This is an account of the immensely rewarding ten weeks (March 26 to June 4) when I visited friends and family. About half my time was in Britain, the rest in six different European countries. staying at 16 different homes. I also spent six nights in hotels, two each in Barcelona, Juan-les-Pins and Berlin. My ambitious itinerary (see the end of this report) worked out well, thanks largely to the kindness of my hosts, who not only welcomed me warmly, but also :

•  Wined , dined and accommodated me in grand style.

• Met me at railway stations or airports.

•  Gave me thoughtful tours of their localities, providing informative and insightful commentaries on historical, social, political, economic, environmental and cultural matters; I was treated like a National Treasure, so anxious were my hosts to engage my interest, but not to tire me.

•  Provided me with windows into what “life” ( or at least some part of it) was like in Paris, Catalonia, Frankfurt, Utrecht, northern Sweden…..Although I am fairly familiar with British life, I still found a dozen new facets every day I was there, thanks to my friends.

•  Encouraged me to use their computers to catch up on email, did my laundry, and saw that I was informed about events in Southern Africa, Burma, China – and the U.S. election.
Brought me up to date with news of their families, the grand-children often being the most significant.

Other factors contributing to my successful trip:

Apart from a minor back problem ( not uncommon at my age) and a bronchial infection, I was in good health throughout the trip;

I slept well, even in 21 different beds.

Nearly all my stays comprised two or three nights, so I was not constantly moving;

I experienced good weather for nearly all my travels - I was frequently told that I had brought the sunshine;

I was generally able to enjoy my early morning walks, being joined at times by other enthusiastic walkers, including Jean, Sandy and Francesca, Agnes, Choogs.

I bought both EURAIL and BRITRAIL passes, traveling extensively , First Class, in modern, comfortable, reliable trains.

My friends helped me celebrate my 85th birthday not only on the actual day (May 23) in Sweden, but also beforehand in northern Scotland, and afterwards in London ; all were happy and memorable occasions.

I had sent copies of my life story, Brokie’s Way, to all my hosts, whose enthusiastic comments were most gratifying, encouraging me to seek better distribution on my return.

Three of my hosts are older than I , but most are in their 60s, some much younger : Richard and David are 50 years younger, my great-nephew Choogs is separated from me by 60 years. Yet the age difference did not seem to matter much; by contrast, the five year gulf, when I was 13 years old, between me and the “big boys”- my eldest brother Guy’s cohort - had been huge and almost unbridgeable.

March 26 London  







A daytime British Airways flight, direct from Cape Town to Heathrow, where I was met by Jean la Fontaine, and driven to her home in Camberwell, South London. Jean, also a retired (from LSE – the London School of Economics) social anthropologist, provided me with a friendly and comfortable base for most of the days that I spent in London. When Bernard and I were engaged in fieldwork in, Kenya, I found in the archives a message of congratulation from the local council to the Provincial Commissioner on the birth of his daughter – Jean. She and I walked early every morning. In the adjoining 60 acre Burgess Park

On my first full day in London, I got off to a bad start, when an ATM “swallowed” my card - the machine was on High Street, and, dazzled by the sun, I pressed the wrong button. My (only) credit card had to be destroyed, and replacing it was complex: the new card could only be sent to South Africa. With Jean’s help, I replaced funds, converting to Travellers’ cheques – a mistake, see below.

During these first few days in London, I visited friends and saw exhibitions, notably the exciting FROM RUSSIA show of Impressionists at the Royal Academy. Jean and I saw, at Kevin and Graham’s recommendation, the excellent Never so Good, a biopic of Harold MacMillan (played supremely well by Jeremy Irons) at the National Theatre.

April 1 To |Spain.  




















































































Robertsons/Bray  house, Mieres

The only EUROSTAR train available (to Paris) left the new St.Pancras station at 5.30 a.m, and Jean once again went out of her way, insisting on driving me there at 4.30 a.m. – check-in on Eurostar is like an airport , requiring early arrival.

A four hour wait between trains in Paris gave me an opportunity to walk along the Seine, and to enjoy coffee and croissant in a sidewalk café. Most of my train travel in Europe was in the high speed and luxurious ICE trains, the first of which took me to Girona, where, at 8.30 p.m., Sandy Robertson (who had been a colleague at the University of California, Santa Barbara) was waiting to drive me, about an hour, to their home in the village of Mieres. This was not only my first visit to Catalonia, I had never been in Spain before. Sandy and his wife, Francesca Bray ( also an anthropologist) gave me a splendid introduction to Catalonia in the four days of my stay. This despite Sandy’s warning me that they treated guests with “benign neglect”. What nonsense.

Francesca Bray & Sandy Robertson

S and F had bought their rambling stone house twenty years previously, intending to use it as a retreat for writing. Sandy, however, became interested in the dramatic changes of Mieres, and of how it had dwindled from a former well-established rural agricultural centre, losing young persons to the cities, and how traditions were “re-invented”, and people – Catalonians and Castilians, even foreigners - began buying old homes and restoring prosperity to the village. Sandy will shortly publish his account of the changes in Mieres.

Both S & F are – like virtually all my friends on this trip - great readers, we are always sharing recommendations on a wide range of subjects. Like me, Francesca likes ethnic detective stories, for light reading, and she introduced me to several new writers – notably Qiu Xiaolong, whose Death of a Red Heroine , with Chief Inspector Chen in Shanghai , was both exciting and illuminating.

We made several excursions from the village, first walking along the fields of ripening corn, up a short incline until we could see the snow on the distant Pyrenees. We had a full day, with the three of driving to the coast and calling first at the provincial town of Bilbal so that I could change my Traveller’s Cheques. The young bank teller was clearly puzzled, he had probably never seen TCs and he had to ask a senior colleague how to deal with them. I had not realised how times had changed, it seems only a few years ago when everybody used TCs.

DWB at Empuries

A more interesting stop was at Puig de Sant Andreu d’Ullastret, a well excavated hilltop fortified Iberian settlement, which flourished from the sixth to the second century BC. Later it came under Roman influence from the port of Empuries. We were the only visitors, and could easily recapture imaginings of the past, with the solid, ageless stone walls, and the whispering pine trees. On to L’Escala, a seaside resort on the Costa Brava, not far from the French border, where we enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch, with local specialties, while watching the waves pounding on the little harbour. Spring was just beginning, the first tentative blossoms were appearing, but it was too early for the tourists. ( On my own I would have been a tourist, but by accompanying S & F, who were adoptive Catalonians, I had a different status.)

After lunch we visited another well preserved settlement, the Graeco-Roman trading city of Empuries, where again we could easily reconstruct the fortified city, with the aid of the well organised guide-book, available in English . The most striking feature was a 2.2m high marble statue of Asceplus, the Greek god of medicine, which had recently been moved from a Barcelona museum back to its original location here.

The next day Sandy drove me (Francesca, not yet retired, had work that she had to complete) on a tour of three picturesque villages, all meticulously restored - they obviously have good planning laws, which are strictly enforced. Santa Pau is a fortified hilltop village, Olot is in a National Park, with several volcanoes in the vicinity, and Besalu has a notable 12th century Romanesque bridge. All there are certainly “touristy” ( attracting foreign as well as Spanish visitors and residents) and I was fascinated at every street corner, as we walked around the narrow streets of each small town.


the 12th century Romanesque bridge at Besalu

April 5 : Barcelona.


































