Our trip is winding down and we have a few days left out of South Africa and we are incredibly happy that our oldest friends, Gys and Angie join us in Ponta. The weather is miserable but we make the most of our time eating chickens and prawns and catching up. Dudley and Gail join us for a few great meals and disastrous rugby watching. On the day of the opening of the a Rugby World Cup a lot of very difficult research went into sourcing of a venue to watch the opening ceremony. A lot of pubs had to be visited and beers tested to ensure they were cold etc and finally it was decided that Coco Rico’s Restaurant was a good option. We settled in early, ordered plenty of liquid refreshments to relax us and get us into a very festive mood. The chickens and prawns are ordered and we wait….Super Sport 1 is on and ceremony coming up next. Anticipation and excitement mounts. The time marches on, no ceremony! The manager assures us it us coming on, we check that it is on SS1, we frantically Whatsap all and sundry for correct time …all to no avail. Stupid bloody restaurant did not HD package so guess what no rugby.

We were seriously %^*#~>€ off and hot footed off to another pub to watch some of the game having now missed the ceremony completely. We dragged ourselves back to our “home” with our tails between our legs cursing Coco Rico and her manager. To make things worse sleep was very elusive as we have a faulty water pump right outside our window that makes the most unbelievable racket every 45 seconds (Gys timed it). Morning saw us up very ropey but very enthusiastically wishing Graham a very happy birthday. As shopping not been high on the agenda over the last few months his gift was some flying pigs found at a cute shop in Ponta. We now had a dilemma on where we would watch the Springboks play their first game of the World Cup and after much discussion we concluded the best place would still be Coco Rico so it was left up to me to have a discussion with the aforementioned manager. The reason for going back there was the food had been fantastic and those that had chicken last night now wanted the prawns and vice versa. After a serious talking to I was assured that they had upgraded their DSTV package and we would have the best table in the house!

What a birthday dinner it turned out to be. Gys, Angie, Dudley, Gail, Graham and I really had a great evening and I won’t mention the rugby at all. The food was brilliant and we were again astounded at how reasonable it is to stuff your faces with prawns in Moz! Graham was a very happy guy to be able to share his birthday with his oldest friends and our newest ones and it will be remembered for a long time.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY G

We say goodbye to Mozambique, Dudley and Gail and re enter South Africa for the first time in almost three months. It is with very mixed feelings as it signals the ending of this amazing journey which we have loved. Kosi Bay is to be our stop for the next four nights and we set up camp, our first camping with the Wallers in 29 years!! The last time I had declared I would never ever go camping again! I am sure a lot would understand why as back then I had slept in our Kombi with 20 month old twins and a swarm of mozzies on the edge of the Sand River Dam in Tshaneni, Swaziland. I now would give up my house for a tent in a heartbeat.

What a lazy few days we had in a fantastic campsite. Sadly the weather was not great but it didn’t matter at all. Dudley and Gail arrived and became our neighbors for two nights. The snorkeling was fantastic, we ate like kings and we only stopped talking when we slept. We felt very sad to leave as it was the last camping we would do and from then on it was comfy beds and “civilization.” We all parted ways and Graham and I headed south with our next stop a very special one as we were going to be seeing friends we had not seen for awhile and in fact one of whom we are so incredibly grateful he is still with us. Jabul and Graham go back pretty much their whole lives and in fact Graham was his bestman 45 years ago and to see him in such good health is nothing short of a miracle. What a pleasure to spend time with him and Denise, to see Brendon again and to meet his family too. The memories and stories flowed and sadly we would need more than a day or two to catchup. Jabul and Denise are such an inspiration and we look forward to seeing them both again soon and hopefully we will do a trip together to some remote and beautiful place.

Next stop the luxurious Coral Tree Colony Bed and Breakfast in Southbroom run by yet more special old friends, Dave and Liz Page. Dave and Graham first met in 1975 when Dave came from England to work at the Royal Swazi Spa, forty long years ago and trust me nothing has changed with these two. The stories flowed and how we laughed at the antics they got up to, BL and BM. (Before Liz and Before Megan!). To think they were youngsters barely in their twenties when they met, from completely different backgrounds and yet a friendship was formed that has stood the test of time. Liz and I go back 30 years and we still laugh at the tales of what they used to get up to. We wined and dined like kings met great people, watched fantastic rugby and we leave them both knowing we will be back to hear the stories again.

A special place where we leave a part of our hearts behind is our next visit. Mbango Valley where we visit the wall of remembrance where the ashes of our special father and mother are interred. How I so wish Eric and Margaret were still with us to see how their little boys have grown up to be such wonderful men, to meet our girls and of course their great grandson Joe. Margaret would love the beautiful gardens and to see her cute cottage looking so good. We are so glad they are here in this lovely spot. How happy are we to get to spend time with another two very special friends who knew Margaret as well. Winn and Karin, thank you both so very much for joining us for a lovely lunch, we love you both.

And so today 27 September, exactly three months since we left Cape Town to start our mammoth journey we find ourselves heading through the Transkei, where Graham and I met so long ago. A route we have done many times over the last 34 years and one that brings back so many memories. We have spent the last two weeks with very special friends, each one having played a very significant role in our lives, who have reminded us of how very blessed we are and our lives are so much richer for knowing them. The ties of love and friendship bound together by our memories. We look forward to making many more.

In a few hours we will be in our second home with friends who are our family… Gavin and Annette, your Hill Billy adopted family members are almost there!