I’ve been back two weeks now. After three months away, it feels it’s going to take me a little while to settle back down again. But I am glad to be back, and feeling more at home than I did previously. My abode – a spacious rented one-bedroom flat – on the Clovelly mountainside proved to be slightly rain-damaged, after one of the wettest winters Cape Town has had for years. But none of my stuff was affected; no-one had broken in or moved in in my absence. Though the guinea fowls, who are extraordinarily noisy at present – spring? sex? it’s not a sexy noise! – seemed to think this might be a possible abode, and quite literally came knocking at doors and windows a few times before they realised I was back. I’ve taken to yelling out numbers at them randomly as we pass each on paths – “get out from under my wheels, no. 42!, my brakes arent that good”. Presumably, this is an indication that I’m isolated and rapidly becoming eccentric.
Except, I don’t really feel lonely here. I know a few of the neighbours by sight, and met a few more when going door-to-door to warn them of the party I held last Saturday evening – which sadly did not turn out particularly noisy! But since I overlook the whole valley, and can see people strolling in the vlei, and with the aid of my great-grandfather’s seaman’s telescope, walking on the beach at Fish Hoek, there’s no sense of isolation. Children’s voices float from the several schools in the valley during the day. Occasionally a cat drops in. The neighbour’s dogs – strange thin, brindled creatures, looking like combinations of wild dog and whippet – remembered me on my return, and greet me joyfully after token barking.
I feel very fortunate.