 Gaudi's Sacrada Familia Cathedral

Sandy drove me to Girona, where I boarded a local train for the one hour trip to Barcelona. These two days were the only ones in my entire trip that I was on my own – by my choice, as I had resolved that I had to see at least a little of this city. S & F had booked me in at the elegant Hotel Montecarlo, right in the centre of Las Ramblas, the main avenue, within easy walking distance of many attractions. Following Francesca’s advice, I made good use of the “Hop on, Hop off” tourist bus, with commentaries in 8 languages. On my first day, I took the Blue Route, allowing me to see several Gaudi buildings, and the Joan Miro Museum, where I preferred his early more representative paintings to the better known later abstracts. I had intended to have only a quick look at the Catalunga Museum, but it was so imaginatively organized, with clear explanations (in major languages) that I spent a long time there, learning much about Catalonia. I walked back to my hotel, through the Barri Gotic.

The next day, a Sunday, took me to Gaudi’s unfinished Sacra Familia Cathedral; where I was in time to attend a mass; during the sermon (in Catalan) I distracted myself by admiring Gaudi’s amazing soaring pillars. My next stop was another Gaudi location, the Park Gueli, where I walked long distances among the terraces, observing the lively Sunday families. The previous day I had seen an inviting row of restaurants facing the harbor , where I intended to have a late Sunday lunch there, but at 4 p.m. all the posh seaside restaurants were completos : this was the first sunny and warm day (24 C) of Spring, and all Barcelona had decided to enjoy an outdoors lunch at the harbour. So I crossed the road, finding Istanbul, a modest, lively restaurant, where I was the only person not of Turkish origin. No matter, I had a good lunch , at one third of the cost of one of the harbourside tourist restaurants.

On Sunday evening, I had hoped to hear the National Catalonian Youth Orchestra (which S & F had recommended) but it was fully booked, so I went to a guitar duo – who played well, but I did not care for so many transcriptions of popular music, preferring pieces written for guitar.

On leaving my hotel, I did not realise that there were two major railway stations, Barcelona Santa and Barcelona Franca, and I asked my taxi driver to take me to the former, the wrong station, resulting in a four hour delay. I changed trains at Cerbere, where I admired the stretch of beach. With 1 & ½ hours between trains, I had hoped to walk on the beach, but, alas, the left luggage lockers were all sealed, because of terrorist fears. Oh well, I thought , I’ll have a cup of coffee, but I saw no café, so I found an automatic dispenser, settling for an orange juice and a packet of Madeleines . Gingerly nibbling these, I wondered why Proust had made so much fuss of them. Doubtless his Madeleines tasted better than mine did.

April 7 Paris








































 It was after 10 p.m. when Mary Dyson met me, taking me to the spacious apartment where she lives with her husband, Jean Bouton. Mary and Jean both used to work for the World Bank, and I first met Mary in 1987. I was then on a consultancy in Kenya, checking on the resettlement of about 5,000 people from the Kiambere Dam, one of a series of dams on the Tana River. This was an area that Bernard and I were familiar with, from our research in Mbeere. The number displaced was not large, compared for example to the Three Gorges Dam in China, where 1 & ½ million were resettled. But even at Kiambere, the human costs were high for each individual. When I met Mary, at the World Bank office in Nairobi, I assumed that she would brief me and that we would meet again at the end of my ten day inspection: this was the usual routine for consultants. But Mary insisted on accompanying me, despite my protesting that I had no idea what living conditions would be like, and that it would be hard walking. In the event, we found good accommodation at the contractors’ site, but walking through the bush was tiring . Mary proved to be a good bush companion, keeping up with me, and providing good company, She grown up in Isipingo, not far from Durban, had read English at Cambridge, and had completed a M.A. in anthropology, so we had some overlapping points.

The Louvre

The next day was my only full day in Paris, and Mary saw to it that it was indeed a full day, She gave me a guided tour, on foot and by bus, past the Place des Petits Peres( a memorial to the Jews), the Bibliotheque Nationale , Jardin du Palais Royale, Comedie Francaise, the Louvre, Tuilerie Gardens and Musee d’Orsay, where we joined the throngs around the paintings until we were exhausted. On to St Germain , finishing with a hot chocolate at the famous café Les Deux Magots. In the evening, Jean joined us for a hearty dinner (cassoulet, which I had last eaten years ago, it was one of Bernard’s winter specialties) at a neighbourhood restaurant.


Tuileries Gardens

Before leaving the next day, Mary and I had brisk early morning walk, along narrow streets near their apartment, all looking very “filmic”, with the butcher and baker and all setting out their tables and stalls.

April 9 Juan-les-Pins.

















ConnieThomas & DWB, on boat

I headed south again, to the French Riviera, to meet Garry and Connie Thomas, whom I had first met nearly 40 years ago, when they were graduate students at Syracuse University, in up-state New York. Garry and I share many interests , including development anthropology and fuelwood, and have worked together on several projects.. C & G spend part of each year having a family holiday at Juan-les-Pins, where Connie’s brother has an apartment, and I stayed at the good , modest Hotel Tropica. Although they are casual, if regular visitors, and not permanent residents, C & G were founts of knowledge, answering nearly all my questions. The Riviera was not at its best during my short visit, skies overcast and a chill in the air. On my full day, we went by bus to Cannes then by ferry to Ile St.Honorat, the site of an ancient (founded 4th Century) Cistercian monastery. Our arrival co-incided with one of the series of daily prayers in the monastery, so I slipped into the church to join the priests, who included two Africans. It really was a “place of quiet repose”.


April 11 Frankfurt 





























Goethe's house,Frankfurt

It was a long (but very comfortable) train journey from Jaun-les-Pins to Frankfurt, with a change at Paris, where a friendly Eritrean taxi driver took me from Gare de Lyon to Gare d’Est – even though I travel light, I could not face the Metro, which would have involved changes. I had met Agnes Klingshirn in 1962, in Ghana , when we were both doing post-graduate studies in the same town; since then we have met frequently, both here in the Cape and in Europe. Agnes was waiting for me at the station, and we were soon at her home, 20 minutes from the centre. The next day we , and a group of friends, saw the opera, The Magic Flute, not at the grand opera house, but at the modern - and probably more comfortable - Concert Hall. Fine singing, but I could have dispensed with some of the director’s irrelevant flourishes, such as a huge mechanical insect ambling round the stage. After the opera, Agnes and I joined a group of her younger friends for a late supper at a lively restaurant, mostly frequented by students.

On the Sunday, Agnes borrowed a friend’s car to drive me (about two hours) to Kirsheim Bolanden see my great-nephew “Choogs” (Chace) the youngest son of my niece Robin, and Nigel, who live in Florida. We drove along “Blue Roads” (the side roads) avoiding the autobahn where possible, a lovely drive on a beautiful day in early Spring . Agnes had to return to Frankfurt, while I spent the rest of the day and that night with Choogs, whose wife, Cia, was unfortunately away. They are both 25 years old, and were in the US Air Force, though Choogs recently resigned, and is now both working at a Credit Union on base, and studying for an accounting degree. Choogs took me for a long walk in the woods, as boisterous and full of energy as his dog, Lexie, who bounded along beside us. Choogs heard a lark, which, with my impaired hearing, took me a few minutes to hear, and see, a thrill because I had last seen a lark ascending many years ago. On returning from our walk, it was warm enough to enjoy our beers sitting outside, in the last of the warm spring sunshine.

The next day Choogs, showed me the house which they were buying, then drove me to the huge U.S. base at Kaiserslauten, where he bought me a suitcase on wheels, as I was finding my own case cumbersome. He dropped me at the station, to catch the train back to Frankfurt. Agnes had given me clear directions, so I was able to find my own way on the UBahn back to her home. Agnes, like all my other non-native English speaking friends, had shelves of books in English, as well as in their own language, and often there would be books in third or even fourth languages. Which put me in my place. We had time to walk around Frankfurt, and to visit the well-kept Goethe Haus, which provided me with as much information I needed about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

April 15 Lower Bavaria























Weltenburg Abbey

Another express ICE train to Regensburg, and on to Abensberg, where we were met by Agnes’ brother, Klaus, who drove us the short distance to Sandharlanden, the small town where Agnes’ family lives. Klaus took me for a long evening walk on my arrival; he had been mayor of Abensberg for 12 years, so he was well-informed about the area, one of the centres of asparagus growing : had it been in America, Abensberg would have called itself “The Asparagus Capital of the USA”. Klaus spoke good English, convenient for me, as I was to stay with him - my German is very rusty. Agnes stayed with her sister, Maria, who cooked tasty meals for us, introducing me to local specialities. I was able to meet all of Agnes’s siblings, and their children, and some grand-children.

