The Tale of two cities "OK a village and a city then"

I woke up on Monday after a good nights sleep feeling pretty good, this despite the walk to top of Horeb, the day before …………………. “I am not so unfit after all”. Must say the trip up Horeb was great and something all Clarenites should do …….. “this coming from a person who took nearly 11 years to do the climb”. The Village Grocer had its official opening on Monday at 6pm and there were a number of people who attended, afterwards a few of us hit the Saloon and had a “loop dop” or for those English followers a “walk drink” before heading to bed.

Tuesday was my last full day in Clarens and it was difficult. Started the day at the Artist Café having coffee with Liza and ended it with a few good friends at Friends. It was really difficult saying bye to a number of people as they have meant a lot to me over the years. Also met 3 American who were visiting SA and Clarens, very nice people and I am sure we will keep in touch with them.

Wednesday was up early pack the bike say goodbye to Kath, head up to Mark at the village grocer and then head home to my 2 ladies In PE, I would be lying if I said I did not have a lump in my throat as I headed up main street past the NG Kerk. I think it hit me that this was the last I would see the village and friends that I know so well for a long time when I banked into a long sweeping left hand corner near Clifton farm and Mount Horeb disappeared from my mirrors. The trip itself was long but I took my time and was lucky with the weather, missing rain at Aliwal hitting high winds between Aliwal and the Nico Malan pass, then it was hot with a capital H. always have to be careful going through rural parts as the Suicidal goats and Mad cows can bolt across the road in a split second and if they are not bad enough you also have Kamikaze K’s (you fill in the second part) that being full of the Christmas spirit (literally) like playing chicken with any fast moving vehicle.

The last 100kms seemed to take forever, but just as I had been sad to leave Clarens I was really ecstatic to “see the sea” and know that I would soon be seeing Tania and Gabby. Arrived home at 3.30pm to a fantastic welcome from Tania and Gabby as well as Doug, Nicky, Amber, Ryan, Kirsten Daniel, Rebecca and Michela. It was good to see everyone. I am now officially unemployed …………. so hopefully in the New Year I will find employment. Otherwise I will have to purchase a metal detector and trawl the beach everyday looking for loose change and that elusive gold Rolex that some “arb” tourist has dropped. I also suppose I am no longer the Village Idiot as I no longer live in a village, however apart from the traffic lights, traffic circles, speed humps, traffic jams and the multi story buildings PE is somewhat like a village so perhaps I can become the Large Village Idiot “yeah I like the ring to that”

24th was a day of relaxing, wanted to go to beach but was KaK weather, starting to feel like Xmas as the house is decorated and Tania has done such a great job with the house. Xmas eve dinner was with 13 adults and kids at Ryan’s house, was a nice evening with Ryan doing marinated lamb leg on the Braai. Came home and waited for Santa.

Xmas day woke up at 7 exchanged presents, called or SMS’d my family and a few friends, was “as usual” always good to speak to my mom and dad. I love you guys and hopefully we can spend a Christmas together in a year or two. “I have not spent a Christmas with my folks since I started work in the hospitality industry in 1981” . Was nice watching Amber opening presents on her first Christmas. A book I received for Christmas Tania managed to get the author to sign for me, what is great about that is the author was my best man when Tania and I got married. Nick “wear the snake skin speedo” Tredger wrote a book last year called From “Rhodesia to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe” its about his life as a game ranger in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, before mad Bob, “who was then really only mildly nuts” It’s a definite must read and hopefully we will get to see Nick and his lovely wife Jan in the new year. In the afternoon Ryan and family came over and we opened presents again, so Xmas was pretty Lekker this year, apart for the fact my folks and family could not be with us.

Watched a couple of the original Star Wars movies on Xmas day and had to laugh when I saw the Imperial Storm Troopers, as it reminded me of Kelvin’s back brace that he had to wear this year after he had a Piquet junior flashback and to miss a “possum” crashed his car and ploughed a local farmers field. In True Clarens fashion every time he walked into friends we would all hum the Star Wars theme song….”that’s what friends are for” J and of course you know the old joke with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (original name for a star ship pilot)……….. They are fighting with the coloured fluorescent tube swords and Lord Vader keeps telling Luke he knows what he is getting for Xmas…………….Luke ignores it at first but eventually says to Darth ………”so how do you know”? and Darth answers …..”Because I can feel your Presence”

As you can see from the photo our N.S.A neighbours had a novel way of preparing their meat for a sheep braai.

Now while I may be pining for Clarens one thing I do enjoy about PE is that on boxing day you can head for the cricket ground and watch the local team ‘the Warriors” take on The Highveld Lions in a 40 / 40 match. Keith, Ryan , Doug and I were going to pay for tickets and some dude asked if we would like tickets to which we replied yes and he gave us 4 tickets for the game ……….. “good start” We then got a free Warriors flag each. Looking for somewhere to sit we saw a couple with Lions shirts on and decided to sit in front of them, ‘lets be honest you have to have someone near you that you can chirp when watching a game” and they looked as good as anyone. Just so happens that they live in PE but there son Alveiro Peterson plays for the Lions and has also played for the Protea’s. To be honest at first I thought he was having us on until his son came on to the field ran across to the security and asked him to and an envelope to his dad. To cut a long story short Doug scored an Original (as worn by Alviero Petersen) Highveld Lions cricket shirt from Isaac, Sylvia was supposed to give me hers but she reneged on the deal. Great people, all in all a great night apart from the fact that the Warriors lost. St Georges is not a good ground for me to watch as all the tams I want to win that I have watched playing there have lost and the one time the team was winning the lights blew up………”go figure” Warriors play Titans on Wednesday in another day/night game so we will probably go watch that.

