Monday  2nd June 2014
–  The  Ascent  of  Man  :  ( Part  3 of 13 )
The  Grain  in  the  Stone
The wandering nomads cease their migrations and
settle in townships  to develop new skills.
10H00  at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator:  Alain  Leger   044-533-2963

Tuesday  3rd June 2014
–  Italian Conversation
09H45  at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator:  Brenda Hardy  044-533-5489

Wednesday  4th  June 2014
– Exploration  in  Africa  :  Know your Continent
Ian Michler, a wilderness expert guide and photojournalist,
talks about Africa, a continent most of us call home.
10H00  at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator:   Michael Lond   044-533-0018

Wednesday  4th  June 2014
–  U3A Plett  Social Bridge Club
Supervised bridge in a friendly atmosphere
with tips for improving your play.
13H45  at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator:  Michael Webb  082-226-7280

Friday  6th June 2014
–  French Conversation
10H00 at  7 Glennifer Street
Merle Decot   044-533-5879

Magic, comedy, dance and song in store at this year’s Plett Fringe Festival!

Dirt production pix by Andrew Brown 060 (3)

3x3 icon big girls

26th June – 1st July 2014

The Kids of Kurland Project and The Whitehouse Theatre in Plettenberg Bay will be hosting the 2nd Plett Fringe Festival from 26 June to 1 July  in conjunction the Plett MAD Festival 2014. Over the six days of the festival, performances will encompass music, comedy, magic, song and dance. All the acts will be presented at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown,  and the artists have again agreed to stop, en route to  Grahamstown, to stage their performances for the Plett Fringe Festival. The festival is in support of the Kids of Kurland, a project that seeks to raise funds for the children of Kurland village, an impoverished community some twenty kms from Plettenberg Bay. Prior to each performance, various bands will perform in the courtyard of The Whitehouse Theatre and a selection of refreshments and snacks will be on sale. A festival guide can be obtained at The Old House Shop and online at www.plettfringe.co.za.  Tickets can be purchased from either the Old House Shop or by contacting Ann Fermor at 082 452 8764.



You Bet Your Life! 0800


Teach Your Dog Tricks – Where to Start

There are several important issues to think about when you want to teach your dog tricks. Things like the amount of time you should spend on the tricks and what you should actually do when you want to teach the actual trick you are planning on. As a rule I say to make sure to teach your dog the action of the trick first. Then you can attach the command word to the trick. The rule is the same for any obedience dog training.

If your dog seems very uncomfortable with a trick, and does not seem to understand what you want or does not seem able to do as you want, after you have been working on it for a few days, then maybe skip this trick for now and move on. Think about how you are teaching this particular trick. Think about why the dog is not understanding it. Nevertheless, jumping back and forth from trick to trick is not a good idea. Although occasionally a dog just has trouble with one set of movements.

Do not try and train your dog on a trick that might interfere with a specific health problem. If your dog has back problems, then a trick such as rolling over might be too difficult. Do not force tricks on him. Test him and respect his limitations. If he thinks he is not living up to your expectations he will not enjoy the training either. Having success if makes training more fun for the dog as it does for you lol. Make sure that your training sessions are done without outside distractions and do not work on a trick for too long. Praise and reward your dog for performing what you asked of him. DO NOT punish him for not doing the trick correctly. Just keep working on it. Remember, always, this is for fun for both of you. The journey is not a race to hurry up and learn each new dog trick. This is a journey of enjoyment and learning together. Some dogs are cleverer than others and some learn some tricks very quickly. Sometimes your dog will learn a trick after just one session. However, do not rush into the next trick and teach him three on the same day. Stick to this same trick for a few days. It give a good success feel for the dog when he is repeating a trick. Just look at his waggling tail for your proof of his enjoyment. Doing tricks teaches you a lot about your dog and his potential. Training to do dog tricks can be very rewarding and a fun experience for your dog and you. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you enjoy this bonding experience with man’s best friend.



