcupine Trail markers – 6 down and just 3 to go! The C.V.C. has also produced 100 new trail markers at no small expense, in order to provide all users with the easiest possible trail navigation system yet. The rangers were assisted by the workers of the TCG who helped remove a good deal of Brandbos from between Scilla Walk trail and the Ridge Estate. Further work on the Brandbos removal project will recommence early January after the workers return from the festive season. Click here to read the full report


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Papaver aculeatum

Damien Coulson: Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small dicotyledonous plant from the Papaveraceae (poppy) family. Papaver aculeatum (known as the Orange Poppy in English, Doringpapaver in Afrikaans or sehlohlo in sisotho), is a small herb of around 0.1 – 1.5 tall depending on the surrounding geology. It may be found in rocky places, among scrub, in dry riverbeds and on cliffs, often proliferating in areas of disturbance. P. aculeatum grows at altitudes of 1600-2950 m A.S.L. and is generally widespread throughout S.A. Spp. Of the Papaver genus are all moderately frost tolerant. This small herb is interesting as it is the only poppy originating from the Southern hemisphere. This is not a herb that one would generally hand-pick without gloves as it is covered in stiff yellow spines and fine hairs and could result, if nothing else in itchy hands. The leaves are approx. 120-130 mm in length and are deeply lobed, with the toothed margins appearing almost tattered.  The flower, although simple in design is an attractive light-burnt orange, flowering from October through to March. The fruit are tiny (10-20 mm wide), ribbed and oval.  Read more

 


Golf News: Festive Season operating hours

Course will be operating 7 days a week from 16 December until 6 January during School Holidays. On days before and after Public Holidays the operating hours have been adjusted to give staff well deserved time with Family and Friends. December 24th: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00. December 25th: Course and Clubhouse closed. Christmas Day December 26th: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing. December 31st: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00. January 1st: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing. New years Day.


This weekend – Weather


This weekend –  Music

Backpackers Friends Annual Jamboree Friday 13 – Sunday 15 December 2013:  The backpackers Its the Backpackrs Friends 35th jamboree and musicians from all over Clarens will be stopping over at the backpackers to strut their stuff and have some fun.  The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters, Slipstream, and Voetstoets will be there together with various other “surpiise” bands.  The jamboree is however not just about music.  It”s also a “family”affair, so everyone is invited.  On Saturday evening  there will be a sheep on a spit  (R120 pp) and braai packs will also be available.  Those wanting to imbibe are however asked to bring their own..  . Friday, 13th December 2013 Friends:  20h00:  Van Smith Saturday 14th December 2013 Street Cafe:   12h00:  Deon:  The Soutie from Toti Friends:  20h00: Van Smth Artichoke Stop in at the Artichoke to enjoy Double Barrel.  They will be playing all weekend on an ad hoc basis. Double Barrel hail from Pietermarizberg and play a variety of music with a “classical touch. Sunday 15th December 2013 Artichoke:  12h00:  Deon the Soutie from Toti Friends:  14h30:  Van Smith


This weekend –  Other Events

13- 16 December 2013:  Backpackers Friends Annual Jamboree Live Music and lots of fun all day. 14 December 2013: NG Kerk Flea  Market 14 December 2013   Bark for Life .  


Coming Events

Be sure to visit the website: www.clarensnews.com, to find out what else there is in store.


 

Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  Remember to check out the classifeds section. Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to editor@clarensnews.com


 

Calling all Restauranteurs

You are all welcome to send us your Chrismas menus for publication in the December 20 Clarens News. This is a free service from Clarens News. All you need to do is to email  your menu toeditor@clarensnews.com

6th December 2013: Advent

Table of Contents:

Nelson Mandela –  Rest in Peace Madiba; On Flowers; Clarens Community Gardens Prizegiving; Christmas is coming; Clarens Skies – Venus in December; Clarens Skies – ISON comes to an end; World Soil Day : 5 December 2013; Top Award for Clarens Restaurant .. Again; Plant of the week: Coprinellus disseminatus; The Twitcher; Golf News: Festive Season operating hours; Start baking those Mince Pies; This weekend – Weather; This weekend –  Music; Dan Patlanski guitar workshop; This weekend –  Sport; This Weekend: Clarens Open;

 

Nelson Mandela –  Rest in Peace Madiba

Clarens – along with the rest of the world  – mourns the death of a great, great man.


 

On Flowers

In the East End of London it appeared to me that there were standard yet somewhat obscure answers to some things.  On one occasion I was waiting in a reception area to see someone, and I asked the lady at the desk when the person would be able to see me.  “When he’s ready”, she said.

The photograph this week is taken on a roadside in Clarens.  About a year ago I had returned from a very hot walk around the back of Clarens in the vicinity of the dam.  Coming back through town I came upon this wilful migration of flowers that had expanded beyond the garden fence, out into the public domain of the pavement.  I set my daypack down and got busy photographing.
This morning, on opening my front door, I noticed for the first time a bank of green wispy-leafed stems taking over the flowerbed.  For a moment I wasn’t sure, then it struck me.  Of course, it’s December.  Cosmos!   Read more

The picture insert features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .


 

Clarens Community Gardens Prizegiving

This past Monday 02 Dec 2013 we hosted Thabo Mofutsanyana district prize giving function of this vegetables gardening here in our beautiful town Clarens.The event was successful and well attended.Participants from Marquard,Excelsior and Clarens competed against each other.We as Clarens will be represented by the following individuals and institutions:Best new gardens:Rupa Kaladeen,Jessica Roy and Maletsatsi Mokebe, 2. Best existing garden: Nora Molaba. Best innovation:weeds & pest control: Rupa Kaladeen,Best existing school garden:Clarens Primary School,Best Innovation compost::Clarens Primary School.Best existing community garden: Itumeleng Clinic,Over all winner:Itumeleng Clinic.

Congratulations to all the winners who will be representing Thabo Mofutsanyana at Pronvicial Competition.Thank you the sponsors and all the stakeholders.

Tsipiso

Tsepiso Mosia
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
0710791332
E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com


Christmas is coming


Clarens Skies – Venus in December

Constellation of the Week
Venus, named after the goddess of Love and Harmony, can be enjoyed in all its glory during dusk or dawn on December 6 2013, as it will be at its brightest for all of 2013 and 2014. The beautiful planet will be extraordinary to observe upon reaching its greatest illuminated extent on Friday. This means that the Earth’s daytime side will cover more square area of the sky than at any other time during Venus’ present apparition as the evening “star”. It’s at this illuminated extent that Venus will be at its brightest, best seen from the Earth.   Read more

 

 

ISON Comes to an End

The comet of the century has brought about mixed feelings in many that have religiously followed its path – there are those who would’ve loved the comet to produce a spectacular show in our skies during December, and those who have always predicted its imminent death upon perihelion.   Read more

 


 

World Soil Day : 5 December 2013

Yesterday was World Soil Day. A day when thousands of soil scientists (and gardeners in the know) celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to the human commonwealth through its contribution to food, water and energy security and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change. But when you think about it even those of us who are not soil scientists should stop to think about the soil – it is after all an important foundation for all life on this earth. We in Clarens often complain about our soil, and though it may be difficult to work with there are many ways that one can improve it. An easy way to improve your soil is to encourage the earthworm population. (Darwin wasn’t wrong!) and one of the most important ways to do this is to stop killing them off by using poisonous chemicals in your garden. There is an excellent course on how to improve your soil on the net.  Click here for the link.   And if you are interested in starting a worm farm in your garden, please contact me: I would be happy to help get you started.   Phone:  Toni 082 4492 082  (Toni B Walters)


 

Top Award for Clarens Restaurant .. Again

PHATT CHEF IN TOP 100 LIST & FINALIST IN BEST COUNTRY VENUE 2013 CATEGORY 
For the third year in row The Phatt Chef Restaurant in Clarens was chosen as one of South Africa’s Top 100 Restaurants and was once again a finalist in the category “Best Country Venue 2013”. At a glittering awards ceremony on Monday, hosted at the trendy Kitchen Bar in Fourways, Johannesburg, the owners, Simon & Megan Kerr, were recognised by the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) for their contribution to the hospitality industry with the presentation of a prestigious Rosetta Award, given to restaurants that strive for service excellence in the Food & Fast Food industry. It is recognition of the highest order for service excellence & overall contribution to the upliftment of the restaurant industry. Presenting the award, Wendy Alberts CEO of RASA, said that The Phatt Chef Restaurant was a credit not only to the Free State, but to all the country areas of South Africa. This was the third year in a row that this Clarens landmark was being recognised by the industry not only for their outstanding service and food, but also for their contribution to training and mentoring staff.


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Coprinellus disseminatus

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. Interestingly enough these little fellows don’t actually belong to the Plantae kingdom at all…

Coprinellus disseminatus (known as Fairies’ Bonnets in English or Bondelinkmus in Afrikaans) belong to their own unique kingdom – Fungi. Fungi can be classed into 2 major groups – micro (scopic) or macrofungi. Fungi are either saprobic (deriving nourishment from decaying organisms) or pathogenic (disease causing) and in essence facilitate the cycle of life to death to life again. Fungi have been associated with plants, wild animals and humans since time immemorial.

C. disseminatus may be found growing on woody material, such as fallen logs and the likes and even grows on ground in close proximity to decaying wood. The fruit bodies are clustered in groups and are attached to the substrate by a stipe.
Read more

 


 

The Twitcher

Well, it had to happen.  I have just glanced at my well-thumbed diary and realised that Christmas is just around the corner.  Quelle surprise!?  So as we grind our weary way to the end of another year, mistletoe clamped between our teeth in the hope of getting lucky, it occurs to me that we are knee-deep in the Advent Calendar.  Never heard of it?
It turns out that the Advent Calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas, and overlaps with the Christian season of Advent.  I don’t know whether the Hindus, Muslims and Jews have anything similar, but apologise just in case, as I am seriously allergic to religious persecution.  Most commercially available Advent Calendars start on December 1 and have 24 windows, one for each of the days leading up to Christmas Day.  Some anonymous person (probably a Chinese Buddhist) has endless joy putting little poems, pictures of puppies and portions of religious stories in these, each of which is ripped open in the mindless spree leading to the big day itself.  Apparently these are very popular in communities where television and conversation have yet to penetrate.
Why am I telling you this?  Well, it turns out that a dear friend believes my life will be enriched by a daily dose from the Advent Calendar and, being a generous sort of fellow, I felt compelled to share these riches with you, given that our bird life seems to be on holiday in Margate.  Read more


Golf News: Festive Season operating hours

Course will be operating 7 days a week from 16 December until 6 January during School Holidays. On days before and after Public Holidays the operating hours have been adjusted to give staff well deserved time with Family and Friends.

