A month exactly from today, December 21st, Rob and I will be taking our vows, still to be written, but written already, I suspect, in our skin and touch and the way we have come to look at each other. On Tuesday, it will be four weeks to the day. Whichever way you look at it, we are entering upon the final straight.

Important stuff, for us – but, as Tolstoy said, all happy families are happy in the same way, and who wants to hear about other people’s happiness?

Nora's coffee table

For those who do, and for those especial friends of Rob’s, across the water in autumnal Canada, who were so generous when we were there together in August, I want to show you the stylish Danish fire-pit cum barbecue that we bought this week with the remainder of the money from our pre-nup party; and I want to show you the hand-crafted coffee table, also Danish in style, made for us in pink beech by a German cabinet-maker and paid for with Nora’s wedding gift to the two of us.

I have a growing sense, amidst our appreciation for these gifts, that we have been given a whole lot more – a new chance at life, opportunities for growth and happiness, the love of friends and family and their happiness and prosperity, too. On which subject I am thrilled to report that Kathy and Gareth, my eldest daughter and my son-in-law, have just this week purchased their first house together – more of this when I know more.

From our friends in Canada

As I was saying, in a month Rob and I get married. At the end of this week, my son Jonathan arrives in South Africa, carrying with him his violin, and a week later he arrives in Johannesburg for a few day’s visit. Not long after, the North American relatives start arriving – Bob and Alida, Rob’s niece Lory, and finally, just before the wedding itself, her sister Cynthia. The pace is picking up – and the work is piling up too, as I race to finish off for the year, on several different projects. Last week I did my final trip to the provinces, to the colleges, and so in closing for now (I have work to do, college plans and budgets to review) I thought I should include one final photo, which we might just call, ‘another day at the office.’

Another day at the office