This year has been a pretty tough one in many ways. My Dad died in January, after spending three weeks in intensive care following a heart bypass operation. He was almost 79 years old, and apart from the sadness in our hearts, he left behind an inspiring legacy of community work that will continue to remind many of his caring for others.
David (10) and Sarah (7) have brought us much joy this year. They are at a really lovely age; able to participate fully in the family, independent to a large degree, but are still very much children in their outlook on life. David has excelled at school this year (especially in maths and English) and has managed a very comfortable A average in Grade 4, and even managed to be 'Player of the Year' as goalkeeper in his soccer team at the Randburg Football Club. He has attended an enrichment centre this year, and has had a great time learning about things like astronomy, computer programming, word games, and mathematical puzzles. Sarah has also done very well in Grade 1 this year - getting awards for overall academic excellence and creativity. She took part in the Randburg Eisteddfod and brought home a gold certificate for her efforts (as did David). Both children have also made good progress at tennis and gymnastics.
Deb has arranged some school outings to the Star newspaper and to a water purification plant. We have also organised some very enjoyable outings for the school Climbing and Hiking Club, including rock climbing on Northcliff Hill, and hikes on the Phaladingwe trail at Pelindaba, the Bokmakierie trail at Suikerbosrand, and a camping visit to Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesberg. Deb and I both continued our involvement with Sunday School teaching during the first half of the year.
Our house is becoming quite a menagerie. Our border collie, Bardy, is now about twelve years old, but still keeps me company when I go running on the weekends. We now also have a pair of hamsters (who had five babies), a pair of rabbits, and a single guinea pig (who managed to surprise us with three babies).
Debbie has been very involved with counselling for Lifeline, as well as for the Randburg Trauma Centre. She finished her BA studies this year, completing her English III exams in November, and is now contemplating an Honours degree in Psychology next year.
Another occasion of note was the celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary during November. So many wonderful memories have been made during those years, and we look forward to many more.
Things have been particularly hectic at work this year. I took on five new staff members; we had a constant stream of overseas visitors, and more furnace campaigns than ever before. I have been particularly involved with the development of new processes for the platinum industry, as well as some fundamental work on furthering the understanding (and photography) of DC plasma electric arcs. I also had a couple of very short business trips to Cape Town in May, and to Zambia in June.
With all the activity of this year, the only chance we've had to get away on holiday was for a few days at Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Mountains in April. The weather was good, and we had some really lovely walks, including the 7-hour 'Mudslide and Crack' climb. However, we are about to spend a few weeks in Cape Town, staying in the homes of friends while they are away. We will be travelling the 1500 km journey by train, which should be quite a novelty for the children.
Rodney, Debbie, David, and Sarah