Also on boxing day visited the Boardwalk casino and entertainment area, where gabby persuaded Doug and I to do the free fall ride, did not look that high until you are up there and when the platform just drops without warning ………………your first thought is “perhaps I should have worn brown jocks”. They also have a rocket ball, which is a metal cage you strap 2 people into and attached to that are large rubber bands, that they stretch to snapping level and then release you ……….0-100 in 1 second with a g force factor of 5, not brave enough that day but perhaps next week. Perhaps we should bring in Meat bomb and he can test it for us J

PE is still on water restrictions with dams at 48% full, so households only allowed 200 litres per day. Must say weather not been that great since I got here either been sunny and blowing a gale or calm but overcast. So not been to the beach yet as either cold or you get your ass sandblasted.

They say that salt air at the coast can rust your car pretty fast, did not really believe it , but look what has happened to our car in just a week…………..pretty bad. “Nah not our car, but a vehicle that is used on a daily basis in the area, what makes this rust bucket so special that is if you look carefully you will see that it has a Gorilla lock on the car to stop someone stealing it…………………….Yes my thoughts exactly “who in their right mind would steal that piece of Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap”?

It would seem that all “Sefricans” living overseas are not all that dof, here is an article my brother in law in PE sent to me

Expats flock to SA
Article By: Janine Erasmus
Tue, 15 Dec 2009 18:02

South Africa is the sixth best country in the world to live in, according to expatriates based here. This was revealed in a massive global survey commissioned by global finance house HSBC Bank International.

The study was conducted by UK-based research company Fresh minds. Results were released in late November 2009. Over 3100 expats, from more than 30 industries and living in 50 countries on four continents, took part in the study earlier in the year.

Titled “Expat Experience”, it sought to determine the challenges people encountered when living and working away from home, and also aimed to differentiate between the expat experience in various countries and on various continents, in comparison with home. In the end 26 countries made the rankings. South Africa came in behind the top five of Canada, Australia, Thailand, Singapore and Bahrain. As an expat favourite it eclipsed highly developed nations such as the US, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK, as well as other emerging nations including Brazil, Mexico, China and India.

Quality of life

The survey is one of three reports released under HSBC's annual Expat Explorer series of studies. The other two studies are the Expat Economics and Offshore Offspring reports. South Africa was the only African country surveyed for the economics report, where it came 13th out of 26. The results of the Offshore Offspring report, which reveals the best place to raise a family away from home, are due out in early 2010.

The latest survey focused on the expat experience of mingling with local culture and society, and the increase or decrease in quality of life compared to the home country. Expats rated their current locations according to 23 day-to-day criteria, including food, accommodation, entertainment, transport, banking, utilities, healthcare, working hours, family and social life, hobbies, and more.

They were also asked to rate the ease with which they were able to perform a variety of tasks, including finding accommodation for their families and schools for their children, learning the local language, making friends among local and expat communities, and arranging their finances, vehicles, utilities, and other essentials.

Friendly country

In addition to making the top 10 overall, South Africa scored highly in the categories of making local friends (2), organizing schools (3), finding somewhere to live (3), social life (3), quality of life (3), and accommodation (4). South Africa was the top-ranked country for hobbyists, as well as the top country for settling down, beating Thailand and Canada which took 2nd and 3rd place respectively. More than half of those questioned — 55 percent — have lived in South Africa for more than five years.

South Africa was rated among the top nations in terms of the ease with which expats integrated into local society, which covered factors such as setting up their bank accounts, learning the language, and arranging healthcare. According to the report, in most countries new arrivals gravitate towards the expat community when seeking new friends. Notable exceptions are Brazil, where 94 percent of people easily made local friends; followed by South Africa and Canada (both 91 percent); and India and Russia (both 90 percent).

South Africa's worst score was 22 out of 26, in the transport category.

Most affordable

A global survey earlier in the year named Johannesburg as the most affordable city in the world for foreigners. (“Well that is obvious if you are earning 12 or 8 to 1”)

Results of the Cost of Living survey, regarded as the world's most comprehensive study of this type, and were released in March 2009.

This was sent to me by Jeanelle and thought I would put in the Blog, (have you done any of these? If not which ones would you do ?? I personally like 1, 4, 6, 8 and 9)

To Maintain a healthy level of insanity 1. Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down. 2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice! 3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that. 4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso. 5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write For Marijuana' 6. With a serious face Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat. 7. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'. 8. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!' 9. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!' 10. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.
Here is some advice for us men with regards earning brownie points with our ladies.

Over thousands of years, men have tried to understand the rules when dealing with women. Finally, this merit/demerit guide will help you to understand just how it works.

Remember, in the world of romance, one single rule applies: Make the Woman happy. Do something she likes and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played.

