Tag Archives: Clarens South Africa

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 

Welcome to Winter: 20 June 2014

Contents:
Welcome to Winter; How to stay warm in Clarens; Self-drive:  Clarens to Fouriesburg:  The Caledon Loop; Save our Horses: AHS Campaign; The Twitcher; Report Back:   Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works;
Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Schizoglossum atropurpureum ; CVC Report back: May 2014; Music This weekend; Congratulations;Restaurant Specials; Coming Events: 26 June 2014:  Supper Theatre: Brel meets Hardy;
Coming Events: 26 June 2014:  Mountain Breeze Locals Night; Coming Events: 27 June 2014: Rocky Horror Party Nite; Regional Events:  27 – 29 June, 2014:  Platteland Preveiw, Smithfield; Rugby; Classifieds; Making the Clarens News work for you; Mailing list


Welcome to Winter

Snow making at Afriski

 

No snow in Clarens yet :  just clear blue skies and very chilly nights.  But yes – winter is here and it’s time to go skiing.   Afriski (only 2 hours from Clarens) is open and the thanks to their ability to make snow, the slopes are already providing opportunities for some great fun in the snow.   Click here to find out more about making snow and to read the latest snow report, and directions (with map) to Afriski.


 

How to stay warm in Clarens

Staying warm in Clarens is easy.   Here are some tips:

Posthouse IMG_0005 Grouse IMG_0002

 

–  Wrap up warm – but wear layers of clothing so that you can always take something off when you get too hot.  (And yes – at some point of the day you will.)

– Find a sunny spot out of the wind.   It may be winter, but we still have clear blue skies, and there are lots of spots where you can thaw out in the sun.

– Eat out!  Most Clarens Restaurants are well equipped for winter weather – and what can be more romantic than a gorgeous dinner next to a blazing fire.

 


Clarens to Fouriesburg The Caledon Loop

 

Self-drive:  Clarens to Fouriesburg:  The Caledon Loop

If you’re driving the popular Clarens to Furiesburg route (one of the recommended self – drive/sightseeing routes on clarens news website) why not make a short detour and drive the Caledon Loop.

From Clarens, take the R711 to Fouriesburg.   About 18k from the Clarens Golf club look out for the turnoff left onto S1356/S505, then stay right on the S505, a gravel road which winds down to the Caledon river valley floor.    This road is in excellent condition and easy to drive in any vehicle.  Read more

 


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

 

woody_and_doris-1Contemplating winter in Clarens is a confusing business.  Gaze out of the windows and the blue skies stretch to infinity while the sun butters the rolling mountains with awesome hues of khaki and gold.  Gorgeous.  Until you step outside and freeze where you stand.  Such is the social meteorology of our mountain perch, but I wax a trifle too lyrical perhaps.  In short, it looks brilliant out but don’t plan on spending too much time galloping about in it.  That is, after all, why God’s great plan includes breweries, restaurants and guest houses with large, roaring fires.Which brings me, via a complex and tangential route, to painting by numbers.  You’ve seen them; of course you have.  The concept is simple: Some small Korean person makes a neat line drawing of, say, London Bridge or a bowl of Carnations, and carefully numbers each and every little piece of it, circumscribed by a clear and uncompromising line.  The number concerned matches, assuming you bought the right set, a collection of paints which – when carefully applied to the corresponding space on the paper or canvas – produce a pleasing (though sometimes puzzling) outcome.  As a new-borne artist, you will almost certainly leave the result in your will to some thoroughly undeserving member of your intimate family, and never do another one. Read more

 


 

Report Back:   Upgrading of Clarens Water Treatment Works

Proponent: Dihlabeng Local Municipality
EIA Ref: EMB/11(x&xi), 18(i), 40(ii), 13(c)iii(dd)/14/25

Draft Basic Assessment Report for public comment
Please note that the draft BAR and EMPr for the above project are now available for public comment. They can be downloaded at
http://www.edcs.co.za/reports-and-documents/viewcategory/15-clarens-water-treatment-works.html. A hard copy has also been sent to the Clarens Municipality to be made available for public viewing.
Stakeholders are invited to review and submit comments on these draft reports prior to them being finalised and submitted to the DETEA. The deadline for submitting comments is 23 July 2014.
Should you require any further information please contact Paul Scherzer, E&D Consulting Services : 035 791 1362/084 207 6031
Please see  the Community Notice Board for other notices relating to our Community


 Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Schizoglossum atropurpureum


Clarens Village Nature Reserve Schizoglossum atropurpureum

Damien Coulson

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a less-oft observed specimen  of the Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed) family.

Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. atropurpureum (Red-Milkwort in English, Melkwortel in Afrikaans and sehoete-moru in Sesotho) –what a mouthful, is a moderately sized erect geophytic herb of 600 – 1300 mm. It occurs in grasslands where there is a low fire incidence, but more often closer to streams where scrub and boulders are found. This herbaceous plant has been recorded at altitudes of 2040 m A.S.L. from the E. Cape through to Mpum.

This specimen was photographed along the Mallen Walk, but be quick if you want to take a happy-snap of the little bugger – the flowers are only in bloom for around a month and a half – 2 months. The stems of the genus spring-up annually from a small carrot-like tuber, which if pierced may exude a milky latex.  Read more


 CVC Report-back May  2014

Damien Coulson’s Report-back for May 2014  makes interesting reading: not only do the rangers appear to be winning the war against Alien and Invasive plants, but they’re also doing what they can about problem cattle in the reserve.   They continue their excellent work on the trails, and are now also offering to help property owners with advice on how to deal with removal of alien plants.   Click 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.


Music : This weekend

Tonight @ Friends Restaurant in Clarens:

– -Live Band – Slipstream!!!!!

Keep an eye on the Clarens News facebook page, where we’ll post any other music events, as and when we get to hear about them.


Congratulations

Richard Beaming and Carol Orfao  married on Thursday.   Perhaps (going on the photo) to be known in future Mr. and Mrs. Beeming!  Well done you two!!!!

Richard and Carol Beaming


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:  26 June 2014 : Brel meets Hardy

Can’t wait for this one.  Jacque Brel and Francoise Hardy.  Magnifique!

 

Clarens News Supper Theatre Brel meets Hardy

 


Coming Events: 26 June 2014: Mountain Breeze Locals Night

Mountain Breeze Thursday


Coming Events:  27 June 2014 :Rocky Horror Party Nite

Clarens News Rocky Horror Party


 


Platteland Preview, Smithfield, Free State

Regional Events:  27 – 29 June, 2014:  Platteland Preveiw, Smithfield

ART, DRAMA, MUSIC:

The Platteland Preview is getting a name as the place for writers and performers to try new productions before hitting the high spots of Grahamstown.

 

Visit the Platteland Preview website  for more information on the events

 


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.


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.


 

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.


Not on the mailing list?

Click here to sign up 

Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. atropurpureum

Clarens Village Nature Reserve Schizoglossum atropurpureum Clarens Village Nature Reserve Schizoglossum atropurpureum

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-monthly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a less-oft observed specimen  of the Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed) family.

Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. atropurpureum (Red-Milkwort in English, Melkwortel in Afrikaans and sehoete-moru in Sesotho) –what a mouthful, is a moderately sized erect geophytic herb of 600 – 1300 mm. It occurs in grasslands where there is a low fire incidence, but more often closer to streams where scrub and boulders are found. This herbaceous plant has been recorded at altitudes of 2040 m A.S.L. from the E. Cape through to Mpum.

This specimen was photographed along the Mallen Walk, but be quick if you want to take a happy-snap of the little bugger – the flowers are only in bloom for around a month and a half – 2 months. The stems of the genus spring-up annually from a small carrot-like tuber, which if pierced may exude a milky latex.

The flowers of S. atropurpuream subsp. atropurpureum, are borne aloft a single (occasionally 2) unbranched stems. The leaves are cross-opposite with slightly undulating margins and measure 30-50 x 8-20 mm. The inflorescence stems may sometimes be branched with 8-15 flowers per stem. The lobes are a deep maroon but may even appear almost black. There are 5 tepals per flower which are reminiscent of Christmas bells but are slightly wider than they are long (6×4 mm).  Looking closely one may notice an oblique apical notch, and taking a whiff of the flower may yield a caramel-like scent.  Flowering Jan-Mar. Uses:

Food

The root may be eaten raw and is reportedly sweet-tasting.

Traditional Uses

The roots may be bundled together and smoked to preserve them. They can then be used as a form of charm to protect against lightening.

Conservation Status

This species has been recorded as of Least Concern by SANBI.
Damien Coulson head ranger Clarens Village Nature ReserveArticle, photography and research by Damien Coulson

with input from Wim Wybenga

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………………………..

23rd May 2014

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!).  Sitting mulling through the complex aftertaste of this year’s fledgling reds, the trip along the Lesotho border came sharply into focus, confirming that the term ‘paradise’ was not far off the local truth.  Long assumed by uitlanders to be flat, big-sky country churning out maize by the container-load and rugby players by the klomp, it turns out that the Eastern Free State is a sensory geographic experience not to be missed.

So what about the birds?  Well, for those dark souls who prowl the night, the Spotted Eagle Owl is on the hunt, clearly fond of now very chilled rat au gratin.  They are a nocturnal species and emerge at dusk to start hunting voraciously; as a salutary lesson to the residents of Clarens, they are unfashionably monogamous and have one partner for life.  On the Golf Estate they sport and play in a haunting dress-rehearsal for the mating season, enchanting visitors and residents alike with their seductive calls (to whit, and I quote: hoot hoo-hoo buhoohoo-hooo).  For their part, it appears that the Indian Mynahs have flapped back to points east, finding succour in their Natal bridgehead.  They have left behind a copious collection of fruit and seed eaters, now restored to their indigenous dignity, and the rare Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus).  More a decorative tractor than bird, these spectacular creatures stalk the golf course, scaring the crap out of city golfers, since their shiny pates are clearly reminiscent of auditors and accountants, the most feared of predatory creatures for any aspirant city businessperson (note the politically-correct gender delineation?).

That said, the crème de la crème of the local feathered community remains the Guinea Fowl.  Not, of course for its uncertain looks, which cast it between a Zebra and a Gadfly in terms of colour and design, but for its intense stupidity.  The growing flocks around the village are territorial to a degree and keep dividing and re-establishing themselves on ever-tighter turfs.  Our local flock numbers between 21 and 44 depending on the season, but collectively consume about two-tons of broken maize per week.  I’m not complaining however; it is a while since I last tripped over a snake on my front lawn and the bugs that once sported in the warmer months are nowhere to be seen.  The inherent problem with having a semi-tame flock of these creatures is of course their aggression: You have not felt true fear clutch at your heart until half-a-dozen of these mad creatures surround you looking for food!  Screaming hysterically, to the consternation of your guests, you have to make a wild dash for the safety of the nearest shed, pulse galloping, white and breathless, to retrieve a sack of finest Free State mealies.  Only then can you limp back to the safety of your little stone house and collapse with a very large libation of Scottish wine in your shaking hand.

Cheers

The Twitcher

 

Zalusianskya microsiphon (Short-tubed Drumsticks)

image001 image003 image005

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

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

logo

 

 

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

 

image001 image005 image003

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

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

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 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

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!!

 

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Another week in Clarens and the Classics Festival is thankfully behind us.  Reminds me of the old chestnut: What if you gave a party and nobody came?   Not strictly true of course.  The few hundred paying guests probably had a high-old time but it was hardly what you would call a triumph.  Pity really, but if you pick the quietest weekend of the year and keep the event a secret, you must take what you can get.
Much better news from the Bibliophile BookFest though.  An excellent three-days laid an important foundation stone for future Clarens Arts Festivals and gave Clarenites a treat at several different venues.  Robin Binckes, author of Canvas under the Sky (a tale of sex, drugs and volk spele in the Great Trek) and The Great Trek Uncut was very entertaining at the Sheepshed Gallery and the Phatt Chef.  He was supported by inputs from Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob (Winnie Mandela: A Life), Refiloe Mabejane (Strawberry Lips), Chris Maris and Julienne du Toit (Karoo Keepsakes 2), Lanny Mokwena (Radio Lesedi playwright), Stephen Gray (Bosman editor and poet) and Maya Kriel (Rings in a Tree).  Stephen Gray also introduced the Sheepshed Gallery audience to the world of Herman Charles Bosman, together with Peter Badcock-Walters, designer and illustrator of the Illustrated Bosman, who discussed his illustrations and technique.  Stephen also read his poems (Shelley Cinema) at 278 on Main.
All in all a solid second year – and much more to come next year apparently.  Remarkable what you can do without a sponsor, but I suppose that Exclusive Books were too busy keeping the auditors at bay to honour their obligations to Clarens.
Having honoured my own obligations to this august publication last week by reviewing some early summer birding highlights, I have to report that the clutch of ten Ostrich chicks spotted over the nek, is down to five – and counting.  Such is the way of Mother Nature of course: Jackals and poachers et al, and perhaps a rare but contagious neck infection, seek out only the fittest for survival.  These little darlings are easily seen from the road so keep your eyes peeled, whatever that may mean.
In last week’s ornithological offering, I also warned that Kaalvoet was apparently abroad again.  For those of unfamiliar with this immense and extraordinary creature, check out The Creature Wall in the Clarens Brewery.  Variously named Big FootPea Brain (due to his/her unfortunate habit of walking into trees) and Kaalvoet, this shaggy fellow/female appears to have stirred from his/her winter slumber and re-entered the world of man.  Various reports have put his/her location anywhere from The Old Stone Bottle Store (Saturday evening break-in and consumptions of 37 bottles of beer, October 12, 2013) to the abseiling cliff used by Clarens Extreme (Tuesday morning, October 15, 2013), where he/she surprised a young lady relieving herself in the bushes.
I observe the ‘his/her’ rule of thumb in deference to the Gender Commission of South Africa, rather than make assumptions about the creature’s gender, due to the extensive camouflage of its dark brown body hair.  The important thing of course is to keep your distance and avoid pointing camera’s at the creature, which has a reputation for gentleness but an overwhelming fondness for peanut butter sandwiches.  Getting too close, particularly with a sandwich in your sticky little hand, could make for some hard choices.  And with the doctor here only twice a week, that’s not something you want to test.
The Twitcher

 

17 October 2013

Ornithological Notes

After the drama of last week’s Twitch, the news of arrests in the murder of Daan Wybenga is good indeed and reminds us that criminals in our society are not fireproof, even if the courts have a habit of letting them walk all too soon.  So, we can turn our attention to matters ornithological again.

First, the matter of the Piet-my-Vrou: Yes, he is back – well a few of them actually, signalling in a plaintive way that summer is really here.  A member of the Cuculidae family, this entertaining little fellow is actually more formally known as the Red Chested Cuckoo.  His common (Afrikaans) name stems from his song, which will be familiar to everyone in the village, unless you don’t have a tree in your little corner of God’s green acre.  Usually solitary, the Piet-my-Vrou is highly vocal and lives in forests and plantations, eating insects to pass the time between romantic encounters.  As a model for Clarens residents this bird does not necessarily score big on propriety, as it is voraciously bigamous and uses the nests of other birds to lay its eggs.  Just a thought.

Hopefully this begins the restoral of my credentials as a dedicated ornithologist.  But wait, there’s more.

On a return journey from the micro-city of Bethlehem this week, I chanced to spot a Secretary Bird stalking through the veld!  This is a very large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey (like most secretaries, now I come to think of it) called Sagittarius serpentarius.  It is endemic to Africa, sub-Saharan Africa in particular, and is actually related to diurnal raptors such as Kites, Buzzards, Harriers and Vultures.  Ringing any bells yet?  Well, it should, as it appears on our National Coat of Arms, as well as those of Sudan (North, South, who knows anymore?).  That association should score you some points in the next pub quiz, should Clarens ever have one.   Of more quizzical interest, perhaps, is the alleged origin of its name: It is popularly thought to derive from the crest of long quill-like feathers on its head, lending the bird the appearance of a secretary with quill pens tucked behind his or her ear – as was once common practice before the invasion of the dreaded computer.

Somewhat bigger, in fact seriously big, is our old friend the Ostrich.  The Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is the largest living bird in the world and can perambulate over the countryside at up to 70kms per hour, making its capture an unpredictable event.  Not surprisingly, it also lays the largest eggs of any living bird which brings me to the reason for this lesson: Ten such eggs have successfully hatched just the other side of the nek and the chicks are now obediently following their proud parents about on foraging expeditions.  Quite a sight for my tired old eyes but nice to know that these magnificent birds are not on the endangered list.

Finally, just when you thought it was safe to go roaming in the hills, there are rumours of very large footprints being found on the trails again.  Do not let it be said that I was in any way responsible for starting unsettling tales, but could it be that Kaal Voet has stirred from his long winter hibernation and is striding the valleys once more?  Watch this space.

The Twitcher

11th October, 2013

One of the most important things about living in a community is that you are a part of it; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer, to steal a line from the somewhat ironic litany of the Christian wedding vows.  This is true of Clarens, which, if I think about it, is a bit like a large, fractious family.  No matter how much we fight and snarl at each other, and we do, we tend to pull together when we are threatened or when our lives and futures are at stake.

Dismiss these platitudes at your peril however, for they have some force and conviction to them.

For example, the village of Clarens is about to initiate an October Classics festival, which will involve the translocation of thousands to see and hear great music and fine entertainment – and celebrate a bookfest; well, the four or five surviving Free State readers anyway.  While this is an early stage in Clarens’ development of arts and culture as a spectator sport, it promises much.  Imagine the reaction of the City Fathers of Grahamstown when some palooka first suggested an arts festival to swamp the town?  Yet look at their festival today, corporate sponsors and all.  The point is that, as stakeholders in Clarens Inc., we are potentially at the same point of lift-off, awaiting a trigger-finger to start a fire in the hold.  Well, a smouldering ember at least.

Yet in the same week, as we rush manically about trying to play catch-up against shrinking festival deadlines, one of our respected senior citizens is done to death for a cell-phone and elderly Toyota.

South Africa’s reality is our own and upon our doorsteps.  We can focus our attentions on the business of tourism and have a gay old time (sorry!) dancing the light fantastic around the square to raise money for Kgubetswana charities, but the truth is that we are as vulnerable as the rest of our benighted land.  Certainly, the incidence of crime in Clarens is somewhat lower than the rest of South Africa’s, as too is its severity.  But the hard truth is that we have just lost a friend, colleague and fellow-citizen to the madness of need and greed.  And surely, we will lose others over time, albeit at a fractional proportion of the country’s losses.  The victim of this murder was a gentle man who grew and gave away vegetables, who minded his own business and who gave a great deal more than he ever took.

So, as we gear up for a party celebration, we will be looking over our shoulders and wondering how this could have happened in our little village.  There will be anger, belligerence, threats and more.  Hopefully, the police will do what they are paid for and catch those responsible.  Calm heads will no doubt prevail, but there will be a sense of betrayal to deal with; a social compact broken and unwritten agreement dishonoured.  The question is whether we can rise above this jolt to our sense of security, and deal with being South African rather than merely Clarenites.  The answer is that we have to grieve and celebrate in equal measure – not just for the death of one man, but for the end of an era in which we all believed that we were somehow invulnerable here in the mountains.

The Twitcher – 11 October 2013

One of the most important things about living in a community is that you are a part of it; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer, to steal a line from the somewhat ironic litany of the Christian wedding vows.  This is true of Clarens, which, if I think about it, is a bit like a large, fractious family.  No matter how much we fight and snarl at each other, and we do, we tend to pull together when we are threatened or when our lives and futures are at stake.

Dismiss these platitudes at your peril however, for they have some force and conviction to them.

For example, the village of Clarens is about to initiate an October Classics festival, which will involve the translocation of thousands to see and hear great music and fine entertainment – and celebrate a bookfest; well, the four or five surviving Free State readers anyway.  While this is an early stage in Clarens’ development of arts and culture as a spectator sport, it promises much.  Imagine the reaction of the City Fathers of Grahamstown when some palooka first suggested an arts festival to swamp the town?  Yet look at their festival today, corporate sponsors and all.  The point is that, as stakeholders in Clarens Inc., we are potentially at the same point of lift-off, awaiting a trigger-finger to start a fire in the hold.  Well, a smouldering ember at least.

Yet in the same week, as we rush manically about trying to play catch-up against shrinking festival deadlines, one of our respected senior citizens is done to death for a cell-phone, music centre and elderly Toyota.

South Africa’s reality is our own and upon our doorsteps.  We can focus our attentions on the business of tourism and have a gay old time (sorry!) dancing the light fantastic around the square to raise money for Kgubetswana charities, but the truth is that we are as vulnerable as the rest of our benighted land.  Certainly, the incidence of crime in Clarens is somewhat lower than the rest of South Africa’s, as too is its severity.  But the hard truth is that we have just lost a friend, colleague and fellow-citizen to the madness of need and greed.  And surely, we will lose others over time, albeit at a fractional proportion of the country’s losses.  The victim of this murder was a gentle man who grew and gave away vegetables, who minded his own business and who gave a great deal more than he ever took.

So, as we gear up for a party celebration, we will be looking over our shoulders and wondering how this could have happened in our little village.  There will be anger, belligerence, threats and more.  Hopefully, the police will do what they are paid for and catch those responsible.  Calm heads will no doubt prevail, but there will be a sense of betrayal to deal with; a social compact broken and unwritten agreement dishonoured.  The question is whether we can rise above this jolt to our sense of security, and deal with being South African rather than merely Clarenites.  The answer is that we have to grieve and celebrate in equal measure – not just for the death of one man, but for the end of an era in which we all believed that we were somehow invulnerable here in the mountains.

The Twitcher: 4 October 2013

Woody and Doris - Clarens News

Sorry to be absent without leave last week.  Your faithful correspondent had to attend the funerals of seven cattle, all victims of vehicle accidents on the roads of Clarens.  Just amazing that motorists don’t recognise the cows’ right of way while grazing contentedly around the village.  Quite different in the Sub-Continent where vehicles, from richly decorated buses to scooters carrying families of nine and more, simply stop and wait while the Holy Cows go about their business.  Ah well.

But talking of the village, much to report: Clarens businesses got together on Sunday last to have some fun and contribute to charity.  That’s right; the community braai was a roaring success, notwithstanding the absence of much of Lower Clarens, who were dragooned into sharing a lamb with our municipal leaders.  Interesting coincidence that, calling a meeting at 14h00 on a Sunday afternoon to discuss service delivery protests, ah, issues, and serving a deceased lamb on a spit.  Surely no attempt to keep residents away from the community braai?  Whatever.

Said Lower Clarens communities will still receive R15,000 from the festivities on the square and everyone went home tired but happy, as the actress said to the Bishop.  The results of the braai competition are reported elsewhere in this august publication, but most noteworthy was the manifestation of pap into what were euphemistically called ‘papcakes’, stuffed with onion and spinach and fried in olive oil.  Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

Summer temperatures this week, notwithstanding chilly night breezes, and an award –winning piece of landscaping outside a well-known Clarens eatery.  In an attempt to create a swan refuge and cultivate waterblommitjies (Aponogeton distachyos flowers, commonly known as Cape pondweed) local gourmand Shelly moved a tree, water main and three-phase electrical cable in a death-defying intervention.  Fortunately, the mains shorted immediately the water hit the cable, so 47 municipal employees were spared anything worse than their gumboots melting.  Sportingly, Shelly has buried the swans and is building a split-level soup kitchen as a memorial to fallen trees.

And what news from the Clarens Tourist Forum?  An October Festival to put the rest of South Africa in second-place for this month, at least.  The programme is to be found elsewhere in the Clarens News, but of particular interest is the Bibliophile Bookfest.  A whirlwind of literary events between the 18th and 20th of October, with a Writer’s Dinner (19h30 @ the Phatt Chef) on the Friday evening.  Writer Robin Binckes will be talking about his new book, The Great Trek, Uncut, and you can expect some fireworks here in Great Trek country – given that his earlier work, Canvas under the Sky – Drugs, Sex and Rock n’ Roll in the Great Trek, suggests we were not the first to make Girl Scout cookies out of Lesotho Mountain Cabbage.  Whew, it’s all go in our little village!

Oh yes, birds.  The editor has given me a flea in the ear for ignoring my remit thus far, so here goes: There are lots of them about, making a noise in the mornings and eating all the bloody seed expensively acquired from the seed hostelry.  All shapes and sizes, so take your pick and consult your Roberts for further details.  Me, I’m watching the rugby this weekend………….at least until the All Blacks score the winning try.

4th October 2013: Spring Fever

Clarens - Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Water – Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Sir Evelyn Baring, the British High Commissioner to Basutoland, was the first to formally suggest that the surplus water of the Mountain Kingdom could potentially supplement the shortages in neighbouring South Africa.  His vision set in motion the processes that would lead to one of the most significant engineering projects on the African continent.

