Category: Photo Diaries

On Safari

Last weekend we went on safari. The oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is only about an hour’s drive away from us. We’ve been living here two years, and have never been there. So when my mom came to visit for the minion’s birthday, we decided the time was ripe to give it a visit.

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Family

Family

Christmas is a time to be with the ones you love. At least, that’s what all the movies and sentimental WhatsApp messages everyone keeps sending me tell me, so it must be true.

Anyway, my work includes some amount of travel, and every time the hardest part is saying goodbye to the Missus and the Minion. I usually go drop them off at the in-laws, so I know they’re not alone at home and that both sets of grandparents are close by to help out in a crisis.

But it doesn’t change the fact that I miss them like crazy, and that from the moment I wave goodbye to them before going through airport security I’m aching to get back to them.

My trip to Orlando this September was no exception, and was probably worse – how can one not dwell on family if you’re literally across the road from Disney Springs? How can I walk past a Princess Boutique and not want to take my little girl there, or visit Diagon Alley and not wish I could apparate my wife, who is as much a fan as I am, there with me?

Then I found the Lego store in Disney Springs, and decided to find my family…

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A Puffin Rock birthday

A Puffin Rock birthday

The Minion is turning two next week! Can you believe it? I can’t. I really can’t.

As one does in these situations, we held a party. One can’t have a party without cake, and this time around the theme was Puffin Rock. Don’t know what that is? It’s the most adorable animated series on Netflix about a little girl puffin and her brother and all their little animal friends. The Minion loves it – we’ve watched the entire series right through twice already – so naturally that was chosen as the theme.

I thought last year’s cake was wonderful, but this time the wife outdid herself. I’ll let the pictures tell the story from here, but I’ll just add that everything was made from scratch, even the rainbow cookies (okay, so we bought some ready-made fondant icing, but when it ran out the wife quickly made some extra from scratch as well – the woman is incredible!)

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Aftermath

Don’t worry. We haven’t been washed away.

Remember how I said the road will be covered by lunchtime? It was:

By dinnertime the water was through our gate:

It reached a high point around 10PM Tuesday night, still a few inches below the bottom row of post boxes (2010 had the two bottom rows underwader, so the level was a good half-meter below the worst flood we’ve experienced here).

By the time we woke up yesterday morning the water had already begun to recede, but the view at the weir downstream was still impressive:

Measuring by how much of the tree trunks are below the waterline, I estimate the water was flowing about a meter deep over the weir. That’s a LOT of water, people!

By lunchtime yesterday, we could see the road again…well, the mud covering the road, at least. And late afternoon we had a visitor taking advantage of the temporary wetlands with an abundance of forcibly relocated crabs and frogs.

 

This morning the river is safely back in its channel, and all that remains is lots of mud riddled with the little scratches of crabs that woke up to find they’re not in the water any more, and that there are predators about.

As stressful as it is to see the water rising, I’m glad I got to experience this one last time before we leave. It is humbling and inspiring to see the power of nature unleashed in this way.