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………………………..

Author: Clarens Guide