10 February 2012

Hello Napier

The Soapbox
Vandalism, racism ... or both.
I received the letter below from Fleur in Jubileum street, that she had sent to friends and students in Taiwan. I was shocked to learn that someone would wantonly vandalize someone else’s property because of an issue, that at it’s core, is so blatantly racist. (Although quite long, I have decided to include the entire letter as I believe it says so much about our village and who we are).

Fleur says:
“…an entire month of rest, SLEEP, sun, sea, swimming, fun, travel, visiting, games, reading, watching TV, Christmas, New Year.....no homework) and here in Africa, no rain.
Now, all the above, might be possible for many a South African child, but certainly not all of them and most certainly not for the children of the coloured community who live here in this small rural village where I do.
They live in an area called: ' Nuwerus', an Afrikaans name which means something like: ' Being able to Rest.' They stay in very small homes which are build close together. There are hardly any gardens to speak of as the properties are small. The roads are gravel and dusty. Most people living there today, don't have work. Here in South Africa the official statistics are 40 people out of 100 do have a job. So, they don't get to go away on holiday, travel, or go to the sea much. They get pretty bored if they don't like reading as there really is nothing much to do. Lucky kids...NO BUSHY BAN or stacks of summer homework like the students get in Taiwan. But it is really no fun at all. Sometimes an afternoon activity is arranged for them...some cricket, organised games, a movie they can go and watch in the school hall.

So they wonder around the village streets. Get into trouble for throwing stones at the dogs that bark at them and for scaling up a fruit tree to steal some fruit.
They also walk from home to home begging for food and here we always try and keep enough bread so that they can get a sandwich with peanut butter and syrup. I must admit that I am pretty tired of making sandwiches.

What they also come to our home for is the dam, in which we allow them to swim. This is the only dam in the entire village where they may swim. At first there was only a small group. But as the summer became hotter and dryer and the holiday became longer, more and more kids came to ask to swim. Now there were more than forty kids turning up for a swim so that they could cool down.
Being the old witch and teacher that I am, we managed with basic rules. Swimming times between 3pm to 5 pm, from Monday to Saturday. Then I can watch and see that nobody gets hurt. No more than 6 kids in the dam at a time. No nude swimming. No diving or bombing, no matter how much fun that is, as it breaks the dam wall. No urinating from the dam wall. No swearing and a special appeal NOT to throw stones at the dogs as they walk along the road, not to steal the fruit and not to swear or disturb the peace of the neighbours here.

So...everything seemed to work quite well until a group of about twenty children arrived when I wasn't home. They plunged in...many with no swimming costumes or clothes, they ran along the wall and dove in, bombing their friends....they screamed and shouted, behaving really badly and upsetting just about every one who saw them misbehaving.
This must have made someone, who didn't like the idea of them coming to swim, so angry that this person threw a lot of old black grease/OIL, into my dam sometime during the quiet hours of the night.
Along the water's edge is a thick, black oily mark on the inside of the dam wall. All the frogs in my dam have died, (if they managed to survived the swimming kids), I found two swallows carcasses in the water and as they skim the water for a drink, I am sure that they fly away to die somewhere. No children will be able to swim in my dam again.
We have tried to absorb as much of the oil as we could from the surface of the water with straw, which we threw on top of the water and then raked it off again.

There is still a film of oil on top of the dam and when the rains finally come in the winter and the dam fills up, there will be a 'backwash' into the irrigation furrow which will take this oil to all the other people along our road. It will get into their gardens and onto their vegetables. It will flow into the water troughs where their horses drink, it will finally flow down into a beautiful small valley where there are lilies and swans and lots of water birds and everything will be affected by the oil.
What had made me sad is that not only have the poor children been deprived of one of the few pleasures they had this holiday...but that the pollution which was caused is going to affect so many more people, insects, birds and animals.

Today, a small group arrived again wanting to swim, not knowing what had happened to the dam. But when they saw the black oil mark above the water and understood what it meant, they hoped to settle for the next best thing...a peanut butter sandwich. As there was no bread available today I also had to refuse that treat and when I jokingly said: ' All I have are some raw potatoes.
A little girl said; ' I'll take the potato! '
How hungry she must have been.
So now you all know a little more about what life is like in Napier.”

