The Stanford Spectator Issue 18

Page 1


people, news & what sets us apart A PUBLICATION FOR STANFORD & SURROUNDS




STANFORD SQUARE MARKET Meet Ruth and find out more about her beautiful baskets (PAGE 8)


A system that can strengthen our local economy (PAGE 7)


A final update on our beloved Bob (PAGE 15) Above: A big thank you to Checkers for gifting Stanford Village a stunning light installation in time for the festive season! (PAGE 3)





hat a year 2023 has been! To begin with, the year didn’t exactly start off the way we’d hoped. First it was the rather rude awakening of loadshedding, which got the year off to a dim start and then it was the quietness, which can often be expected post festive season when visitors and tourists return home after their holidays. Fortunately, as we approached the end of the first quarter, things started to pick up again. Some highlights for our village, region and country as a whole in 2023 include the ABSA Cape Epic Cycle Challenge, which took place in March, where Stanford received good media coverage and visitors. Then it was South African plant-breeding duo, Andy de Wet and Quinton Bean of De Wet Plant Breeders from Hartebeespoort who claimed international recognition for their plant, the

Above: Madré (centre) and Morné Bester of Madré Restaurant in Stanford, standing with Simone and Marcelino Henckert (left), and Petro von Molte (far right).


Agapanthus Black Jack, and won ‘plant of the year’ at the annual Chelsea Flower Show in the UK. The first Southern Right whale made an early appearance in May, much to the delight of our whale lovers and enthusiasts, followed by the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup in October. The biggest highlight and the cherry on top for Stanford Village, however, has got to be the festive lights installation courtesy of Checkers and its ‘Xtra Joy’ campaign (pg 3), gifted to Stanford after what has also been a very challenging and difficult year. Christmas came early for some of our more underprivileged children who were blessed with presents from The Santa Shoebox Project (pg 6). Looking to start something new in 2024? Consider taking up growing your own spices (pg 9), or find out how you can support local businesses in the article on ‘hyper-localisation’ (pg 17). After following Bob’s adventure in the sea, we come to the end of a chapter (pg 15). All this and more… A big thank you to all our readers, advertisers and contributors for supporting us throughout 2023. We hope you enjoy this last issue for the year and until we meet again in 2024, may you continue to delight in the twinkling lights that adorn our streets and wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!



ongratulations to Madré Bester for being awarded a star at the prestigious 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards listing held on 19 November at the Grand West Casino in Cape Town. There were over 800 guests gathered at the ceremony in appreciation of culinary excellence. Fifty-one restaurants received 1, 2 or 3 stars and while this wasn’t her first time being included on the Eat Out Listings, it was the first time her eatery, Madré Restaurant, situated in Stanford, won a star. Overstrand Municipality Mayco member for Investment, Infrastructure and Tourism, Clinton Lerm, applauded Madré for her continued efforts to raise the bar in her pursuit of originality and quality. Madré joins three other Overberg restaurants who also received a 1-star rating. Well done, Madré, you have done Stanford proud!

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CONTACT US MELISSA MC ALPINE Editor 078 324 5692 MARIKE GROOT Artwork | Layout | Design Ad bookings CONTRIBUTORS FOR THIS ISSUE Afsana Khan Cavy Kelley Christine Farrington Christine Stevens

Liz Hedley-Smith Marlene Truter Martin Ranger Vanessa Tedder

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T Above: Kevin and Johnny. More about John on page 20.


his publication is dedicated to my son, Kevin, who just completed his Matric. One down, one to go!




Above: Stanford Village all lit up until 7 January all thanks to the Checkers ‘Xtra Joy’ campaign.

By: Melissa Mc Alpine


s part of its ‘Xtra Joy’ Christmas campaign, Checkers has gifted Stanford Village a spectacular festive light installation to promote tourism and bring some additional joy to a community still recovering from recent floods. As twilight descends, the village comes alive in a dazzling display of festive lights that adorn the main road, Queen Victoria Street. Each twinkle seems to tell a story, weaving a tapestry of shared joy and festive cheer for residents and visitors alike. Getting this project off the ground was no easy feat. Checkers consulted with Stanford’s heritage association, businesses along the main street and the local municipality to ensure a smooth-sailing installation with as little interference as possible. The retailer collaborated with local artists from the Overberg to create beautiful window displays showcasing their talents. Organisers used light and art to enhance and accentuate the beautiful character and

architecture of the village, employing locals to assist with the set up and maintenance of the installation. Around 7km of LED lights and 70 000 bulbs were used along the main street to create a visual display. The light installation, which is almost entirely solar powered, stretches the length of the main street and features stunning illuminations adorning trees and store fronts. Scattered throughout are magnificent life-sized wire and papier-mâché sculptures of African animals, such as Springbok, Giraffe and Kudu, created by well-known international artist, Michael Methven. At night, these life-size animal sculptures seem to come alive as the colourful lights bring out their features. An enormous gift, wrapped in a giant bow, creates a photobooth for people to pose in front of it. Walking along Queen Victoria Street at night certainly brings one a sense of joy and renewed hope. Seeing the happy and excited faces of the children, especially, as they take in the wonderment of the lights is

heart-warmingly special. “After some really tough years for this area, which has faced floods, road closures and fires, these lights have brought new energy,” said Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie. “I am calling on the community to take advantage of this opportunity. Grab the chance that the new interest brings, do not waste it. Let it be a spark that ignites new business in Stanford.” Besides creating an experience to lift spirits and bring renewed hope, the village is hoping that the festive attraction will enhance tourism efforts by drawing additional visitors to the guest houses, restaurants, cafés and shops around the village. Christmas in Stanford is going to be extra special this year. The lights will sparkle until the first week of January 2024, offering ample opportunity to bring family and friends to delight in the festive cheer. A huge thank you to everyone involved with every aspect of this fantastic initiative.


