The start of Xmas in July

Fred remembers how it started

Hallo Tony

I cannot remember whether I did send you this little 3 part conversation between myself and Fred? 

Purely nostalgia and for fun – really not for publication, harmless reminiscence between old Hogsbackians.  Special.

Anleen Louw

Border Wild Coast Francishee

From: Fred Tyler [ ]
Sent: 06 June 2014 02:33 PM
Subject: Xmas in July

 Hello Anleen, I trust all is well with you!

 I see that “Xmas in July” is coming up once again,

I hope it goes well.

I recently heard from someone local that it is being said that you were the originator of “Christmas in July” and I then told this person how Christmas in July started in the early 1990’s

It originated from the group of local tennis players, all of the Hogsback Garden Club, who played tennis every week here at my home on Saturday mornings. I believe you and Tobie also joined us at for tennis at it’s earlier stages.

There had been a substantial departure of the club’s members and the question was how to get more support and membership. Joanne and I had a lot to do with the idea of having a “Christmas in July” dinner at my home which would be “free” to all new members to the garden club.

The success of this was overwhelming and 76 locals sat down to Christmas dinner here in my home that Saturday night, more than half new members. I recall that you and Tobie were also there.

The Garden club continued this event for many more years and it helped to keep the membership up for some time to come until it became too costly in providing free meals!

After this, I believe, the hotels picked up on the idea and kept it going!

Regards, Fred  (Tyler)

I’m part of the 49Million initiative.

From: Anleen Louw []
Sent: 06 June 2014 04:45 PM
To: ‘Fred Tyler’
Subject: Nostalgia… and Xmas

Hallo Fred

So very good to hear from you.  Trusting you are well? Have not seen you in so long. Your note has certainly brought great memories back. J

I remember that wonderful Christmas meals at your house!!!

 Our eldest daughter Cato actually made her Hogsback social debut at that occasion – as it was the first time we brought her as tiny babe out at night.

 I might be wrong , but do remember it as happening in June?  No biggie.  Not sure about the garden club’s activities, as sadly I did not then, and still do not, possess a green thumb.

 So in that sense, “Christmas in July” was indeed your idea J

 However, that was one of the many locals get togethers.  O what a great time it was…. Do you remember the fantastic Sunday lunches. Was it the Kings’ Lodge (Maythams) that did those fantastic sea-food offering once a month. Or the Fort Harian get-together at the pub on a Thursday evening…

 I recently heard from Jennie Currie (Kenton) of someone writing their memories of Kasouga holidays down,,, then systematically mailing it to others to add their bits of memory to the bigger picture. Your note has the same stunning feeling…

 My memory of Xmas as public  commercial festival (attracting outsiders) was the result of a group of Hogsback ladies having a brainstorming tea-party at Ingrid Luyt’s house, discussing ways and means of levelling out the valleys experienced by the mountain and esp accommodation owners.

 Challenges that made the slow season tourism situation more dire was: .

  • ·          At that stage the one and only (!) festival was the highly successful Garden Festival (conceived and ran by Anton and Gwynneth!!) – once a year in September- by far not enough to sustain tourism
  • ·         Kat Leisure had just bought Katberg and was running a shuttle service to Katberg, seriously eroding our visitor numbers to Hogsback
  • ·         Tiffendale started stealing our snow tourists with their snow machine

 At this four teapot session we looked at when the mountain had NOT a single visitor (first weekend after schools reopen in July, or a weekend in Feb) and what we could do.

 Given that we had no tourism assistance of any kind from anywhere it was suggested (by Tobie nogal!) that we capatalise on what we have and does not cost us anything…. Good food (and that must have been influenced by the tennis club) and icy/even snowy weather.

 I cannot even recall who all sat around that table, but somewhere along the line we all are influenced and inspired by others before and around us.

 What the local might have meant to say is that I was the “originator” of the weekend festival? Even that would not be strictly true. Whereas I have certainly been the organiser for the last 15 year, there is a whole crowd of locals and outsiders who have all worked very hard at getting where it is…

 I long for those far gone years- it was great fun and a learning adventure to have been part of the mountain community pioneers! I have learnt so much about community spirit and initiative from you all.

 Best wishes- maybe we should share a cuppa/glass sometime soon? Might rehash some more memories.

 Thanks so much for this. Blessings

 Anleen Louw


Border Wild Coast Francishee
Cell: 082 200 3489


From: Fred Tyler []
Sent: 09 June 2014 10:42 AM
To: Anleen Louw
Subject: Your email:

Hello Anleen,

That was a very speedy and informative reply to my email to you! Thank you!

Your recall of memories of the past helped me to recall them too.

Christmas in July” was always held in July from the very first one at my house and as I have said started as a means to improve the membership of garden club. Your recall of the beginnings of the Spring Festival; it was started by myself and Diana Graham at the opening of an exhibition of local painting at Arminel during the early 1990’s. We brought Gwyneth onto the committee as she was an Opera singer. I was the chairman of this committee for about 2 years and resigned as the event was moving away from being

an “Artistic” event to a commercial one. The first meeting of this committee was held here at my house.

There seems to be a “controversy” simmering here at Hogsback re: your association with the promotion of events held here, something I have heard about only recently. Having seen the notice in “the Hogsback Computer News” re: a meeting on this coming Tuesday

to discuss the ideas for the coming “Christmas in July”, prompted me to email you as previous. I am sure that it could be more than 20 years ago that you and Tobie came to live at Hogsback and a great many of the present residents are comparative new-comers.

Hogsback has always had “constantly roving group of residents”, many of whom have had “a lot to say about how to run Hogsback” while they have lived here! Of course they are entitled to voice their opinions.

If the issue of the origins of “Christmas in July” should be raised at the meeting tomorrow I would suggest that you tell the meeting exactly how it started and after fading out to some degree over the years, that you actively participated in it’s re-emergence as a particularly

Hogsback event” with a view to helping, in particular the Hogsback business community, to attract tourists.

In fact it might well be best to state this at the beginning of the meeting, which may well silence some or all of those “intending critics”.

I am very “out of” the happenings at Hogsback these days and have been for many years, although I still have many friends here.

You are welcome to visit me any time, but phone me first, cell , it would be nice to see you.

Much good luck and good wishes.



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