Our photograph this week (which features in the Cluny Animal Trust Calandar for 2014)is taken in a quiet residential part of Clarens against the sandstone cliffs of the Swartland.  Some of our newcomers to Clarens, and many of our visitors, might be unaware of the close proximity of this small town to a segment of this distinguished engineering feat, and of the role that the area played in the project execution. Read more


 

Community Braai Challenge – 29th September 2013

 

Oh what a day it was!! 16 Teams entered, R15000,00 was raised for local charities and the Clarens community responded – with aplomb!!  The SPF, Tsusanang Care Group, Cluny Animal Trust and Mr & Mrs William Soko will each receive R3750.  Read more

List of Winners, Prizes, Donations and Results

To see the list of winners, prizes, donations and results :  Press here 

 


 

Classic Clarens Festival 18-20 October

 

Start the weekend off with Kaya Mthethwa on friday evening.

Saturday:  Relax in the tea garden on the square while enjoying a Vintage Fashion Show :   with Phoebe from Mona Liza Garment Gallery; “Forehands”  Hansie  Jordaan and Rene Human  (2 pianos); Working on Fire; Moriteng Choir, and

 

Saturday evening enjoy a classic concert with Pia Jesu Eleganza, Chris Coetzer, Andre Schwartz and Mariette Pitout.


 

Bibliophile  Bookfest  18-20 October 2013

The Bibliophile has, once more, put together an exciting program for the Bibliophile bookfest.

Writers dinner, Film Premiere, authors, supper theatre – and lots more.

To see the program:  Read more


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Gymnosporia buxifolia

 

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. 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. Buxifoliarefers 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.

Read more

 

 


 The Twitcher

Sorry to be absent without leave last week.  Your faithful correspondent had to attend the funerals of seven cattle, all victims of vehicle accidents on the roads of Clarens.  Just amazing that motorists don’t recognise the cows’ right of way while grazing contentedly around the village.  Quite different in the Sub-Continent where vehicles, from richly decorated buses to scooters carrying families of nine and more, simply stop and wait while the Holy Cows go about their business.  Ah well. . But talking of the village, much to report:  Read more

 

 


 

Ubuntu Monday

UBUNTU MONDAY 7 October at CORNELIA FARMHOUSE

THIS IS A BIG TRAVEL FOR SOME YOU but we can organize lifts…call DEAN  058 2561729 or 072 1339615


Working on Fire – Letter of thanks

Hi there

May I please through your publication thank all the firefighters that converged on the farm “Ararat” last Saturday when we had rather devastating out of control fires. They were absolutely fantastic and were really fighting hard well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Unfortunately  I don’t have their names as there was no time for ‘socialising’.

On behalf of the owners, Quartus and Cobie Botha, thank you very much!

Kind Regards,

Linky van der Westhuizen


 

This weekend – Weather

We’re beginning to think that spring is rapidly passing by – the last few days have felt more like summer, and this year’s new spring babies are growing-up fast, as can be seen with this foal, born at Bokpport about three weeks ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This weekend – Live Music

Friday 4 October 2013
Grouse & Claret:  20h00 onwards:  Rick and Denzl
Street Cafe:  20h30 onwards:  Drywater (From Bloemfontein: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOrvABp5oGU
Friends: 20h30 onwards Van Smith

Saturday 5 October 2013
Street Cafe: 20h30 onwatds:  Drywater
Friends: 20h30 onwards: Van Smith

Slipstream is playing at the Bethlehem Expo on Saturday at 17h00 and at the Blue Barley at 20h00.


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

Absa Currie Cup Premier Divison | FIXTURES

All times CAT (SA, GMT+2
October 2013  Absa Currie Cup Premier Division/ Fixtures
4 Blue Bulls v Sharks Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 19:10
5 Griquas v Free State Cheetahs GWK Park, Kimberley 14:00
5 Western Province v Golden Lions Newlands, Cape Town 14:00
October 2013  Super Rugby Championship

 

5 South Africa v New Zealand Ellis Park, Johannesburg 17:00
6 Argetnina v Australia Estadio Gigante de arrovito, Rosaria 00.40

MORE Coming Events : Visit the Clarens News website to find out about all the other events coming to Clarens.There’s lots happening this month.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.com (Classified advertisements are free.)Note from the editor AT LAST  : The Adventure Page is on the website.We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens. Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please check that we have the adventures you have to offer listed on the website.  email: editor@clarensnews.com if you’re not listed, or if you have a problem with the way we’ve listed you.


 

This weekend – Other things to do

Saturday:
Farmer’s Market outside the Bibliophile. 10h00 – 14h00.

Sunday:  Hot air ballooning.  Special – for this Sunday only.
R1850 per person (which includes breakfast)  phone:  Megan 082 4692072

The Bethlehem Expo is happening this weekend.  To see the program press here


 

Note from the editor

AT LAST  : The Adventure Page is on the website.

We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens. Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please check that we have the adventures you have to offer listed on the website.  email: editor@clarensnews.com if you’re not listed, or if you have a problem with the way we’ve listed you.

27th September, 2013: Let’s Braai

Clarens News; Exotic vegetation in Clarens

Exotic Vegetation

Our photograph this week shows a cluster of cosmos flowering blithely against the backdrop of a high ridge on the Rooiberg range.  In the late summer months these resilient flowers enrich our roadsides with their shades of pink, red, mauve and white, their distribution extending from the midlands, through the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg foothills, the Eastern Free State and many parts of the highveld.  The story of their introduction to South Africa is well documented.   Cosmos, closely related to the sunflower, is listed as an alien plant species in South Africa.  Once exotic plants become ‘naturalised’ and able to propagate and establish themselves in natural surroundings, their impact or potential impact should be assessed and, where necessary, management procedures put in place.  Read more

Calendars can be purchased at Clarens Gallery (House of Woven Art), Clementines Restaurant , the Village Grocer and the Old Stone Bottle Store.  Alternatively they can be ordered from Katherine on 0827886287, Jan on 0782462553, Helen on 0582230918 or by email to jansander22@gmail.com .  ….More on the Cluny Animal Trust

Let’s Braai
Community Braai Challenge – 29th September 2013

Please submit your entry forms as soon as possible. (Certainly no later than noon on Saturday)


 Appeal for Braai Challenge Prizes

WE APPEAL TO YOU ALL FOR A ‘DONATION/SPONSORSHIP’ OF A FUN PRIZE – COULD BE A ‘COFFEE + MUFFIN’ OR A ‘MAKE YOUR OWN PIZZA’ OR JUST A PIZZA OR A MEAL VOUCHER, SPA TREATMENT, PAINTING LESSON, COOKING/BAKING/CAKE DECORATING/MUSIC/SINGING LESSON, JAR OF PICKLES/PRESERVES, ANYTHING AT ALL, JUST USE YOUR IMAGINATION. IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD, ENTER YOUR TEAMS, CHALLENGE YOUR ‘COMPETITORS’ AND BUILD THE MOMENTUM TOWARDS A FANTASTIC COMMUNITY EVENT! PLEASE EMAIL VOUCHERS/DONATION DETAILS TO EITHER NATALIE MEYER Natalie@clarensbrewery.co.za or TAMMY HANCOCK ctf@clarenssa.co.za

Thank you to the following establishments for their generous support in Prize sponsorships for the event:
Clarens Brewery, Homing Instinct, Highland Roastery, Clarens Yoga Centre, Horeb Butchery, Clarens Destinations, Garment Gallery, Posthouse Restaurant, Brambleberry, ClarensXtreme


Plant of the week: Moraea stricta

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Plant of the week”. We’ll be looking at a plant at the far end of the spectrum as opposed to last week’s plant of the week – 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. stricta is interesting in that the leaves are usually absent during the flowering stage (Sept – Nov).   Read more


 

Illegal Activites in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Muti 3 Muti-e1395756328512 muti-2-e1395756550763

Over the past two weeks the C.V.C. rangers have noted an increase in the number of ripped-open bags being dumped along the Spruit. This week

Please submit your entry forms as soon as possible. (Certainly no later than noon on Saturday)alone, 6 full bags of household refuse have been cleaned-up and removed from the trail.

One instance of illegal muti-digging was observed in the Clarens Nature Reserve. An individual dragging 2 very heavy sacks behind him was asked to open them for an inspection – both were full of medicinal plants (bulbs, tubers, corms, roots, etc.), some of which were protected and vulnerable plant species. The rangers also asked the individual to produce a permit, which he did, however the permit seemed suspect. Some while later down at the station, the police found the permit to be fraudulent and on questioning, the statement of the culprit was as one of the rangers so eloquently put it, “kind-of like a Jackie Chan karate movie – completely fong-kong and full of loops!”.

All jokes aside, the rangers are working hard to keep the environment that we all love and enjoy in as pristine a condition as possible, but even they cannot be everywhere at once. This week the rangers got lucky and apprehended a culprit red-handed, however the eyes of the community need to be kept vigilant to similar activities. Thanks to those of you who have assisted the C.V.C. with information at times, and to the rest – stay sharp

In connection with illegal or suspect environmental activities the C.V.C. can be contacted at:
Head Ranger:Damien Coulson – 076 833 8910;
C.V.C. Chairman:  Rodney Wainwright  –   083 680 7770.


A Black South Easter Blows into town


Black South Easter blew into town unexpectedly this week, and blew all of us who saw them away. Band members Nkoza Sitsholwana (vocals), Jim Curve (base), Dan Boshoff (guitar) and Jerry Mbowa perfromed for us at Street Cafe, Artichoke and Friends.  We loved it – and fortunately Black South Easter love us too.  They plan to re-vist Clarens again soon.  (Look out for their new album: Black South Easter In Waves)


Environmental Education: 88 students at St Fort

On Tuesday the 17th of September the C.V.C. rangers attended an environmental education event at St. Fort farm on invitation from Clarens Xtreme  with  a total of 88 grade 6 students from Jordania Primary – a local school based in Bethlehem. The students were out on a 4 day leadership camp where they would learn about teamwork and the basic problem solving skills necessary to become the next group of prefects. The experiences of those 4 days would help the students to develop these attributes and ultimately play a role in prefect selection in early 2014.   Read more


This weekend – Live Music

Friday 27 September 2013
Grouse & Claret:  7.30pm  onwards:  Ric and company
Street Cafe:  8.30 pm onwards:  Grumpie Old Men

Saturday 28 September 2013
Street Cafe:  12h00-15h00:  Deon, the Soutie from Toti
Artichoke:  after the rugby:  Jana and Mia


 This weekend – Rugby fixtures


This weekend – Other things to do

Saturday:
Farmer’s Market outside the Bibliophile. 10h00 – 14h00.

Dinner Dance at Courtyard Cafe.  R150pp  Includes 3 course meal. Phone 082 6501503 to book

Sunday:
Community Braai Challenge on the square.  14h00 – 18h00.

LET’S BRAAI


Coming Events : Classic Clarens Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Events : Bibliophile Bookfest 2013

Writers dinner, Film Premiere, authors, supper theatre – and lots more.

To see the program 


 

MORE Coming Events :

Visit the Clarens News website to find out about all the other events coming to 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.com
(Classified advertisements are free.)


 

Note from the editor

The best laid plans of mice and men.  We promised you an Adventure page on the website last week…..sorry.  We are still struggling with the web design aspect of the news.  (Probably because the editor would much rather be doing something else!)

ADVENTURES.  We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens. Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please let us know what adventures you have to offer to our Clarens visitors:  email: editor@clarensnews.com

 

 

The Twitcher – 20th September 2013

All smiles this week.  The sun shines, spring is sprung, the grass is riz.  In short, all we need is a serious rainy season to make the year complete.  Starting tomorrow.

Little to report on the ornithological front, other than some reproductive antics from our resident Hadedas, Darby and Joan.  In a time-honoured tradition, Darby appears to feel a profound urge, jump on top of Joan and balance there for as long as it takes.  Joan meanwhile, keeps extracting worms from our greening lawn and appears oblivious to the invasion of her, um, space.  Of more immediate interest are matters bovine: Some of our readers may have noticed an invasion of apparently quite hungry cattle in and on our CBD.

In and of itself, this phenomenon is quite romantic from a tourist perspective and is even reminiscent of rural landscapes by Gainborough and his chums.  Certainly good for the odd picture postcard.  Or is it?Yesterday, your faithful scribe had to take desperately evasive action to avoid a collision with a young heifer on the Golden Gate Road outside the village and today left long skid marks up Main Street, narrowly missing a cow with some serious attitude.  On further inspection, I saw another milk-provider munching the pot plants outside a local carpet shop and heard the clattering of not-so-tiny hooves passing Highland Coffee’s shady surrounds.  And at the Golf Estate, the security guards were manically chasing another small herd off the entrance garden (?), where the beasts were cropping the emerging greenery.

This would be tremendously fulfilling if we were, say, Animal Action, but in fact we are not.  We don’t even own any of these flatulent creatures, which incidentally look splendid on the farms around us.  Just not in our gardens, roads, shops (unless they carry Visa cards) and parks.  Perhaps the SAP should take some action, given official regulations about livestock on roads, but of course they won’t.  So what now?

Well, we could wait for a fatal collision on the byways around us, the trampling of innocent tourists on the square or real damage to retail and domestic properties.  Or we could do what the locals have always done: Break out the chain-saws and have the biggest braai in the history of the square.  No doubt this would get the attention of our masters but the problem is that we would get charged for all sorts of misdemeanours, not including heartburn.  Perhaps it’s just me, but is there something wrong with this picture?

The Twitcher

20 September 2013: Heritage Day

Clarens Clouds and Rain

 Clouds and Rain

The photograph above  features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.
The cloud in the photograph is not a typical cloud type of the Free State; however, it is not uncommon in these highlands of the Eastern Free State.  Its formation, which is known as lenticular, shaped like a lens, is caused by the movement of the wind and is almost always associated with a mountainous region.  Read more   
Calendars can be purchased at 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 .  …….More on the Cluny Animal Trust


 

Heritage Day – 24th September 2013

24th September is Heritage day – also known as National Braai Day.  Originally celebrated as Shaka Day, it was decided that this day would not just commemorate King Shaka who was instrumental in uniting Zulu clans into a cohesive nation, but to celebrate  the rich cultural heritage and the diversity of  all those people who make up our rainbow nation.  Nelson Mandela:  “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we know that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”

BUT we live in Clarens, and being a holiday destination, just about everyone in Clarens will be too busy seeing to the needs of guests to worry about Heritage Day. It was therefore decided that we would not only celebrate Heritage Day, but in the true tradition of  this day, we would celebrate the whole Clarens Community by having a Community Braai-off on Sunday 29th September.  Everyone is invited to have some fun, dress up for the occasion, sample some local cooking, and at the same time help those in need in our local community.

To find out how YOU can get involved……Read more


 

Community braai: 29th September, 2013


Maloti Makiti

Fouriesburg is celebrating in style this weekend. The program includes a Farmers Market, Cheese and wine, Soccer, Musical concerts, Pet parade, Potjiekos, Tavern Tours, kids entertainment, and even a Gospel show. For the more athletically inclined there is also theMaloti Modder challenge (the ultimate cross-country challenge) the Maloti Makiti Mile. And if that isn’t enough – a soccer tournament.
To see the full program…..read more


 

Plant of the week: Cussonia paniculata

 

Cussonia 1Damien Coulson:

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.

Read more


 

A visit to the Thusanang Care Group

 

Genevieve Blignaut

Driving through Kgubetswana I couldn’t help but smile from my heart. The kindliness experienced in the beautifully kept township of our town made me feel truly grateful to be a part of our community.
One of the treasures that must be explored and supported is the Thusanang Care Group. This Non-Profit organization was established in 2004 running various programs free of charge to the Kgubetswana community.
Health and welfare is the main focus of Thusanang rendering services such as Home Based Care, HIV/ Aids awareness and Orphaned and Vulnerable children programs.      Read more


 

The Twitcher

All smiles this week.  The sun shines, spring is sprung, the grass is riz.  In short, all we need is a serious rainy season to make the year complete.  Starting tomorrow.

Little to report on the ornithological front, other than some reproductive antics from our resident Hadedas, Darby and Joan.  In a time-honoured tradition, Darby appears to feel a profound urge, jump on top of Joan and balance there for as long as it takes.  Joan meanwhile, keeps extracting worms from our greening lawn and appears oblivious to the invasion of her, um, space.  Of more immediate interest are matters bovine: Some of our readers may have noticed an invasion of apparently quite hungry cattle in and on our CBD.

In and of itself, this phenomenon is quite romantic from a tourist perspective and is even reminiscent of rural landscapes by Gainborough and his chums.  Certainly good for the odd picture postcard.  Or is it?  Read more


 

This weekend – Weather

It looks as though  there’s a good chance we may see some of the cumulonimbus clouds mentioned in Mayr Walker’s article this week:  Clouds and Rain


 

This weekend – Live Music


Friday: 20th September 2013
Artichoke: 18h00: Deon the Okie from Soutie
Street Cafe: 20h30:  Denzl & Hensie
Friends: 20h30:  Van Smith

Saturday: 21 September 2013
Artichoke: 13h00: Jana & Mia
Street Cafe: 20h30: Denzl & Hensie
Grouse & Claret:  20h30:  Slipstream
Friends: 20h30: Van Smith

Sunday 22nd September 2013
Grouse & Claret: 13h00 Jana & Mia


 

This weekend – Rugby fixtures

South African Currie Cup September 2013

20

Western Province

v

Griquas

Newlands, Cape Town

19:10

21

Sharks

v

Free State Cheetahs

Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban

15:00

21

Golden Lions

v

Blue Bulls

Ellis Park, Johannesburg

17:05


Coming Events

The planned program for the ClassicClarens Festival 2013. has been updated. ….Read more

The Bookfest program has not been published yet, but it looks as though this going to be tn event to remember. The sneak preview of the Winnie Mandela film is quite a coup, and it seems that Debra has also managed to entice some very well-known authors to the event.

We will keep you posted. (I can’t wait!)

To see what else is happening……visit the  Events page on our website


Note from the editor

The best laid plans of mice and men.  We promised you an Adventure page on the website last week…..sorry.  We are still struggling with the web design aspect of the news.  (Probably because the editor would much rather be doing something else!)

ADVENTURES.  We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens. Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please let us know what adventures you have to offer to our Clarens visitors:  email: editor@clarensnews.com

Clarens News: 13 September 2013

clucal45

The photograph above  features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.

The photograph was taken from the access road to Sunnyside Guest Farm, between Clarens and Golden Gate, looking back towards the eastern flank of Mount Horeb,  and served as theinspiration for photographer Mary Walker’s article: Valley of Art.  Read more

Calendars can be purchased at The 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 .  …

 

 Golden Gate National Highlands Park

50th birthday

There is to be a birthday celebration at the Meriting picnic site on Friday, 13th September 2013,starting at 10.00am.
For further information please contact:  Gloria Ngobeni on 058 255 0933

For those of you who missed last week’s Clarens News, take a look at Mary Walker’s article on the Golden Gate Highland National Park – in honour of the 50th anniversary.

THE FIRE SEASON RAGES ON

Last week saw several potentially dangerous fires in the surrounding area – and even one on the Golf Estate. Thank goodness for the Working on Fire team, who respond so quickly and efficiently to keep us safe and ensure minimal loss. Everyone however has their part to play:

Ensure that you have fire suppression equipment available for our staff (water hoses, fire beaters, knapsacks, etc.)

Ensure that your staff are aware that they may not light fires in the open.

Ensure that your guests are aware that there is a ban on all open fires.

Ensure that everyone knows who to contact in case of fire.

Why not print out Important Numbers from the Clarens News website and stick them up on your fridge door – or where everyone can see them.


SPF Appeal

Keeping our town crime free is everyone’s responsibility and  all crime should be reported to the police station.

  • Charge office  –  058 256 6001 and 058 256 6002
  • Officer on duty –  082 466 8904
  • Station Commander  –  Capt Mohale – 082 419 7094

In an effort to co-ordinate crime statistics  The Sector Police Forum  also ask that anyone who has not received a case number for crimes reported to the police to please contact the Sector Police Forum. ( Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925)
The SPF does a huge amount of work, keeping our town crime-free. The village is divided into blocks – each with a SAM (Sector Area Manager.)  Residents are more than welcome to contact their SAM to report potential suspicious behavior whereupon the SAM will follow it up with the SAPS.
To see the list of SAMs on duty this month  …

Department of Agricuture: Project on Vegetable Growing

Letter from Tsepiso Mosia

Dear Clarens/Kgubetswana Community

It is a pleasure to inform you that the Senior Agriculture Officials and Hlasela TV Crew are coming to our village tomorrow to inspect and film the households,schools,churches,creches,clinic and projects that have registered and prepared their gardens for planting.

Remember the aim of the project is to teach the people to grow and eat their own vegetables FRESH FROM THE GARDEN  and we will have healthy community.

The good news is that the Clarens Primary School learners have been provided with vegetables seeds packets on 28 August 2013.We ask their parents to help them to prepare the soil so that they can plant the seeds.It is so nice to see that there are people who have vegetables gardens like Mr Daan who lives at 302 Market Street South.

I would like to thank the Clarens Fire Association and WoF Team for the great job that they are doing in making fire breaks and responding quickly to veld fires that occur in our entire valley.This saves our Department and farmers millions of rands by saving Ha from burning.Keep up the good work.Lastly i would like to congradulate Golden Gate National Park on their coming Birthday.

Tsepiso MosiaDepartment of Agriculture & Rural Development
Ph: 710791332E-  email:mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com

 

Plant of the week: Rhamnus prinoides

Damien Coulson:
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.  Read more

Golf Club News

The Freshly Pickled Country Gals (a group of 14 fun-loving, adventurous women from different golf clubs in Nottingham Road and other parts of the Natal Midlands were in Clarens this week to improve their golfing skills, and more importantly,  to have some fun. The group certainly brightened up the town with their fun T-shirts, and bright green caps. For most of the group this was their first trip to Clarens, but not their last.  The general consensus was that “ …everybody needs to know what a stunning little town Clarens is “  Apart from playing golf, these Freshly Pickled Country Gals (Sue Till, Paula Beddow, Colleen Anderson, Sandi Bryan, Wendy Slabbert, Alison Hind, Sarah Ellis, Jane Polkinghorne, Linda Smith, Zette Hardie, Missy Hughes, Rosie Symons, Erica Millican, Jane Mullins) did loads of shopping, lunched at the Clarens Brewery, and……generally just had loads of fun. We look forward to welcoming them back to Clarens.

(Information posted to the Golf Estate newsletter by Francois Schoeman)
Phone: 058 256 1385

 

Forthcoming Golf days at The Clarens Golf Estate

September 28-30                  National Junior Club Championships

October 11                         Jordania Primary Golf Day
October 19th                       CTF Golf Day
October 24th                       BMW Golf Day
October 26th                       CFA Golf Day
December 7th                     Clarens Open

 

The Twitcher

Being back in Clarens is a serious reality check.  For starters, life moves so quickly here that it is almost impossible to distinguish one day from another.  I accept that Saturdays stand out by virtue of the thousands of tourists who gorge themselves at our tables, buy our quaint offerings and drink the Brewery dry, but apart from that, one day sort of blends into another.

I was reminded of this truism by my reading of George Bernard Shaw, the distinguished twentieth-century Irish dramatist and occasional economist.  He once remarked that ‘the secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not’.   Well.  Looking about me, I have to say that for a village at the centre of universe, there are a lot of quite depressed-looking people about.  No criticism of course; I have it on good authority that my own lips point southwards more often than seems reasonable.  But the question that arises is why we are not permanently wreathed in smiles?

Read more

 

This weekend – Weather

acuweather 13th September


 

This weekend – Live Music


Friday 13 September:

Grouse and Claret   The Slashdogs and Violet Somedays 20h30

Friends     Swetty Betty 20h00


 

Coming Events

Everyone is already hard at work preparing for the Classic Clarens Festival 2013.
This is of course still “work in progress” but we will keep you posted as events unfold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note from the editor

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Genevieve Blignaut to the Clarens News team. With Genevieve’s many talents we envisage that Clarens News will just keep on growing, and get better and better.

Our website is also taking shape, and from Monday next week the website will have an additional  new page:  ADVENTURES.  We have all been working hard at collecting information on all the adventures on offer in Clarens, and will keep on up-dating this page as we discover even more adventures.  Our aim is to build a website which reflects Clarens and everything it has to offer, but,  we need your help to achieve this. Please let us know if we’ve left anything out – or if you have any suggestions as to how we can make this page even better.   email: editor@clarensnews.com

The Twitcher 12th September 2013

Being back in Clarens is a serious reality check.  For starters, life moves so quickly here that it is almost impossible to distinguish one day from another.  I accept that Saturdays stand out by virtue of the thousands of tourists who gorge themselves at our tables, buy our quaint offerings and drink the Brewery dry, but apart from that, one day sort of blends into another.