The next day Konrad, another of Agnes’s brothers, drove us to the Benedictine Weltenburg Abbey , founded about 600, situated at the entrance of the gorge of the Danube river, with steep Jura cliffs behind. The 18th century church is High Baroque, as ornate as any that I have seen. At the abbey, we bought (for later consumption) bottles of Asam Dunkel doppelbock, which, at 6.5% alcohol content, was an authoritative beer. Konrad drove us to their former family home, a large, rambling farm homestead. Agnes asked the present occupant if we might have a quick look inside, but the woman refused, saying “my husband would not like that”. In the evening, Michael, yet another brother, came with his wife Reinhilde and their 30 year old, severely disabled son; their care of him was a lesson in love, leaving me feeling humble - and privileged.

April 17 Berlin
























 Agnes and I left early in the morning for Berlin, traveling, via Nurnberg, in comfortable trains. In our dining-car, we shared a table with a middle-aged couple, who insisted that we share their breakfast croissants and rolls, which (they said) were far too much for them. On all my train journeys, I encountered either friendliness or an easy neutrality, nothing untoward. At the Hauptbahnhof, an amiable Ethiopian taxi driver took us to our *** Hotel Gasteiner Hof, central and inexpensive (45 Euro). After the long train journey, Agnes and I stretched our legs, walking along KuDamm (Kufurstendamm) Berlin’s longest - 20 kms – street. In the evening we met Wolfgang, a friend of Agnes, a botanist who had worked in Kenya, and who, like Agnes, spent part of every summer in the Shetlands (where I hope to go in July 2009). A good dinner – Jambalaya – at Bodenhause restaurant, 60 Euro for the three of us, with wine..

"The beautiful Berlin woman", Nefertiti, darling of the Berlin visitors and one of the most famous pieces of art can be visited in the Egyptian Museum in the "Altes Museum" on the "Museumsinsel". On 1.300 square kilometres exhibition space the whole stock of the fascinating collection is on display in a new conception and arrangement. By this it gives a preview on the final return of the Egyptian Museum in 2009 to its historic location in the "Neues Museum". (

Agnes does not know Berlin very well, so she readily agreed to taking a “Hop on, hop off” city bus tour, allowing us to visit the Pergamon and Neues museums, seeing the famous head of Nefertiti, fine Greek statues and a host of other treasures, all well displayed, illuminated and labeled. We also admired, from the upper deck of the bus, the many striking examples of modern architecture for which Berlin is noted.

That evening I went on my own to meet Bernhard d’Avis, recently retired from FAO - the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the U.N. We had met him in Switzerland, c 1974, later Bernard and I had dinner at Bernhard’s beautiful and ancient apartment in Rome; I met him quite by chance in Northern Ghana, 1988, and he came to our 40th anniversary celebration in London’s Regent’s Park, in 1994. B had tried, two months in advance, , to get us tickets for a concert of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but such is Sir Simon Rattle’s popularity – after a sticky start as conductor – that no tickets were available. B. had given me directions to reach by Ubahn his very elegant apartment, which B had modernized in an older block. Agnes had pointed out, on our walks, the relatively few old (i.e. pre WW2) buildings still standing. After discussing various dining options we went (“for something different” ) to the huge food floor at Ka De We, which must surely be one of the biggest multi-storey shopping malls in the world – where we had a scrumptious shrimp salad, fresh baguettes and French Sauvignon Blanc. Not having seen each other for some years, B. and I had much to catch up on, in each other’s life.

Another early morning walk in Volkspark, conveniently near our hotel, among the serious runners, cyclists and dog-walkers, and children going to school. At Bernhard’s excellent recommendation, Agnes and I went to an outstanding small museum, the Berg Gruhn Gallery, opposite Schloss Charlottenburg, to see the exhibition of Picasso and his Times. Arriving at opening time, we had the gallery almost to ourselves, admiring the gems by Matisse, Klee and Giacometti, as well as several Picassos.

April 19 Kassel





















Schloss Wilhelmshoehe,Kassel

On the ICE train , Agnes and I enjoyed Spargelsuppe (asparagus soup) and a draft Becks Pils in the buffet car. Our waitress asked where I came from, and she enthused about her recent trip to South Africa, where “ I saw the Big Five”. We went to Kassel to meet Agnes’ daughter, Helena, and her bright six-year old grand-daughter, Binta, who came running down the station platform to greet her clearly much loved Oma. We spent the night in their tastefully modernized (by Helena, who had trained as an architect) 17th century home, having , for supper, Chile Rellenos , my favourite Mexican dish, and a South African Merlot. On Sunday, we all went for a long walk along the river : the existence of good planning regulations was apparent in our walk back through Helena’s suburb. On Sunday Helena drove us through Kassel to woods where we saw deer, and on to the Herkules Monument and the remarkable Schloss Wilhelm, with some very fine paintings. Although it was sunny, there was a chill in the air, so we welcomed good soup at the Schloss Hotel, after which Agnes and I took the train to Frankfurt, a few hours’ journey

That evening, back in Frankfurt, we had arranged to meet Verena and Freddy, who had been with us our night at the opera. I had met Verena, (who works - as did Agnes for many years - for GTZ, the German International Development Agency) in Cape Town, a couple of years previously. Freddy a charming and lively Argentinian, is a chef at one of the top restaurants. They had invited us to supper , cooked by Freddy, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. It was warm enough to sit outside at first on their little balcony, sipping Sekt, and enjoying an outstanding salmon dish . Freddy had prepared a grand dinner- salad with a 13 year-old Balsamic vinegar, a superb beef and potato dish, accompanied by a Gewirztraminer , followed by a Pinot Noir. I envied Freddy’s easy command of several languages, including his native Spanish, plus Portuguese, German, French and English, they are a lovely couple, that was a lovely evening.

On my last full day in Frankfurt, Agnes and I delighted in the Botanic Garden, with an impressive orchid display, a large Palmgarten, and with spring blossoms everywhere. Therese, a University Professor (sociology) who had accompanied Agnes to Cape Town five years ago, joined us for dinner at a neighbourhood Sardinian restaurant. During the several days I stayed in Frankfurt, we went each morning for variations on a riverside walk, passing the well-tended allotments and walking along the partially flooded meadows, always in fine weather; we had a final walk on my last day. Although I have known Agnes for 45 years, this happy period in Germany, meeting her family and friends, brought me closer to her. At Frankfurt station I had time to buy an International Herald Tribune before boarding the direct ICE train to Utrecht, a 3 & ½ hour journey via Cologne and Dusseldorf.

April 22 Utrecht





















Utrecht, canal scene

I met Mattison Mines 40 years ago, when he joined our faculty at UCSB ; Mat claims that I appointed him, because I was chairman of the department of anthropology at the time. Mat and his wife Gill both love to travel, and visited us a couple of times in England, in the 1990s. Mat was presently director of the UC Education Abroad Program for the Netherlands, based in Utrecht. Gill met me at the station, with its enormous, bustling shopping mall, guiding me on the first of several walks along Utrecht’s streets and canals. Once again the weather was kind to us, and we had our lunch at one of the crowded outdoor cafes. A bus took us to their house near the University of Utrecht. I was happy to be their first guest in their pleasant suburban house.