December 24th: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

December 25th: Course and Clubhouse closed. Christmas Day

December 26th: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing.

December 31st: Course Open until 12h00 for tee off. Bar closes at 15h00.

January 1st: Course Opens at 10h00 until closing. New years Day.


 Start baking those Mince Pies

Why?  Because Christmas is coming and there’s nothing to beat a mince pie on Christmas morning. And whilst you’re enjoying you second or third mince pie, you can count your lucky stars that you don’t live in Britain.    Read The Twitcher (If you havn’t already read the full article) to find out why.

 

 

 

 

 


 

This weekend – Weather

acuweather


This weekend –  Music

Friday 6th December 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00:  Slipstream

Saturday 7th December 2013
Street Cafe:   12h00:  Rudo and OB
Street CafeL 20h00 : Slipstream

Sunday 8th December 2013
Backpackers:  18h00  The Dan Patlansky Show
The cultimination of the Dan Patlansky Guitar workshop weekend
Click here to find out about what the weekend is all about
Dan Patlansky’s facebook page.


This weekend –  Sport

Cricket


 

This Weekend: Other events

Clarens Open


 

Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

13- 16 December 2013:  Backpackers Friends Annual Jamboree
Live Music and lots of fun all day.

14 December 2013: NG Kerk Flea  Market
14 December 2013   Bark for Life


.

 

 


 

Classifieds

Do you have a house you want to rent out?  Need a job? Want to buy a generator?  Remember to check out the classifieds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to
editor@clarensnews.com


 

Calling all Restauranteurs

You are all welcome to send us your Chrismas menus for publication in the December 20 Clarens News. This is a free service from Clarens News.
All you need to do is to email  your menu toeditor@clarensnews.com

6 December 2013

Ornithological Notes

Well, it had to happen.  I have just glanced at my well-thumbed diary and realised that Christmas is just around the corner.  Quelle surprise!?  So as we grind our weary way to the end of another year, mistletoe clamped between our teeth in the hope of getting lucky, it occurs to me that we are knee-deep in the Advent Calendar.  Never heard of it?

It turns out that the Advent Calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas, and overlaps with the Christian season of Advent.  I don’t know whether the Hindus, Muslims and Jews have anything similar, but apologise just in case, as I am seriously allergic to religious persecution.  Most commercially available Advent Calendars start on December 1 and have 24 windows, one for each of the days leading up to Christmas Day.  Some anonymous person (probably a Chinese Buddhist) has endless joy putting little poems, pictures of puppies and portions of religious stories in these, each of which is ripped open in the mindless spree leading to the big day itself.  Apparently these are very popular in communities where television and conversation have yet to penetrate.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, it turns out that a dear friend believes my life will be enriched by a daily dose from the Advent Calendar and, being a generous sort of fellow, I felt compelled to share these riches with you, given that our bird life seems to be on holiday in Margate.

Given the limited frequency of this esteemed publication, you get to share Day 5 on the aforementioned calendar today, and next week Day 12, and so forth.  It turns out that the riveting information contained in this window tells us that, and I quote, it is illegal in Britain to eat a mince pie on Christmas Day.  Perhaps not surprisingly, this is the liberating work of one Oliver Cromwell and has never been removed from the Union’s statute books.  But wait, there’s more!  Window 5 tells us that the British Legal system only began to update its laws in 1965, before which there were many laws still in place that, while perfectly reasonable at the time, sound utterly ridiculous now! Here are 19 pearlers to enrich your day:

– It was illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament – simply because if you did you would fall under the jurisdiction of the royal coroner and could have been entitled a state funeral.

– It was also illegal to enter Parliament wearing a suit of armour.

– In the Cathedral Close of Hereford and within the city walls of Chester it is legal to shoot a Welshman with a long bow (not surprising really).  It is also legal to shoot a Scotsman within the city walls of York, providing he is carrying a bow and arrow, except on Sundays of course!  These laws were made to keep out Welsh and Scottish invasions before Britain became united as one.

– It is still legal for a pregnant woman to relieve herself wherever she wants – including in a policeman’s helmet should she have the urge!

– You cannot enter the hull of the Titanic under the Protection of Wrecks order 2003 without permission of the Secretary for State.

– In Scotland, it is an offence to be drunk whilst in charge of a cow. This law also applies to horses and steam engines across the rest of the country under the Licencing Act 1872.

– You must carry a bale of hay in your vehicle at all times, why? To feed the horse of course!

– In London it is illegal for cab drivers to transport rabid dogs and corpses.

– Polish potatoes are illegal in England… no seriously, under the Polish Potatoes (Notification) in England Order 2004, “No person shall, in the course of business, import into England potatoes which he knows to be or has reasonable cause to suspect to be Polish potatoes”.

– It is illegal to gamble in a library as of 1898 – internet gambling is off the cards then! The same law prohibits “abusive or obscene language” in there too.

– You could be breaking the law if you have a pigsty in front of your house, unless it is duly hidden. As good of an excuse as any to keep your front garden nice and tidy!

– It is illegal to beat or shake your carpet, mat or rug. You may beat your doormat (ooooooh!) but only before 8 in the morning!

– Any washing line that is put up across a street is an illegal erection.

– It was illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day – we found this hard to believe too, but Oliver Cromwell actually banned these yummy treats when he was attempting to tackle rising gluttony.

– All dead beached whales must be offered to the monarch before you can do anything else with them. Realistically, the royal family have no interest in beached whales, your best bet should you ever come across such a sad sight would be to contact the Natural History Museum or the police.

– The death sentence still applies if you poach a royal deer or allow your pet to mate with a pet from the royal household without due permission. Note to self – don’t take the dog for a walk around St. James’ Park any time soon!

– It is still illegal to eat Mute Swan as they belong to the Queen and only she is legally allowed to eat them, weirdly you are an exception if you are a guest of St. John’s College in Cambridge though.

– The royal family are forbidden from marrying Catholics – clearly created when Henry VIII disowned the Catholic Church and created the Church of England, although it’s hard to imagine this being enforced today.

– It is illegal to sew the royal coat of arms onto a bed quilt!

Can you but imagine what our own fair Legal System has lurking in the archives, although I am reliably informed – for example – that it is still illegal to wear short pants in Durban’s West Street.  Think on these things as Christmas unerringly approaches.

The Twitcher

Venus in December 2013

Venus 1

 

 

Venus, named after the goddess of Love and Harmony, can be enjoyed in all its glory during dusk or dawn on December 6 2013, as it will be at its brightest for all of 2013 and 2014. The beautiful planet will be extraordinary to observe upon reaching its greatest illuminated extent on Friday. This means that the Earth’s daytime side will cover more square area of the sky than at any other time during Venus’ present apparition as the evening “star”. It’s at this illuminated extent that Venus will be at its brightest, best seen from the Earth.

Venus will be in an inferior conjunction with the Earth and the Sun on 11 January 2014. Thus, after the first few days of January, Venus will be too close to the Sun to observe.

This month Venus will shine at a negative 4.9 magnitude and none will be able to miss this splendid planet.

Venus 2

 

Genevieve Article by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News: December 2013

28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah

Clarens News 28th November, 2013: Happy Thanksgivvukah
Contents:
On coming home;Happy Thanksgivukkah;StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert);Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus;Tshepong Christmas Party 2013;Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks;Environmental Education;Thank-you Clarens;Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus; The Twitcher;The Clarens – Golf News;
Coming Events;The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend;Talking of Mushrooms; Classifieds

Clarens News header 28th November 2014

 

On coming home

Mary Walker Clarens NewsRecently I was chatting to a regular British visitor to South Africa, but a first time visitor to Clarens.  He was bowled over with surprise, he said, at what a delightfully idyllic spot this was.  I asked him whether he had been to Golden Gate, telling him of its outstanding rock formations.  He said he hadn’t.  He said he would save that for his return trip from the Cape.  Right now, he said, he didn’t want anything else to impact on his first impressions of what he referred to as a little piece of paradise.

Our photograph this week is of Mount Horeb and is taken from Craigrossie near Clarens.  I visited there in the early summer of last year, a few months after I had returned from England.  As I stood there looking across the water in the fading light, I thought of my decision to return to South Africa.   Read more

The photograph above (also by Mary Walker) features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .  I’ve ordered several – as Christmas presents.


 

Happy Thanksgivukkah

Celebrate Thanksgivukkah today – you won’t get another chance until the year 79,811.  So what’s so special about today?  Today is the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah (which commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean military victory of the Syrians in 168 BC) as well as the celebrated American holiday of Thanksgiving.
This unusual event has come about as a result of a convergence between the Gregorian calendar which is solar, and which determines the date for Thanksgiving, and the Hebrew calender which is lunisolar, and which determines the dates of all Jewish holidays.


StarSat :  Change your view  (TV Advert)

You really must take a look at the advertisement which was recently shot in Clarens.  It’s absolutely fabulous.
The footage of Clarens and its people is awesome – it could almost be an advert for Clarens.

 

 

 

Click here to see the video


Clarens Skies – Ophiuchus

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

Constellation of the Week

Genevieve Blignaut
The Ophiuchus Constellation, also known as “The Snakeholder”, lies on the celestial equator and is depicted as a man holding an enormous snake with both hands. The snake is represented by the adjacent constellation Serpes, with Ophiuchus splitting the Serpes constellation to two parts.

