Neighbourly Notes – 3 December 2020

SHOWING OFF HIS CHEST: Always in good spirits, and having come through surgery this year, Billy Futter, left, shows off his scar when receiving the Vasbyt Award from Kowie Striders chair Sticks Stiglingh at the annual prize-giving last Saturday. Picture: JON HOUZET

CHRISTMAS is coming and the goose is getting fat. It is almost time for businesses to close down in anticipation of the upcoming festive season holidays. However, being 252 days into the national lockdown, there are three really big issues that need to be resolved before we start celebrating. This year has been brutal to so many businesses in the area, but one of the worst affected is the hospitality industry. My father was a chef and he used to say that everyone needed to eat, which I presume was a good motivation to get involved in hospitality at the time. But my father could never have imagined the Covid-19 lockdown where eating establishments have been prevented from operating and can still only allow a certain number of patrons. If these restaurants and cafés are to survive, they need customers. So, it is up to the locals to help out and visit local eating places as often as your wallet will allow. Hopefully, those brave holidaymakers who visit us will help keep these businesses afloat. Aside from the lockdown, the Eastern Cape has been identified as a coronavirus hotspot and this may well deter visitors this holiday season. This is unfortunate and will mean a general lack of revenue for the town this year. The other serious problem is the water situation. It appears most people forgot that Ndlambe (in fact, the entire Eastern Cape) is a water-scarce area, and carried on using water as though it would never run out, even after the warnings. Now there is no water in the area (particularly those fed predominantly from the Sarel Hayward Dam) and severe water rationing has been implemented. Yet, there seem to be mixed messages regarding cut-off times. It is normal that, when water is cut off, the low-lying areas (Kowie flats) will be the last for taps to run dry, and the first t to receive water when the valves are turned back on. High-lying areas (most of the east and west bank, Forest Downs, and so on) would be the first taps to run dry and the last to receive water. But, if we are already suffering, how will our visitors handle the situation?

ON a more positive note, for those who are lucky enough to still be working, what is your company or office doing for your Christmas party this year? At Talk of the Town we have a “Dirty Santa” gift exchange. All presents are under R50 and are placed together, and each member of staff, in order of a number picked from a hat, gets to choose whatever present they want from the pile. The “dirty” part is that, once opened, the next person can swap their gift with you, and this blatant pilfering continues until the last present has been selected. It’s lots of fun. We must remember though to think local this Christmas and make the most of the holiday break. We all need it.

PEOPLE of Bathurst, be aware that the Lions Bike Rally will be held this weekend (Friday through Sunday). You have been asked for your patience over the weekend and the bikers (who do an excellent job of fundraising for charities) have promised they will keep the noise down to a minimum.

IT was World Aids Awareness Day on Tuesday December 2. With all the hype around Covid-19, many have forgotten that Aids is a very real problem in SA. About 7.7 million people, about 20% of the population, are HIV-positive. This is a far greater problem than Covid-19 (just under 800,000 cases reported). However, antivirals, along with polyclonal and monoclonal bacteria, are now available that can make living with HIV and even full-blown Aids virtually normal. Yet, there is still no cure.

CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead, especially Jenny Kieck, George Bax, Candy Oosthuizen, Marianne Fryer, Orme Burn, Ilse Wicks, Anita Thomson, Deyzel Burger, Jen Elliott, Mary Lloyd, Declan de la Mare, Jean Brummer, Derek Phillips, Ryan Reynolds, John Moss, Garner Rieger, Koleka Nkwinti, Annie Pike, Charidene Malan, twins Keagan and Ross Coetzee, Dylan Brown, Wanda Kelbrick, Brad Taljard, Paul Griffiths, Janine Groenewald, Stewart Evans, Rudi van der Merwe, Loren Hilpert, Gary Jones-Phillipson, Denise Gunn, Mike Loewe, Nico Scheepers, Carol Behrman, Daniel Ross, Gregory Gudmanz, Mia Mary de Aroujo, Jean Botma, Donné Piquet, Vivienne Reid, Akhona Qunta, Yvonne Vermeulen and Donne Wentzel.

WELL done and continued success to all businesses celebrating another anniversary. Good luck for the future to Kenny’s Sports Bar.

THE good news is that there was a drop in the petrol price as of midnight on Tuesday. Mind you, there was a slight increase in the price of diesel. However, with Covid- 19 showing resurgence around the world and more stringent lockdowns being announced almost daily, markets are still vulnerable. Making things worse is the battle between the EU and UK which is inexorably heading toward a no-deal Brexit, and the US/China trade wars are still raging. This is making investors uncertain of the safest countries and companies in which to place their money. The announcement of several Covid- 19 vaccines had the markets bubbling a week ago but their enthusiasm has calmed significantly as the problems of production, storage and distribution became evident. With 2019’s figures in brackets, the Rand is trading at R15.33 to the Dollar (R14.67), R20.44 to the Pound (R19.03) and R18.36 to the Euro (R16.24). Commodities are trading with gold at $1,804.05 per fine ounce ($1,470.07), platinum at $987.70 ($900.25) and Brent crude oil at $47.48 ($60.96).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig, Bev Young, Fred Golombick, Graeme Sunny Hill and Jenna Coetzee.

OUR heartiest congratulations and good wishes for continued happiness to the following couples celebrating their wedding anniversaries in the week ahead, especially Neville and Tilly Handley, Chris and Irene Snyman, Trevor and Melinda Linforth, Gerry and Wanda Loxton, Russell and Kerry Bartlett, Clayton and Kim Lloyd, Keith and Sherle Hackart, Brandon and Alexa Calitz, Andrew and Carlyn Smith.

THOUGHT for the week: “If you want a limitless, abundant, loving life, make sure that all that your beliefs are limitless, abundant, compassionate and loving.”

BEST regards as always,
The Team

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