December in the garden

It's already December - how did that happen!? Summer is in full swing, Christmas is around the corner and temperatures are climbing, but it's not nearly as hot yet as it's been in previous years. It's a good time to plant, and the plant list is a long one this month.

December's plant list: 
Amaranth, Basil, Bush and Climbing beans, Beetroot, Butternut, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrot, Chard, Cape Gooseberry, Celery, Chives, Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Kohlrabi, Ginger, Globe Artichoke, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Jerusalem artichokes, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Rhubarb, Sweetcorn, Sweet pepper, Sweet potato, Turnip, Tomato, Watercress, Watermelon, Zucchini. Don't forget all the herbs!

Happy water saving, and happy planting – the two are not mutually exclusive, so it's about finding smart ways to do both sustainably.

Motivations of the have’s and have-not’s this holiday season.

 ‘Tis the festive season – but in the Fair Cape this does not always mean that people are jolly.  During times of extreme poverty, what can neuroscience tell us about the motivations of the have’s and have-not’s this holiday season?

By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon recently, at 2pm, my partner and I were taking a stroll along the
catwalk from Muizenberg train station in the direction of St. James, when a pair of local men jumped in to our path and threatened our lives at knife and gunpoint.  Luckily, the two men only threatened us – others haven’t been so lucky.  They wanted my handbag – and took it – as easily as taking a gift off the shelf in a shop.  SAPS told us when we reported the crime at Muizenberg that the catwalk, flanking the sunlit aquamarine ocean and providing an angelic view of False Bay and the mountains – is a particularly notorious hotspot for violent crime during the festive season. A honey trap if you will for tourists and non-tourists alike.  Local dishevelled, weather-beaten men, young and old, use hammers, guns, knives, rocks to threaten – and sometimes injure or kill – innocent walkers along this stretch, to gain the spoils they need to provide for themselves or their own families, or to sell on for drugs to get them through the lonely time of year.

Desperation for material wealth, when poverty makes life appear hopeless in the face of people with relative abundance, is clearly a major malady blighting the Fair Cape, particularly during the holidays.  The problem is so commonplace – especially along the catwalk from Muizenberg – that SAPS are so pitifully under-resourced to be able to tackle the problem – even if it is moral for them to do so.  According to John Gray, an eminent English professor, humanism – the belief in human morality and progress – is a fallacy that we cling to almost religiously about our self-identity.  A belief in humanism and civilisation allows us to think that we are getting better at living together in society. This might be especially true for South Africa, where civilians hoped –after Nelson Mandela became president, and after Zuma was ousted – that substantial progress towards Tutu’s vision of a Rainbow Nation would be made.   But when we remove the gossamer-thin veneer of the idea that we are naturally civilised – such as when we find ourselves living in vermin-infested shacks on the Cape Flats immersed in sewerage and rain water, or when war engulfs a country – humans quickly revert to the basic laws of survival. Can you honestly say that if you and your family were starving and desperate that you would not resort to robbing someone better off than you? John Gray’s work suggests that our morality and civilised beliefs would be dropped in favour of reducing the pain of our wretched situation.

More important to the brain than morality and the idea of civilisation, is the ability to learn how to get rewards and to avoid pain.  Every mammal on the planet has a brain that does this – perhaps other vertebrates and invertebrates too.  It is a basic tenet of our ability to survive that we should try to minimise our pain.  This could be why violent crime is so difficult to stamp out in Cape Town.  A Western Cape robber typically lives a life of pain:  poverty, fear of death, and the continuing disjointed fragile community that stemmed from the mass District 6 removals of the infamous Group Areas Act of the 1960s Apartheid government.  Pain is an everyday occurrence for people living on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape. As such, it should come as no surprise that as I walked down the path with my partner that we looked – to the brains of those poverty-stricken men who used violent weapons to rob us – like ripe cherries asking to be picked.  And once the brain learns that it is easy to gain pleasure and avoid the pain of poverty in this way, the natural inclination to use violence to rob gains ever more momentum.

