I write this from Durban – Umhlanga Rocks, to be precise, and my sister Laura’s new apartment – at the end of three days of meetings and research interviews at the University of KwaZulu Natal. So far, so good. On the other side of the world, Rob is yacking away, a million miles to the gallon, with Toronto friends Bill and Gail, also on their way home, but in their case, after a family holiday that has encompassed, so far as I know, Israel and Greece, France and who knows where else.

By lucky chance, Rob, Bill and Gail are all on the same flight out, from Paris to Toronto: and in the early hours of this morning, when I am fast asleep, they will be disembarking together at Pearson airport, and heading home. It will be the first time that Rob has seen her little house, at 84 Marchmount Road, since August last; and like a true production manager, she will bound into action this weekend, seeing friends, going places, taking care of domestic business and personal pleasures – happy, I am sure, to be home at last, and eager to lick every bit of sweetness off the lollipop.

But she is a married woman now, with a husband to come home to: and hopefully by the time she does head home, two weeks from now, she will be looking forward almost as much – maybe just as much – to being home again, in her other home, with me.

And by then, I’m sure, I’ll have had enough of work and solitude, and be ready to resume a life of happy domesticity.

Next trip to Toronto, it will be the two of us together – and with a rather different, Canadian, phase of our lives in mind.

So, hey, Rob, when you read this, think of me, okay?

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