"The World according to Garp, arth, rth, th or h

Now I know why society at times runs assholes out of a village or tarred and feathered them, its usually the self appointed, can do no wrong, if it wasn’t for me this place would be a hole, self righteous pain in the ass that gets it, “I wonder if its still legal to tar and feather people”? “I suppose not” L, so if you cannot run them out or tar and feather them what options do you have, suggestions would be welcomed.

Great News, after immense and concerted efforts by a village ID 10 T to ensure that the pub for this years biggest event was not awarded to yours truly and Wolverine it would seem that it has, so we are very happy that we will be involved and that we will be able to contribute and be a part of its success as we have over the last 3 years, So this weeks two finger salute goes to him.

In Bethlehem there is a very old graveyard that has up to 150 British or colonial troops that died during the Second Boer war buried there, I have never been there before and it was an interesting hour spent looking through the names, regiments and the battles that they died in.

A cartoon in a local rag has caused a few to sit up as it equates exotic trees to a few locals in the village and asks the question who drinks the most, this is like the kettle calling the pot black as the person who would have arranged for the cartoon to be drawn is no slouch themselves when it comes to the drinking stakes, with the vehicle often parked outside watering holes in the village. The adage “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones” springs to mind

Ever read that book how to win friends and influence people? Well a local ID 10 T has re-written it and its now called “How to lose friends and alienate people”. All the chapters he has personally tried and from what I hear they work.

Andy our local bicycle repair man and bicycle “renter outer” has bought some awesome Harley bikes, they look great, they ride even better, Wolverine and I took them for a spin, we just wondered who was Peter Fonda and who was Dennis Hopper, “rebels without a clue” Andy sold 3 bikes this weekend as well (2 of them being the new bikes)

It may not have been the Ashes or IPL 20/20 but I think I can speak for Mark when I say we where so proud of our boys (and 1 girl) with their first ever-competitive cricket match on Friday. Annetjie the Headmistress invited the Fouriesburg School to a sports day and the kids competed in Football (Clarens won 4-1) Netball (four games were played and each school won two games). A competitive game of rugby was played for the first time in many a year and the two teams did well with Fouriesburg snaking in a 24 - 21 win. Fouriesburg also gamely put together a cricket team, a game that the kids don’t often play and put o a decent score of 37 runs for 9 wickets, the Clarens team scored 38 runs for no loss and therefore won the game. I must say it was an honour to have been involved and it’s so great to see a few locals volunteering to assist the school and the kids.

I do not like winter, I think the older we get the longer the season becomes, but here in Clarens we seem to have a longer winter than other parts of the country, however one good thing is that you can use you garage to keep your beers cold. It was so cold on Friday morning (-10) at the house that Tania washed an apron for gabby and after 5 minutes it was frozen stiff like a board. Our local pond also partially froze this week, something I cannot remember seeing before.

The Bokke, did good on Saturday and should have won the game with more points this due to our Coach playing a Ruan Pienaar in a position that Morne Steyn should be playing and allowing him to kick when he is not the recognised kicker. We nearly grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory again. Brussow is just awesome (yes I am bias as he comes from the OFS) but he takes every game in his stride and was not overawed or intimidated by Ritchie Mcaw. Well done boys, lets do it gain next weekend

The Rugby was packed (with some having to find space on the floor) with Friends fast becoming the place to be when rugby is on and is definitely a contender for the warmest pub in Clarens. Jeanelles dog Skyla has a hooded top to keep away the cold and as you can see is rather “cool” Skyla has been re-named “Count Dogula”, “Dog may the wors be with you vader”, “Dogzilla” and “Dogtor Chivago”

My Mom had her second eye op this month and while it did not go as well as the first one, we are confident that all will work out just fine.

Daniel my Nephew walked for the first time this week and my Niece Amber looks like she is crawling already at 3 months all this we saw on Facebook. Facebook is according to many great, I am not signed up, but get to see certain items that family send to the wife such as Daniel walking and Amber wanting to crawl. At least you can see, unlike the past what is happening with the family, although probably would be better if the family where nearer and you could see it for yourself.

I don’t expect many people to understand this, but I just have to get it off my chest “Enough of the Lions already”

The Old Stone Bottle store is now officially open, Lawrence and Sherry have made a great job and the place is looking awesome. Saturday was the Official opening day and on Tuesday there is a party for invited friends. I hope that the ID 10 T will be there as with myself, T and alcohol in the same room sparks may just fly J. Anyway I am sure that the bottle store will do great, and better than when the Pole Polisher tried to run it. Funny that Lawrence owns a bottle store and has a wife called Sherry and a dog called Brandy, “was it meant to be “???