I was reminded of this truism by my reading of George Bernard Shaw, the distinguished twentieth-century Irish dramatist and occasional economist.  He once remarked that ‘the secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not’.   Well.  Looking about me, I have to say that for a village at the centre of universe, there are a lot of quite depressed-looking people about.  No criticism of course; I have it on good authority that my own lips point southwards more often than seems reasonable.  But the question that arises is why we are not permanently wreathed in smiles?

The birds all look quite happy, indeed they are mating like rabbits as we speak.  Even Bigfoot, or Kaalvoet as he is locally known, appears content with his solitary ramblings in the Clarens mountains; if you doubt this, have another look at the Creature Wall in the Clarens Brewery and observe his bemused grin.  Okay, Clarenites might not have Biblical knowledge of one another quite as often as our feathered friends (or as they might like), and might not have the balls and bearing of Kaalvoet, but is it really necessary to go about looking as though we are in the grip of a locust-plague?

The short answer is no.  We are lucky enough to enjoy our leisure time in a very special spot, assuming you can afford the golf fees, and even the weather is comparatively benign.  If you doubt this, turn on your radio of a morning, lie back and peel an apple while listening to traffic reports of trucks pirouetting on the N3 and bumper-to-bumper cars from Brakpan to Pretoria.  Although our architecture will win few prizes, at least you can see the bloody houses without having to stand on a two-metre ladder.  And so on.  The point is that there is no good reason to be miserable, unless you forgot about Ubuntu Monday or missed your tee-off time at the Golf Club.

Perhaps the problem is the social strait-jacket we all seem to wear.  Considering the size of our village, I am constantly stunned to meet complete strangers who have apparently lived here for 20 years.  I vividly remember the late-lamented Ken Stewart of Bibliophile responding to my question about what had brought he and Debra to Clarens: ‘It is’ he said ‘a refugee centre for eccentrics’.  Well, to appropriate George Bernard Shaw yet again, ‘We want a few mad people now.  See where the sane ones have landed us!’  Put differently, what we need is a friendly smile from everyone, a wave and even – dare I say it – an exchange of greetings; perhaps even a booking with someone you don’t really know at one of our many great restaurants in Clarens next week.

I have it on good authority that this is not a dress-rehearsal.  We are on a finite leash and owe it to ourselves and those we share this space with to enjoy every waking moment.  So, go on and invite someone you suspect might be half-way human to dinner, or even a mountain hike, if they don’t look too much like an axe-killer.  Whatever else you do, smile at someone new today, and hope that you are not locked up for impropriety.

The Twitcher: 5 September 2013

Oh, the joys of travel: A week free of twitching and wrestling with an intransigent keyboard, a change of altitude and diet, and new faces untaxed by the stresses of life in Clarens.  Miles of open highway, strangely unblemished by potholes; thousands upon thousands of Rands-worth of petrol stops; villages after towns, mostly unremarkable but some delightful and quite instructive in terms of competitive tourism.

But the greatest delight, believe it or not, is returning to this quaint settlement on the Maloti Route.  Yes, it’s true.  The grass is definitely greener in Cape Town, but the cars were floating in floodwater, so perhaps that’s a self-solving equation.  Hermanus was gorgeous and testimony to effective Provincial administration and the value of foreign investment.  Plettenburg Bay was, well, short of water, but the floods were close behind me and closing fast.  Heading north, the Karoo was simply grand once Prince Alfred’s challenging Pass was conquered, as was Graaf Reinet, fourth-oldest of South Africa’s towns and looking every inch (millimetre?) the stylish centre of early exploration.  A voyage of discovery, one way or another, and an expanded sense of what the country has to offer.

Which makes homecoming immensely pleasurable.  To see Clarens in the context of at least parts of the Western and Eastern Cape is both edifying and stimulating: We have a particular charm that is somewhat unique and benefits from its proximity to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and the Natal Midlands – notwithstanding the impediment of the dysfunctional Oliviershoek Pass (does anyone else remember the legal requirement for a functional alternative route to toll-roads?).  We also have an awful lot to offer.  A new Clarens website, now under construction, is inundated with things to do, see, eat and sleep in, to the extent that it keeps being delayed by fresh information.

So, if you are feeling stale or even faintly jaded, pack a bag, top up your petrol card and head on out (but stay on the highways).  I can’t guarantee that you won’t fall in love with another little town somewhere, but the odds are that you will return home feeling very grateful for this little refuge from the twenty-first century.

Finally, turning to matters ornithological, as required by my contract with this august publication, I observed quite a few birds along the way.  I have to tell you, regrettably, that the ubiquitous Indian Mynah has settled in the Western Cape and all points in between, bringing a flavour of New Delhi and the Punjab to our pristine shores.   Raptors were in short supply, perhaps hiding in the low cloud base along the way, but generally speaking, I had the sense that aliens were overwhelming the indigenous birds we may remember from Roberts guide to our home-grown species.  Perhaps a metaphor for our two-legged population, now around 96 million and apparently rising by half-a-million a day, judging by the shops I passed along the way.  Oh, must go, there are some Canadian Snow Geese to be fed and an Ethiopian Snipe has just landed………………

The Twitcher

September 5th, 2013: Spring is in the Air

Golden gate cluny - Mary Walker

Spring is in the Air

This photograph was taken by Mary Walker from the Glen Reenen side of Golden Gate and features as the cover picture of the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.  Calendars can be purchased at The Gallery, Clemintines 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 .

The Golden Gate National park celebrates its 50th anniversary as a National Park on 13th September. It’s history does however go back much, much further. Our photographer Mary Walker, inspired by the beauty of the area, has written a fascinating article on how the Golden Gate landscape was formed.  Click here

Spring Art Festival

Readers will remember the call by the Clarens News to visit their local galleries and celebrate the first of many Spring Art Fairs to come.  This year’s inaugural Fair is of course still on and runs through Sunday 8 September.  Posters are up everywhere and brochures are available by the hundred, so there is no good reason for locals (and visitors) not to invest their children’s inheritance in fine artwork.  A reference map is also available to guide buyers and art aficionados around the town’s Art Route.

Johan Smith

Ten members of the Clarens Galleries Association are participating in this first Spring Art Fair and have opened their galleries to admiring crowds.  Johan Smith’s gallery (No.9 on the Art Route) features his own oil paintings, as well as hand-made glass by David Reade and paintings by guest-artist Este Mostert, who will be painting in the gallery for the duration of the Fair.

The Enslin Vorster Gallery (No.2 on the Art Route) will feature an exhibition of Enslin’s miniature paintings and sketches; Merle Vorster will exhibit smoke-fired ceramics and the guest artist in residence will be Raymond Andrews.

Peter Bonney 1

Peter Bonney (No.10 on the Art Route) presents an exhibition of recent paintings and guest artist Sarah Northcote will be working in the gallery, together with flamework artistPeter Lampshed, who will demonstrate his flamework sculpture.

The Helen Claassen Gallery (No.8 on the Art Route) exhibits her acrylic work and Helen will be available to share ideas and do demonstrations.

The Blou Donki Gallery (No.5 on the Art Route) will exhibit the work of many well-known artists, and paintings, photography, glass and bronze works will be on show; Anton Gericke will be the guest artist in residence.

rhino web (2)

Peter Badcock-Walters is exhibiting nearly 100 illustrations from the Illustrated Bosman, as well as his southern Africa militaria drawings (Faces of War and Images of War) and wild life paintings, in the Sheepshed Gallery (No.7 on the Art Route); he will be available to talk about his work over a glass of sherry.

 

ALL EARS IMG_4579

 

Tina de Beer (No.14 on the Art Route) is presenting an exhibition entitled ‘Visions and Reality’ in her Gallery, where visitors will be welcome to watch Tina paint and discuss her work in pen and ink and acrylics.

 

Artist Loezytha will present ‘Pege’s Art’ (No.12 on the Art Route) and give demonstrations over the period of the Fair; she will do portraits live in her studio from photographs and the theme of exhibition will be ‘Hope’.

Carla van den Berg will be hosted at The Gallery (No.13 on the Art Route) and she will exhibit her popular and whimsical work in pen and ink and acrylics.

The Clarens Art Guild will be exhibiting group work in the Protea Hotel (No.6 on the Art Route) and paintings by 16 local artists will be on display, in various media and styles, catering for a wide range of tastes.

Apart from this, several more artists and galleries in Clarens will support the Art Fair with exhibitions, demonstrations and talks.  Amongst these are Richard Rennie (No.15 on the Art Route), Simon Addy and Lyn Hoyle (No.1 on the Art Route), Artefunto (No.4 on the Art Route), Robert Badenhorst (No.11 on the Art Route) and the Wine & Art Gallery.  So whether you are an admirer of the creative process, an aspirant art buyer or simply someone in need of a glass of wine and conversation, Clarens is the place for you this week.

In fact, it’s the place for you, every week!


Important Meeting

Notice from the CVC

All residents, business owners and ratepayers are encouraged to attend an important meeting to update and involve the community in some very important developments in the Clarens area.  These issues affect every resident in the Clarens area.We will be sharing how we have utilised your taxes and contributions during the last year to contribute to improving our community.  We will also be discussing some future plans for the following year which will require your participation.  These initiatives require your involvement to be able to be sustained and we urge that your minimum contribution is to at least attend the meeting and provide your input.

Venue: Clarens Methodist Church Hall   Wednesday 11 September 2013 at 16:30

Golden Gate National Highlands Park

50th birthday

There is to be a birthday celebration at the Meriting picnic site on Friday, 13th September, 2013.
Starting at 10.00am.
For further information please contact:  Gloria Ngobeni on 058 255 0933


 

 Arbor Week in Clarens

Arbor Week was celebrated in true Clarens style on Wednesday, 4th September, 2013.  Children from Clarens Primary, Clarens Combine, and Dihlabeng Christian School, the Working on Fire team, the Clarens Village Conservancy rangers, and Clarens municipal workers as well as your news hound from Clarens News (and even a few of the local cows) amongst many others, all turned up to celebrate and plant 37 liquidambers on the verges of the Dihlabeng entrance into Clarens. These trees will certainly brighten up that entrance into Clarens in the years to come. (Only hope I live long enough to see it.)  And isn’t planting for a better, brighter future what Arbor week is all about? Read more

Clarens Fire Association – Working on Fire

THIS IS FIRE SEASON

and everyone needs to be on the alert and well prepared.

  • Ensure that you have fire suppression equipment available for our staff (water hoses, fire beaters, knapsacks, etc.)
  • Ensure that your staff are aware that they may not light fires in the open.
  • Ensure that your guests are aware that there is a ban on all open fires.
  • Ensure that everyone knows who to contact in case of fire.

Why not print out Important Numbers from the Clarens News website and stick them up on your fridge door – or where everyone can see them.


 SPF Appeal

Keeping our town crime free is everyone’s responsibility and  all crime should be reported to the police station.

  • Charge office  –  058 256 6001 and 058 256 6002
  • Officer on duty –  082 466 8904
  • Station Commander  –  Capt Mohale – 082 419 7094

In an effort to co-ordinate crime statistics  The Sector Police Forum  also ask that anyone who has not received a case number for crimes reported to the police to please contact the Sector Police Forum. ( Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925)
The SPF does a huge amount of work, keeping our town crime-free. The village is divided into blocks – each with a SAM (Sector Area Manager.)  Residents are more than welcome to contact their SAM to report potential suspicious behavior whereupon the SAM will follow it up with the SAPS.   Click here to find out more about the SPF

Department of Agricuture: Project on Vegetable growing

Letter from Tsepiso Mosia

I would to thank everyone who participated in our meetings on 28 August 2013.It was such a success even our guest Thabo Olivier was impressed by the community,different stakeholders and Clarens Primary School learners and teachers.

Please encourage your servants to come and register and grow their own vegetables.This project is for the entire Clarens community rich or poor, black or white.

Lets work together as a community and destroy this poverty.Remember to prepare your soil now and keep it suitable for planting.Seedlings and seeds will be provided at end of September – beginning of  October 2013.

Kind Regards,
Tsepiso Mosia
Department Of Agriculture & Rural Development FS
Phone:  0710791332   E-mail:mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com


 Plant of the week: Chrysanthemoides monilifera

DamienDamienDamien1-100x100

Damien Coulson

 

 

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. Read more

 

 

 

Golf Club News

(Information posted to the Golf Estate newsletter by Francois Schoeman)

Phone: 058 256 1385

Forthcoming Golf days at The Clarens Golf Estate

 September 28-30             National Junior Club Championships

October 11                          Jordania Primary Golf Day
October 19th                       CTF Golf Day
October 24th                       BMW Golf Day
October 26th                       CFA Golf Day
December 7th                     Clarens Open


 

The Clarens Garden Club News

The Clarens Garden Club had a chance to see where some of those gorgeous veggies on offer at the Clarens Farmers Market every saturday are grown. On the 28th August Jessie van der Berg hosted the garden club at Davelsrust Farm. A most interesting morning where Jessie showed members around the garden, explained some of the permaculture principles behind the garden’s layout and talked about how everyone on the farm strives to live a sustainable lifestyle. We all finished off sipping tea and tucking into the scrumptious eats  (all made on the farm using farm produce) on the sandstone house verandah. A very enjoyable – and inspiring – morning…  Click here to find out more about Clarens Garden Club

 

 

 The Twitcher

Oh, the joys of travel: A week free of twitching and wrestling with an intransigent keyboard, a change of altitude and diet, and new faces untaxed by the stresses of life in Clarens.  Miles of open highway, strangely unblemished by potholes; thousands upon thousands of Rands-worth of petrol stops; villages after towns, mostly unremarkable but some delightful and quite instructive in terms of competitive tourism.

But the greatest delight, believe it or not, is returning to this quaint settlement on the Maloti Route.  Yes, it’s true.  The grass is definitely greener in Cape Town, but the cars were floating in floodwater, so perhaps that’s a self-solving equation.  Hermanus was gorgeous and testimony to effective Provincial administration and the value of foreign investment.  Plettenburg Bay was, well, short of water, but the floods were close behind me and closing fast.  Heading north, the Karoo was simply grand once Prince Alfred’s challenging Pass was conquered, as was Graaf Reinet, fourth-oldest of South Africa’s towns and looking every inch (millimetre?) the stylish centre of early exploration.  A voyage of discovery, one way or another, and an expanded sense of what the country has to offer.  Read more

 

This weekend

 

 


LIVE MUSIC

Denzel and Hensie  – provide the musical entertainment in Clarens this weekend. Playing at the following venues:

Grouse & Claret:  Friday 6th September. 8.00 pm onwards

Street Cafe:  Saturday  7th September 12.00 – 3.00pm

Artichoke:  Saturday  7th September  (after the rugby)

Rugby Fixtures: 7 September 2013

09:35 New Zealand vs Argentina Waikato Stadium, Hamilton The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
12:05 Australia vs South Africa Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
15:00 GWK Griquas vs MTN Golden Lions GWK Park, Kimberley Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
17:05 Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
19:10 DHL Western Province vs The Sharks DHL Newlands, Cape Town Absa Currie Cup Premier Division

Coming Events

Always something happening in Clarens.  It’s sometimes difficult to keep track…

Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.
The new Clarens News website is beginning to come together. We don’t have all the bells and whistles yet, but you are welcome to place an ad in the classifieds section.
Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.com


Note from the editor

The new Clarens News website is coming along very nicely and should soon reflect our dynamic town. And being that Clarens is such a dynamiic town, the website will keep on growing and changing. We do however welcome all comments and suggestions. email us: editor@clarensnews.com

The Twitcher 22 August 2013

Okay, okay.  So there was no snow last week and the Big Blue overhead suggests that it may be somewhere ahead.  Maybe next year.  Simple proof that your correspondent is far from fool-proof, albeit well-intentioned.

Nothing to report on the ornithological front either, unless you count the positively fecund activities of the doves which soil my gutters.  Cute in its own way, this reproductive activity coincides with the greening of the Willows and the proliferation of buds on every tree I seem to have.  Must mean spring is imminent, which makes a mockery of my predictions of snow.  Or does it?  15,000 shepherds in Lesotho can’t all be wrong.

So to the forthcoming Spring Art Festival in our sleepy village, an event that may over time grow to be a serious date on the national calendar.  For now, the village’s artists are wrestling with venues, programmes and openings, all calculated to fill Clarens with art buyers, critics and aspirant artists.  So, fingers crossed, we look forward to a surge in our weekend visitors, sustained through the week and into the following weekend.  May they buy freely and with thick wads of folding stuff (which used to be known as ‘stiff notes of corruption’ until our Government made this description somewhat ironic).

However, all this emphasis on visitors raises the question of local interest and participation: Notwithstanding the valiant efforts of our Clarens Art Guild, now showing in the Protea Hotel, when did you last see a local in any gallery in the village – unless they were buying wine, of course.  This is a serious question.  We have over 20 well-signposted galleries and studios in Clarens, but I’ll wager that few locals could name more than three, and probably haven’t crossed their thresholds since the old King died.

So come-on Clarens, you have filled the Phatt Chef and 278 on Main pretty much every Monday and Wednesday night since Simon and Sue initiated their contribution to social intercourse in the village.  What about taking a trip to see what your local artists have been doing?  You don’t even have to buy (although that’s a nice prospect) but give your creative juices a stir with a little ramble amongst the galleries.  There are probably about 3000 paintings, drawings and sculptures on show, together with artists plying their craft to the delicious background rumbling of old jazz, so there has got to be something of interest – even if it is only a glass of wine.
See you there.
The Twitcher

22nd August 2013: Painting with light

Contents”  Clarens Spring Fair, CVC Notice, SPF Appeal, Department of Agriculture Vegetable growing project; Blood donations; Plant of the week Felicia filifolia ; CVC Fun Day at Clarens Xtreme, Tourism Forum News; News from The Clarens Golf Estate, The Twitcher, This Weekend, Coming Events.

Painting with light

Clarens News Exotic vegetation in Clarens

The first Clarens Spring Art fair starts on the 28th August, and it seems that mother nature will be displaying her wide palette of ever-changing colours specially for the occasion. There is a promise of spring in the air: there are touches of green in the lawn and some the fruit trees growing in Clarens are already putting on a spring show of blossom.


 


Important Meeting

Notice from the CVC

All residents, business owners and ratepayers are encouraged to attend an important meeting to update and involve the community in some very important developments in the Clarens area.  These issues affect every resident in the Clarens area.

We will be sharing how we have utilised your taxes and contributions during the last year to contribute to improving our community.  We will also be discussing some future plans for the following year which will require your participation.  These initiatives require your involvement to be able to be sustained and we urge that your minimum contribution is to at least attend the meeting and provide your input.
Venue: Clarens Methodist Church Hall
When: Wednesday 11 September 2013 at 16:30

 


SPF Appeal

Keeping our town crime free is everyone’s responsibility and  all crime should be reported to the police station.

– Charge office  –  058 256 6001 and 058 256 6002
– Officer on duty –  082 466 8904
– Station Commander  –  Capt Mohale – 082 419 7094

In an effort to co-ordinate crime statistics  The Sector Police Forum  also ask that anyone who has not received a case number for crimes reported to the police to please contact the Sector Police Forum.

Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925

Click here to find out more about the SPF


Department of Agricuture: Project on Vegetable growing

The Mentor of the Agricultural Project of vegetables Mr Thabo Olivier is coming to Clarens on 28 August 2013 to meet the community,schools, business people and church leaders about the importance of growing your own vegetables in your own backyard garden. He will also demonstrate on how to grow vegetables using recyclable materials even in a small space.

Times are as follows:

Business: 10H30 am @ municipal Office
Schools: 08H00 am @ different schools/30 min each.
Community: 16H00 pm @ Kgubetswana Hall

Tsepiso Mosia
Department Of Agriculture FS
Phone:  0710791332   E-mail:mosiatsepiso@yahoo.com


 

Your blood saves lives

Plant of the week: Felicia filifolia


Damien1-100x100

Damien Coulson

 

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).  Read more

 


CVC Fun Day at ClarensXtreme

Thursday 15th August 2013 saw thirteen students (winners of the Environment Day poster competition at Clarens Primary)  enjoy a fun day at Clarens Xtreme, where they were to treated to quad biking, zip-lining and Put-put. Ollie Esplin was kind enough to sponsor the Put-put and zip-lining for all the students, whilst the Clarens Village Conservancy sponsored quad-biking.  Although all of the students seemed to enjoy the quad-biking, one young student could not help but smile broadly for the entire duration of her ride…  Read more


Tourism Forum News

As announced last week, the Clarens Tourism Forum will be representing Clarens at the upcoming N3 Gateway’s Gauteng Getaway Show at the Northgate Dome at the end of the month, and is looking for assistance from anyone who is willing to help. The show is expected to attract around 23 000 visitors, and it is a great marketing opportunity.

We are now calling for CTF members to bring your marketing material (pamphlets, business cards etc) to be distributed at the the stand.

Please drop off with Fran at Clarens Destinations next to the Post Office before Wednesday 28 August 2013.

Thanking you in anticipation,
Clarens Tourism Forum


Free Workshops for Hospitality Staff

The following FREE Funded Training is being offered to the Clarens Community Businesses
for the upliftment of their staff and for Interns and upskilling unemployed people around the area.
National Certificate:
Accommodation Services NQF2 – (Focussed on housekeepers in the hospitality sector)For more info on this qualification, please refer to the page on this site:http://www.africanglobalacademy.co.za/

National Certificate:
Food and Beverage Services NQF4 – (Focussed on waiters and barmen in the hospitality sector)
For more info on this qualification, please refer to the page on this site:http://www.africanglobalacademy.co.za/

For the duration of these programs your staff will be paid R2000 a month /
Pro rated dependant on working hours
For more information please email marketing@clarenssa.co.za


SA Tourism:  The Power of One

The Power of One

 

South African Tourism’s road show  The Power of One will be visiting the Free State on the 26th and 27th August, 2013.

No further details are available at present


 

News from The Clarens Golf Estate

Bethlehem Voortrekker High School made some history on Monday, all three their teams walked away as Eastern Free-State Champions. January 2013 Voortrekker and Clarens Golf Estate started a Golf Development Program to develop more junior golf being played at school level in specifically the Eastern Free-State. This relationship has started to bear fruit as Voortrekker is now crowned champions in all three divisions.

The teams competed against various schools in the region, culminating in the final being hosted at The Clarens Golf Estate on 19 August. The three divisions were played out between Witteberg and Voortrekker for third division. Between Ladybrand, Witteberg and Voortrekker for second division and the first devision was contested between Voortrekker, Ficksburg and Witteberg. After an entertaining round of golf, Voortrekker left the 18th green as champions in all three divisions.
With this new relationship between Voortrekker and The Clarens Golf Estate still in its early stages, much can be expected in the future from these young champions.

Forthcoming Golf days at The Clarens Golf Estate

 September 28-30             National Junior Club Championships

October 11                          Jordania Primary Golf Day
October 19th                       CTF Golf Day
October 24th                       BMW Golf Day
October 26th                       CFA Golf Day
December 7th                     Clarens Open


 

The Twitcher

Okay, okay.  So there was no snow last week and the Big Blue overhead suggests that it may be somewhere ahead.  Maybe next year.  Simple proof that your correspondent is far from fool-proof, albeit well-intentioned.

Nothing to report on the ornithological front either, unless you count the positively fecund activities of the doves which soil my gutters.  Cute in its own way, this reproductive activity coincides with the greening of the Willows and the proliferation of buds on every tree I seem to have.  Must mean spring is imminent, which makes a mockery of my predictions of snow.  Or does it?  15,000 shepherds in Lesotho can’t all be wrong.

So to the forthcoming Spring Art Festival in our sleepy village, an event that may over time grow to be a serious date on the national calendar.  For now, the village’s artists are wrestling with venues, programmes and openings, all calculated to fill Clarens with art buyers, critics and aspirant artists.  So, fingers crossed, we look forward to a surge in our weekend visitors, sustained through the week and into the following weekend.  May they buy freely and with thick wads of folding stuff (which used to be known as ‘stiff notes of corruption’ until our Government made this description somewhat ironic).

However, all this emphasis on visitors raises the question of local interest and participation: Notwithstanding the valiant efforts of our Clarens Art Guild, now showing in the Protea Hotel, when did you last see a local in any gallery in the village – unless they were buying wine, of course.  This is a serious question.  We have over 20 well-signposted galleries and studios in Clarens, but I’ll wager that few locals could name more than three, and probably haven’t crossed their thresholds since the old King died.

So come-on Clarens, you have filled the Phatt Chef and 278 on Main pretty much every Monday and Wednesday night since Simon and Sue initiated their contribution to social intercourse in the village.  What about taking a trip to see what your local artists have been doing?  You don’t even have to buy (although that’s a nice prospect) but give your creative juices a stir with a little ramble amongst the galleries.  There are probably about 3000 paintings, drawings and sculptures on show, together with artists plying their craft to the delicious background rumbling of old jazz, so there has got to be something of interest – even if it is only a glass of wine.  Read more
See you there.
The Twitcher


 

This weekend

Smile! You could be on TV

Mooiloop!  The team from this South Africa lifestyle travel series produced by Blue Marble Entertainment are in Clarens this weekend.  Presenters Valiant Swart and Denvor Phokaners are visit ing lesser known (?) towns and villages across South Africa,  introducing Mooiloop viewers to the stories and the people who call these places home.  The Mooiloop series is broadcast weekly on SABC on Wednesdays at 19h30.