When Mat came home, he suggested that I join him on a late afternoon bicycle ride. A little uncertain, I agreed and after an initial wobble was soon quite at home, as we rode through the woods. It helped that the Netherlands is so bike-friendly, with cycle paths everywhere, and considerate drivers. For the following two days, when Mat was busy with the UC students, and his teaching, Gill and I became tourists in Utrecht, where there is so much to do and see – splendid buildings, both old and new, lining the canals ; historic churches; the animated throngs of people, many young students; a two-hour boat ride on the canals – and the museums, of which the most interesting was one devoted to musical instruments, pianos, organs, including pianola organs, gramophones from all ages, a jolly place, much appreciated by the groups of small school-children. We did all this at a leisurely pace, Gill thoughtfully allowing me time for an afternoon nap. In the late afternoon, Mat and “Doggie-ji”** joined us for a walk, good open walking country being very near their home. (** this name originated in India, which has been Mat’s region of research for many years) .


April 25 Leiden 








A short train ride brought me to Leiden, where Jan Slikkerveer (, an anthropologist, Professor Extraordinary at Leiden University) met me. Bernard and I collaborated on a series of projects and books on Indigenous Knowledge (IK) with Jan and his wife Mady, who is from Indonesia, over many years. They invited us once to Crete, a memorable visit, and we have exchanged visits with them, between Holland and England. Jan took me to Leiden University, where I met three bright Indonesian ladies, all writing doctoral dissertations on aspects of IK. In the afternoon there was a presentation (which Jan had brought forward so that I could be present) of diplomas to IK students, who came not only from the Netherlands, but also from Mexico, the Antilles, Haiti, Bolivia, Crete, Austria, Tanzania and Vietnam. I have told Jan that, when he is with me, I do not need an isibongo (the Zulu praise-singer, who lauds the king in over-the-top terms) : Jan heaps extravagant and unwarranted praise on me. I spoke in my archaic Swahili to a Tanzanian Ph.D. student, Musuto Chirange, who was writing about the plants of Serengeti. Musuto tried to persuade me to join the faculty of a theological college he and friends were establishing in northern Tanzania. When I protested that I was far too old, Musuto said, “Oh, no, we value age, you would be most welcome”. For a minute it was an intriguing invitation. After the presentation of diplomas, Mady (who has great culinary skills ) had prepared a buffet, accompanied by a South African wines (Vyf Skepe: SA wines appear under new and strange names in Europe.) That evening Jan and Mady drove me to Wassenaar, near the Hague, where we had a fine dinner in the delightfully old-fashioned and quiet Hotel Duinoord, right next to the dunes. J & M delivered me , later that evening, to Cees and Josette’s apartment in the Hague.

April 26 the Hague




























Julianakerk, The Hague

( I prefer the Dutch usage, den Haag, but I had better be consistent.) Bernard and I have kept in touch with Cees Post since 1980, when he had been a MA student at UCSB . We had several times visited him and his family in Luxembourg, where Cees works for the European International Bank. He spends most week-ends, and as much time as he can, in the Hague with his fiancée, Josette, in their tastefully modernized flat, in a 1950s block. I was pleased to discover that I was again their first guest.

The next day, another long walk - “What did you do on this holiday, David?”…….”Well, I walked a lot.” (Anyway, this is an excellent way to get the feel of a new city, almost as good as the jogging I did for twenty years, traversing the early silent streets of Tokyo, Colombo, Cincinatti and other cities.) This walk took us through the large Jacob Cat Park, with an abundance of bluebells, fields of the bright blue flowers. (Later, when in Britain, I was told of the invasion of Spanish varieties of Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica, which are killing off the native bluebells, hyacinthoides non-scripta. Expert opinion is divided between those who say “Exterminate the brutes!”, and others who counsel selective planting of the invaders. End of diversion). We passed the Peace Palace, where a small garden showed commitments by nearly all governments (including Zimbabwe!) to strive for peace. A treat for me was when Jessie, Cees’ elder daughter, joined us for lunch on the terrace of the Museum, I had last seen Jessie, nearly ten years ago, and now, at 20, she was an assured and charming university student. After Jessie returned to Leiden, Josette drove Cees and me around the polders, in the direction of Gouda, finding narrow roads, and landscapes that could have been right out of 17th century Dutch paintings. In the early evening, we had our sundowners (Jenever for me, of course) on their terrace .

On Sunday, although we reached the Mauritshuis Museum at opening time, we met a large group of Japanese tourists , already standing in line . But the museum is big enough to accommodate many visitors without crowding, and I was dazzled by the outstanding assemblage of Dutch Old Masters – Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, with my particular interest in the latter’s “Girl with a Pearl Ear-Ring”. (I was pleased to confirm that Maria, one of the maids at Appelsdrift Farm, does indeed have a striking resemblance to this girl. Elspeth is presently supporting Maria on a computer course at college, so at least she should have a better fate than the girl in the movie.) Continuing our walk, Cees was explaining that ahead was Julianakerk, the church frequented by the royal family, when the church door opened, there was a small flurry of activity and an elderly lady - Queen Wilhelmina - walked to her large black Volvo. The few people watching stood politely, no cheers, no fuss; Cees told me that although he had lived much of his life in the Hague, this was the first time that he had seen the Queen in person. My luck again – not that any one of us is a fervent royalist, still it was a thrill for me to see the Queen.

It was warm enough (21C) to sit outside for a Club sandwich and draft beer, before taking a tram to the beach, to Scheveningen. (This place was renowned for being a linguistic test during WW2, because only native Dutch speakers – not German spies – allegedly can pronounce it correctly.) At first the beach resembled any other vulgar beach resort, but we walked far enough to escape the crowds, passing catamarans, and German fortifications, a few other beach walkers with their dogs. We had a good dinner (crayfish and a South African Chenin Blanc : all my hosts kindly insisted on asking for SA wine) at an elegant restaurant, which is where Cees and Josette will hold heir wedding celebrations in September.

April 28 Back to London. 
























































An early taxi ( Turkish driver) took me to the station for a fast (two hour) train to Brussels, where I changed to the EuroStar , and was soon back at St.Pancras. I knew how to catch a #45 bus to Jean’s home in Camberwell, in plenty of time for a late afternoon walk in Burgess Park. Jean had mentioned, in an email, that she had a surprise for me; after supper, Jean showed me, from her upstairs study, the most delightful surprise – a vixen and her six young cubs playing in the garden next door. I had never seen a fox at close quarters, and had not seen fox cubs at all. We used to watch them in the early mornings and late evenings. In a recent email, Jean told me that only two almost fully grown cubs are left, she hopes that they will move away before some neighbours – all of whose gardens have been damaged by the cubs – call in the Animal Control folk.

I was based with Jean for two weeks, during which I saw friends in London, and made a few train journeys outside London. My “away’ journeys were notable : first, I went to Shaftesbury to see my oldest friend (in terms of years known – from Durban High School in 1936 ) Michael Turner, and his wife Monica. I was very touched when their two sons, Chris and Paddy and daughter Jessica, plus spouses and grand-children, drove to meet me; we all (18) had a merry evening and dinner at a local pub, The Grove Arms at Ludlow. They were all so friendly, interesting and articulate, what a pleasure for me to meet them all.