Here is a great e-mail I received from Jeanelle (spelt correctly this time, Sorry Jeanelle and well done Sharks beating Bulls on FridayJ)

Dear Dr. Ruth, I am a crack dealer in Kempton Park, Gauteng. I was recently diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in Hillbrow and one of my sisters, who lives in Benoni, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother were recently arrested for growing and selling marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Brakpan. I have two brothers; one is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Leeukop Central Prison for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is currently in jail awaiting charges of sexual misconduct with his three children. I recently got engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in Yeoville. She is now a part time "working girl". All things considered, my problem is this. I love my fiancé and look forward to bringing her into the family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her. Should I tell her about my cousin who is a "Blue Bull" supporter? Signed,
Worried About My Reputation
I leave you with these words of wisdom from a village resident Mr Rolf Schlub

“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Adrian Rogers, 1931

Wolverine still has not come up with evidence that there is an excess of Crack in the village (some undercover photographer my sidekick has turned out to be) and the book is coming on however I still await information from 2 of my photographers.

Have a great week ahead “The Village idiot”

Clarens Newsletter

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Love me Tender

We live in a 3 cat household, Snowball, Black Cat and Pepper, the only thing they ever do together is to ambush Tania and bug her into giving them tinned food every morning, that was until Tania and Gabby bought from Kathleen’s shop (Which is called meadowlands by the way and the best organic shop on the street, tell her I sent you and you will pay doubleJ). Ever seen a cat with a catnip ball or mouse, if not then do yourself a favour buy your cat or a friends cat one for Christmas, its like the running of the bulls for felines. Take a catnip ball throw it on the floor amongst your cats and watch the fun. Snowball our “gets beaten up regularly” cat whose only exercise is to get of the couch to go to the food bowl even went berserk, playing like a kitten. Its’ really cool and better than watching Top Billing.

I don’t know if its just me but Top Billing and programmes like that really get up my nose. I mean I know I am poor but do they have to rub my nose in it? Every week they are in a Larney home with some socialite that was famous once or is now the trophy wife of some dude who has an American express Platinum card. I think some of the houses are hideous and they should ask for their money back from whoever the ponce was that flounced in and made it just SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Fung Shwey “hell I cant even spell it, never mind afford it” and then one of the top heavy presenters in a blouse that is 4 sizes to small for her tells us how much fun it is to be spending summer in Europe and how gorgeous Monaco is at this time of year. I doubt that I could afford the petrol to the airport never mind the flight and summer in Monaco. “Bet you did not pay for yourself so of course its fantastic cause it’s free”. Noveau Cuisine in the Dunkley household is Lasagne with real mince, not that boleroni crap, “but no” on these arty farty programmes they show us how to have a dinner party for 30 or so of your close friends, with a white truffle starter (only R2500 per ounce), “hand reared calf fillet with a Saffron sauce (Only R4000 per kg) and Crème Brule. Of course you also have to have the wines and champagnes to go with each course and a party organiser to set it all up for you. I am sure some shack dwelling South African will be watching and saying to his wife “ Agnes, we must look for a job on Monday so we can also do all those fun things”

I sometimes wonder if anyone other than the 6 followers actually read the Blog, well this week I had a few calls from people telling me that they do in fact read it and better yet they say they enjoy it. Must say that feels pretty good, so the Village Idiot will be here for a while longer. “Will need to look at doing another Fairy tale”.

I was taken aback recently when I overheard a local telling a friend about a very large Dyke that was full of water in Clarens. Now I know Clarens attracts both men and women who are of the alternate lifestyle orientation, but I could not see in my minds eye who it was, that was until I realised he was talking about sinking a borehole, “silly me”

With regards the undercover Drugs investigation, my now famous side kick “Wolverine” after many hours of undercover work not been able to procure a picture of the large Crack problem in Clarens, however he is determined to ensure he gets the photo and when he does we will publish it on the Blog. And remember, “Just say no”

I have been doing a lot of reading on the Boer war to look for information for my book and while I have read some very good books on the subject I would recommend to those who want to learn more about the Boer war to read the following

· The Great Boer war – Arthur Conan Doyle (British perspective)
· The Boer war – Thomas Pakenham (overall perspective)
· Commando (a Boer journal of the Boer war) – Deneys Reitz (Boer perspective)
· Scorched Earth - various authors/contributors

Commando is especially good and it has been on my bookshelf for years and for some reason I have not read it, it’s so good I cannot put it down.

Joined about 30 ladies at this months friendship club held at Cranford Inn reason I attended was to listen to 4 ladies talk about Clarens in the older days and it was really interesting. I also managed to ask those present to assist with old photos of the village, so hopefully I will get some assistance.

Next week is the Cricket match, so hold thumbs, Kelvin from Friends (that’s our favourite hangout) kindly sponsored a cricket kit for the school, always nice to see the community getting involved.

Learnt an awesome new word this week that describes a person in the village to the T and that word is “Homunculus” Google it.

