Two very different photos offer two not-so-different windows into what has been so far (except for this morning, when Rob woke with an upset tummy and a horrible headache) a pleasant and sociable Easter long weekend.

In the first, impala shiver under the partial shelter of some trees, shaking off the rain, on a wet Saturday afternoon in the Pilanesberg National Park. Rob and I had taken Garfield and Corinne, friends from Toronto (though resident at present at Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt) out for the day – and right as we entered, though off in the distance, admittedly – was a grazing rhinoceros. In short order, we saw hippo, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra, and a while later, coming around a corner to find a line of cars and 4x4s queuing patiently for a turn to view, a massive lion, concealed in a thicket, tearing heavy hunks and long strips of flesh from the carcase of what we guessed must have been a large wildebeest. Nearby, in the tall grass, a lioness lay panting heavily.

The other photograph, taken from the bedroom of Rob’s sister Cynthia’s house in Dearborn, Mi., shows the flat planes of the neighbour’s doorway, a window, a metal fence. It comes from a peaceful and contented Friday afternoon at the computer, working on a range of images, trying out some of the techniques I learned a month or two ago, on the Nikon Capture training course.

And there were two dinners, also, and two evenings of company and entertainment. On Friday morning, we picked up Garfield and Corinne at Sandton station, and dropped them off at their hotel, the spanking new Southern Sun at Hyde Park, up the road from us, to rest up and relax after the flight out from Frankfurt. In the evening, I picked my Durban-based sister Laura up at the same place, and brought her home with me, for dinner with our Canadian visitors. We made a warm blaze in the fire-pit and sat outdoors while a butterflied leg of lamb and South African boerewors cooked to perfection in the Weber beside us. And last night, Sunday, we had Garfield and Corinne over again, on the eve of their departure for Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route, Stellenbosch and Cape Town. This time Rob made a perfectly yummy savoury tart for a starter – caramelised onion and chorizo sausage – while I assembled an old favourite, Robert Carrier’s coq au vin, on the stove-top and in the oven. For dessert, Rob’s fruit tart with plums, a la Bill Granger.

Simple, convivial, congenial stuff. Sometimes, that’s all we need.