It seems like yesterday that your child was starting matric with all the accompanying hype, and not a little angst, and now here you are, on the other side but contemplating the new challenges of 2016.

In many cases the way forward is relatively straightforward if the young adult child has secured a place at the tertiary institution of his / her choice or has a workable plan for a gap year.

But what about instances where there has been no plan made for 2016 or the proposed plan is no longer viable ? What can be done to make 2016 as productive and meaningful as possible for your child?

Many young people simply have no energy or interest in engaging with a plan for once matric is over. Somehow, just handling the rigours (or boredom) of school is all that that they could handle and they balked at any discussion regarding life after school. Many are convinced that they need the 'year
off' to regroup and 'find themselves'. In reality, once most of their friends start their tertiary studies, life becomes lonely and boring and the wonderful gap year of 'chilling' becomes a huge disappointment.

What to do:
Consider the various short (preferably six months to a year) courses that are on offer to enable him to keep intellectually sharp (chilling next to the pool or watching tv re-runs causes major regression) while still allowing him enough time off to feel that he has had the break that he wanted. Hopefully at the end of this he will emerge with an NQF5 Higher Certificate in a skill that can always be there on his cv. Some of these courses include those in draughting, computers, cooking, fitness training
and sport management, business administration, event coordination.. and a myriad of others. Even if your child never enters any of these fields as a long-term career, he would have learnt a marketable skill; formed opinions of a study direction; enriched his cv; become a more rounded person; and
kept his mind alive. Usually there is enough time for some travel opportunities as well. Organisations like Action Volunteers Africa offer excellent opportunities for gap year students to do well-organised
volunteering, some also on a stipend basis.

Here one needs to differentiate between whether the learner didn't get the required level of pass (eg Diploma or Bachelors ) or if they got the required level of pass but failed to meet the admission requirement for the tertiary institution of their choice.

What to do:
If your child did not achieve the required level of pass, there are two main routes to choose from . One involves rewriting one or more of the matric subjects. (Check WCED website for the process). Bear in mind that only about 3% of people who rewrite subjects pass / achieve better than they did
the first time around. Many young people happily decide on this route but they need focus, discipline, help, and huge buy-in to be successful. It can be done, but they need to be prepared to put in the hours and it is often difficult to re-discover that energy that was there in October 2015.

Another option is to do an accredited NQF5 course that, if passed well, could take the person to the next level. Varsity College offer the Management Principles and Practice course which helps to do this. (I am not advertising, but am just most familiar with this one). If your child obtained the required level but did not get into the institution of his/her choice, the choice is to rewrite matric subjects (see above) or to opt for a different institution for 2016 if they got into a fall-back choice. If they do very well at the end of their first year, they can reapply to the desired institution for their second year(although they might have to start back at first year level). Many decide to stay where they began; finish the qualification; and then apply to their original institution of choice for post
graduate study. If there has been no alternative provision made, then they need to use their enforced gap year well (see above). In addition, if their matric marks were way higher than their grade 11, then at least give it a shot and reapply to the desired institution, among others, for 2017.

Key is:
Keep moving forward!

Be aware that most learners fare better in their matric results than ever before. This is, to a large extent, due to the added attention that they get in a fairly rarified environment where every effort centres on helping the grade 12 learner to achieve to the best of his ability. Remember that this bears no resemblance at all to the world of tertiary study and unless he can maintain that level of effort on his own, he is likely to slip back into old habits and previous patterns of achievement, However, for some learners the matric exam is their first experience of what focused effort can achieve and this gives them solid motivation and study skills for tertiary success.

What to do:
Openings for degree and diploma courses and would still be available at the private colleges eg in Interior Design, Advertising / Marketing Colleges; Film School; Fashion Design, Hospitality, Nature Management. But these options are expensive and your child should be sure that he has real
interest in the field, and that this is not simply a decision born of desperation or indecision. He / she needs to talk through the decision with an objective counselor rather than be caught up in the attractive marketing of a specific college.