Janelle who is the Ultimate Sharks fan (serious if you look in the dictionary at SHARKS FAN then her picture is there. Anyway I digress Janelle told me this on Thursday and I thought it was great. “With Mad Cow Disease, followed by Bird Flu and now Swine Flu there is only one conclusion to be made and that its FARMAGEDDON”

Seems some people in the village are under the impression that I have wrote about them, Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not true, but if you do think it’s about you then come and ask me and I will tell you.

Kathleen’s car was driven into a couple of weeks back and much damage caused, while that’s not cool, what is rather funny is some retard has started the rumour that Mark actually kicked the door an caused all of the damage.

Who is more worthy of charity human beings or animals? I had an interesting conversation recently with a few people about this very subject. There was a split decision as to whether or not humans should be given priority over animals as some felt human life and the way they lived was more important that animals, while others felt that because animals could not speak for themselves and were prone to the whims of man they should be given preference. To be honest both arguments have merit and I believe that it’s a decision each individual has to take as to where their monies should be spent as well as how. What was agreed upon however is that Charity begins at home.

On Tuesday took a hike up to a large cave that Boer women and children are reputed to have hidden in during the Bore war, wont bore you with full details in this Blog, but you can read that on the Blog I published on Friday.

One of the managers of a local restaurant was telling me that a staff member had just up and left without even a “bye your leave” and on doing so had left behind a string of bar tabs that amount to a few thousand rand. This got me to thinking that the village attracts many youngsters and out of the many only a few actually make something of themselves, the others seem to arrive in town and expect to find cheap digs and a well paying job. This is not the case in fact many of the youngsters in the village I would think barely scratch a living together. Please don’t get me wrong I am not saying they should not come, because Clarens is a great place, but if you are paying three quarters of your salary for accommodation and the rest on food then why stay especially if there are no long-term future prospects. How does this problem get solved? “I have no idea”

The other day I was asked by a business owner about how they should best advertise their business. Over the years I have learnt that you need to question the people selling you advertising what the print run will be and where the publication/paper/brochure/book etc will be distributed because as the advertiser you have to see were your R will be best spent (in today’s economy you should be able to negotiate with the business concerned) and where it will get you the most exposure, some publications have a website that your advert goes on to as well as no extra cost, this is a good way of advertising, however I have found that you need to check that the site is a) actually running and b) if it is running then it is updated on a regular basis. Another way of checking is to call people advertising in the publication and ask them how the advertising is benefiting their business Its should also be pointed out that a publication with a small print run and sold within a certain locale may not give you the same exposure as the one that prints larger numbers and distributes further a field. There are no hard and fast rules as to who can give you the best exposure for your advertising rand, it comes down many times to a personal preference and a gut feel

Clarens has had its fair share of “Ministers of Tourism” over the years with each eventually being sidelined, when someone else decides they should become the Minster or they lose interest. Most tend to feel they “are in fact Clarens” and as an individual are perhaps more important than the whole. Not that theses people have not done good things for the Village, in fact if it had not been for certain individuals the village may not be on the map the way it is today. Some people that moved to Clarens in the last 5-10 years may feel there was no “Tourism” in Clarens prior to that date and they are in fact responsible for Tourism in Clarens “Crap” while no one can deny they have been instrumental, (as have many others) in growing Tourism to and in Clarens they cannot take credit alone for this, it also needs to be remembered the majority (and there are exceptions) of those that pushed tourism to and in the village did in fact benefit out of the industry and therefore did not just do it just for charity sake, money was also made whether it was a shop, restaurant, tourism publication or accommodation establishment. Lets be honest most people get involved with tourism forums because they have a business that would be able to benefit from increased tourism to an area. Clarens has a number of very clever marketers and ex tourism industry staff and with their knowledge and contacts Clarens could become the tourism destination of choice, not just in the OFS, but in South Africa, the problem is that you will never get those people in the same room together because of personality or business clashes, this as far as I am concerned is a huge loss for Clarens.

Listening to the ladies speak at the Friendship club made me realise that long before “Tourism in Clarens” became a buzz word there were in fact people who promoted Clarens and worked together and were even able to organize and promoted art as well as music festivals. From what I can gather they may have not been sophisticated and all Larney with promised government sponsorship but they apparently worked. KISS was the method the events were run on that basis and its sad that many pioneers that came to Clarens and had the courage to start up shops or guest accommodation have never really received the recognition for that. Most are not here anymore, but a few are and I think that we as Clarenites need to salute you for taking the step to move to Clarens and help start putting Clarens on the Map. Perhaps we should go back to our roots and host events that are more simplistic yet genuine in their execution.

Tania’s new web store Crafty Stuff www.craftystuff.co.za is now up and running and she has put many hours of hard work in to it, I have not been as supportive of her efforts that I should have been, but I am proud of her and hope that all her hard work and efforts actually pay off.

