Christmas and New Year are quickly over and on the 2nd January Charles and I are on our travels once again this time on an actual holiday with no races on the cards to South Africa.
The first stage is spending the weekend in Cape Town where we are joined by Ann and Peter and stay in a lovely Airbnb in Hout Bay. We take a drive down to the Hout Bay market for a pub lunch before bobbing into the supermarket for provisions.
In the evening Charles and Ann drop Peter and I off at a bar when they go and visit their brother Ian who is in a care home where Rose is there to meet them. Charles hasn’t seen him for a number of years and it is clear that his dementia has progressed and understandably Charles is upset by Ian’s decline but finds positivity in that he clearly recognises him.
It would be rude not to partake in the local Saturday morning parkrun which is very different from the ones I run in the UK. We start off in a field and soon find ourselves running on sand in between bushes and reeds – I can’t help but wonder how many venomous snakes are lerking in the undergrowth. It’s not my best time but it is a lot of fun and I seem to have impressed the locals who may have expected this old lady to be a bit slower!! After breakfast all four of us visit Ian who is pleased to see us. We take a picnic and we find that, although Ian finds speaking difficult, he can sing along to songs – the Beatles in particular – word for word!
On Sunday we all visit Ian again. The weather is lovely so we are able to spend time in the care home’s beautiful garden and the other residents and staff enjoy our sing along and both Charles and I feel rather emotional saying goodbye – we live so far away.
On Saturday evening Rose joins us at our Airbnb for a meal where we take advantage of this rare opportunity to catch up on family etc. Rose clearly has a tough time and it is so impressive that even though there is a distance between her home and the care home she visits every day.
Of course we make time for a visit to a Vineyard in Constantia for a tasting or two and a picnic lunch.
We cannot visit Cape Town without a sunset cruise as it is Charles favourite thing to do. Fortunately Charles has agreed to drive well actually he agreed after Ann and I enjoyed too much cava on the cruise.
We are amused by one of the passengers who is travelling on his own and clearly doesn’t realise we are on a sailing ship – I’m sure the sails are a bit of a clue but he suddenly seeks out a life jacket and sits huddled under a blanket looking very uncomfortable. We finish the evening off with a meal in The Victoria and Albert Quay which is a very touristy area.
Monday arrives and we pack up and say our goodbyes to Ann and Peter and then Charles and I drive to Somerset West to our next Airbnb near to Phil and Helen. It is good to catch up with my brother and sister in law who we haven’ seen for a few years and enjoy a few meals out and a walk along the beach at The Strand. We also take advantage of the swimming pool to cool down and I manage to get a run in around the estate where Phil lives. My nephew Neil arrives on Wednesday evening so we have a lovely family meal before we leave early the next morning.
On Thursday we get rid of the hire car and fly to Port Elizabeth for a few days with my step mum Siggy and Lionel. Siggy and her sister Ingy collect us from the airport informing us that Lionel hasn’t been too well so our original plans are changed and we stay at relatives of theirs Mari and Wim who live around the corner. First we go for a Thai lunch with Lionel, Siggy and Ingy. Afterwards Charles and I take a walk along the beach and find a bar looking over the ocean to enjoy a drink. We bob in for a short visit and catch up with Siggy and Lionel before going back to the beach for a meal.
On Friday Charles and I visit the Penguin Rescue Home which is really interesting (surprisingly) before meeting up with Siggy, Lional, Angie and her hubby Lars together with Lionels relative and his wife on the sea front.
On Saturday we get up early and drive to Addo Elephant Park for a fantastic day spotting as many animals as possible, alas no lions today but plenty of elephants. In the evening we are invited for a meal with Mari and Wim and its great getting to know them a little better.
The time is flying by and on Sunday we say our goodbyes and fly to Durban where we hire a car to visit Charles (Senior) and Jean in Pietermaritzberg.
First we book into our accommodation which if it wasn’t for a mountain would be around the corner from Charles and Jean but as we have to drive around it is about a 20 minutes. It’s lovely seeing Charles father looking so well after his bout of pneumonia last year. It is hard to believe in a few days he will be 94. Jean has put on a nice meal for us and its lovely catching up on news.
We enjoy a few days out in The Midland Meander including some nice lunches and take a trip to The Valley of the Thousand Hills but we didn’t get a good look because of poor weather and visibility. At the Cultural Village we are treated to a Zulu display of dancing and can wander around typical Zulu homes.
Our accommodation has a very welcoming pool which Charles and I take regular advantage of to cool down. The host is also a Pilates teacher so I partake in two sessions during our visit – I couldn’t have planned it better!!
Before we know it we are packing again and flying back to the UK and both reflect on why we are not staying longer.
Back in the UK we meet up with friends and family, I continue to enjoy volunteering as a receceptionist at Tadcaster Pool, attending Berties christening along with Daniel who is a Godfather and Jonathon. In March we stay with D & J for the weekend and I partake in the Vitality London Half Marathon. Halves are really fun and I think when I get marathons out of my system I may concentrate on getting faster at the halves. It is not long before we start preparing for our trip to Boston.