Whistlestop weekend

Some snaps from our family weekend away with my folks. It was short - we had to leave a day later than planned because Immy got a nasty bout of gastro - but we made the most of it.

Immy was in her element. Most of her favourite people all together all weekend. I was in my element because I had plenty of gin and tonic, and a brand new book. Also a stylish new slate to play with, but this ended up being relegated to the Corner of Shame for the weekend because I couldn't install the Kindle app update. Or any other update for that matter. Technology just hates me.

Which is kind of a pity, since it's what I do for a living.

Anyway. We read stories, and played board games. She skipped stones on the dam and climbed rocks in her pajamas. Curled up with Granny in a sun-warmed room for long afternoon naps. Played hide and seek with Grampy - who was kind of fabulous at it, although potentially the longest seeker ever known to the game.

Houston. We have a pony.

We had grand plans for Saturday. Which didn't work out quite the way we had hoped, so we improvised. First stop: the dam. And skipping stones. What she lacked in technique, she more than made up for in enthusiasm. And rock size.

Her dad rolled up his jeans so the two of them would have matching turn-ups.

And since skipping stones is such thirsty work, we stopped in at the local pub-type-place for something to drink.

A riveting conversation with the pub owner who was explaining at this particular juncture how the dog (a massive creature placidly lying next to our table) got bitten by a croc as he was climbing out of the river after a swim.

Well. That's Africa for you.

The rest of our weekend looked something like this.

Way too much eating. My dad made these for lunch and we swore we would never eat again. Until about four hours later, when we proclaimed ourselves starving.

Cosy afternoon sleeps with her Granny. Who is her favourite sleeping buddy and all-round best friend in the world.

And while a little girl sleeps, a new book to read...

I started reading this book on Saturday afternoon, and I finished it earlier this evening. Fellow book lovers will know that there are many good books out there, with good being defined in a hundred different ways. Books that are a good read. Books that are well written. Books that are entertaining, funny, gripping, or just what you needed to escape for a while.

And then there are those very rare books that whisper to your soul and stay with you long after you've read them. A few on my list? Cry, the Beloved Country. The Poisonwood Bible. The Night Circus. The Book Thief.

And now this book. The Language of Flowers. Beautiful, heart-breaking, poignant and definitely the best book I have read this year.

We ended off our day with the obligatory roaring boma fire, complete with rising moon and chops on the braai.

It was a weekend to remember.

Last night we had a small celebration with my in-laws. A simple meal around the table, followed by cake with candles for The Birthday Grandpa. Immy sang happy birthday and blew the candles out with sparkling eyes.

I watched her. And I wondered if all these moments, these special times with her grandparents, are being etched into her memory.

I hope so.

But even if she won't remember the details, I am so thankful - grateful - that as she grows and finds her way in the world, there are so many hands besides our own to catch her.

And P.S.

The slate and I have called a temporary truce and are getting to know each other better.