On the phone the other day, my mom was happily counting the days until Kruger. I, on the other hand, am counting the days to handing in my engineering report.

Mom flies up on Wednesday week; Jonathan arrives from London on the Thursday; we all head off (mom, my kids, my sister Laura, Rob and I) on the Friday after this, for Marloth Park, just near the Crocodile Gate, for a long weekend of game drives and family time and celebrations. My mother, as you know, turns 80 in December – she can’t believe it, I can’t believe it, but as long as we can all enjoy it, that’s all that matters.

Meanwhile, Rob has a birthday coming up (tomorrow), and this weekend past we went for lunch to The Cradle Restaurant – she has written about this in her own blog, with pictures, so I shan’t say more here, other than that it was rather pleasant, sitting out on the big deck, overlooking the ancient hills, with a glass of wine and a good lunch and my wife for company.

It will be exactly a year, tomorrow, that we arrived back in this country, from Canada and a stop-over in the UK: still single, engaged, with the Emmarentia house still to pack up and move out of, a new house to find, and a wedding to plan. Seems like a whole lifetime ago, and yet it is so recent that it takes one’s breath away – how did the time go so fast?!

Any day now, hopefully, my Canadian permanent residence will come through; we have our trip to Kruger to look forward to; a list of things we want to do before we leave Johannesburg; and before we know it, we will be packing up our little home at Msasa, and heading off down the N1 to the Cape for my mother’s birthday – the ‘official’ 80th – and then on to a seaside night or two on the West Coast, in Paternoster, a night or so in the Cederberg, and after that, it is back to Joburg and onto the plane – Abu Dhabi for Rob, Zurich for me, and Toronto for both of us.

But first, I have that darned engineering report to write.