Like a bird

After the wedding, R&R in the Cederberg…. One form of relaxation, embraced by some of the younger set, was flight – more specifically, taking to the skies with one of South Africa’s top aerobatic pilots, and threading through the valleys of the Cederberg practically at ground level, following the contours, buzzing the camp rooftops and scraping the trees, turning on a dime and roaring back down again. It looked amazing, as these photos taken from the edge of the camp will show you, and judging by the smiles on the dials of the fliers as they trooped back to camp afterwards, amazing it was.

Quite a high, you might say, on which to end the week-long celebrations.

Cederberg

You’ve seen pictures of the wedding – here are some pictures of the Cederberg. In a lovely gesture, Hayley and Jonathan arranged for family and friends to join them for a couple of days in the wild and dramatic setting of the Cederberg Mountains, about two hours up the West Coast from Cape Town, for some R&R and getting-to-know-you. Worked like a charm – wonderful setting, great people, and very special to have time to get to know the ‘other’ side of the family.

I don’t have too many pics of the Cederberg to share, as most of our photos were on the two cameras that were stolen, but here are a couple that will give you just a glimpse of the environment.

This is also a tease: I have some pretty dramatics pics, also, of the incredible aerobatics that burst above our heads each morning, but that is the subject of another blog, and another sequence of photos.

Wedding Preparations

Weddings don’t just happen, of course, and Hayley and Jono put months of careful thought and planning into making sure the day was perfect (Hayley, as I’ve mentioned, even sorted the weather). Part of the planning was making sure that Rob got busy with the flowers; Rob, being Rob, roped in Shaun and my mother while (wisely) leaving me to focus on the photos. Gareth, smart fellow, took care of the macaroons.

So here they are – some pics of the preparations.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Wedding

Without further ado, here as promised is a first instalment of photos from Jonathan and Hayley’s wedding, in the Cape, on a wine farm (of course) and on a day that magically and symbolically cleared from threatening rain to sun peering through clouds at exactly the right moment. I can tell you it has been pretty emotional looking through the images this morning – as you get older these things mean even more to you, I suspect. You think about your own life, you think about theirs, you think about family.

Love you lots, guys! There will be more to follow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Out of the frying pan

If Namibia, metaphorically speaking, was the frying pan, what with its 40 degree temperatures, desert elephants and the extraordinary vistas of Etosha, then returning to still-grey and chilly Toronto has been a leap, or spill, into the metaphorical fire.

We just haven’t stopped, since landing at Pearson.

It started with two mailboxes: our physical mailbox, which contained, when we wearily prised open our front door after 30 hours in transit, a missive from Citizenship and Immigration, inviting me to attend a citizenship swearing-in ceremony on May 17th.

Quite the welcome home, I’d say. Talk about rolling out the red carpet.

Waiting for me in the other mailbox, my email inbox, was a string of messages, pertaining to a possible contract in – you guessed it – the place we had just come from, South Africa. The flurry of emails and conference calls since then has all trended in one direction: the possibility of more work back home, and more travel. There will be news releases as things (we hope) become more definite.

Meanwhile Rob has gone back to work, and we have (finally) finished our unpacking. Though there are memories still to unpack, plenty of them, and over two thousand photos, some of which will find their way into this blog in the coming days and weeks and (given the quantity) months if necessary.

For now, here is the heads-up: our holiday was fab, and we have returned home safely, albeit minus our iPhones, two small cameras and my iPad, which were stolen in Namibia. Just stuff, as Rob says, though we do mourn the loss of some of our photos. Most of our pictures, fortunately, were taken on my Nikon, which was not stolen, perhaps because it is so big and clunky and hard to move as hot property.

Jonathan and Hayley’s wedding was simply wonderful: not just perfect, as all weddings should be, but an occasion of such heartfelt happiness and joy that the heart is still singing with it. There will be photos to share, you can be sure.

Etosha, interestingly enough, was something of a mixed bag – the views have been mentioned already, and we saw plenty of animals, including huge herds, on a scale we’ve never seen before, of zebra, springbok, wildebeest and oryx; but the Namibia Wildlife Resorts accommodation was overpriced and inadequately maintained, the food was pretty dreadful, and – with some individual exceptions – the staff were about as cheerful and accommodating as North Korean border guards. High time for a shake-up.

The private lodges we stayed in, on the other hand, in the area around Twyfelfontein, were simply fantastic, and the experiences we had there, including a morning with the desert-adapted elephants, were almost spiritual.

Again, there will be photos.

And, of course, seeing my mom, visiting Hermanus, going the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, were all wonderful too – so much so that by the time we got back to Toronto we had completely forgotten about work, and domesticity, and everyday living.

All of which, as I said at the beginning, came roaring back, the moment we arrived on our doorstep.