Live Music

Friday 23 August 2013
Friends:  8.30 pm onwards:  Slipstream
Grouse & Claret: Denzel & Hensie

Saturday 24 August 2013
Artichoke: 11.30am – 3.00pm: Denzel & Hensie
Artichoke: 6.00pm onwards:  Denzel & Hensie
Friends: 8.30pm onwards:  Slipstream

Rugby

Springboks vs Argentina 24 August 2013

Springbok Squad, Replacements and Team

Team

1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks); 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs);3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks); 4 Eben Etzebeth (Western Province); 5 Juandre Kruger (Racing Metro); 6 Francois Louw (Bath);7 Willem Alberts (Sharks);8 Duane Vermeulen(Western Province); 9 Ruan Pienaar (Ulster); 10 Morne Steyn (Blue Bulls); 11 Bjorn Basson (Blue Bulls); 12 Jean de Villiers (Western Province); 13 JJ Engelbrecht (Blue Bulls); 14 Bryan Habana (Western Province);15 Willie le Roux (Griquas)

Replacements /PosPlayerTeam

16 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks); 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse); 18 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs);19 Flip van der Merwe (Blue Bulls); 20 Siya Kolisi (Western Province); 21 Jano Vermaak (Toulouse);22 Pat Lambie (Sharks);23 Jan SerfonteinBlue  Bulls)


 

Currie Cup Rugby 2013 Fixtures 

23 Aug Free State Cheetahs vs Sharks Bloemfontein 19:10
24 Aug Griquas vs Western Province Kimberley 15:00
24 Aug Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions Pretoria 17:05
30 Aug Golden Lions vs Western Province Johannesburg 19:10
31 Aug Free State Cheetahs vs Griquas Bloemfontein 15:00
31 Aug Sharks vs Blue Bulls Durban 17:05
7 Sep Griquas vs Golden Lions Kimberley 15:00
7 Sep Blue Bulls vs Free State Cheetahs Pretoria 17:05
7 Sep Western Province vs Sharks Cape Town 19:10
13 Sep Free State Cheetahs vs Golden Lions Bloemfontein 19:10
14 Sep Griquas vs Sharks Kimberley 15:00
14 Sep Blue Bulls vs Western Province Pretoria 17:05
20 Sep Western Province vs Griquas Cape Town 19:10
21 Sep Sharks vs Free State Cheetahs Durban 15:00
21 Sep Golden Lions vs Blue Bulls Johannesburg 17:05
27 Sep Free State Cheetahs vs Western Province Bloemfontein 17:05
27 Sep Golden Lions vs Sharks Johannesburg 19:10
28 Sep Griquas vs Blue Bulls Kimberley 14:00
4 Oct Blue Bulls vs Sharks Pretoria 19:10
5 Oct Griquas vs Free State Cheetahs Kimberley 14:00
5 Oct Western Province vs Golden Lions Cape Town 14:00
12 Oct Golden Lions vs Griquas Johannesburg 15:00
12 Oct Free State Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls Bloemfontein 17:05
12 Oct Sharks vs Western Province Durban 19:10
19 Oct Team 1 vs Team 4 TBC 14:30
19 Oct Team 2 vs Team 3 TBC 17:00
26 Oct TBC vs TBC TBC 17:00

Coming Events

Always something happening in Clarens.  It’s sometmes difficult to keep track.  Check the Events page on this website.


Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.
The new Clarens News website is beginning to come together. We don’t have all the bells and whistles yet, but you are welcome to place an ad in the classifieds section.
Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email: editor@clarensnews.com

Note from the editor

We regret that there will be no Clarens News next week.  The staff will be on holiday.
Oh HAPPY DAYS !!!

15th August, 2013: Going fishing

Fishing in Clarens

For those who think there’s no fishing to be had in Clarens, take a look a this photo sent to us by Scott Hunter.  Scott writes:

“Here is the picture of the trout my son (Oliver) and I caught in the town dam. The fish defiantly have a preference towards bigger fly’s fished on Intermediate lines close the the bottom. We got two on Friday afternoon and I got a another nice cockfish on Saturday morning. The fish in this photo was close on 3kg, even though the picture doesn’t quite do it justice. It was a great fight with lots of big jumps and strong fast runs, putting me skills to the test with the light 4lb tippet I was using. The good news is that this fish is still swimming in the dam in a perfect condition.”   Should you want to recatch this beauty you will need to cast a fly in the Townland’s Dam which is managed by the Clarens Fly fishing Club.  Get your fishing permit from ClarensXtreme.

The rivers are closed to fishing at the moment, but  will re open on the 1st September, 2013.

Clarens and the surrounding area has some of the best fly fishing spots in South Africa – but you need to know where to find them.  Contact Greg: 073 428 2478

You’ll also find fishing news on www.facebook.com/ClarensFishing


Letter to the whole Clarens community

Date: 12 August 2013
To the whole Clarens community:
As I’m sure you are all aware by now, there was a break-in this weekend on the Golf course…
Thus:
I would like to compliment and thank every single person that was involved with the arresting of a house robber this weekend. I cannot remember everyone by name because there are so many.
We have never in our lives seen a community work together like we saw this weekend.  Every single person from caddies, security guards and managers of the golf course to residents, SAPS, Police forum and bystanders were involved.
If it wasn’t for your rapid response and communication with each other the suspect would still be at large and we would be without our belongings.
We feel that the rest of the country can learn from you on how a community should work together to help prevent, fight and abolish crime.We take our hats off to you and salute you in a job well done and for being an example of how our country can be operating.
Thank you for putting my faith back into our country.
Kind Regards
Raoul vd Walt


SPF Appeal

Keeping our town crime free is everyone’s responsibility and  all crime should be reported to the police station.

  • Charge office  –  058 256 6001 and 058 256 6002
  • Officer on duty –  082 466 8904
  • Station Commander  –  Capt Mohale – 082 419 7094

In an effort to co-ordinate crime statistics  The Sector Police Forum  also ask that anyone who has not received a case number for crimes reported to the police to please contact the Sector Police Forum.

  •  Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925

Clarens Fire Association – Working on Fire

From a letter addressed to Rodney Wainwright from Dick Lemmer:

What an amazing experience to see the team of working=on=fire in action during a run-away fire on the farm Kuriake.
With the help of Duncan, local farmers and your team, the fire was put out within a few hours……
The work you and your team are involved with can only be seen as a great asset to the community within the district of Clarens.

As you can see fires are a huge problem in our area, and we are really lucky to have the WoF team based in Clarens.  We do however, all need to play our part. Remember that the ban on open fires is still effective.

The Clarens Working on Fire team continue to be on stand by to protect our village and the surrounding area.
They do however, need your help…Read more

 

Plant of the week:  Buddleja salvifolia


Damien1-100x100

Damien Coulson

 

 

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. ….Read more


 C.V.C. Fun Day at Clarens Primary School

Damien Coulson (Head ranger CVC) sent a full report on the recent fun day at Clarens Primary School.
Two weeks back the C.V.C. introduced 300 students to the concept of recycling through a brief PowerPoint presentation and recycling game. The second (and main) event: the C.V.C. Fun-Day, was held on Thursday August the 8th after a great deal of preparation.
Early on the morning of August 8th Sherri, Damien and the rangers set up a score of games on the playgrounds of Clarens Primary. The games had been developed with care over the past few weeks using mostly recycled materials. Students from both the Foundation (grades 1-3) and Intermediate (grades 4-7) Phases were given an opportunity to try each of the 7 recycling orientated games that had been developed for the day.The students really had a good time and even some of the educators joined in on the fun. The WoF team impressed the rangers with their ability to work with children and Sherri helped ensure that the day ran smoothly.
Later that day the rangers and Sherri (and one interested Working on Fire teammate) took the time to visit each class from grades 1 – 7, to score and judge the recycling posters produced by each of the groups per grade. In the end a winning team from both the Foundation & Intermediate Phase was selected (after some healthy debate) and the winning teams were  announced on Monday the 12th of August during (an early morning) assembly. The winning group from Grade 2 went positively ballistic when their team was announced and the winning group from grade 6, although only slightly more collected were also thrilled when their group was announced. Both groups displayed their winning posters for the entire school to see.

CVC Fun Day 7.jpg.pngThe educators expressed their gratitude to Damien & Sherri and explained that this wasthe first such event that the students had been provided the entire year. The winning teams will be transported to Clarens Xtreme on Thursday the 15th of August using the Working on Fire truck and accompanied by Sherri, the rangers & several WoF teammates. (Mostly) everyone involved in the Fun-Day thoroughly enjoyed the event and it was clear that all the planning had been well worth the joy it invoked. It seems that more such Fun-Days just might be on their way!
To read the full report  and see all the photographs Press here


Tourism Forum News :

Call for assistance at the upcoming Gauteng Getaway Show
==================================The Clarens Tourism Forum will be representing Clarens at the upcoming N3 Gateway’s Gauteng Getaway Show at the Northgate Dome at the end of the month, and is looking for assistance from anyone who is willing to help. The show is expected to attract around 23 000 visitors, and it is a great marketing opportunity.We would like to have 4 people to man the stand, and have 2 so far. You need to stand at the stall and hand out pamphlets and promote Clarens verbally, generally just be friendly and promote the Town as “Clarens The Destination”.Traveling and accommodation costs will be covered by the CTF.The dates and times are:**· **Friday 30 August – 11h00 ? 19h00****

**· **Saturday 31 August – 09h00 ? 19h00****

**· **Sunday 1 September – 09h00 ? 17h00****

Representatives will also be required to check in at the Northgate Dome on Thurs 29 August for a briefing session and to collect badges etc.

Please will anyone that is interested in helping contact any of the following people:

Tammy Hancock – ctf@clarenssa.co.za
Chris Green – marketing@clarenssa.co.za
Chris Pefanis – comms@clarenssa.co.za

Thanking you in anticipation,

Clarens Tourism Forum


Free Workshops for Hospitality Staff

The following Funded Training is being offered to the Clarens Community Businesses for the upliftment of their staff  and for Interns and upskilling unemployed people around the area.

National Certificate: Accommodation Services NQF2 – (Focussed on housekeepers in the hospitality sector)

National Certificate: Food and Beverage Services NQF4 – (Focussed on waiters and barmen in the hospitality sector)

For the duration of these programs your staff will be paid R2000 a month / Pro rated dependant on  working hours

For more information please e mail marketing@clarenssa.co.za


The Twitcher

Last week I suggested that Clarens was on something of a roll.  Well, in terms of building anyway.  Imagine my surprise when the long weekend (yes, OK, happy Woman’s Month yet again) inundated the village with more visitors than Easter, apparently confirming the level of interest in the Clarens experience?  Sure, there were well-founded rumours of snow in the high mountains of Lesotho but breaking every sales record in the history of the Clarens Brewery??  Now that’s a measure of success.
Being an exploratory sort of fellow, I ventured out of my darkened study into the Clarens CBD on Saturday night and into a maelstrom of sound and light.  Mrs Twitcher and I shimmied into a well-known hostelry and found ourselves nose to speaker with Rooibard, the band.  No birds to speak of, other than a thicket of young things moving myopically to the beat, but an experience of serious note.  Through a haze of cigarette, smoke the band sashayed their way through three-hours of amazement without doing a single cover.  And were they good!!

Okay, audio-anarchy pretty much sums it up, but what can you say about a group which plays (?), in addition to three guitars and clump of drums, a whistle, a violin, a squash-box, a scratchy thingie and a didgeridoo.  The latter did serious damage to my sternum and moved my gonads to a different plane of, dare I say it, enlightenment.  All in all an experience that our visitors will not forget in a hurry – and the whole thing fired by Tequila!

Which brings me neatly to the drop in temperature and the onset of winter.  Rumour has it that the Clarens Coat Shop has bribed Mother Nature to revert to type and bring in the clouds.  Whatever, the plunge in degrees Celsius has knackered the local bird population, who are now sheltering in the Old Stone Bottle Store’s technicolour dustbins.  So, if you are in need of a Yellow-Billed Hawk or two, a few Drongoes or a brace of Pigeons, you know where to look.  Don’t dip your hand in however; there are baboon droppings in the vicinity and signs of a Merecat, so do your bird-shopping with care.

Speaking personally, I have started waxing my skis, filling the brandy barrel on my St Bernard’s collar and checking the candles.  Don’t know about you, but I have no intention of being snowed-in, much as I love this idyllic little village.  Happy snow.


Editorial Comment: Bouquets for Clarens Town Management

The Clarens News recently reported the apparent ‘boom’ in house construction and business site development, and this week – quite unrelated – the Twitcher reports the delicious musical anarchy of Rooibart at the Street Café.  All rather good news, but given the proclivity of this publication (in the broadest sense) to focus on positive developments in our cosy village, we thought it appropriate to dish out an armful of bouquets to our new Town Manager and horticulturist, Peter Reed.

Anyone who drives our streets will have noticed a revolution in the cleaning, pruning, fertilising, clearing, planting and general maintenance of what ranks as the Free State’s premier tourist attraction.  Months and years of neglect have been turned-around in the last couple of months and the planting of trees at the twin entrances of Clarens signal a welcome change.  The square – arguably the village’s greatest asset – has been tidied and fertilised, trees have been pruned and, perhaps most notably, the Municipal Offices are having a horticultural makeover and general rejuvenation.  Even our road frontage is losing the infestation of invasive trees and the ‘rubbish tip’ below the road bridge into the village is looking positively delightful.  What’s more, his enthusiasm has ignited the spirit of community in all sorts of locals.

At risk of stating the obvious, Rosendal’s loss is a big win for Clarens.  Well done Peter.  From all of us.


Coming Events

Always something happening in Clarens.  It’s sometmes difficult to keep track.  Have a look at the Events page on our website.


Classifieds

Looking for a house to rent, a job, or wanting to sell something? You might find it in our Classifieds section.
The new Clarens News website is beginning to come together. We don’t have all the bells and whistles yet, but you are welcome to place an ad in the classifieds section.

 

The Twitcher : 15th August 2013

Last week I suggested that Clarens was on something of a roll.  Well, in terms of building anyway.  Imagine my surprise when the long weekend (yes, OK, happy Woman’s Month yet again) inundated the village with more visitors than Easter, apparently confirming the level of interest in the Clarens experience?  Sure, there were well-founded rumours of snow in the high mountains of Lesotho but breaking every sales record in the history of the Clarens Brewery??  Now that’s a measure of success.

Being an exploratory sort of fellow, I ventured out of my darkened study into the Clarens CBD on Saturday night and into a maelstrom of sound and light.  Mrs Twitcher and I shimmied into a well-known hostelry and found ourselves nose to speaker with Rooibard, the band.  No birds to speak of, other than a thicket of young things moving myopically to the beat, but an experience of serious note.  Through a haze of cigarette, smoke the band sashayed their way through three-hours of amazement without doing a single cover.  And were they good!!

Okay, audio-anarchy pretty much sums it up, but what can you say about a group which plays (?), in addition to three guitars and clump of drums, a whistle, a violin, a squash-box, a scratchy thingie and a didgeridoo.  The latter did serious damage to my sternum and moved my gonads to a different plane of, dare I say it, enlightenment.  All in all an experience that our visitors will not forget in a hurry – and the whole thing fired by Tequila!

Which brings me neatly to the drop in temperature and the onset of winter.  Rumour has it that the Clarens Coat Shop has bribed Mother Nature to revert to type and bring in the clouds.  Whatever, the plunge in degrees Celsius has knackered the local bird population, who are now sheltering in the Old Stone Bottle Store’s technicolour dustbins.  So, if you are in need of a Yellow-Billed Hawk or two, a few Drongoes or a brace of Pigeons, you know where to look.  Don’t dip your hand in however; there are baboon droppings in the vicinity and signs of a Merecat, so do your bird-shopping with care.

Speaking personally, I have started waxing my skis, filling the brandy barrel on my St Bernard’s collar and checking the candles.  Don’t know about you, but I have no intention of being snowed-in, much as I love this idyllic little village.  Happy snow.    The Twitcher

CLARENS NEWS: 8th August 2013. HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY

 

sunset MG_0069

With the overnight drop in temperature we’ve all begun dreaming of snow again. Perhaps the shepherd’s in Lesotho are right and we are going to get some heavy snow within the next week or two. We had a look at the acuweather report, and whilst they are predicting daytime temperatures between 12 and 15 (and night time lows between 1 and -2C), as well as the occasional shower over the weekend, there is no prediction of snow in Clarens. There was however a good snowfall at Afriski at lunchtime today, and they are expecting a further 20cm of snow tonight.  Both Afriski and the Lesotho Border officials are strongly advising that no sedan cars attempt the road to Afriski until further notice.


 

Happy Women’s Day

We would like to wish all our readers a happy Women’s Day.  (Even those of you  who are not women – have a happy day!)
Golden Gate sent the following Happy Women’s Day notice:
Celebrate Golden Gate’s 50th Birthday and get 50% off during July to September 2013!  The great outdoors is waiting to be experienced with activities such as walking trails, canoeing, abseiling, horse riding, 4×4 trails as well as the Basotho Cultural Village tour. Relax in complete comfort in popular stop-overs such as the Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets as well as Glen Reenen Rest Camp and the Highlands Mountain Retreat. To extend the cultural experience of this great area the Basotho Cultural Village will provide a perspective and experiences unlike anywhere else and should not be missed.


This weekend :  So much happening

Saturday  –  10th August 2013 On the square  

NG Kerk Flea Market  & the Cluny Potjiekos competition.  The NG Kerk organizers assure us that there are going to be pancakes, boerewors, skilpagjies, as well as interesting stalls. (Should you require further information please contact Lizette: 083 375 9900) The Potjiekos competition will also be taking place, so I don’t think anyone will need supper on Saturday.
And don’t forget The Clarens Craft Market outside the Bibliophile.

 

 

 


Live Music

Thursday:
Street Cafe:  (8 pm onwards):  Denzel & Hensie (Rooibaard Lite)
Friends: (8.30pm onwards): Sweaty Betty
Friday:
Artichoke (11.30am – 3pm) Denzel & Hensie
Street Cafe (8 pm onwards): Sweaty Betty
Friends: (8.30pm onwards): Van Smith
Grouse & Claret: (8 pm onwards): Denzel & Hensie (Rooibard Lite)
Saturday:
Artichoke (11.30am – 3pm ) Denzel & Hensie
Street Cafe: (8 pm onwards): Rooibaard
Friends: (8.30pm onwards): Van Smith
Grouse & Claret: (8pm onwards): Violet Somedays

Rugby 
Stop in at one of the pubs in Clarens to enjoy the atmosphere. It’s almost like being at the game.

ABSA Currie Cup Rugby!!!!

Friday, 9 August 2013
Sharks v Griquas  Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban

Saturday, 10 August 2013

15:00Golden LionsvFree State Cheetahs Ellis Park, Johannesburg

17:05Western ProvincevBlue Bulls Newlands, Cape Town


 

Local News: Clarens Fire Association

Remember that the ban on open fires is still effective.

The Clarens Working on Fire team continue to be on stand by to protect our village and the surrounding area.
They do however, need your help. Click here For more on the Clarens Fire Association


 

Local News: Free Workshops for Hospitality Staff

The following Funded Training is being offered to the Clarens Community Businesses for the upliftment of their staff  and for Interns and upskilling unemployed people around the area.

National Certificate: Accommodation Services NQF2 – (Focussed on housekeepers in the hospitality sector)

National Certificate: Food and Beverage Services NQF4 – (Focussed on waiters and barmen in the hospitality sector)

For the duration of these programs your staff will be paid R2000 a month / Pro rated dependant on  working hours

For more information please e mail marketing@clarenssa.co.za


 

Plant of the week: Aloe Maculata

Common Soap aloe, Bontalwyne

Damien1-100x100

Damien Coulson

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……..Read more


The Twitcher

As might be expected, your faithful correspondent was resplendent in a deer-stalker hat and heavily camouflaged track suit, pursuing several species of rare and exotic birds this week.  In the interests of detailed reporting, I clutched an enormous pair of ex-naval binoculars (Battle of Jutland, 1916) and had a notebook in my sweating left hand.  But as I loped from shrub to dead fruit tree in pursuit of my feathered quarry, it became increasingly obvious that I was also moving from building site to building site.
Could this be Clarens, I asked myself, or had I wandered over a provincial border into another century?  Having checked my bearings and consulted several passers-by, it became clear that I was in Clarens, now liberally dotted with houses rising from the virgin veld. What?
I doubled back and began counting these new dwellings and stopped at 10, since primary school math had not prepared me for life in the fast lane.  Sure enough, there are at least 10 new homes in construction in our fair village, and I suspect many more on the drawing boards or locked in municipal process.  Somewhat disbelieving, given the odds against persuading ESKOM to part with any of their electricity, I stumbled into the nearest estate agency and learnt that they had been doing about two deals a month since January…….Read more

 


 

 Coming Events

Always something happening in Clarens.  See the Events page on our website.

The Twitcher- 8th August 2013

As might be expected, your faithful correspondent was resplendent in a deer-stalker hat and heavily camouflaged track suit, pursuing several species of rare and exotic birds this week.  In the interests of detailed reporting, I clutched an enormous pair of ex-naval binoculars (Battle of Jutland, 1916) and had a notebook in my sweating left hand.  But as I loped from shrub to dead fruit tree in pursuit of my feathered quarry, it became increasingly obvious that I was also moving from building site to building site.

Could this be Clarens, I asked myself, or had I wandered over a provincial border into another century?  Having checked my bearings and consulted several passers-by, it became clear that I was in Clarens, now liberally dotted with houses rising from the virgin veld. What?

I doubled back and began counting these new dwellings and stopped at 10, since primary school math had not prepared me for life in the fast lane.  Sure enough, there are at least 10 new homes in construction in our fair village, and I suspect many more on the drawing boards or locked in municipal process.  Somewhat disbelieving, given the odds against persuading ESKOM to part with any of their electricity, I stumbled into the nearest estate agency and learnt that they had been doing about two deals a month since January.

They also told me that the flow of enquiries was better than it has been for the last many years and that interested ‘buyers’ were coming back again and again!  Could this be the sleepy hollow that fell out of the property market four or five years ago?

Still discombobulated (don’t you love the English language?) by this information, I lost my binoculars and stumbled onto the village square.  As I drew in great draughts of fresh mountain air, I swung around to confront the sight of a large erection on the corner (no, silly, a building!).  What had once been a refreshingly grubby spot, with a quota of unwashed sandstone carvers hawking their wares, was now pockmarked by foundation holes and the apparent makings of a 10-Pin Bowling Alley rising from the proverbial.  On enquiry, the builder told me (confidentially, of course) that this was stage one of a Teasers franchise, with a KFC and undertakers on the ninth-floor.

Shocked, I moved down the street looking for a bar to straighten out my thoughts, only to trip over the new owner of what was once Valley Cats, opposite the 423-room Protea Hotel.  On his knees, he was attempting to find True North with an antique ‘dumpie’-level, in preparation for the conversion of his newly-purchased property into a shopping emporium.  Up the road, the equally new owners of an empty stand were ruminating on the merits of a glass elevator on the north side of their proposed building.  Down the road (thankfully, with a bar) the Artichoke’s proprietors were celebrating the first phase construction of an opera sound stage, overlooking the Lake!

Development on this scale would hardly signify in a halfway-decent gated estate in Johannesburg, but in Clarens this almost qualifies as boom times!  So, what can this mean, your shaken scribe asks himself?  First, people with sufficient intelligence and breeding to want out of the urban sprawl will eventually find their way to the village life.  Second, people are fed up to the back-dentures with banks withholding the means to procure new and exciting places to live, and will make a plan – and therefore make banks less meaningful.  And third, the cost of a little piece of God’s green acre (well, actually fairly brown at this stage) has descended to levels too good to miss.

This information is of course strictly private and confidential, and anyone acting on it to secure the last 23 stands in the village will have to buy me a drink.  Now where did I put my binoculars?

1 August 2013: Life

FIRE

FIRE !!!! It’s that time of the year again, when fires can wreak havoc in our beautiful environment.  This week much of The Golden Gate Highlands National Park  was devastated by fire, and Maliba Lodge in Lesotho also suffered major damage to their reception area.  The Golden Gate Nature Reserve   Continue Reading →

FIRE ….what you need to know

In view of the damage that fires can do it is not surprising that there is a ban on the lighting of open fires at the moment.  This ban will continue until such time as 25mm of rain have fallen within one week.  Continue Reading →

 


FIRE…..what you need to do

Make a note somewhere of what you need to do in case of a fire.

