For various reasons I want to blog about my return to Cape Town after being away for some 42 years. I am calling this blog Gidding, naming it after the last of TS Eliot's Four Quartets, which he called Little Gidding, in which he talks about returning. Also at council.
For those interested, I will be posting some general notes about the history and the geography of South Africa as a whole, some notes about Cape Town itself, and some notes about my life in South Africa before leaving for the States. The reason for our return is pretty simple. We have no family in Dallas so we have decided to move back closer to family who might, we hope, look after us as we age. I kept a blog about our move that you can find at big move.
I went to Rondebosch United this morning where Robert introduced the interim Pat de Jong from Berkeley, California. It is Child Protection Week, which gave me much food for thought about a possible sermon. We lunched with Mark, did a little shopping, tried to do a little looking for a new car, and then went to evensong at St. Paul's Anglican.
The morning service spoke to me on a number of levels. It reminded me for one that East Dallas Rotary is remembered at the Red Cross Hospital where so many children are cared for. Marie Iverson said a thank you to everyone in the church who was involved in childcare. There were so many names. It made one realise again just how active this congregation is.
Prayers related to the week were said by several people. The first prayed for the children who were neglected or abused. The second prayed for those who are caring for these children. The third prayer was for those who neglect or abuse children. It was that third prayer, which really caught my attention. Too often we describe abusers of children as monsters and seek their punishment. Too seldom do we pray for these monsters that they too might find redemption and a share of God's love for all of us.
And then there was the music. We sang an African hymn with a high voice ululating between the lines. And then there was the children's band with five young teenagers – a black boy on the drums, and four young women on the guitar, the ukelele, and singing. What a wonderful contribution.
We went to have lunch with my cousins Trish & Mike at their lovely home in the mountains. We were astonished by the damage from the fire that raced through here six months ago. It must have been just terrifying seeing the flames leaping across the cliffs so near to their home. They tell us that they had the car packed ready to flee if it got any closer. On a brighter note, it was amazing to see how vegetation was returning, green grass coming up through the ashes. Fire is not uncommon in these parts so the local fynbos, as it is called, fine bush in English, is adapted to fire. In fact, for a number of plants fire is necessary for the seeds to burst from their cones. It is very uncomfortable for us humans with our homes sited right in the fire zone, but nature left to herself would have regular fires and regular rebirths of vegetation. The weather has brightened up as the day has progressed and we can see the mountain for the first time. Yippee!
We went down to Kommetjie, way down the Peninsula, to visit my sister and brother-in-law. We took my nephew with us and had a splendid visit with them. The weather remains damp and cloudy. I went to Standard this morning an gave them my new cellphone number so that I could transact business online. I also got my Vodacom modem working with my laptop. So gradually we are getting ourselves organised.
I had coffee this afternoon with our pastor Robert Steiner. It was delightful to see him again and we had a good visit. He is off to Germany and then Italy for a sabbatical and will be back in August. Filling in for him will be a pastor from Berkeley, USA. We look forward to her stewardship of the church.
We met at Mango Ginger run by Julian Sleigh's daughter. She raved about Peter. I told her how her Dad had got his initial funding from my father, long before Peter got involved with the Christian Community.
I went across to the Main Road to get new sim cards for our iPhones and stopped on the way to chat to various people who I knew. Nancy is lying low.
The flight from London was smooth and both Nancy and I slept well. We really enjoy Virgin Airlines but remain rather intrigued as how the company manages to keep its staff so motivated. We have flown a number of other airlines where the service is frankly grumpy. So how does Virgin keep everyone smiling?
We were met on our arrival in Cape Town by our cousins who were an enormous help to us getting our luggage from the plane to our apartment. We dotted across to see the doctor about Nancy's eye and got the all OK from her, which was great and very relieving. Then it was off to our dear friend Jocelyn for a delightful chicken and roast veggies supper with Anne & Theo. It was wonderful to all be together. And then to bed.