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UPCOMING EVENTS DECEMBER: 5 Dutch-themed Evening (6 – 8pm) Union Grocery & Eatery R225 for a set menu Booking: Ineke 072 078 0564 14 Celebrating the Victories of 2023 (7pm) La Cantina Mexican Street Food & Bar, Stanford With DJ James | Come dressed in green & gold Free entry | Details: Lyn Krebser 15 Stanford Starry Nights – Sunset Market (5 – 9pm) Stanford Village Green 23 Jeremy Loops Concert (6pm) Stanford Hills Estate (gates open at 2.30pm) Adults: R320 | Kids 5 to 13: R265 | Kids Under 5: Free Tickets: 28 Sunset Concert with Louise Carver & Ard Matthews (5pm) Stanford Hills Estate (gates open at 2.30pm) Adults: R250 | Kids Under 12: R195 Tickets: Details: 29 Matthew Mole (6pm) Stanford Hills Estate (gates open at 3pm) Adults: R280 | Kids Under 10: R150 | Kids Under 4: Free Tickets: Details: 31 New Years Party with DJ Mike (All Evening) La Cantina Mexican Street Food & Bar R50 Cover Charge SPECIAL DAYS IN DECEMBER: 1 – World AIDS Day 2 - World Computer Literacy Day / World Pear Day 3 - International Day of Persons Living with Disabilities 4 – International Cheetah Day / Wildlife Conservation Day 5 – World Soil Day / World Volunteer Day 11 – International Mountain Day 14 – International Monkey Day 15 – International Tea Day 16 – Day of Reconciliation 25 – Christmas Day 26 – Day of Goodwill 27 – Public Holiday 31 – New Year’s Eve CHRISTMAS MARKETS: 2 – Hermanus High School Christmas Market (8am) 6 – Gansbaai Christmas Market (10am) Pretorius Hall 15 – Stanford Starry Nights (Sunset Market) 17 – Rivergate Farm Christmas Market (10am)

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Above: Happy students from Eduden showing their appreciation for the natural fertiliser kindly donated by ReStore. By: Marlene Truter


duden Studio, nestled in the heart of Stanford village, caters to a diverse group of learners from Grade R to Grade 7, fostering an environment that values both education and sustainability. The school is currently undertaking a project to refurbish its garden. Recognising the importance of supporting local communities, ReStore Natural Fertiliser, also based in Stanford, contributed to Eduden Studio’s garden refurbishment project by donating some its premium fertiliser to the school. Crafted

from biochar, which is derived from alien trees in the Overberg, and combined with free-range chicken litter, this eco-friendly and all-natural fertiliser is perfect for schools and sports fields. Eduden’s principal, Janine Adendorff, expressed her gratitude, stating, “We are immensely grateful to ReStore Natural Fertiliser for their generous donation to our garden project. This support not only enriches the soil but also enriches the educational experience of our students. It’s heartening to see local businesses like ReStore invest in the future of our community through sustainable initiatives.”

The donation from ReStore will play a vital role in enriching the soil, ensuring the success of Eduden Studio’s garden refurbishment project. “ReStore Natural Fertiliser is thrilled to be part of Eduden Studio’s initiative to enhance their school garden. We believe that investing in education and sustainable practices at the grassroots level is crucial for building a healthier and more resilient future,” said Kobus Stoop, CEO of ReStore. The school looks forward to the positive impact on both the environment and the educational experience of the students.


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SHARING THE LOVE By: Melissa Mc Alpine


he festive season represents the spirit of giving, and there is no greater joy than extending a helping hand to underprivileged children during this time of celebration. Often, these children are recipients of hand-me-down, second-hand items. Christmas came early for a group of children from a holiday program run by local community youth worker, Anchelle Damon. The children were handed gift boxes courtesy of the Santa Shoebox Project, an organisation that receives essential items and treats for children whose names, ages and genders are known. The minimum 8 required items are a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a wash cloth, sweets, a toy, school supplies and an outfit of clothing – all new, unused and age-appropriate. The act of giving to underprivileged children is not just about material gifts; it's also about gifting hope, dreams, and the assurance that they are not forgotten. The true magic lies in the collective effort to brighten the lives of these children, fostering a sense of belonging and letting them know that the world cares. Share the Love is about empowering that child. This festive season, let us embrace the joy of giving and make a difference to those who need it most. The children, all excited to be receiving a box of their own, couldn’t wait to discover what was inside their Christmas box. “I want to thank each child for showing up. These kids were part of the annual holiday program, and this was my way to show them that I appreciate them, I love them, and I wish each of them an amazing festive season,” said Anchelle afterwards. A big ‘thank you’ to the Santa Shoebox project for the wonderful gifts well received. The look of pure joy on the children’s faces as they received their very own Christmas gift was heartwarming. As we come together to share this special time with our own families, may we also consider those who may not have the same privileges as we do. About Santa Shoebox Project: The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 with a humble 180 shoeboxes. In 17 years, it has grown with the number of Santa Shoeboxes donated reaching a total of 1 152 587. The project is supported by an extensive network of volunteers across South Africa and Namibia – kind-hearted people who give freely of their time, energy and expertise without remuneration. It also relies on the generous backing of various corporate sponsors pledging monetary or pro bono support. Many companies, involving their staff members, pledge Santa Shoeboxes as part of their Corporate Social Investment programmes.



fter months of hard work Stanford SAPS and the CPF are happy to announce the Victim Friendly Room’s door is open and ready to provide much needed support and counselling to those affected by gender violence and abuse in our community. The launch coincides with the countrywide campaign of 16 Days of activism of No Violence Against Women and Children which kicked off on Saturday 25 November. You would have noticed the new building going down Longmarket Street on the premises of the police station, this is where you will find the Victim Friendly Room. It offers privacy and security and a warm and safe space for those in need. Thousands of women across the country face the daily danger of abuse, and many will end up dying at the hands of their partners or men unknown to them. Here In Stanford, it is a grim reality we know all too well having lost one of our own young mothers earlier this year. Yonela Sodam was bludgeoned to death by her boyfriend. Thanks to the CPF and the community, we were able to petition the courts to deny the accused bail. Speaking at the launch of the Victim Friendly Room in Stanford, Captain Davids and CPF Chair, Kevin Husk, encouraged the community to never look away when confronted with situations of domestic abuse. BADISA’S Anchelle Damon shared her personal and powerful story of survival to the more than 30 people gathered for the opening as a way of encouraging others to break the silence and the stigma. The CPF and SAPS would like to give special thanks to all those who contributed to getting the Victim Friendly Room up and running. If you or someone you know may be trapped in an abusive relationship, please reach out.

