Thursday, February 21, 2008

The blog is back

Yes, dear readers, the blog returns at last. We have had such a wonderful time with all our visitors that I have not had time to contribute. But, as they say, it is a return to “auld claes an’ parritch” and on with the show here on blogspot!
David and Jen were here from 20 Jan until 3 Feb and we did a lot of sightseeing.We took them to the Pilansberg Game reserve and spent two nights at a 5 star game lodge (a belated Christmas present to them). It was a wonderful experience and although we had been on a similar drive at Christmas, this one was quite different. We saw lions right by the truck and a crocodile coming out of the lake right beside the walkway to a bird hide. We also saw baboons, monkeys, zebras, rhinos, hippos, a jackal and loads of birds. Quite an experience! However, that makes still only 3 of the legendary Big Five of Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Lion. You may think I am losing my touch as a librarian, since the list is not in alphabetical order, but the observant among you will recognise it as my mnemonic aid for the list: BRELL (OK BRILL would have been better, but whoever saw an iliphant?) . David was proud to note (vegetarians look away now) that he had eaten a fair number of the antelope species and also warthog. Soweto was an interesting tour. I chickened out of driving there after a nail biting effort to take us to Gold Reef City which was only marginally less scary than some of the rides there! The Soweto tour included Nelson Mandela’s home and a visit to a shack house in the poorest area. That was a bit embarrassing actually, looking into someone’s living room like a Victorian on a Grand Tour visiting slums somewhere. However, they really didn’t seem to mind and as usual with the locals here, were pleasant and smiling. The children made a great fuss of D&J, touching Jen’s blonde hair, not to mention having a look under her top at her bra! David’s hairy forearms and muscles came in for a good inspection too. They largely ignored me except for the bright pink key ring I had as a bag charm (thanks to Kathy W). I hung grimly onto it despite the best efforts of a charming 3 year old who repeated “bag! bag!” and I am glad to say it survived intact, if now a little grubby. Well a lot grubby, actually.
One of the highlights for me was our “girls night out”, when Jen and I went with a friend and her daughter to see “The Lion King” live in Joburg. It was absolutely spectacular and where better to see it than here in Africa, where the story is set!
On the day they left, my sister and her husband arrived and we spent the day together. Janie and Peter arrived at 9.30 am and D&J didn’t go until 11.30pm, so it was a wonderful day. We sat in the sun, looked at the wedding album and then had a braai before we took the young ones to the airport and let the old ones get a much needed early night!
We went back to the game lodge with J&P and once again the game drive was amazing. We followed a pair of young male lions for ages, listening to their vocal challenge to another pair from a rival pride that we’d spotted earlier. We also had the privilege of watching at very close range a lioness and four cubs. Giraffe were also very close to the truck this time but we saw fewer antelope species and no elephants! Rhino, hippo and zebra were abundant.
After a week with us, J&P flew to Cape Town to visit friends and then came back for a couple of days RandR before flying home on Monday 19th.
Next fixture on my calendar is on Wednesday 27th. when I have been invited to give a talk to a group of Johannesburg School Librarians.
Martin is now well on the road in Oz and we enjoy his colourful travel diary on “bebo”. The language is not for the faint of heart but the scenery in his photographs is stunning. He and a friend have bought a camper van and are driving up the west coast from Perth to Darwin.
My philosophy class is well into the second term and we have been considering Plato,Marsilio Ficino and Hermes Trismagestus as well as some Sanskrit writing (in English!)
At the weekend, we are going to a rugby match. We have been invited to join a group of customers and work colleagues of Les' in a box, dinner etc as well. I haven't watched rugby (other than to see how much Scotland lost by) since Martin played in the under 18's! I'll need to dig up how the scoring works, I remember it's not as easy as "one each"!