Here is a guide to the points system:

You make the bed .............................................+1
You make the bed, but forget to add the decorative pillows....-1
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets...................-2
You leave the toilet seat up................................ .-5
You replace the toilet paper roll when it is empty............+5
When the toilet paper roll is barren, you resort to Kleenex...-1
When the Kleenex runs out you use the next bathroom...........-2
You go out to buy her extra-light panty liners with wings.....+5
in the rain...................................................+8
But return with beer............................ .............-1
And no panty liners........................... ...............-25
You check out a suspicious noise at night.....................+1
You check out a suspicious noise and it is nothing.............0
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something..........+5
You pummel it with a six iron...............................+ 10
It's her cat.................................................-40

You stay by her side the entire party..........................0
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a school Drinking buddy...-2 Named Tiffany......................... .......................-5
Tiffany is a dancer......................... ................-10
With breast implants.......................... ..............-20

You remember her birthday............................... .....+1
You buy a card and flowers............................... ....+2
You take her out to dinner........................ ..... .....+5
You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar.........+10
Okay, it is a sports bar............................. ......-10
And it's all-you-can-eat night............................. -20
It's a sports bar, its all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colors of your favorite team...........................-30

Go with a pal............................................... 0
The pal is happily married........................... ..... +1
The pal is single..........................................-10
He drives a Ferrari...................... .................-20
With a personalized license plate (GR8NBED)................-30

You take her to a movie............................. .......+2
You take her to a movie she likes...........................+5
You take her to a movie you hate............................+8
You take her to a movie you like............................-5
It's called Death Cop III........................... ......-10
Which features Cyborgs that eat human’s.....................-20
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans......-30

You develop a noticeable pot belly.........................-5
You develop a noticeable pot belly & get rid of it.........+10
You develop a noticeable pot belly and resort to loose jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts............................................-30
You say, "It doesn't matter, you have one too."...........-100

She asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?"
You hesitate in responding.........................-10
You reply, "Where?"....................... ........-35
You reply, "No, I think it's your ass".............-100

When she wants to talk about a problem:
You listen, displaying a concerned expression............+1
You listen, for over 30 minutes..........................+5
You relate to her problem and share a similar experience...+50
You have fallen asleep.....................................-200

You talk................................................-100
You don't talk..........................................-10
You spend time with her.................................-100
You don't spend time with Her...........................-100
You are seen enjoying yourself....................... ..-100

"Parting is such sweet sorrow"

It was either William Shakespeare or his Dutchman cousin Willem skuddieassegaai that penned the words “parting is such sweet sorrow” and this is how I feel about leaving my village Clarens after having lived, cried, laughed, battled and learnt many life lessons for the last 10 years

I really wanted to ensure that I put down what I Love, Hate and will certainly miss about this little hamlet that sometimes makes the Bold and the Beautiful look tame. As someone once told me Clarens is a mixture of cute village and a really bad soap opera.

So whom will I miss?

1)Our Clarens family, Dave and Barbara Green, Mark and Kathleen, Jaapie and Gerda, ‘Its hard to put I to words how much you have meant to Tania, Gabriella and I, we are going to miss you BIG TIME

Barbara: You have been like a mom to me and I will forever be in your debt for ensuring that I could support my family at a time when I was in shit. I know that some times we did not see eye to eye, possible because we are very much alikeJ. Many people do not know you the way that I have gotten to know you and that is their loss. We Love you lots.

Dave: what can I say about one of the most generous kind hearted man that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, you are a man among men and I am better off for having had the pleasure of knowing you. I am going to miss the laughter and jokes that we shared and will never as long as I live forget you when I see a “Crispian” One regret is that we never got to do that dorps ride together, I think that would have been just awesome.

Kathleen, your more like a sister than a friend and I know that over the last few months for whatever reason/s we seem to have moved apart. Tania is still going to miss you, thanks for the good times and the friendship, we hope that we will be keeping in touch and that even though far away we will remain close.

Mark (AKA) “Wolverine”/ “Meat Bomb”, Bro thanks for being a mate, I am going to miss our friendship and the table at Friends for the Rugby, GP’s Cricket etc etc “oh yeah” as well as getting my ass kicked at squash, I wish you all the best at the Village Grocer, keep coaching at Clarens Intermediate, the kids there love you and you are putting a little something in to the lives of kids that don’t have anything to look forward to. You know you will ALWAYS be welcome in our home “ you can drop in any time” J

Jaapie and Gerda: I think we have told you guys before, but in case we have not, you both are just salt of the earth fantastic people and we are grateful for having known you, Jaapie thanks for all that you did for me and my family, you will always be a good friend.