DWB & Mike Sansom,Bristol

I visited Bristol to see my ever-lively New Zealand pal, Mike Sansom, and his wife Cathy, whose mother we had met at our Sherborne Catholic church. Mike had run African Initiatives, a small and successful NGO for some years, working in Northern Ghana and among the Maasai in Tanzania. They , and their children Scarlett, Keira and Zak, were in the midst of packing to leave the following week for New Zealand. After twenty years in UK, Mike was tempted by an offer to work for NZAID. Despite the upheaval of packing, they made me welcome, including a walk in the hills, and offering good NZ Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

I also traveled to Somerset, to see our old friend Jim Parker ; Bernard and I had one of our most memorable holidays in 1978, spending Christmas and New Year with Jim and Deirdre at Government House in the Falkland Islands. Although a little frail, Jim was as hospitable and ever.

In London, I met more friends :

I visited Thelma Sanders several times; we had often enjoyed Thelma’s hospitality in Kenya in the early 1970s. Also, the walls of our home –as well as those of many of our friends – are graced with Thelma’s evocative lithographs. Returning after a dinner with Thelma, I took the bus, avoiding the Underground at night; it took one hour from Islington to Camberwell, with one change, I enjoyed the bus trips, sitting on the upper deck, preferring , as Bernard did , the front seat.

I went to Hackney to meet Anne-Marie Shawe, who had facitlitated and enlivened my stint on the UC Education Abroad Programme in 1984-86; her widowed ex-Royal Air Force father, Mic, was visiting from York, and the three of us walked, on a sunny Bank Holiday , a short distance across London Fields ( which were crowded with happy families catching the sun) to Broadway – where we lunched at a popular Turkish restaurant, Cicilia. As with all my meetings with old friends, this one was marked by lively conversation, more important to me than the food and wine.

My great-niece Tan (Judy’s daughter) and her life partner David (who is such a good daddy) invited me to their new home in Wandsworth, to have supper (Bombay Gin-and-tonics first) with them and their two lively, bright boys, Tai and JJ. An important part of our conversation concerned the desirability of living in the appropriate catchment area for a good school.

I accompanied our UCSB friends, Seymour and Claire Bachmuth (whose Kennington flat I have rented previously and I plan to rent it again in the summer of 2009; they used to rent our flat ) to the British Museum, to see an exhibitions of American prints, Japanese porcelain and as many other items as we could manage, before we retired to a quiet museum café for a light lunch. I went to the Tate Britain on my own, for an exhibition of the Camden Town Group - interesting, if not too exciting) and Peter Doig, an unknown (to me) but powerful contemporary Canadian painter, whose large landscapes were dramatic and spell-binding .

Shortly after my return from the continent, I had acute back pains, which, after my back surgery in 2007, alarmed me. Having good medical aid through the University of California, I could afford to “go private”, and I made – with Jean’s help – an appointment to see a doctor. The next morning, to assuage my anxiety before my appointment, I visited Kew Gardens , where I saw the new Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art , adjoining my favourite Marianne North Gallery : MN was a prolific late Victorian painter, whose (mainly botanical) painting, cover the walls, from floor to ceiling, of this little gallery. The new collection includes paintings technically more accomplished than those of MN, who nevertheless has great charm and a wide variety of subject. Still having time to fill, I went to the Chelsea Physic Garden, which is conveniently near to the Lister Hospital, the location of my appointment. This garden inevitably – as with so many places in Britain, especially in London - brought back happy memories of my visits with Bernard. Walking around this small but wonderfully diverse garden, and enjoying a light lunch, put me at ease, as did the cheerful Italian-British neurosurgeon, Mr.Colin Natali. He ordered a MRI, which indicated a trapped nerve but nothing more serious. The pain disappeared, to my great relief.

I went with Jean to LSE to hear the annual Malinowski Lecture (Bronsilaw Malinowski, 1884 – 1942 , was one of our founding fathers, and the first professor of Anthropology at LSE). Emma Tarlo of Goldsmiths College talked about “Anthropological Appearances”, examining “Muslim chic” – the apparently widespread search by Muslim women in Europe for elegant , yet religiously acceptable, clothes and accessories. Several sophisticated websites help the fashion conscious women to buy online. A young lecturer sitting next to me dismissed the lecture as “politically correct nonsense”, but I found it entertaining and modest, and not at all pretentious. I saw only two or three familiar faces, making me again aware how far removed I now am from the current anthropological scene.

After the lecture, Jean and I went by Underground to Finsbury Park to have dinner with Donal and Rita Cruise O’Brien, who were fortuitously celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary. A happy co-incidence, as I had poured a libation at their wedding at David Apter’s home in 1965. D & R had then been graduate students (Political Science) at the University of California, Berkeley. Donal recently retired from SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies. Donal’s father, Conor, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana in my last year there, had recently celebrated his 90th birthday. It was warm enough for us to eat in the garden, where Bernard and I had seen a hedgehog some twenty years previously; disappointingly, hedgehogs no longer appear.

One more trip outside London took me to Oxford, where Kim Lake met me, for lunch at their home in Iffley Village. Kim’s first husband, Julius Lister, had been my close friend at Cambridge in the late 1940s, and Kim is very dear to me. We have shared happy times in England and South Africa, also in Indonesia and Kenya, over the years. She is one of several of my hosts who will be visiting me in Fish Hoek : I look forward to her visit, knowing that time spent with Kim is always super-charged.

On the week-end (May 10 –12) I stayed with Kevin Leeman and Graham Hayter , in North London. We met K & G in 1984, having been introduced by K’s twin brother, Clive, on whose doctoral dissertation committee I had sat. Kevin , who had been Music Manager at the National Theatre for many years, was now retired; Graham is still actively promoting his contemporary music groups. The weather was warm enough to have lunch in the garden, always a treat in Britain. In the early evening we walked through Alexander Palace Park, even hearing a nightingale – so K & G assured me, I could not be certain. Dinner at a quite outstanding Indian restaurant.

More walking on Sunday, again to Alexandra Palace Park to the popular weekly Farmers’ Market, to admire an enticing array of exotic and domestic foodstuffs, nearly all home-grown and organic. After another leisurely garden lunch – and a nap – we watched television for the Young Musician of the Year competition. Six boys (no girls this year) played piano, guitar, violin. percussion, the winner being a talented and shy 12 year-old trombone player. The music was lovely, but the announcer was embarrassing when she asked the most banal questions – e.g. to the proud parents of the winner : “How do you feel about this?”

May 13 – Cheltenham, and Manchester (Stockport)


















Kevin insisted on driving me to Warwick Avenue tube station, which is outside the congestion charge zone, and from where I traveled one stop to Paddington. I had wished to take a taxi, but Kevin would not hear of it, telling me that these days taxi drivers tend to rely on their “Sat.Nav” systems, instead of their impressive local knowledge. This apparently leads to many errors, the sophisticated systems (“tom-toms”) not taking account of road works, or streets clogged with parents dropping off school-children. In any event, Kevin, using a complicated route of side streets, got me to the tube station in record time. From Paddington, I took the train to Cheltenham, to meet Anne and Ben Cochrane, who had been our neighbours in Sherborne, in the 1990s. Now living in a retirement home; they are both frail, but gave me a great welcome.

That afternoon I took another train to Stockport, to see my old (from Cambridge, 1948) friends Paul and Pat Baxter. In my three days here, I took it easy, partly because I had a head cold, which persisted for some weeks; the older I get, the longer it takes me to shake off these common ailments. With the sunny weather persisting, surprisingly, I could relax in their quintessential English garden, lovingly tended by Pat, with a trim lawn (mown by the postman), a gazebo, flower beds, fruit trees, tits, finches and robins on the bird-feeders, aggressive squirrels working out how to get at the feeders, vegetable plots at the end of the long narrow garden. In what has been a common pattern for years, the family – my god-son Adam, the grand-sons Mark and Paul Edward, and their spouses and children - come in relays to see me, giving me the chance to hear how they are all doing.