About Ophiuchus

Often times referred to in its Latin name “Serpentarius”, the constellation is associated with Aesclupaius, the famous healer in Greek mythology. “The Serpent” represented by the Serpes constellation, is divided into two separate parts by Ophiuchus. Serpens Caput forms the head of the snake whilst Serpens Cauda forms the tail. The snake is usually depicted coiling around the Ophiuchus man.

The Serpent Holder, Ophiuchus, is associated with the noted Greek healer Aescupalius.

Read more


Update on Ison

Gerald Rhemann in Namibia in SW Africa captured this photo of Comet ISON on November 21, 2013

Comet ISON is still holding its own after many speculations that it might’ve broken apart by now.

Thursday November 28 2013 marks the perihelion of the comet that has captured and held the gaze of so many. At 20:24:57 SA time, Comet ISON will be at its closest point to the Sun at 1.1 Million Kilometers away, and if it stays in tact, will then start its journey past our beloved Earth.

Read more


Tshepong Christmas Party 2013

Tshepong Christmas Party 2013Many hearts were filled with much joy and gratitude as Tshepong celebrated Christmas in all its glory.

Just as the halls of Tshepong were decorated with care, love and commitment, one could feel that those attributes abound throughout the centre’s grounds (with such wonderful staff at hand) and settle in the hearts of every child.

The excitement of the day was almost tangible and I am sure many will treasure the memory for eons to come. Thanks were given to all that made the day possible for the children in our community; the loyal staff without whom Tshepong simply could not continue forwards, as well as all the volunteers and community members for all their support in the manifestation of the dreams and hopes of the Tshepong Team, enabling them to enrich the life experience of almost 200 children in the Kgubetswana community.

It was also with great sadness that the children and staff at the centre said farewell to the adored Jamie and Mcken. These two incredible women have been focused on developing the art skills of the Tshepong children and, after many years and much growth, are now saying their goodbyes. The development of the artistic skills of Jamie and McKen’s students are astounding and the new heights reached because of their dedication towards their students, will forever be treasured in all witnesses’ hearts.

During this time of the year, events like these contribute magnificently to the gratitude and love of the masses, and we at the Clarens News truly hope that one and all will have a very merry festive season. (Genevieve Blignaut)


Bana ba Hlokang – Letter of Thanks

 

P.O. Box 180 Clarens 9707 
www.clarenschildreninneed.co.za
Bana ba Hlokang celebrated their Christmas party on the 22nd December at Tshepong and what a celebration it was!   204 children each received an umbrella, a personal gift  and ofcourse lots of goodies to eat.  The Social Worker from Bethlehem organised a jumping castle for the event and only 6 children were allowed to jump at a time so the staff had their hands full trying to give everyone a turn.  Every child had their face painted and many of the staff and older children dressed up in fun outfits.

A BIG thank you to the Protea Hotel, who not only provide a warm meal once a week during the year and do “craft workshops” with the children, but also supplied 10 huge cakes beautifully decorated and over 200 packets of chips and sweets for the party.

Starfish Global funders  supply 150 of the children with school uniforms, blankets, food parcels, food for the pantry etc. throughout the year and they also donated some of the  umbrellas and gifts for Christmas.

Thomas and Sarah and their dedicated staff have proved themselves as an invaluable team, who care for the needs of every child.  Tshepong is indeed a place of great blessing.  We thank them most sincerely for their hard work throughout the year and for their huge effort to make the Christmas party such a splendid occasion.   Hours were spent decorating the hall, wrapping presents and just making sure that a lasting memory of sheer joy was created for every child.

Our appreciation  to the ladies who baked cup cakes, to the dedicated management team, to those who supported financially.

Bana ba Hlokang


Environmental Education

Damien1-100x100As of the 1st of November and counting onwards from April of this year, a total of approximately 1140 individuals have been the recipients of one or other form of environmental education through the rangers and Sherri Gersh of the C.V.C.
The majority of people who received training were local residents and several external groups were also catered for. This included the students of Clarens Primary (grades 1 – 7), Dihlabeng Christian School, Clarens combined, Moriting wathuto high, (ranger) Eben’s Environmental Club, the Thusanang Care Group, Jordania Primary School, Clarens Ladies Friendship Club, Clarens Working on Fire team, a host of township residents, the traditional healers, wood collectors and even the rangers themselves. Topics covered were myriad and included environmental issues and solutions, ecosystem processes, features and functions, indigenous and alien plant identification, ecosystem health, Balance in Nature and Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), to name a few.
The content of the EE has always been tailored to meet the needs and levels of understanding of a particular group or individual and can thus take the form of nature hikes, fun days with nature based games, lectures, informal talks, tutorials and workshops. A great deal of time and care therefore goes into the preparation for each event and it has been terrific to see the amount of positive feedback from all of those involved in the C.V.C. EE events. Many thanks to Sherri and the C.V.C. rangers for their outstanding dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks also go out to all our participants without whom we could not have hoped to have achieved such great success. We hope that the year 2014 brings as much and perhaps if it’s not too much to hope for – more success.


Thank-you Clarens

Letter from Nick and Cindy Osborne

My husband and I got married on the 16th November 2013 and decided a SA honeymoon would beat the typical Thailand honeymoons that many take.
We decided to keep it Local because it’s “lekker”.
So off to Clarens we ventured!
What an amazing time away.We simply wanted time to stop for us. From Sunday the 17th November till 20th November we hid away in this beautiful town.
Clarens has so much to offer.
We didn’t manage to get to do everything, but it’s given us reason to come back. We just wanted to thank ALL the towns people for a wonderful time in this beautiful town.
We have fallen so in love with Clarens.
A big thank you to The Clarens Country House and to Toni and Peter for such an amazing time at The Clarens Country House. Our new home away from home.
We cannot wait to see you all again, and thank you for making our time so wonderful.
Much love and appreciation,
Nick and Cindy Osborne.


Plant of the week: Dianthus basuticus

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be looking at a member of the carnation family.
Dianthus basuticus subsp. basuticus (known as the Lesotho Dianthus, Lesotho Carnation or Drakensberg Carnation in English, Lesothose grootblom-wilde angelier in Afrikaans or hlokoa-la-tsela in Sisotho), is a dicotyledonous herb which often forms small mats on rocky grass slopes, crevices of rock sheets and on cliffs. “Dios” refers to divine (scent) whilst “anthos” refers to the flower, most likely referring to the heavenly scent of some species in the genus. What makes it interesting is that there are only 4 species of Dianthus growing in the entire Eastern Free State. D. basuticus subsp. basuticus was photographed on the Kloof Mountain Trail (Distr. Eastern Mountain Region – Mpumalanga) which would make sightings of this species rare unless you are eager for a bit of a climb. This little herb grows at altitudes of between 1400 and 3050 m A.S.L.

Read more


 

The Twitcher:

First, apologies to those nice people who drove round and round the Clarens Square looking for the village’s first traffic light, as reported in last week’s Clarens News. However, your frustration at not finding it would have been resolved by reading all the way to the bottom of my column: It is in fact operating quite effectively in the Clarens Brewery, literally lighting up the lives of many happy imbibers. So park your car and pop in for the safest drink in the country. Provided the light is green, of course! Last week I promised birds. Lots of birds. Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I have failed in my mission to find new and exciting species to report, notwithstanding a clutch of White Storks busily turning the soil outside Bethlehem. Winter visitors from Europe, these creatures are more charismatic than most Scandinavian tourists and have a particular fondness for small tractor drivers. If you happen upon an empty pair of Wellington boots beside an idling tractor, you know what happened. A Crested Barbet (or two) is currently patrolling my garden and a pirouette of Mouse Birds are standing guard over my fledgling grapes, waiting for the moment they fill with sweet juices. Not much more to report, however, and I haven’t seen a Black Eagle since the old King died. Ah well, maybe next week. Lots of reaction to the news of a Gallery Association Winter School next year: Ladies from a retirement home in Fouriesburg have volunteered to pose nude for the life drawing class and the sale of easels in Bethlehem has skyrocketed.   Read more

The Clarens – Golf News

clarens open

 


 

This weekend – Weather

This weekend –  Music

Friday 29 November, 2013:
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00: Violet Somedays

Saturday 30 November 2013
The Grouse and Claret: 20h30: Slipstream


This weekend –  Sport

Rugby

Cricket

This Weekend – Other Events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Clarens News Plesierrit Machpela Ruiterklub

 

 


 

Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to

7 December: Clarens Open
14 December:  Bark for Life
14 December: NG Kerk Flea  Market

Click here to find out what’s in store


 

The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend

The Dan Patlansky Clarens Guitar Weekend will be from 6-8 December 2013.

There are 5 available spots and you can contact Susan :  dpguitarweekends@gmail.com

The workshop is unfortunately not open to the public, but a Show will be held on the last night, and one and all are invited to come enjoy the sounds created over this very exciting weekend.

Here is a link to a documentary from the Dan Patlansky weekend in Clarens:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCmddWjjvl4


Talking of Mushrooms

The Clarens Golf Course is sprouting mushrooms – and this reminded me of a favourite poem by Siyata Bhatt

If you named your daughter Garlic
Instead of Lily or Rose
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms
After a night of rain
She would rescue snails
putting them back on the broad leaves
with high stems able to support them
She would never lose
a crop of tomatoes.

