6 July 2012

Hello Napier

The Soapbox
I received a letter from Madeline and Julian Reed that more than deserves to
be the Soapbox issue in this edition.

Wildlife In Napier
We all love our pets and some us are besotted about our dogs (including me) BUT please consider the tough conditions that our local wildlife endures.
Napier is lucky enough to have many species of mammals; Cape Grysbok, Grey Rhebok, Steenbok, Porcupines, Honey Badgers, Genets, Striped Polecats, Cape and Scrub Hares, Grey, Yellow, and Water Mongooses. Chacma Baboons, Caracals, Bat Eared Foxes etc. We also have a wonderful array of birds a lot of which are ground nesting. Blacksmith and Crowned Lapwings, Spotted Thick-knees, various Larks, Black Harriers, Denham’s Bustards and Blue Cranes spring to mind.

All the above bird species nest in the fields and on open land in and around Napier. The antelope and many of the other animals utilize the fields and valleys as most of their natural habitat has been converted to farmlands.

Frequently the bird’s nests, eggs and chicks are destroyed and the animals are traumatised and sometimes killed by the ploughing, planting, spraying and harvesting in the area. All these creatures have many natural predators to cope with as well as man the Mighty Predator who uses guns, poisons and sometimes the even more horrific brutal gin traps!

Now, on top of all this, these creatures are having to contend with more and more people walking more and more dogs in these fields. Many of these dogs run unchecked after birds and animals. When challenged, owners say: “But the birds fly off and the buck/hares etc are too fast for them”. This is definitely not true as some creatures do get caught and the birds often have eggs or chicks that are crushed scattered and killed or injured. Some animals run panic stricken into fences ripping flesh and breaking legs. After the event, animals will desperately try to seek out a safer place and in so doing, attempt to cross roads particularly under cover of darkness only to be blinded by headlights and splattered on the tar.

We all love and cherish our natural environment, so please keep your dogs on leads unless they can be properly controlled. Let’s work together to give the wild animals and birds a chance at life. – Madeline Reed

Why not share your thoughts and opinions on this matter with the Napier Natter!

Also in previous Natter’s, Frank de Villiers sent in contributions regarding the heritage council and the work they do. Claus von Schirp had the following to say about the articles:
"Not everything which is old must be conserved just because it is old. Please! The old show-grounds in Bredasdorp really were an eyesore or is it a big architectural achievement to build a long, crooked, badly plastered wall around a few primitive stables, a closed up farm-shed and a few other boring square buildings? All South Africans would prefer not to have to live in gated communities. Sounds like that is now also a crime. Has security and safety something to do with architecture? "

Maureen James says:
"Your Napier Natter has been an enjoyable read and has taken my mind off the cold weather. Thanks for the info. It was ALL GREAT!."
(Thanks Maureen - great to get feedback!! - Mark)

Shining a light on the community
A while ago, a Natter reader sent in a letter regarding the church clock light that was not working and how sad that was as the church is so central to town. Well, after a little investigation from the Natter and thanks to JC Barry the lights are working again and the clock is being monitored by 'Suidpunt Horlosies'. It is worthwhile noting that the clock is linked to the local electricity grid and when there is a power outage the clock stops. That in turn is linked to the lights and so if the clock time is way out, the lights will switch on and off at odd hours. Should you have any comments regarding this - or want more information, the church has a face book page, "Die Vriendelike Gemeente".

Patatfees 2013 - Planning meeting...

WHEN ... Wednesday 18 July
WHERE ... Pascal's of Napier at 17h00 ... to close NO LATER than 18h30
This is a fact-finding, more in-depth post-mortem meeting ... asking for your help (attending this DOES NOT mean you're on the next committee) ... please come along and assist with creating a "roadmap" for 2013 ...

A tipple in a teacup?
Peter Borgstrom writes: "I REFER TO AN ARTICLE THAT APPEARED IN THE NAPIER NATTER OF THE 20 JUNE 2012, WRITTEN BY MR. R. RIEK, ENTITLED "WELCOME TO NAPIER, PLEASE BLOW HERE'.

THE SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED BY MR. RIEK ARE TO SAY THE LEAST, CONFUSING. ON THE ONE HAND HE SAYS DRINKING AND DRIVING CANNOT BE CONDONED, BUT THEN HE GOES ON TO SAY THE AUTHORITIES ACTIONS LEFT A BITTER TASTE IN HIS MOUTH.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES HE MEAN BY SAYING, I QUOTE 'WE DO NOT WANT DRUNK DRIVERS ON OUR ROADS, BUT THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING DRUNK AND BEING OVER THE LIMIT TO START WITH.' IN MY OPINION, NO WARNINGS NEED BE GIVEN OF POTENTIAL ROADBLOCKS . ONE DOES NOT DRIVE AT ALL WHEN OVER THE LIMIT, EVEN DURING THE PATAT FEES, AND A DESIGNATED DRIVER SHOULD ALWAYS BE APPOINTED.

WHAT DID HE FIND TASTELESS AND VISITOR UNFRIENDLY ? WERE THE AUTHORITIES RUDE IN THEIR APPROACH TO THE DRIVERS OR DOES HE MEAN WE SHOULD NOT HOLD ROADBLOCK DURING THE PATAT FEES ?

MY VIEW IS I APPLAUD THE AUTHORITIES FOR TAKING WHATEVER ACTIONS ARE DEEMED NECESSARY TO ERADICATE DRUNKEN DRIVERS FROM OUR ROADS. WHENEVER AND WHEREVER THE AUTHORITIES DECIDE TO HOLD CHECKS TO WEED OUT INTOXICATED DRIVERS IS FULLY SUPPORTED BY ME, AND I BELIEVE MANY OTHER NAPIER RESIDENTS.