Perhaps we could all ask ourselves where we stand on this issue. Is the mentality of “us and them” still very prevalent amongst some in our community. There are people like Beverly and her team of wonderful helpers at the Nuwerus Nasorg doing sterling work amongst the youth in Nuwerus – but there are also those, it seems, who have no boundaries or respect for the property of others and will do anything, even if illegal, to protect ‘their turf’ from what they perceive to be a threat by the Orwellian “them”.
The Natter will be very interested in your comments and thoughts on the issue.

On a lighter note ...
I received a few more lovely responses regarding the soapbox issue relating to the ‘beautification’ of some of the Napier buildings (Napier Natter 14 Jan 2012) which I would like to include:

Patrick Seaton says: ”This is what I sommer enjoy about Claus, things are never just as they appear to be, there's always an interesting curve ahead and after 27 years in this lekka little corner of God's Earth, Claus has certainly earned the right to say how he sees it.

I wuz also a wee bit put out by the January 14 Napier Natter but then when I looked again my eye caught the headline ... “The Soapbox”. I suppose that’s what a “soapbox” is all about, although Mark may just as well have been haranguing the Napier clan from the turret of an Altay Main Battle Tank.

Yes, Mark, a bit harsh to threaten with ruthless "Orwellianism" (thanks for prompting the word, Claus), "... and lean heavily on those people who don’t or won’t bring their side". What do you mean by “lean heavily”? It is a term I would expect to hear from the Godfather as in the late Marlon Brando movie. A reason why many came to Napier was to shed the trappings of the larger centres. I recall upon arriving in Napier I met Claus within the first week or so of being here. I mean with a highly regarded German name akin to Claus von Schirp, how can I possibly forget? [- Just by the way, from 1813 to 1819 Franz Arnold Alexander Freiherr von dem Bottlenberg gen. von Schirp, was mayor of Kettwig the southernmost borough of the city of Essen in western Germany.- with acknowledgement to Wikipedia] Claus could never remember my name and when I asked him why, he said: “I only remember the names of newcomers to Napier once they have been here longer than three months, many never even last that long!”

So, Mark, while I appreciate your take and I hear where you are coming from, I side with Claus and like John Cleese immortalized with these words in Fawlty Towers, “…DON’T even mention the War!

From Dietrich Riek
Ave Marcus, Our nattering gains momentum. Felicitations.
Herr von Schirp deserves credit for honouring the essence and spirit of Napier.
We have been around for some 17 years and share many of his experiences, not least his mad and magnificent fires and of course the great and equally nutty quiz evenings at Ilse's Barn. They, and many other occasions, were particularly essential and significant in that they served splendidly to wipe out real and imagined barriers between many, if not all classical subsets of our little community. It is no small feat to get Afrikaaners to laugh with Engelse and welcome inkomers such as French, Belgians, Scots, Greeks, Hebrews, Indians and Germans, even. I mean, we have some institutions here such as Oom Ben, Oom Attie (may he rest in peace), Tante Marlene, Tante Lettie, Ove Scheuble, Koos Perd and his clan, the list goes on. Yes Claus, we honour them.
It is lekker that we can be who we are and do our thing, regardless whether it works or not. Also, everybody here can find some other one to talk to.
The rest is, as always, detail and sometimes the devil does get into it. Incidentally, Ulli's blue Kombi has been dubbed "The Beast".
And Claus, to the KGB we will say "Nasdarowje tovaritch"; the Russians, after all, used to be Vikings!
Salutations, Shalom, Salaam.....

... and finally, from Ulrich Riek
Greetings all. Firstly i would like to thank all participating twitters, bøokfaces, 21st century bloggers, skinderbekke, our ancestors from Europe and the obviously bored individuals who find my car the subject to vent archaic blabberings. Secondly, my car's name is Ruby,
she is paid for, forgiving and very proud to take me from A to B. With regards to promoting new businesses, adapting to uitlanders, accepting binnelanders, aanhangers and whoever is streaming into Napier by their thousands, all Napariens should be very grateful for the slow pace the town is evolving compared to the goldrush attitude a town like Greyton experienced some 25 years ago, which today is a place where people don’t even know who their neigbours are. Finally, i would like to thank all concerned cyber writers for the almost entertaining subject matter, which at least proves people still have a relatively good sense of humour! ps. If anybody has an extra vehicle lying around, i will gladly accept the offer. Kind regards , Ulrich, the owner of the OLDEST car in Napier.

Thank you all respondents for helping to make the Napier Natter an interesting read!!

David from Bootup has this very important tip
Be aware. There is a scam that has been on-going where someone 'from Microsoft support' calls you to tell you that they need to check the PC to make sure it doesn't have a virus. This is a complete hoax and simply a way to install a key logger so they can get your personal info.