Lower-body Causes of Back Pain (and How to Fix Them) part 1

The prevalence of back pain in our society has reached epidemic proportions. Research shows that 80 percent of people will experience back pain at least once in their lives, impacting their ability to engage in activities they love and enjoy life to its fullest (American Chiropractic Association, 2013). Fitness professionals properly trained in corrective exercise are perfectly positioned to assist these people in getting out of pain. This first part of this article explores some possible lower-body causes of back pain and the second part offers corrective exercise solutions you can integrate easily into your personal training .
A Quick Look at How the Lower Body Should WorkWhen you are walking or running, you must transfer weight forward and from side to side as you step forward with alternating feet. Part of this weight transfer is possible because the feet have the ability to roll inward and toward each other (i.e., pronate). When the foot pronates, the ankle rolls in with it, which in turn helps rotate the lower leg, knee and thigh toward the midline of the body. The femur (i.e., thigh bone), which fits into the pelvis to form the hip socket, should also rotate inward in time with the lower leg, foot and ankle (Kendall et al., 2005).
When you are lunging forward you are also transferring weight into one of your feet. As with walking and running, this transfer of weight forward and in to the foot should be accompanied by ankle, leg, knee and hip motion forward and toward the midline of the body.
How Foot, Ankle and Hip Dysfunction Can Lead to Lower-back Pain
Let’s take a look at how dysfunction in any one of these areas of the lower body can lead to back pain. We’ll start with the feet and ankles. As you now know, pronation of the foot enables the ankle, lower leg and upper leg to roll inward. However, due to a whole host of possible causes like muscle weakness, musculoskeletal imbalances, past injuries, lifestyle activities, choice of footwear and the environment, most people overpronate (i.e., they collapse too much in their foot and ankle), and have done so for most of their lives (American Council on Exercise, 2010). Over time, overpronation leads to wear and tear of the joint structures of this area, which in turn leads to immobility of the feet and ankles. If these structures are unable to move correctly, they cannot transfer weight and/or dissipate impact forces correctly. Hence, other structures in the lower kinetic chain, like the hips, must compensate to get the job done.
However, the hips may not be able to help out effectively. Extended periods of sitting, whether at a computer, driving, eating, playing video games and/or watching TV, place the hip sockets in a constantly flexed position, which can also lead to movement restrictions in the hips. (Overdoing athletic movements that require only one or two ranges of motion for the hips, like bike riding or running, can also lead to myofascial restrictions and subsequent hip immobility.) If all these lower-body structures (i.e., feet, ankles and hips) lack the mobility to turn inward toward the midline of the body, the job of transferring the weight of the body forward when walking, running and/or lunging is displaced further up the kinetic chain to the pelvis and lower back.
The joints of the lower back are less mobile by design than the feet, ankles and hips. The lower part of the back contains a forward curvature, which naturally causes the front of the pelvis to tilt down approximately 10°. When the structures of the lower body are not working correctly and the pelvis and lower back must compensate, it results in a pair of interlinked deviations called an anterior pelvic tilt and excessive lumbar lordosis (Price and Bratcher, 2010). An anterior pelvic tilt is a tipping down and forward of the pelvis and excessive lumbar lordosis is an overarching of the lower back. These common deviations place added stress on the structures of the lower back and surrounding muscles, which causes fatigue over time and eventually leads to pain.
ReferencesAmerican Chiropractic Association (2013). Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study.American Council on Exercise (2010). ACE Personal Trainer Manual (Fourth Edition). San Diego, Calif.: American Council on Exercise.Golding, L.A. and Golding, S.M. (2003). Fitness Professional’s Guide to Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Human Movement. Monterey, Calif.: Healthy Learning.Gray, H. (1995). Gray’s Anatomy. New York: Barnes and Noble Books. Kendall, F.P. et al. (2005). Muscles Testing and Function with Posture and Pain (Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – PLETT  PILATES ; SPINNING & FITNESS STUDIO – 082 513 4256 )

New species of fynbos discovered in Robberg Coastal Corridor


A rare new species of fynbos has been identified in one of Eden to Addo’s Corridors, namely the Robberg Coastal Corridor – a 16km strip of land situated between Robberg and Harkerville in the Cape’s Garden Route.


Speculated to possibly only exist in a few coastal locations in the area this rare and undescribed species of the family Fabaceae – which has been called Psoralea vanberkelae  after Nicky van Berkel – is an exciting find and further entrenches the Robberg Coastal Corridor as home to several uncommon and unique plant species.


South African fynbos largely makes up the tiniest floral kingdom in the world and is found in a rim along the country’s southernmost reaches, never more than 200km from the sea.

South Africa’s conservation of fynbos is critical to the survival of this botanical treasure. Many fynbos species are specialists and some occur only on a few hectares – nowhere else. Encouragingly, 20% of this kingdom is officially conserved, but its sheer diversity means that much remains unprotected.


“The Robberg Coastal Corridor Landowners Association has been campaigning to have the area declared a Protected Environment,” explains Chris von Christierson, Chair of the Association.  “We hope that the discovery of Psoralea vanberkelae will help our cause.”


The discovery of this new fynbos species was confirmed by UK based Professor Charles Stirton who is an Honorary Research Associate from the Botany Department at UCT.  Professor Stirton visited the site specially in order to study the plant and has stated that it has the largest leaf glands in the genus.