This weekend

We’re in for another sunny weekend….. just more beautiful sunny days and chilly winter nights.  We also have some live music and the rugby (?) to look forward to.

Continue Reading →


The Twitcher – 31 July 2013

  Having ignored the birds altogether last week, due to a fit of outrage at international tourists in Johannesburg, I thought I should make up for this indiscretion this week with due regard to the sensitivity of ornithologists everywhere and pick a really BIG bird.   Like an Ostrich.

Continue Reading →


 


Clarens Village Conservancy

 The Clarens Village Conservancy & Environmental Education The CVC has been putting a good deal of time and effort into Environmental Education (EE) plans for several of the stakeholders from within and around Clarens. This includes but is not limited to: Members of the Clarens Community; the Thusenond Care Group (TCG) and its employees; Clarens Primary School (and other schools); the Working on Fire Team and its very own CVC rangers!

Continue Reading →


Plant of the Week: Erica alopecurus (Foxtail Erica)

 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

Continue Reading →


Local News:

Keeping our town crime free is everyone’s responsibility and  all crime should be reported to the police station. Charge office  –  058 256 6001

Continue Reading →


Coming Events

Workshops, Potjiekos, the Spring Art Fair. These are just some of the events happening in Clarens.    NG Kerk Flea Market 9th August 2013:  Clarens square     Potjiekos competition10th August 2013
Continue Reading →

 

1 August 2013

Having ignored the birds altogether last week, due to a fit of outrage at international tourists in Johannesburg, I thought I should make up for this indiscretion this week with due regard to the sensitivity of ornithologists everywhere and pick a really BIG bird.   Like an Ostrich.

The Ostrich (struthio camelus) is unfortunately subject to some discriminatory prejudice about its alleged failure to fly.   Flight is after all pretty much an acid test for birds, so I have decided to end the speculation.   A Dutch sculptor called Bart Jansen has coincidentally just released a YouTube video of an Ostrich flying quite impressively.   Doubtful?   Go to YouTube (“ostrichcopter”) and be thrilled by the aerobatics of this graceful bird.

The Ostrich is the largest of the 8,600 bird species which currently exist (excluding the Maluti Double-Breasted Pushover) and stands tall on long, bare legs (see, more discriminatory comments).  It has a long, curving, predominantly white neck and the humped body of the male is covered in black patches while its wings and tail are tipped with white – reminiscent of a Church of Scotland preacher.   These are seriously big birds, reaching a height of 2.6 metres and weighing in at around 135 kilograms, so would put a serious dent in your budgie feed bill.

My late brother-in-law used to breed these beasts and the first thing you need to know is that, come nightfall, they sound just like lions.   Absolutely true and certainly enough to make an unsuspecting tourist mess his pants, alone in his little pup-tent in the open plains of Africa.   Granted, they are too big to sit on your wrist and don’t talk much, but I’ll bet they could be taught to do tricks for the children.   Unlike house sparrows, they make good eating, assuming you can you can shoot one from the skies.   At 165 calories per 100 grams of raw, ground (?) Ostrich, you can glut yourself and have little fear of getting fat, given that these jolly creatures are only 13% fat and will buck up your system with tons of vitamin B6 and B12.   By the way, Ostrich neck in red wine is a Swiss favourite and beats the hell out of Oxtail.

And the feathers are a delight, either at the end of a feather-duster or in the hands of an attentive lover.  But don’t try to eat an Ostrich omelette unless you have a death wish; apart from its size, which is formidable, this little treat is rich beyond measure and will surely reduce you to a cholesterol seizure in minutes – although you will die with a contented burp.  One way or another, this bird is for serious enthusiasts and should be treated with care, given the size of its claws and its ability to unzip hapless adventurers from stem to stern.

So, depending on your inclination, you can either try to run one down on the open plains of the Eastern Free State and domesticate it in your living room, or you could visit Riempies the Butcher and begin the easy way – with lots of salt and pepper.   Enjoy.

The Twitcher – 31 July 2013

Having ignored the birds altogether last week, due to a fit of outrage at international tourists in Johannesburg, I thought I should make up for this indiscretion this week with due regard to the sensitivity of ornithologists everywhere and pick a really BIG bird.   Like an Ostrich.

The Ostrich (struthio camelus) is unfortunately subject to some discriminatory prejudice about its alleged failure to fly.   Flight is after all pretty much an acid test for birds, so I have decided to end the speculation.   A Dutch sculptor called Bart Jansen has coincidentally just released a YouTube video of an Ostrich flying quite impressively.   Doubtful?   Go to YouTube (“ostrichcopter”) and be thrilled by the aerobatics of this graceful bird.

The Ostrich is the largest of the 8,600 bird species which currently exist (excluding the Maluti Double-Breasted Pushover) and stands tall on long, bare legs (see, more discriminatory comments).  It has a long, curving, predominantly white neck and the humped body of the male is covered in black patches while its wings and tail are tipped with white – reminiscent of a Church of Scotland preacher.   These are seriously big birds, reaching a height of 2.6 metres and weighing in at around 135 kilograms, so would put a serious dent in your budgie feed bill.

My late brother-in-law used to breed these beasts and the first thing you need to know is that, come nightfall, they sound just like lions.   Absolutely true and certainly enough to make an unsuspecting tourist mess his pants, alone in his little pup-tent in the open plains of Africa.   Granted, they are too big to sit on your wrist and don’t talk much, but I’ll bet they could be taught to do tricks for the children.   Unlike house sparrows, they make good eating, assuming you can you can shoot one from the skies.   At 165 calories per 100 grams of raw, ground (?) Ostrich, you can glut yourself and have little fear of getting fat, given that these jolly creatures are only 13% fat and will buck up your system with tons of vitamin B6 and B12.   By the way, Ostrich neck in red wine is a Swiss favourite and beats the hell out of Oxtail.

And the feathers are a delight, either at the end of a feather-duster or in the hands of an attentive lover.  But don’t try to eat an Ostrich omelette unless you have a death wish; apart from its size, which is formidable, this little treat is rich beyond measure and will surely reduce you to a cholesterol seizure in minutes – although you will die with a contented burp.  One way or another, this bird is for serious enthusiasts and should be treated with care, given the size of its claws and its ability to unzip hapless adventurers from stem to stern.

So, depending on your inclination, you can either try to run one down on the open plains of the Eastern Free State and domesticate it in your living room, or you could visit Riempies the Butcher and begin the easy way – with lots of salt and pepper.   Enjoy.

The Twitcher

The Twitcher : 25th July 2013

I have decided, in the interests of personal sanity, to ignore the birds this week and turn my attention elsewhere entirely.  Specifically, to the limited pleasures of visiting that smoking ruin of a traffic jam resplendent under the towering neon signs of Sodom and Gomorrah, known colloquially as Jozzie.  For those of you born in the last century, that means the country’s largest mining camp, Johannesburg.I’m certain that its gated suburbs, some of them at least, are quite splendid; possibly even attractive and surely well-served by succeeding sets of malls, nightclubs, casinos and restaurants.

My destination was more central however, and a great deal less salubrious, in spite of its 5-star billing (in both senses of the word).  The hotel itself shall remain nameless, in the interests of good relations with their legal representatives, but suffice to say that it occupies the most expensive patch of Johannesburg turf known to man.  It plays smarmy host to legions of travellers from the world beyond our shores, accepting their currencies with ill-disguised disdain.

My arrival in its salacious reception area, apparently styled after the Great Disney Empires of the north, was unremarkable, particularly as they had never heard of me.  After a little unpleasant interchange the matter was resolved and I was granted entrance into the high life of the jet-set.  Happily, for the record (and SARS), I was not paying the bill.  So here’s the thing: Turns out that your faithful Twitcher was the only South African staying there, while the staff appeared to entirely sourced from Lagos and Harare.  A quick scope of the place confirmed that I was trapped in a United Nations exchange programme, with an encyclopaedia of language options to add to the confusion.

Every one of these international travelers had clearly studied voice projection from Grade 1, been taught to chew with their mouths fully open and had the dress sense of retired (striking?) miners.  By evening I had barricaded my doors to drown out the sound of manic conversation and marbled teeth grinding raw salmon into a paste.  Liberal quantities of liquor added a level of hysteria to the hubbub and I took the gap to a charming little place down the road.  This turned out to be a way-station for international development agencies and the diplomatic corps, and was so expensive that I settled for a starter and a glass of tap water.

So here’s my point, well, a couple actually: First, there are apparently only a handful of locals left in what is laughingly known as Gauteng.  Second, international jet setters are loud, generally unattractive and almost entirely lacking in manners.  And third (yes, I know I said a couple), the grass is not only greener in Clarens but our little village is also distinguished by a gentle charm and some measure of rural civility.

So, the message is simple: Take the greatest care of our weekend guests from the rubble of civilisation to the north; remember the roads (?) they have had to navigate to get to our fair playground; and try to ignore their primitive ways (of eating and drinking in particular).  Remember from whence they come and grant them a little peace on our earth.

18th July 2013, Life in a Landscape

18th July, 2013: Life in a Landscape

Richard Rennie Landscape

Don’t you just love these beautiful winter days? And nature’s winter palette? Gold with undertones of red; every possible hue of grey, those touches of olive……no wonder so many artists are attracted to Clarens. This week we stopped for a chat with Richard Rennie. “Just look out of my studio window…. everywhere you look there’s a picture.”  Some of you may have noticed the changes at the Richard Rennie Gallery, which has been taken over by Johan and Anel Lehman – a move which has allowed Richard to get back to doing what he loves most.  The gallery remains an outlet for Richard’s work, and now also stocks not only originals but also a range limited edition Richard Rennie prints.  The interior has been revamped – and Richard had some fun painting the huge painting which hangs outside – where a window used to be.  Richard (who claims to be 196) now spends most of his day working in his sunny studio, but still has time to encourage aspiring artists.  Rather than teach, Richard prefers to invite other artists to “Paint with Me.”   Read more

 

The four ladies on the Verone Wyers fund-raising walk arrived in Clarens on 16th July.  Shelley, Marina, Liezel and Hettie are walking (Fouriesburg, Clarens, Bethlehem, Reitz and back to Bethlehem) in order to raise funds and awareness for Verone Wyers,
Verone  was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML) in March this year –  a rare type of childhood leukaemia which can only be treated with a bone marrow transplant. 

Happy Birthday

Community News

CTF Feedback on Christmas in July

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Christmas in July event last weekend. Not only was it fun, but many of our local charities have benefited. Chris Perfanis (Clarens Tourism Forum Communications) reports that The Thusanang Care Group for Orphaned and Vulnerable children received over R1000 in cash from visitors and businesses when they went busking on Saturday. The N3 Toll Concession donated R20 000 to the CTF for expenses and recipients………….read more

CPF Letter of Thanks

The Sector Police Forum would like thank the listed contributors to the appeal for donations to assist the family of Rampai.
A total of R5300 was raised.

THIS WEEKEND 

Weekend Weather

Supercars

LamborhiniI’m sure that there is going to be lots of drooling in Clarens this weekend. A group from Super Car Lifestyle are staying in Clarens from 18-21 July, and will be driving up to Afriski on 18th July. I’m told that Saturday afternoon will be particularly good for car spotting outside the Brewery. (The parking area outside is also a good look-out point.)  Look out for the Lamboughini muchiago 40th edition. Only 50 of these cars were ever released.  This limited edition car even has its own unique colour (Jade-Green). Considering that there are so few of these cars it’s not surprising that only one of them has made it to South Africa – and it’s going to be in Clarens, this weekend.

Ferrari

Amongst the other super cars (19 in all) you will also spot the latest Ferrari 458.

Live Music
Friday 19th July
Artichoke:  5.30 – 8.30 pm:  Deon the Soutie from Toti
Friends: 9.00 pm onwatds: Sweaty Betty

Satuday 20 July
Artichoke:  13.00 – 3.00 pm: Deon the Soutie from Toti
Friends: 9.00 pm onwatds: Slipstream

Sport 

Rugby, Rugby, Rugby!
Guess where everyone is going to be on Sunday morning?
Vodacom Fixtures:
20 July, 2013:  09h35:  Crusaders v Reds
21 July, 2013:  08h10:  Brumbies v CheetahsBethlehem Kine
To see what’s showing at the Bethlehem Kine this week  Press HereMid-week Wining and Dining
22 July, 2013 MANNIC Monday @ THE PHATT CHEF  Simon is serving Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Peanut Sauce and roast potatoes as the main course.  RSVP 082 4693832/058 2561742
24 July, 2013 WEDNESDAY WINTER WARMER at 278 ON MAIN. Beef pie, gravy and chips.  Phone Sue: 082 5565208
COMING EVENTSThe CTF/N3 Gateway: Workshop: 
31 July 2013 (Time and place to be advised)  How to use Twitter.  Learn how to use Twitter to build your business’s reach.
 

Potjiekos competition
10th August 2013  
It’s that time of the year again. Everyone is invited to this good natured cook-off in aid of the Cluny Animal Trust.  Contact Jan Sander: jansander22@gmail.com (before 2nd August.)

 

 

 

 

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

Afriski – Lesotho
Until mid-September

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

Searsia erosa: Broom Curry, Besem Keree-rhus

 

 

Broom curry 2 Broom curry 3 Broom curry 1

 

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest” where we will be looking at a less well known shrubby plant species found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve.

Searsia erosa or Broom Curry-rhus (known as Besem Keree-rhus in Afrikaans), are large shrubs with multiple stems that are densely branched. The overall appearance is round, compact and with a soft outline. The leaves are a distinctive lime – olive/Khaki green that is noticeable from a distance. The bark is reddish-brown and wiry. The leaves themselves are trifoliate (compound with 3 leaflets), have jagged edges, sharp points and covered in a sticky resin. The flowers are a creamy white and occur in small stalked heads.
The Broom curry-rhus grows at altitudes of up to 1900 m A.S.L., and is endemic to the Besem Karee Koppies habitat type. It grows in Grassland plains; Rocky areas and on warm, stony and dry hill slopes. The plant was named after Paul B. Sears and the Latin word erosa means toothed or gnawed (referring to the shape of the leaves). It is also a hardy plant that is drought and frost resistant. Some of the uses of S. erosa include:
·       Historically used as a substitute for brooms (hence the common name)
·       Used as a soil erosion control mechanism
·       Used as a garden ornamental
·       Said to be used by the Sisotho people and burned in traditional ceremonies to chase away evil spirits and to encourage rain
·       Some parts of the plant were reportedly used to treat diarrhoea in humans as well as cattle.

Damien1-100x100Article and photography

Damien Coulson

 

25th April, 2013

Another week, another woodpecker.    Well, three more actually.   Woody and Doris are delighted to announce the unseasonal arrival of their first clutch of hungry offspring, signalled by the loud cracking of eggshells in the night, below MTN’s failed tribute to post-modernist architecture and forestry.   Named Golum, Lefty and Squawk, these new additions to the avian population of Clarens were busy digesting their first meal as dawn broke over the prone bodies of bikers hibernating on the village square.    Yup, the Steel Wings are in town again, having taken flight from the urban smog to celebrate the birth of the Woody’s heirs with a 4-million decibel cacophony of flatulent rumbling.   Not surprisingly, the Guinea Fowl have fled the noise and even the White-Faced Duck have gone silent and sunk to their eyeballs in the reeds.   Speaking of which, the 12 Guinea-Ducklings and the subjects of my ill-fated observation of last week, have also had enough.   After weeks of attempting to master the art of rowing their reed rafts around the Golf Course dam, under the confused tutelage of their self-appointed foster-mothering White-Faced Duck, they too have had it and fled the scene.   Protracted paddling in a clockwise direction has exercised their left wings to the point of absurdity, while their under-employed right wings are hardly more than speckled stumps.    In a concerted mutiny, they made the shore and sprinted for the familiar shape of Gargantua Guinea Fowl, their biological mother, disappearing under the cover of her welcoming wings in the long grass.   Aaaah!    Sir David will be pleased at this heart-warming end to a tale of the very unexpected. The Twitcher ( With his titanium pecker and cellphonicly charged love nest, we await the reply to Woody’s application to become the world’s first bionic bird by officially getting his own Steel Wings – ed)

Clarens News March 22 – Out and About in Clarens

Notes from the Editor

Human Rights Day? Darned good idea. Best idea since Winnie told the team to take their stompie out for a drag, and the national police took her at her words. Well, at least a public holiday means they can’t be implementing the State Secrecy Bill for one more day, so good result all in all. Been a busy week, generally, and looks to be even busier for the next 2 weekends. Keep an eye on www.facebook.com/clarensnews for up to the minute details of Clarens specials and events.
I remember clearly my first big concert, 1988, Harare, Human Rights Day: Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N’dour and Peter Gabriel. Chicken flesh it was, to be part of 50 000 people, singing along and going crazy for the final guitar march with all the artists together, and I treasured my copy of the Declaration of Human Rights that came with the ticket for many years. To read the full declaration go to thislink
Of course, when it comes to Human Rights, there are some lines that should not be crossed, and the Twitcher is clearly outraged, judging from his contribution (see sidebar Ornithological Notes), about the proposed Liquor act and its consequences for Clarens, SA, and the world at large

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING

Art Class with Tina de Beer


Last Friday Tina de Beer gave a workshop for 28 art students from Machabeng Maseru from Lesotho at the NG Kerk Saal. They arrived by bus and took directly to their task, painting a poppy in acrylic. I arrived after they had been busy for a few hours, and was amazed by how quiet they all were, totally involved in their work.When I spoke to Tina she almost brought me to tears by telling me about overcoming the “I can’t do it” reflex, and bringing students to an understanding of what they actually are capable of. She has been painting since she was 9 years old and shares her lifetime of learning with Tuesday art classes, Lesotho school groups and corporate art groups. She takes great delight in bringing students of all ages to a deeper understanding of the world of colour and form.   To see images of the class go HERE

Rebellie Game Lodge


We found ourselves looking out over a million mountains in perfect silence the other morning, on the stoep of Nic Prinsloo, manager of Rebellie Game Lodge. Herds of Eland and Black Widebeest step lightly on the crystal that litters the mountain slopes, and the view is majestic. Visit this link to see pictures of the hall (used for conferences, weddings and this weekend a craft art class), the Lodge next to the watering hole, the view, the other separate venues, and the picnic area. Give him a call on0836278391 to book some peace in the mountains.
There is no fence between Rebellie and the Golden Gate Nature Reserve, so the game comes and goes as it pleases. Fresh Eland poo on his stoep is a reminder that these magnificent beasts tend to come and eat the ivy growing on his walls at night, maybe just to hear the opera music Nic loves so much.
Rebellie also has one of the top 10 4×4 trails in the country, over some incredible mountains, definitely worth a spin.

JACKET SHOP

coat-jacket-shop
As I write these words I bask in the luxury of a new journo vest. Actually it might technically be a fishing vest, but it suits me just fine. The Jacket Shop (Park Wholesalers) is open and doing business, get down there now to pick up some of your best winter wear, and remember, we owe it to our guests to look good.
They have a huge range of stock, from Annapurna arctic gear, to full cammo bush jackets, faux fur coats and hoodies, all at ridiculous prices. To see some more of their range, and some of the bales of coats, go here

In other News:

ZAMA ZAMA

Ntsi-Mokoena-zama-zama-tavern-clarens
A story of hard work and maintaining your vision leads us to say well done to Ntsi Mokoena (Petrus). The 40 year old started working at Mont D’or in 2008 as a waiter, then went to Vitos until a month ago, when he finally had enough savings to buy the second oldest Tavern in Kgubetswana – Zama Zama. No drinking, smoking or wild life lead this local boy (born on Elim Farm, home of Sethuthuthu Quad Bike trails) to having his own place, and from here he plans to go further. He wants to bring in a traditional African dining experience for Foreign visitors, and ultimately work his way up to having his own guesthouse.
He says the greatest thing about going from waiter to owner is being able to say “Welcome to my house” instead “What can I get for you?”. The venue has a fantastic view out over Horeb and the mountains of Lesotho, and he tells me that early in the morning he looks at the mountain, and he borrows it with his mind…
They have a happy hour on Fridays from 7-8, and a Ladies night on Thursday nights, so if you have guests who want a traditional African tavern experience, send them on down to Zama-Zama
To book an evening and arrange for a feast, call Ntsi on 0784510494
zama-zama-clarens-tavern-township-tour

Tshepong place of Safety


“Tshepong Centre is a community project of the Combined Churches in Action operating in the Kgubetswana township, and is a non profit organisation relying on donations and gifts from donors and the community.  The Feeding Scheme called Bana ba Hlokang feeds & cares for about 200 children every day, so our needs are substantial.

Our current needs at Tshepong are for computers and musical instruments.  Our on going needs are for books, school books, sports equipment, toys, food, used clothing, furniture and curtains, cutlery, crockery, etc.  Should you have any of the above that you wish to pass on to Tshepong, we will collect it from you.  Please call Mark on 083 613 1079.”
tshepong-place-of-safety

And Finally

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events 23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ the newly opened The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00 – Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!!
24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks!
Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

GOLF

Cluny Animal Trust Golf day on May 31 at the Clarens Golf Club
We are looking for sponsors for the 18 holes. Sponsorship for each hole will be R1,000.00 per hole which allows you to advertise as you wish on the appropriate hole.We welcome any form of sponsorship either in cash or prizes.The competition will be a ‘four ball better ball’. The entrance is R1,200.00 for 4 players, which includes a light lunch at the half way and Prize giving dinner in the evening. If you would like to take part in our golf day or require any further information please contact the co-ordinators:JAN SANDER E MAIL ADDRESS; Jansander22@gmail.com  cell number 0782462553ROSE BAILEY EMAIL ADDRESS;jabailey@nashuaisp.co.za cell number 0828790161, fax No.0866747750

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend
Rugby specials always available, snack platter R120
Sunday OB and Denzl will tickle your earbuds
And Monday we have Awesome Slipstream as well as happyhour.

Artichoke
Dion the Souti from Toti Friday afternoon
Hensie and Denzl will be playing Friday Night
Rugby Saturday
Christiaan van Zyl on Sunday
Specials on Chicken Livers, Haloumi, T-Bone, Eischbein and Claudia has a Bean Potato and Bacon soup

Grouse and Claret
Rick & Friends playing at Grouse on Saturday night

Friends Restaurant
Van Smith will be playing this weekend, Friday and Saturday nights, Rib burger and T-bone specials

Bon Appetit
Proscuito crudo from Italy, Assorted pates from Belgium, Chorizo from Portugal, Brie, St Albray and Roquefort from France…
You can find it all at Bon Appetit!
(you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

15th March 2013

If you are not completely blind-sided by the imminence of Easter, you may be interested to know that you have exactly 170 shopping days left to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, before Christmas.   Be warned; for a number of totally inexplicable reasons, the economy needs you to spend every last cent you have and enter the great, wide world of debt as soon as possible.    So you might as well have some fun doing it.   For now, your attention should be focused on matters of far greater gravity than painted eggs and small children snapping at your ankles, demanding money and chocolate.   For starters, there is the small matter of winter’s stealthy approach and the strong possibility that you could be frozen to death in your car on the way to the shops.   Before June.

