Birthday in Paternoster

My mother turned 87 on Monday. When my dad died, ten years ago, even though she had never been there, she had harboured the thought that she would like to go away, up the Cape West Coast, to what was still the quiet fishing village of Paternoster, to walk on the beach and listen to the waves and the cry of the gulls and think.

So this weekend past, ten years later, Rob and I helped her fulfil her wish. We spent the weekend away, in a cosy AirBnB, and dined out at The Noisy Oyster (fabulous) and had lunch at Gaaitjie, tucked away in a small cove, just above the beach (wonderful) and made a fire in the evening on the patio on Sunday when the weather grew cool.

It was everything, she said, that she had dreamed it would be.

Tea with Mother

I mentioned in a previous post (July 13) that Rob and I, on our trip to Cape Town, had treated my mom to High Tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, at the V&A Waterfront. Here are some photos from that rather yummy and elegant and leisurely ceremony.

 

I like these photos for capturing a golden afternoon with Rob and my mother. But it is the black and white image below, reflected in a mirror, that I like more – a pause for reflection, by a sixty-four year old son, a moment of quiet observation and affection.

Lucky boy, I think to myself.

Mom and Rob at the Cape Grace

For the birds

This business of being on my own, here in Johannesburg, is for the birds I think. Fortunately Rob will be winging (eish, that is crushingly bad!) her way back to South Africa from Detroit, via Toronto and London later this week, and I will be picking her up at the airport on Thursday morning. Not a moment too soon, I say.

But staying behind, after I returned two weeks ago, has meant she was able to attend her nephew Kevin’s funeral in Dearborn yesterday, and reconnect with her family, something hugely important to her, especially at a time like this.

But I will be glad to see her.

Ten days after she gets back,  we will be off to Madikwe Game Reserve, with Kath and Gareth and Thomas and a bunch (flock?) of their friends Рwildlife, campfires, the smell of the bush veld. I spent a little time this afternoon, trying out the Nikon 200-500mm lens I have invested in, for this and future birding and wildlife occasions Рthe subject, suitably enough, was a flock of rosy-faced lovebirds, who live in the eaves of the block of townhouses one up from us.

Here is a sample image.

Lovebird # 1.jpg

 

Three countries, three grandsons

Well, I am back in SA, after an all-too-brief visit to the UK and Canada. Rob isn’t. Instead she is in the US, visiting family, and still in the process of sorting out our house in Toronto, damaged in last month’s ice-storm, and dealing with the very sad loss of her nephew, Kevin.

It has been a strange kind of trip, in a way – lovely to see old friends (Mike, down in Kent, and the potluck gang on our visit to Toronto), my son and my daughter and their wonderful partners in London UK and Woodbridge, Ontario; wonderful just to wander down Queen Street in Toronto and feel at home again, and lucky to be Canadian) but tempered with tasks, errands, interruptions, and family disasters.

The time with family and friends was the best, and seeing the grandchildren (three countries, three grandsons, if I count this Saturday in Johannesburg, wallowing in cake and cookies at Tom Tjasink’s first birthday party) made it all worthwhile.

You get to this point in your life, and this is what matters, really – friends and family, and children especially.

Some photos from the trip and from Tom’s birthday party – including Kathy’s fabulous birthday cake.

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Hands, feet and faces

Rob is in Toronto, squaring up to face the damage to our house from the recent ice-storm; I leave tonight for London, to spend a weekend with Jonathan and Hayley and the impish Gabriel, before heading down to Kent to spend Monday night with Mike Hanson. Tuesday, I fly out from Heathrow to join Rob in Canada.

All of which means that normal blog service will be disrupted. To leave you not entirely bereft over the next fortnight, here are some photos of Tom Tjasink – hands, feet, smiles and bums.