You would never know
she was Garlic
because she would smell of roses –
her garden overflowing with fennel.
She would travel far
to gather mushrooms, that daughter
you named Garlic.
And unlike Tolstoy’s Verenka
She’ll meet a man
who won’t mind


 

Classifieds

Remember to check out the classifeds section.  There’s another job offer this week.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to
editor@clarensnews.com

28th November 2013

First, apologies to those nice people who drove round and round the Clarens Square looking for the village’s first traffic light, as reported in last week’s Clarens News. However, your frustration at not finding it would have been resolved by reading all the way to the bottom of my column: It is in fact operating quite effectively in the Clarens Brewery, literally lighting up the lives of many happy imbibers. So park your car and pop in for the safest drink in the country. Provided the light is green, of course!
Last week I promised birds. Lots of birds. Well, I’m embarrassed to say that I have failed in my mission to find new and exciting species to report, notwithstanding a clutch of White Storks busily turning the soil outside Bethlehem. Winter visitors from Europe, these creatures are more charismatic than most Scandinavian tourists and have a particular fondness for small tractor drivers. If you happen upon an empty pair of Wellington boots beside an idling tractor, you know what happened. A Crested Barbet (or two) is currently patrolling my garden and a pirouette of Mouse Birds are standing guard over my fledgling grapes, waiting for the moment they fill with sweet juices. Not much more to report, however, and I haven’t seen a Black Eagle since the old King died. Ah well, maybe next week.
Lots of reaction to the news of a Gallery Association Winter School next year: Ladies from a retirement home in Fouriesburg have volunteered to pose nude for the life drawing class and the sale of easels in Bethlehem has skyrocketed. With dates yet to be announced, enquiries about accommodation have started streaming in. Watch this space. Again.
Finally, and a little sadly perhaps, our lady Kaalvoet has vanished once more. Possibly frustrated by her unrequited love for the man of her dreams, she has decamped to pastures fresh. Size 19 footprints have been spotted along the Ash River and there is speculation that she might have ambitions to give the Loch Ness Monster a run for his/her money. What an adventure that would be! Just imagine a hairy three-metre creature emerging from the white waters of our favourite rafting destination, dripping trout and frogs, to the sheer terror of boatloads of German accountants. No time to take a pic, of course, and she will simply vanish into the depths again, a smug grin lighting her craggy brow. Just think, if she really likes it, she could head downstream to the Vaal Dam and scare the crap out of whole flotillas of Gautengers. And why stop there? There are oceans to be had either side of our New Republic, and some seriously large ships to upset. And to think it all began in our little village…………
The Twitcher

22nd November, 2013: The green green grass of home

Clarens News: 22nd November, 2013: The green green grass of home

Contents:
The green green grass of home;Cluny Farm;Robert Badenhorst – A tribute; Clarens and the Eastern Free State on Greek Television;Clarens represented in Spain;Clarens Skies – Scorpius;Cell phone charges; Plant of the week: Searsia divaricata;The Twitcher;The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend;Coming Events;Classifieds

Clarens News Golden Gate Highlands National Park

 

The green green grass of home

After being away  it’s always good to get back home to Clarens.  There’s nothing like the green green grass of home, and the drive home via the Golden Gate is particularly beautiful right now.  After the devastating fires earlier this year there’s now green, green grass everywhere, just dotted here and there by clumps of the blue flowering Berg barleria  (Barleria monticola). It’s all just breathtakingly beautiful.


CClarens News Cluny Farmluny Farm

Another fascinating story from Mary Walker, in which she refers to the goats on the farm: The goats, who occupy a self appointed position of superiority on the farm, and who graciously produce their milk for cheese making, have on occasions ensured that the farm stall’s doors have been opened once again.  Travellers along the road between Fouriesburg and Ficksburg might have been fortunate on one of these occasions to find varieties of cheese, cream cheese or feta available for purchase from the stall.

Click here to read the full story

The picture insert features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com


Clarens News Robert Badenhorst

Robert Badenhorst – A tribute

 

Clarens has sadly lost one of its most talented artists and gallery owners.  Robert Badenhorst suffered a heart attack and passed away last weekend.
His larger than life character touched us all. Always a smile on his face and a big bear hug was generally the order of the day. He was filled with a passion for painting and sharing. His love was painting landscapes en plein air.
His wit always entertained us and his debate inspired us. He lived more life than most people.  He was a kind and generous person that had so much to give.   Taken so young and in the prime of his life he will truly be missed.
Heaven is certainly a more colourful place and our rainbows will most certainly be brighter.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lientjie and Kathryn at this sad time.   (Theresa Spruyt )


Clarens and the Eastern Freestate on Greek Television

18th November:  News from Craig Walters (Founder of Clarens News.)
Greek television just had a one hour program on Clarens and the EFS, Johan Smith Art Gallery was featured, as was Friends, with some great footage of Denzl and Hensie Van Staden playing. It must be quite old, because Collett Louw still has dreads in one shot. Fantastic to see the mountains and the town square through Greek eyes, just wish I knew what they were saying

Other news from Craig is that he is loving Greece and having lots of fun but he misses Clarens.  The television program must have been fantastic as everyone he knows in Greece who saw the program now wants to come and visit.  It seems we can expect an influx of Greek tourists some time soon.


Clarens represented in Spain

Festival Against Censorship – Bilboa.Azarouk 11- 16  November 2013

Clarens has not only recently been on Greek television, but has also been represented in Bilboa, Spain during the week of 11- 16 November 2013.

The Zentsura At! is an annual festival against censorship. This year was the 8th consecutive year, and our local electric violinist, Denzl Keenan, was invited alongside Anton Goosen to represent South Africa at the Anti-Censorship festival of 2013.

Anton Goosen is seen by many as the “Father of Afrikaans Rock”, and it comes as no surprise that he would be asked to participate in this specific festival. With songs such as “Byeboerwa”, “Simonne” and “Boy van die Suburbs”, Anton truly is the King of South African song writing.

Anton wrote the theme song for the film Pretoria o Pretoria in 1979, the original version of “Kruidjie-Roer-my-nie”, which was banned four days after its release, with the start of a long series of containment from the SABC as consequence. He eventually decides to re-write the lyrics and the single goes on to sell 40 000 copies, becoming Anton Goosen’s first commercially successful recording.

On November 16 2013, Anton Goosen and Denzl Keenan, represented South Africa with songs such as “Pampoene op die Dak”, “Gansbaai Lapa” and “Klein Bietjie Wyn” at the Festival against Censorship.
Anton Goosen was also interviewed on stage and much interest in the newly released “Viva Madiba” song was showed.
The song is performed in 8 of our official languages, with violin accompaniment by Denzl Keenan, and acts as a tribute to the life of Mandela. Artists such as Gloria Bosman, Rebecca Malope, Dozi, Helena Hettema, Charlize Berg, Theo van Rensburg, Manuel Escorcio, Kathy Neuland and Mammie Ntshauba, all contributed to the splendor of the song. The South African duo truly helped spread awareness amongst the Europeans, stirring compassion and understanding in the hearts of the Spanish people. To listen to a the “Viva Madiba” Song, please follow the link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-7pWgZrZ8


Clarens Skies – Scorpius

Constellation of the Week
Scorpius is the southernmost constellation of the Zodiac and is thought to be older than the Greeks. It was the Sumerians who dubbed it GIR-TAB “ the scorpion”, over 5000 years ago.

Scorpius was documented by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy during the 2nd Century, and is located near the center of the Milky Way.
Scorpius is a gem in the sky, as the red star Antares is located precisely where the imagined Scorpion’s heart should be, whilst the Scorpion’s Sting dips deep into the Milky Way, leading your eye to discover many more impressive starry treasures.
The Sting of the Scorpion was responsible for the death of the Mighty Hunter Orion, according to star lore, thus when the time came for both Orion and Scorpion to take their resting places in the heavens above, the gods thought it good to place the two archenemies in opposite ends of the sky. As result the two constellations can never be seen together in the night sky.   Read more


Waiting for Ison

Clarens News Clarens Skies ISON

 

 

We don’t have long to wait now – next week is going to be very exciting:   ISON will soon be visible in our skies,  Click here to find out more.


Cell phone charges

Letter from Ralph Raubenheimer

 

As matter of interest I received my Cell Phone Account the other day and found an International Call Charge of R6.00 for an 8 second call. I queried this as the only call I made that afternoon was from Fouriesburg to my wife in Clarens but somehow the call was diverted through Lesotho – hence the International link.

It transpired that as Fouriesburg in particular and Clarens are close to the border, there is the possibility that calls are routed via Lesotho so be warned and check your Cell Phone accounts if you happen to make calls close to the border. You could be billed for international calls even though you are still in South Africa.


Plant of the week: Searsia divaricata

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve SearsiaDamien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we’ll be focusing on a woody plant species.
Searsia divaricata  (known as Fire-thorn Karee or the Common Currant-rhus in English, Gewone Taaibos in Afrikaans or leroana in Sisotho), is a relatively small tree or shrub with multiple stems that grows up to 1- 6 m tall. This small tree/shrub grows on both warm and cool slopes and along rivers in kloofs, High Altitude Grassland among rocks and on disturbed areas. The plant is widespread throughout S.A. and can be found at altitudes of up to 2100 m A.S.L.
The appearance of the canopy in adult plants is dense and rounded. The bark is grey and young bark may have fine hairs of a rust-brown colour. The spines if present on mature trees are sharp and grow on stems and branches to 40-60 mm. The leaflets are leathery, olive green, smooth above and hairy below. The leaflets are oval, narrowing at both ends, sometimes with a short tip. The largest leaflets are up to 70 x 30 mm with a round or a flat tip. The midrib and the secondary veins are conspicuous and raised below.The flowers are small, light yellow and star shaped and grow in conspicuous clusters up to 100 mm long and are in bloom from October – February. The fruit are very small (3 – 5 mm) and are reddish-brown when mature. They may be borne in such quantities that the branches bend with the weight. Expect to find them between October and May.       Read more


 

The Twitcher

 

Clarens News The TwitcherIt seems eons since the invasion of the Steel Wings and Clarens has begun to melt into the rainy season with a satisfied sense of accomplishment.  The farmers are smiling – well, they’ve stopped snarling at least, and there is green of every hue in all directions.  So, what’s new, given my absence from the old desk last week?First, there is news hot off the presses: Clarens has its first traffic light!  Yes, a robot has brought us shivering with anticipation into the twenty-first century.  We have come a long way since the trekkers dug the first long-drop on Market Street and the village first drew its water from a tap.  So it is that the Clarens News is able to report this technological breakthrough, placing us on par with our Mother City/Town (?), Bethlehem.  As is always the case with such breakthroughs, there are one or two minor issues associated with this development.  Well, one really.      Read more