The Working Life - Annette Miller


500 g Marshmallows
37 5ml Port
250 ml (1 cup) whipped cream
1 ml salt
5 ml (1tsp) vanilla essence
Castor sugar to taste

Grated chocolate or Glacé Cherries and Angelica

Cover marshmallows with Port
Add salt and soak for 24 hrs or longer
Strain off Port and heap marshmallows on  serving dish and chill
Beat cream, castor sugar and vanilla essence, pipe cream over marshmallows and chill
Decorate with grated chocolate or little red blossoms and green leaves made of Cherries and Angelica

“I have been an agent for over 30 years and have an excellent track record in the Southern Suburbs area. I am professional, love what I do and put my heart and soul into every aspect of my work.”

Lyn Staples
Estate Agent
Cell: +27 (0)82 846 0739    |   Office: +27 (0)21 674 1120     |    Fax: +27 (0)21 774 4927
Focus Areas:  Kenilworth & Claremont Village

Home security Tips from the HVCID

Dear Residents,

There has been an increase in housebreaking in the suburbs surrounding us. Here is some good advice from Rondebosch CID: With it being summer it is so hot to keep all doors and windows closed. Residents are encouraged to install garden beams as an early warning, and ALWAYS set your alarm even if you are only going out for 10 minutes. Become more vigilant of any suspicious vehicles or persons in your street and enforce your security "rules" at home. Report ANY suspicious behaviour immediately to ADT 086 1212 300 or HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch 071 802 2454.

You have an alarm company, you have latched the doors, and joined the neighbourhood watch, but is your home as safe and secure as it could be? Here are 10 things you probably never knew about home safety for added peace of mind.

1. Safes are not always safe.
We can all agree safes are a great for keeping that jewellery and passports safe. It's true most burglars won't have the time to break into a safe, but if it's a standalone safe that's not bolted down and light enough to carry, they will take the safe with them.

2. Motion detectors placement are key to your home security system.
When securing your home, make sure that your security company put motion detectors in those unlikely areas such as the windows near the kitchen sink and above windows on the second floor. Too often we put motion detectors on the first floor without considering the fact that a lot of thieves go straight for the top bedrooms where the jewellery and other valuables may be.

3. Don't forsake the peephole just yet.
When you get a knock on the door, even if live in a relatively secure gated community, we all know we need to look before we open. If you don't have a video monitor installed, peepholes and wide-angle viewers are notoriously safer and more of a deterrent than using door chains.

4. Locks matter.
If you are building or renovating, opt for deadbolt locks as they are the most secure option. Choose reputable brands and reputable locksmiths over price and budget.

5. Store valuables in unlikely places.
Criminals know all your best hiding places and chances are they'll check that sock draw first. Hiding valuables in children's rooms, or other less likely places are known to be very effective.

 6. Plants are some of the best deterrents.
Thorny shrubs under ground-floor windows are not only pretty, but make it trickier for burglars to get in and out of your home quickly which acts as a deterrent.

You can read the full article here.

CRIME REPORT: (please note we are not allowed to report specifics)
Below is only as reported by ADT (4 - 11 Jan):
- Attempted Housebreak in: York Rd
Unconfirmed reports (4 - 11 Jan):
- Theft of motor vehicles: Dingle Ave
- Theft out of motor vehicle: Princes Rd, First Ave
- Mugging: Wade Rd
The two dedicated vehicles for the HVCID have either D19 or D20 on the back of the vehicle.
Mileage per vehicle:  D19: 2329;      D20: 2263.
Call outs per vehicle: D19: 63;         D20: 176.

False Alarms: 179 Incidents (Increase)
Over Active Alarms (4 +): Bell Rd, First Ave, Gloucester Rd, Hereford Rd, Mathew Rd, McBride Ln, Rosmead Ave, Second Ave, Surrey St, Wade Rd.
ADT Emergency: 086 1212 301
Police (National): 10111,  Police (Claremont): 021 657 2250
Police Sector 1 (Harfield & Lynfrae) vehicle: 082 378 9449
Police Sector 1 Manager – W.O. Colin Geneke: 079 894 1555
HVCID Manager - Jenni Coleman: 081 412 6109 (8am-6pm) /
HarLyn neighbourhood watch: 071 802 2454
City of Cape Town Emergency services (When life or property is endangered by fire, accidents and natural disasters etc.): 107 from a landline, or 112 toll free from a mobile.
Metro police & Traffic: 0860 765 423

If you haven't signed up with us yet, you can do so here.