I don’t know if other guys my age feel the same, but when I see adverts on TV promoting moisturiser and creams for men I seem to think “Moffie” I mean you have Pierce Brosnan, a former James Bond, ladies man and action hero spouting of about rejuvenation cream, “its just not right” I shave, wash my hair and use soap, that’s about as far as my ‘meterosexual tendencies go” My hands in winter have more scales than a Coelacanth and I have more wrinkles than a Sharpay, with my hair disappearing faster than the polar icecaps, but hey I am getting old and while we would all like to stay young and stop certain parts of the anatomy from drooping, we also have to realise that unless you can afford to be cut and stretched so often that your face looks like it has been stretched tight and clipped at the back of your head no amount of rejuvenation cream, after beer moisturiser or vita-lift will reverse the damage already caused.

Everyone seems to complain about the service we get from companies like Eskom, Telkom etc, well let me tell you my little story. On Friday Morning we seemed to have dropped voltage with the electricity in the house being like the Soccer Stadium construction workers “either working at half strength or not at all”, with some trepidation I called the toll free number and after pushing in plenty of numbers into the phone, I eventually came in touch with a human that spoke Sef African English and not some made up human voice, the lady was courteous and efficient and within an hour Eskom were attending to the problem, so not all is gloom and doom in SA.

Well that’s about it for this week, have a great week ahead

The Village Idiot

The Holkrans

Having heard over the years about a cave not to distant from Clarens that during the Boer war had provided refuge to Boers and their families alike, I decided that perhaps it was time for me to pay the cave a visit.

There are 2 ways to get to the cave

1. A two-hour hike crossing the back of the Swartland hills and then trespassing on private land.
2 Calling the owner of the farm and asking permission to go to the cave.

I opted for option 2 and called Marius Naude to see if I could get permission to go through the farm and then on to the caves. Marius said yes and I met him at his farm Welgelegen that just out of interest has been in the Naude family for generations. Marius kindly showed me the way and left me to explore.

Prior to me arriving at the farm all I knew about the cave was that it was well hidden, had commanding views of the countryside and had been used as a hideaway during the Boer war of 1900 – 1902. So armed with backpack and camera I trudged through the veld and over a semi - dry river course and in front of me was a kloof with a rather large sandstone overhang. Marius had advised me to keep left when I got to the over hang and when the path petered out to just keep going. Stooping to get under low hanging branches and keeping an eye in the long grass for Puff adders was about as strenuous as it got, although the path was well concealed and I could see why people looking for the caves could have thought that no one would have been hiding in that area. As I stopped to look back across the veld a small herd of Wildebeest and Waterbuck gave me a hint of what the open Free State plains may have looked like in the late 1800’s.

Walking up to the overhang I saw that there was a kraal of sandstone and stopped to catch my breath and look around. The stones had been lying around and from what I can gather from Marius’s 4 children who had decided to come and help the “Oom” find the caves may have been built by the Boers to either keep sheep or coral horses. I must say I was glad to have them with and they forged ahead towards the hidden cave. The path petered out and just as I was about to ask “what now” like rock rabbits they bounded across a expanse of rock that seemed to disappear over the edge of the krantz. I gingerly followed and the rock merged with another path that seemed to stop at a wall of bush, again they disappeared into the vegetation and as I battled to get the back to go that low I managed to come out the other side unscathed, now I was in a small area again with large rocks blocking the way following the kids a large expanse unexpectedly opened up some 80 meters long and 30 meters wide.

“Wow” was my initial reaction as I realised how well hidden this cave had actually been, and how difficult it would have been for British troops that were not used to the wide open spaces of the south African veld to have found it. A large rock in the cave has many names carved on to it, most that I could make out were however from after the Boer war one date was 1917 and the other that I could make out was 1943. Two large excavations in the cave were pointed out to me as places that the Boers hid their arms and ammunition and the children told me that they had in fact found doppies (spent cartridges) at one stage. The cave also has a number of what would have been stone huts, long since fallen into disrepair.

A small crack in the rocks that I could barely squeeze through led to another well concealed ledge that a lookout would have been able to see not only the veld and part of the old road leading from Bethlehem but also keep an eye on the path that leads up to the kloof. As I sat there looking across the farm Welgelegen my mind wandered as to what life would have been like for those women and children that made this cavern their home to keep out of the hands of the British who if they had caught them would have sent them to the nearest concentration camp. It cannot have been easy, for one thing I was there at 11am and the cave was freezing so in winter they must have suffered and would have had to be careful that they did not alert the enemy by allowing smoke to rise from the caves entrance.

From research it would seem that Boer Commandos would regularly hide cattle and sheep as well as other supplies in well-hidden areas as a supply depot and it is possible that this very position served the same purpose. The area itself I believe would have been used by both Bushmen as well as early black tribes that had moved in to the area as the site has water, protection and commanding views of the countryside.