2) All the people that we have met some have made an impact on our lives, some how or another and I believe people that made our stay interesting and challenging. They are in no particular order: Kelvin, Werner, Chris, Gordon and Marcelle, Pat and Ralph, Lawrence, Sherri, Simon, Megan, Mitch, Liza Garth, Walter and Jane, Odette, Anne and Johan Maree, Martie, Werner, Debbie, Andre and Annetjie, Len, Rupa, Nicky, Astle, Celia, Garth, Kobus, Toni, Thys and Helena, Greg, Graham, Natalie and Stefan, Martin and Sandy, Bruce, Sharon, Carien, Sakkie and Carla, Eve and Bernie, Aunty Vee, Janice, Dylan, Kallie, Shane and Sandy, Wolfgang, Deborah and Willis, Randal and Kerry, Jan, Phinneas, John, Jannice, Richard, Michael, Christine, Rob and Heloise, Tommy, Phoebe and Andries , Celia, Lindy, Astle, Nicholas, Carlo, Chippy, George, Jan K , Jan Maloney, John, Bruce, Steve and Jeanelle, Pieter, Rene, Lee-ann, Martin, Anton, Sue x 2, Clement, Les, Ralph and Janine, Pat and Ralph, Johan and Anel, Michael, Albert, Riempies and Carla, Kobus, Mealanor, Tommy, Vanessa, Morne, Pieter, Rene, Tania (x 3) , Rob and Talitha, Duncan, Will and Tansy, The Swanepoels, Georgina and Jack, Van Zyl and Cilla, Catherine, Les and Ronel, Victor and Vanessa, Ruda, Nicky, Vanessa, Chris, Margaret, Len and Val, Cassie and Frank, Wim, Louw, Nancy, Vee, Dylan and Julia, Tshweu, Wisey, Clement , Christine, Rupa, Isabelle, Sharon,Stafford, Toni, Daan, Douglas, Elize, Danie, Rick, Nicky, Malem, Lawrence, James, Graham, Van Zyl and Lucille, Peter and Patsy, Henk. Brian, Chris, Debbie, Frank and Cassie, Donve, Brad, Brian. Lisa, Sarah Jane. Patsy, Peter, Heck I cannot list everyone, so if I have missed out your name Please don’t be upset. As I read over those names I get flashbacks of how over the years they have in some way or another made an impact on my/our lives.

So what do I hate about the village, that’s easy, the fact that so many people who could be working together for the village in fact want all the credit for themselves and F—k it up for everyone else, get over yourselves, no one is that influential. Imagine the good that you could all do if you worked together, “something to think about perhaps”?

There is a saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” I would like to add another “it takes a village to make a man” the reason I say this is because a village is so small you have nowhere to hide, your faults are exposed, you learn to compromise, make amends and if necessary swallow your pride and apologise. This village has also taught me that you need to think out of the box and look at life differently.

What will I miss about Clarens? “Wow let me count the ways”
Friends Restaurant
Meeting Friends at Friends restaurant
Making new Friends at Friends Restaurant
Watching sport with Friends at Friends restaurant
Drinking something different with Friends at Friends restaurant (Ice cold Millers or Peroni)
Popping in to Clarens Brewery (Best damn micro brewery in SA and the cider is just Awesome) Natalie and Stefan are two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and are a huge asset to the village, they just get on with their business, but are not adverse to helping to promote Clarens)
Happy hour at the Highlander on a balmy summers evening.
Freedom of movement, I have been very lucky to have been able to make a living in the village and still be able to stop and smell the Mielies “yes I know its supposed to be roses but this is the Vrystaat and we prefer Mielies”
Taking time out to go and take photos, research stories
The friendliness of all locals, black and white
Making a difference in kids lives at Clarens Intermediate with a little bit of coaching and teaching
The many many Moods of Horeb/Setlofe
Snow in November (well don’t think I will miss that so much)
Knowing soooooooooooooo many people and being part of a community.
Impromptu Braai’s or parties with friends
Football and cricket matches with other aged or unfit villagers, but still having a great time.
Squash with the crowd of regulars
Working out lying down photos with Wolverine/ Meat Bomb
Stopping to have a cup of coffee with someone just because you can
Clarens Sunsets (probably some of the best in the world)
Thunder and lightening storms over the Maluti’s
Researching stories for local papers or magazines and my book

I am almost sure, “nay positive” that some locals will be glad to see me go, hey I will be glad that I don’t have to see some people as well, however I would like to think that over the years the family and I have made a small difference to the village and that we wont be forgotten to quickly. Clarens will always hold a special place in our hearts and we are grateful for the time that we have spent here.

17 things that you should do if you live in Clarens: (and again in no particular order)

1) Climb the big oak tree on the square with a beverage of your choice and watch the world go by
2) Buy a beer at the Old Stone bottle store and drink it at the old sandstone table while chatting with the owners Sherri and Lawrence
3) Eat chicken strips at Friends restaurant
4) Do the Zip line at the Willows (just don’t fall off) and have a Cuppachino afterwards (Baruchs coffee is the best)
5) Do a tavern tour, but walk, its much more fun.
6) River raft on the Ash River.
7) Have a sun downer picnic on one of the highpoints overlooking the village
8) Swim in the dam on a hot and humid day
9) If it snows in the village, make a snowman on the square and arrange a snowball fight with other locals (oh yeah also eat ice-cream)
10) Explore the area and learn its history.
11) Attend a Clarens Jamboree at the backpackers over December
12) Do a beer tasting at The Clarens Brewery and then order a large Red Stone Cider, especially tasty on a hot Clarens day (which is usually 4 days a year)
14) Go give the postmaster Clement uphill at the counter and tell him Stephen sent you to do it, “don’t think there is a better postmaster in SA”, Clement is a great guy.
15) Climb Mount Horeb with a group of friends and have a braai at the top
16) Hire a bicycle from Redneck cycles (the Harley one) and cruise around the village like a tourist.
17) Ride a motorbike to Golden Gate on a clear and fresh Summer morning, the earlier the better, the ride is just awesome.

What have I not done in Clarens that I believe I should have?

Recorded more of the history – I started too late and regret not starting earlier, there is still so much to be written about regards the history of Clarens and the surrounds. I hope that someone picks up the cudgels on that and carries on from where I left of
Finished my book on Clarens while still living here, but I will get Tania’ s dad in PE to help me

Any advice to newcomers to the village?