Stay Safe!

Kind regards,
The HVCID team

Blocked Bladder in Male Cats

This month we are going to talk about urinary obstruciton (blocked bladder) in male cats. This is quite a common problem and can be life threatening if not treated as an emergency.

What is a blocked bladder?

A blocked bladder is caused when some kind of obstruction occurs in the urethra (the small tube that drains urine from the bladder and out of the penis) making it impossible for urine to be expelled. The bladder fills to capacity and feels like a hard tennis ball in the cat’s abdomen. Huge pressure is put on the kidneys which can be permanently damaged. The bladder can rupture due to the pressure. Complete obstruction can cause the death of a cat within 24 hours.

What causes this condition?

Due to their anatomy male cats are more likely to develop urethral obstruction than female cats. The obstruction is often caused by the formation of crystals, sand or grit, mucus, small stones and inflammatory material that have formed in the kidneys.

Some factors that are thought to influence the formation of the above are:
  • cats eating an unbalanced diet 
  • indoor cats
  • overweight cats 
  • stressed cats nervous/ highly strung cats
  • cats in a multicat household
  • cats that have recurring bladder infections
What are the symptoms?

Depending on how long and how severe the obstruction has become your cat will show the following symptoms:
  • frequent trips to the litter tray
  • no urine in the litter tray when you know they’ve been in there
  • meowing and/or straining while in the litter box (many owners mistake this for a sign of constipation)
  • excessive licking their penis
  • loss of appetite
  • sudden onset excessive drinking
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain – reluctance to be picked up or handled
  • hiding away
  • eventually collapse
  • death
If you notice any of these symptoms you should make an appointment with your vet immediately:

How is this condition treated?

Cats that have a urinary obstruction need immediate emergency treatment.

Once your vet has examined your cat and established that there is an obstruction, your cat will need to be hospitalised, sedated or given a general anaesthetic so that a urinary catheter can be placed into the urethra. The catheter enables the vet to flush out the urethra thus removing any obstruction. This is an extremely delicate procedure. Your vet may need to give your cat intravenous fluids to help support the kidneys.Once the obstruction has been removed the urinary catheter may be left in the cat temporarily until your vet is happy that the cat is able to urinate freely on its own. Daily flushing of the bladder may be needed to remove debris that may cause further obstruction.

A microscopic evaluation of the urine will be done to determine what was causing the obstruction ie if it was inflammatory material, gravely calculi or tiny stones. If it is the latter the vet may wish to take an xray of the bladder to see if there are more stones and may try to determine the type of stone (calculi) .All of this information will enable your vet to treat your cat most effectively.

In some cases the bladder will repeatedly block despite medical treatment, in these instances your vet may recommend a surgical procedure called a perineal urethrostomy, which is a surgical widening of the urethra to allow small crystals, mucus plugs and even small stones to be passed with the urine.

Depending on the initial cause and extent of damage caused by the blockage the long term prognosis for these cats is usually good. Particularly beneficial is the use of prescription diets specially formulated to the reduce the risk of crystal formation. Ask your vet for more information.

Giving Responsibly

To all of our loyal readers, we wish you a very happy and safe 2016!

This year may prove to be a challenging year for our economy, and as a result, pushing struggling families to the street.

Giving without a plan to help is Irresponsible, and sustains a life on the streets.
There are organizations all over Cape Town that will take your generosity and turn it into opportunities to teach life skills, and assist in Rehabilitation.

