Monthly News No 207

A little note from Sheryl..







The other day one of the Ja Bru boys asked “what is your impression of south Africa?”

My first impression was of death and road kill.

Well, one airport is fairly much like another, except for peter’s smiling face at this one. On the way home, we drove by two dead bodies and a couple if chunks of meat in the road, the result of a previous accident. This surprised me, as in America we clear the bodies first and then the vehicles. I hesitated to ask what was on the braai that evening.  ONLY IN AFRICA.

Some American misconceptions were cleared up on this trip.  For one, Africa is not a country.  Africa is a continent on which many countries reside, what we call African daisies are called that for a reason- Africa- get it? And in June it is not Africa hot as it is in my town because it is WINTER below the equator!

South Africa is a different country than Zambia, for instance. This was pointed out to me by the immigration man.  He said I needed a visa.  Well, I had done extensive research prior to my trip to see if I needed a visa for any of the countries I would visit.  A big NO for South Africa.  But this is NOT South Africa, he kindly explained and offered me a deal- two visas for the price of one- Zambia and Zimbabwe.  I took it, I love free stuff.

Having sorted that out, on my return trip I was very insistent on telling myself:  “This is another country; this is another country.”  I had to transfer planes at the Johannesburg airport and confidently walked to the international transfer’s window.  The man there looked at my ticket and kindly asked, “Where are you going?”

“Durban”, I replied. “Oh, you are in the wrong place.  You need to go out that door to the domestic transfers.”  “But I am going to South Africa.”  Softly, he told me, “You ARE in South Africa.”  “Which way did you say I have to go again?”

Not all natives live in the bush.  I met four such young men outside of my hotel, dancing and chanting with their leopard skin loin cloths.  I took an instant liking to them.  And they to me; calling me mother, and inviting me to meet their families.  So one day after work, “the boys” and I went into Livingston and I met the wives and kids.  While walking down the street with them, I noticed I was the ONLY white person within a 5 mile radius.  Mothers stopped with their children saying, “Now look here, Precious, there is a real live white person, just like in National Geographic.”  Those who had cameras took pictures.

I don’t always pay attention, but upon arriving at the Zambezi Sun resort, I committed the sign to memory, in case I had to find my way back by myself.  The next morning I took a helicopter ride to see what Victoria Falls really looked like as I could only see about the first 500 yards of it then it disappeared into solid mist and I couldn’t see anything.  On the way back, the driver stopped at let people off at the Royal Livingstone hotel, then pulled into another hotel with the name AVANI in big letters on its entrance.  I was sitting in the front seat while everyone was getting off the shuttle.  The driver came to open my door, and very sure of myself I told him: I’m not getting out here.”  “You’re not?” he asked me quizzically.  “No, this is not my hotel.” He slowly backed away from the vehicle and over his shoulder I recognized a few things.  I motioned for him to come back and whispered, “Is this the Zambezi Sun?”  “Yeeessss.” “But the sign says AVANI” “Yes, the name was changed today.”  I just can’t seem to anything right the first time these days.

Peter introduced me to a rare indigenous plant, the  cycad.  Upon seeing my first one, I ran into another about every 2 feet and became blood brothers instantly with several of them.  Everywhere I turned, there were cycads by the dozen.  Rare, my ass.  I think he was just yanking my fronds.

Far and away, the highlight of my African adventure was the kindness, good humour and special attention given me by my excellent hosts, Mara and Peter Peterson.  Second runner up is my induction into the Ja Bru brotherhood (which includes sisters).

It seems to me the only place white people work in South Africa is at Cato Electrical and its sister companies. And when they’re not working, they’re drinking nasty red shots of liquor at the G-Spot.

From Sherry the bartender, who always had a smile even though surrounded by idiots, to the Punchy guy who allowed me to step on his feet while dancing without even wincing, I love them all.


The invitation to visit me in America still stands, even though I think I know you well enough to be careful for what I ask.  Come singularly or all together, I’ll go buy some Jägermeister.

Maybe the Lurker will get out of his corner and cross the ocean. Even Bullocks can come if he gets over his fear of THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.


Hugh Coleman – Mechanical Manager

Hello all from the trench rats in Pmb. Things have been steadily going ahead with the normal minor hiccups; our cable route was shortened taking a short cut through a park. Well we were delighted giving each other high fives and jokingly saying well this is going to be a walk in the park and perhaps we will meet our deadline. We decided to do this at night what with it being an open area with no traffic, I marked the trench route and showed our nightshift driver what to do and left site at 9.00pm after watching him dig a few bucket loads.

I had just fallen asleep at around 11.00pm when I got a phone call that I never expected to receive; my famous night shift driver saying eish boss the rock is too hard here. So I asked him how many meters have you dug, replying only about three meters. By this time I was wide awake blood pressure over the top shouting at him saying that he doesn’t know how to drive properly and so and so on.

