"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………………………………….:-)

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