and I haven't written here since 20 October. Life has been sooooo busy.
Since then I have had a series of last medical appointments to ensure I have adequate instructions and medication for the 5 week visit to South Africa. I will return to Australia mid-December to have radiotherapy to shrink the tumour in my back muscle - which is the one that is touching the nerve and causing pain in my left upper leg and pelvic area.
I've had the necessary 'beauty' appointments prior to departure - hair, face, legs, nails
I've had a few meals and 'teas' with friends to say farewell
I've had shoes and handbag mended
Most important of all, I've helped celebrate Tim's 40th birthday and enjoyed having Nikki here for the celebrations. Hers was a whirlwind trip to Australia that only lasted 5 days. She fitted a great deal into those 5 days and I think she must have just rolled onto the final plane trip to sleep all the way from Hong Kong to Durban.
The party was a fab occasion where family members and friends from all the phases of Tim's life gathered upstairs at a pub in Darlinghurst to congratulate him on reaching the Big 40 and to wish him well for the next 40 or so years.
There have also been some sombre moments. I have attended the funeral of a dear friend of the Terrie and Bill Eddy family. Alan passed away of a massive heart attack at the age of 54. Too young to die. I've also conducted two memorial services for friends whose family members have passed away. It is a privilege to be asked to officiate on such an occasion and an honour to be able to assist the family in their time of grief.
And so, with packing done, last minute bills paid and farewells made, I was ready to fly from Sydney to Durban via Johannesburg on Monday 31 October. But QANTAS had other ideas. They grounded the fleet on Saturday 29th, didn't fly on 30th and thought they would be back in the air on 31st. My travel agent advised me to go the airport for my 10.35am flight - just in case it was going - and to be 'in their face' if it was not, to ensure I'd be on a flight as early as possible. I negotiated to fly on the same flight on 2 November. It was far from the most favourite flight I've ever taken, but I survived and am now safely and happily in Durban with my little family - Nikki, Sam, Zeke and Willow. It was a great tonic, after a gruelling 20 hours of travel and waiting, to be greeted with smiles and excited shrieks and big hugs at Durban airport.
And now I've been here almost a week. The days have been alternately cool and warm with rain and thunderstorms occasionally. Today for the first time, I'm wearing shorts and singlet top - it feels good :) Nikki has gone off to take the children to school and go to the gym while I catch up on writing this blog post. Days have been filled with - the school run, birthday lunch for Nikki's friend, watching Zeke at his judo class, helping Zeke build a fort in the back yard, reading Willow her favourite book - many, many, many times, attending the First Holy Communion of the 11 year old daughter of special friends and going on to the family party afterwards, checking Zeke's homework, sleeping until noon (sometimes!), playing Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends on my iPad with lots of help from Willow and Zeke, and generally hanging out with the family.
I'm using Nikki's computer, so will need her help to add photos which will have to wait until the next post. Until then ........