Photo start. actually a photo finish because....
|Crested eagles, per the bird books, sit on telegraph poles and this one kindly did as it is supposed to do.|
|Are the stars out tonight, I don't know if it's cloudy or bright, but they all disappear from view, cos I only have eyes for you -name that tune.|
|Would we have got it through customs if we'd won? Real poster from a furniture shop window in Edendale township.|
I am sitting in Joburg airport with time to kill and an unfinished final blog which as ever was started days ago. We have had the final parties and the hugs and kisses (and just managed to avoid the tears) and are now in limbo before arriving home. Both happy and sad to be leaving. As you have seen it has been a packed year both work wise ( no really it has) and travel wise.
As the World Cup recently reached a climax the title seemed apt but not alas for the English this time. As Gary Lineker once said - Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."
We have come to the end of a year that Manda and I agree has been 95% fantastic and 5% poor because of silly things like crap internet access, hot sweaty nights ( no not at our age, I know what you are thinking!!) and some very stupid, idiotic comments and actions that almost ended our journey early!! Nuff said.
I promise there will be more of Manda's photos coming up but first the difficult question. Have we made a difference?
The answer is we think yes in our own small way. Accountancy was never meant to be glamorous and my 'achievement' is to have sorted out the finances, put systems in place and most importantly recruited a local person to do the job. The fact that he is a Zulu is a big bonus for me because we needed to get the right person in and someone who can easily connect with the majority of the staff whose first language is Zulu. Out of many people who applied he was clearly the best man for the job and is proving so.
Manda, who came with no idea of how she could contribute, has ended up running a highly successful photographic course for the youth which FIFA were very happy to extend and has also been instrumental in getting the monitoring & evaluation software off the ground. For the geeks amongst you Manda has also instituted Observation, Teaching and Learning (OTL). For those of you that thought accountancy was not particularly interesting then OTL is right up there too to thrill you , but like me Manda is happy doing what she does.
Okay lets get some photos in before you fall asleep. Older son said less verbiage, more photos and who am I to argue? Don't answer that please.
Best done by reminding you what we still had to come after the last blog entry:
1. The move to the health academy in the township of Edendale and the hoped for return of many kids to the Health Academy with the new football pitch.
|No that is not the new building behind!!! Converted containers for counselling and storage|
|Old building behind and new building on right. Great seeing the kids play on a perfect surface|
|Some of the team. Yes we're happy, but sad to leave|
3. A brief trip to Israel for niece Jordan's wedding.
Now sit down everyone. Manda DIDN'T take her camera to the wedding. So you should know that Jordan looked lovely, husband Ron is a lovely guy and my hearing is further depleted by the music which was very thumpy thumpy house or whatever!! Stuck in the 70s I'm afraid.Come back Slade all is forgiven
4. Paul and Barbara Berry coming for a brief trip in June to see us.
We had 5 great days and at the very last moment, with literally 30 minutes to spare before we dashed to the airport 2 lions arrived right on cue
|Scuse me , is there a McDonalds round the corner? Me and my brother could murder a Big Mac|
|What do you mean I'm being watched? I'm standing on a stone. Aren't I?|
5. The results of the elections and the result of the Oscar Pistorius case. ANC with big majority again and not guilty of murder are my two predictions.
Well the ANC got the big majority but the Pistorius case goes on and on and on!!! At least we know he isn't mad but is he a murderer? Ask most South Africans and they'll say yes but sometime in the next century we'll find out officially.
6. Maybe a long weekend in Cape Town and see the whales too
Yes we got there. The weather was awful in Cape Town. Cold and wet, but just a few miles outside it was nice and sunny. Very strange. So here are the whales and penguins:
|You have to love them. Manda took this photo when a gale force wind was blowing. Scuse the pun but they are unflappable!!!|
|Not the greatest photo but interestingly it was taken from the shore. 6 whales were frolicking very near to us|
7. The Durban film festival in July which was the first event we attended last year so will be a nice way to end things
So far only one evening and that on the beach with an outdoor screen. A short film about a woman trying to get compensation after the death of her husband shot during a strike of aluminium workers in Joburg, a documentary on circumcision by Xhosas (500 deaths last year from botched ones) and finally a poor comedy film set in London about Nigerians and cultural differences.We left early.
NEWSFLASH Saw a very violent film including torture, rape and people being beaten up by police. Dalits in India who are treated as untouchables in the Hindu caste system. This is still going on but let's be controversial and note that you hear nothing of this or about other wars in the world but you get plenty on one certain current world incident. A hard film to watch- Papilio Buddha - banned in India. See it if you can.
8. Leyton Orient being promoted from League One to the Championship after winning at Wembley in the play off final.
We blew it and I couldn't even watch as no internet. I promise not to go on about football even though my broken heart may soon be healed by an Italian multi millionaire (the billionaires were all on holiday) who has just purchased my beloved Leyton Orient.
By the time you read this we will be home. We have been amazed how many people have stuck with us through the year and kept reading the blog and to as many of you as possible we look forward to seeing you. To our South African friends it has been a wonderful year and we will really miss you.
You don't know what is around the corner. We won't be the richest people in the graveyard, that's for sure, but we hope to have lived a full life with no regrets and most of the time with a smile on our face (unless I don't take my pills and then it's hello Mr Grouchy!!!)
Much love to all
Manda and Spencer
|The happy couple walk off into the sunset. Yes it was staged. I'm usually walking about 50 feet behind Manda|
PS SA health and safety at its best:
|Seat belts optional apparently|