If I go to sleep now, you will get here sooner. So on Friday night I set my alarm for 5.30am, thinking I would collect Rob at Sandton Station at 6, or 6.30, or maybe 7, and went early to bed and quickly to sleep. And so it was: early on Saturday morning, 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, there was an SMS from Rob – I am here! I am through customs and immigration, and on my way to the train.

The first train leaves at 5.30: I had just time for a quick shower, and then the 10 minute dash to the station. As I pulled in to the drop-off zone, I looked towards the escalators which bring passengers and commuters up from the deep bowels of the earth, but there was no-one there. I drew up to the kerb, switched off, and got out, and as I walked around the back of the Landy the first traveller rose into sight. Then another, and then it was Rob – hauling a large red suitcase, full of Arctic gear for Eve and Shaun who head out in December for a hiking and climbing trip in Nepal, and another, smaller carry-on, and a duty-free bag from Abu Dhabi, with cognac and sticky arabian sweets in it.

By 6 o’clock we were home, and by 6.15 Rob was soaking in a hot tub, warm and happy after two long nights cramped in an aircraft.

Some childhood mantras work, sometimes. How many sleeps till we are there?

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