 

 

The Clarens : Golf News

Clarens News Golf News Clarens Open

 


This weekend – Weather

acuweather

 


 

 

This weekend –  Music

Friday 22 November, 2013:

Artichoke: 18h00 :  Deon The Soutie from Totie
Friends: 20h30     K2  (Red Square Promotion)
The Grouse and Claret: 20h00: Grumpy Old Men  (Windhoek Promotion)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Friends: 20h30:   Slipstream
Artichoke 12h00  Fumadores  (Hensie & Denzl)
Artichoke 18h00  Fumadores
Street Cafe: 22h00  Fumadores


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

rugby


 

This weekend – Other events

 

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Clarens News Ficksburg cherry festival

To find out whats happening at the Cherry Festival in Ficksberg visit the Cherry Festival website


 

Coming Events

As always there is lots to look forward to.  Click here to find out what’s in store


Classifieds

Remember to check out the classifieds section.  There’s another job offer this week.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free.  All you need to do is to email  your advert to
editor@clarensnews.co.za

22nd November 2013

It seems eons since the invasion of the Steel Wings and Clarens has begun to melt into the rainy season with a satisfied sense of accomplishment.  The farmers are smiling – well, they’ve stopped snarling at least, and there is green of every hue in all directions.  So, what’s new, given my absence from the old desk last week?

First, there is news hot off the presses: Clarens has its first traffic light!  Yes, a robot has brought us shivering with anticipation into the twenty-first century.  We have come a long way since the trekkers dug the first long-drop on Market Street and the village first drew its water from a tap.  So it is that the Clarens News is able to report this technological breakthrough, placing us on par with our Mother City/Town (?), Bethlehem.  As is always the case with such breakthroughs, there are one or two minor issues associated with this development.  Well, one really.

The fact is that the robot (named Doris by its last owners) is in fact located in the Clarens Brewery, and therefore a little out of mainstream traffic flow (notwithstanding the odd Harley).  It would appear that due to a century-old bye law, we need the permission of the State President to allow us to locate any traffic control (or birth control) measures in the precincts of the village.  Ordinarily this would not be a problem, but it would appear that he is rather busy opening a tuck shop in Nkandla.  So, regrettably, this important innovation will remain off the grid, so to speak, for a while.  However, the Brewery has risen to the challenge and has agreed to keep Doris (the robot) in running order by regulating the drinking habits of its patrons.  This is in keeping with the spirit of South Africa’s drink-driving laws and the Brewery is pleased to be able to play its part in keeping the village sober.

In short, patrons may drink to their heart’s content when the robo is green, but must place their last orders when it winks orange.  Red, naturally enough, signals that the taps are closed and that another night of revelry is over.

Second, your faithful correspondent notes with considerable pleasure that the Clarens Galleries Association has decided to put its collective muscle behind a reinvigoration of the village art scene.  Plans are afoot to launch an annual Winter School to put the village squarely on the country’s art map.  Coupled with cooking courses, a writers’ workshop and visiting performing arts, this puts a buzz into 2014 that we can all look forward to.  And there’s more: Plans are also in hand to train some personable guides to provide tours of the Clarens galleries, to order.  Perhaps it is time we reinvented ourselves as the art capital of the New Republic – Watch this space for further details!

And finally, Kaalvoet is back in the news.  Notwithstanding rumours of her infatuation with Big Bruce of Artichoke fame, it appears that she has a new quarry.  Early risers will have been startled, on their early morning walks, to see the recumbent form of a gently snoring lad outside the Bibliophile.  This experiment in nocturnal exhibitionism has sparked a rare dividend however, as Kaalvoet is now in residence in the Clarens red light district, and spends her evenings gazing lovingly at her prince.  Where will this cross-species infatuation end, and do they listen to the same music?  Watch this space for more news of this unlikely (and perhaps one-sided) romance.

Birds next week.  Plenty of ‘em.

The Twitcher

14th November 2013: Clarens Skies

Clarens News: 14th November 2013, Clarens Skies
Contents:
Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Free State History; Christmas on our doorstep; Plant of the week: Geranium robustum; The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend – Weather; Classifieds

Clarens News Clarens Skies Southern Cross

 

The editorial staff are in a spin this week thanks to illness in the family.  (Always a problem when you have a very small staff.)  Time constraints have meant that we do not have an article from Mary Walker this week, and The Twitcher is also absent.
We do have, however, have a fascinating article on Clarens Skies from Genevieve Blignaut, and are expecting to see everyone out with their binoculars come nightfall.   Genevieve will be running weekly articles on the various constellations we can see in our Clarens Skies every week.


Clarens Skies – The Southern Cross

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News

The Crux, as Astronomers call it, is the smallest constellation in the sky, and although only five stars are visible with the naked eye it actually has many, many more. With your binoculars on hand, the Southern Cross will show you the way to the darkest and most beautiful spot in the universe.

With the naked eye you should see a small star near Mimosa, the bright   star that forms the left-hand point of Crux, but through binoculars you’ll see the star is actually a bright open cluster of sparkling blue and red stars, called the Jewel Box. The cluster is about 10 million years old, and 8,800 light-years away.

Did You Know

Crux used to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece it formed the hind legs of the constellation Centaurus, but it hasn’t been seen in Athens for over a thousand years.

The position of Crux in the sky hasn’t changed, but the Earth’s axis has! Imagine the Earth spinning on its axis like a spinning top – as the top spins the axis rotates. This rotation is called precession. The Earth’s axis precesses once every 26,000 years, which changes the area of the night sky we can see. In a few thousand years, precession will shift the South Celestial Pole, so Crux will no longer point south. Precession also means our seasons will shift through the calendar, so in 13,000 years our summer will be in June and we can finally have a white Christmas!  


Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens News Clarens Craft Beer Festival

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 was  launched last week on, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email: natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za.  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


 

Free State History

 

Boshoff & Kerley Large-Mammals-FS& Lesotho coverWhilst the Freestate  is known for its wildlife, and most of us see wildlife as one of our major attractions,  recent history tells a rather sad tale:  since the 1820′s at least 16 species of larger mammals which occurred in the Free State have been exterminated!

This is according to a recently published book Historical Incidence of the Larger Mammals in the Free State Province (South Africa) and Lesotho, by Andre Boshoff and Graham Kerley.

Click here to find out more about the book


Christmas on our doorstep

Letter from Ntsebe Mofokeng:  Phaphama Youth Deveopment: Tshepong Centre

It feels unbelievable that it is almost Christmas time again! As we get into the spirit of giving and sharing with our loved ones, we must reflect on how privileged we are to be surrounded by our precious family and friends, that we need to remind ourselves that there are little children who are affected by HIV do not have a Mom & a Dad to love & feel loved and this time of the year is a sad and desolate time for them. We cannot fill this void but we can ease their sadness by showering them with gifts and a fun filled day.

We are asking, most sincerely, for you to consider making a contribution to this special day. We would like to ask for volunteer time and supporting us in hosting the Christmas Party for 40 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children. We request anyone in and out of Clarens to purchase toys, play materials, Christmas decorations and refreshment for children. To most of these children it will be the first time receiving a gift and feel like they are cared for and belong somewhere.

The Christmas Party is planned as follows:
Date: 23 November 2012
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
Venue: Tshepong centre in Kgubetswana

For more information or clarity you are welcome to contact Ntsebe Mofokeng @ 078 245 1709 during office hours.
Phaphama Youth Development is a NONPROFIT Organisation (068 – 735) and PBO (930037537) which was established in 2008 and registered in 2009 to respond to the community health and welfare services free of charge. Our offices are based in Tshepong Centre Kgubetswana in Clarens. We strive to serve the poorest of the poor, with no thought of who deserves help, but only who needs help!


 

Plant of the week: Geranium robustum

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Geranium robustumDamien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant from the Geraniaceae family that has just recently come into full bloom.

Geranium robustum (known as Cranesbill in English), is a medium sized shrub of up to 1 m tall. The Greek word Geranos is translated as “crane” in English, referring to the shape of the seed, which resembles a crane`s bill. This plant grows on moist shrubby mountain slopes and along stream at 1600-2590 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape through to Mpumalanga.

The leaves of G. robustum are around 50 mm in diameter and usually 5 lobed right down to the base. Each lobe is sub devided several times with venation of a peculiar appearance on the upper basal surface. The leaves have a silky texture and a silvery hairy upper surface whilst they are yet more silvery below. The leave stalks can be up to 100 mm long. The flowers’ elegance lies contrary-wise  in their simlicity as they consist of 5 light purple petals with purple venation which draws focus to the off-white centre colouration. Flowers are approximately 25 mm in diam. Flowering occurs from November  – March.
Read more


 

Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 Invitation Dihlabeng

 


The Clarens : Golf News

Clarens News Golf News Clarens Open


This weekend – Weather

acuweather


 

This weekend –  Music

Please check the Clarens News facebook page for music this weekend.


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

rugby


This weekend – Other events

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

 


 

Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it on the Classifieds page on our website.   Click here   Yet another interesting jog offer this week.

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.com
(Classified advertisements are free.)

Clarens Night Sky – The Southern Cross

Clarens Night Sky The Southern CrossThe Crux, as Astronomers call it, is the smallest constellation in the sky, and although only five stars are visible with the naked eye it actually has many, many more. With your binoculars on hand, the Southern Cross will show you the way to the darkest and most beautiful spot in the universe. With the naked eye you should see a small star near Mimosa, the bright   star that forms the left-hand point of Crux, but through binoculars you’ll see the star is actually a bright open cluster of sparkling blue and red stars, called the Jewel Box. The cluster is about 10 million years old, and 8,800 light-years away.