It was a privilege to see another part of Clarens that not many get to see and experience. There are a couple of places that I have been lucky enough to see over the last few years when researching stories and there are a few that I still need to see before I sadly leave the village at the end of the year. Whatever I do get to see however I will gladly share with you.


“What’s the funniest thing you have read in a newspaper or magazine, even a book for that matter? Not to long ago I came across this pearl of wisdom in some backwater publication and it reads “You are born you live and you die, but not always in that order” So what order is it then? I mean do people actually get paid to write that drivel.

There is a wager going around at the moment as to what month the local tourism publication will come out, “June she gone, July she going”, so who knows maybe August, if I was an advertiser I would be the “Moer in” wouldn’t you? Mountain Post came out again this weekend, “regular like clockwork”, “well done Donve”. I wonder how she is able to do it all by herself perhaps she could be hired as a consultant to other publications in the country to show them how its done. “Just a suggestion”

You will all be happy to know that after reading last weeks Blog that Mark has seen the error of his ways and has agreed not to use the words fat, rotund, obese or Telly tubby for a while. Well done Mark, “it takes a Big man to do that”

We had HOG in the village this weekend as well as a number of Lamborghini’s, great for the village and its economy. The Harley Owners Group Pretoria weekend was arranged and coordinated by Gordon Jeffries (Player 24) from Engel and Volkers, what was particularly nice about this is not only did they bring in much needed tourism revenue they also brought with them heaters for a local school as well as blankets, clothing and educational toys. Monies were also collected from the auction of wire motorcycles that will be used for the local Clarens Intermediate school, as well as Skills for Africa. Well done HOG Pretoria and well done Gordon, you even managed to do it all by yourself, how clever you are :-))

What I found interesting about this event was the complete absence of certain people /s who espouse the community should be working together to bring in tourists and much needed revenue in to the village, it would seem however that unless the event has been arranged by or through the self acclaimed Minister of tourism for Clarens then its either a non event or not worth covering. While I have to agree that there needs to be a tourism forum and that many heads are better than one we also need to understand that any event or initiative to bring people in to Clarens should be supported even if you have a personality clash with that person/s or they don’t advertise with you. If you espouse the fact we need to work together then “do as I do , not do as I say”.

There have been rumours that drugs are sold in Clarens, so we decided to send in an undercover investigator to one or two restaurants to see if this is in fact true, the shocking pictures shows a local pot head smoking his pot in a public place, as well as one partaking of coke (we believe this particular establishment has fridges full of coke). W also have heard that there is a business in Clarens that supplies crack………… and lots of it. We are on the lookout for this supposed crack dealer and the village idiot as well as his intrepid side-kick will keep you informed

Received a photo of a recent Potjie competition, not sure where it was held, but one or two locals may have been there as the picture incorporates 3 of the 4 food groups they enjoy together “women”, alcohol and Potjie” all that was missing was a band.

Free State lost their first game of the Currie cup, so seems they are carrying on with their great form from the Super 14, lets hope that they can do better than end last in the Currie Cup as well.

Love seeing the village busy with tourists but one thing that drives me mad is when they walk in the middle of the road with not a care in the world, whole families holding hands and sauntering past the square. I understand that as a person that comes from the city enjoys the novelty of being able to walk in a public place unmolested, but roads are for cars and sidewalks are for people’s.

Lawrence and sherries bottle store’s renovations are coming on a treat and will be the place to be seen when its finished, Think they will show that a bottle store in a busy village with great exposure can in fact “if managed properly” can in fact make money.

Saturday night was Pictionary and without going into to much detail the boys (Stephen, Mark and Lawrence) got handed a can of “WHOOP ASS” once again, think next time we are going to have couples playing against each other “now that should be fun”

Here is part 4 of “Time upon a once”

As Fender and TLM got more and more involved the more she poisoned his mind against all his old friends in the village and Fender started to become known as “Island”, the more this happened the more she suggested to him that it would be a good idea for her to help him with his business, Island was taken in by the rumours she was in fact an entrepreneur and had made lots of money in the past by selling seed to other Scows, Island was excited at this because he wanted to buy a special toy that would remind him of his youth and he felt that with TLM helping him he would be able to buy this toy. One day the sheriff “I shot” came a calling and had to take away things from TLM’s shop because she had refused to pay for a service provided by another villager, this caused much glee in Gollumnia.

With TLM’s business now in tatters, for Islands business to become hers the first order of business was to sow seeds of dissension in Islands mind about his loyal employees as well as people who had stood by him in times of need , she then started to collect all the vital information that was needed to wrest the company away from him, all the while calling him “sugar pops” and “big daddy”, pretending she cared for him. It was at this time that she started to ask people to call her “Confusion” as she felt that she had been given a calling as a philosopher and even published a book “spelling mistakes and all”. Confusion also started a column in tasteless publication where she gave advice of the sexual nature for frustrated women, this probably because she herself was sexually frustrated as there was still no way that 79 could fit into 44. One by one the loyal employees started to leave and she put in positions of power the people that were loyal only to her such as “Tattle Tale Dwarf “ and “Changed My Language Dwarf”. Apart from acquiring the contacts, business plans and contracts she also upset all of the customers and they started to stop buying Islands product. And before he could wipe “Ye Olde Turd” out of his eyes he was sitting on the riverbank blabbering like a delusional old fool, wondering what had happened to him.

