Friday, October 30, 2009

Briewe / Letters

Yes, do something about bad drivers

I concur wholeheartedly with the comments made by Eric Ahrens in last month’s Friend (September 2009) regarding the bad driving habits of some motorists in Prince Albert.

In particular, as a regular cyclist in the town, I am acutely aware of the irresponsible speeds that some drivers travel and the inherent danger to pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Not only do many drive too quickly, but some react aggressively when confronted with the fact, as I recently experienced after narrowly avoiding a speeding CZ registration car in Kerkstraat. The driver’s reaction to my complaint could only be described as ‘road rage nearing physical abuse’ following which he roared off at an even greater speed. Something needs to be done about such irresponsible road users!

Much of the speeding is in the evenings and at weekends, presumably when our traffic officers are off duty. A few strategically placed speed cameras would quickly identify the culprits.

John Whitton

Whose habitat is this anyway?

As human life continues its rapid expansion and exploitation of nature, so too do the pets in people’s care risk joining the trail of destruction. The increased population of dogs and particularly cats, in this town is of concern.

For the non-extinct species that manage to live out a diminished existence on the periphery of our lives, it’s just a matter of time before they are barked at, bitten, pawed, and pulled apart. Bearing in mind this is all in the name of pet entertainment outside of the natural food chain. “Mittens” and “Spot” have yet to go home to a nice bowl of pet’s delight that probably came with as much processing and packaging as their loving owners will be enjoying over dinner.

Man’s best friend seems to have joined forces in having lost respect for nature. It has become all about our gratification through pet ownership rather than sharing a world together with nature. Can we dog and cat-lovers not strive together with our pets to live in harmony with the creatures of our wild?

Prince Albert is home to some precious semi-desert survivors. The slow tortoises, little field mice, racing hares, bounding buck, little birds of early morning song, and late night owls should be just as precious to us as the much-loved four-legged companions living in our homes. It is most distressing to see regular bird-kills by the many cats who roam our property. Someone even mentioned (hopefully in jest) of taking a pot-shot at an owl (endangered!) whooo was a threat to his cat!

Though there is no real immediate solution as to how we all share this fast depleting planet, let’s at least take responsibility for the animals in our domestic care and discipline them to share this habitat with those who truly belonged here first.

(The writer’s identity is known to the Friend.)

An extraordinary library

As a comparative newcomer to Prince Albert, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with other Prince Alberters.

Who on Earth would want to live in a little dorp which is surrounded by either a semi-arid desert to the North, East and West or by rocky outcrops and mountains to the South? A place where the nearest other “civilization”, Oudtshoorn, is at least an hour and a quarter away - unless, of course, you have ambitions of participating in a Grand Prix and relish the opportunity of practising tight turns through Meiringspoort!

Why have I grown to love this little dorp? The climate is pleasant, the mosquitoes bite but are non-malarial, the air is clean and, in addition, the vast majority of the inhabitants are friendly and helpful, if help is required.

I would like to take this opportunity of mentioning the Library. In my former life, both as a student and as a career worker, it was often necessary to spend many hours in various libraries around the U.K. Generally speaking, they were well organised and the staff were helpful and efficient.

What is the point of this contribution to the Friend? I am sure that those people who use Prince Albert Library are aware of how good it actually is or, perhaps they just take it for granted. Whenever I go into the Library I am always greeted with a cheerful “Hello, Tony” and “Do you need any help?” or some similar welcome. When I’ve wanted something that isn’t actually on the shelves, either Reinie or her assistants, Bettie and Jeanetta, are only too willing to go that extra mile to acquire the book or the required information from other libraries or resources.

It is establishments like the Library that help to make this town such a special place.

Tony Gethin

Glad to live here

When I moved to our town five years ago, I thought that meant giving up the excitement of the cities I had lived in, where the choice of world class events was endless. In return I thought I would just bask in the sun and enjoy good, healthy country living. I felt I was dropping out of the fast lane into a sleepy dorp where the only sounds I would hear would be the church clock chimes and the odd braying of donkeys. Have I been in for a surprise!

Yes – those of us who choose the quiet life can do that here in peace. But thanks to caring and enterprising residents we have a whole range of other choices too.

Those who want to enjoy gourmet meals and good wines until their livers burst can do so in several of our restaurants. Those who want a simple but delicious pizza or sandwich are well served. Those who want a wide variety of delicious, healthy bread or top quality milk products for breakfast can buy them with ease.

It would take too many columns to mention and thank by name all of those who work hard and willingly to give us such a good quality of life. And so let me just by way of example share with you a magic moment I enjoyed this month.

At the end of a concert at the beautifully restored Jans Rautenbach Schouwburg last week, I sat in the auditorium, entranced and unable to move after a simply exquisite musical evening. This time it was the world class Klemeyer brothers from Germany who had woven magic with their repertoire of classical music.

Thank you, Laetitia and through you, all the others for making our lives richer and for making sure that Prince Albert is not just another little dorp lost in the Karoo. You are an absolute star.

Name withheld
(The writer’s identity is known to the Friend.)

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