“The Robberg Coastal Corridor is an important preserved piece of coastal vegetation and I fully support the campaign to get the area declared a Protected Environment,” said Stirton.



Monday  26th  May 2014
–  Shoreline  Series 2 :  Episode 2 of 13
Orange River to Lambert’s Bay
From the Diamond Coast southward towards Cape Town.
The settler history of Namaqualand & the shipwreck route are fascinating.
10H00  at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator:  Christo Vlok  044-533-5155

Monday  26th  May 2014
–  U3A Film Club
Behind  the  Candelabra
The last ten years in the life of pianist  Lee Liberace
and the affair he had with Scott Thorson.
It premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
18H15  at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator:  Brian  Hardy  044-533-5489

Tuesday  27th May 2014
–  Italian Conversation
09H45  at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator:  Brenda Hardy  044-533-5489

Wednesday  28th  May  2014
– Astronomy  for  the  Curious  Person ( Part  5 of 5 )
The Darkness of Big Words
An overall look at the Big Picture including Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Doesn’t  it nearly blow your mind to try and imagine the size of Space?
10H00  at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator:  Michael Lond  044-533-0018

Wednesday  28th  May  2014
–  U3A Plett  Social Bridge Club
General lessons for improving players, help
and supervised Bridge in a friendly atmosphere
13H45  at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator:  Michael Webb  082-226-7280

Friday  29th May  2014
–  French Conversation
10H00 at  7 Glennifer Street
Co-ordinator:  Merle Decot  044-533-5879

Tips On Potty Training For Puppies That Works

One more thing that you have to be aware of, puppies are like little kids, never show them you are upset with them no matter what they do. Just like a kid, if you get upset with a puppy, it will assume it has done something wrong and needless to mention, the process will be a bit slow and difficult on your side. Learn to appreciate and shower your puppy with praises.

1 – You should ensure your dog is in a tiled or concreted room to avoid accidents that will ruin your expensive carpet or rugs. Keep also in mind that your dogs need to sleep too, ensure you lay spread a comfortable warm bed where your puppy will be spending each night.

2 – Most people allow their dogs to eliminate outside, which is perfectly OK. At night though it could be cold and your dog could catch an

infection, so you should make plans, such as buying puppy pads and stuff so you start training on the pads. 3 – Ensure you designate a specific corner in the house where the puppy will be eliminating. Just like human beings, dogs too don’t like eating and playing where they eliminate. This therefore means that you should set a place which has some privacy. Each time your dog show signs of wanting to eliminate, you should take him there during the initial stages of training. Strap your dog and take it there all the time and within no time it will going there on its own.

4 – You should ensure there is a good routine to be followed. Thus create some daily routine that both you and your puppy will follow, from the time you wake up to the time you retire to bed, to the time you both eat, etc. One thing that is guaranteed to make your potty training difficult is your puppy getting confused and unable to predict what the day schedule is like. If you maintain a good routine, your puppy will soon catch up with you and start following everything in order.

As a rule of thumb, if your puppy does not eliminate the first few times you take it to the designated spot, never play with it. You want to communicate that eliminating is an important and serious business. So, if he does not eliminate, take him back to his sleeping area and confine him there. If he does eliminate, shower him with praises so he knows he has done something good.