He roamed the village calling on old friends and employees, but one by one they just turned their backs and closed the door in his face, Island had not only burnt his bridges he had blown them in to the next fairy tale and now was alone while TLM and her cronies opened another business that was very similar to the one they had just acquired and became very very successful. But perhaps the biggest shock was when Confusion came out of the “dressing table” and confessed to all of Gollumnia she was actually a man, the very next day a few of the locals including Island could be seen rinsing out there mouths with disinfectant and visiting Penicillin Dwarf for a jab of anti-seafood.

It was not long however that Island “previously known as Fender or Tainted dwarf” had found himself another younger body to harass, she had been wandering in the swamps looking to save Swamp Swine and Island who had made his home there for a while decided to make this princes his “Precious” But more of this later……………

Had the love child of Hannibal Lecter and Mrs Darth Vader here this weekend. (see picture 4)

Book coming on very well and hopefully the photographers will send their info soon

Well that’s about it from the Village Idiot for now, enjoy your week

Swallow the Leader

Last week I spent a few hours in the mountains on St Fort looking for the cannibal-fattening kraal of Letsoena that I have been searching for, for a number of years but as yet have not found. I found new evidence as to where they may be situated by coming across a copy of a 1969 “Landbou Weekblad” that had an article on St Fort and it also mentioned that this is were the fattening kraals had been, however an interesting point was that the previous owner of the farm had broken them down as he was not happy having this structure on his property.

Prior to this only 2 references were available to me to assist in finding the kraal

· The one was in Bethlehem 125 by A P J van Rensburg
· The other Golden gate, “the history of two farms that became a national park” also by A P J van Rensburg

This new information helped because up till now I have been looking for stone walls built up in to a cave area, so now I was looking for an area that rocks not natural to that specific place had been moved and would be lying around “hopefully” as the article did not say whether or not the rocks had been moved or in fact used for other purposes.

A picture in the article also gave an indication as to were the kraal could be situated, the caption read “ Where the road disappears behind the krantz, this is where the cannibal Letsoana had his fattening kraal” with this new information in hand, a copy of the photo and my camera I drove to the farm and using the photo tried to orientate myself as to where the photo had been taken from. I walked for a while until it dawned on me that the photo in the magazine had been inverted so everything was back to front.

I was then able to fairly accurately see were the photo had been taken from and the approximate area that the fattening kraal was supposedly situated. The position also fitted in with pervious information that it was approx 800-900 meters away from the original homestead. So with this new discovery I eagerly climbed that krantz and searched every nook and cranny for a recess or cave that could have been used for the fattening kraal. After a while I was standing on a rock buttress and wondering were the kraal could be I remembered that in one of the earlier references it made mention that there had been a hut outside the kraal as well as a grave of either Letseona or a witchdoctor. As I was thinking about that I looked down towards the river on the other side of the road and wondered if the kraal could not have been there. Scrambling down the mountain I started to search that area I had identified from up high.

The location is good as its near the river and has flat ground has large rocks that could have been walled up (see picture 1), there is definitely stone that does not belong to the area and seems to have been moved there for a specific purpose and there also seems to be the foundations of a hut as well as what could possibly be a grave (see picture 2 and 3), however one aspect that worried me is that, one of the old references makes mention that the entrance to the kraal is so well hidden that even if you are a mere 10 feet away you could have difficulty in finding it, this is the one aspect that makes me doubt that this is the site as it is easily visible from the road or from above. So for now the search goes on. It’s a pity I cannot find anyone who has ever been to the site before, but I will continue searching and hopefully find the elusive Letsoena fattening kraal.

Women at war

Throughout history war and fighting have been seen as a man’s domain, however this is not true as women through the ages have always been involved in wars, battles and sieges. Perhaps the most common occurrence when women would take part in battles was when their home, castle or village was under threat. A lady in medieval days was expected to take charge in her husband’s absence. Some women like Boudiccia, Joan of Arc and in South Africa Mantantisi successfully led armies into battle, throughout history there have been cases of women disguising themselves as ordinary soldiers or sailors so that they could take up arms, some of the fiercest or cruellest warriors through the ages have in fact been of the fairer sex.

