Neighbourly Notes – 3 January 2019

WINNING BIG: The winner of the top cash prize of R5,000 at Port Alfred High School’s annual Duckling Derby on the Kowie River was Lynton Lemmer, who received his prize from Charmaine Botha of Friends of the School. The popular annual event is a fundraiser for school projects. Tickets for the event cost R50 and got you a rubber duckling with a number on it. The ducklings were all released at the Kiddies Beach bridge on the incoming tide on December 29 and the first to cross under a rope in the Kiddies Beach lagoon was adjudged the winner. There were also prizes for second and third place.

GREETINGS to everyone and we hope you had a great stay in Ndlambe over the Christmas and New Year and are now fully relaxed and ready to tackle 2019 with renewed verve and an even better outlook. For most, 2019 was a miserable year in terms of finances, Eskom load-shedding and increases in petrol prices, but we managed to survive. South Africans are good at making lemonade from the bitter fruit but there comes a time when enough is enough and, seriously, we all need a break. To those of you who will be travelling back to your homes in other parts of the province or country, and to our overseas visitors, travel safely – don’t take chances on the roads, you’ll get there in time if you just remain calm and patient. Thank you to all our visitors and we look forward to seeing you all again next year when, hopefully, our portion of the R72 will have been finished. As you return to work or school (for those of you lucky enough to have had more than just a few days off), and begin to get back into the swing of things, let us not forget the men and women who work in our hospitals, or emergency services, or our police officers and even the people who keep our lights on at Eskom, the maintenance men and all other workers who strive to make our lives easier when we are on holiday. Thank you all so very much.

THE price of fuel decreased again on Tuesday, with petrol reduced by a whopping R1.22 and decreases on other oil-based products. It seems like we have begun the New Year on a positive note. But oil prices are very fluid at the moment and the decrease is due to production quotas being increased, particularly in the USA. We are therefore in a delicate situation in that, if the exchange rate varies and the dollar strengthens, specifically if America and China reach a trade agreement, we might well see further increases in the fuel price in the next few months. So, let’s not celebrate too much. Remember that the fuel price increased four times last year and the same could happen again this year. However, maybe we should take advantage of the decrease while we can.

THIS year our national elections are taking place, and we are going to see a lot of flag-waving by members of all the political parties. With the all-pervasive power of social media no one is safe and fake news stories proliferate. The best advice I can think of is for people to vote for the person (more accurately, the party) you believe will bring peace, prosperity, unity and more jobs and service delivery to the people. Good luck and, hopefully, the best party for that job will win.

HAPPY birthday greetings and best wishes to everyone celebrating this special occasion in the week ahead, especially Bonnie Blaine, Aiden Norden, Hans Hon, Andrew Jones-Phillipson, Luke Beckett, Mary McGhie, Willem Horn, Glenda Huxtable, Bradley van Zyl, Sophie Bessinger, Ryan Vermaak, Chris Shaddock, Jacques van Wyk, Justine Hulley, Devon Coetzee, Tony Tarr, Angela Fourie, Ian Hattingh, Audrey Barnard, Averil Oosthuizen, Daniel Paterson, Maxi Mclellan, Tracey Butt, John Butt, Ross and Clayton Lloyd, Kelly Avis, Shaun Botha, Gift Wallace, Jurie Wessels, Michael Gardner, Myrtle Flemming, Margie Siegers, James Charter, Dominicue Averbuch, Ivy Gulliford, Jo Wilmot, Vanessa Hilton-Barber, Russell Shelton, Anina Blouw.

ANOTHER business anniversary and our congratulations and wishes for more future success to Colin’s Garden Service owned by Winston Vermaak, The Wharf Street Tab, and Historic Pig & Whistle.

SEVERAL really positive things happened in South Africa last year which should have us celebrating. We existed the technical recession at the beginning of December when we showed a 2.2% growth rate and the rand strengthen based on that news. The manufacturing sector, agriculture and several other industries seemed to rebound after low expectation on the part of economists. How long this trend will last is anyone’s guess but, with the upcoming national elections we must avoid grandstanding by political parties as these tend to degenerate into riots and destruction. Such things are observed by the international community and regarded as evidence that South Africa is not the place to invest their money. At the time of going to press the Rand was and trading at R14.48 to the Dollar (R12.37), R18.37 to the Pound (R16.78) and R16.56 to the Euro (R14.87). Commodities such as Gold at $1,287.04 ($1,316.00) per fine ounce and Platinum at $834.90 ($933.70) with only Brent Crude Oil at $53.17 per barrel ($ 67.04).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments.”Sterkte” to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Jenny Groenewald, Rowena Collin, Marian Eaton, Malcolm Cock and Brenda Shelton.

WISHING all couples celebrating wedding anniversaries congratulations and continued happiness for many happy times ahead. Good luck to Lou and Annette Coetzee, Willem and Marlene van Rensburg, Alan and Brenda Hulley, Dean and Lorraine Samuel, Phil and Pam Hopper, Chris and Cindy de Wet Steyn, Tom and Liz Webb and Grant and Tricia Campbell.

ON the sporting front, the Proteas managed to finish off the first Test against Pakistan in just 2½ days that according to tradition began on Boxing Day (December 26) at Centurion. Cricket SA said that they had previously held the Boxing Day Test at the coast where most holidaymakers were at this time of the year. But their gamble to change the venue to an inland venue seems to have paid off as the crowds piled past the gates to see a decisive victory for the home team. However, the second Test begins at Newlands, Cape Town today (Thursday) and let’s hope for a better performance with the bat from the South Africans and that we can complete a series win at the end of this test. Then it’s on to the ODIs.

THOUGHT for the week: “As we start the year, be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle and you never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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