Excerpt - Chapter 1

A Diffficult Start

    As I waited there on the dirty veranda, freezing physically and emotionally, I was in turmoil, but felt absent. Fifteen hours before, we had still been in the South African summer and now Cape Town and Table Mountain and Camps Bay and Glen Beach, where I lived as a kid and where we had been at the beginning of that week, seemed a lifetime away.

    The contrast to my parents’ 1920’s Herbert Baker designed, colonial style double-storey house, across from the Golf Course in Greenside, with its lush, dark-green kikuyu lawn and well-cared for garden in full summer bloom, could not have been greater. Herbert Baker was the eminent colonial architect, responsible for the Union Building in Pretoria and the Government Buildings in Delhi.

    In the years to come, I would often yearn for the strong smell of a kikuyu lawn, late on a summer afternoon, after it had been watered, mixed with the dizzyingly sweet smell of katjiepiering (gardenia) and yesterday-today-and-tomorrow shrubs in bloom. That smell accompanied my childhood and student years and reminds me of that wonderful time we spent outside in the garden in summer just before an early dusk, before it cooled down and we had to return to our desks for homework or assignments. The hot exam months I associate with the jacaranda trees in full purple bloom.

    Having moved countries and continents, Louise and I were about to start a very different kind of life from our previous one.

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