Today is our first anniversary – a year ago Rob and I were married, at The Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, on the longest day of the year. Today, the shortest day of the northern hemisphere year, we woke to grey skies and a cloudy, misty drizzle hanging over monochromatic Toronto streets. It rained, too, on our wedding day, I reminded Rob. A good omen then, I hope that this different, colder rain, on the winter rather than the summer solstice, is likewise a harbinger of good days to come.

Rob has always loved the winter solstice because, as she says, from here on out the days grow longer.

My mother called this morning, from Cape Town, to wish us well; then Kathy called, from Johannesburg. And there was an SMS message, too, from Eve and Shaun: they have arrived safely in Katmandu, and are acclimatising, I guess, before they begin the Annapurna Circuit.

In the morning Rob and I will head down to Detroit, to spend Christmas with Rob’s family in the US. More than just a trip, it is another marker of our relocation: here we actually are, living in Canada, five hours from the US border. Each ordinary event, each day that we go about the business of our lives, has a duality: it is what it is, and it is something more, a sign, a symbol, of new beginnings. It is what Martin Amis called ‘Experience’ – the real stuff – not the ideas and theories, but the lived, experienced world – from which our lives are made and moulded.

So much has changed; yet the essentials, happily, one year on, remain. It has been a very good year, and both Rob and I feel fortunate, and blessed.