Tuesday 29th June to Friday 2nd July
It was time for us to leave this wonderful country but we were not the only ones trying to get back to the UK. There was quite a queue for flights back.
At one point it looked like Mark and Nick would not get away until some the time next week.
However, with a bit of work on our behalf by our travel people we got things sorted, although apart from Richard who had managed to get a seat on Tuesday night’s flight we would have to wait a couple of days.
So we passed the time getting a few souvenirs and doing a bit of history. This was the first time since we arrived almost a full month ago that we had time to do anything at less than breakneck speed and not feeling shattered.
Like most folk going home a vuvuzela or two was a must. There were neighbours to annoy, especially in Scotland. Having purchased a German one I was forgiven, but only slightly.
Nick Mark and I paid a visit to the Cradle of Humankind.
There we encountered a session of information overload and a strange feeling of insignificance.
It was from this very area, not far from Johannesburg where we all began many millions of years ago.
We read about and saw fossils of our forefathers, like Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus (I know it’s “Carry On Up The GMTV South African Vuvusela” but stop sniggering).
"Mrs Ples" one of the many amazing finds in the area.
A bust to commemorate Dr Broom who discovered lots of fossils leading to an understanding of where we all came from.
Taung Child skull.
Another ancestor's skull.
Sabre tooth Tiger skull.
It was all great stuff from the caves at Sterkfontein where the fossilised skeleton of a little boy about 4 million years old called “Little Foot” is still being carefully excavated to the fantastic exhibition at Maropeng.
The Amazing Caves at Sterkfontein.
The volcano in the exhibition.
The flight to London was not nearly as stressful and cramped as I had been prepared for. Richard had called to say that the check-in to his BA flight had been one of those airport nightmares of long sweaty queues and insufficient staff.
One of the last sunsets.
Two days later my check-in process was one of the smoothest I have experienced. Not sure if that was due to the flurry of e-mails I sent off to BA after Richard told me of his experiences. Probably not, they just must have got their act together and I made sure I was at the airport early.
In Heathrow T5 waiting for the final short flight to Edinburgh I was wandering around and saw a guy in a loose blue t-shirt and baggy orange trousers.
He was wandering around the terminal with a strange strutting jerky, slightly erratic walk.
He was also, at times, in deep conversation either with himself, or a close friend that was so close he was the only one that could see him or her.
He seemed perfectly happy with a wide beaming smile in his face most of the time.
I was one of the first to board the flight north and was getting myself ready to settle in to my aisle seat when the man in orange and blue grinned his way up the plane.
When he got to my row I was still standing. He pointed to seat at the window and let out a little high pitched snigger.
After a minor fuss as he put his bag in the overhead locker and spotted my big camera he sat down.
The flight was not full. We were separated by an empty middle seat.
After an overnight flight, albeit a not unpleasant one I was not in the mood for nutter conversation so I got busy going between feigning sleep and being engrossed in a book.
Apart from giving his “friend” a running commentary of the taxi and take off he did not bother me at all. Well apart from when he went off to the toilet and when he was away the breakfast was served.
He giggled like a baby hyena as the cabin attendant and I move stuff around so that he could get back to his seat.
I arrived home to start a bit of holiday time.