Now, briefly, a Plug!


We spent a wonderful four days in Cape Town and nearby Franschhoek and benefitted greatly from some local knowledge, courtesy of Mr. F’s friend and ex-colleague, Colin Dilland, who runs East Cape Tours ( Hailing from Wolverhampton in the Midlands, Colin has lived and worked in South Africa since 1995 and has built up a thriving business, organizing travel, tours and holidays in the Eastern Cape. He recommended and booked our accommodation and met us for a catch up over dinner. Thanks, Colin!

“Everywhere and Nowhere, Baby. That’s Where You’re At”. (Jeff Beck).

IMG_2788.JPG(1 October 2017)

Going into an airport always feels a bit to me like falling down the rabbit hole. Time and scale are suspended. Here there is no day and night, just climate-controlled, artificially-lit, ever-lasting airport-time. The gift shops pedalling miniature black London taxis and teddy bears in beefeater costume are the only indicators of place, amongst the homogenous designer brands and eateries. At International Departures I am “everywhere and nowhere, Baby”.

Heathrow Airport, processed 75 million people via its five terminals last year. (Thank you, Mr. F and Google). That statistic amazes me, as does (every time) the experience of standing in the terminal amongst the throng. Here I get a real sense of this transient mass. A shifting flotsam and jetsam that drifts between the continents and all these people, with their unique and individual stories, have their particular reasons for being there at this very moment.

I find myself wondering about the three women (of about my age) who met up in the restaurant, at the table adjoining ours. Their excitement was palpable, and had an air of the clandestine, as if they had escaped the demands of work and family to spend some “me time” together – and it felt like playing hooky.

The lovers, jetting off into the big blue yonder of their still-new relationship, with eyes only for each other. And the small, sleepy child, who invokes in me Trunki-envy; a suitcase you can ride on is now something I so need!

It is 0700 and we are nearing the end of this our first flight of 11 hours. The sun is coming up and we are about 3 hours out of Cape Town. I like long haul – the experience of being confined to a lumpy armchair, plied with drinks and food from dubious sources and of no nutritional value, whilst watching hours of films and telly is a latent fulfilment of my teenage fantasy, and a couple of herbal Sleepeaze tablets have delivered a surprising amount of floppy-headed dozing. Time for some early morning Poldark, methinks.






Statistics, Logistics … and Lists.

With 13 (!!!) Days to go, these are the statistics:

30 days

Four continents

Five time-zones

Two seasons

Eight flights

Three hire cars

Three train journeys

Two suitcases

20 kilos of luggage (each)

The logistics: flight times, boarding, cards, hotel and Air B&B bookings, car hire, train tickets etc. These are the domain of the indefatigable Mr. F. who, as I write, is updating his spreadsheets and checking exchange rates.

The lists: A list of what we have to do before we leave. A list of what I need to pack. A list of instructions for dog-carers and cat-sitters. These are my particular speciality.

The list of “what I need to pack” is beginning to look like it may exceed 20kgs. Some pruning may be required. However, come what may, the 35 pairs of M&S “Basic Briefs” will definitely make the final cut. A girl has to have her priorities straight!