Rehab, Postscript and Close
I didn't feel like writing much when I left Halley and deliberately didn't post from South Africa as that was "Me Time", a wind-down and much needed breathing space after the intense summer season. Having heard so much about the high crime rate I first feared Cape Town, but in only a few days South Africa was pretty clear in my head: two cultures, Bob Marley and Fleetwood Mac, co-existing in a still new but un-easy closeness that everyone I met really wanted to work.
South Africa: A Country of Hopes and Fears
South Africans love their sport, so it was a great country to catch some waves, ride a bike and watch the rugby. With friends from Halley, I explored the Cape then headed East along the wonderful open roads of the Garden Route. From Port Elizabeth onwards, I traveled alone calling at surf mecca of Jefferies and lesser known spots on the stunning Wilderness Coast, finally reaching Botswana for a few days mountain biking in the a game park.
White Lines. Running through my mind
Packin' heat in the bush
Returning to the UK was as depressing as I expected. Mechanised voices seemed to drone out safety notices at every opportunity, but I supprised myself by getting from London to Llandefalle (the top of a hill, in Wales) using public transport!
Since being home I've caught up with most old friends and other than a few marriages and children, it's like I never left. My fitness is slowly returning, helped by a big new mountainbike that needs big legs to power it!
Workwise, the interviews I lined up before leaving Halley proved worthwhile as the UK is not a place to try and live off savings. I'll be returning to a water industry consultancy in June.
Back in the Shire
So, on reflection, Antarctica was great, but it's good to be back. Will I go return to the South? Not this year, and probably not next. But, like Bond, I'll never say never....
Thanks for reading, for all the comments and email and in particular the random cards and other stuff through the post. If you've got something like this in mind - go do it - you'll be fine.