P & P continued another part of the pattern, going back more than forty years – Bernard and I have never been in Britain without a visit to the Baxters – I am taken for a drive in the country, ending with a pub lunch. Bernard had earlier made me aware of the wealth of beautiful and unspoiled countryside within easy reach of Manchester. For our first drive, Pat suggested that we have lunch at the Rising Sun, a pleasant pub in Rainow, near Macclesfield, which we had visited in 1984. On that previous occasion we had all been fitter, and we had walked a couple of hours from White Nancy, a prominent local landmark building, near Bollington. When Pat wondered whether going to the Rising Sun again would upset me, I was glad to assure her that – on the contrary – any place associated with Bernard has happy recollections for me. We were all relieved to find that in the intervening 24 years, the pub had lost none of its character , and the simple lunch ( fish and chips and mushy peas) consumed in a warm conservatory, was excellent. When I hesitated in choosing a pint of bitter, a local man at the bar told me to have a Black Sheep. A good choice.

On the next day, a shorter drive took us to the Willowpool Garden Centre, with its curious assemblage of kitsch and lovely antique benches, statues, bathtubs, vases, all mixed up with real kitsch and junk items. Our lunch ( in a sort of rondavel), was served by a pretty Bulgarian waitress.

Each of the countless times that I have visited the Baxters, I can be certain of two factors: Pat’s every meal will not only taste good, but will be so attractively presented, in their cosy kitchen. Secondly, Paul and I will sip whisky and discuss everybody whom we know, deplore recent trends in anthropology, and puzzle over global problems, even if by the end of the evening, our discussion gets a little blurred.. When I left, Pat gave me a lovely benediction, saying “Take care, love, you are precious to us”. Paul drove me to Stockport station for a direct train ( over the Pennines) to Edinburgh, where I changed for Inverness. Both journeys were “calendar Britain”, with an abundance of horse-chestnuts, gorse and May all in full bloom, with little white lambs frolicking in the fields – all in brilliant sunshine. While admiring the grand scenery, I enjoyed a small bottle of Bordeaux with Pat’s delicious butty.

May 16 : Caithness











































Margaret Thurso

My eldest niece, Deirdre Blackwood and her husband Peter met me at Inverness, driving me ( 2 & ½ hours) to their home in Halkirk, with a stop at Helmsdale for supper. The next day I was pleased to find Flagstone wines – Noon Gun and Fish Hoek Shiraz –at the Thurso Tesco. Once again, I had the happy experience of catching up with the family - or most of them ; D & P have five children and nine grand-children, most of them living nearby. My great-nephew Paddy and his wife Kath showed me their nearly finished large (240 sq.m) house, an imaginative design, using local stone, right out in the country, with sweeping views from huge windows. Kath endeared herself to me when she said that she had read my book in two days, “I could not put it down.”

I skipped mass on the Sunday, still battling by now a heavy cold, but we did drive out to another fine country pub, with another great-nephew, David, and his lively family. After lunch, it was warm enough for a walk on a beach - deserted except for three young men riding noisy motor-cycles.

After spending a few days with D & P, I moved to Thurso to stay with my sister-in-law, Margaret Thurso. I had known Margaret’s eldest son , John, for many years, and I also had met Marion, his American wife, but I had never had a sustained conversation with them. So I was delighted to find that they would have dinner with us, that Sunday evening. John had given up his seat in the House of Lords to become a Liberal Democrat M.P – a family tradition, his grand-father having been Sir Archibald Sinclair, who was Minister for Air in Winston Churchill’s WW2 cabinet. Margaret - who later told me that she and I were the “survivors” of our generation – served, without any help, a tasty dinner, and we had good talk. John has a huge constituency, covering two other counties ( all lightly populated) as well as Caithness, and is conscientious in driving about for his “surgeries”, so I was lucky to have an evening with them.

At Margaret’s insistence, I saw her doctor, young Helen MacDonald, who diagnosed a bronchial infection; she was not happy about my proposed flight to Sweden three days later. Fortunately her anti-biotics (which I very seldom take) did the trick, and she declared me fit for travel .

My editor, Biddy Greene , had been at UCT with Jonathan Price, (a retired publisher. who lives in the Orkney Islands) and suggested that we meet, so J came over on the ferry from the Orkneys for the day. Deirdre, Margaret and I met J. , having lunch at a restaurant overlooking the harbour in Scrabster, where the ferry docks. Jonathan, who has a very lively and curious mind, did not return until the late afternoon, so we had plenty of time for talk, finding many overlaps and resonances in our respective lives.

Margaret took me to the Castle of Mey, which had been the home, for part of each summer for fifty years, of the late Queen-Mother. Margaret knew the castle well, her late husband Robin having , as Lord-Lieutenant of Caithness, often been invited there. It was touching to hear the staff, many of whom had served the Q-M, speaking in such affectionate tones of their late mistress. Although it was sunny, there was a chill in the air, I declined a walk in the extensive gardens , settling for a bowl of warming skink soup. That evening , May 20, Peter and Deirdre took me, and Margaret, to the Captain’s Galley, at Scrabster, for an early birthday celebration : my actual birthday was three days later. This is a superior restaurant, quite small, where we enjoyed a leisurely dinner, with really fresh caught fish – the menu even specified when and where and on which boat the fish had been caught.

My carefully made travel plans went awry. I had checked online and seen that there were flights from Inverness to Stockholm, where I could get a local flight to northern Sweden to meet my friends. But – and not for the first time – I failed to read the small print, which explained that the flight involved changes at Aberdeen and London, and would cost $1,500. Deirdre came to my rescue, suggesting that I use my rail pass to go by train from Thurso to Inverness, and then on the night sleeper to London. I paid a small supplement, and traveled in luxury, in my first class compartment . The steward even asked what time I would like my early morning tea or coffee. A nice thought, but I was up and dressed before he came. From Euston station it was easy to travel by tube to Paddington, board the Heathrow Express, go to the problem-plagued Terminal Five, and fly to Stockholm.


May 22 Northern Sweden









































































































Per Nilsson & DWB , my 85th birthday

From Stockholm it is an hour’s flight to Lulea, where Per Nilsson was waiting to meet me at the airport. Bernard and I first met Per in 1981, in Dar-es-Salaam, when we were all consultants for a fuelwood survey for FAO. Per and I spent a few weeks together in 1982, on another fuelwood project in Tanzania. You get to know a person’s true qualities when engaged in fairly intensive fieldwork, encountering various difficulties, (weather, bureaucracy, transport, bureaucracy, health; finding acceptable accommodation, food, cold beer, …….), dealing with a wide range of officials and local people, and Per and I knew each other well by the end of our surveys. We have kept in touch over the years, hoping that we might have a chance to visit each other’s homes. When I was planning this 2008 journey, Per encouraged me to include Sweden, which I had not visited. Despite not having seen each other for 26 years, Per and I were immediately at ease with each other. Fortunately, Per had had a meeting at Lulea that day, as his home is more than an hour’s drive away. Although it was nearly midnight when we arrived at Per’s home, it was light enough to see reindeer and elk by the roadside. Having often addressed correspondence to Per’s home –Turistgatan 33, Alvsbyn, it was a thrill for me finally to arrive there, and to meet his wife Vera. Their two grown-up children live away, one in Stockholm, one in Belgium.

Per is in charge of development for the city and county of Alvsbyn, and has an unrivalled knowledge of matters social, economic, political, religious, cultural, environmental for his area. Per is also a seasoned electoral Election Observer, having been to over 30 countries, for the European Union and other agencies. He had just returned from leading an international team in Serbia, and earlier in the year had been in Armenia. These experiences have given Per a comprehensive knowledge of the basic structure and problems of many countries, making him a fascinating conversationalist. A side benefit for me has been the postcards that Per sends me from his electoral missions.

