Mrs Ball’s Chutney

A slice of humour seasoned with Mrs Ball’s Chutney

Barrie Thomson a raconteur from Jeffreys Bay entertained a group of Prime Timers at St Francis Links last Friday to a most enjoyable hour discussing both the myths and the known facts about a South African table condiment, Mrs Balls Chutney. From shipwrecks off East London to the original Mr Ball’s Chutney factory in Cape Town it seems uncertain as to exactly where the chutney was first created but it seems most likely, according to Barrie, that it definitely has its roots in the Eastern Cape.

Barrie certainly made what could have been a somewhat boring presentation not only extremely interesting but also rather humorous and had the audience chuckling away at both his quips and his graphic cartoons. Barrie apparently creates cartoons and crossword puzzles for People magazine.

Without going into the detail of Mr Ball’s creation if you have opportunity to listen to Barrie talk on the subject it really is worth listening to him. The amount of research he has put together to say nothing of photographs of the young Mrs Ball and her family is quite astounding considering the subject matter does not seem that interesting until you actually listen to Barrie tell the tale.

The talk was followed by lunch provided by Chef Jono at St Francis Links. Chef Jono gave diners a choice of Chicken or Fish and I ordered the fish and must complement the chef for it was one of the tastiest and well prepared fish dishes I have tasted in St Francis in a long time.

A last word on Mrs Ball’s – Although traditionally sold in glass bottles the manufacturers are now bottling it in plastic bottles. This truly I unacceptable and they should rethink their packaging as should every other supplier who supplies product in plastic bottle rather than glass. Plastic is killing our planet

Prime Timers is a club started and co-ordinated by Paulene Hardy who organises monthly lunches, events and travels around the Eastern Cape. Their next event (for September) is an outing to Addo Elephant Park. Should you with to find out more or join Prime Timers give Paulene a call on 084 789 7801 or e-Mail her on or visit the Prime Timers Facebook page

Prime Timers lunch at St Francis Links

Prime Timers lunch at St Francis Links

Prime Timers lunch at St Francis Links

Stormy St Francis

Such a topsy turvy week of weather ranging from the most beautiful spring day on Sunday to the frightening storm weather complete with heavy hail and gale force windson Tuesday with the week ending off with storm surf that seems to have caused damage to the recent improvements made to the parking and access at Ann Avenue.

Ann Avenue parking area

Cape St Francis

Seals parking area with the sea right up to the pathway

Wildside – Cape St Francis

Concern over children’s creche in residential zone

Concern over children’s creche in residential zone

An open letter from local residents Neil & Les Brent regarding a proposed childrens creche off Lyme Road.  How do you feel about a children’s creche in a residential area?

Open letter to all St Francis Bay Residents

A notice has appeared in the Kouga Express newspaper of the 3 August 2017 re the APPLICATION FOR  DEPARTURE FROM THE ZONING SCHEME TO OPERATE A CRECHE ON ERF 455 SEA VISTA ( 69 LYME ROAD NORTH)

 As per Government regulations, this area is registered Single Residential Zone 1.,  Land Use Planning Ordinance provides for single-family houses.  The regulations further state –  Limited employment and additional opportunities are possible as primary or consent uses, provided that the impacts of such do not aversely effect the surrounding residential environment.

We, as the closest and most immediately impacted by the proposed crèche, for 35 children from 08.00 to 17.00, 5 days per week, object vehemently to the application.  The outdoor play area directly abuts our property and according to the planned programme for the children, 4 hours per day are allowed for this activity.

Furthermore, our investment in St Francis will devalue.  We moved here 28 years ago to enjoy a quiet environment  – not to be uniquely impacted by the noise of 35 children playing 4m from our study and bedroom .

The applicant is not the homeowner (lives in Cape St Francis), is renting the property and not residing on the premises.  I am disappointed and annoyed with the registered owner of erf 455, who has failed to recognise our concerns and rights, for the sake of income.

The applicant has ignored the change this will have on the character and essence of St Francis Bay. It will set a precedent in St Francis and open the door to “anything goes – free for all”. 

The proposed crèche is situated in a particularly dangerous position.  The applicant has not done a formal study to address the serious and dangerous traffic issues already existing.  The reality of 35 additional cars driving this section of road at peak traffic times, is not conducive to dropping off and collecting children.

A further safety issue is that of wayward golf balls.  Living on the perimeter of a golf course one accepts that this WILL happen.  Any injury / death of a child will have major repercussions and be bad publicity for the golf course and St Francis Bay.  This is a serious problem and it is surprising the golf club committee have given their consent without consulting with their members.

The applicant states in her application that “there is a dire need for infant and after care” in the area.  It should be noted that there is already a crèche  associated with St Francis College (situated near the municipal offices) and Talhado, with all the necessary requirements in place AND NEITHER OF THESE ARE NOT RUNNING AT FULL CAPACITY

Neil and Les Brent 042 2940176.   71 Lyme Road North, erf 1350 sea vista

How do you feel about a children’s creche in a residential area?

Walking with Bushmen

An opportunity to meet not only genuine Bushmen

An opportunity for discerning guests to meet with genuine Bushmen on a four-day adventure in the Kalahari Desert with the masters of survival – Africa’s original ‘children of nature’.

The Kalahari Bushmen, descendants of an ancient and wise lineage, will demonstrate their exceptional bush skills, interact with your group and teach you about the food, medicines and mysteries of the bushveld.

The Get Real Africa team has identified a group of Bushmen who not only have maintained their amazing bush skills, but have retained aspects of the “old culture” – a fascinating, educational lifestyle that must be seen to be believed.

This clan wishes to continue with their traditional lifestyle and to generate an income through guiding. Just as important is the opportunity provided for the Bushmen to preserve their skills and cultural heritage.