Left: Christmas came early for some children courtesy of the Santa Shoebox Project. Images: Melissa Mc Alpine Above: The new ‘Victim Friendly Room’ at Stanford Police Station. Image: Vanessa Tedder





023 has been a challenging year for us. Unemployment is still very high while food prices continue to skyrocket. This leaves the poor community, who are already hard-pressed to make ends meet, in an extremely vulnerable position. At a cost of R250 each, hampers of basic food items and a few treats will be packed and distributed in Stanford on 21st December. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated by around 280 households, particularly the elderly, sick and desperately poor families who are even worse off at year end when our soup kitchen volunteers take a well-deserved break. Please help us make it special for them. Donations can be made into the following account: The Rotary Club of Stanford FNB Hermanus Branch Code: 25 06 55 Account Number: 623 559 796 95 Use ‘Hampers’ as your reference and also leave your name. As a registered PBO we are able to issue tax certificates. Cash can also be left at the Tourism office, in an envelope clearly marked ‘Rotary Hampers’. Please remember to leave your name and email address. The hampers will be distributed to those families who are in genuine need in Stanford. Your kindness and support will be greatly appreciated and go a long way in helping a poor family enjoy their Christmas, however humble it may be. There is no greater gift than seeing a smile of gratitude on the face of a desperately poor child or elderly person, and we get plenty of those. Feel free to pass this appeal on to others in your circle of associates, family and friends.



terilising cats and dogs is an important part of responsible pet ownership, promoting the overall health and wellbeing of individual animals while at the same time addressing issues of overpopulation in the community. This year, Stanford Animal Welfare Society (SAWS) has sterilised a grand total of 322 dogs and cats. This could not have been possible without ongoing support and kind donations received from people. Every donation, whether large or small, plays a vital role in advancing SAWS mission to provide care, shelter, and advocacy for all animals in need here in Stanford.




o say that I was intrigued by the headline 'Fleetwood Mac My Part in their Success', announcing Martin Ranger's article in the November issue of the Stanford Spectator in the LAST WORD column, would be a gross understatement! As I started to read it, I was reminded of my own teenage years and young-adult life, in and around London in the 1960s, becoming aware of the coincidental lifestyle similarities we enjoyed. To begin with, we share the same first name, Martin; and our surnames are both six-letters, beginning with the letters RA. Our dates of birth are less than a year apart, being born in southern England near London, in the later 1940s. But to get back to, or to move ahead to, about nine or 10 months after Martin's 21st at the George pub in Slough, I was living in Marylebone in Central London, sharing a flat for a short while with two guys who'd been in the band ‘The Bow Street Runners’, which won a major TV award for best amateur pop band (Ready, Steady, Win) in 1965... lead singer John Dominic, and

drummer... MICK FLEETWOOD! And I had my 21st at that time and, like Martin, the revellers ended up at a club near Berkeley Square called The Revolution... so much the worse for wear, that I don't even remember the name of the band playing! I should at least have asked Mick and John to sing Happy Birthday! Many years later, having emigrated to Cape Town; and in 1990 I moved to a house in Hout Bay's Bokkemanskloof Estate. Having emigrated to Cape Town soon after, in 1990 I moved to a house in Hout Bay's Bokkemanskloof Estate. And guess who lived down the road? Martin Ranger! In itself, that's not a huge coincidence. But when my wife Lindy and I sold in Bokkemanskloof and moved out of town to Stanford, guess who was already in residence, next-doorbut-one from us? Yes, you guessed it... Martin and Annie Ranger! Now that's what I call a coincidence! Martin Rattle


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BASKETS: NATURE’S GIFT By: Melissa Mc Alpine


he Stanford Square Market, held every Saturday from 9am until 2pm, is a thriving network of local artisans, farmers, craftsmen, and small business owners all showcasing and selling their wares. The vibrant tapestry of cultures represented at this market is a testament to the inclusive spirit of the community. One such merchant is Ruth Botha, a friendly and bubbly Malawian lady who sells beautiful handcrafted natural grass baskets, hats, floor mats, picnic baskets and more. Ruth started selling her wares at the Saturday Square Market at the beginning of the year and has become a regular feature of the market. Her baskets are produced by the wonderful people of Malawi, often women, who use techniques passed down through generations, using locally sourced natural materials such dried palm leaves. Each basket is unique and reflects the weaver's creativity and cultural heritage. Strong and durable, these baskets are perfect for storing items such as firewood, beach towels, toys, blankets, and much more. One could even line them with plastic and use them as plant holders. As the baskets are made by hand, no two baskets are alike. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these baskets play a vital role in sustaining livelihoods, empowering artisans, and preserving a centuries-old craft. Aside from the baskets, Ruth also sells gorgeous fabrics from Malawi. Both basket and fabrics make wonderful gifts, so if you’re still looking for a gift that will keep on giving, consider stopping at Ruth’s stall when next you’re at the Saturday Square Market in Stanford.

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Left: Ruth and her display of beautiful baskets on sale at the Stanford Square Market held every Saturday morning in Stanford.