While browsing through the internet looking for information on the 1914 rebellion, I came across an interesting article regards women and the Boer war, this got me to thinking about the Boer women that survived the Second war of independence by hiding in local caves as well as those of the fairer sex who stood up against the might of the British Empire and in many cases bore the brunt of Britain’s inability to be able to defeat the Boer “bittereinders”

I had seen a photo in a book about the Boer war of a woman that was posing with rifle and Bandolier and decided to send a e-mail to the Boer war Museum in Bloemfontein to ask if in fact there had been women fighting alongside the Boers, I was pleasantly surprised at the prompt response on the subject from senior researcher, Elria Wessels.

Question: Please could you advise were i could find information regards South African women who fought with Commando's in the Boer war, i also heard that there was perhaps in the Ladysmith area a Commando of just Boer women.

Response: This is a myth that has been busted time and time again. The women on the Natal front were visitors as there was nothing prohibiting such a visit. The origins of the myth can be traced back to the siege of Ladysmith. Colonel Parsons wrote to his wife that two Boer women were killed in action According to him one was in a trench with her husband as she was an excellent shot. According to Parsons Major Paget had found a bloody corset full of bullet holes in one of the abandoned Boer laager. A similar story to that of Parsons was published in the Natal Witness and the Cape Argus of 1 March 1900. According to the correspondent a nineteen-year-old housewife had died as a result of the wounds she had received in the trenches. In Barton’s Diary of the Boer War the same story is repeated: “we saw a young woman, who was seriously wounded, with her left breast shot away and a kid dead in her arms. She said her husband made her use a rifle against the British….” In War Against South Africa the one dead women had become sixteen. President Kruger was most upset about the stories and ordered all women on or near the front to leave immediately. No female remains were ever discovered amongst the burghers who were exhumed on the Natal front and buried elsewhere. The same can be said of Paardeberg. The one woman disguised as a man and who fought alongside the men is mentioned by rev AP Burger, R W Schikkerling and OT de Villiers. However once her identity was discovered she was immediately sent home. Sarah Raal’s case is well documented. If you read her book you will find that she was with the commando but that she never carried a rifle. Mrs. Krantz and Helena Wagner were amongst the visitors to the front. They posed with rifles but were never armed. Hendrina Rabioe van der Merwe and her sister were nurses with the Red Cross. In an answer to an article about the so-called Boer Amazons in the Bloemfontein Post “One who knows wrote the following:’ If there should be such woman, they should be shot down for they have no business on a battlefield.”

So it would seem that the story of women fighting on the battlefield is a myth, however what is not a myth is the fact that thousands of Boer women and children died in Concentration camps and were regularly abused and tormented by British troops and colonial irregulars, they had also been traumatized by seeing their homes and livelihoods being destroyed before their very eyes and seeing their children die while they worried about the fates of their husbands in the veld or in overseas POW camps. It would be pointless to go into detail as to the deprivations they suffered, many books have been written on the subject, with perhaps the best two being Scorched Earth and Fire in the sky.

So when you next hear that saying “women are of the fairer sex” just think of how tough they actually are and how through the ages they have stood up for what they believe to be right and in many instances bore the brunt of occupying forces. I did not mention the fact that many Black women and children also suffered hardships in concentration camps during the Boer war and this is a complete separate story and one that should not be forgotten by the mists of time.

"Whathavi Bin Drinkin"

Need to introduce you to a very dangerous man that has recently moved in to Clarens. His name is “Whathavi Bin Drinkin” and he is a suicide drinker with his speciality being “Jaeggiebombs”. He is a good mate of “Achmed the dead terrorist” and Bin Drinkin can often be heard shouting “I Drink YOU” in a shrill voice. We suggest that if you come in contact with him that you “Buy him a drink immediately”.(see picture 1)

Have you got favourite photos I have many, due to the fact that I as well as good friends seem to take plenty, however like me I am sure there are a few photos that you have taken the trouble to frame or display prominently in your home (see pictures 2, 3 and 4) 2 is special to me as it was Gabby’s 4th birthday and as you can see there are 5 candles on the cake, we always put an extra candle on the cake as that is the one that Gabby blows out last, its to remind Gabby of her birthmother, this photo just makes me feel that I am so lucky to have a wife like Tania and a daughter like Gabby picture 3 I like because it shows a lot of the family together, it was taken at Pretoria zoo, many moons ago and in the picture is Jesse, Christine, Tania, Gabby, Tania, Me, Ryan, Kirsten, Rebecca, Nicole and Douglas. 4 is the first time i ever gave my dad a lift on the bike.

Al Tiley’s memorial service was on Wednesday at the NG Kerk and what a testament to the man that the church was full to the brim. I also think Al would have enjoyed the get together at the Post House after the service.

Rugby at friends is usually the highlight of the week, however this Saturdays was just Awesome (pity we got a hiding), this is thanks to player 24 who with good mates from Clarens celebrated the birth of his son Nathan “player 25” “What a party”, Thanks Gordon we had a blast. Neil also came to the match we thought that his mommy would say he could not come out and play after last weeks over indulgence. I think I can speak for a number of people who watch rugby at friends that I would rather watch the rugby there than go to a live match, “you got to know how much fun it is to say that”. Did not stay for the after party as I had to go home!!!