The best piece of advice I can give is don’t get involved in a clique, just be friends with everyone, its really not worth being pissed off with all and sundry and them with you, be yourself and don’t come in and try to change the village, its not going to happen. Also appreciate the scenery and look at it as if it’s the last time you will see it, this last week I have been trying to take in as much as I can to remember the sunrises , the sunsets , the mountains etc etc.

So here we go, I feel a little like I am going from Standard five to Standard six (from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish I a big pond). I will admit I have a tear in my eye as I write this and I would be lying if I said I was not scared or apprehensive about the move to PE, but that is what life is about, many people have said to me that I will miss Clarens and that Clarens will not be the same without me, to answer both statements. Yes I will miss Clarens but I will have many memories (as well as photos) to remind me of the village and its characters, the village and life goes on and it would be nice to think that the village will not be the same without me, but the truth is it will be the same, as no one is bigger than the village.

Early Wednesday morning I will take one more look around the village that I have grown to love, say my goodbyes turn my back and head towards a new future. One thing you can all be assured of though is that we will never forget Clarens or the people that make it different and special.

While I am sad to leave Clarens I cannot wait to get to see Tania and Gabby who have been in PE since 2 December. I have missed the very much and can’t wait to hold them in my arms. Tania has been Awesome sorting out hassles at the new house and I am very proud and lucky to have a wife like her. Tania I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much “Always have and always will”

Quote for the week: “Life is a journey enjoy the ride”

“Ciao” The village idiot soon to become the urban Idiot

PS keep reading the Blog as I will be keeping you all informed and up to date about life in the Windy/Friendly city………………………………….:-)

Barney's House

Have always thought that there are one or two ugly houses in Clarens but I have now got a clear winner, I call it Barney’s house and you can see why. The house is the newest addition to this ever growing village, apparently the owner is an architect “yes my thoughts exactly” If that is what he builds for himself then I feel sorry for his other clients. Looks like a police barracks for Purple dinosaurs and Telly Tubbies.

Those who read my Blog about Mark trying to defy gravity, he is getting better , but this week he had to have fluid drained from his back, so he is carrying around what looks like a foot pump one would use to blow up a lilo, as per usual we had some fun at his expense. In fact we decided that we will manufacture and sell Mark Horton blow up dolls for those lonely Clarens ladies (believe there will be a big market for the Horton blow up) anyway her is a picture of the 1st prototype with me using the manual pump (in case of a power failure) the marketing campaign will be “The Horton blow up doll, it never keeps his zip closed”

Meat bomb Horton and I had a braai with Les and Ronel Thake on Thursday and it was really Lekker, we had a great chat and Les told me a couple stories about a friend and neighbours from when they lived in Ficksburg that I just have to tell you

1) A friend they had was a crop duster who perhaps used to inhale to much of the poisons he sprayed one day he decided to cut a Avgas drum in half to make a braai, Avgas drums are usually thicker than normal drums and nearly always have leftover fuel or fumes in them, so one has to be careful when cutting. Les says all he hears is this almighty Boom from across the road, a mushroom cloud and then a piece of the drum gently floats down from high onto the front lawn, wondering what he hell was happening he then hears from across the road his neighbour yelling to his garden boy Impi…………………. “Impi, kom kyk of die baas nog heel is” Les then goes across the road to find the gent sitting with his eyes closed patiently waiting for Impi to give him the all clear.

2) Another neighbour would cut the lawn every Saturday and at 9am he would jump in the car and drive to the 4 different bars in the town and proceed to drink 2 x triples at each place (all within half an hour) he would then drive back home to finish the lawn , as you can imagine after close to a bottle of booze his motor skills where not as they should be so he would come round te corner hug the right hand kerb with his wheels and turn into the first gap , as he had the first house on that side of the road he would then park in front of the garage , pretty ingenious I thought and almost always worked until the one night he had gone partying he came home and turned to early, mounted the curb and parked in front of the bedroom window. Les and Ronel sent the next half hour watching him trying to find the garage door handle which obviously was not there, he then must have thought the garage door was open and started jumping up and down to try and reach the door handle to close the door. I think that Les and Ronel have a great book stored between them.

A local is having a 60th birthday and his wife is arranging a picnic on the square it’s a bring an picnic affair, while this is not strange the fact that she is inviting people to the party on a definite and reserve list perhaps is, so if your on the reserve list you can only go if someone pulls out “Strange but true”

On Thursday I was at ABSA BANK IN Bethlehem, some of you may know I hate waiting in queues, well I waited 2 hours at the bank (one and a half in the queue and half an hour at the teller and as you can imagine in a Terrific mood when I got to the poor teller) Why the wait you ask “lots of banking”? “No……. trainee tellers”. Yep my thoughts exactly who puts not one but 5 trainee tellers on duty over the Festive season? And only 9 of the 14 teller points open (so in fact only 4 proper tellers on duty)…. ......ABSA bank does. If I recall the whole fiasco I think I will gain have a fit, so all I will say is that the lady who eventually came to apologise to me for the inconvenience will not be sending me a Christmas card.

Clarens does not seem to have hit the Xmas mode yet; in fact there is a distinct lack of Xmas Atmosphere in the village. Perhaps this week will pick up…….. Tania Gabby and Ryan went to te opening of season fireworks display at the beachfront on Wednesday and Tania says it was awesome with a fireworks display the like she has never seen in SA before.

