Pub closure marks ‘end of an era’ Edenhof hou volgende naweek basaar
NIEU-BETHESDA — This weekend marked the end of an era in Nieu-bethesda as ‘Die Ramstal Pub’ closed its doors to the public after a busy 13 years of food, drink, music and memories. Proprietors Ian Alleman and Katrin Kundig recently sold ‘Die Ramstal’ and ‘The Karoo Lamb’ restaurant and will settle into a ‘quieter’ life in Nieu-bethesda, continuing with their accommodation interests in the village. Twenty years ago, after extensive travel through Africa, including exploring the Congo and Antarctica, setting up a backpackers in Port Elizabeth, Ian practising as a vet and adding their vivacious daughter Lynn to the family, they decided that Nieu-bethesda was the place to start ‘a life less ordinary’ and bought a property which became the first backpacking establishment in the village. Swiss-german by birth, Katrin brought efficiency and good business sense to the village, teaching some villagers to make bread and establishing valuable working relationships with crafters and other businesses in the village. Ian soon became synonymous with the art of potjie making, and his barefoot form, topped with an old tin hat, was seen outside in the street most evenings as he cooked up various gastronomic delights. The potjies themselves were fascinating guineafowl, affal, hartebeest, ostrich and rabbit all found their way into Ian’s voluminous black pots over the years. Slowly purchasing other buildings which they transformed into guesthouses, Ian and Katrin realised that there was also a need for a pub in the village. They took over ‘Die Waenhuis’ from Sakkie Retief for a few years, and slowly a culture of large pints of Black Label in a convivial, smoky atmosphere was born. The pub became a weekly meeting place for locals - a spot to watch rugby and ‘kuier’ away into the night, and soon Ian and Katrin purchased Elize Pienaar’s beautiful old barn over the road from the Owl House which they renovated into a stylish, airy restaurant. The old stable tucked behind, became ‘Die Ramstal’ - the charm of this place being that it was rough and ready and authentically Nieubethesda – and the people who frequented it were true Bethesdans too. What made the restaurant and the pub such a success was that it was always open and was frequented by characters. Under the excellent management of Ronel Vywers and Charmaine Eddin who took bookings, served customers, cooked food and managed the restaurant, the place flourished. Ronel and Charmaine also leave the food business and will continue to run the accommodation affairs and both say that they are looking forward to a slower pace of life! Barman, Boetie Bester, also now steps down from his permanent post behind the bar where he too managed affairs with a quiet, efficient dignity, meticulously carrying the ‘skuld’ list over to each new page at the end of every evening’s festivities! Ian and Katrin believed in giving back to the village that sustained them. Their annual ‘Midwinter’ party was held on the solstice each year and people came from far and wide to indulge in complimentary potjies, booze and music. They also made it their mission to fill the valley with really really good music. One would sometime have to pinch oneself as one was part of a relatively small audience listening to legends such a Koos Kombuis, Vusi Mahlasela, Steve Newman, The Radio Rats, Laurie Levine - and most recently the Stone Jets, to name a few! Boetie Bester’s Garlic festivals will also not be forgotten as well as the fact that the pub became the hub for the annual Pump Palooza. Ian and Katrin were integral in setting up both the Community Tourism Organisation as well as more recently a Neighbourhood Watch. But it is the fellowship of the pub that will be missed the most - be it those who frequented it often, or those for whom it was an anonymous space where everyone accepted the other and village politics mostly side-lined. The pub will be missed by the four-legged village dogs who cavorted and sniffed and greeted as if for the first time. Yet the stories will remain etched as many a memory – tales of bloodloss and breakage, the feeling of belonging, a place to vent, to listen to laugh, to mourn. So as the old door creaks closed for the last time, and the posters of events gone by sway in the smoky rafters, the village thanks Ian and Katrin for the good times and the memories and the music, and the place where so many found a sense of belonging, and wishes them well in their different endeavours in the future. Edenhof Dienssentrum, ‘n aftreeoord in Graaff-reinet, se jaarlikse basaar sal op Saterdag, 3 November gehou word. Die basaar sal 09:00 die oggend afskop op die tehuis se perseel op die hoek van Somerset- en Cradockstraat. Volgens Martie Bekker, bestuurder van dié tehuis, sal daar op dié dag heerlike kos te koop wees vir middagete. “Daar sal verskillende tafels wees met kleinkoekies, groot koeke, roosterkoeke, basaar-poedings, kerrievis, kerrie-en-rys, vars vleis, koffie en tee, en vele meer te koop wees,” sê Bekker. Alle verkope op dié dag is ten bate van die tehuis. Almal is welkom om die basaar by te woon en die tehuis te ondersteun. Vir meer inligting oor die basaar, kontak Martie Bekker by edenhof22@ gmail.com of 049 892 3440.
Proprietors Katrin Kundig and Ian Alleman Ronel Vywers and Charmaine Eddin. with