Clarens News March 15 – The Cosmos is yours

Kosmos

Weekend Weather

Lets hope for a proper rain storm, we need to fill the dams

Notes from the Editor

 Well, I think we can officially agree that Autumn is here, and with it the beautiful Cosmos flowers on the sides of the road, the golden browning of our poplars, and a stampede of photographers, jostling each other for the best shots of the season. There will no doubt be many tripod related injuries and the pharmacy has taken special precautions to treat people suffering from camera flash related burns. Most photogenic town in the country? Possibly, and the Clarens News takes this opportunity to challenge the country at large to dispute this in open competition. If you take any pics over the next couple of months showing our golden coat, send them to editor@clarensnews.com anD we will forward them to any competitions we can find, and put up a prize for the best one, as judged by you, dear readers.
cobras-in-clarens
The Cobra Car Club was on the square last Saturday
park-wholesalers-coat-shop-clarens
And the absolute proof that winter is on its way is that the Coat Shop (Park Wholesalers) has just unpacked a huge container of coats, so hurry on down and help make Clarens the best dressed town in SA (over winter anyway…)

St-patrick-clarens-brewery-ale
For those of you fasting for Lent, the 17th of March is a special day, all restrictions are off, and you can celebrate at the Clarens Brewery this Saturday and Sunday with our special St. Paddy’s Shamrock Ale at R18 per 500ml.
Internet News – Finally, almost 8 months later, Clarens News has made it to page 1 of Google search for the word Clarens! Ecstatic editor? You bet. In addition to sending out 1500+ newsletters a week to you (beloved readers), the facebook page www.facebook.com/clarensnews had its most viewed post with last week’s News – 1800 people took the time to have a look at it. It’s a demanding baby, but it is really starting to makes its parents proud. From here on in it can only get better, and add more and more value to the town of Clarens.
Another Printed Version? Yes, in time for Easter. If you would like to be in the printed News, or have a story or anything interesting (and positive) to contribute, please send NOW, right now, your ad or article or photo for publication. Remember, Clarens News is for and about Clarens, and depends on the input of Clarensians to really make a difference. Thanks are due to Tannie Nonnie for her letter, and I hope that her concerns can be addressed at the soonest possible opportunity (see below)

In other News:

Ek is ‘n dame van die gemeente, so 88 jaar, maar nie te oud genoeg om hierdie godelose, vliende masjiene mis te kyk nie. Ek het slaaplose nagte oor daai helikopters wat dalk in my huis gaan vas vlieg en ontplof, of nog erger, in ons kerk. Laas week, toe ek mosbolletjies bak vir die agter kleinkinders, wat kom kuier en pragtige doilies hekel, vlieg daar weereens ‘n vervloekte helikopter oor ons rustige dorpie Clarens en land nogals oorkant ons kerk.  Ek het so geskrik, my beseer met die hekelnaald en mosbolletjies plat. Ek het ook so paar weke terug gehoor dat daardie jong man met sy elektriese nuus brief Eish se dat die versekering ons nie sal uit betaal as die vervloekte masjien in ons geboue vas vlieg nie.  Ek is nou te bang om te bak en miskien het ek binnekort nie eers meer ‘n huisie nie. Wat gaan ons doen? Slaaplose nagte sonder mosbolletjies ? Tannie Nonnie

And Finally Challenge to the Clarens Bass fishing community, please go out there and bring the trophy home MASSIVE BASS TOURNAMENT IN KZN What is probably South Africa’s – even Africa’s – largest bass tournament will take place on 18 farm dams in the area around New Hanover, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday March 16. It’s open to all fisherfolk, from novices to veterans. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, to raise funds for the 155-year-old New Hanover Preparatory School, and organisers hope to draw at least 1000 entries. The climax of the tournament is a 40-minute “fish-off” at the main dam where a generous cash prize is offered for the largest catch. Some years ago, a young child won it! Details are on www.newhanover.co.za. For further information, contact Dieter Oellermann on 082-577-9981

GOLF

mere-cat-cluny-animal-trust-golf-day-clarens

Cluny Animal Trust Golf day on May 31 at the Clarens Golf Club We are looking for sponsors for the 18 holes. Sponsorship for each hole will be R1,000.00 per hole which allows you to advertise as you wish on the appropriate hole. We welcome any form of sponsorship either in cash or prizes. The competition will be a ‘four ball better ball’. The entrance is R1,200.00 for 4 players, which includes a light lunch at the half way and Prize giving dinner in the evening.  If you would like to take part in our golf day or require any further information please contact the co-ordinators: JAN SANDER E MAIL ADDRESS; Jansander22@gmail.com  cell number 0782462553 ROSE BAILEY EMAIL ADDRESS; jabailey@nashuaisp.co.za cell number 0828790161, fax No.0866747750

RUGBY

Oh dear, as I write this the Cheetahs are playing the Waratahs in Sydney Great start Cheetahs with a try in the first minute – go Ebersohn. Full time score 27 26 VRYSTAAAAAAAT!!!!! Holding thumbs for the Kings when they host the Chiefs in PE Friday evening at 7pm Bulls continue their overseas campaign against the Crusaders at 8.30 Saturday morning in Christchurch And the Sharks will be snacking on the Brumbies in the Sharktank  at 5pm Saturday afternoon Street Cafe will have rugby specials throughout Saturday evening, including a Richelieu promo tomorrow, a scratch card kit, R24 for double and coke.

Bethlehem Kine

MARCH IS OSCAR MONTH AT BETHLEHEM  KINES DJANGO UNCHAINED   CINE 2 R: 165 Min – Adventure | Drama | Western

Django-Unchained-Bethlehem-Kine-Clarens-News

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino STARS: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio Writer: Quentin Tarantino

And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend Rugby specials always available here, snack platter R120 Also, there will be a brandy special- dbl with coke for R20. Please could you add something about our pool table & darts. And Monday we have Awesome Slipstream as well as happyhour. Artichoke Dion the Souti from Toti Saturday 12 – 3, then Rugby Specials on Chicken Livers, Haloumi, T-Bone, Eischbein and Claudia has an Italian Spinach and rice soup with Parmesan that sounds very interesting. Grouse and Claret Klipdrift brandy promo this weekend Friday and Saturday nights, funky prizes and giveaways

Friends Restaurant Slipstream Friday night and Ben Dover on Saturday, Rib burger special Clarens Interiors Biggie Best specials, mirrors, cushions, patchwork quilts, hurry on down Bon Appetit Expect a few treats from Valerie at her new premises behind the Brewery this weekend (you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events

23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00 Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!! 24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks! Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

Clarens Festival of Dirt

5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals.

The Fouriesburg annual 4×4 day will be held on the 27th of April.

This is an event not to be missed! It will be a fun day for the whole family. David Exley our very own 4×4 guru, will be designing the routes surrounding Fouriesburg. We will have a live band and entertainment for the kids. Please phone Nelis on 082 959 8120 or David on 082 820 0403 for more information.

The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival

which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest.

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

31 May Cluny Animal Trust Golf Day at the Clarens Golf Club AFRI SKI – it’s almost that time again – July 11 – July 14 A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669 Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Video of the week

TED talks have some of the finest minds in the world, talking right out of the box, this week we feature Amy Cuddy, in the hopes that Clarens can have the best posture to fill their beautiful new coats and welcome the wonderful visitors. At the very least it might change your life – “Fake it until you become it” http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

The Dog Lovers

So they bought you And kept you in a Very good home Central heating TV A deep freeze A very good home – No one to take you For that lovely long run – But otherwise ‘A very good home’. They fed you Pal and Chum But not that lovely long run, Until, mad with energy and boredom You escaped – and ran and ran and ran Under a car. Today they will cry for you – Tomorrow they will buy another dog. Spike Milligan 1970 – from Small Dreams of a Scorpion

Swan

Ornithological Notes:

If you are not completely blind-sided by the imminence of Easter, you may be interested to know that you have exactly 170 shopping days left to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, before Christmas.   Be warned; for a number of totally inexplicable reasons, the economy needs you to spend every last cent you have and enter the great, wide world of debt as soon as possible.    So you might as well have some fun doing it.   For now, your attention should be focused on matters of far greater gravity than painted eggs and small children snapping at your ankles, demanding money and chocolate.   For starters, there is the small matter of winter’s stealthy approach and the strong possibility that you could be frozen to death in your car on the way to the shops.   Before June. ….

Clarens Village Conservancy

What to do in the event of a Structural fire, click on the image above. And the RECYCLING CENTRE is in dire straits, desperately in need of someone to supervise the Centre and organize pick up of material. Without someone helping this project may well collapse.

Clarens News March 8 2013

Clarens News – Notes from the Editor

Clarens News Lightning StrikeBest photograph I’ve ever taken, right here in Clarens

I finally got it, the photo I have chased for the last 5 years, and here it is for you lovely Clarens News readers

What a week. Possibly one of the best of my entire life, and a perfect reminder of why Clarens is such a perfect place to be, not just for itself, but as a jumping off platform to visit some of the best parts of SA if not the world. My brother came up for the weekend, to celebrate my birthday with me (hardly a day over 97 I hear you ask…) and we did it in style. Saturday sparrows saw us on our way to Lesotho, to have breakfast and lunch at the 5 Star Maliba Hotel in the middle of the mountains. You drive for an hour and a bit over the border, and bang, the people and houses give way to rolling majestic mountains, curtaining a glorious boma, filled with art all the trappings of a luxury destination, with rock pools down below and pony rides along a crisp mountain stream. A very filling 3 course lunch would have been an elephant sufficiency, but then Dean from Maluti Tours had to go and surprise us with a decadent chocolate cake bigger than my head, with roses on top…
And later the Sharks won!
Sunday was my turn to treat the family to a new experience, and I drove them down to Meiringskloof. Where is that you may ask, you may well keep on asking, because unless you know I shouldn’t really tell you how to find that green mossy overhanging piece of sacred earth and crystal strewn pools (hint, the Skoorsteen was started there, when the women and children hid during the Anglo war, and it is the old Free State capital’s original waterworks). We left feeling blessed and blissed.
Finally on Monday I secured the precious time of the Painted Lady, and we set off on an adventure through the Golden Gate Park, ignoring the official routes (after a brief detour past the vulture restaurant) and turned left onto a dirt road that took us into the heart of the park, on the road to Kestell. We explored the abandoned Raath family house and graveyard (I would love to know more about them if anyone can shed light) with gravestones dating back to 1850, discovered a seam of amazing (really amazing) crystals, and pushed on to explore Kestell itself.
Not much to say about the little town itself, but we were drawn to visit Karma Backpackers, where we met practicing Buddhist Vera-Anne, the owner, who let us into her getaway secret – Incosana Backpackers, in the Drakensberg – Monk’s Cowl and Champagne Castle area. Since we had procured a bottle of bubbly from the Old Stone a little earlier, it sounded appropriate, and off we went, allowing Karma to direct our path down a sunset Oliviershoek Pass and into the Central Berg. Along the way a porcupine couple graced us by stopping us in the road and slightly further on an owl sat quietly on the warm tar, awaiting our arrival, looked at us as dispassionately for over a minute, and flew over our car. Somewhere on the journey (a bit before Bergville) we had a feast of a dinner at Bingelela lodge, a sumptuous must for anyone en route to the Berg, and a destination in itself.
Next morning we awoke in our cosy little rondhavel, with the mountains looking down beneficially from above, twinkling waterfalls glittering and sparkling through rock teeth of dark basalt and grins cut by sandstone layered erosion. A brief chat to Eddie, our host (and resident climbing lodge owner for the last 30 years), and off we went in search of Nandi (very nice in Zulu) waterfall. Let me not mislead you, 8km of mountain side in the hot sun left us dizzy and slightly exhausted, cursing the man who had said the whole route was 9km, and then we discovered the Hlatizana forest. Faerie land couldn’t be a better description of the twisted roots, creeping greens and dangling lianas that cooled our weary bones, and we almost collapsed then and there at the first sign of shade. Instead, bloody mindedness ensured that we must push on, to find these bloody falls that we had heard about, and as we stepped under a canopy of green, it all made sudden sense. A glorious curtain fell at least 3 stories from a sheer cliff face, and there, next to this torrential downpour was a path!
Up we went and sat in perfect dry, looking out over what we came to feel was our forest and the berg beyond, popped the bubbly (star picked grapes and crisp chill air drops rising through space), and felt the grace of the world upon us, and the realization that great rewards come only after great effort became a lesson to take home.
Yes, that’s right, we came back to Clarens for the night, rested aching muscles in a hot bath, checked emails the next day, and then it was time to head back to the Berg for a fire show at Alpine Heath luxury lodge, this time in the Northern Drakensberg, for GlaxoSmithKline – multinational pharmaceutical company – with top SA fire crew, Dreams of Fire. It turned out we were the prelude to a corporate fire walking event, courtesy of Ken Andersson, and he didn’t mind in the least that the Painted Lady and I joined in. An hour later and the key word  ”HASHIBI” hoarsening our throats we had both fulfilled a life long dream of strolling delicately down a path of red hot coals. Fantastic!
A good dinner later, we awoke to different mountains in the same range (our peaks from – was it only the day before? – looked tiny in the distance). A full buffet breakfast first thing, and we were off into the Berg for another trail. This time to Tiger Falls past the stunning Cascades – a series of pools separated by waterfalls of gentle disposition – through under bellies of rock and under icy mountain showers. Straight up a 45 degree path for a couple of km (puffing and panting like steam trains) and we were sitting behind the second most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever witnessed, looking down into another jungle…
We dried ourselves briefly in the sun, filled a water bottle with pure waterfall energy, and raced a storm back down to the car park, before taking the hour and a half trek back up Oliviershoek, past the immense Sterkfontein Dam, through the Golden Gate park, and back to the little village we call home.
So, I know this is no excuse for the lateness of the News, at least 12 hours after its normal release time on a Thursday, but thank you dear reader for sharing in an epic journey of a week, which I would not have imagined possible this time last week, and one which is certainly not conceivable from many other places than Clarens. I realized then that we live in a destination, and that to visit Clarens is to stand on the edge of a springboard to the imagination. Don’t come for a weekend, come for a week, or a month, or, what the hey, where else would you rather live?
The editor thanks you for your indulgence, and promises not to bore you with his little adventures again.
Until next time…

In other News:

Clarens News has to report some Storms in teacups! Those of you familiar with the goings on and internal workings of Clarens may remember a little Centenary Festival last year, and some may even have read the feedback report from that festival. It seems to have asked more questions than it answered, and has elicited responses from our local Councillor, the chairman of the Tourism Forum, and the General Manager of the Golf Club. Since it is not the habit or philosophy of this rag to engage personal issues or wash laundry in the open air, I refer those who really must know to the Forum page of the website, where all the various correspondence is contained.
The most important thing to remember in this trying time, is that the Tourism Forum is there for Clarens as a whole, and works extremely hard to benefit local business in general. Their Agm is on the 16 April and there is community meeting set for the 9 April, for people to come and get involved with the process at hand. I strongly urge anyone with an interest in the town to come along, discuss the issues, and most importantly, to find a way to benefit the area at large, and help build Clarens as a brand as well as a safe haven for the sane to escape the outside world. The Forum exists for the benefit of all, so rather than taking issue, please take part.

And a huge vote of thanks to the Dihlabeng Municipality for upgrading 2 and a half meters of road in the Swartland. Without their valuable work of transplanting potholes from one small town to the next, Fouriesburg would have no road problems at all… The pothole they have removed will be sorely missed, but even more sorely hit by anyone who doesn’t notice the big hole in the ground where our beloved pothole used to be.

(e)Skom has asked consumers to please be sparing in their electricity usage as the grid is under stress due to among other things, Koeberg having a repair session (again) and the Limpopo line from Cahora Basa being affected by heavy flooding recently.  It would seem that the recent 8% price hike may take years to actually allow SA to get back to full functionality, but in the meantime, maybe this man has the solution http://www.linktv.org/video/8605 – Solar cooking options for Africa

(e)Skom: “We appeal to all customers to reduce their electricity usage and to switch off all non-essential appliances as the power system is extremely tight at present, particularly during the evening peak hours between 6pm and 9pm,” it said in a statement.Eskom said this would make it significantly easier to manage the power system. The utility said reduced electricity usage would also enable Eskom to do planned maintenance to ensure the reliability of its power plant.

“Eskom continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance but the system remains tight.”
And Finally
The News has started looking into going into comic book format, using pictures rather than words over the next 5 years. This has not been an easy decision to take, but recent revelations from the SA Democratic Teachers Union have made it a necessity. Not only are they threatening an indefinite strike against being put on time clocks to measure their absenteeism, but they have also warned of action in the event that the Department of Education does the unthinkable, and brings back sckool inspektors… How can this be allowed? Given the record pass marks for Matric last year (now that there is 30% average pass mark required) they are clearly doing a wonderful job, and should be encouraged to continue teaching in SMS, WhatsApp and Mixit rather than colonially oppressive reading and writhing. Yrs in gr8 hpe fr 2moros lrnrs.

This Weekend

Also happening this weekend is the Bethlehem Antique Car and Machine Show at Bethlehem Airport, a must for old car enthusiasts and fans of the internal combustion engine. Leave the wives at the day spa and bring your kids to see how we used to spin the world beneath our wheels.

PRINTED VERSION

Rumours abound that the News may have found support for a regular printed version, watch this space, or even better, write to us with suggestions or ways in which you would like to be involved with this project. It aims to include Kgubetswana location News, and ultimately to grow into a regional publication, promoting the entire E Free State, specifically from the standpoint that Clarens is the ideal central base to explore this fascinating and beautiful area.

GOLF

Clarens Golf Course
Despite what you may have read in the feedback report, this picture shows that the Golf course is looking fantastic from a distance. Well done to all involved in maintaining this jewel of Clarens.

RUGBY

After a serious drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs last weekend, Clarens News can only hope for a miracle when the Cheetahs face the Highlanders, hoping to break a 7 game losing streak to them. The Highlanders had a bye last week, so should be well rested after also losing to the Chiefs the week before. Maybe Heinrich Brussow can pull it out the bag for our boys “VRYSTAAT!!!” 8.35am Saturday morning kickoff

At 5pm most of the country will become de facto Stormers supporters when they square up to the current champions the Chiefs at Newlands. hopefully Jean de Villiers comment “I’ve got a really good feeling about this weekend” will translate into revenge for the punishment of the Cheetahs at their hands. Of course the closeness of their loss to the Sharks last Saturday (nail biting stuff) will mean that they have a lot to play for, and despite what my head says, I’m prepared to lose a spot of wonga betting on the home side.

At 7pm the Southern Kings will discover what home derbies are all about when they host the Sharks in PE. Disappointing is the fact that Luke (vomiting) Watson will start on the bench, and so will be spared the full wrath of an as yet undefeated school of Sharks. If they win it will be the shock of the year, and a poke in the eye of all Lions fans, who saw their team relegated in pursuit of transformation, courtesy of Cheeky the Pure.

And serious fans will be up at 5 on Sunday morning to see if the Bulls can start their tour in Auckland against the Blues against the odds and run of history. Hougaard starts on the bench in favour of Jano Vermaak, and let’s all hope that they can wave the flag high at the end of the day. Should be a great clash.

Street Cafe will have rugby specials throughout Saturday evening, including a Richelieu promo tomorrow, a scratch card kit, R24 for double and coke.

CINEMA

Bethlehem Kine

Since the closure of the Labia in Cape Town, Bethlehem Kine is one of the last remaining independent cinemas left in SA. Here’s their newest movie and other offerings for the week

CHASING MAVERICKS 
CINE 2
PG: 116min – DRAMA/SPORT
When young Jay Moriarity discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson to train him to survive it.
DIRECTOR: Michael Apted,  Curtis Hanson
STARS: Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler
Writers: Kario Salem (screen play), Jim Meenaghan (story)
SHOW TIMES: FRIDAY, MON, WED: 09:30,14:30,20:00
SAT, TUE, THUR:,12:00,17:30
SUN: 15:00

Argo – CINE 2 PG:(R) 120min – DRAMA/HISTORY/THRILLER
A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.
 Oscar Winner- BEST FILM 
DIRECTOR:  BEN AFFLECK Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay), Tonny Mendez (book)
STARS: BEN AFFECK, BRYAN CRASTON, JOHN GOODMAN SHOW TIMES: FRIDAY, TUE, THUR:14:00,20:00
SAT, MON,WED:11:00, 17:00
SUN: 15:00

Silver Linings Playbook – CINE 1 PG:(R) 122min
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Oscar Winner-BEST FEMALE ACTOR
DIRECTOR: David O. Russell
WRITERS: David O. Ressell (screenplay) and Matthew Quick (novel)
STARS: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence,Robert De Niro
SHOW TIMES: FRI – THUR:10:00,12:30,15:00,17:30,20:00
SUNDAY:12:00, 15:00

And don’t forget their discount days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
To find out times, make bookings etc call the Kine on 0583034333

Live Music and Specials

Street Cafe Specials this weekend
R80 for fillet & chips, R85 for T-bone & chips and R75 for ribs & chips. Sunday they have Denzel & OB playing
Happy Hour with Slipstream unplugged on Monday evenings, always great

Artichoke
Grilled Halloumi R35, Chicken Livers R35, Eischbein with Mustard Italian sauce R75, 350gm T-Bone R70

Friends Restaurant will have live music over the weekend(you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

CLARENS VILLAGE CONSERVANCY Fund Raising events

23 March 2013 @ 18h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ The Courtyard Restaurant R80,00
Contact Merri Mills 0828510131 – almost sold out!!!!
24 March 2013 @ 12h30 : Dennis East & Mike Slavin making music @ Millpond House, donations to
The Clarens Village Conservancy. Bring a picnic + drinks!
Contact Merri  Mills 0828510131

Clarens Festival of Dirt

5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals.

The Fouriesburg annual 4×4 day will be held on the 27th of April.

This is an event not to be missed! It will be a fun day for the whole family.
David Exley our very own 4×4 guru, will be designing the routes surrounding Fouriesburg.
We will have a live band and entertainment for the kids.
Please phone Nelis on 082 959 8120 or David on 082 820 0403 for more information.

The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival

which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest.
In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE

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

AFRI SKI – it’s almost that time again – July 11 – July 14
A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669
Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Video of the week

Amanda Palmer talks about giving away music and trust in a mutual recognition process. From the amazing TED talks, which everyone should watch at least some of in their lives

http://www.upworthy.com/an-8-foot-tall-woman-is-destroying-the-entire-music-industry

Thanks

The Twitcher

08 March 2013

177 shopping days to Christmas, with Easter, Workers Day, Women’s Day and many more along the way to frustrate and upset your plans and civic responsibilities.   Talking of which, the skies over our fair village are darkening with gathering clouds of vultures and other carnivores, ahead of the Tourist Forum’s report back on its endeavours to market the Clarens Centenary.   Indeed, the internet is awash with reports, questions, accusations, counter-accusations, independent views, scientific assessments and even more reports.   So what a good time to avoid the entire subject and talk instead about sex, rose-growing or anything else unrelated to matters politic. A good place to start is with the letter ‘A’.   For example, “As the Actress said to the Bishop”.    This is generally adjudged to be a useful sequel or precursor to any important statement, such as, “the Tourist Forum report back will be a bloodbath – as the Actress said to the Bishop”.    The letter ‘B’ is also good, and starts off many important words, like “Balls-up” and “Board”, as in, “the Board will avoid any direct answers to questions”.   Skipping unimportant letters like ‘C’ and ‘D’, we proceed to ‘E’, and a statement like, “Elections for the Board have not occurred in living memory”.   Jumping forward to that sparkly letter ‘M’, we have statements like “Mandy Prior is less than happy with the Board’s report”, while ‘R’ can be used for “the general manager of the Golf Estate refuted allegations that the course was in poor condition”.   And finally, with due discretion, the letter ‘X’ commends itself to statements such as “what the XXXXXXX XXXX has the XXXXXXX board been doing all this XXXXXXX time?”    So you see, children, when there are contentious issues in prospect it is so much healthier to focus on other, less controversial issues. Turning to matters ornithological, as indeed I should, I can report that the Guinea Fowl flocks are burgeoning: My own little troop has increased by 12 hatchlings, taking it to 23, alternatively expressed as a 5kg bag of broken maize every 3 days.   At this rate, either I will be insolvent within 6 years or the local feed suppliers will move to the South Coast to avoid the growing complications of the supply chain.   On a more positive note, I can report that Kaalvoetappears to have decamped!    There is no trace to be found of him/her in the surrounding area and the paths are quiet again.   But who knows? And finally, as the Actress said to the Bishop, the seasons are turning: The first sharp temperature fluctuations are in evidence come sundown and the leaves are turning on a good many trees around the valley.   While winter may be a little way off yet, the signs are there, so be warned and rush to the Little Coat Shop without delay and avoid the coming rush!

The Twitcher

Last week I suggested that Clarens was on something of a roll.  Well, in terms of building anyway.  Imagine my surprise when the long weekend (yes, OK, happy Woman’s Month yet again) inundated the village with more visitors than Easter, apparently confirming the level of interest in the Clarens experience?  Sure, there were well-founded rumours of snow in the high mountains of Lesotho but breaking every sales record in the history of the Clarens Brewery??  Now that’s a measure of success.

Being an exploratory sort of fellow, I ventured out of my darkened study into the Clarens CBD on Saturday night and into a maelstrom of sound and light.  Mrs Twitcher and I shimmied into a well-known hostelry and found ourselves nose to speaker with Rooibard, the band.  No birds to speak of, other than a thicket of young things moving myopically to the beat, but an experience of serious note.  Through a haze of cigarette, smoke the band sashayed their way through three-hours of amazement without doing a single cover.  And were they good!!

Okay, audio-anarchy pretty much sums it up, but what can you say about a group which plays (?), in addition to three guitars and clump of drums, a whistle, a violin, a squash-box, a scratchy thingie and a didgeridoo.  The latter did serious damage to my sternum and moved my gonads to a different plane of, dare I say it, enlightenment.  All in all an experience that our visitors will not forget in a hurry – and the whole thing fired by Tequila!

Which brings me neatly to the drop in temperature and the onset of winter.  Rumour has it that the Clarens Coat Shop has bribed Mother Nature to revert to type and bring in the clouds.  Whatever, the plunge in degrees Celsius has knackered the local bird population, who are now sheltering in the Old Stone Bottle Store’s technicolour dustbins.  So, if you are in need of a Yellow-Billed Hawk or two, a few Drongoes or a brace of Pigeons, you know where to look.  Don’t dip your hand in however; there are baboon droppings in the vicinity and signs of a Merecat, so do your bird-shopping with care.