On the subject of player 25 we have heard about him and seen pictures (could they have been photo shopped?) but not had the pleasure of meeting him yet, hopefully we will do in the near future and confirm that there is in fact a player 25.

Seems my good mate Mark has been rude and using the Fat word indiscriminately, “Shocking I say” some of my favourite people are Rotund, Please mark refrain from using that word when joking with your friends, some may take it the wrong way, “use it don’t use it, just food for thought”

Got sent an e-mail the other day with funny signs seen in SA , picture 5 is to me the best.

Don’t know if you remember but Kathleen and I were fired from the local magazine a few months back because we had the temerity to say it was crap and that the new editor was even crapper (and we were proved to be right). Kathleen has been asked to write for them again by the owner, heaven knows “they are in need of a decent writer or two” No I wont be asked as part of my e-mail firing (yep, not even face to face after years of friendship and taking hits to the head for the shit) and I quote

“I had the decency Steve, not to comment on the way in which we have had to work on your articles in order to get them into a readable form”. Your services to Speckled Bean are no longer required”

This despite the fact I am often asked by locals when I will write again. I know that part of asking and kissing up to Kathleen is to try and drive a wedge between the friendship that we all have, something I do not think a certain individual has ever experienced “Oh sorry he has, it was us before we (Tania, Mark, Kathleen and Stephen) got booted in to touch”.

You may feel hey he is “Pissed OFF”, well you would be correct and here is why. FRIENDSHIP is sacrosanct to me, my dad always told me that you will have many acquaintances but true friends you will be able to count on one hand, guess what?? he was right. Friendship to me is like a marriage or a relationship, you have good times and bad times, you laugh, fight and cry together, Good friends in fact become like family and like my family I stand up for and protect “friends” fiercely, even when wrong “hey that’s what friends do”. I however do not take it lightly when a supposed mate kicks you in the teeth or tosses you aside for expedience sake or for the chance of a SHAG. If my friends and I get a sincere apology (but it would have to be all of us or nothing) then I will be man enough to accept it and move forward, until then It will be business as usual.

My wife tells me that that’s not the Christian thing to do. Well then I have a long way to go as a Christian as I don’t subscribe to being kicked in the teeth and then being the one to apologise, I tend to feel that the person who has kicked should get off their ass and take the initiative, As far as I am concerned it’s either all or nothing in this situation. I know that some people may take exception to this, but that’s how I feel. I am not a half-hearted type of person, as I have said it’s either all or nothing.

Here is part 3 of “Time upon a once”

Fender called friends to his crib and told them that they must stay out of his affairs, when it was pointed out to him that only a short while back he had told them and whoever would listen that TLM was evil and manipulating he denied that he had uttered those words and fought with them, he said they must have misunderstood his words. TLM did not like Fenders friends, as she knew they were SOOOOOOOOOOOOO suspicious of her and when in the past Fender and his friends would enjoy a drink and a chat at one of the local eateries, now she kept him to herself.

A weekend away produced a problem that not even the cleverest villager could solve, it seems that there was a problem trying to get 79 in to 44 and the weekend as well as the relationship ended before it even began “or had it”? While the friends rejoiced at this news, Contaminant Dwarf and his associates Ink and Rubber dwarfs cajoled her to go back to Fender so that they could hatch their evil plan, TLM would just have to “take one for the team” so now she was looking for someone who could help her put 79 in to 44 and consulted the greatest mathematical minds, but even they could not get the two numbers to merge. Another strategy had to be planned…………. To be continued

Seems certain young ladies in the village need to beware as there is a ‘hunter” in town that will have to remain nameless, as if I mention the name all will know who it is. I don’t know what it is about men who have long passed there sold by dates that women Way Way Way younger than them would like to jump their bones. Now I know there are ladies out there that have father figure issues, but I have never heard of a grandfather figure crush, “have you”? And believe it or not certain young ladies do in fact sleep with older men to get Flat screens and cars “Now where have I heard that before” are yes “Confusion” used to espouse this theory in a certain publication, I do sometimes wonder how the career of this pole polishing “giver of wisdom” is coming on at “Wys jou Muis”

Had a good chuckle to myself on Thursday, was listening to OFM and they were saying a survey had been done as to were the most violent place was at present and believe it or not that England came out tops, ‘Yeah I know, brilliant isn’t it” all those people who have left or want to leave to the Good old UK cant use the excuse “we are leaving here because its safer over there”. Seems that there are 2600 incidents of violence per 100 000 of the population and in SA it was around 1700 incidents per 100 000.

Well that’s it for this week, I look forward to an interesting few days and hopefully by next week I will be able to tell you if like Castle lager “Friendship does stand the test of time”

The Village Idiot
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