Anyway, the next morning I went in earlier than normal to see what he was talking about. Well I had to eat my words very humbly and apologise to the driver, even buying him a breakfast roll and a cup of coffee as there was volcano rock harder than hard. To cut a long story short we have had to get the rest of our trench blasted which has now put us even further behind being in PMB central with all the red tape.

Other from that we are three quarters of the way finished. When you see a huge cloud of dust and the whole earth is shaking you know that we are progressing with our blasting.

Have a productive month ahead.


Charmayne Meyer – Safety Officer

Mom’s and Dad’s Teach your children to be street smart from a young age, especially these days when more and more kids are going missing.

Do you know how to be street smart? Being street smart means knowing how to keep yourself safe from strangers when you’re alone or with other kids. Whether you’re walking to school or to the bus, hanging out on the playground, or riding your bike in your neighborhood, being street smart helps you stay safe. When you’re street smart, you know your way around, you know how handle yourself in tough situations, and you’re able to “read” people.

Imagine if a baby were able to walk around alone. The baby couldn’t understand a “Don’t Walk” sign, wouldn’t know where to go for help, and couldn’t find the way back home. What’s more, the baby might not know good people from bad people. The baby would be in danger.

Thank goodness you’re not a baby anymore! You know your way around and you know the rules of the road. The most complicated thing to learn is how to deal with strangers. But if you follow a few rules all the time and trust your instincts, you can be really street smart.

Who Are Strangers?

When you’re walking home from school, a person in a car pulls up and asks you for directions. At the park, someone says he needs you to help look for his lost puppy. These people may seem friendly, but no matter what they say to you, they have one thing in common: They’re strangers.

Most strangers aren’t dangerous and wouldn’t do anything to hurt kids. Unfortunately, though, some strangers can be dangerous, and it’s impossible to tell who’s OK and who’s not. A dangerous person doesn’t necessarily look scary or mean — the person might look nice.

That’s why it’s important to follow these safety rules all the time:

Make Your Whereabouts Known

The adult who’s taking care of you needs to know where you are at all times. That means telling your mom or dad, grandmother, babysitter, or whoever is keeping an eye on you where you are and when you’ll be coming home.

Stick With a Friend

It’s more fun and safer to do things with friends. Take along a buddy when you walk to school, bike around the park, or go to the store. Traveling with a friend whenever you can is a good idea, and traveling with a bunch of kids is even better.

Pick Out Safe Spots

What are safe spots? Safe spots are places where you can stop if you need help, like the houses of kids you know, your parents’ friends’ houses, stores, restaurants, police stations, libraries, and fire departments. When you’re walking or riding your bike, make a mental note of the safe spots along your route. That way, you’ll know where they are in case you ever need one.

Avoid Places That Aren’t Safe

Be sure to keep away from isolated areas. These are places where no one is around, like the woods or small, dark streets.

Signage and Maintenance

Roxy Roux – Maintenance Manager

Greeting’s once more from the department that is responsible for

keeping everything running





As usual the maintenance department once again had an interesting and busy month running around doing services and repairs at various hospitals throughout KZN.

The Noodsberg generator and panels have been installed and will hopefully be commissioned and up and running by the end of the month. Other generators like the 150kVA and 450kVA have also found their rightful place at G-Tex.

We have introduced a new job card system that will assist CREC to not only keep strict measurement of man hours and km’s travelled but to plan critical jobs more cost effectively. All maintenance staff was requested to adopt the system and add to the tight cost control measures within CREC.

No task is too big or too small for the Maintenance Department.

The Maintenance, Stores, Estimating, Signage, Sales and Marketing staff, have again done us proud in achieving most of the tasks successfully.

The G-Spot Pub & Diner

Taylea Petersen

Our ARB day on 25th July 2015 was a huge success! Thank you to everyone that attended and helped to make it as enjoyable as it was. Sadly South Africa lost the rugby, but better luck next year, right??

Thank you to ARB ELECTRICAL for sponsoring the lamb (again), we hope to see more of your employees at the next ARB day.

Thank you to DISTELL for the lovely hampers that you sponsored for our prizes. Well done to Clayton for winning two of them and to Callan for winning the third.

Thank you to Blaze for sponsoring 10kg’s of charcoal so that we didn’t have to eat raw lamb.































G-Spot has been very busy this past month and we just seem to be getting busier! People have been booking teas, lunches etc left right and centre.

Every Tuesday will officially be Braai n Dop day at The G-spot. We’ll supply the charcoal, you just supply your meat and labour.

We still have our Ja Bru Wednesdays, show up consecutively for 10 Wednesdays and become a shirted member (T&C’s apply).


7th-Alfredo Pasta

14th-Fish, Chips & Salad

21st-Chicken la King

28th-Ribs &Chips

Arnfred Nursery

With some of our landscaping projects coming to completion, herewith some pictures of the before and after, as promised in our last newsletter.