Three days spent walking in the wild will afford guests the experience of a lifetime as they observe Bushmen displaying their tracking, hunting and trapping skills. The collection of plants, berries, tubers and insects for food, medicine and poison will also be demonstrated, together with fire-making and much more.

This clan has been specially selected because of its exceptional ability, and will, to interact with guests; the presence of a member whose stories are also available in book form; and an elder regionally recognised for his exceptional spiritual powers

For many, the revelation will be more about the human values and qualities upon which the Bushmen culture is built.

Guests will walk where many of Africa’s wild animals still walk, including antelope, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, many smaller species and some of the larger cats. Bird life is prolific, particularly around water holes. What you don’t see leaves spoor and scat, which the Bushmen will interpret for you

During the months of August and September Get Real Africa is offering packages that make meeting these incredible ‘children of nature’ at Rand friendly prices.

The offer presently available is designed to provide like-minded South African’s with an opportunity to benefit from this unique experience at a more affordable price. Unfortunately the window of opportunity is rather limited for a number of reasons.

So if you are a lover of the natural world and wish to spend time being guided by the masters of this world, this is your opportunity. Beyond this, if you wish to interact with humans who exhibit connectedness, ie with nature, their inner selves and community, and the happiness this provides, this might be the only chance you ever get.

For more information please contact Clive Horlock by e-Mail on or visit the Get Real Africa website

Cape flora is everywhere in retreat

How no-man’s-land is now everyone’s problem: the renowned Cape flora is everywhere in retreat as runaway pine invasions.

The renowned Cape flora is everywhere in retreat as runaway pine invasions transform the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains
by Richard Cowling, Brian van Wilgen, Tineke Kraaij and Jonathan Britton..

The attached article (PDF) submitted by Shirley Cowling, was written way back in 2009. An interesing read.

Download PDF – Pine invasion in Garden Route mountains

Original article


Lessons to be learnt

Lessons to be learnt from recent events

Waking at 3:00 yesterday morning and seeing the news of the huge fire in London’s Grenfell tower block seemed almost surreal. Visions of the horror of 9/11 were immediately brought to mind and the scenes on TV were as if there was a rescreening of the movie Towering Inferno.

Watching as the fire engulfed the tower one could only hope and pray that those on the upper floors of the 24-story building were able to escape the inferno. As of this morning the death toll was only being reported as 12 but with many more people as yet still unaccounted for, one can only imagine this figure will rise significantly as firemen access the upper floors which are still burning this morning.

Those who witnessed the 9/11 twin towers disasters on TV will undoubtedly remember scenes of people jumping from the towers and facing certain death rather than be consumed by fire. Although similar scenes were not seen on TV footage yesterday, similar scenes were reported by bystanders. One of the most amazing reports was of a mother dropping a child from the ninth or tenth floor being caught by a man on the ground below. Miracles do happen in times of disaster.

But out of disaster comes human spirit and kindness which has been so visibly displayed in all of the fire disasters that have headlined our news in the past seven days. In each and every one of these catastrophic events it has been not only the bravery of the firmen and women fighting the blazes but also the generosity and caring of the surrounding communities that possibly deserves mention. Although not directly affected our own community came together to help whether it for food, water and medical equipment and supplies for the firefighters or food, clothing, bedding for those most affected by the fires including animals. As with our community so it was in London where it was reported that aid was being turned away so generous were the donations received within hours of the disaster.

With the Garden Route, Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay still so fresh in our minds another fire, even one so far from our own shores, is a grim reminder of the speed at which fire devours all before it, sparing nothing and impossible to arrest. It therefore bears time to reflect and to ask the question, how prepared are YOU should fire strike close to home, YOUR HOME?

Fire Extinguishers

  • Do you have fire extinguishers at home? An all-purpose extinguisher (one that combats both grease and electrical fires) should always be kept in the kitchen. You should also keep one in the garage and anywhere else where something combustible could start a fire.
  • If you do have fire extinguishers, and you should, when did you last check the expiration date on the fire extinguishers?
  • With winter upon us and if you have a gas heater, have you had it serviced before the onset of the cold? If not you should do so immediately. Bob Miekle offers a gas heater service facility so make sure you call him today to service yours.
  • Precaution should be taken with any heating device and here are some suggestions you should pay attention to even if they seem like common sense.
    • Have a one-meter pet and kid-free zone around all heating devices.
    • Never leave any heating devices unattended.
    • Make sure fireplaces have screens to prevent sparks setting the house on fire.
    • When burning any heater except an electrical one, make sure there is good ventilation in the room.
    • Never leave heaters on when you go out.
    • Never put anything on top of a heater – even when it is switched off.
    • Make sure there is nothing that can catch fire within a meter of the heating device.
    • Check electrical wiring on heaters and don’t use extension cords, multi-plugs or any device with frayed wiring.
  • Ensure the bush around your home is clear and does not present a fire risk
  • If a neighbouring plot is overgrown insist that the owner clears the overgrowth or report it to the municipality so that they can have it cleared.
  • Keep all your important documents in an easily accessible place where should a threat arise, such documents / belongings can be quickly recovered if you have to evacuate your home.

There is little doubt that the experiences of the past week, both in South Africa and abroad, will be the subject of a debriefing by the St Francis Disaster Volunteer Group (SFDVG). Certainly we are fortunate not to have multi-story buildings in St Francis but we do have other possible challenges that need to be identified and planned for. If you haven’t yet joined the official dsaster management Facebook portal you do so for in the event of a local disaster it will be where accurate information will be posted to keep the community up to date with information.


Why is it not a law in South Africa that every home /  building is not required to have fire detection equipment installed? Surely it should be an absolute requirement as important as, if not more so than an electrical certificate and certainly more so than a borer beetle certificate.