31 May 2012
It certainly is nice to be back in Napier after our excursion
into the proverbial backwaters of the Western Cape. Montagu, McGregor
and Paternoster were all on our itinerary and we endeavored to
experience as much of them as possible – and perhaps in
a way to compare them to our own little village. Two things stood
out in McGregor – firstly the fact that it is very flat
makes it ideal for exploring on a bicycle (although if you have
not ridden a bicycle in 20 odd years, like me, sitting down for
the following day or two can be an ordeal in itself!). Secondly
– there is a lot to explore, especially from an architectural
point of view. There are almost no ugly houses in McGregor. Most
of the old houses have been beautifully restored in the original
style and all the new houses have been built in the old style
– making for a very scenic village indeed. Of course it
is much smaller than Napier with only around 350 permanent residents
in the historically ‘white’ part of town (on weekend
around 100 more people ‘flood’ the town.) Good restaurants
abound and the gardens at ‘Temenos’ are an absolute
‘must see’. We were treated to all the local gossip
and news in the ‘Overdraught Pub’, courtesy of owner
Carol from the McGregor Country House and some of the colourful
local residents – 12 people and it’s overflowing.
(Happy to see a Napier Beer coaster on the bar counter!) Like
Napier, the people are very friendly and quite a few have promised
a reciprocal visit.
Montagu, although still beautiful and in a breathtaking setting
has become big and perhaps overly ‘touristy” with
many of the bigger chain stores and supermarkets erecting mini
malls and modern structures. The cost of this is the loss of small
town ‘warmth’ and atmosphere. It was only at “The
Olive House Restaurant” (The only restaurant in South Africa
serving authentic Croation dishes) that the owner took time out
to interact with us in a very personal way - and was able to make
us feel we were once again in a small village.
Paternoster is beautiful. Again, the architectural integrity
is intact. The houses, all being built in a similar style and
all painted white (only the shutters are painted in various shades
of blue and grey), the overwhelming feeling is of being in a typical
Greek island village. Having said that, the village is almost
entirely inhabited by weekenders and holiday makers, with few
permanent residents. Being there midweek in early Winter meant
Paternoster was something of a ghost town with most restaurants
closed and homes deserted. The weather was miserable and it was
awfully cold - the wind biting, making walking on the beach almost
impossible. We took the opportunity to “curl up with a good
book…or three.) Although a visually very pretty village,
we were not unhappy to take to the road again.
By now you are probably asking yourself what this has got to
do with you and why the soapbox has evolved into a travel log
(of sorts!) Well – this trip, and a most delightful one
at that, was an affirmation that our home is in the place where
we truly want to be, and that although there are many awesome
towns and places out there, Napier can certainly give them run
for their money.
We are so happy to call this village home. I trust most of you
feel the same!
You CAN make a difference
Do you have something to share? Do you have time to volunteer
an hour or two a week and share your skill, talent or craft with
others? The Napier Health and Welfare Committee are conducting
a skills audit of volunteers. We would like to focus and build
a Napier community through programmes that help to:
• Enrich someone else’s life, young and old
• Affect a transfer of skill, knowledge and capacity
• Provide the opportunity previously out of reach
• Develop individuals to manage their own development
For example, there has been a request for dance and music lessons.
Another of the needs identified is for “no longer used”
good sport equipment and clothing, i.e. soccer boots, skateboards,
and musical instruments. Do you have any cluttering your cupboard
or garage? We will gladly collect. Please phone 082 638 2041
For more information, contact Elaine Hodgson 0n Tel: 028 423 3533
Cell: 082 638 2041
Driving Miss Daisy
We offer a position of employment to a chauffer!
Preferably a distinguished mature person, who is reliable and
His duties shall include collecting my Husband at our abode outside
Napier, providing safe passage to Cape Town, to and fro between
clients, and home again, this 3 times per week.
He should possess a valid Driver's License!
...and preferably a Limousine. (Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink)
Any willing Party may contact Emma on 0826963584
Letter to the Natter:
Dear Napier Natter
Just a short note from us both to say a sincere thank-you
to Napier for such a fabulous evening on Saturday night!
It is the first time we have been to Pascal’s and
I have no doubt, will certainly not be the last!
Michelle Maxwell’s show was outstanding and we were
delighted to be seated us at such a brilliant table. The
food was delicious and the service slick, friendly and
Should you be in touch with Michelle at any stage, please
kindly convey our heartfelt thanks for a truly top-class
performance. It was a pleasant surprise to find out on
the evening that she was one of two other ex St Cyprians
girls there on the night, myself being the third!
Kathy and Barney Mulock-Bentley
The Light of our Lives.
Koopkrag is nou by die volgende plekke te koop. (Electricity can
now be bought at the following outlets?
Hop In Family Market
Kallie se plaas (in die deurgangskamp)
Kroukies (Sanna Kraukamp)
Koopkrag kan ook op die Internet gekoop word, waar na registrasie
dit ook met selfoon d.m.v. `n sms aangekoop kan word.