Garage Roof Garden before

Garage Roof Garden After Garage Roof Garden after 2





Roof Garden and deck before Roof garden and deck after


Front Door Garden after


Driveway after Driveway complete


We are also nearly complete with the Illovo Sugar Training Academy

Illovo Training Academy Illovo Training Academy 3 Illovo Training Academy 2





Reminder that our next open day will be on Sunday, 9th August from 9 to 2.


Cymbidium orchids




August Birthdays


Ghamiet’s Corner

Cato Ridge Electrical Construction Social Development Program

On Saturday the 18th July 2015 (Mandela Day) staff of CREC distributed warm meals to all 16 crèches in the township of Edendale in Pietermaritzburg.

Although CREC focus is providing quality education at the ECD (Early Childhood Development) phase we believe giving all a solid meal is saying we care as a company.

IMG-20150719-WA0003 (2)






Seen in the picture are parent’s enjoying a warm meal with their children in the crèches.

Word of the Month

Ambrose Williams

monthly word july


info extracted from:

A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to bean, egg and vegetable dishes. Both fresh and dried thyme is available in your local supermarket throughout the year. Along with fresh sprigs of parsley and bay leaves, thyme is included in the French combination of herbs called bouquet garni used to season stock, stews and soups.

Thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Only recently, however, have researchers pinpointed some of the components in thyme that bring about its healing effects. The volatile oil components of thyme are now known to include carvacoloborneolgeraniol, but most importantly, thymol.

Significant Anti-Oxidant Protection of Cellular Membranes

Thymol—named after the herb itself—is the primary volatile oil constituent of thyme, and its health-supporting effects are well documented. In studies on aging in rats, thymol has been found to protect and significantly increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other cell structures. In particular, the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes was increased after dietary supplementation with thyme. In other studies looking more closely at changes in the brains cells themselves, researchers found that the maximum benefits of thyme occurred when the food was introduced very early in the lifecycle of the rats, but was less effective in offsetting the problems in brain cell aging when introduced late in the aging process.

Thyme also contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigeninnaringeninluteolin, and thymonin. These flavonoids increase thyme’s antioxidant capacity, and combined with its status as a good source of manganese, give thyme a high standing on the list of anti-oxidant foods.

Time’s Up for Microbes with Thyme

The volatile oil components of thyme have also been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a host of different bacteria and fungi. Staphalococcus aureusBacillus subtilisEscherichia coli andShigella sonnei are a few of the species against which thyme has been shown to have antibacterial activity.

For thousands of years, herbs and spices have been used to help preserve foods and protect them from microbial contamination, now research shows that both thyme and basil contain constituents that can both prevent contamination and decontaminate previously contaminated foods. In these studies, published in the February 2004 issue of Food Microbiology, researchers found that thyme essential oil was able to decontaminate lettuce inoculated with Shigella, an infectious organism that triggers diarrhoea and may cause significant intestinal damage. In addition, washing produce in solution containing either basil or thyme essential oil at the very low concentration of just 1% resulted in dropping the number of Shigella bacteria below the point at which they could be detected. While scientists use this research to try to develop natural food preservatives, it makes good sense to include thyme and basil in more of your recipes, particularly for foods that are not cooked such as salads. Adding fresh thyme and/or basil to your next vinaigrette will not only enhance the flavour of your fresh greens, but will help ensure that the fresh produce you consume is safe to eat.

A Nutrient-Dense Spice

The range of other health-supportive nutrients found in thyme is also impressive. This food emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of vitamin A, and a good source of iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber.


A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is an herb we should all take time to investigate and enjoy. And with about sixty different varieties including French (common) thyme, lemon thyme, orange thyme and silver thyme, this herb is sure to add some spice to your life. Thyme leaves are curled, elliptically shaped and very small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide. The upper leaf is green-grey in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color. French thyme is known scientifically as Thymus vulgaris.


Thyme has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties. The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve their deceased pharaohs.

In ancient Greece, thyme was widely used for its aromatic qualities, being burned as incense in sacred temples. Thyme was also a symbol of courage and admiration with the phrase “the smell of thyme” being a saying that reflected praise unto its subject. Thyme’s association with bravery continued throughout medieval times when it was a ritual for women to give their knights a scarf that had a sprig of thyme placed over an embroidered bee. Since the 16th century, thyme oil has been used for its antiseptic properties, both as mouthwash and a topical application.

Thyme is native to areas such as Asia, southern Europe and the Mediterranean region and is also cultivated in North America.

How to Select and Store

Whenever possible, choose fresh thyme over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavour. The leaves of fresh thyme should look fresh and be a vibrant green-grey in colour. They should be free from dark spots or yellowing.

Even through dried herbs and spices like thyme are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing dried thyme, try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.

Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Dried thyme should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.

Tips for Preparing Thyme

Thyme, either in its fresh or dried form, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavour.

How to Enjoy

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Add thyme to your favourite pasta sauce recipe.
  • Fresh thyme adds a wonderful fragrance to omelettes and scrambled eggs.
  • Hearty beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans taste exceptionally good when seasoned with thyme.
  • When poaching fish, place some sprigs of thyme on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid.
  • Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.