With a multitude of whistles and thunder claps cracking through the night air, upon which immediately followed explosions of brightly coloured light, we welcomed in the new year of 2010.

Landscape photo of the fireworks on Lambertsbay beach on new years evening

Standing on the beach of Lambertsbay, a small fishing village 350km north of Cape Town, we watch the impromptu display of communal fireworks lighting up the evening sky. It was a perfect ending to a busy, taxing and yet rewarding 2009.

The year of 2009 brought many challenges, with the world economic recession topping the list. Like all businesses we had to tighten the reigns and critically examine our operational and financial procedures. This proved to be a worthwhile exercise and with Basil’s newly blossoming MBA knowledge we managed to clean house very effectively. Looking back, the team is much more focussed and our patients will definitely see the benefits in 2010.

Probably for me the most exciting part of 2009 was building the new lab. After a year of planning we finally completed a 36 square meter mini-lab in October 2009.

The lab allows the practice to do all our spectacle glazing in-house. With the purchase of the Nidek Lex 1000 edger and driller for the lab we are capable of performing any and all types of complex nylor and rimless fitting at the practice, all within a same day service. Nick has proven to be a master at fitting high base curve ophthalmic lenses, developing new techniques for the new Nidek edger. Hopefully we will see some of that genius being posted on the blog this year! …That’s a hint, Nick.

Photo showing the mini glazing lab at Charl Laäs Optometrists

The lab also hosts a complete repair station complete with a pencil flame soldering unit, miniature drill and polishing equipment and a whole collection of colour matching metal paints. Johann has quickly made this section his own and most of the time it is now impossible to tell where he has done the repair on a frame.

The practice re-opens on the 4th of January 2010. As I take 3 days of well deserved rest, my opinion, the family spends some sun filled days lazing on the beach and catching some Crayfish. That’s West coast rock lobster for the none initiated!

Roan and Jean playing with the Crayfish

Looking ahead to 2010 it fills me with excitement. The world economy looks optimistic in the long term and the sentiment of the financial sectors seems to be improving.

South Africa will play host to the FIFA World Soccer Cup. Although some people are very critical towards the world soccer tournament, I see it as a great opportunity to show case South Africa as a safe, premium holiday destination.

I am however concerned that so many people are expecting to make a quick Rand out of the overseas visitors during the tournament. People should be careful to overcapitalise themselves in the hope to recuperate the money during June and July.

According to a recent article I read, FIFA is only expecting between 700 000 to 1.5 million overseas visitors to South Africa during the soccer world cup. It is important to note that a big percentage of the tournament income comes from syndicated broadcast rights and sponsorships and not from ticket sales. Historically most of the hosting countries only recuperated their expenses five years after the tournament ended. I don’t expect South Africa to be much different!

So as we start the countdown to soccer fever, I would like to wish all the family and friends of the practice a blessed new year, filled with love, happiness, peace and a true sounding vuvuzela