Neither Microsoft, nor any other major computer company, will EVER contact one over issues like this.

Riek Recreated!
Change is a good as a holiday:
You might have noticed when driving past Riek Creative, that they are closed. No, they are not a victim of the economy, or taking an extended holiday, they are renovating. You are invited to join them for a glass of Champagne, a fresh new look, stunning snacks and live piano music performed by professional musician Soretha Vorster on Sunday 12 February at 18h00. Exciting new artists as well as old favourites will make up this new look for 2012. Not only are they celebrating a new look but also a very successful first year in Napier.

Natter Smalls
Ellies Wall Mounted TV Arm (for TV's up to 54cm)
Never been used and still in its box, with tilt and double swivel action. Black R200. Please call Olwyn on 082 875 6473 / 028 423 3049

House to rent.
Cnr Herzog street. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, Large garden.
Contact Ilze on 028 423 3440

'My Skat" closed for February.
Due to Monique being in hospital for a foot operation, My Skat will be closed during the month of February.

St Patrick's in Napier
The Fox will be hosting their annual "St Partick's Day" party on the 17 March 2012. This is to be held at the Napier Bowling Club. Tickets cost R100 per head and includes a 3-course Irish meal and music by the "Irish" group "Splynta" Get a free Guinness glass with your first pint purchased. Booking absolutely essential as NO tickets will be available at the door on the night. Info: 028 423 3293

Patatfees Update
If anyone is interested in booking a stall for the upcoming Patatfees, please contact Sanet Stemmet on 082 896 2225 to get your application form or futher info. Cost - R150.00 per stall (an area of 3 m x 3m will be allocated), and is payable before or on 10 June 2012. Power points are available at an additional cost of R50.00.

The origin of Valentine's Day
The romantic festival of Valentine's Day is said to have originated in pagan times in Rome when people celebrated annual fertility festival called Feast of Lupercalia in mid-February. A unique custom of the festival was the mating of young boys and girls for a year through a lottery system. Quite often the couple would fall in love and marry.

Strongly associated with the festival of Valentine's Day are the legends of three or more Saint Valentine of Rome. One of the most popular legends says, Valentine or Valentinus lived in Rome when the country was under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Claudius engaged Rome in several unpopular and bloody campaigns. To maintain a strong army, Claudius continuously needed to recruit soldiers. But to his disappointment Claudius found that most men were unwilling to join army because of their strong attachment with their wives and their families. To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. A romantic at heart priest, Valentine, secretly arranged marriages of young boys and girls and defied this unjustified and callous order of Claudius. When the Emperor discovered this defiance, he put Valentine behind bars and he was finally executed on February 14, about 270 AD. For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

By Middle Ages, Saint Valentine became the patron saint of love and lovers in England and France. In 498 AD, when Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to pagan celebration of Feast of Lupercalia, he declared that 14th February be celebrated as St Valentine's Day.

Some scholars however, say, romance was linked with Valentine's Day because of the popular belief in England and France during the Middle Ages that birds began to start looking for their mate from 14th February.

This day in history (14 February)
1849 - In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
1894 - Venus is both a morning star & evening star
1895 - Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest," opens in London
1896 - South Africa all out for 30 v England - their lowest ever
1900 - In South Africa, British Gen. Roberts invaded Orange Free State with 20,000 troops
1918 - The motion picture "Tarzan of the Apes" was released
1929 - St Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, 7 gangsters killed
1932 - South Africa all out for 36 in 1st innings v Australia (Ironmonger 5-6)
1967 - Aretha Franklin records "Respect"
1989 - Khomeini orders Moslems to murder "Satanic Verses" novelist Rushdie
1989 - The first satellite of the Global Positioning System (GPS) was placed into orbit around Earth
2005 - Lebanon's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, is assassinated, prompting the country to fall into chaos
2011 - The 2011 Bahraini uprising commenced.

Valentine's quotes
  • "Forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate."
    - Source Unknown
  • "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt"
    - Charles M. Schulz
  • "There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
    - George Bernard Shaw

The Last Laugh
Jim asked his friend, Tony, whether he had bought his wife anything for Valentine's Day.

'Yes,' came the answer from Tony who was a bit of a chauvinist, 'I've bought her a belt and a bag.'

'That was very thoughtful of you,' Jim added, 'I hope she appreciates it.'

Tony smiled as he replied, 'So do I, and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now.'

Happy Valentine's to all Natter readers!!

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