From left to right: The rare bloom found on the turmeric plant; ginger; and turmeric, also known as Indian saffron. By: Christine Stevens


en or so years ago I started to experiment with growing various spices. Most spices available in the shops were well past their best and most are imported from distant shores. I planted horseradish, chilli, cumin, ginger and turmeric and have not stopped growing these since. This year, I’m experimenting with Cardamon which will take a while so wish me luck. Surprisingly, I discovered spices grow well here in the Cape; conditions are crucial, so is timing. Chillis are easy to grow during summer and are commonplace in most vegetable gardens, especially as there is a huge variety of seed available locally now. Horseradish grows like a weed, and once planted you will never get rid of it. So, find a corner in your garden where it can take over. It is easy to propagate from root cuttings; find a plant and simply snip off a piece of the pungent root, I usually start it off in a pot, it likes to be kept moist. The plants will die right back during winter, but don’t be alarmed as they will send up new shoots in spring. To harvest simply dig down with a spade and chop off a piece of the root, no need to dig up the whole plant. But wait for one season before you harvest if you want a nice chunky piece of horseradish. The most exciting moment was when I discovered just how easy it is to grow ginger

and turmeric. Both like warm moist conditions, they grow very quickly under cover in a tunnel but will also thrive outside between November and May or June. Buy a piece of ginger or turmeric in the shop, look for pieces with lighter shoots visible under the skin, they will grow more quickly, but this is not essential. What is essential is to soak the pieces of spice in water for twenty-four hours before planting, then discard the water. Ginger and turmeric purchased from shops and supermarkets is imported. To stop it shooting and starting to grow while being transported long distances, it is soaked in a growth inhibitor. Once soaked, plant a piece of tuber (you can break off pieces, 5cm long is a good size to plant, with a knuckle on the topside - this is one of the bumps on the tuber). Plant into compost mixed with vermiculite. I use two thirds compost to one third vermiculite. Cover with a cm of your potting mix and leave the pots in a warm dark place, a garage or shed are ideal. October to December are ideal planting times. Within a week or two you should start to see a shoot pushing through the soil. If the weather is cooler this can take up to four weeks; don’t despair, just keep checking. And keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Once you see a shoot bring the pots outside, to a warm spot, and remember to water regularly. Once the plants have their first leaves you

must either transplant into larger pots or plant directly into the soil. Always plant in a sunny spot, they don’t like shade. I use a large old tin bath as a spice container, but a raised bed also works well. Remember these are large plants and they will need a bit of space, or a large pot. I mean large: both turmeric and ginger can grow over a meter tall. Harvest your tubers before the cold winter weather sets in, the plants start to die back in May or June. Dig them up carefully and rinse in a bucket of water. I always set aside some bits of tuber for replanting the next year. You can also leave them in the pot or garden over winter: cover them with a mulch; they will die right back but will shoot up again in the early summer. Tubers are always bigger in their second year. If the weather is really warm look out for flowers around March or April on the turmeric, they are beautiful. Both turmeric and ginger dry really well. I shave mine into small pieces and dry in a low over set at 50 degrees. Once completely dried, keep in a clean jar and it will store for up to a year. I am still making tea from my last crop harvested in May. For extra added value, if you shred the leaves when you harvest your crop into a basic sugar syrup and leave to soak for a day, you will end up with a delightful spice scented syrup to bottle and use in the kitchen. Of all the crops I grow, I think these are the most rewarding both financially and for flavour and for satisfaction: now is the perfect time to plant.


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s the holiday season ushers in a wave of joy and celebration and our village transforms into a festive wonderland, it’s important that we prioritise safety to ensure that the season remains merry and bright for everyone. Twinkling Lights and Electrical Safety: The enchanting glow of holiday lights illuminates our streets, but safety must be a top priority. Check for frayed wires and avoid overloading electrical outlets. Unplug decorations when not in use and consider using LED lights for their energy efficiency and cool temperature. Fire Safety: Ensure braais and fires are well-maintained and safely operated. Keep a watchful eye on festive candles, and consider flameless LED alternatives to reduce fire risks, especially in homes where there are children and pets. Secure Outdoor Decorations: Cape weather can get very windy and pose a threat to outdoor decorations. Anchor inflatables and lightweight decorations securely to prevent them from becoming airborne. This not only protects your decorations but also ensures the safety of passersby. Christmas Tree Care: The centrepiece of holiday décor, the Christmas tree, requires special attention, too. If you have a natural tree, be sure to keep it well hydrated to prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Anchor the tree securely to prevent it from tipping over, especially in homes with curious pets or small children. Home Security: With residents attending festive events, look out for one another’s homes, report any suspicious activity, and ensure that holiday travels are communicated to trusted neighbours for added security. Responsible Celebrations: A reminder to drink responsibly over the festive season, and arrange for a designated driver as needed. If you’re a party, ensure guests have safe transportation options available to them. In Case of an Emergency: Prepare for unexpected situations by ensuring that emergency contact information is readily available and keep a well-stocked and updated first aid kit at home. Package Delivery: The season often sees an increase in package deliveries. Remember to schedule deliveries for a time when you are home.

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Pet Safety: Our furry friends are part of the village family. Keep chocolates and sweets out of reach, secure decorations that may be tempting for pets, be mindful of loud noises during celebrations, and ensure your pet has access to fresh water at all times.


By embracing these tips and fostering a sense of communal responsibility, we ensure that the magic of the holidays is enjoyed by all, making our village a beacon of festive joy and safety. Happy holidays!

LIZZIE GETS LOCAL IN THE KITCHEN Looking for recipe ideas over the festive season? All ingredients for the following recipe can be sourced locally.

11 This is the first of a new, monthly recipe. Each recipe will feature and promote local ingredients in season.


Pepper, nutmeg and paprika to taste Bryan Robertson’s plait bread for serving

Fondues are great at Christmas as well as fun and sociable with family and friends. They can be vegetarian-friendly too. This Swissstyled cheese fondue is a particular favourite of mine that I have used for over 40 years. All the ingredients can be readily sourced from the Stanford Saturday Market and the Klein River Cheese shop situated within the Birkenhead Brewery at Walker Bay Estate.

Method: Rub the inside of the fondue pot with a cut clove of garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice. Warm carefully. Gradually add the cheese, stirring in a figure of eight motion all the time, until all the cheese is melted. Don’t add the cheese too quickly or you’ll end up with a clump of cheese that won’t mix with the wine. When bubbling, mix the cornflour seperately with a little wine (or brandy, optional). Add this to the wine/ cheese mix and allow two-three minutes to thicken. Season to taste and serve with 1cm cubes of bread (Bryan says it’s best to leave the a few days so it’s not as fresh as when bought). Yummy! Enjoy.

