Christmas 2010

This was the year of the World Cup – Spain and South Africa loved it.  South Africans came out in their thousands to welcome their brothers in sport from around the world and, if the visitors we came into contact with were anything to go by, then it was a brilliant success.  If only the mood could have persisted and people and institutions could have remained focused on excellence, then we would now be living a dream.  Unfortunately, we have woken up and realized that it was a dream.  The light of day has once again revealed the sordid mediocrity of modern day South Africa.  Graft and corruption flourish and our ‘beloved’ Zuma does little other than to dance his way into another five years of calling for his machine gun whilst feeding at the taxpayers trough with a new bride on his arm!

Okay, enough of this depressing stuff – we wish you and yours a very happy and blessed Christmas, full of the joy and love that this occasion normally brings.  Hopefully you will be surrounded by your family and friends and Santa Claus will slip something that you’ve always wanted into your stocking. 

We are happy, despite all of the above.  We have many real friends and our family remains close.  Our six grandchildren continue to surprise us with their achievements and we are proud to be their grandparents.  David and Tanja left Johannesburg midway through the year and moved to Cape Town, where they bought a house in Rondebosch (a pre-requisite for getting the boys into Rondebosch Boys School) and where they are very happy.  So, with Andrew and Gillian and their crew also in Cape Town and Michael and Nicky and Co in Knysna, we are now as closely united as we have ever been and hopefully family re-unions will become a regular thing.

My dad died in April – just 4 months short of his 100th birthday!  We all thought he would make it, but despite missing him hugely, are grateful that he died without any suffering and with great dignity.  He was a true gentleman and a worthy role model! 

Our year has been full and included a spell in a gite in the Loire valley with five good friends, followed by a week barging in Britany.  France remains one of our favourite destinations and we love the food and wine.  French people are extremely friendly and make travelling a pleasure.  If only they would stop having siestas and closing their businesses every second day, the place could be even better!  Mind you, I have again vowed to do no more offshore travelling, whilst Renėe just smiles quietly to herself!

The Stanford Walk and Picnic

Today we celebrated our last walk of the year with a guided tour of Stanford’s historical buildings.  Elsa was our guide and did an excellent job of showing us the architecture, and bringing it to life with anecdotes about the early settlers and their activities in and around the village.  As you can see from the pictures it was a well attended event, even without the presence of stalwarts like Liz and Garth, Debby and the Turners. 

Following the historical tour we walked along the Klein River ‘wandelpad‘, which took us from the new part of town adjacent to the R43, back via Biddy and David’s beautiful home and garden, to Elsa and Alan’s house, where we were greeted by Kinki, Georgie and Jenny, who had been preparing our sumptuous picnic.  Well done and thank you!  It was a splendid way to end a year in which we enjoyed many interesting and challenging walks.  Thank you Alan and Elsa for being so hospitable. 

The Group will meet again at John and Carol’s home on the morning of 19 January to map out the walks for 2011.  We look forward to seeing you all there.  Please don’t forget to bring some ideas and suggestions for walks that you will be able to lead.

In the meantime, have a peaceful and blessed Christmas, surrounded by your family and friends

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