Perhaps we can use this basic knowledge of the brain to prevent future violent robbing along the catwalk at Muizenberg and other infamous crime hotspots in the Cape this festive season.  If the brain is adept at finding pleasure and avoiding pain, we should, as citizens, make it less easy and pleasurable for armed robberies to take place.  More patrol officers should be deployed to protect holiday-makers, signs should be erected to alert those like my partner and I, who do not know this is a crime hotspot.  And perhaps for the longer term, the most important question of all is how to reduce the pain experienced by the inhabitants of the Cape Flats and other poverty-stricken areas?  How can the government and society put right the wrongs of Apartheid that has surely fuelled the motivations of criminal gangs in Cape Town?

Keep your wits about you, and try to spread joy and pleasure while avoid any painful situations this festive season.

Dr Samantha Brooks is a UK neuroscientist working with the University of Cape Town, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see

Is WiFi dangerous to your health?

The question of WiFi and the unseen radiation that is all around us has long been under scrutiny with a vast amount of conflicting information found on the internet. Before we even delve into the WiFi and health question let’s take a look at radiation.

Most often the term radiation brings up images of nuclear blasts and humans with three arms but really this is the emotive fantasy of TV. There are two types of radiation – ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation examples include x-rays, gamma rays, and good old ultraviolet (UV) and has the energy to excite electrons, knock them out of orbit and therefor ionize the atom. High levels of exposure to ionizing radiation has the potential to mutate your cells and can be detrimental to your health, which is why it is used in such controlled and protected environments. Non-ionizing radiation however is a wavelength longer than light and includes infra-red rays, microwaves, radio waves, baby monitors, Bluetooth, cellphones, and so on. In fact, it is hardly possible to avoid it all together as society has made full use of non-ionizing radiation in modern technology. WiFi comes in at a low 2.45GHz, along the microwave band with baby monitors and cellphones.

Image from

Research on the effect of radio waves on human health can be dated back to the 1950’s when concerns were raised about the Navy servicemen being exposed to the powerful shipboard radar. This accumulates to at least 60-odd years of apparent research and yet the internet is full of websites disagreeing on whether or not WiFi is actually dangerous to your health. From websites stating that even low wave radiation can cause oxidative stress, fertility damage, neuropsychiatric effects, calcium overload, cancer and endocrine changes to conflicting sites stating that there are no harmful effects whatsoever…so who do you believe?

The overall consensus seems to be that there is no conclusive scientific proof either way. Several studies have reported biological effects of prolonged WiFi exposure (headaches, etc) yet technical limitations have prevented any solid conclusions from being drawn up. It seems that prolonged exposure and exposure to high levels may cause some effects. Either way authorities have still put in place exposure limits with which wireless devices must comply – with WiFi being way below the set limit.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has assessed that there is no established scientific evidence of adverse health effects below current exposure limits. It may be that the amount of exposure 24/7  can be detrimental, especially long term, however until science catches up and is able to produce solid evidence, all we have to go on are our own personal experiences and beliefs. To err on the side of caution, you can do the following:

• Ditch the microwave.
• Hardwire your laptops, desk tops and smart TV’s to your router.
• Switch off your WiFi when you are not using it.
• Put your mobile devices onto aeroplane mode whenever you can.
• Do not charge your mobile devices in your bedroom when you are sleeping.

As with a lot of new age technology, science sometimes seems to get ahead of itself, designing and creating without being able to mark the effects these things really have on us. Until it catches up and is able to prove the effects, we’ll continue hearing different stories from all corners.

Remind yourself that science once told everyone that the earth was flat…so perhaps “scientific proof” isn’t always the final word.

Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here.

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | |

How to downsize without tears

With their children grown and leaving for university, jobs abroad or homes of their own, an increasing number of people in their 50s and 60s are downsizing from big family homes to smaller, lower maintenance properties in security complexes – but the process is often painful.

“Even owners who have been planning their move for years can find it extremely difficult to start packing when the time finally arrives to do so, and usually that’s not because they are scared of getting older, but because family homes are associated with so many memories and emotions,” says Rudi Botha, CEO of BetterBond*, SA’s biggest bond originator.   

