Thursday evening was the first chance I had, since we moved in last weekend, to sit out on the front porch with a cigar and a whiskey, and allow a new sense of place slowly to sink in. The little patch of lawn, the high white garden wall and the arcing branches of the trees above, sketched against the evening sky, seemed calm and still, and I found my thoughts turning to how much has happened and is about to happen, in this memorable year of change and transition.

As the cigar smoke trailed into the air, and the whiskey rasped in my throat, I thought how pleasant it would be, to sit out here with my dad, amiably smoking our cigars and sipping our whiskies, chatting about this and that. I wanted to talk to him about my new consultancy, and compare notes from his own days as a businessman, starting up his own companies, trying to make a go of it. I wanted to chat about the divorce, reminisce with him about the difficult times long past and the hope and happiness I feel now, as Rob and I plan our wedding. We would joke about marriage, and wives, in a blokish but ultimately affectionate and appreciative way, and he would tell me, I know, how glad he is that there is a good and loving woman in my life, at this stage of my life.

And as I sat there chatting to my dad, in my head, I thought how reasonable and understandable it was, that so many cultures and societies around this planet of ours should see the ancestors as their friends and guides, their protectors, those who intercede on their behalf with the angry and jealous gods.

Somewhere up there, I know, the old boy was listening.