Did You Know Crux used to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece it formed the hind legs of the constellation Centaurus, but it hasn’t been seen in Athens for over a thousand years. The position of Crux in the sky hasn’t changed, but the Earth’s axis has! Imagine the Earth spinning on its axis like a spinning top – as the top spins the axis rotates. This rotation is called precession. The Earth’s axis precesses once every 26,000 years, which changes the area of the night sky we can see. In a few thousand years, precession will shift the South Celestial Pole, so Crux will no longer point south. Precession also means our seasons will shift through the calendar, so in 13,000 years our summer will be in June and we can finally have a white Christmas!

 

Article and research by Genevieve Blignaut Clarens News


8th November, 2013: Steelwings

Clarens News: 8th November, 2013: Steelwings
Contents: In the Rooiberg; Steelwings; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Getting the Beer Fest to work for you; Community Garden News; Plant of the week: Helechrysum callicomum; The Twitcher; Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality; The Clarens : Golf News; This weekend; Let’s Remember –  11th November; Classifieds
Clarens News Clarens - In the Rooiberg

 

You simply have to read Mary’s article:  In the Rooiberg .  It will make you feel good to be alive, and even better if you happen to  live in the Free State.

The photograph features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .


In the Rooiberg

Mary Walker Clarens News Soon after I returned from England last year I was invited to spend the night on a farm in the Rooiberg, between Clarens and Fouriesburg.  I went along with enthusiasm and spent a pleasant afternoon being shown around the farm.  Our photograph this week is of a flock of sheep resting in a pen and, in the background, the Rooiberg Mountains rise up impressively into the perfectly still winter sky.

This mountain range forms the northern slope of the Brandwater basin, stretching from the watershed at Golden Gate in the east, to the Witteberg range in the west, and to the Maloti Mountains beyond the Caledon River in the south.  Within this basin, along the south facing slopes of the Rooiberg, lie the villages of Clarens and Fouriesburg.  These mountains are particularly well known for their sandstone formations, and the late afternoon light transforms their sculpted precipices into lavish shades of pink and orange and ochre.  This gave the mountain range its name – Red Mountains.

In the evening, well after darkness had fallen, my host received a message that sheep had strayed.  I was invited to come along.  We piled into the bakkie and clattered along dirt roads and tracks, up and down winding slopes, through thick darkness.  It had become bracingly cold, the temperature having plummeted, it seemed, as soon as the sun had disappeared.  Despite my hand being bare and aching with cold, I clung onto the handle above the door while the vehicle lurched and bucked its way through the dark night, frenetically chasing the headlamps’ beam barreling ahead along the rutted road.  Read more


Steelwings:

Clarens News Steelwings in Clarens

This weekend we have Steelwings returning to Clarens for the 10th time.  What an occasion!
The town has already started “purring” with that rather distinctive Harley-Davidson sound.  There will certainly be lots of action this weekend.  All Harley lovers will have lots to do and lots to see.


Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens News Clarens Beer Festival

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 was  launched last week on, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page


Getting the Beer Fest to work for you

You can not only support the Beer fest but also get it to work for you by advertising on the beer fest website.  To find out more click  here
AND
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email: natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za.  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


Community Garden News

Clarens News - Clarens Community GardensLetter from Tsepiso Mosia

The prize giving function went well as expected on the 29 October 2013.What an event.I would like to thank all the stakeholders,participants and the sponsors for the job well done.
I want to thank the following sponsors: Rand Water, Clarens Breweries,Clarens Suppliers,De Boer Family,Bon Appetit,Mont d Or,Old Stone Bottle Store,Clarens Interiors,Valley Cats, Clarens Village Grocer & Clarens Trading Post and lastly Clarens News.

Your prizes made such a difference to the event and lives of the recipients.The good news is that the event was such a success that the MEC Me Mamiki Qabathe has chosen Clarens to host the District Event on the 02 December 2013.
This is a good recognition for our town.Please let us support this event for the benefit of Clarens.

Thank you for the Team effort.

Tsepiso Mosia
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development  FS
071 079 1332
E-mail: mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com

 


Plant of the week: Helechrysum callicomum

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Helichrysum callicomumDamien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a relatively conspicuous plant that many of you would have seen if you’ve recently found yourself walking our trails.

Helichrysum callicomum (known as motoantoanyane in sisotho – English common name not available), is a medium sized perennial tufted herb, growing up to 400 mm tall. Kalli is Greek for beautiful, kome is the Greek word for hair and likely refers to the numerous flowering branches and golden inflorescences resembling a beautiful hairdo. This plant grows on river flats, gravelly banks, and overgrazed areas at 1800-2400 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe.

Read more  

 

 


The Twitcher

Clarens News The Twitcher

No news of Kaalvoet this week, which is perhaps as well, given the influx of mounted aliens from all points north, south, east and west.  These gentle souls are dedicated to the preservation of American culture and consider the flatulent rumble of a Harley exhaust a thing of beauty and joy forever.  It may be that one Harley exhaust gently chuckling on a Free State mountaintop is indeed something special, but massed in discordant harmony, the result is far from orchestral perfection.  Still, their obsession with Captain Morgan’s and flat Coke means that they will spend large parts of the weekend either unconscious or incapable of riding their mopeds, so we may be spared the cacophony for some parts of their time with us.
Of particular concern to your faithful correspondent is of course the effect of this tsunami of noise on our birdlife.  I watched with concern as my Guinea Fowl flock decamped from the plains of the Golf Estate, but it turned out to be the predatory ramblings of my Norwegian Forest cat, Zak.  They are apparently oblivious to humankind’s obsession with noisy toys and hardly cast a glance at the leather-clad strangers.  So perhaps it is just us after all.   Read more


 

Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 Dihlabeng Mayoral Charity Golf Day


 

The Clarens : Golf News

 

This competition will be our Mug of Mugs Final, our Club Champs and an Open division will be available for all those just looking to join in the fun.Clarens News Clarens Open

Cost is only R150pp, includes Halfway and snacks at prize giving!

Please distribute to your mailing lists and spread the word at your local club or bar. Your support is much appreciated.

Printed posters will also soon be distributed.

Kind Regards,

Francois Schoeman
Golf Operations Manager
www.theclarens.co.za
P
hone: 
058 2561270 / 1319
email: progolf@theclarens.co.za


This weekend – Weather


This weekend –  Music

Friday 8th November 2013

Street Café : 20h30   –   Fumadores   

Friends: 21h00 – Swetty Betty          –

Artichoke: 18h00- Deon The Soutie from Totie       –

Saturday 9th November 2013

Street Cafe:  12h00 – Deon The Soutie from Totie

Street Cafe:  21h00 – Fumadores

Artichoke:  11h30 – Fumadores


This weekend – Rugby fixtures

The boks take on the Welsh this Saturday.  Watch all the action at one of the pubs in Clarens (Artichoke has a big screen).  It’s almost like being at the game.


This weekend – Other events

Steelwings: Here’s your chance to drool over the more than 500 Harley Davidsons visiting Clarens this weekend.
Saturday: 9th November, 2013

Farmers Market:  Saturday:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile


Let’s Remember –  11th November

Clarens News 11th November remembrance

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the fighting stopped. It was the end of World War I :  the war that destroyed a generation and changed the world forever.   Remembrance or Poppy Day is observed annually in South Africa to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians not only in the two World Wars but in all other wars as well.

The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields”. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.    Click here to read the famous poem: In Flanders Fields.

The 11th November 1965 was also the day that Rhodesia declared UDI    (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) and life for many in Southern Africa was also changed forever.

 


Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it on the Classifieds page on our website.   Click here

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.com
(Classified advertisements are free.)

8th November 2013

No news of Kaalvoet this week, which is perhaps as well, given the influx of mounted aliens from all points north, south, east and west.  These gentle souls are dedicated to the preservation of American culture and consider the flatulent rumble of a Harley exhaust a thing of beauty and joy forever.  It may be that one Harley exhaust gently chuckling on a Free State mountaintop is indeed something special, but massed in discordant harmony, the result is far from orchestral perfection.  Still, their obsession with Captain Morgan’s and flat Coke means that they will spend large parts of the weekend either unconscious or incapable of riding their mopeds, so we may be spared the cacophony for some parts of their time with us.

Of particular concern to your faithful correspondent is of course the effect of this tsunami of noise on our birdlife.  I watched with concern as my Guinea Fowl flock decamped from the plains of the Golf Estate, but it turned out to be the predatory ramblings of my Norwegian Forest cat, Zak.  They are apparently oblivious to humankind’s obsession with noisy toys and hardly cast a glance at the leather-clad strangers.  So perhaps it is just us after all.

The good news is that Monday will come again, becalming Clarens in blissful silence.  The rhythms of the community, like the pace of the Ox, will be restored, and the village cleaning staff will be able to wipe away all trace of the Steel Wings 2013 extravaganza.  Of course, like most of us, I love them dearly and have the opportunity to indulge a boyish (?) fascination for these sculpted beasts; I refer, of course, to the chicks who hang precariously from the back of their machines, mentally rearranging their last testaments as they fly through the thin air of the Free State.  Ah, what dreams we had………

Of course, if we had a lick of sense, we would be falling on these Angels with hugs and kisses.  After all, they have braved the roads to get here and surely deserve rows of medals and gongs.  No wonder some of them bring their bikes on trailers!  Speaking personally, I had the privilege of four-wheels rather than two on a Monday return trip to Pretoria, but was left traumatised by the potholes between Reitz and Frankfort.  Frankly, and with due deference to our Provincial masters, I think we have to conclude that filling potholes with sand, year in and year out, is not a scientifically robust solution.

And on a lighter note, you may be interested to hear a little Clarens scandal:  An eminent lady in the village arrived home this week to find her son-in-law furious and packing his suitcase.

“What happened ?” she asked anxiously.

“What happened!!  I’ll tell you what happened.  I sent an e-mail to my wife – your daughter – telling her I was coming home today from my fishing trip.  I get home and guess what I found?  Yes, your daughter, my Jean, with a naked guy in our marital bed!  This is unforgivable, the end of our marriage.  I’m done.  I’m leaving forever!”