Speaking personally, I have started waxing my skis, filling the brandy barrel on my St Bernard’s collar and checking the candles.  Don’t know about you, but I have no intention of being snowed-in, much as I love this idyllic little village.  Happy snow.

Ornithological Notes

Ornithological Notes:

 

128 shopping days to Christmas and counting.   Clarens, currently bathed in the balmy warmth of an Indian spring, is bracing itself for the arrival of 2,500 mountain bike riders, their loved ones and possibly their families.    That, as the actress said to the Bishop, is an awful lot of people, beers, Boerewors rolls and toilet paper, to be compressed into our little village in a single, frenetic weekend.    So what should we be doing about it?

 

First, in keeping with the national imperative to move money offshore, we obviously need to erect toll gates within the next 24 hours.    Mountain bikes do an immense amount of damage to tar roads, as several never to be published studies will show, and so must be protected from this annual onslaught.    Teams of municipal workers should therefore be tasked with building boom gates and camera systems at 100 metre intervals around the square, down the Main Road and up to the Nek, with immediate effect.    There is, of course, the small matter of planning, materials acquisition, deployment, wages, overtime and leave.   However, on past form these issues take about 12.6 months to resolve, if ever, so that probably negates the municipality as a role player in our bid to increase the nation’s offshore account holdings.   Second (there is always a Plan B), we could levy a voluntary tax on the use of the road.   Since a fuel levy is probably out of the question, maybe a Rubber Tax (no, not that kind of rubber, silly).   Perhaps we could ask every rider to put R1,000 into a large tin, marked National Retirement Fund, on the square?    But perhaps not, as there are no municipal staff available over the weekend to guard it.   Whatever happens, we have finally got an explanation for the little red light on top of the very large MTN toilet brush next to the Public Toilets (to be commissioned in June 2029) on the square: It is required to guide home the lame and lazy after dark, to ensure they can slumber in the collective warmth of their family bosom and have the odd drink or nine at the village’s fine hostelries.

 

In fact, what we really need to do, is make these athletes (and their extended families, handlers and pets) very, very welcome.    With a little effort, we can turn 2,500 cyclists this year into 25,000 next.   Where they will all sleep is anyone’s guess, but then what better reason for keeping the pubs open all night.   Making this race a success means avoiding running any of them over and helping wherever possible; see the Stop Press below for starters.   So, in addition to everything else you were planning to do this weekend, let’s make the MTN Race a winner in every sense.

 

The Twitcher

Solar Eclipse

 

 

Keep Your Eyes on the Skies : Hybrid Eclipse of the Sun on November 3 2013

The wonders of our universe can be experienced this Sunday with a final and rare hybrid eclipse of the Sun. This is a rather unusual eclipse due to its movement from annular (the edge of the sun is still visible around the moon) to total ,and many across the world wait in eager anticipation for the show in the skies.

To understand how rare this eclipse is, one need only take a look at the history of hybrid solar eclipses.

Over a span of 5000 years 11 898 solar eclipses have been listed in Fred Espenak’s Five Millenium Catalog of Solar Eclipses, and of that a mere 569 or 4,8% were hybrids.

The track of the eclipse starts in the Atlantic, about 875km Southwest of Bermuda, from where it will move southeastward passing Cape Verde parallel to the African coastline. Liberia seems to be the lucky winner, as the greatest eclipse of 100 seconds will fall just 402km off the coast.

The eclipse will then sweep across Africa, covering Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya before reaching its grand finale at the Ethiopia-Somalia border.  We will not be able to see the eclipse from Clarens – but perhaps we’ll notice a difference in the light.

 

GenevieveArticle by Genevieve Blignaut

Clarens News October 2013

The Twitcher

27 Feb 2013 Whew.   What a beer festival.    What a hangover.   Well, actually, about three and half-thousand of them to be precise.    And a budget speech to follow; what rotten luck.   By the way, there are only 184 shopping days to Christmas, but of more immediate import to the little village of Clarens, is Easter.   That particular weekend is, as of today, only 29 days away.   So the big question is, what does Clarens plan to do about it, apart from emptying the pockets of countless visitors  – or FTs, as they are fondly known elsewhere in this shrinking world of ours. For those readers with enquiring minds (yes, both of you!) Easter was known in ‘Old English’ as Eostre, or amongst the Eastern Orthodox as Pasch… Odd names but they all mean that Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvery. By a process of shrewd deduction, you will by now have realised that Easter – apart from being the busiest Sunday in church’s calendar – is also the end of something called Lent, an oddly-named forty-day period of  fasting, prayer, and penance.   Which suggests that the Clarens beer festival was more or less the start of Lent, which makes you think, does it not?    So, assuming that the village’s churches will be doing bumper business on Easter Sunday, what will be happening on the other days of this bumper weekend?? It goes without saying that a great deal of alcohol and food will be channelled down visiting gullets, and that countless daredevils will be consigned down the Ash River on large bits of inflated rubber.   Some will listen rapturously to local music while others will join the growing throng beating the bushes with pitchforks in search of our ownKaalvoet.   A number will buy art works, great and small, or books, while others less well-endowed with the capacity to make unaided decisions may go quad-bike riding.   They will certainly screw up our prospects for parking in this fair community, and may even drink the village dry.   Many, at least of those of heterosexual persuasion, may be making fumbling attempts at reproduction, depending on their consumption of Tequila shots and beer snorters.   All in all, it will be much like other weekends but much more so.   Much more so. Which brings me neatly to the subject of our feathered friends and their role in this weekend celebration.   First, the duck community have organised a fly-over: While it has to be admitted that this is less about precision formation flying than dumping on the heads of our visitors, this should make Saturday a highlight to be remembered.   Come Easter Sunday, the combined flocks of Guinea Fowl have agreed to do a synchronised march-past at the DRC, depending on whether or not they can all find the place, or, for that matter, find one-another.    Three Bostrychia hagedash (hadidas, you ignoramuses!) have volunteered to do some cricket catching on the Square, while a lone Grey Heron will sit atop the monument for the entire weekend and attempt to turn it white.   The Mynas, naturally, wanted to do everything, at once, but have been barred on account of their illegal immigration status and lack of work permits. For my part, I shall be driving round and round the Square looking for parking until, at last, I find one.    At about four-fifteen in the morning.   On Tuesday; after Easter.

Feb 21 – Beer Festival Edition

Clarens News

Weekend Weather

Oh my word it’s going to be hot. If you forget them you can get sunglasses and sunscreen at the local Pharmacy, with your liver medication…

Notes from the Editor

Big Frothy Issue – Clarens Craft Beer Festival is happening this weekend!!! At last, Oh frabjous day, Kalloo Kallay. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the gathering of the country’s top brewers here in Clarens, to share their brews, their views and their news with us, the lucky people of Clarens. And it is not only beer on offer, some of the top bands in the country will be entertaining throughout (probably more entertaining the later the day…) and the Clarens News takes great pleasure in giving you the Festival Schedule right here: Program of events

Thu 21 Feb 7pm  Food and Beer Pairing evening with:

  • 278 on Main and Darling Brew
  • Adamo and Drayman’s Brewery
  • Clementines and Cockpit Brewhouse
  • Phatt Chef and Three Skulls Brew Worx
Friday 22 Feb 12 pm  Festival opens
Friday 22 Feb 6pm  Last round call
Saturday 23 Feb 9 am  Competition judging starts
Saturday 23 Feb 10 am  Festival opens
Saturday 23 Feb 11 am  Competition judging ends
Saturday 23 Feb 3pm  Announcement of winners of Best of Show and People’s Choice
Saturday 23 Feb 6pm  Last round call
Sunday 24 Feb 10 am  Off Sales open (no serving)
Sunday 24 Feb 12 pm  Off Sales & festival closes

Music line-up

Friday 22 Feb 12 pm – 3pm  Pre-recorded easy listening music
Friday 22 Feb 3 pm – 5pm  Gail Wilson
Friday 22 Feb 5 pm – 6pm  Rooibaardt
Saturday 23 Feb 10am  Denzl & Hensie
Saturday 23 Feb 11am  Ben Dover
Saturday 23 Feb 12pm  Bacchus Nel
Saturday 23 Feb 1 pm  Vana
Saturday 23 Feb 2 pm  Rick & Friends
Saturday 23 Feb 3 pm  Grumpy Old Men
Saturday 23 Feb 4 pm  Voilet Somedays
Saturday 23 Feb 5 pm  Rooibaardt

But it isn’t all about the beer and music (What? I hear you cry, there’s more???) Many of Clarens’s best restaurants are teaming up with brewers to do food and beer pairings (we’re not just talking about steak and ale pie now) and to choose your grub for Friday night, here is a list of what is on offer

 278 on Main Beef and Ale Pies, Beef Boboti in Filo, Vegetable Samoosas, Vegetable Boboti in Filo, Mini Sticky chicken kebabs, Sweet Bramble Berry Pies, Sweet Nuts and Spicy Popcorn
 Clementines Restaurant Wraps with julienne veggies in a soy, coriander and sesame dressing. Add chicken or beef to your taste
 Adamo Restaurant Coconut Crusted Hake Nuggets and Fries topped with Tartar Sauce served in a paper cone and Spicy Chicken Nuggets and Fries topped with Sweet Chilli Cheese Sauce served in a paper cone.
 Café XLNT Gourmet Burgers
 Courtyard Café Marvellous macarons, chewy chocolate brownies, fantastic fudge, fingers of millionaires shortbread, toffee & muesli bars and delicious chocolate slab
 La Cerise Restaurant Goat’s cheese and Onion Marmalade Tartlets / Spinach and Feta Tartlets
 Mosaic Pizzeria Pizza slices
 Phatt Chef Restaurant Well aged sirloin steak rolls with our famous red onion pinotage marmalade , Ploughman’s platters with local cheese and pork pie
 Vito’s Restaurant Spicy Indian Curry with Sambals & Chutney served in a freshly baked pita bread

My mouth is watering, but to see the full menus of 4 of the participating venues, go to www.facebook.com/clarensnews where I am republishing them With the Clarens Craft Beer Festival on the whole weekend, I took the precaution of phoning Benita at the local Pharmacy to check that they have enough Prohep in stock. She assures me that she has laid in extra provisions of that and Essensual, some other babelas mutis and even has a special on sunglasses for those who might need 2 pairs by the morning after. The pharmacy will definitely be open on Sunday morning, and she can be phoned on 058-2561852. While we’re on the topic of precautionary measures (note to the river guides, they also offer family planning precautions at the pharmacy, but that’s not what we’re talking about here…), those fantastic people at Maluti Footprints are making sure that you have no excuse to crash your car this weekend. They are running a shuttle service from Bethlehem (Frontier Casino and the Loft Guesthouse departure points) and back, leaving there at 9.30 both Friday and Saturday, for those who like an early start to their drinking, and (by arrangement) they can shuttle you to wherever you are staying in and around Clarens at a minimal fee. Phone them on 0829213894 and speak to Maureen.

In other News:

With the lazy days of Summer drawing to an end, it’s time to go and enjoy the Conservancy dam, and make use of as many outdoor activities as possible. Maybe the kids aren’t so keen on beer (?), send them white water rafting, horse riding or quad biking or at the very least a good swimAlthough that message may have sounded like it came from the Free State Tourism Ass, it didn’t. They are embroiled in their own soup it seems: In other news, the Free State Tourism department has come under fire for sponsorship of millions of rands to non-existent events and competitions. The FS500 Nascar Free State Tourism event received R4.5 million and another R4.2 million was given to the organizer of a soccer event that has yet to be held… read Carmel Rickard’s less than thrilled blog herehttp://www.tradingplaces2night.co.za/carmels-writing/this-circus-is-no-fun-for-anyone-free-state-tourism-clowning-around/ and if you can find any actual info about either of these events, please let me know. I certainly haven’t found anything more than a defunct facebook page for the FS500 – have we been ripped again? Also of interest is the NEWS24 story herehttp://www.news24.com/Travel/South-Africa/Free-State-tourism-authority-a-disaster-20130206 I don’t know who to complain to, but if you find out, let me know and let’s put some shame to a face…

AND FINALLY

Who owns what? I was shocked to hear that a French company is trying to claim Intellectual Property Rights over Rooibos, the quintessentially South African tea. If they are successful we will no longer have the naming rights over our own herbaceous refreshment. Does this mean that as a counter measure we should start producing our own Clarens Champagne? For more on this have a look at http://blogs.sun.ac.za/iplaw/2013/02/11/beating-about-the-rooibos/

PRINTED VERSION

Well, it’s out, such as it is. I personally like the new look and feel and hope you will too. It will be available all over Clarens, especially at the Route 66 petrol station (between Grouse and Bon Appetit, in front of the Saverite store) and possibly from the very tall man who will be wandering about claiming to be the editor’s Big Brother…

GOLF

This weekend also sees the Free State Junior Golf Championships come to Clarens to see about 100 juniors fight it out for places in the Free State Team, competing for the prestige of representing SA on the world stage. The circuit of 12 towns gives the kids opportunity to win merit points to become National competitors in the under 11 and under 19 divisions. Clarens boy Thinus Roslee (currently lying 4th in the u/19s) is hoping to advance on home grounds, and we will keep you posted with the results as they happen. (photos and results will be on www.clarensnews.com/golf) In other golf news, David Mofokeng the young local prodigy who has just turned Pro, is off to Pretoria on Sunday to take part in the Tshwane Open pre qualifiers, where the young Pro hopes to stake his claim on the national circuit. Special thanks to Janice from the Highlander, and the Clarens Golf Club for helping to make his dream reality.

RUGBY

Featured game: Sharks vs Cheetahs 17h00 Saturday Looks to be a cracker of an opening Super 15 game for both teams, and one which will tear my heart as an ex Durban boy, who will I shout for? Patrick Lambie or Johan Goosen, fresh back from the most brilliant season last year, till he was injured scoring the try of the year. With the somewhat Frans Steyn captaining the Sharks for the first time, I will find out myself if I have finally become a Vrystaater… Game on the big screen at Artichoke, drinks specials to be announced on the day… Of course this will be a tough decision, since the amazing Rooibaart will be playing at the same time on the square, gentlemen, start your PVRs

CINEMA

Bethlehem Kine is live and operational again, so if you love the big screen, the smell of popcorn, cuddling in the back row or just a good old night out at the movies, here’s what is happening this week: Life of Pi The Hobbit Here comes the Boom Pretville (locally made and marketed under our very noses) To find out times, make bookings etc call them on 0583034333 I saw Life of Pi the other evening, and let me tell you, it is brilliant. An incredible story about a man and a tiger, in a lifeboat, shipwrecked and learning about themselves in a deep metaphor about life and self. Amazing special effects (at least I hope they were special effects…) and a headscratcher of an ending that will wake you up the next morning, wondering about exactly what is what, not just in the movie but in your own life. Highly recommended.

Live Music and Specials

Artichoke Grilled Halloumi R35 Chicken Livers R35 Eischbein with Mustard Italian sauce R75 350gm T-Bone R70 Friday night Werner from Jbg, Saturday Lunch Deon Souti, Saturday night Gael (after the rugby) Bon Appetit Bistro! Bon Appetit will be open until 9pm on Saturday 23rd February Boerewors or Chicken Kebab, roll and salad for R 50 per person! Bring you own alcoholic beverage. No corkage fee!

Street Cafe Specials this weekend Sat 23rd We will be hosting Slipstream with a Castle Lite promo as well as a Red Square promo with promo girls and Specials & Much much more! Sun the 24th we will be hosting Christiaan van Zyl. Next week Monday 25th will be Slipstream and Happy Hour Mondays and a happy hour on friday aswell… see you all thereFriends Restaurant will have Van Smith over the weekend (you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

9 March 2013 – The SPF Macnollie fund raising challenge. Are you a hunting, shooting fishing kind of person? Compete to raise funds for the Sector Police Forum and keep Clarens safe. Click HERE for more details Also 9th March – Bethlehem Antique Car and Machine Show at Bethlehem AirportClarens Festival of Dirt – 5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals. The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest. In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE

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

AFRI SKI – it’s almost that time again – July 11 – July 14 A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669 Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.

Captain Naas Viljoen, Sector Police Forum, Clarens

Macnollie fundraising initiative

Planning and logistics are in place, the dams have been organized, the pre-event registration is going to include free beer at the Brewery, and now we need 30 brave contestants to compete for the sake of the SPF. The News took little offence at the statement that most email readers are bunny huggers, knowing that it’s readers will enter and show the hunting shooting fishing fraternity what’s what on the day. I’m hoping that a bunny hugging Clarens News reader will win the competition, and release the prize animal to graze under guard of the reservists on the Clarens Square. To learn more click here: Read More

The Cluny Animal Trust

The Cluny Animal Trust does fantastic work treating animals from the townships of several towns. They always need support to keep their work happening, and this is your opportunity to help The Cluny sms line details: SMS ‘CAT’ to 38008 Each sms cost R10 rand. Free sms’s do not apply. Thank you for the support

Council Meeting Feedback

14th February Council Report-Back, to the Community of Ward 20. Firstly, may I say a big thank you to those of you that attended the Council Meeting. I cannot stress how important it is, particularly at this time in the country, to show that we are a community that pays attention and is involved in rulings that affect Ward 20. As always, Council started late – the allowable time is 15mins. – this time, the excuse was the “stop and go”. The audibility of the meeting will test any person’s hearing ability. Unfortunately a sound system is not in the budget!! After listening to the congratulations for Nigeria, every soccer team that played etc., etc. we finally moved onto the Items of the meeting. Mandy Prior raises some very pertinent questions in the rest of her report back, for the full text please clickHERE, and spare a thought for how her Valentines day was spent…

Swan

Ornithological Notes:

Christmas is just 191 shopping days away, so this is a good week to lay something bye.   Or someone, depending on your inclination.    Or luck.   More importantly, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival starts tomorrow with no end in sight for the plethora of hangovers expected on the Square.   As the good and the great (and the thirsty) flock into town, our thoughts turn to Cynthia, the white swan reported missing from the zoo at Bruce Weyer’s little weekend hideaway on the lake, just last week.   Cynth was thought to be nesting and so concerns were muted.   But the discovery, by your earnest scribe, of some VERY LARGE white feathers on the trail above the village and a set of what might be liberally described as VERY BIG footprints disappearing into the undergrowth, paint a very different picture. To read the rest of this weeks ravings, and to discover the potential fate of our feathered friend, please clickHERE

Clarens Village Conservancy

What to do in the event of a Structural fire, click on the image above. And the RECYCLING CENTRE is in dire straits, desperately in need of someone to supervise the Centre and organize pick up of material. Without someone helping this project may well collapse. Please click HERE to read more

Things to do in Clarens

SHOPS

The village is filled with an abundance of shopping, to see some of the local stores (no franchises) click HERE

BAKERY/DELI/COFFEE

Tasty treats, snacks and picnic basket fillers available HERE

RESTAURANTS/PUBS

Once you’re done shopping go and have a bite to eat and glass of whatever you like, to see them click HERE

ACCOMMODATION

Treat yourself to a good night’s rest and delightful hopitality at any of these establishments, click HERE

WEDDINGS/EVENTS

Turn that special moment into the occasion of a lifetime, clickHERE

ADVENTURES

And celebrate the event with an amazing adventure by clicking HERE

PROPERTY

Why leave, you’re already here, so click HERE to see what is available

CLASSIFIEDS/VACANCIES

What have you and opportunities, to see what’s on offer click HERE

SERVICES

For those of you who have already made the best decision,  HERE are the people who can make things even better

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

The numbers everyone should have are all available rightHERE.

Copyright © 2013 Clarens News, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

The Twitcher

The Twitcher 21 Feb 2013

Christmas is just 191 shopping days away, so this is a good week to lay something bye.   Or someone, depending on your inclination.    Or luck.   More importantly, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival starts tomorrow with no end in sight for the plethora of hangovers expected on the Square.   As the good and the great (and the thirsty) flock into town, our thoughts turn to Cynthia, the white swan reported missing from the zoo at Bruce Weyer’s little weekend hideaway on the lake, just last week.   Cynth was thought to be nesting and so concerns were muted.   But the discovery, by your earnest scribe, of some VERY LARGE white feathers on the trail above the village and a set of what might be liberally described as VERY BIG footprints disappearing into the undergrowth, paint a very different picture. …..(continued from main page)……     On the face of it, the evidence suggests that our very own Kaalvoet seems to have developed an appetite for game birds, starting with Bruce’s cuddly little long-necked swan.   If this theory is correct, the duck and swan population at Lake Clarens may be under threat.   Alternatively, someone VERY BIG may have snuck into town, bent on a mouthful of feathery fun.   Whichever the case, it is no longer safe for birds of a gamey nature to meet together for a chat and a snooze on the waters of our founding fathers’ lake.    So, what is to be done, one innocently asks? First, we should summon the cavalry: The SAPS have their very own mounted unit, under the command of a Veldkornet, which lives across the way in Qwa Qwa.   Surely they should ride to the rescue and pick up the tracks of the phantom Swan Canoodler sooner rather than later.   After all, the thought of Bruce lying awake at night is too much to bear!   Second, we should offer a reward for the (mis?)apprehension of Kaalvoet.   If anyone has any money left after a weekend of carousing on the square, this should be sent to The Twitcher without delay.   I can’t guarantee that it will be used for the purpose intended and don’t have a registration number for the receipt of public monies, but I can promise that I will think hard about the problem while drinking it away.   Third, we could simply pretend this never happened and that there is not a 2.3 metre tall monster lurking in the Holkrantz.    It’s a bit of a stretch, I grant you, but so much less demanding.    So, that’s settled then.   Send some money and we’ll buy another swan. I have been inundated by readers concerned about the fate of our cute Common Myna bird population, by the bye.    I can report that they are lousy eating so the plan to stem their assault on the Clarens valley and in fact, the entire Eastern Free State, is now under review.    One option is to export them (ideally in tins) back to Bangladesh, but catching the little buggers turns out to be a problem.    We have experimented with cardboard cut-outs of particularly good-looking females, but these have simply been pinched by a broody dove, for purposes unknown.   We have tried a long line of broken maize into a large pen, but gave up after 109 Guinea Fowls turned up (anyone wanting a pot of Guinea Fowl Swazi-Spa should drop us a line and fifty guineas).    So, we are officially back at the drawing board, scratching our collective heads.   Any suggestions would be welcomed and the authors thereof will receive a standing ovation at the next Dhilabeng Council Meeting. Now, as the actress said to the Bishop, for something entirely less demanding and quite coincidental: A recipe for Swan Soup!    Take a swan.   Any swan, actually.   And peel it, or more correctly, denude it of its feathers.   Assuming you are still alive after this taxing exercise, kill the sodding thing the kindest way you know how, but just do it.   You will now have a very large pink thing with an over-extended neck and no pulse.   Optimally, you should undo its tummy (Ed: that’s the part between its legs and below its rib cage) and empty out all the frogs and other low-life creatures it has ingested.   As you will know, trying to roast a swan is delicate work; the inside bits are always raw and you can’t close the oven door on its neck.   So, a tip: Firmly grasp the butt-end of the swan, insert a well-greased hand until you reach its beak, and turn it inside-out.   The swan may have lost some of its visual charm by this point, but will be a lot easier to cook.   Simply souse it with some sherry, a lot of pepper and grill it on High for 3 days.   You will find, I am reasonably sure, that there is very little left of the beast and that your Eskom bill is into five-figures.   At this juncture, give up the whole thing and go out for a pizza. The Twitcher 7 Feb 2013 205 shopping days to Christmas and a Craft Beer Festival to get through.    God, the pressure!

Feb 15 2013

Clarens News

Weekend Weather

Accuweather ClarensAah, the mountains look so lovely after a sweet refreshing shower… And we get amazing lightning shows as well!

Notes from the Editor

I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for this week’s News, sorry about the delay, you may have lost the will to live without your beloved weekly Newsletter, but still, better late than never, eh? Why the delay you may ask? Well, if it had come out yesterday there would have been no feed back on the SPF meeting on Thursday afternoon (see sidebar on right), or on our Comrade President’s Valentine’s address to the nation. Reason enough, I hope. Apparently he will continue to make corruption a top priority this year (sounds like all the other years to me), and still blames apartheid for all the ongoing violence in the country. On the upside he announced the setting up of special courts to deal specifically with the scourge of rape in this country, currently the world leader in that department, and hopefully it will review past cases as well. Maybe it’s not so bad if you do it on Valentine’s day, as long as you give taxi fare the next morning, Mr Zuma… The highlight of the affair by the sounds of it was when 84 year old Mangosotho Buthelezi ran around before it officially started, giving out flowers and love notes to various female representatives. And did you know (number 83485) that the word “Malibongwe” means “let them be praised”? and is a reference to a group of 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on August 9 1956 to register their protest against having to carry pass books! And aren’t you so lucky to have a clever little editor. It’s taken a week of head scratching, but finally all the daily news postings on the facebook page (www.facebook.com/clarensnews) go directly to the websitewww.clarensnews.com, making it the most up-to-date source for your News about Clarens, the Free State, and our world in general. (takes bow to thunderous applause)

In other News:

The Scooter Addicts came and went. Their 35000 km tour from Cape Town to Dublin in aid of Children’s Red Cross Hospitals saw them stop over at Witsieshoek on Monday night, where they were greeted by Pete and Toni Badcock-Walters. Full article to follow, but here are some pics in the meantime

PRINTED VERSION

The next (and possibly final) printed version of the News will be out next week. Hoping it looks as good on paper as it did on the screen when I finished it at 3am…

Craft Beer Festival News

As a precursor to the main event a number of Clarens restaurants are having food and beer pairings on the Thursday night before it opens officially.