“In addition, even when empty-nesters can see the financial advantages of downsizing, they often worry that it will also entail a drastic change in lifestyle. And then of course there is the hard work of the move itself, especially when it means having to sort through 20 or 30 years’ worth of possessions to decide what to pack and take and what to sell, give away or discard.”

“However, we meet clients who are doing this every day, and have learned that there are quite a number of positive aspects to focus on that can make the change much easier and the move something to actually look forward to.”

The first of these, he says, is the relief from the high costs of maintaining a large property and keeping it in good condition. There is also less risk of having to replace or repair expensive components such as the roof, wiring or plumbing. “It’s important to remember that your home isn't getting any younger either, and that a property that gets run down because you no longer have the energy, agility or inclination to keep up maintenance will be harder to sell if you delay your move.”

Secondly, a smaller, more modern home can actually mean a better lifestyle, because it frees up time as well as money for other endeavours, such as hobbies, travel and study - or for some of those luxury features you’ve been promising yourself for years. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose a home with greater security if you wish, or maybe one that doesn’t have stairs and will be easier to get around as you get older.

Botha also notes that they younger you are when you make the move, the easier the transition is likely to be. “There is much less chance that you will have to make a forced sale due to changed circumstances such as ill health, and a much greater chance that you will make new friends and develop new interests in your new location.

“In addition, if you plan ahead and control the timing of the sale, you should be able, with the help of a knowledgeable local estate agent, to make your move when the market is in your favour. This may mean you pay more for your new home then than you would in a softer market, but if you’re selling a more expensive property in the same market, you should come out well-ahead financially.

“And then of course if you apply for your new home loan through BetterBond, we will ensure that you get the very best interest rate available, which will make your move even more financially advantageous.

“At the moment, we are finding that the average variation between the best and worst rate offered on an application is 0,5%, which could translate into very significant savings for the borrower, at no cost for our service. On a loan of R1,5m, for example, the potential savings amount to more than R120 000 worth of interest over the 20-year lifetime of the loan, plus some R6000 a year off the home loan instalments.”

*BetterBond is SA’s biggest bond originator, accounting for 25% of all new mortgage bonds registered in the Deeds Office annually. Its statistics are thus a reliable indicator of the state of the residential real estate market.

Issued by etc

Anne-Marie Bamber is Norgarb Properties dedicated Home Loans Consultant. She has over 15 years’ experience in assisting clients with their Home Loan needs and has placed many happy families in their dream homes.

Contact her today for no cost stress-free home-buying.
Anne-Marie Bamber
Home Loans consultant
Tel: +27 (0)21 851 3568 | Fax: +27 (0)21 441 1494 | Cell: +27 (0)82 071 1665

16 days of activism’ campaign 2018

“SA needs a ‘365 days of activism’ campaign; not just 16 days”

The safety of South Africa’s women and children is an important issue which should enjoy attention and focused action all year long, not just for 16 days at the end of the year.

So believes Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT. She was speaking ahead of the start of the annual “16 Days of Activism against Violence against Women and Children” campaign which stretches from 25 November to 10 December each year.

The 2017/18 Victims of Crime Survey showed how exposed South African women in particular are to crime – it estimates that women experienced 90,2% of the 36 451 incidents of sexual offences committed over the past year. The Survey, released in October by Stats SA, did not include children as part of their reporting.

“Crimes against our women and children should be rooted out, and this 16 days campaign certainly has value in again focusing our attention. However, our focus should extend to cover all 12 months of the year. We can do this by following basic safety tips and making sure we share these tips with our loved ones, and talk about safe personal habits throughout the year,” says Hattingh.

Many opportunistic criminals will be on the look-out for what they perceive to be ‘soft targets’. This means that being aware of your surroundings and potential threats is perhaps one of the most valuable lines of defence, she explains.

Hattingh offers the following pointers for women, which she recommends should be discussed and shared far and wide:
• Of utmost importance is to trust your instincts. Women have great intuition and should listen to their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area.
• Make contact with your private security service provider and ask them if they offer a mobile panic alarm service, which could be downloaded to your mobile phone.
• Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save to your mobile phone or memorise the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
• Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres, petrol stations, and the likes. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway, be it your own or a friend’s.
• If you are driving, the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside. Try and make your car a mobile-free zone so you can concentrate on your surrounds and keeping you and your family safe.