Registreer by www.paycity.co.za (To register for internet electricity
What's happening in Napier.
The weekend of the 16 June is Patatfees!
Exciting things happening from The Red Windmill on one
end of town all the way through to Moerse Farmstall on
the other end.
Make sure you put your scarecrows out!
On 22 Friday June, the incredible Emile Minnie
will be performing at Pascal’s of Napier.
His voice is Sublime, his piano playing is phenomenal.
Come and see this captivating artist light up the stage
with his humour and energy. Songs include “Love
is a stranger” by the Eurythmics, “Holding
out for a hero” by Bonnie Tyler and “Born
this way” by Lady Gaga.
R160 p.p. includes a full 2 course meal. Booking absolutely
Heritage or Hassle (Part 2)
Now and Then by Frank de Villiers
From the previous heritage dissertation we continue with issues
involving the preservation of our local heritage, i.e., threats,
An overriding threat to any old building is that, if a contemporary
appropriate use cannot be found for it, that building's chances
of survival become slim. A few cases in point...
The old gaol in Bredasdorp, built in 1861 in Hope Street, is quite
an imposing structure, with semi dressed stone walls, plaster
mouldings and an ornamental bell tower complete with a brass bell.
(the whipping post disappeared some time ago). The building has
been standing empty for a number of years. A use for the building
is sorely needed. Like any building, it does need maintenance
to stop degradation, and maintenance means money needed.
Heritage Western Cape, in their almighty wisdom, granted permission
for the demolition of an old building in Church Street, Bredasdorp.
However, the municipality refused to grant a demolition permit
on a technicality unrelated to the building's heritage value,
so the building survived. The building happens to be the very
first shop ever in Bredasdorp.
It is still serving as a shop.
In Bredasdorp, the old showground, with its communal structures,
became obsolete and was replaced by a supermarket and an architecturally
contrived walled, gated and guarded “old dorp”, ironically
(or maybe sardonically?) named “De Oude Arena”.
An insidious and very common threat is the gradual attrition
rate of inappropriate piecemeal changes or additions to an original
structure, also the erection of inappropriate features close to
it. (amputated Dutch ovens, “modern” windows, concrete
fences, crass signboards, etc.). Eventually a building can be
bastardized to such an extent that it becomes historically irrelevant.
Buildings in Napier have escaped heritage requirements for a
number of reasons.
One reason , they were erected before the formal creation of the
heritage committee. So, you get Absa Bank in Napier, a neon lit,
plate-glassed edifice sitting in the midst of Victoriana.
Other cases that slip through the regulations include deliberate
action, using stealth and fait accompli as weapons to get their
way, and then cases where owners plead innocent ignorance of the
An example of the latter involved the erection of a standardised
American styled timber house, designed by a commercial company,
in a prominent position within the heritage zone in Napier. Tom
Hood, a regular estate writer for Village magazine, got in on
the act and berated the committee loudly and publicly and somewhat
ignorantly, for being obstinate over the planned dream house.
He conveniently omitted the fact that the new owner received the
benefit of much free architectural advice on what to do. (we do
try to be helpful, you know – we're not just dikbek building
One of the battles fought included That Log Fence In Church street,
Napier. Apart from the fact that it was erected illegally, it
did not comply with heritage requirements....looked like Fort
Chattahoochee, in the wilds of old Texas, and from which the US
cavalry would at any moment, emerge. So, after protests by the
owner, lawyers, letters, appeals to Heritage Western Cape, it
was decided to leave be.... Luckily and ironically, the thing
has, in time, weathered nicely.
So, just a few of our issues....
In closing, I must include the universal all-invasive threat
of a superficial contrived oldness, i.e, housing-estate-dumbed-down-CapeDutch,
(what architects call CapeCrutch), Disneyland fake architectural
pastiche, such as Century City, The Lost City, with their plastic
spires, Jo'burg and J.Bay Tuscan, et al...all leaning dangerously
towards corny kitsch.
The spirit of, e.g., the Cape Dutch style, can be kept alive
in contemporary terms, as exemplified by the works of architects
such as Gawie Fagan and Revel Fox, who distilled the basic essence
of the style in its proportions, textures, rhythms, contextual
dispositions, and who subtly re-interpreted these qualities in
a modern idiom.
“The solid to void relationship reflects the casuistry
3 seater stinkwood “riempie” bench for either indoor,
or for a ‘stoep’ Made in the 40’s or 50’s.
Needs new ‘riempies’ but frame very sturdy and in
R3000 neg. Tel: Andre Fourie on 072 458 6656
Can anybody shine a light on this issue?
Is it possible for the Natter to pursue the issue of the Kerk
clock light – it hasn’t worked for several months?
It is (for better or worse) the prominent architectural feature
of Napier & as such, should be maintained.
The Natter would appreciate any information from any of the Natter
readers regarding this.