Thu 21 Feb 7pm
Food and Beer Pairing evening with:
• 278 on Main and Darling Brew
• Adamo and Drayman’s Brewery
• Clementines and Cockpit Brewhouse
• Phatt Chef and Three Skulls Brew Worx
        Bookings are essential and I will try to get their menus for that night for the next edition

Join the event on Facebook by clicking here To read more about Beer and the festival please click here for the full program of events and beers and bands and breweries who will be participating.

CINEMA

Bethlehem Kine is live and operational again, so if you love the big screen, the smell of popcorn, cuddling in the back row or just a good old night out at the movies, here’s what is happening: Life of Pi The Hobbit Here comes the Boom Pretville (locally made and marketed under our very noses) To find out times, make bookings etc call them on 0583034333

Live Music and Specials

Artichoke Rick & Denzl Friday Hensie and Denzl Saturday afternoon and again that night T-Bone steak R70 Eischbein – R75 Grilled Halloumi with Avo – R35 Jalapeno poppers – R30 February Special @ Bon Appetit Bistro! Travel your way around the World in 28 teas. Come and enjoy our delicious teas from around the World. For each pot of tea sold, we will donate R.2 to CLUNY ANIMAL TRUST. So come discover amazing teas and do your bit for our local Animal charity!

Street Cafe has Monday night Happy Hour with Slipstream and friends. Friends Restaurant will have live music over the weekend, band to be confirmed (you can click HERE for updates as I get them)

Coming Up

9 March 2013 – The SPF Macnollie fund raising challenge. Are you a hunting, shooting fishing kind of person? Compete to raise funds for the Sector Police Forum and keep Clarens safe. Click HERE for more details Clarens Festival of Dirt – 5-7 April 2013. Clarens X-Treme will once again be hosting this dirty weekend. The Mountain Madalas # 1 hosted by Enduro Mag will start mid morning on Saturday after the 40km mountain bike trail ride which leaves St Fort at 6am. If that is not enough, come and enjoy a 3km or 10km trail run on Sunday. Bring the whole family to St Fort for an action packed weekend with loads of entertainment for visitors and locals. The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest. In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE

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

Captain Naas Viljoen, Sector Police Forum, Clarens

The Sector Police Forum meeting was well attended, and most welcome of all attendees was Captain Naas Viljoen of the Mounted Police Unit. Over the last month we have contacted him to find out more about getting the horse unit in Clarens on a regular basis, and he is keen like the proverbial mustard to spend a lot more time here, with his troops, all we need to do is find them regular accommodation and a nice field for their horses to graze, oh yes, and the request has to come from our esteemed Station Commander, Captain Mohale. Councilor Mandy Prior has been tasked with following up with her, watch this space for developments. Another point of discussion that requires some thought is an un named bank has offered to sponsor the purchase and installation of 50 Closed Circuit TVsecurity cameras for Clarens. If anyone has any issue with the civil liberties involved, now would be a good time to raise your concerns, but the main issue revolves around who will watch them? The SPF already employs 3 reservists who work with the police, but setting up a control room would involve serious outlay and salaries. Who do you want for your Big Brother? Macnollie fundraising initiativePlanning and logistics are in place, the dams have been organized, the pre-event registration is going to include free beer at the Brewery, and now we need 30 brave contestants to compete for the sake of the SPF. The News took little offence at the statement that most email readers are bunny huggers, knowing that it’s readers will enter and show the hunting shooting fishing fraternity what’s what on the day. I’m hoping that a bunny hugging Clarens News reader will win the competition, and set the prize animal free. Actually, I’m really hoping it becomes an annual event, and that one day the News will be able to sponsor a team of huggers to put everyone else to shame…To learn more click here: Read More

The Cluny Animal Trust

The Cluny Animal Trust does fantastic work treating animals from the townships of several towns. They always need support to keep their work happening, and this is your opportunity to help The Cluny sms line details: SMS ‘CAT’ to 38008 Each sms cost R10 rand. Free sms’s do not apply. Thank you for the support

Hero of the Week

Potch Mayor Annette Combrink received a R750 000 Merc this week, ordered by the previous mayor (who does not deserve a capital letter, maybe just a punishment), which arrived after he ordered it in June last year. It apparently took so long because of all the optional extras, beige leather upholstery, sunroof, automatic backscratcher etc… The ex teacher was quoted in the Beeld as saying ”My biggest objection is basically that expensive official cars in general, not just at Tlokwe, are unnecessary and obsolete.”  She has chosen to use her 9 year old Passat as her official vehicle, and well done to her. To read more about her click HERE

Swan

Missing

One of the Swans from Lake Clarens has vanished. Hopefully it is nesting somewhere, sitting on a brood of ‘ugly ducklings’, but please keep an eye open for the long necked beauty. The Twitcher has been called in to help investigate, and will hopefully do a full report back in time for next week’s Clarens News

Clarens Village Conservancy

What to do in the event of a Structural fire, click on the image above. And the RECYCLING CENTRE is in dire straits, desperately in need of someone to supervise the Centre and organize pick up of material. Without someone helping this project may well collapse. Please click HERE to read more

Laugh of the week

John Cleese visits a Laughter Yoga Centre in Indiahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEfjVnYkqM

Things to do in Clarens

SHOPS

The village is filled with an abundance of shopping, to see some of the local stores (no franchises) click HERE

BAKERY/DELI/COFFEE

Tasty treats, snacks and picnic basket fillers available HERE

RESTAURANTS/PUBS

Once you’re done shopping go and have a bite to eat and glass of whatever you like, to see them click HERE

ACCOMODATION

Treat yourself to a good night’s rest and delightful hopitality at any of these establishments, click HERE

WEDDINGS/EVENTS

Turn that special moment into the occasion of a lifetime, clickHERE

ADVENTURES

And celebrate the event with an amazing adventure by clicking HERE

PROPERTY

Why leave, you’re already here, so click HERE to see what is available

CLASSIFIEDS/VACANCIES

What have you and opportunities, to see what’s on offer click HERE

SERVICES

For those of you who have already made the best decision,  HERE are the people who can make things even better

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

The numbers everyone should have are all available rightHERE.

The Twitcher

Not much happening, I’m afraid to report (or not, as the case may be), but I can say that our very own Kaalvoet has gone to ground and disappeared.   Seems s/he has gone walkabout and has not been seen for some days.   Pity, since we need all the waiters we can get for the Beer business and there is a spare waiter’s uniform, apparently, in size XXXXXXXXX. This may explain my absence from these hallowed pages this last week, as if you noticed!   Or cared.    Weighing my options, I finally borrowed an air rifle with telescopic sight and took up position overlooking my rooftops, now liberally spattered with the effusion of these pesky little intruders.    I waited until a line of the little birds (they do look bigger through the scope) was in place and took aim in the hope of the pellet passing through three or even four skulls.    I had the telescopic sight focused and prepared to squeeze the trigger in the approved manner.   What I did not consider, however, was that while the scope was lined up and clear, the barrel of the rifle was several centimetres lower and directed straight into a drain pipe.    I squeezed the trigger, per the instructions, and promptly had a bowel collapse.   The pellet, travelling at several thousand metres per second apparently, set off on a journey of many parts, not least a final ricochet straight back at my head.   So it was that I reported for attention at the local hospital with a pellet lodged in my forehead and the scope lodged in my mouth, as a result of the fall from the ladder and an ensuing tumble into some rose bushes.   You will be pleased (?) to know that I am quite recovered and should soon be able to take solid food again.    As for the Mynas, they continue to spatter my rooftops with what amounts to glee and I would swear that they are multiplying at a prodigious rate.    Just you wait, you little buggers, vengeance will be mine. Otherwise, at my humble abode on the Golf Estate, we have lost sight of the Guinea Fowls that sack our broken Mealie stock every evening.   Indeed, we have lost sight of the houses and trees, even the mountains, as the grass around us grows ever higher.    It would seem that there is an unspoken agreement amongst the staff to tempt fire into the valley by growing an inordinately tall crop of grass around the Estate, so shielding us from the nightly pounding of what passes as music, which rolls up the valley from ‘Lower Clarens’.    We know not and are currently seeking the whereabouts of the main gate, to fetch in supplies for the winter.   Should readers see a flock of confused Guinea Fowls, please feed them at once – or eat them, if they are a bit on the slow side.    I’m not a bit surprised that Kaalvoet has vanished and can only hope that s/he is suitably accommodated for the duration.

Clarens News – 1 February 2013

Notes from the Editor

After a stormy start to the week Clarens has been intermittent weather wise, and constant good time wise. Street Cafe’s grand opening party saw Slipstream unplugged, Denzl on Banjolin, being upstaged by thunder so loud we thought the roof was going to cave in. Near heart-attacks were kept at bay by exotic cocktails in innovative Consol Glass jars, and the thunder seemed to continue all the way into the next day for many of us… (click HERE to see some of their cocktails). Later they were joined by visiting blues legend Brian Finch, and we were very lucky to see and hear such a group of virtuosos and Rick on the drums (turns out he’s good at everything…)  Wednesday night at Friends was Ben Dover in their basic 3 piece format, and wow, it was great. The crowd got up and boogied to an amazingly spirited and fairly wild sound, at times almost punk folk jazz rock reggae blues. Thanks guys. In less cheerful news, this Newsletter is only out on Friday (that’s today for those still recovering from the Street Cafe party), because your editor (I checked by the way, and no, Anon, it’s not spelt Idiotor…) has been busily dismantling his dreams. Specifically the Henn’s Tooth Toyshop. If you would like to book a clown or entertainer for you kid’s party, wedding or maybe just to dance on the grave of a nemesis, you can now email me on knotthejuggler@gmail.com. Remember, in some parts of the world a marriage is not legally binding unless you have a juggler present at the ceremony. Jumping castle available at your home or place of your choice (within reason – I’m not carrying it up Horeb). If you are coming to Clarens and having a birthday celebration, call, call now. SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=42E2fAWM6rA

Veggies are a big part of this issue, you will find pics of the gardens at Bruce’s place, the Artichoke, of the veg gardens at Tshepong orphanage, and some of Toni Walters’s (author of the book Cultivating Flavor) raised beds. If you would love to have your own organic vegetables, but don’t have growing space or energy to put into the ground, you can call Annalie Bossert from the Gourmet Shed and have her deliver mixed organic veggies from her gardens directly to your door. Says Annalie: ”We have huge vegetable gardens (all Organic). We sell crates of mixed veg (what ever is available for that week), and deliver is to your house.R70/R100 crates are available.”

Veggies from the Gourmet Shed GardensOrganic Veggies from Gourmet Shed Gardens Tshepong Orphanage Garden Vegetable Garden at Tshepong Orphanage Artichoke Restaurant Garden Artichoke Restaurant Garden  Toni Walters’ Raised Bed Garden

Green Tips

Reel  Gardening at Clarens Go Green Reel Gardening is a biodegradable colour coded paper strip that encases organic fertilizer and seeds at the correct depth and distance apart.  The paper strip prevents birds from eating the seeds, water cannot push the shallow seeds to the surface and it can save up to 80% water.  The paper decomposes to create mulch and a nurturing environment for the seeds. About Reel Gardening  Reel Gardening was developed in 2002 by Claire Catherine Reid at the age of 16 to solve the problems she encountered when starting her own vegetable garden. Claire was encouraged by her teachers to enter her then newspaper and flour invention into the Eskom expo for young scientists. Claire won a gold medal at the national finals in Pretoria. She was asked how much water the product saved so she conducted a series of tests which concluded that Reel Gardening saves 80% water in the germination phase. The department of Water Affairs selected Claire as the South African Youth Water Prize winner and she was sent to Stockholm in 2003 to represent South Africa and The Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Claire was the first South African to win the international award, beating 28 other countries and receiving the award from HRH princess Victoria of Sweden. Claire then went onto win the Women in water award for scientific research below the age of 35. Claire was also a finalist in the Shoprite Checkers woman of the year award in the science and technology category. Claire secured a start up loan through Anglo Zimile and Reel Gardening began research and development in 2008. you can find out more from Jack and Karlien at Clarens Go Green at Shop2, The Rosemary Centre, behind Clarens Brewery, or phone them on 0582561921

GOLF NEWS

David Mofokeng News that the world’s number one golfer Rory McIlroy has just signed a ten year sponsorship deal worth £155 million raised the eyebrows of golfers all over the world. £155 million! That’s R2,170,000,000! And he’s already a multi-millionaire! Clarens golfer David Mofokeng would be eternally grateful for even one tiny crumb from that particular table.  The 32 year old turned professional a few months ago and is desperate to try his hand on the ‘Sunshine Tour’, this continent’s pro golf circuit. Most of its 25 events per calendar year are staged in South Africa and several are co-sanctioned by the European PGA Tour giving TV exposure throughout Europe and the UK. (click HERE to read the full story) David can be contacted at 073 338 5430 or by email at mofokengdavid39@yahoo.com

COMMUNITY NEWS

LATEST Update from the Sector Police Forum has just landed in my inbox, and thanks to the lateness of me sending out the Newsletter, it can be read by clicking HERE CLARENS FISHING As mentioned earlier, my scheduling has resulted in me not being able to go fishing this week with Greg, so my review will only be coming out next week. As experienced anglers know, patience is everything, so bait your breath my lovelies, something will sure to be on the end of the line eventually.

PRINTED VERSION

The next printed version of the News will be out in time for Valentines day. Please send your Valentines specials and info to EDITOR@CLARENSNEWS.COM As for the surprise part, well, look forward to sports, news, poems and art from the greater community around Clarens. That’s all I’m saying for now… For day to day events, updates, info and snippets, please visit the News on Facebook and like it. (click HERE)

Craft Beer Festival News

As a precursor to the main event a number of Clarens restaurants are having food and beer pairings on the Thursday night before it opens officially.

Thu 21 Feb 7pm
Food and Beer Pairing evening with:
• 278 on Main and Darling Brew
• Adamo and Drayman’s Brewery
• Clementines and Cockpit Brewhouse
• Phatt Chef and Three Skulls Brew Worx
        Bookings are essential and I will try to get their menus for that night for the next edition

The Clarens Craft Beer Festival caters for those who would like something else than beer and cider to quaff…. There are such good folk!  Drayman’s Craft Distillery:  A festival first is the introduction of SA’s most exciting commercial craft distillery – Drayman’s. Situation in Pretoria, Drayman’s happens to be the second oldest craft brewery in the country and a progression to distilling was a natural step for the owner-brewer-husband-and-wife team, Hester and Moritz Kallmeyer.  The fabulous wares they are  bringing are:  Highveld Single Malt Whiskey, Solera Whiskey, Honig Jäger Honey Whisky Liqueur, Obstler Schnapps, Cherry Liqueur, Masinko T’ej. Make sure to stop off at Drayman’s for a taste sensation and a chat with the ever-knowledgeable Moritz and find out what T’ej is! Boutique Wines: In another beer-fest first Anton Grobler from the Art and Wine Gallery is bringing three boutique wineries, namely  Cederberg from the Cederberg, De Grendell from Durbanville and Saronsberg from Tulbag who will all be exhibiting their premium wines and sparkling wines.  Think Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Shiraz, Merlot.. all multi-starred Platter rated and all of them winners of prestigious awards such as the Winemaker’s Choice Diamond Award, Michael Angelo Awards, VERITAS Awards, Top 100 Award and SA Wine Winners Award. Local juices: The Clarens Primary School will be offering local sparkling apple and cherry juice, lemonade and ginger beer.  Other fizzy drinks will also be available SAB Hydration station: SAB is sponsoring the popular  hydration station where the visitors can obtain and refill bottles of cool, fresh water This update brought to you by Natalie Meyer from the Brewery Join the event on Facebook by clicking here To read more about Beer and the festival please click here for the full program of events and beers and bands and breweries who will be participating.

Live Music and Specials

Clarens Interiors is celebrating their 7th birthday this weekend, so go and see Anel to get special prices and discounts this weekend 

Street Cafe has Dion on Saturday afternoon and don’t forget their Monday night Happy Hour. Artichoke always has live music and entertainment Friends Restaurant will have live music over the weekend, band to be confirmed (you can click HEREfor updates as I get them) Stefan Dixon will be the year’s opening artist at the Grouse and Claret on Feb 1st, to hear his sound go to www.facebook.com/stefandixon

Things to do

VERKYKERSKOP

Twitch if you can see him On your return trip from Clarens to Durban or Johannesburg (via Harrismith) you should consider turning off on the R722 and driving 45k to Verkykerskop. This quaint little “boere” town is full of surprises, and the Sunday lunch buffet at Smiley’s is a must. As you enter, via the store, you are transported back to the “good old days.”  The general store at the entrance is full of antiques and artefacts – you’ll just have to buy something (even if it’s only a bag of sugar and some tea.) While you’re waiting for lunch you can enjoy drinks on the stoep. This is the place to meet the locals. (It seems that everyone in Verkykerskop and the surrounding area converges here.)  The buffet comprises a huge spread, and the food is so tasty you’ll find yourself lining up (tin plate in hand) for a second (and even a third) helping. No matter if you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater – there is a very wide selection to choose from – all for only R110 per person.  (Such good value that I can see this becoming a regular outing for Clarens residents.) If you have a chance, chat to your hosts Matt and Beth. They are a mine of information on Verkykerskop and can tell you all about the area and future plans for its development. Booking is essential: Phone (058) 625 0071 or 079 8730470

Coming Up

 Scooter Addicts are 4 guys on scooters, visiting 14 Children’ hospitals, over 8 months, covering 35000km’s from Cape Town to Dublin – all in aid of raising funds for the Children’s Red Cross Hospital. www.scooteraddicts.co.za – read more about them. “We are sponsoring Dinner,bed and Breakfast at Witsieshoek on Monday 11th February and would like to offer a special for anyone to join them at R400 per person sharing. This includes dinner, bed and breakfast and we will donate R50 of this to  the Childrens Red Cross Hospital. Please, we would like you to be our guest and bring as many as you can!.  They have put so much effort and planning into this trip and are fantastic company, it would be great if we have some interested supporters.” To find out more about Witsieshoek (top of the Drakensberg and a stunningly beautiful place), clickHERE 9 March 2013 – The SPF Macnollie fund raising challenge. Are you a hunting, shooting fishing kind of person? Compete to raise funds for the Sector Police Forum and keep Clarens safe. ClickHERE for more details The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest. In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE

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

Ornithological Notes

219 shopping days to Christmas and counting.   Not even an unexpected win by the national football team has countered the pervading gloom of a village bereft of its post-Christmas tourist flocks, so drinking continues unabated in the local hostelries as anticipation of the February Craft Beer Festival mounts.    Talking of local hostelries, there has been a welcome flood of postings on the ‘Creature Wall’ in the Clarens Brewery, confirming widespread sightings of our own missing link… (to read the rest of last week’s Twitcher please click HERE)

The Twitcher

1 February 2013

Well, only 226 shopping days to Christmas and the ankle-biters are all off to school again to rack up another year of educational achievement.    Thank goodness Clarens is not in Limpopo or we wouldn’t even be able to say that.   On a domestic note, several readers have called to claim sighting of the creature reported in last week’s Clarens News but as yet no-one has come up with a decent picture of this elusive visitor.   The ‘Creature Wall’ in the Clarens Brewery is yet to have any postings, so please come forward if you have anything to report.   Your faithful scribe has meanwhile done further research and can confirm that in the USA, where rates of obesity would make any Bigfoot hard to spot in a crowded mall, sightings of this creature seem quite common. In that confused continent, Bigfoot is commonly described as a large, hairy ape-like creature, in a range of 2–3metres tall, weighing in excess of 230kgs, making our little chap/chapess seem quite delicate, or perhaps simply a petite female of the species.   Theirs is also known as “Sasquatch” and is covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair, has large eyes, a low-set forehead with a pronounced ridge, and is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell.   On hearing this description, a farmer’s wife from Fouriesburg nodded knowingly and suggested her own dear husband as a candidate for any identity parade, should one be held.   In the USA, the enormous footprints for which it is named are up to 60cm long and 20cm wide.   While it appears to have five toes — like all known apes — some tracks have only two to six toes, putting our own little cuddly bunny right in the zone.    Only problem is that America’s Bigfoot is usually described as a bipedal humanoid, and as we have not found any bicycle tracks, they may be unrelated.    The most recent reported sighting in our fair village was at the corner table in Mosaic last Friday night, although the lack of any clothing and widespread pizza smearing could mean that this was simply a well-proportioned visitor from Friends.   Please keep your eyes peeled but any further correspondence on the subject of Steel Wings members going walk-about will not be encouraged.   On a positive note, the Clarens Conservancy has suggested s/he be encouraged to eat the goats and cattle currently devastating the reserve, and will put up some signs to guide the dismemberment of these invaders. Finally, since our newest citizen may be around for a while to come, the Twitcher would welcome ideas on an appropriate name for our shy and odiferous friend in the veld.    “Kaalvoet” has been suggested by a committee in Ficksburg, while a feminist group in the Golden Gate has proposed “Koeksister”, in the conviction that she is a sweet (if hairy) girl and entitled to extensive Constitutional rights.   But I feel sure we can do better than that, and look forward to readers’ suggestions, which will be displayed on the Brewery’s “Creature Wall” in due course. The Twitcher

The Twitcher

LATEST TWITCH 25 01 2013

…Turns out that far from hiding in the Clarens woods (well, what’s left after the annual wood-chopping season), our Bigfoot clone has been seen cashing in empties at the Old Stone Bottle Store (Carling Black Label, if you are interested in his/her drinking habits) and caught on security cameras rising from the depths of the Ash River.     Kaalvoet was even photographed on the SAPS gate camera at the local Police Station, but somehow was neither spotted or detained.   Readers with more photographs to post should hurry along to the Brewery asap, as space on the ‘Creature Wall’ is running low. Turning to matters ornithological, as you would rightly expect, I have been pestered all week by growing flocks of Common Myna birds, or Indian Mynas (Acridotheres tristis) as they are more commonly known.   This little fellow is a member of the family Sturnidae (starlings and mynas) and is/was native to Asia.   It is an omnivorous open-woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, and has adapted extremely well to urban environments like Clarens – in spite of its rural location!   You will be riveted to know that the Indian Myna is an important motif in Indian culture and appears both in Sansrit and Prakrit literature (copies definitely not available at the Bibliophile).   The word “Myna” (as if you cared) is derived from the Hindi language mainā which itself is derived from Sanskrit madanā, but locally it is simply known as a cheeky little bugger.   The real point is that the range of the Myna is increasing at such a rapid rate that in 2000 the  IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it one of the world’s most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that pose an impact to biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.   Whew!   Judging by the number of these visitors to my little corner of God’s green acre, it’s turning into a very real problem for Clarens. So I got to thinking.   We could arm the population with air rifles and publish recipes for Myna stew, Myna á l’Orange, or that well-known stand-by, Myna and Cherries in Phyllo Pastry.   However, given the average age of the village population and the prevalence of bottle-bottomed glasses, I suspect we would wind up with long queues in Casualty and not a dead Myna to our collective name.   So, it occurred to me that the previous Government, which we may or may not remember but obviously never supported, put a metaphorical fence around the Free State and insisted that visitors of Indian origin had but 24-hours to cross this enchanted land – and required a visa to do so.   At risk of exciting a host of retired civil servants now running cafes on the coast, could we not re-introduce this remarkable legislation and curb the widespread incursions of this bothersome creature?    Just think, whole squadrons of hot-air balloons with nets deployed across the Malutis; employment for legions of rubber-stamping visa issuers who would (again) simply refuse every application; and clear skies over Clarens!?!   Hhmmmm.   Perhaps I will just buy a pellet gun. The Twitcher

Clarens News January 18 2013

Notes from the Editor

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

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

At the Highland Coffee Roastery you will find locally made upcycled bags and tote carriers, made by local couple Johann and Susan Combrink from jute coffee bags and recycled clothes. To see their unique and stylish offerings, click HERE. If anyone has old denims which they would otherwise th