“There are also safety tips which we should share with our children, to help keep them safe from harm,” says Hattingh:

• They must always walk to or from school with a friend or friends. Stick to streets they know and never take short cuts through quiet areas or empty parking lots and never walk with cell phones and iPads in full view.
• If they get picked up at school, they should never leave the premises but always wait inside the school grounds for their lift to arrive.
• They must never get into a stranger’s car; even if the stranger claims that someone they love is hurt and that they have been sent to pick them up. Remind them that you would never send someone they don’t know to fetch them.
• Consider using a password system. If the person coming to collect you from school cannot repeat the password you and your child agreed on, they should not get into the car but immediately ask for help.
• If a stranger approaches them, they should not talk to them no matter how friendly they may seem. If someone tries to grab them, they need to fight, kick and shout out that the person is not their mom or dad.
• If your child does encounter any suspicious activity, encourage them to get a good look and memorise their physical details and clothing, as well as the vehicle they are in. Listen for any names or other details that might help identify them later.
• Make sure your children memorise their full names, address and phone number. Using a play phone, teach them when and how to dial 10111.
• Find out from your security company if they offer a mobile tracking app which can be downloaded on your child’s cell phone.  This is an effective way of alerting emergency service providers when you need them while also giving them your accurate location.

Issued on behalf of Fidelity ADT.

Manager - Harfield Village Community Improvement District (HVCID)
Cel: 081 412 6109   E-mail:


Willem Boonzaier’s recipe won the Sunday Times Goodlife Gautrain competition for desserts. It looks so delicious and has a “Christmasie” feel so here it is, for those who did not get this Sunday’s Sunday Times. It can be cooked on a stove or a potjie over a fire.

  • 240gms (2 cups) cake flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 punnet fresh dates cut in halves and stones removed
  • 15mls (1tbls) crushed nuts, not peanuts
  • A handful of maraschino cherries, chopped
  • 40ml (2 heaped tbsp) butter
  • 40 mls (2 heaped tbsp) apricot jam
  • 22.5mls (l½) bicarbonate of soda
  • 250mls (1 cup) fresh orange juice (or any other fruit juice
  • 750mls (3 cups) of water
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 375mls (1½) sugar

Sieve together flour, salt and ginger. Add dates, nuts and cherries and mix through. Melt butter and apricot jam in a small pan on the stove. Once melted, add bicarb and mix through. The mixture will foam. Add the foam to dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. The dough should not be too runny, nor too dry. Use fruit juice to achieve the right consistency. Add water, cinnamon and sugar to a large pot or medium potjie pot and bring to the boil. Add spoonfuls of dough to the boiling liquid and cover. Cook for 20 to 40 minutes until dark brown, taking care not to burn the mixture. Serve with fresh cream or ice cream.

Where have all the manners gone?

Here we are in November 2018, and I’m disheartened to admit that good manners are now, officially, rare. They’re heading down the route of the Rhino and Dodo – exploited into extinction by man’s greed and selfishness.

Let’s be honest, we’ve pretty much trashed most of our grand parents’ social etiquette. We disengage from day-to-day niceties by burying our heads in our phones. Many of us are bizarrely self(ie) obsessed – it’s all about “Me Me Me”. Violence is all too commonplace and cutting sarcasm is applauded. 

What the hell? Where have all the good manners gone?

Before my rant rockets off into an uncontrollable explosion, let me touch on a few examples.

- How often do you use ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ or ‘excuse me’?
- How often do switchboard operators leave a favorable impression?
- How many clients / customers / friends respond to an important email within 24 hours, if at all?
- How often do business associates return your call / message within 24 hours, if at all?
- How often do cashiers smile and make you want to return to the store?
- How often have you been rude or cutting to a server or employee?
- How often have you opened the door for someone, or stood aside to let them go first?
- How often are you late for meetings or social engagements?