Hip Flexors vs Abdominal Muscles


If you take Pilates classes or fitness class you might hear the phrase, stay out of your hip flexors. What does that mean? And can you do it? First, the hip flexors are a group of muscles that bring the thigh and trunk of the body closer together. You use your hip flexors in many daily activities like walking, stepping up, and bending over. Technically, the hip flexors are the illiacus, psoas major, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius muscles. Obviously, we need our hip flexors. But we usually don’t need them as much as we use them in ab exercises. Here is the problem: When we exercise to target the abs, as we do in Pilates, we do exercises that decrease the distance between our thigh and trunk – think sit ups, roll up, leg lifts. Now the hip flexors are a strong group of muscles, and they try to take over. So we end up working our hip flexors more than our abdominal muscles! This is one of the ways that you can do 500 sit ups and not have a single one of them truly target your abs. You know the kind of sit ups where you put your feet under something that holds them down and do a whole bunch of sit ups with an almost flat back? Guess what? Mostly hip flexors.  Pilates people run the same risk with the many flexion (forward bending) exercises we do. So how do I get out of my hip flexors? The answer isn’t simple. A lot of us have to work on the hip flexor habit constantly. For one thing, you can’t really leave the hip flexors entirely out of most ab exercises. They are still an important part of the picture. The idea is to get the abs involved as much as you can and to keep the hip flexors from taking over. Our first line of defense is always awareness. When you do Pilates or other ab focused work, put your attention on your abdominal muscles. Start to figure out for yourself what feels like abs and what feels like hip flexors. It might help to familiarize yourself  with the abdominal muscles and their functions. Work also with being aware of how over tucking the pelvis can bring the hip flexors in to play. Low back pain and soreness in the groin area may be signs that you are weak in the abs and over-using your hip flexors. Another clue is not being able to keep your feet and legs down when you do a sit up or roll up. Do you see the logic in that one? What’s happening there is that the abs aren’t strong enough to do their up-and-over contraction, but we’ve told the body to get the trunk and thigh closer together, so the hip flexors take over and the feet fly up. (Tight hamstrings play a role too) The other side of hip flexion is hip extension. It is important to have the muscles of hip flexion and hip extension work together in a balanced way and many of us have weak hip extensors. These basic Pilates exercises can help increase awareness and set the foundation for abdominal strength and body mechanics that balance ab and hip flexor use: Knee Folds: In knee folds, we use the abdominal muscles to stabilize the pelvis so that we can feel the subtleties of the hip flexors at work. In knee folds we also try to keep our big muscles, like the quadriceps of the thigh, out of the exercise as much as possible. Chest Lift: Chest lift engages all the abs but it feels more like an upper-ab exercise. In it, we stabilize the pelvis in a neutral position and move just the upper body in isolation. Your hips and legs should stay still and do not grip. If the hip flexors start to get over-involved, you might have a sense that your knees want to pull toward your chest, or tightness in the groin and thigh. Supported Roll Back: This exercise invites a deep abdominal scoop. Right there you feel those abs. As you begin to roll back, You might sense a point where the hip flexors want to grab the movement. You can feel that at crease of your thigh. As you roll down, the hip flexors will have to do some stabilizing, but try to maintain a focus on rolling down and controlling with the abs. Thinking of getting some space between the top of the thigh and the lower abs can help. The Hundred Modified: The full hundred calls for the legs to be extended. The hip flexors often see that as a call to over-action. Work with the hundred in a modified position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, or legs in table top. That way you can focus on using the abdominals. As you work with increasing your awareness of the relationship between the abs and the hip flexors, you will discover that there is reciprocity in terms of one set of muscles doing the stabilizing of the trunk or pelvis while the other set moves. What we want to achieve is muscular balance, better functionality, and ultimately more choices about how we move.

Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •

Hip Extension Basics

Glutes, Hamstrings, and Why You Need Hip Extension Exercises Hip extension involves some of our strongest muscles. It is an important part of stabilizing our pelvis, much of our daily movement, and a source of great power for sports and exercise. Unfortunately, many of us are losing the power of hip extension. In this article we talk about what hip extension is, why we need it, and how we can strengthen our hip extensors. What is Hip Extension?Simply put, hip extension happens when we open our hip joint. We are extending our hip anytime we increase the angle between the thigh and the front of the pelvis and that can start from any degree of flexion. We are actually in hip extension when we are standing as our hip is open, and when the leg goes to the back. The Muscles of Hip ExtensionYou  know all those popular “butt exercises” that have us lifting our legs to the back in various positions? Those are hip extension exercises. They are great for toning the buttocks because the gluteus maximus (butt muscle  is a primary muscle of hip extensions. The deeper layer of the glute is the most significant in hip extension. The hamstrings — long head (not short head) biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus — are also prime movers in hip extension. Gluteus medius and adductor  magnus assist hip extension. The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles of the body and hamstrings are, or should be, naturally strong as well. With those two as prime movers you can see that hip extension has the potential to be very powerful. We use hip extension a lot in daily life to stabilize the pelvis and propel us forward in activities like walking, standing up, and stair stepping. Athletes, of course, call on even more power from hip extension in running, jumping, swimming and so on. Why We Need Hip Extension ExercisesWhy  then, when two of the most powerful muscles in the body are involved in moves we make everyday, do so many of us need hip extension exercises? There is an “if you don’t use it, you lose it (or it spreads as the case may be) component here. We don’t make enough hip extension moves in our daily lives and those we do make aren’t challenging enough or done properly enought to keep our glutes and hamstrings toned and strong. Modern lifestyles have far too many people sitting for long periods of time and many not exercising at all. There is another dynamic influencing our need for hip extension exercises which is that hipflexion — a decrease in the angle between thigh and pelvis — is literally taking over in our lives and workouts. Sitting a lot tightens our hip flexor muscles and weakens our hamstrings (tight hamstrings are weak). Just the opposite of what we need for full, powerful hip extension. And, the focus of much popular exercise is on hip flexion without balancing that out with hip extension. An Example would be cycling (including indoor spinning) where there is never a full hip extension. Additionally, the current obsession with ab exercises has many people confusing their hip flexors with their abdominal muscles or at least working hip flexors a lot without regard to strengthening the muscles needed to balance out hip flexion, the hip extensors. One answer to tight hip flexors is stretching, which is great, but it is not enough. The flexors and extensors have to work together to keep the pelvis neutral and allow powerful and safe range of motion through the hip. Hip Extension ExercisesNow that you have a basic introduction to the idea of hip extension, which muscles and involved, and why it is important (beyond the better butt) let’s talk about exercises that promote hip extension. Full hip extension exercises work the major muscles of hip extension,