  1. Many of the items you put in your bin end up in our parks and greenbelts
  2. Rather recycle or freecycle, or take large items to a waste disposal facility
  3. Opportunistic criminals pose as the regular street people in your area, and use this opportunity to scout the houses
Here are a few organisations you can support, by giving responsibly:

1. U-Turn
By vouchers that can be given to the street person; which they can then redeem for food or clothes at the U-Turn facility near
Claremont Station. They also have rehabilitation facilities for those who want a life off the street.
Visit their website:

 2. TLC Projects
Educate, Equip, Rehabilitate

 3. Nutty Knitters
We knit winter woolies for underprivileged babies and distribute second hand clothing, towels, bedding, and non-perishable food
To the needy. You can also volunteer to knit!

Let us all give a little bit back this year, and embrace the social issue of homelessness in our country!

Patchwork | January in The Garden

Temperatures are soaring and water is scarce. If you are growing veg, make sure to water them sparingly and only in the evening or early morning, so you don't burn their leaves. Make sure you have lots of mulch to aid water retention - there should be NO soil exposed to the sun, and a thick layer of mulch.

Plant List for This Month:
Bush/Climbing Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Chard/Spinach, Chinese Cabbage, Celery, Chives, Chilli, Kale, Kohlrabi, Globe Artichoke, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Radish, Rhubarb, Tomato.

Is anyone keen on trading some seeds this month? Please let Gabriella know through the Facebook page, Patchwork.

Happy growing!!



Imagine being fined for a minor home extension you effected to accommodate your child who wants to study from home but feels the time is ripe for his/her own separate entrance; or for any other change you want to effect as part of your new year's resolutions?

This is not far fetched, as the City of Cape Town municipality regularly clamps down on buildings erected without its prior approval.

It is a requirement in all local authorities (by virtue of the provisions of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 103 of 1977 ('the Building Standards Act')), that approval must be obtained before property owners may build on their properties or effect renovations and amendments thereto. This is to ensure that building rules and zoning determinations are accommodated in the owner's suggested plans.

The City of Cape Town municipality often reports on its website of actions taken against offenders in municipal courts. Transgressors have been fined up to R 5000, the maximum penalty amount.

What about small renovations?
Even minor changes - such as erecting a wendy house, carport or sunroom - require municipal intervention. In such instances, formal building approval is not always needed but the owner must nonetheless obtain written confirmation from the municipality that the requirement for formal building approval is waived. For a list of these exceptions, read here.

And non-permanent structures, or those not built with "brick and mortar"?
According to the website of the City of Cape Town, a building plan application must be submitted for approval in respect of the planned erecting of any structure, whether it is of a temporary or permanent nature and irrespective of the materials used to build it. This includes alterations or extensions to existing structures.

Do building plans for interior renovations - ie bringing down internal walls, building a fireplace or a new kitchen with new plumbing and electrical points - have to be approved by council?
Yes, you would need building approval as the alterations involve the alteration, conversion, extension or rebuilding of any part of the structural system of the home. The general rule is that approval is required when you:
* Build a house and then add onto it later according to existing plans;
* Convert a garage into a living space;
* Convert an attic into livable space; and
* Add a conservatory, sunroom or swimming pool.

An unnecessary evil?

The requirement to obtain plan approval involves multi-facetted considerations. It relates to compliance with zoning provisions, safety issues and observance of general urban planning goals.

It also guards the interests of neighbours: the Building Standards Act allows for a neighbour to object to approved building plans if it can be shown that, amongst other things, the municipality that approved the plans did not properly consider the fact that:
* the area in which the proposed building is to be erected, will be disfigured by the proposed building,
* that the area will be rendered unsightly or objectionable by the proposed building; or
* that the proposed building will derogate from the value of adjoining or neighbouring properties.

These factors must of course be balanced against the consideration that a property owner is in principle allowed to do on his property what he chooses to, subject to the reasonable exercise of this right.

Obtain legal advice to assist you in dealing with complaints to your building plans or if you wish to object to a neighbour's building plans, by contacting us on
Also have a look at the City's website for information on their system of approving building plans.

2nd Floor, Buchanan's Chambers, Cnr Warwick Street & Pearce Road, Claremont
P +27 (0) 21 673 4700 | F +27 (0) 86 615 0361