The next day, May 23, was full of enchantments, apart from being my birthday. Per had taken a few days vacation, so that he could show me something of the countryside. After stopping at some birding sites, Per drove us to see his charming summer house, ( with obligatory sauna, also a guest cottage) which is close to the Gulf of Bothinia, near Lulea. Per stopped to greet another summer resident, Donald Johannson, introducing me and telling Donald that it was my 85th birthday. Donald opened the door of his Mercedes, retrieved a large book, and said “Happy Birthday!”, giving me a copy of Norrlanden an impressive coffee-table book about northern Sweden, splendidly illustrated. That the text is in Swedish does not matter, I was very touched. Later that day I saw a copy of the same book at the hotel shop, priced at S.Kr.990, or nearly $200. I was embarrassed, but Per told me not to worry, Donald owns Albyshus, Scandinavia’s largest manufacturers of pre-fabricated wooden houses. Later, we drove past Donald’s factory, one of the three main employers in Alvsbyn, and I felt less embarrassed by his generous gift, a nice memento of my introduction to northern Sweden. I stress the northern , because the tension between north and south reminded me somewhat of the situation in UK, with Scotland playing the role of northern Sweden .

That evening Per and Vera took me a hotel overlooking the river Pite, opposite Storforsen, “the highest unexploited waterfall in Scandinavia”. These rapids are the largest in Europe, making a splendid backdrop for our dinner. It was a grand setting for my birthday dinner, which included a special roe –“much better than caviar” ( I could not pronounce on that judgment), reindeer steak with a chocolate and juniper berry sauce, cloudberry crème brulee . A memorable 85th. On returning to Alvsbyn, I was happy to receive ten email birthday messages.


the Arctic Cricle with Per Nilsson

Vera, who teaches English and French at a technical college, was free on the Saturday, so she joined us for a drive north, crossing the Arctic Circle into Laponia (Lappland) and a visit to the Jokkmokk Museum of Saami.. This has an excellent collection, but it is not well lit, and the signage is in Swedish and Saamiska. The lack of signs in English surprised me, given that this is a World Heritage Site, and the Visitors Book indicated that most visitors were foreigners. Per translated diligently, but after 1 &1/2 hours, Vera declared (to my relief) that we had seen enough drums, costumes, weapons, bears, houses, and exhibitions about cooking, shamans and natural history, it was time for lunch.

Bears, which are treated with careful respect are still around; the local newspaper had a headline, Bjorn dodane arg, bear kills elk, and there was a photograph of a female bear and three cubs, on a highway. I saw no bears, but we did see reindeer, elk, cranes, hares and many swans, often in large flocks. We stopped to see Akkat’s Dam, near Sjaunja, a nature reserve which is part of the huge (9400 Laponia World Heritage area, including the largest marsh area in Sweden. This is a renowned wilderness area, a noted birding location and also occupied for part of each year by Saami, herding their reindeer as they have done for 5000 years – until a few centuries ago, they did more hunting than herding reindeer , and today they are more likely to use snowmobiles than dog sleighs. Here the signs were also in English, but Vera deplored the clumsy usage, sighing and asking why professional translators were not employed : her own English is impeccable, and idiomatic. The dam wall was decorated with large murals, painted by a Swedish artist who used Saami symbols, to the anger of some Saami ; this is a familiar situation, where minorities are sensitive about outsiders “stealing” their culture..

Overlooking Storforsen

For the remaining few days, we went on more excursions, visiting Gammelstad Church Town , a World Heritage Site , which “admirably illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographic and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment .” The impressive stone church, which dates from the late 15th century, is adjacent to 400 tiny cottages (no water, no electricity) which were originally built for church members who came in from the country for special services. Some of these houses are still occasionally used. I also :

· saw the village where Per had spent his boyhood, looking at his old home and school;

· met some of Per’s colleagues, who had also workd in Tanzania;

· saw more birding sites, and the towns of Pitea and Lulea;

· walked on the boardwalk above Storfarsen Falls, remarking to Per that these unprotected walkways would not be seen in the U.S., for fear of being sued for liability after accidents.;

· enjoyed salmon , which was cheaper then steak, cloudberries (picked by Per) and raspberries (picked by Vera), accompanied by Russian champagne;

· chose from a wide selection of South African wines – some I knew, such as Kleine Zalze, Graham Beck, Zonnebloem, others - Foot of Africa - were unfamiliar .

Looking down on Storforsen

When driving through the endless forests of pine, birch and a few spruce, I remarked on how law-abiding the drivers were. Per told me that if a driver is found driving more than 30 kph over the posted limit, he (more likely to be a “he”?) is fined heavily and loses his driving license for three months. I was interested in Per’s tale of a proposal to bottle Alvsbyn water, which is very pure, and which would have high sales in Germany. While it would provide jobs ( badly needed) questions were raised about “designer water” and its negative effect on the environment, Environmental awareness is high here.

Like Sandy and Francesca in Spain, Per and Vera went all out to show me a great variety of carefully selected locations; in both cases, I was given a splendid introductionoot a new country, leaving me wishing to return and to see more. Per took me for one final drive, to Lulea airport for my journey to Stockholm and on to London.

May 27. London.

















































I spent one night at Jean’s home in Camberwell, seeing how the fox cubs had grown in my absence, and taking Jean to a good neighbourhood restaurant, Caravaggio’s., where we had dined on my earlier visit. This time Jean recognized a gay couple, one of whom had been her student; then the couple next to us got into conversation, finding that we had common friends in Cape Town.

I spent my last five days with Richard Dyson and David Budworth, who have shared their lives for ten years, and who live near the Oval, in South London. Bernard and I first met Richard (who is from Zimbabwe) in 1990, when he was at Sherborne School ; we met through his aunt, Mary Dyson (see entry for April 7, Paris). R & D leave home early – both are financial journalists – returning 10 or 12 hours later. In the evenings I alternated between joining them - and usually a friend or friends – and going out to meet my friends. During these last few days I ;

*Took the train (under an hour) to Brighton, to see Brian and Doreen Taylor, who had house-sat my home in Fish Hoek during April . Brian and I first met at Rhodes University, in 1946. After lunch, we had a bracing walk at the Devil’s Dyke, on the Sussex downs.

*Returned to Kew Gardens to try out the new Xstrata Treetop Walkway, an octagonal, wooden walk, 18m high, where I walked at treetop level, all the trees clearly labeled. When I approached the walkway, the young park attendant told me that the lift was out of order, eyeing me dubiously and saying “There are 108 steps”. Thus challenged, I did not leap up the stairs, but I managed a sedate climb, pausing from time to time “to admire the view”.

*Had dinner with Gill Shepherd, a social anthropologist who is yet another “fuelwood friend”, like Garry Thomas , Agnes Klingshirn and Per Nilsson – all of whom share my interest in firewood and domestic energy. I was sorry to miss Gill’s husband, Peter Loizos, also an anthropologist, who was attending a conference on Lesbos, which until then had for me only been a fabled island. On the way to a Thai restaurant (despite the unpromising name of Yum Yum, it was excellent) Gill showed me the flats, near Clissold park, where their children Daniel and Hannah live : I first met these two when they were school-children, and I like to keep up with my friends’ families.

