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.