Friday was Steve’s last Happy hour shift at the Highlander so a number of people went to say Bye and have a drink with this institution. Steve has resigned from the Highlander and Tommy the chairman of HKGK (if u doesn’t know what HKGK is asking a Dutchman friend) is going to be taking over from him. Steve goes overt to Austria for a skiing trip (yeah they pay the barmen well in Clarens J and then he comes back and his fiancé Jeanelle and himself move to New Zealand, so the village will lose another two characters and I for one would just like to wish them both the best in their new adventures. Had a celebrity at the happy hour as well some dude called Oubaas on Buitelanders or Sewende Laan, and he asked Jeanelle sister “Badger” if he and his wife could have a photo with her (Nah just lying Badger asked them) we then decided that Clarens needs a soapie and decided to name it “ Dis hoe die kak draai” , I think it will be a winner as no scripts are needed, we just put up cameras in strategic places in the village, It will be a HUGE HIT, sort of like a Big Brother but using the whole village.

After happy hour we partied with Werner for the opening of his new bar and the Zula sunset deck, great party, great Potjie (Werner is the Potjie king of 2008) with to many locals attending to name, The Zip line was open and a number of us decided to do it (Sorry Tania, but I had to do it) must say if you get to go all the way across then its not such a bad experience.

After Werner’s party went to watch Grumpy old men playing at my favourite restaurant and got asked by a good looking lady if I had Cocaine………. Sorry Honey but I don’t, she then proceeded to ask just about the whole bar, her boyfriend (who she met in rehab, ‘I would ask for my money back”) even offered he out to anyone who could supply him with weed or drugs …………”what a guy”……. now this is the kind of stuff I am talking about for “ Dis hoe die kak draai” eventually she decided that she was going to give the men a seductive, sexy , smutty dance, but the more triple s she tried to be the more she just looked dof. Eventually they left and went to the backpackers where the boyfriend was apparently beaten like a “red headed stepchild” for causing kak and also nearly running some people over, I was told by a person that was there that he was crawling on all fours and crying like a girl after he had been dunked in the Koi pond. Form what I can gather they spent some time in the local cells.

But it gets better, I was helping Les for a couple of hours in the shop and Dave green calls me to say a gust that was staying with him had been found on the square passed out and that Dominee Sakkie and Martie had brought her to him (as they are his guests) and where waiting for the ambulance. Now what I am about to tell you now cannot be made up by a script writer and again a reason we should have Clarens as a reality TV programme.

Apparently the girl and boyfriend on Saturday morning then started to drink again and tried again to obtain drugs, he even asked 4 old ladies at a restaurant for weed as well as going to a local estate agent to see if he could help (while with clients). Eventually they parked outside the bottle store and she was lying in the front eat with a boob exposed and he modesty not that modest anymore. The police where called and they tried to sort out the problem, before she was moved to her accommodations. Apparently she also ran down the road after escaping from the ambulance with tubes etc in her arms, again causing a scene. “Yes its true”

Saturday evening was Clarens Jamboree at the backpackers and as last year was very enjoyable, only one Large problem this year, Tania and Gabby were not here, did not go to bed to late as had to be up early to climb Mt Horeb with a few friends. This was awesome and something I should have done years ago, but just never got the opportunity to do so for whatever reason or excuse. Rob, his sons Terry and Lawrence as well as a new local Chris and his friend, so 6 of us left at 6.15 am and the first part was to be honest “brutal” it did get better and by the time we got to the happy face we where feeling a little better (hats of to Rob who is a big smoker) a hard walk to get to the summit was next and by the time I got to the top I was knackered. We had a braai and took in the view, it’s really awesome on top. The walk back down was 45 minutes faster only taking 2 hours , but just as hard having to use the knees a lot more. We got back to the cars at 12.30pm. I thought I would give you a couple of do’s and don’ts for a Horeb climb

1) Climb with a few friends, this is not only safer but makes it more enjoyable and try to ensure one of them knows the way
2) Wear comfortable shoes, not R15 00 specials like I was
3) Take plenty water
4) Wear a hat
5) Check the weather (we had great weather , but it change in a instance)
6) Take photos (it’s a hard climb and not something you will do often)

1) Upset the wildlife (saw a snake , spiders and the grasses also try to make your day unpleasant)
2) Pee against the wind
3) Forget the matches
4) Think you are nearly there when you get to the smiley face, there is still a long walk ahead

Nicky Doug and Amber arrived safe from Utopia on Wednesday and I believe drive down to PE today (Sunday) so I will see them when I get home, seen Nicole and Doug before, I want to see my Niece Amber. Apparently she is not feeling well, probably due to the fact that they have come from a cold climate to sun and warmth , “Yes Amber that large yellow thing in the sky is called the Sun and we will take photos of it for you so when we go back to the island we can look at it from time to time”J Amber is going to get a culture shock with all the kids that will be wanting her attention, but sure she will get on really well with Daniel (who is as cute as a button and a real boy, (Daniel is 13 months old and Amber 8 so they should have some fun together)

Question of the week: Where do most of the English cricket players stay when in South Africa? ………. “With their parents” J

Quote for the week: “Nothing worth achieving is easy”

Well that’s it for this week, be good and just say NO

Ciao “The Village “dis hoe die kak draai” Idiot

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Being away from family is not Lekker, I know married men sometimes yearn to be single again and live the life of a bachelor, however its usually when you do get to spend time away from your wife and children that you realise just how much you do actually love them and how without your spouse you are in fact only half of a whole. I think I tell my wife and daughter I Love them quite often, but I am going to try and tell them even more when I am back home. Guys I love you sooooooooooo much and only 10 more sleeps till I am back home.

