I love my house. Sometimes I get the feeling that it is an organic thing, a living, breathing and sympathetic entity. It certainly expanded (as did I but for different reasons) over the holidays to accommodate all our visitors. And now it feels like it has shrunk back to housing just the two of us.
The dust has settled after three wonderful weeks spent with family and friends. It was the best of times; having my children at home is my idea of bliss and sharing the Midlands and African bush with our extended American family made it all the more special. The reason for friends and family gathering here was, of course, Kiera and James’ wedding. But we also got to spend Christmas in the Midlands and a holiday in a game reserve together. I have always found that spending time in the bush is good for my soul but this time it was made all the better by being with people who were experiencing it for the first time. I got to see things through their eyes and slowly but surely my inner child emerged, delighting in all the simple things that perhaps I have become a bit blasé about.
After the trip to Nambiti game reserve, we bid an emotional farewell to James’ family as they headed off to the battlefields and then on to Cape Town. We returned home with Kiera and James (Alex having left earlier to spend New Year with his friends in Coffee Bay) and I got to spend a few precious days just hanging out with my daughter before they left to go back to the States. On their last night here we invited my mum to join us for dinner. Kiera joined me in the kitchen for one last time while I prepared the meal, chatting about this and that and helping me to get things ready. This is, I have to say, what I miss the most – just the simple pleasure of her company while I prepare the evening meal, like old times. We sat down to dinner and a tremendous storm erupted overhead. Suddenly the lights went out and we were plunged into darkness. It was Sod’s Law that our generator was not working because the fuel pipe had perished and had not yet been replaced by someone who shall remain nameless but who certainly got it in the neck that night! After quite a bit of ranting and raving (about how impossible it was to pack a suitcase in the dark, how to wash without water etc) it actually turned out to be a very special evening. My mum agreed to spend the night with us instead of going home to a house in darkness and after dinner Kiera and I went through to her bedroom and lay on her bed with her, chatting and laughing together. There is nothing better than finding joy in unexpected places. And the electricity did eventually come back on, so suitcases were packed timeously and everyone was suitably clean on departure.
But, as we all know, all good things must come to an end. After the last tearful goodbyes were said, Peter and I drove home from Durban airport in subdued silence, perhaps both of us contemplating the “what next” scenario. And now, after a few days moping about the house and watching crappy movies on telly while stuffing my face with koeksisters, chips & dip, chip butties, chocolates, ghost pops (yes Kiera, what can I say, I ate the packet you left behind!) and endless cups of tea, I am slowly getting back to normal (whatever that may be).
And as much as he drives me demented, I’m pleased that there’s the two of us.