Food for thought
Being in the restaurant industry myself, I really appreciated the following chapter from Bill Bryson's new book sent to me by Frank de Villiers. I am sure you will enjoy it too!

I'm a stranger here myself by Bill Bryson
What's cooking?
Going to a restaurant is generally a discouraging experience for me because I always manage somehow to antagonize the waitress. This, of course, is something you never want to do because waitresses are among the relatively small group of people who have the opportunity to sabotage items that you will shortly be putting into your mouth. My particular problem is being unable to take in all the food options that are presented to me. If you order, say, a salad, the waitress reels off sixteen dressings, and I am not quick enough to take in that many concepts at once. "Can you run those past me again?" I say with a simpleton smile of the sort that I hope will inspire compassion.

So the waitress sighs lightly and rolls her eyes a trifle, the way you would if you had to recite sixteen salad dressings over and over all day long for a succession of halfwits, and reels off the list again. This time I listen with the greatest gravity and attentiveness, nodding at each, and then unfailingly I choose one that she didn't mention. "We don't do Thousand Island," she says flatly.

I can't possibly ask her to recite the list again, so I ask for the only one I can remember, which I am able to remember only because it sounded so awful - Gruyere and goat's milk vinaigrette or something. Lately I have hit on the expedient of saying: "I'll have whichever one is pink and doesn't smell like the bottom of a gym bag." They can usually relate to that, I find.

In fancy restaurants it is even worse because the server has to take you through the evening's specials, which are described with a sumptuousness and panache that are seldom less than breathtaking and always incomprehensible. My wife and I went to a fancy restaurant in Vermont for our anniversary the other week and I swear I didn't understand a single thing the waiter described to us.

"Tonight," he began with enthusiasm, "we have a crepe galette of sea chortle and kelp in a rich mat de mer sauce, seasoned with disheveled herbs grown in our own herbarium. This is baked in an inverted Prussian helmet for seventeen minutes and four seconds precisely, then layered with steamed wattle and woozle leaves. Very delicious; very audacious. We are also offering this evening a double rack of Rio Rocho cutlets, tenderized at your table by our own flamenco dancers, then baked in a clay dong for twenty-seven minutes under a lattice of guava peel and sun-ripened stucco. For vegetarians this evening we have a medley of forest floor sweetmeats gathered from our very own woodland dell...."

And so it goes for anything up to half an hour. My wife, who is more sophisticated than I, is not fazed by the ornate terminology. Her problem is trying to keep straight the bewilderment of options. She will listen carefully, then say: "I'm sorry, is it the squib that's pan-seared and presented on a bed of organic spoletto?"

"No, that's the baked donkling," says the serving person. "The squib comes as a quarter-cut hank, lightly rolled in payapaya, then tossed with oil of olay and calamine, and presented on a bed of chaff beans and snoose noodles."

I don't know why she bothers because, apart from being much too complicated to take in, none of the dishes sounds like anything you would want to eat anyway, except maybe on a bet after drinking way too much.

Sidewalk chatter
One of the Natter readers sent this in:
I have been travelling into Nuwerus quite frequently and have made an interesting observation. Along the main road into Nuwerus the Municipality installed a very neat (and I'm sure expensive) pavement of interlocking pavers on the right hand side going up the hill. On average I have counted only 1 in 5 people using the pavement. The rest wander in the road despite the regular traffic. Go figure!

Update on the Marah Project
Please note - anyone wishing to donate anything to this very worthwhile cause - please drop off your goods at Pascal's of Napier and NOT at Gunners Mess as previously requested!

Thank you to all who have donated items with which to fill the gift boxes. So far we have collected about 60 shoeboxes for our Christmas project but more are still needed please. The task of covering these boxes has begun. We are however in great need of wrapping paper and 'pretty things' with which to decorate these boxes eg. stickers, ribbon ,raffia, pictures, etc. So please look through those cupboards and let us have what you don't need anymore.

We are also still collecting items to fill these boxes. Items suited to men are specially needed eg. small packs of men's sized tissues, deodorant, socks, packets of seeds, pens, shaving cream and razor, nail clippers, bed socks, photo frames, general healing creams like Zambuk, small books of daily scripture readings, hand towels, candles and small boxes of fruit juice. These are but a few ideas. Later in the year we would like to add sweets, chocolates and biscuits to the list.

Should you be able to assist with donations, you are welcome to please leave the items at Pascal's or contact me, Jenny MacDonald, on 028 423 3439 for collection.

Napier Community Forum Newsletter
Click here to download your copy of the current issue in pdf format.

Ponder this...
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. - George Bernard Shaw

Southern Tip Day
A few facts to keep the brain warm and the conversation interesting:

  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
  • In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all of the world's nuclear weapons combined.
  • On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.
  • On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
  • Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
  • Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
  • It's possible to lead a cow upstairs ... but not downstairs.
  • Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
  • It's physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.
  • The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
  • A snail can sleep for three years.
  • No word in the English language rhymes with "MONTH."
  • Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
  • The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
  • All polar bears are left-handed.
  • In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
  • "Go," is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
  • Almost everyone who reads this email will try to lick their elbow.

 

This day in history (6 July)
1189 - Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England
1560 - - England/Scotland signs Treaty of Edinburgh
1687 - Newton publishes "Principia"
1785 - The dollar is unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States
1886 - Horlick's of Wisconsin offers 1st malted milk to public
1942 - Anne Frank's family goes into hiding in After House, Amsterdam
1986 - 100th Wimbledon Mens Tennis: Boris Becker beats Ivan Lendl (64 63 75)

Any upcoming events or issue’s the village should be aware of?
Please let the Napier Natter have the details for inclusion in the next edition. info@napier.co.za

Until next time
Mark

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