I got to visit my folks in Gauteng this week as I had a meeting in Gauteng and they have moved ion to a 5 and a half acre plot that has 3 houses on it and stables, My sister and her husband as well as my niece and her fiancé also live there. Must say it’s a great place and I know when Gabby goes up to visit she will be in her element as it has horse and a training ring. It’s the type of place I wish I could give my daughter as it would be the ideal lifestyle for her, but unfortunately I can’t and hopefully one day she will be able to do it for herself. I have written this before in one of my blogs, but I need to say it again. I am extremely lucky to have both parents as well as parents in law that not only love me, but I love them as well. Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury.

Tania’s sister, hubby and our new niece fly out from the Utopia of the UK on Monday to visit the poor relations in SA. Know that Tania is looking forward to seeing her sister and Amber. As is the rest of the Brewerton clan. Going to be a big Family Christmas with all of the Brewerton family together as well as Kirstens mom and dad and perhaps her sister and her family, pity my family cannot also be there, maybe in the future, who knows.

Mat an interesting guy at Friends on Saturday afternoon that was in SA with a couple of other Poms and a TV crew, they competed in a skydiving comp in Pretoria for a week and then have been travelling SA doing normal jumps and base jumps from certain landmarks and buildings in the country. Smudge (yeah that’s his name) is in the army and he was saying how much the UK has changed and how much they pander to other peoples and forget about the English. He cannot wait to finish his contract and probably move to SA. Smudge was saying that crime is getting out of hand in the big cities with the Russians and Albanians having no respect for life or property, so you see its not just SA.

Here is an e-mail I received regards Muslims in Australia and how they are starting to fight back against this almost weak knee approach to fundamentalists trying to force the Muslim way of life on the Western World.

Whole world Needs A Leader Like This!
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - Australia Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.. Separately, Rudd angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians. 'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom' 'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!' 'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.' 'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.' 'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.''If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'
the Bay Horse saloon had its first Western style Brawl this weekend with the barman gettin his ass handed to him by a local business owner, rumours are the bar was also trashed , but this is Clarens so it could be 2 shooter glasses and a empty beer bottle that where broken. "The Brawl at the Bay Horse Saloon" sounds like a god name for a cowboy flick.

Well that’s about it for this week , a boring Blog I know, but don’t feel much like writing today, so have a great week ahead remember tell your loved ones that you Love them every day.

The Village idiot

"Waiting waiting waiting for the bus"

If I thought that packing up a house, packing a removal truck and then travelling 830 kms with 3 semi-comatose cats was stressful, then I was in for a surprise. But let’s start from the beginning. The removal van arrived only an hour later than we had been advised and they started to pack; this to cut a long story short took almost 10 hours. The truck left and we then stayed with Dave and Barbara. We had locked the cats in our bathroom with their food and baskets, ensuring that the window was securely locked.

Waking up early on Wednesday morning we went to pick up the cats only to find that he black cat had managed to somehow open the bathroom window and escape. Luckily the other 2 cats had not decided to join the jail break; gabby found the cat after 20 minutes of calling her and searching the garden. A tranquilising paste was then syringed into their mouths and we sat for 5 minutes to watch their legs go wobbly and start to sway like customers of friend after a good Friday night party. The car loaded we headed off to PE, THE CATS ONLY HOWLED FOR ABOUT 4 HOURS SO the rest of the trip was not too bad. Arrived in PE met Tania’s dad at the house and the made the cats comfortable, only to find there is no electricity in the house, no big problem as we are only expecting the truck on Thursday at 1pm. . ………………… Thursday arrives and we call the truck to find out he is going to arrive around 2-m, we then try to sort out the electricity. To cut another LONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG story short the truck broke down, got 3 x punctures and by 9pm was still 150kms away from PE, but the good news was that we eventually got the electricity on around 5pm. The cats are however not impressed as they have not been outdoors since Monday afternoon.

Friday morning and I go to find te truck that has broken down again outside of PE, manage to get it started and then drive at 20kms an house to the house, some 25 kms away, this as you can imagine was not conducive to my already HIGH stress levels and made many new PE friends while driving home, seems that the Mr. Bean salute is rather popular here, “and this is the friendly city”? OK so now the truck is at the house and time to unpack (this took a fraction of the time that it took to pack the van)

So now the hose looks like the aftermath of a 75% off everything Mr Price home store sale. First set up the beds and then start unpacking the boxes, it’s Saturday afternoon and the place is starting to look better but far from finished. I have to go back to Clarens to tie up loose ends etc so Tania will do the rest. I have a Great wife.

The trip to Clarens was not Lekker as had to leave Tania and Gabby behind, it is however always nice to go for a long ride, it’s probably the first 100 and last 50 kms that never seem to end. All in all 890kms from PE to Clarens, another 110kms and I would have qualified for an Iron Butt (that’s if you ride 1000kms in 12 hours or less). Whether was ok between Grahamstown and Jamestown it was like riding through a furnace it was so hot, from there I managed to keep away from the rains except for a stretch between Ladybrand and Clocolan.