“Calm down, calm down!” said his mother-in-law. “There is something very odd going on here.  Jean would never do such a thing!  There must be a simple explanation.  I’ll go and speak to her immediately and find out what happened.”

Moments later, his mother-in-law returned with a big smile.  “I told you there must be a simple explanation: she didn’t get your e-mail!”

Happy Steel Wings weekend.

1st November 2013: After rain

Clarens News: 1st November 2013, After Rain
Contents: Chirstmas trees and snow; Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce; Film crew in Clarens; Clarens Craft Beer Festival; Clarens Recycling Centre; Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve; Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens; The Twitcher; Tourism News; Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality; This weekend; Coming Events; Classifieds; Clarens Skies
 

Clarens News Snow in Clarens

After this week’s welcome rain, we were rather hoping that Mary would post a photo of Clarens wearing a green robe, but I guess our comment on the snow in last week’s news, and that rather hopeful remark about a white Christmans in Clarens was just too much for her.   (Serves us right!)

The photograph features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery, Clementines Restaurant and the Old Stone Bottle Store, in Clarens.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email tojansander22@gmail.com .


Christmas trees and snow

When I was a child, on a mid winter’s night, my father lifted me, still half asleep, from my bed and carried me to the window.  What I saw through the clear pane was a thing more magical than I had ever seen before.  The snow was still falling, each flake wide as a fairy’s mantle, dancing and fluttering in slow descent.  Our trees stooped handsomely under satin white cloaks, their bows low and heavy, their brittle fronds casting off gathering flakes like dark-gloved fingers of witches.

I recall being conscious of an immense stillness.  The world outside had transformed beyond my knowing it, without a whisper to draw attention to its silent metamorphosis.  To me this was more wondrous even than a glimpse of the fairies who lived in the moss between the garden terraces.  I knew my eyes would never tire of this pure white fantasy; but soon, sleepy-eyed and happy, I was returned to my bed.

In the morning it was still snowing and it snowed for two days.  It snowed thickly right across the city, right across the Orange Free State, across almost the entire Highveld.  This was the big snowfall of 1964.
Read more


Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce

Last week’s Eish! questioned progress on the development of a Clarens Chamber of Commerce.  A good question indeed and a very timeous one.   The following points summarise the current position and describe the proposed way forward:·

– Following a number of town meetings earlier this year, a process of consultation was initiated by a three-person team including Ray Meyers, Randall Poultney and Chris Pefanis.  This group undertook a series of meetings with individuals and small groups in Clarens, to ascertain appetite and preparedness for an inclusive, apolitical and non-racial Chamber of Commerce.  The considerable efforts and commitment of this group is acknowledged.

– It is noted that this initiative is based on the philosophy that Upper and Lower Clarens constitute a single community and that the interests of every business in them is bound to the success and stability of development in Clarens.

– Facilitation of this process was taken over by Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis in September 2013, and a draft Constitution for a Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce circulated amongst business interests in Lower Clarens.  This was intended to facilitate a meeting of business interests there to discuss the concept and agree involvement.

– In spite of extensive planning, attempts to hold a meeting in Lower Clarens have so far failed.  Although it is by no means clear, it would appear that reasons include an assumption that this was and is a politically-partisan agenda and the fact that many – if not most – businesses there are in fact owned by non-South Africans.

– The draft Constitution is available and will be circulated to all businesses in Upper Clarens next week.  Perhaps the key point is that an independent Board of five members is proposed, three from Upper Clarens and two from Lower Clarens.  This weighting is driven by the comparative value of business in Upper Clarens and Lower Clarens, and the Board, once elected, will elect a Chair.

– Given this situation, it is proposed that the urgent need for such a Chamber should be expedited through a town meeting within the next 10 days.  At this meeting, it is proposed that agreement should be sought to proceed to establish the Chamber, and that Lower Clarens should be asked to organise its business interests and elect two directors to join the Board.

– The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce should therefore be formed through adoption of the draft Constitution and the initial election of three directors from Upper Clarens.  The process for doing this, and a time frame for review of the draft Constitution and election of directors, should be agreed at this meeting.

– It is noted that Peter Badcock-Walters and Chris Pefanis are committed to facilitating progress to the establishment of this Chamber and have no interest in standing for election to its Board.  It is also reiterated that this is a non-political and inclusive initiative designed to ensure the future of Clarens and protect its business interests.

– Any questions, comments or requests for copies of the draft Constitution can be directed to Peter Badcock-Walters on peterbw@eastcoast.co.za or Chris Pefanis on info@highlandcoffeeroastery.co.za.


Film crew in Clarens

Hot air Balloons over Clarens

There was a buzz in the air this week as 80 locals experienced the adventures that advertising has to offer.

Eggfilms service chose our beautiful village as their prime location for shooting a top-secret advert.  The innovative and creative team behind Eggfilms, which includes international producers, are striving to create a highly creative and effective advert, whilst keeping costs in the minimum.

Highly regarded for both their logistical and creative expertise, the team has received numerous work offers stretching across South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and even the Indian Ocean Islands.

The team enjoyed every minute here and the producer Nicci Cox asked to please extend a very big thank you to every one in town for the warm welcome and friendliness bestowed upon them.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on the release of the advert shot right here in Clarens. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you anything about the ad at this stage – except that it features a couple of  hot air balloons.


Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 launches!

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival 2014 is being launched today, 1 November, and already there is a hype in the social  media about it. Exciting times! The fourth edition of this popular festival,taking place 21-23 Feb, will see some changes: new exciting breweries, absence of some of the older ones, new food vendors, longer hours (put not too long!) and more music which includes an exciting band from Jozi… Most notable of all is a lack of corporate sponsorship or any sponsorship at all for that matter. We declined the offer of sponsorship from SAB since their requirements were not beneficial for the festival or the village. The beer festival almost didn’t happen as a result, but some support and clever footwork from locals, friends and partners in the events industry opened the doors. Long live the entrepreneurial spirit and here we go – solo!

So, besides launching what else is up?  Accommodation woes, that’s what!  This is also an appeal to the owners of every guest house, B&B, self catering establishment, hotel and booking agency  (and tent, cave, kennel) to please, please, please support the festival by taking bookings for festival goers only as far as possible – we will fill them up, guaranteed.  If there are existing bookings that you don’t know were made for the fest, how about contacting the guests and informing them of the event? If there is a wedding party booked – how about suggesting to the guests that they extend their Clarens experience by visiting the fest on the Friday? And, if you are booked up, please don’t just say “the village is full” – please refer them to the festival website where they can contact us for alternatives. The reality is that the festival relies on people to make it work, and whilst the perception is that we make a huge amount of money from this, we don’t and in fact are in the red after three years. So the 2014 edition is a watershed one; if we get the numbers we will continue with the festival. If not, this will be the last. Please don’t let that happen by supporting the festival!

For a preview of the website Click here
You should also have a look at the Beer Fest Facebook page


 

Clarens News Beerfest 2013

Getting the Beer Fest to work for you

You can not only support the Beer fest but also get it to work for you by advertising on the beer fest website.  To find out more click  here
AND
If you still have accommodation available over the beer fest  weekend, please email: natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za.  We need to make sure that everyone wanting to come to the Beer Fest has somewhere to stay.


Clarens Recycling Centre

Clarens News Plastics Recycling

Genevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsHelping the environment can always start in the comfort of your own home.

Many of us may not even give recycling a second thought, as it didn’t play a significant part in our upbringing, however the numerous benefits of the act should be enough to get all very exited over our never-ending refuse.

The Clarens Recycling Centre  has been running for three years and continues to grow in strength day by day. Evon Els talks excitedly about the increase in recycling material that is collected on a weekly basis, and states that more and more  people are becoming involved.involved.  Many of us have driven past the recycling trailer, next to Clementine’s restaurant opposite Mosiac Pizza, without giving it a second thought, but Evon states that the recycling material collected from the trailer has trippled in weight since August 2013 and various shops and business in town have also come on board.

Garbage can become quite interesting when sorted into plastics, returnable bottles, cardboard boxes, tins, cans, paper and glass, and even more so when breaking glass according to colour and sorting plastics according to type. All-and-all recycling requires and incredible amount of hard and dedicated work.

We can all help Evon and her team reach their target of 700kg’s of cardboard boxes and 6 ton’s glass bottles: all you have to do is to fill a separate black bag with all your recyclable plastics, glass, paper,  tins and cans and either load it on the recycling trailer on your way to buy milk, or quickly drop it off at the depot before your game of golf.

Happy Recycling everyone!

For more information contact Evon Els 076 293 2742


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Gnidia capitata

Gnidia 2Damien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at another plant of the Gnidia genus (family of Brandbos which was published in one of the very first PoI snippets).
Gnidia capitata (commonly known as Gifbos in Afrikaans and setele in sisotho), is a medium sized perennial shrublet of up to 300 mm tall. The genus nameGnidia is derived from Knidos – an ancient Greek city. This plant grows in rocky grasslands at up to up to 1800 m A.S.L., and is widespread throughout the eastern regions of S.A.

The leaves on G. capitata are blue-green to grey, sharply tipped, relatively narrow (30 mm long X 3-6 mm wide) and appear tufted. The plant is generally multi-stemmed. The infloresecens is surrounded by a somewhat wider collar of leaves and the flowers are small (aprox 6 mm diameter with calyx tube of around 15-25 mm long), glossy and five lobed. Fine silky hairs cover the flowers and the sepals are a mustard orange-yellowand silky hairs below. The petals are smaller and scale-shaped. The flowers are in full bloom from Oct- Dec.  Read more


Tshepong  – Place of Hope in Clarens

 


Clarens News Tshepong - A Place of HopeGenevieve Blignaut Clarens NewsTshepong, like the meaning of the word, truly is in every way a Place of Hope.

