This post is more in the nature of the story to accompany the pictures I have published in picasa. The build up was, as always, hectic. Work is all-consuming and I am so enjoying the break from it. I have a new colleague who will work half-time and hold the fort in my absence so that is all good with the support of the wonderful SRO and other colleagues on the floor.
The highlights so far have been – the flight far south to avoid the westerlies and giving views of the frozen ocean… I am imagining it was the Southern Ocean and the pictures were taken out of the plane windows… I found it dramatic and inspiring to be reminded of the might of nature – to freeze the ocean! and then create the wonderful shapes and profiles depicted in the pictures. Then the shot of Ruth brushing Roxanne’s hair – takes us to the next highlight – to be in Johannesburg and in touch with some of my nearest and dearest.
Pursuing that theme I had a day in Johannesburg which was pretty full on with Kirsten in her usual methodical way ploughing through her lists en route to her take-off to London. We had a wonderful catch up coffee and snack at her favourite coffee shop at Benmore, Cafe Fresco. Then children to be fetched, food to be prepared… and the dress for the wedding to be completed. We were dropped at ORTambo airport in the cold pre-dawn dark on Friday morning, me to head for King Shaka and her to Heathrow.
Mary was waiting for me and we headed NE to Eshowe and a marvellous weekend with my ‘baby’. Now a teacher in a decent high school where she is respected and well mentored. I sat in on her classes, observed her manage some very lively 13 year old boys as they constructed their ‘castles in the sky’ made of cake and icing, a number of pictures were taken to illustrate this event. So nostalgic for me I love that age group and to be in an African classroom again was terrific. The school is not African, has quite a diverse student population but the classes I saw were mostly African – something to do with their choice of second language I believe. So ended the cake – off, the final project in their Design and Technology class for that term. We moseyed around the town, went to the Saturday morning market where we ate good breakfast food, bought a wonderful hat each, bumped into some of the partygoers we had met at the braai the night before, also a nostalgic occasion in the sense that there were people there who had known people I had known… so back to chats about uni days and adventures. Then on to the Butterfly Dome – a wonderful community project in the museum precinct, again lots of pictures, the Fort, Miner’s Hut and the Boardwalk in the Dlinza Forest. The little grey duiker who almost didn’t mind being near us, the marvellous forest trees, very like the rain forests of SE Queensland, the hornbills and the sun setting to guide us back to the beginning. We almost lost the way but fortunately got out of the forest before dark and in time for the Bokke England Test at the George. A very pleasant pub, again some new old friends from the braai to help us enjoy ourselves were there.
Sunday morning took us to Mtunzini to meet my friend Lallie at the Fat Cat – lovely reunion – and the beautiful grey heron in the picture, then on to Durban. Not fair to judge the city on the small piece I saw that day but it was a shock to see a dead palm branch sticking up in the road in the middle of an intersection to warn motorists to avoid a huge metre-wide and very deep hole in the road. Sunset on the way back to Eshowe was captured and then a day preparing for the PD workshop with the EHS staff and pottering in the town and back to King Shaka and the flight to Cape Town.
It hits me in the mental gut every time I drive into Cape Town after an absence, I am coming home. Can’t imagine why – I do not live there and haven’t for 11 years and have called many places home in my more than 60 years of life… but this one is it. Rellies joined me for breakfast, always a treat, then Tam and I headed off for Oudebosch at the Kogelberg…http://qwerkie.blogspot.com/2012/06/greater-cape-town-area-offers-rich-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Qwerkie+%28qwerkie%29, the link to her blog. It will be sufficient commentary for the pictures.
Back to CT via Somerset West and a visit with Joe’s last surviving Aunty – she is 97 years old, and one of his cousins and dinner with more rellies – the last pictures. I can’t believe that i didn’t take any pictures of being ‘at home’ on Thursday – was so blessed with visits from old friends who took the trouble to come out on a foul day and to bring vittles for sharing. No wonder this place is home. Thank you all you lovely people. Tam’s house is a welcoming place in Observatory, and it was lovely to see some of her stuff that I had previously met in Dubai and to feel so proud of the home she has made. It also includes some of the stuff that I had lived with until Joe and I parted. Funny how some possessions reflect and resonate with events and sudden memories. Mary too has some such stuff, like the bed Joe and I were given as a wedding present and I had not slept in it for 20 years.
Altogether I am feeling so proud of my girls, they are all so competent, driving me around, hosting me… doing well in their worlds. The next week was on duty with the little girls, but Ruth and I managed to do a fair bit of shopping for stock as well as clothes for me. That was terrific, so loved the wonderful exchange rate! Highlightgs from that week were a morning with some school friends, two of whom I had not seen for 49 years… but there is a blog post in that on its own; a one on one with another school friend and time with two sets of cousins… fabulous to catch up with people who have been part of my life for ever. The children were wonderful and terrific company. Then the parents returned and we entered the final week of my holiday with more visits and time spent bonding with my children and their children. Some overwhelming impressions were how cold it is in Johannesburg in June/July; how wonderful the shopping is; how I love the population diversity; how much i value the friends and family I spent time with and how terrific it was to experience being valued by them.
Now back in Australia and it all seems completely ephemeral – I fell ill as soon as I returned, and am only now feeling able to live again. Have to think about the meaning of life and how to value it more.