Back at the BBC
A slightly belated Happy New Year. Hope it has started out the way you want.
I am back in the office at good old BBC Northern Ireland - Day 3. I certainly got a warm welcome, which is just as well as it is freezing here. As I type we have a severe gale warning and a prospect of snow next week. Well, what can you expect? It is January in Northern Ireland.
My parents and I had a great time travelling around Route 62 and the Garden Route. We started in Stellenbosch and then travelled on to Montague and Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo. Boy that was hot. Around 35 degrees C.
Once we crossed the mountains we visited Knysna and I hooked up with Star, the Vice Principal of Knysna High School, and Wilma, an English teacher there. I was able to present them with a mini DVD video camera which was bought with the remainder of the money raised in Northern Ireland. I am hoping that now the pupils are back I will receive the first footage in the not too distant future.
Knysna was wet, windy and slightly chilly for much of the 3 days we spent there which was a tad disappointing but we still got to go to the Elephant Sanctuary outside Plettenberg Bay and go on a game drive at Rhino Base Camp.
We stayed in Arniston for one night. An amazing place on the tip of South Africa not far from the southern most point, Cape Aguilas. It really reminded me of Donegal in all its windsweptness and the thatched white cottages huddled together and the white, white sand dunes in the distance.
My last three nights were spent in Clovelly, just between Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay. A lovely self-catering apartment with balcony views out to sea and over a wetland bird sanctuary area. It would have been perfect but unfortunately the night we arrived there Mum fell and hurt her hip. Ambulances, morphine, all night at the hospital. Poor Mum. We were all fairly stressed out but of course it could have been worse. Two nights in hospital and Mum was released on crutches. And then of course it was time for me to fly home.
And here I am. Busy processing my South African trip both consciously and unconsciously - trying to sort out what the best times and the worst times were - not there quite yet.
Thanks all of you. More will follow.