It’s often the small things that build up to create a negative space. But isn’t there enough negativity? Demonstrating good manners reminds us to be aware of our environment and mindful of our actions. They slow us down a tad, forcing us to consider the feelings of others. They remind us of how we like to be treated ourselves.

When you treat someone well, they generally enjoy the experience. And life is too short not to insert as much kindness as you can.

With the festive and holiday season approaching let’s make it a point to choose kindness over irritation; to smile and make eye-contact with strangers; to verbally acknowledge the efforts of others, to complement and encourage; and generally treat our fellow South African’s well – regardless of their response or mood.

Image from Santoni.

And if you’re still not convinced, have a look at these wonderful quotes. Maybe they’ll do a better job of getting you thinking.

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”
- Clarence Thomas

“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.”
- Maurice Baring

“Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners.”
- Eric Hoffer

“Politeness is the art of choosing among one’s real thoughts.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Good manners are the social niceties that cement our society and prevent us from acting like a cage full of rabid baboons, squealing at the top of our lungs and touching ourselves inappropriately.”
  -  Richard Bronson

Remember - how you treat others leaves an impression, for good or for bad. What lasting impression would you like to leave?

Article by Madge Gibson, Harfield Village Resident

Keep your pets happy & healthy this festive season.

Summer is around the corner and the shops are already full of Christmas goodies and holidays are hurriedly being booked and kennels and catteries reserved.

Here is a check list to help make sure you and your pets have a fabulous Christmas and New Year without too many hiccups.


If you have booked your pet into a cattery or dog kennels take a good look around so you can be reassured that your pet will be well taken care of whilst you are away. Ask if it is possible to leave bedding or a favourite toy with your pet just so they have something familiar from home.

Before taking your pet to cattery/kennels:

• Ensure all vaccinations are up to date – this is for your own pet’s welfare
Most good kennels will ask for your dog to be vaccinated against Kennel cough
• Apply flea/tick treatment
• If your pet is on any medication be sure you have enough to last whilst you are away and that instructions are clear.
• Microchip your pet – disasters do happen!

If you plan to stay home this festive season below are some do’s and don’ts that may help avoid a mad
dash to the vet!

Think carefully before giving your dog/cat leftovers: try not to feed excessive amounts of leftovers! Christmas food is rich and not what your pet is used to eating. 

BONES! can cause constipation and obstructions.
Cooked bones are a definite no, no! Please do not feed them to your dog or cat! Cooked bones splinter easily and can cause damage to your pet’s mouth, oesophagus and intestines.
Onions are toxic to dogs even when cooked in the turkey stuffing!
PUDDINGS! Most Christmas style puddings contain ingredients that are toxic to your pet such as CHOCOLATE, fruit or alcohol. Chocolate contains theobromine that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle twitching among other symptoms and can be fatal.
XYLITOL the sugar substitute is highly toxic to your pet.
• A tiny amount of this substance can cause seizures,
• brain damage, hypoglycaemia and irreversible liver failure.
CHRISTMAS TREES! Cats love trees- especially Christmas trees! Baubles and decorations can be dangerous! If you have an inquisitive cat or dog, try to make sure that access to the tree is supervised!
• Don’t let your pets have access to rubbish bins or bags!
• Try to discourage visitors from feeding titbits to your pet, they may think they are being kind, but they won’t be there to clean up the diarrhoea or pay the vet bill!
Give your pet space – Christmas time can be hectic with a constant stream of visitors and your pet may become over active or anxious. Try to take your dog for a good walk before visitors arrive, a tired dog is a usually a good dog! Be especially thoughtful of your old pet, they may get disorientated if you have lots of visitors. Make sure there is somewhere quiet and safe they can go to chill, perhaps with that special doggy chew or cat toy /treat.

High on the list of pet presents you should consider buying for your pet this year that will make a huge difference:

* Micro chip
* Pet Insurance Policy

And of course, there are lots of different dog/cat treats and toys available too so spoil your pet and enjoy the special time you can spend together!

We Wish To Express Our Sincere Thanks For Your Continued Support!

     Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

47 Kenilworth Road, Cape Town
Telephone: 021-671-5018