Ingredients: (Serves 4 people) 1 Cape Food Market (aka Stephen & Nina) garlic clove 300 ml Sauvignon Blanc wine from Walker Bay Estate 1 teaspoon lemon juice 275g Klein River Gruberg Cheese, grated 275g Klein River Raclette Cheese, grated 1 tablespoon cornflour 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Top Tip: Use paraffin for your fondue burner. Light 15-20 minutes before use as this will stabilise the flame.



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World Soil Day is a special day dedicated to raising awareness around the important role soil plays in our lives and the health of our planet. While it might seem like humble ground beneath our feet, soil impacts everything – from food production to climate change. Soil is like the Earth’s very own magic carpet, quietly working beneath our feet to support life in countless ways. It’s not just dirt; it’s a bustling community of tiny living things, like worms, insects, and microorganisms, all working together to create a home for plants. Just as we need a cosy bed to sleep in and good food to eat, plants rely on soil to grow strong and healthy. Soil provides essential nutrients and a sturdy foundation for plants to anchor their roots. It also acts like a sponge, soaking up water and keeping it ready for plants to drink whenever they get thirsty. Imagine a world without soil – no flowers, no trees, and no yummy fruits or veggies! So, whether you’re playing in the garden or exploring a park, remember to thank the soil for the incredible job it does in helping everything around us grow and thrive. At the end of the day, the future of our planet is rooted in the health of its soil. Why did the earthworm go to school? Because it wanted to improve its “compost-ure”!

What do you call an earthworm who likes to play with blocks? A soil-dier!

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This page is sponsored by Letsolo Water and Environmental Services





By: Melissa Mc Alpine


ver since Liz Clarke’s first article in issue 06, 18 November 2022 of the Stanford Spectator about Bob the green turtle, I’ve been intrigued about her story and have been following her journey ever since. Our dear Bob has been on quite an adventure since her release into the ocean. She has visited hammerhead sharks in Aliwal Shoal, witnessed the beginning of the sardine run in the Eastern Cape, and even got to check in on some whales in Hermanus. To think that all of these adventures took place in the first few weeks of Bob's release back into the ocean! Six weeks into her sea adventure and Bob’s speed changed slightly when she found herself in surface currents off the South Atlantic Ocean. While it was quite a rollercoaster ride for her navigating the currents, Bob continued to go with the flow. Every so often I would see social media updates on Bob’s progress from the Two Oceans Aquarium and was amazed by the distance she had travelled since her release. At one point while cruising around just off the Cape Point coast, Bob was going round and round in circles in water that was around 19⁰C. According to Talitha Noble, Conservation Manager at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Bob was conserving energy and just let the currents guide her along, which is why she seemed to be going a bit loopy! On the morning of 3 October, Bob’s satellite tag stopped transmitting, as all satellite tags eventually do. Bob’s tag must have fallen off her shell. Green turtles like Bob are particularly tricky to tag as their shells are softer than those of other turtle species. “In our last month of tracking Bob, we saw her moving in a northerly direction along the continental shelf. Food was most likely the motivation for the gear change as Bob started swimming in a straight line towards the summer blooms of jellyfish, about 200km offshore of the Namaqua National Park,” said Talitha. Bob’s last transmission point was 300km west off the coast of Hondeklipbaai. What an opportunity it was for us to be able to track Bob for 249 days (about eight months), across 12 656 km, and through over half of South Africa’s 42 marine protected areas. While we are sad to have lost contact with Bob’s satellite tag, it’s reassuring to know that her journey is continuing. At some point in the future, Bob may very well return to the same beach where she hatched from to lay clutches of her own offspring. I for one will be over the moon to know that there will be lots of little Bob-lets out there one day.

Left to right: Bob spent eight years in rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium. On 27 January 2023, Bob was released on a quiet beach on the northern KZN coast, after being fitted with a tracking device to monitor his progress.



for your business in 2024


Marketing is often thought of as a luxury for established businesses, but the truth is that it’s a crucial component of any successful business strategy. Without a solid marketing plan, even the best products or services can go unnoticed and unsold. In today’s competitive business landscape, having a well-rounded marketing strategy is essential for success. First and foremost, marketing helps you reach your target audience. Whether you’re launching a new product, promoting a sale, or simply building brand awareness, marketing gives you the tools to connect with the people who are most likely to buy from you. By understanding your target audience and what motivates them, you can create messaging that resonates and drives results. Marketing also helps you stand out from the competition. In a crowded market, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from others, but a strong marketing strategy can help you do just that. By showcasing your unique selling points and what sets you apart, you can build a strong brand and establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Another important aspect of marketing is that it helps you measure the success of your efforts. With tools like analytics and metrics, you can see what’s working, what’s not, and adjust your strategy accordingly. This level of insight is invaluable as it enables you to make data-driven decisions that drive growth and maximise your ROI. Whether you’re a start-up or a wellestablished company, investing in marketing

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will help you reach your target audience, stand out from the competition, and measure the success of your efforts. So, if you want to grow your business and succeed in today’s competitive landscape, make sure to prioritise marketing in your business strategy. Afsana Khan is offering a 9-month business support programme to local businesses. This will help your business move forward with smart strategies that are grounded in research, marketing tips and mentorship to keep you focused and inspired. Can you see yourself benefiting from this level of support? We start in February once the busy season subsides and you can breathe again. The sessions will be organic and based on what the group feels is most needed. These are the topics that we will cover throughout the year: • Holistic business planning using future studies methodologies. • Smart website design: Creating userfriendly websites that generate bookings with a payment portal • Google rankings: How to improve your ranking • Social media: Using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn to create content that inspires your audiences to travel • Advertising: How to consider the best advertising channel for your business • Audience profiling: Techniques to understand what motivates your target audience


• Risk management: How to be prepared for the unexpected using Future Thinking practices • How to use Meta Business Suite • Discovering funding opportunities Commitment: 1 day per month (2nd Tuesday of the month) for 9 months and every 2nd month, Afsana will meet with you privately to assist you with your specific needs. Dates to diarise: 13 February 2024 12 March 2024 09 April 2024 14 May 2024 11 June 2024 09 July 2024 13 August 2024 10 September 2024 08 October 2024 Cost: R1 250 per month via Debit Order or R10 000 upfront – all prices are ex VAT and per person. Save R1 250 paying upfront and a further R500 off if you book before the end of December 2023. Ts & Cs apply. Enquire for private or online sessions. Email: or call 021 0351413 Visit to view all workshops available.