the glutes and hamstrings , by taking the leg back behind the pelvis thus opening the hip more. Pilates swimming  is an example. Often, exercises meant to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings employ resistance from exercise equipment, body weight or gravity. Examples of both full extension and resistance exercises are below. Pilates, a system of fitness that emphasize balanced musculature, has a lot of exercises that work hip extension. The Pilates approach is particularly beneficial as it is full-body awareness exercise that protects the back and stabilizes the hips as you move thereby strengthening and integrating the whole structure. This attention to detail is quite relevant in hip extension as there is a strong tendency to cheat full hip extension exercises by tilting the pelvis to the front (anterior tilt), increasing our lumbar (lower back) curve and “impersonating” a hip extension which puts a lot of pressure on the back. Or, we find ourselves giving way to the leg going back by leaning forward — that’s not really working the glutes and hamstrings. Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •


How To Stop Your Cat Scratching The Furniture

If you have ever owned a cat, you are sure to know all about their claws and how they use them. Cats use their claws for traction, climbing, accelerating, moving, turning quickly, defending themselves and even for such mundane activities as cleaning up after using the litter box. It’s part of their natural activity. Just watch a cat chase a toy in play and you’ll see how they use their claws to grip, pull and rapidly change directions. All cats routinely scratch at things with their front feet. The main reason is to sharpen the front claws and to help shed the old outer husk-like layers. Scratching also exercises and strengthens the muscles in their front paws. Your outdoor cat will often use a tree to scratch at, but if your cat is confined within the home, he will look for alternatives, like furniture or carpeted stairs, especially the vertical surfaces.

Get a Scratching Pole

If your cat is an indoor cat, you will need to provide a safe outlet for this behavior with some sort of scratching post. These are typically pads, posts or poles covered with carpet or made of compressed cardboard. They vary in price from a few dollars for a small scratch pad to elaborate “condo” units covered in carpet with built in toys that can run into the hundreds of dollars. They can also be made at home inexpensively from scraps of lumber and carpet remnants. .

The key is to begin training your cat to scratch in the appropriate areas while they are young and you can begin this by rubbing some catnip where you want the cat to scratch. This is usually enough to start developing the habit.

If you have left it too late for this behavior training, or you have a new addition that may not have been properly trained, you will to be quick to catch your cat in the act of scratching your furniture. You then take your cat to its alternative scratching post or pad and reward its use with praise, plenty of affection and a few treats. This may take some time and

effort, so a little patience will go a long way. While in training, you can protect your furniture by using throws or sheets to deter your cat. You can also wrap specific areas with tin foil, sticky shelf paper like Mac-Tac or even use a natural repellent spray like citronella. Also, provide lots of toys and games to keep your cat from getting bored.

Just A Trim, Please

Trimming your cat’s claws regularly is another way to reduce the damage that a cat may do. However, you have to be very careful that you don’t clip too far, into the ‘quick’ of the nail as it will cause bleeding and pain. The best time to do this is when your cat has developed a high level of trust with you and is very relaxed. It’s best with two people, one holding the cat, talking gently and being affectionate and the other clipping the nails quickly. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, have your cat’s claws trimmed at the groomers on a regular basis.

De-clawing a cat is highly discouraged as it is a serious surgical operation, and not a matter to be taken lightly. A cat without claws is at a big disadvantage when going about its daily life. He is likely to be clumsy and at risk of hurting himself or being unable to defend himself. Many Veterinarians will no longer perform this procedure as it often results in aggressive behaviors once performed.

Many people think that you cannot train a cat and this is simply not true. With some time and a little patience, most cats will quickly learn whatever behavior you are trying to instill. Using these tips, you will be able to enjoy your cat and your furniture without worry.•