Neighbourly Notes – 31 October 2019

FAMILY TIME: Brian Phillips was with his grandson Angelo Marais at the Kowie United rugby festival at the Station Hill sports field on Saturday. Even though both the first and second team lost their games against visitors Algoa Park and Trying Stars, it was still an enjoyable occasion. Picture: JON HOUZET

FLOODING is an ongoing problem in the coastal areas of Ndlambe and, on Monday, a perfect storm of events led to localised flowing in the low-lying areas of Port Alfred. According to long-time reader, and weather guru, Eldred Bradfield, a combination of the second new moon after the spring equinox, plus the direction and force of the wind caused high seas all along the Port Alfred coastline, potentially decimating our beaches and flooding the CBD and adjacent residential area. This is a problem that might never be resolved as part of the CBD lies below the high-water mark. When circumstances such as this occur seawater backwashes up through the storm drains until the tide subsides.

HALLOWE’EN is a time for trick or treating, when the kids can dress up in cute or macabre costumes and play-terrorise the neighbourhood. The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin, adapted from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain where tribesmen would light bonfire and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. In the eighth century Pope Gregory III established November 1 as All Saints Day, so October 31 is the eve of All Saints Day. The word “Hallowe’en” means “Saints’ evening”, and derives from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scots, the word “eve” is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een. October 31 is celebrated all around the world, but especially in the USA where the tradition has children knocking at doors to ask for a treat, usually in the form of sweets. If they don’t receive a treat the resident stands a chance to be tricked, which might involve an “egging” or toilet paper strewn over the roof of the house and nearby trees. But questions of spiritual connotations aside, the evening appears to be harmless fun that provides kids with an opportunity to go out at night (under supervision) and stay up later than they would usually be allowed.

ON Friday, it is time for another Wharf Street Soiree, this time with a Hallowe’en theme that should make it the most colourful yet. Everyone attending is encouraged to dress in their finest costumes and get to Port Alfred’s original Good Times Street and celebrate. If you have never been to a Wharf Street Soiree, then you are in for a treat with great food, entertainment, bargains and prizes, not forgetting beer from our own brewery, the Little Brewery on the Wharf, that will be sold at several of the food outlets at just R10 per pint. Then, on Saturday morning, it’s the Christian Men’s Association breakfast at Tash’s Craft Bar with Mark Kieck who will talk about his calling to the ministry and his vision for Christians in the area. For details of these and other events in and around the Ndlambe area, see or Diarise This section, below.

THE Talk of the Town Senior Santa Shoebox collection aims to make this Christmas a little more special for the elderly in the area, of which there are many and who might spend this otherwise joyful time alone and without family. Please contribute to this worthy cause with items that the elderly might enjoy. Sweets and other non-perishable food items would be welcome, as would be good quality used items including clothing. Think about what your granny and granddad would enjoy receiving at this special time of year. Gifts and shoeboxes (or any other suitably-sized box) can be dropped off at Talk of the Town’s offices in Miles Street. We are all going to be oldand the elderly deserve our consideration, especially at this time of the year.

IS democracy under threat? England is the sixth oldest democracy in the world, behind countries and dependencies such as The Isle of Man, Iceland, San Marino, the Roman Empire and Athens. Yet, if you look at the state of the British parliament as it stalls, baulks and stutters over Brexit, that fact wouldn’t be that obvious. As an outsider it is difficult to make assertions except to say that in 1973, when Britain joined the European Union (or the European Economic Community or the Common Market as it was at the time) many British people felt that the country was abandoning its partners in the British Commonwealth such as Australia and New Zealand from which trade in lamb, butter and many other products was already established. When the UK voted in a referendum regarding whether they wanted to stay of leave the EU in June 2016 a small majority (51.9% vs 48.1%) voted to leave. Since then the British government, under the leadership of the Conservative Party (David Cameron who resigned after the referendum, Theresa May and, latterly, Boris Johnson) did not have a clear majority in parliament and so had to rely on the support of other political parties, some of whom do not want Britain to exit the EU, despite a small but clear majority voting to do so. Now, if a world-leading nation (by way of influence) is failing it does not bode well for democracy in general.

GREETINGS to everyone enjoying a birthday in the coming week, may the year ahead bring only happy and healthy times for all, especially, Janine van der Merwe, Maude Cannon, Erin Bowker, Laura Guest, Rose Ryan, Gwen Laubsher, Bryant Letley, Kaylene Hilpert, Oliver Skipper, Amorette Oosthuizen, Joy Coster, Jannie Badenhorst, Jason Prince, Nicolene Rieger, Helga Adams, Geraldine Heim, Isabeau Schoombie, Doreen Tee, Mary Hechter, Bryan Smith, Warren Solz, Mary-Ann Gailey, Candice Bradfield, Jurie Grant, Neil Doyle, Jamie Edwards, Janie Butt, husband and wife team – Andy and Darice Nicholas, Chris Louw, Johan Roos, Declan Joubert, Jean McCowen, Gaz Worral, and Anne Muir.

BEST wishes and continued success to the following businesses or organisations who are celebrating another milestone, especially Lunch Box (Alexandria), The Workshop (Bathurst), Kowie Crossing Guest House, Debonairs, A1 Pre-Owned Vehicles, PA Floral Art Group and the PA Round Table No 177.

DOES anyone else think that this an exciting time in our history (exciting, not necessarily good)? As we witness President Trump’s spin on the Syria/Turkey conflict and the killing of Abu Bakral- Baghdadi, Russia’s re-emergence as the main political power in the Middle East and the comedy show that is British politics, we might lose sight of some really important issues that are happening here, at home. The political shenanigans around the DA leadership is an important one simply because we have seen a weakening of the official opposition to the ruling ANC which does not bode well for our democracy. But, a more pressing issue is Tito Mboweni’s mid-term budget speech that happened on Wednesday. Too late for TotT to report on, the major issues are Eskom and its recent bailout and how the power utility is ever going to recover. As we go to press and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.61 to the dollar (R14.69), R18.79 to the pound (R18.75) and R16.21 to the euro (R16.70). Gold was trading at $1,488.76 per fine ounce ($1,223.89), Platinum at $921.40 per fine ounce ($842.05) and Brent Crude Oil at $61.07 per barrel ($76.93).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are unwell, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. ‘Sterkte’ to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Rowena Collin, Marian Eaton and Gavin Tessendorf.

OUR heartiest congratulations and very good wishes for the future to everyone celebrating a wedding anniversary in the week ahead, especially Patrick and Jeanine Kenny, Greg and Elzette Reed, Barry and Anne Hartley, David and Lauren Drennan and Athol and Elaine Waters.

THOUGHT for the week: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team

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