Established four years ago as an initiative of the non-profit organization Combined Churches In Action (CCIA), Tshepong has grown every step of the way and today many could not imagine their lives without the love and support from all involved. One could say that the the Bana ba Hlokang (Children in Need) feeding programme that had previously been housed in a temporary shelter at the grounds of the Ithumeleng Clinic, served as the springboard for Tshepong. Although many children received food on a regular basis, one had to ask oneself – how much more could be done for the greater community with adequate facilities and facilitators?

And so hope became tangible for many in the community, with the multi-purpose hall built on the lands of the Uniting Reformed Church in the beautiful Kgubetswana.  The large hall would be able to tend to many different needs with facilities such as a kitchen, a small office, bathrooms, computer facilities, cleaning areas and smaller meeting rooms.  Read more


The Twitcher

Clarens News The TwitcherBack to normal and clumps of international tourists clogging up the square, ‘Oooooohing’ and ‘Aaaaaaahing’ over our summer weather, frosty mornings and all.  As far as I can tell, there is no festival, fair, fete or other social event scheduled for this weekend, but who knows.  It seems that these things crop up at short notice and are occasionally successful, so brace yourselves for a surprise.  Planning, as for example in the case of the extraordinary Clarens Craft Beer Festival, confirms that these thingscan be spectacularly successful.  And what better place to do them than the Clarens square, now looking great, thanks to the town manager and his increasingly effective staff.
Not much to report on the ornithological front other than an explosion in the number of Indian Mynahs.  It would appear that they have joined the same eager, elbowing ingress into our benighted country as the Mozambiquans, Zimbabweans, Congolese, Ruwandans, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Albanians and Eastern European Mafia.  If all of them simply nested in the trees, it might be okay, notwithstanding the mess below.  However, they tend to permeate society at a more fundamental level, so you are likely have a Congolese car guard shepherding Nigerian hijackers away, while you relax in the shade sipping a Mozambique beer served by a Zimbabwean waiter, in the indirect employ of a Serbian drug lord.  So much for birdlife.
Of greater interest, hot off the press, is the news that Kaalvoet is probably a girl!   Read more


Tourism News

Tourism News 3


Invitation from Dihlabeng Municipality

 

Mayoral Charity 3

 

 


This weekend – Weather

acuweather

It’s set to be sunny for the rest of today.


This weekend –  Music

Friday 1st November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Belinda
Friends: 20h00:  Van Smith

Tamahanste Tavern:  19h30 onwards:  The Battle of the DJs,Fouriesburg featuring DJs from Clarens, QwaQwa, Fouriesburg and Bethlehem.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Grouse & Claret:  20h00:  Rick & Denzl

Friends: 20h00:  Slipstream

Artichoke:  12h00:  Belinda


This weekend – Rugby fixtures

Congratulations to the Sharks for winning the Currie Cup.  And what an entertaining game the final turned out to be.
Now that the Currie Cup is won, some of us may very well start displaying some rather odd symptoms.  (Currie Cup rugby withdrawal).   Unfortunately we do not know of any quick-fix solution, but suggest that the following international rugby fixtures may ease the pain……….a little.


This weekend – Other events

Saturday: 2nd November, 2013

Farmers Market:  10h00 – 15h00  Outside Bibliophile

Tshepong  Christmas Party,  Tshepong Hall:  14h00  (sponsored by Protea Hotel Clarens and The Bakery at 530 Sias Oosthuizen Street, Clarens)   Entrance is free.

Fouriesberg Rose Festival
For further details contact Paula Greyling 083 501-3999

 


Coming Events

Remember, remember the 5th of November,

Gunfire, Treason and Plot.

Should you be planning to celebrate this event with fireworks, please consider the animals in your immediate vicinity.  We suggest you drive out of town – and celebrate well away from our precious pets..

Visit the Clarens News website to see what else is planned in Clarens.


Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.co.za
(Classified advertisements are free.)


Clarens Skies

In celebration of  comet ISON appearing in our skies from 28th November, 2013, we have decided to run a weekly article on our Clarens Skies.  Genevieve Blignaut has already started researching solar events, and discovered that a very rare solar eclipse will take place this Sunday.
Read more


Note from the editor

Our website is still “work in progress” and you can expect to see some changes every week.  In view of last year’s shortage of accommodation over the beer fest, we have decided to upload a business directory for Clarens Accommodation as a matter of urgency.  Please contact editor@clarensnews.co.za should you wish to list your accommodation on our website.

1st November 2013

Woody and Doris - Clarens News

Back to normal and clumps of international tourists clogging up the square, ‘Oooooohing’ and ‘Aaaaaaahing’ over our summer weather, frosty mornings and all.  As far as I can tell, there is no festival, fair, fete or other social event scheduled for this weekend, but who knows.  It seems that these things crop up at short notice and are occasionally successful, so brace yourselves for a surprise.  Planning, as for example in the case of the extraordinary Clarens Craft Beer Festival, confirms that these things can be spectacularly successful.  And what better place to do them than the Clarens square, now looking great, thanks to the town manager and his increasingly effective staff.
Not much to report on the ornithological front other than an explosion in the number of Indian Mynahs.  It would appear that they have joined the same eager, elbowing ingress into our benighted country as the Mozambiquans, Zimbabweans, Congolese, Ruwandans, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Albanians and Eastern European Mafia.  If all of them simply nested in the trees, it might be okay, notwithstanding the mess below.  However, they tend to permeate society at a more fundamental level, so you are likely have a Congolese car guard shepherding Nigerian hijackers away, while you relax in the shade sipping a Mozambique beer served by a Zimbabwean waiter, in the indirect employ of a Serbian drug lord.  So much for birdlife.
Of greater interest, hot off the press, is the news that Kaalvoet is probably a girl!  Yes; it appears that Clarens’s own Bigfoot is of the feminine persuasion and has fallen in love.  Word has it that she (?) has the hots for Artichoke Bruce and is tiptoeing up to his sweeping veranda to leave little gifts for him.  Admittedly, birds eggs, wild flowers and bottle tops might not rank in the top 10 of romantic pressies, but clearly her heart is in the right place.  There is no word of Bruce’s reaction, but my spies tell me that he is blushing a lot and has been seen smiling to himself in his private moments.  Could this be the start of something big?
Finally, a story from one of Claren’s silver-backs (over 70s, for those who don’t know).  His daughter emailed him last week asking why he didn’t do something more useful with his time.  Apparently she thinks sitting around, drinking wine and watching lewd movies is not a good thing.  She said that he should be “doing something useful” and said that she was “only thinking of him”.  She suggested he went down to the Bethlehem Seniors Centre to hang-out with the other old fellows.
He did this and when he got home decided to teach his daughter a lesson about staying out of his business.  He emailed her and told her that he had joined the Bethlehem Parachute Club.
She replied immediately, asking if he was mad: “You are 73 years old and now you’re going to start jumping out of aeroplanes?” she said.  He responded that he had even got a membership card and emailed a copy to her.
She immediately telephoned him: “Are you off your trolley, where are your glasses for God’s sake?! This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club”.
“Oh, I’m in trouble again, am I?” he replied.  “Well, I really don’t know what to do now – I signed up for five jumps a week, and pre-paid for a year!”  The line went quiet and eventually his son-in-law picked up the phone and said that his daughter had fainted clean away.
Life as a senior citizen does not get any easier, the silver-back chuckled, but sometimes it can be fun………………..
The Twitcher

25th October 2013: Spoilt for choice

Clarens News Clarens Scene

This week’s photograph captures just another one of the beautiful landscapes we live with in Clarens.  What more is there to say.  Mary Walker is taking a break this week, but we can look forward to another of her photographs and entertaining articles in the News again next week.


Spoilt for choice

Last weekend we were all spoilt for choice. Such a pity that there was just too much going on for us to see it all.
We at Clarens News did however manage to do most of the Bibliophie Bookfest events – and are now inspired to take the News to greater heights.  The Bookfest was not just about books – it also gave authors a chance to network, inspire, and encourage: the South African reading public can certainly look forward to some exciting new publications in the near future. You can get an idea of what the atmosphere was like by reading Refiloe Mabejane’s blog:   I write because It’s Who I Am”and other Clarens Classic Festival 2013 Stories.

Lanny Mokwoena, who grew up and was schooled at Daljosafat  farm (between Clarens and Bethlehem) was also excited to hear about the Footprint event (see the article by Genevieve Blignaut in this newsletter) and has promised us an article about his early years on the farm (including all his poaching exploits in the area.)

It was also great fun to see Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit again. These two have put together many articles about Clarens in the past – one could even go as far as to say that they were largely responsible for putting Clarens on the map as a tourist destination.  And having had a look at their website, it seems we may expect more. http://karoospace.co.za/well-always-clarens/


Tavern Tour

Clarens News Clarens Tavern Tour

After having heard of the tavern tours many times, I finally had the privilege of going on a tour myself. We left excited per taxi from the Municipality buildings and was told by our security, Sam, that we were going to visit three of the most popular taverns in Kgubetswana

Our first stop was Tsamahantse, where we were greeted by friendly faces, a spotless environment and of course our first quart. I could feel my heart jumping to the rhythm of the music, filling the air of the heart of our beautiful township, and then we were off to experience more of the richness the community has to offer.

Zama-Zama has spectacular views of the Maluti Mountains accompanied perfectly with sounds echoing from the much-adored jukebox. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to end the tour than listening to the Stars of Kgubetswana at the busy Hunters Pub. The local band plays regularly at the taverns, and gave us memories to cherish with songs such as Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and Michael Jackson’s We are the World.

The tours are an absolute treat and a must for one and all.

Kgubetswana has much entertainment on offer and we are very excited about the “Battle of the DJ’s” taking place on 2 November 2013.  (Read next week’s Clarens News for further details.)


 Thusanang –  Footprint Project

Footprint Project in Clarens

The wonderful work of the Thusanang Care Group Centre seems to be ever expanding, inspiring and helping so many along the way. On Friday 18 October 2013 the Daljosafat Farm School, situated