What could be punted as a new adventure sport to 2010 tourists is a trip between Hob house and Rouxville in a fast moving vehicle and see if you can avoid the potholes, to make it even more exciting perhaps ensure the holes are filled with water to heighten the adrenalin aspect. “COULD THE PEOPLE IN THE FREE STATE GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE PLEASE GET IN A CAR AND TRAVEL THAT ROAD, IT’S A DISGRACE AND NOT CONDUSIVE TO BRINGING TOURISTS TO THE REGION”.

The last 250kms from Wepener to Clarens all I saw was a Millers in front of me this spurred me on to get to Friends and it was so nice to walk in and see Kelvin and Brian, get such a great welcome and be handed a Cold Millers. I do think that it’s probably the furthest that someone has ridden to get a Millers from Friends restaurant

So I suppose you want to know how is PE, well so far has certainly lived up to part of its name the ‘Windy City” and the place just loves speed humps and traffic circles, its also a bit hard getting used to traffic lights, we have 5 between our house and Tania’s folks (2.6 kms) they also seem to put speed humps either side of traffic lights. Our house is 8ooms from a Builders warehouse that is the size of the Metropolitan Mall in Bethlehem and there are also a number of other shops nearby. 1.5 kms down another road are 2 shopping malls that I think Clarens could fit into with a movie house that has 10 cinemas (yes 10 and they show the latest movies)

So what’s been happening in Clarens since I was away? It seems that Friends has hired midget Pole Dancers to entertain its clients.

I also received these photos with translations.

The Village/City Idiots free piece of advice for the week is ‘Don’t use Elliot to remove you”

"The gods must be crazy"

If you read last weeks Blog you will have read that my mate Mark (“sorry” Meat Bomb) decided to try and become the first man in Clarens to cross a large donga sans any wings, or an attached mechanical device and in the process nearly killed himself. Well it would seem MB has nine lives as this is the 4th incident in his lifetime that a guardian angel has been looking over him. However as is the norm in the village we rarely let a life threatening accident get in the way of making jokes about it. We now have a new greeting for MB, if you see him coming you say here is Mark and everyone in the vicinity looks up.

Mark is now famous and was recently interviewed by The High Flyer Magazine (HFM) and not to be confused with the FHM (due out in March 2019) but I have managed to get an advanced copy so thought would give you all an exclusive sneak preview.

HFM: So Mark or can we call you Meat Bomb / how does it feel to be a celebrity in Clarens?
MB: It’s great and Meat Bomb is just fine.
HFM: So what was the first thing that went through your mind when you hit the ground?
MB: “My Ass”
HFM: “Ha ha” , So for our readers how would you describe yourself ?
MB: I would say I am a really down to earth type of guy and some may even say well grounded.
HFM: We hear that you have had a number of calls offering stunt jobs and Boswell Wilkie are considering you as one of your new acts can you confirm or deny those stories?
MB: Well it is true I have been approached by a company but negotiations are “up in the air” at the moment, hopefully I will know soon because I am flat broke.
HFM: We believe that a local pub has created a shooter called the “Horton Drop Zone”, is that correct and what does it consist of ?
MB: that’s correct, its part Aftershock, Jagermeister, Jack Daniels and Tabasco in a shot glass, you then pour Red Bull into a beer or Zombie glass, hold the shooter glass over the red bull, drop it in and slug it all back.
HFM: Any after affects ?
MB: Yes, if you have to many then you can land on your ass, “oh but then I have done that already”
HFM: Do you take drugs?
MB: “laughs sheepishly” well I was partial to a MCM (mountain cabbage muffin) every once in a while, but since the fall I seem to be looking for a line every now and then.
HFM: what is your worst attribute?
MB: I tend to just drop in on people without appointments
HFM: What are your plans for the future?
MB: Well now that I have a Meat Bomb Award (MBA) I thought I would spread my wings, rise to new heights and see if I could land a decent job, something like a branch manager would be ideal.
HFM: Now that you are in demand and have speaking engagements in places like Marqurad, Lindley and Canaveron, what airline do you use ?
MB: “One time” airlines

HFM: We always ask the celebrities we interview a few questions about their favourite things, so that we don’t leave the reader “high and dry” so to say, so if your ready here are the questions the readers would like to have answered.
MB: Yeah lets go
HFM: Favourite colour
MB: Actually I have two, Black and Blue
HFM: Favourite movie
MB: Drop Zone
HFM: Favourite TV show
MB: So who’s line is it anyway
HFM: Favourite band?
MB: Actually I have two, Smashing Pumpkins and the Crash Test dummies
HFM: Favourite clothing line?
MB: That would have to be hang 10 and I also like Nike Air shoes
HFM: Favourite song/s?
MB: “Free falling” or “I believe I can fly”
HFM: You’re Idol ?
MB: Evil Kenivel
HFM: If you could own any car what would that be?
MB: Your readers may think this is nuts but I have always been partial to the Mazda 323 (tree to tree).
HFM: favourite drink?
MB: Well up until the Drop Zone was concocted it was RED BULL, but its great that the new shooters still can give me wings.
HFM: Favourite internet site?
MB: The Darwin awards.
HFM: What 3 words would you never use again given the chance?
MB: Oh that’s easy “ile go first”
HFM: What’s your favourite food?
MB: Squash, which also happens to be my favourite sport.
HFM: Favourite saying?
MB: “Beam me up Scotty”

HFM: Well thanks very much Meat Bomb its great to land such a celebrity for the magazine especially someone who seems to have their feet planted firmly on the ground.
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