Above from left to right: Freshly picked radishes, free range chickens and a bowl of blueberries, all locally produced and sourced. By: Afsana Khan


n the world of globalisation, we cannot walk into a supermarket without seeing products and veggies from all over the world. The idea of being able to buy out-ofseason products always bothered me. I say this acknowledging my hypocrisy of buying hot cross buns throughout the year and overseas asparagus in winter. The Proudly South African campaign did wonders to help promote local brands over those imported. Although we cannot yet make a massive move to zero imports (South Africa’s imports of fresh produce are valued at $294.53M), we can start small. This year, I am focusing on hyperlocalisation. This is purchasing goods (especially fresh) produced within 20km of my home. Why, you ask? Supporting a hyper-localised system helps strengthen the local economy on a micro scale. This means that money is kept and spent locally. It also helps reduce carbon emissions in the pledge to fight climate change. When I started my veggie garden, I was amazed that I could have a simple salad that cost me R25 for a seedling tray, homemade compost, and rainwater. There are no chemicals, packaging, refrigeration, or trucks. Now homesteading outside Stanford Village, I can grow and shepherd most of our food and resources (water harvesting and solar). This brought me to the realisation that if I need to buy, I need to buy from others around me. The luxury of the big city life, shopping malls and home delivery is over. In recent months, we saw the avian flu cause havoc with egg and chicken prices. This will continue for months or even years

until our local stock improves. I am so grateful to have chickens that produce eggs daily. We were completely sheltered from this steep increase in living expenses that so many others experienced. Even if you did not have chickens and lived in the village, locals were selling to other locals. I have never seen the price go higher than R70 a tray. I regard this as a privilege of hyperlocalised. Points for village life! Every Saturday, we venture to Stanford Village to hit the markets. We are greeted with an array of beautiful products. Our first stop is at Bryan’s table to buy bread, before moving hastily on to the veggie stand to buy produce that we are not yet growing, and before they sell out. There is also a must-stop at Karl’s Spice Bangalo stand, which I cannot leave without his special blend hummus. Five feet away, you can purchase locally made soap, shampoo, jewellery, room diffusers and macramé. Down the road, at Birkenhead Brewery, you can visit the Klein River Cheese shop for my favourite selection of cheeses. A growing wine industry also surrounds Stanford. The quote from Shirley Valentine that will always stick with me is: “I want to drink wine in the country where the grapes were grown.” I found this fascinating. South Africans (especially Capetonians), take this for granted. You can drink wine in the vineyard where it is grown. This is what a hyper-localised economy looks like. It is the epitome of village life sustainability. Local farmers in Stanford support each other – even in the same industry. They sell to each other and help when you need a tractor to pull a bakkie out of the mud. Agri-processing is a large and continuously

growing sector in the Overberg. The ability to buy shortfalls from neighbouring farms to make your order is remarkable. You cannot get more local than that. In business studies, you learn about competition. If it exists, I have never seen it here. In recent years, my marketing agency was determined to do international business – and we did. We wanted to bring foreign currency in to improve our local economy. I was so determined to build my international empire that I lost sight of the local and hyper-localised markets. Living in the countryside, local means something different to me. There is potential here, I see it when I drive through the dorpies in the Overberg and Garden Route. These regions get on with business, export and support their communities. Hamilton Russell Vineyards in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley has a school on the estate for children in the Valley. Their parents are usually farm workers who cannot afford additional transportation or school fees. The school is a registered ECD and NPO. Stanford Hills Estate is home to The Butterfly Centre funded by local organisations. They focus on children with learning barriers who cannot reach their full potential in a mainstream environment. Community is everything to local. Hyper-localisation, like all movements, can start with small, conscious steps. Buying from neighbours what you can, and the rest from the bigger retailers. We cannot stop climate change overnight but little steps by many may just help. Use “#HyperLocal” when consciously purchasing local products on social media. Let’s see this concept grow.


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t’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. A time of reflection for me. As the November winds blow and usher summer in, the heat and wind are testing my garden’s resilience so soon after being tested by the rain and very wet winter. The speed with which our garden has dried up over the last eight weeks is quite astounding and, for the first time I can remember, the approaching summer feels daunting to me. I recently stumbled across an article on emotional permaculture, which turned my eyes inward to a parallel universe. My inner landscape and emotional garden, and my resilience. Every day brings a new opportunity and a different way to observe and feel my way through this interesting seasonal transition that carries with it so much volatility, energy, and potential, always remembering that nature out of balance is chaotic and destructive. I am reminded to always consider what we bring into our landscape, and to be mindful that unused surplus is waste. Our goal is to recycle waste and to achieve a yield, and without a strategy on how to deal with waste we can soon be overwhelmed by stagnant or infested refuse. As the designer of my inner landscape, I must seek to understand and value the feedback of my efforts to reap a crop filled with joy and happiness. This is especially true when I feel overwhelmed and confused. Those closest to us are impacted by our inner landscape and by listening and digesting the feedback, we can

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learn how to make incremental and fruitful design adjustments that bring or restore that balance and joy. It is obvious that the seasons demand different things, but for me it is less obvious in my emotional garden. I’m not sure what season I am in right now. I know I am growing; I know there are weeds and I have learned that all weeds serve a purpose and give us the clearest understanding of how to remedy our landscape. So, to this end I will mulch with love and gratitude, and I know that this will smother out the weeds that compete for my attention. How does your garden grow? Start small. Spend time alone, take a bath or a walk in nature. Make time to reflect and meander through your inner garden. Let slow and steady become your mantra, because taking your time helps to be present and mindful and it brings clarity and direction. Remember that mistakes are tools for learning, so take note, observe without judgement (tough one), but it is important to give ourselves a break in this regard or we will never thrive. Try to meet your needs with multiple resources; this is the key to resilience and so we must diversify and spread our dependencies with a focus on relationships. Permaculture is ALL about relationships, connections and boundaries. Fix the relationship with incremental adjustments and you fix the system. Dare to redesign your landscape and create the garden of your dreams.