* went to a movie, the animated Persepolis ( I liked the first part)

My final week-end was memorable. I had decided to go to the Wigmore Hall for a Sunday morning concert. When I asked David if he would like to come to the concert, he readily agreed, suggesting that we should cycle there. Richard thoughtfully said that I try out his bicycle, by accompanying him on an errand. Apart from that brief bike ride with Mat Mines in Holland, I had not been on a bicycle for 30 or more years. This practice run gave me confidence . Then Richard suggested –as a sort of Bon Voyage for himself, and for me – that we have a cocktail at Simpson’s in the Strand (another recollection – Bernard and I and Leslie Rubin celebrating the latter’s 60th birthday there, in 1969 ). “Simpson’s Knights’ Room” was closed, so we went instead to “Christopher’s Martini Bar” in Wellington Street, near Aldwych, smart in a 1920s style. I cannot recall when I last had a cocktail, and at noon, moreover. I watched the elegant Afro-Caribbean bartender expertly mixing my Manhattan ( straight bourbon, dry and sweet vermouth, a dash of Angostura Bitters, lots of ice, and a cherry); this had been our favorite tipple for special occasions when we lived in Santa Barbara. The first drink was so good that – after I had asked the waitress to turn the music down, a request that I frequently make – we had a second , I feeling quite relaxed .

We parted, Richard to prepare for his flight to visit his parents in Pietermaritzburg, David to see friends, and I to walk to the Donmar Theatre, which is noted for its imaginative productions. The gripping play was Small Change by Peter Gill, of whom I had not heard, though he was very active as playwright and director for many years. I walked (weather still co-operative) past crowded Covent Garden to the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibition, Brilliant Women, then crossed the Thames for another play, Brecht’s A good soul of Szechuan at the Young Vic. First I had supper ( humus, lamb khish and couscous) at a pavement table at Tas, a good Turkish restaurant near the Young Vic ( R & D’s recommendation). The production failed to grip me, so I left at interval, glad of an early night after my busy day. I made sure of going home by bus, avoiding the Underground, becasue this was the last night when liquor was allowed on the tube –the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, had banned it from midnight, and raucous parties were being held on the undergrond trains

On the Sunday I went (by 36 bus) to Victoria, for the 8 a.m. mass at Westminster Cathedral, and at 10 a.m. David and I set out to cycle to Wigmore Hall, which took just under an hour. We soon crossed the Thames, at Vauxhall, David going ahead, indicating in advance any turns or stops, and I was soon in my element, feeling 16 again. On a Sunday morning, traffic was light, and David chose either dedicated bicycle paths, or we rode in the lanes reserved for buses, taxis and cycles. It was at first unnerving when a huge double-decker red bus loomed right behind me. But London bus-drivers and motorists are considerate to cyclists, a contrast to Cape Town, where I have not dared to cycle. We picked up a good pace, riding past the Georgian houses in Eccleston Square…Eaton Square…then a loop through Hyde Park….past Grosvenor Square with the heavily fortified American Embassy, up Duke Street, crossing Oxford Street and arriving at Wigmore Hall in good time to lock our bikes and have coffee before the concert. The Russian Hermitage String Trio played a Dohnanyi trio, then a Brahms piano quartet . It was great chamber music; when Bernard and I lived in London in the 1990s, this was one of our favourite venues.

David selected a different route on the way back, taking us past Parliament Square, so that I could have a close look at Mandela’s statue .

Mandela statue, Parliament Square,London

Leaving our bikes at home, we went by bus to the West End, for a late lunch ( Caesar salad and a 6.6% Belgian beer) on the fifth floor of Waterstone’s bookshop in Piccadilly. We had a long walk - National, Gallery, bookshops, Soho. By dodging into back streets, we avoided the most crowded areas, David being, like all my hosts, an informative and amusing guide. We went to the Curzon Soho to see a well-reviewed Romanian movie, California Dreamin, which we both much enjoyed, despite it being a little too long .The 25 year old director had been killed in a car crash, and the film had been left without the final editing and cuts. Back home for a glance at the Sunday newspapers, and an early night.

On my final day, I had thought of going on the London Eye, but as it was – unusually on this trip – rainy and overcast, I decided to leave this for my next visit. I have started a list of Things to See for 2009, including (from R&D’s London: a Guide to Recent Architecture) the remarkable Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple in Neasden. However, I was able to go by bus to Brixton (very close) to meet Dan Taylor, another anthropologist working with a NGO, mainly in Malawi and India. I was Dan’s external examiner, at SOAS, for his Ph.D examination, in the mid 1990s; and on my 2006 visit I had met Dan’s wife Pippa, (also from South Africa, now a GP in the National Health Service) and their two student sons Jake and Alex. This time we had lunch (Sushi Bento and an Asahi beer) at a good, quiet Japanese restaurant in Brixton. Dan told me about a seminar that he had been attending, on how climate change will affect development. Obviously major changes will be needed

June 3 & 4 Returning Home












David ordered a mini-cab to take me to Heathrow. The chatty driver, a Nigerian from Ibadan, was refreshingly scathing about most African leaders, and was particularly critical of their reluctance to criticise Robert Mugabe. My overnight flight was made easier because I chose “Premium Economy” which is intermediate, in price and in comfort, between standard Economy and Business Class. Biddy Greene, (who had so successfully edited Brokie’s Way), met me at Cape Town airport and dropped me at home in Fish Hoek. I was tired after ten weeks on the road, but very pleased by all I had seen, and by how I had been welcomed so effusively. I am, to use one of Bernard’s phrases, indeed “a lucky old thing”.

On my return, I sat down in my living room, with the incomparable view of Fish Hoek Bay, happy to be home after my long journey, but missing the good company that I had enjoyed for those ten weeks. I almost expected some-one to ask if I would like a cup of tea, or a glass of wine. I soon became accustomed again to living on my own, though I also had to get used to doing the usual domestic tasks – not that these have ever bothered me (Bernard’s no-nonsense approach saw to that) - but I was out of practice. I had to ask our good neighbour/landlord Rob to help me operate the TV, and the washing machine – I had forgotten the settings. During my travels, I refrained from checking my weight, fearful what this might reveal. On my return, I was relieved to find that, despite the succession of excellent meals, I had not gained weight – still 72.5 kgs, 160 lbs – although the distribution leaves much to be desired.. 

I have been asked what the highlights of my travels were. A constant highlight was the loving welcome that I received everywhere, reminding me of Bernard asking, in similar situations, “What have we done to deserve this?” Without being invidious, I mention. first, my exhilarating cycle ride with David, riding through London on that sunny Sunday Morning. Then there were the unexpected wildlife sightings – the fox cubs in south London, and elks and reindeer in Sweden; hearing a lark in Germany, and a nightingale in north London. And so much more.

Now I keenly anticipate another stay – DV - this time only in Britain, in summer 2009 .





























March 26 Flight BA 42 departs 0815 Arrive London 1805

March 27 – 30, Jean la Fontaine, London

(All journeys in Europe will be by train)

March 31, via Paris to Girona , arriving 20.19

April 1 – 4, stay Mieres with Sandy Robertson & Francesca Bray 

April 5 – 6. In Barcelona (on my own!)

April 7 to Paris, arriving 17.49 staying with Mary Dyson& Jean Bouton,

April 9 to Juan-les-Pins, with Garry and Connie Thomas

April 11 to Frankfurt, to join Agnes Klingshirn for ten days.

April 13 to Kircheimbolanden staying with my American great-nephew Choogs Morris .

April 14 to Bavaria, staying with Agnes’ sister

April 16, to Frankfurt, s with Agnes

April 17 to Berlin

April 17 – 19 Berlin

April 20 Frankfurt, with Agnes

April 22 Utrecht, with Mat & Gill Mines

April 25 The Hague, with Cees and Josette Post

April 28 London, staying with Jean la Fontaine

April 29 – May 12, based in London,

May 13 - 15, Manchester, with Paul & Pat Baxter

May 16 – 21 Thurso and Halkirk, with my sister-in-law 

Margaret Thurso and my niece Deirdre Blackwood

May 22 to Alvsbyn,Sweden, flying via Stockholm & Lulea. with Per Nilsson.

May27 London, Richard Dyson & David Budworth

June 3 . 19.20, flight BA 59 to Cape Town

June 4 Arrive Cape Town 07.50



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