Above: The small dam on the Kelley family’s urban farmstead with its many ecosystems.


PADDLING INTO THE FUTURE Left: Junior canoeists in a local pool, learning how to swim as they must first be certified as water safe before being allowed to get onto a canoe.


he Stanford Canoe Club and Grootbos Foundation recently recruited ten new junior members to join the canoeing team. Before these junior members can take on the river water, they must first be certified as water safe. This involves them passing a swimming test to ensure they are competent and confident in the water. Our trained coaches used a private swimming pool in Stanford, kindly donated by local residents, to build confidence in clear water before the youngsters took on the river water. All paddlers wear life jackets every time they go out on the water. Teaching water safety is one of our most valuable sports development codes in our coastal region. Maneuvering a canoe builds self-confidence and resilience, as mastering paddling techniques and overcoming challenges on the water instills a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, the outdoor nature of canoeing encourages an appreciation for the environment, instilling a lifelong connection to nature and fostering a sense of environmental responsibility. It’s exciting to see how the Stanford Canoe Club has grown and we look forward to watching them go from strength to strength.




orking successfully in the ecotourism sector means having a keen interest around the region in which you work. For the students studying hospitality at the Green Futures College, this means The students recently embarked on a field trip to Cape Agulhas to visit the Southernmost tip of Africa, an iconic landmark for tourists and locals alike where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. The best education happens outside of the confines of the classroom. Field trips like this are so important to get students excited about their careers, learn about the area and to see what ecotourism looks like in action. Additionally, ecotourism studies often involve hands-on experiences and fieldwork, helping students foster practical skills and a connection to nature. The industry's focus on community involvement and socio-economic development ensures that students gain insights into the intersection of tourism and local communities.




For the of Stanford’s dogs! D

ogs are known as “man’s best friend” for good reason – they bring joy, companionship, and unconditional love into our lives. And if there’s one thing that just about every Stanfordian has in common, it’s the love they have for their dog/s! This is your chance to show off your favourite pooch so we can get to know all the wonderful woofies from our ‘hood. Send us some details about your furry friend and don’t forget to include a picture-pawfect photo or two. The doggo featured will be gifted a special doggy treat! This month we introduce John Bender (named after a character in The Breakfast Club). He also goes by Johnny or JohnnyBoy. Johnny is a Tibbie (Tibetan Spaniel). His breed are small, sturdy dogs with a distinct lion-like mane of fur around their neck (when they’re not shaved for summer, that is!). Johnny is part of the Mc Alpine family and lives in Daneel Street, Stanford. NAME: John Bender (Johnny) BREED: Tibetan Spaniel AGE: Five years old PERSONALITY: John is a very loving, loyal and playful dog. He loves nothing more than cuddling up to his favourite humans. FAVOURITE TREAT: Anything edible, but he particularly likes Beano treats. FAVOURITE THING TO DO/GAME TO PLAY: John has a wide selection of toys that he loves playing with. Anything that can be thrown into the air is very enjoyable for him. FAVOURITE PLACE(S) TO GO: Loves going for walks on the beach where he can chase after seagulls. While he doesn’t enjoy water so much, sea water is an exception. ANY BAD HABITS WE SHOULD NOTE: Fiercely overprotective of his human family, he takes time to warm up to new people. ANY SPECIAL TRICKS: Now that he has a new kitten for a playmate, John thinks he can behave like a kitten, too. We recently caught him trying to balance on the windowsill while trying to catch a fly! His kitten friend was very proud of him!

Above: John Bender getting into the festive spirit.





ell, I never thought in a million years that when I arrived in the UK from my home in Stanford, South Africa, on 1 June 2023 that the forthcoming weeks would mark a successful milestone in my life. Having fairly recently written a book - St Ives Unframed - about my years living in St Ives, Cornwall, during the 60s and 70s, it turns out that the book has become very popular, especially in the beautiful Cornish seaside town where all the action took place. It appears that nobody to date had ever recorded or written about this very special period of beatniks, hippies, flower power, bohemians, artists and musicians – nothing archived (and trust me, St Ives has a spectacular archive museum) other than what is recorded in my book. My friend Suzanne, whom I had met through the tennis club the previous year, became instrumental in championing the importance of the book and felt that it should be put out there within the town for the locals and visitors to appreciate. Suzanne suggested to her colleagues on the committee of the St Ives Arts Club about my doing a Saturday evening talk at the Arts Club Theatre. I was then invited to meet the group one morning over coffee. We all got on like a house on fire and a date was fixed for me to do a talk exactly ten days later. I was a bit shell-shocked. This gave me and the Arts Club very little time to prepare this BIG event, but it was the only evening the theatre was free. Advertising and other logistics had to be put in place by the committee as well as selling enough tickets to fill the

charming 60-seater theatre. I had to read the book again which I wrote in 2018-19. During the COVID pandemic, I had written another book and needed a quick re-read of St Ives Unframed again. During the meeting with the Arts Club Committee, Suzanne mentioned that a film producer she was in contact with was interested in meeting me (having read St Ives Unframed) and wondered if a film could be made of it. Phew! That was like a punch in the stomach. A film, a film about my time in St Ives. I was blown away. Above: Christine Farrington holding her No sooner had this been book titled: St Ives Unframed. mentioned when Suzanne, Louise and the rest of the committee said we had all been invited to Bob Osborne’s house at Tregerthen, Zennor. We all piled into three cars and made our way out on the Land’s End coast road, past a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean on our right and the rugged West Penwith Moors on the left. This was familiar territory to me as I once lived in the early 80s in a beautiful old cottage in Zennor, one of the most romantic place names in England. I also knew Tregerthen, a farm about a mile away towards Eagles Nest. I was excited as we reached the turn-off to Tregerthen and the cars made their way down the narrow lane towards Higher Tregerthen and came upon a row of three cottages, in one of which D.H. Lawrence had lived with his German wife Frieda during the First World War. Further down the lane we came upon Tregerthen Farm, where we made a narrow turn around the farmhouse and came to the home of our host Bob Osborne at Lower Tregerthen, whose farmhouse led across rugged green fields to the blue Atlantic Ocean beyond. It was truly wild and beautiful. Bob had recently finished his book ‘Spirit of Place’, so we were having lunch with him and the film maker Diana Taylor who had made a film of Bob’s book which was now out on general release. Diana had wanted to meet me to discuss making the film about St Ives Unframed, which she had read. I soon found myself chatting happily to the charming and friendly film maker, flattered beyond belief that someone would be interested in putting my book on celluloid. Diana asked if she could do some filming there and then, more interviewing about my thoughts on Cornwall now and what had inspired me all those years ago – so without preamble and no time for preparation, we got to it. Probably the best way, as I had no time at all to be nervous. I felt at ease with Diana and one hour later she called it a wrap. My first step into the world of film. We sat outside at a large table decked with all sorts of delicious-looking food, cheeses, salads, breads, lots of fruit and wine - an idyllic picnic lunch surrounded by interesting and talented people all chatting away together. These were people I hardly knew but deep down I felt that new friendships were being forged. Tregerthen is a very spiritual place. It resonates in deep history of the Cornish moors where farmers, mines and smuggling saw its rugged landscape - dark, haunting, but ultimately beautiful. Bob Osborne’s book ‘ZENNOR SPIRIT OF PLACE’ has felt it all. Having had the best of afternoons at Lower Tregerthen, we piled into the cars to take us back to St Ives. As I looked upon those wild rugged moors with deep longing, a reminder to me of a life many, many years ago, when Susan and I rode our beloved horses Melba and Charmaine over those moors without a care in the world.


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ome years ago, I participated in a workshop that focussed on improving on-air clarity during radio and television interviews. The facilitator suggested we imagine an overhead view of a Mexican on a bicycle. The front wheel was the interviewee, the back, the interviewer. In between was the sombrero – the audience. “Think of it as a conversation between acquaintances that is being overheard by the audience.” This in contrast to a developing trend amongst SA’s interviewees to add a greeting to the ‘audience at home’ when being questioned by the media. This superfluous inclusion is often further aggravated by the insistence of many to answer a question with a sentence that begins: ‘So, …’ And on the subject of clarity, I was reading the warnings printed on the back of a wine bottle and it occurred to me that there could be additional outcomes that might require some notification:


• Might create an unrealistic belief regarding romantic capability. • Could result in becoming more talkative; however, this is no guarantee of wisdom. • Attractive people may become less so in the morning.

• Country-bred chicken = from a battery farm in a field. • Today’s specials = either bulk clearance at the wholesaler or a slow seller nearly past its prime. • Line-fish = any fish.

And how about restaurants? Here are some alerts that might appear on the menus of some eateries:

And most importantly: Please note that our waitrons know nothing about food or wine. Their job is only to take and deliver your order, to enquire as to your enjoyment (usually when your mouth is full of food), and to expect a tip. Oh yes, I would add: To sustain using the word ‘Folks’. Otherwise, it might join ‘gadzooks’ in the obsolete lexicon bin. And whilst on my soapbox, please note that the cucumbers and tomatoes you buy are neither English nor Italian, they are just a variety. And the bulk of haddock sold is not haddock, which is a North Atlantic fish, but rather hake that has been dyed and (occasionally) smoked. Now, where’s that bottle of wine…?

• Our beef burgers contain pure beef (plus lots of fat and salt and a sprinkling of chewy bits). • Complaining and returning food to the kitchen is not recommended: the cook has a tooth abscess. • We cater for vegetarians – that’s if you like butternut, creamed spinach or chips. And some translations: • Selection of garden-fresh vegetables = butternut and creamed spinach.

Checkers not Chokers

Hey Bro, Howzit? How’s the kinders and so? All is good op die plaas. My heart rate is just about back to normal after all the excitement of the World Cup. The one we won, that is. One point, one point, one point …… I like doing the minimum and still winning. Why waste effort in winning by a large margin? No coincidence there from Rasnaber. I can at last pull my head out of my Bok shirt. Are you still wearing your namesake Faf speedos aka budgiesmugglers? I knew the boys would do it. Choking just isn’t in the Boks’ vocabulary. Now, don’t mention the cricket. No ba-voom there, alas. God forbid that the Springboks must have their name changed to the Proteas as some

opportunists are suggesting. Madiba was right and the Boks got it. Sport really does have the power to change the world, to inspire, and to unite people in a way that little else does. Stanford is alive! Checkers graciously used the village for its Christmas advert. Look out for it. The lights are superb and as bright as Elisabedi’s eyes going into a fight. I first saw the display during filming. The Searles boys and the Stanford Hotel pulled out all the stops. There was a long table dinner in Queen Vic street for the great and the good. All rather reminiscent of the Big Lunches on a a different Queenie’s Jubilee or Birthday. Why wasn’t I invited? I’m already famous here. I’ve spent a fortune thus far at the Saturday market and Union coffee. The

local dogs even came to see the lights. Mind you, I did dance my takkies off to that pandemic hit Julias Malema song. Don’t even mention the F-(estive) word. I do hope there’s a way to continue the Crimble lights in future years to bring even more joy and money to local businesses. You should ‘Checkers’ them out. Anyway, I gotta go now. There’s so much to do on the farm. Veggie sowing and planting is in full swing, matched only by the voracious army worm. I’ve been selling surplus strawberries and now delicious new potatoes. I’ll let you know later about the cute new lamb. Baa humbug! Ciao, Lizzie xx


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