Tim and I are not both the proud owners of Blackberries! We are now (in theory) fully contactable and can write and receive emails any time of night or day. However, the reality is, those little keyboards are really made for kids’ fingers, not for adults’! I will therefore not be pounding away at every opportunity, however, it is worth it for a quick message. Also, I think people understand that you can do away with some of the pleasantries when you’re writing from a Blackberry. Well, so I hope! As a 60-80 words per minute touch typist, the 10 words a minute ability of Blackberries is just never going to make me want to write a long email to anyone!

We also have a new laptop. I was quite excited at first, because this laptop is going to be so much better to do work on, because it has a bigger screen and has a separate numbers pad. However, when it took me an entire day to set it up – and I haven’t even finished and I have been completely unable to set it up for Kuduclub (South African television), my enthusiasm waned somewhat! I am now still working on 2 laptops, because I just don’t have the time or strength to figure out how to do it on the other one. I know it has got something to do with the security and privacy settings, which in turn conflicts with the virus checker, but I am not a techie! It is driving me nuts. Ah, and did I mention it runs on lovely Vista … not! I begged them to put XP on it, but they wouldn’t. Now I am having to work on 2 different platforms and I just don’t understand Vista, hence the reason why I possibly don’t like it either!

My sister, Rochelle, and family (hubbie and 2 kids), might be coming over to visit in June this year. Unfortunately they don’t know for certain yet, but I am hoping and praying that it will happen. It will be the firs time, in the 10 years that I have been living here, that they would be visiting. My parents have been coming regularly , but none of my other family.

Let’s take a moment to say how annoyed I am though, that the British Government have now (since March 09) changed the entry rules into the UK, and all South Africans now need a visa to enter the country. Not only do they have to go through the pain and agony of going to one of the consulates to do this, but they have to pay £65 (R1,000) per person for it! Now, that is a small fortune for a South African! That is probably equivalent (in buying power) of us having to pay £150 for a visa to go to South Africa! And there is more, the UK chose not to join the Shengen Visa scheme for the rest of the EU. No, that would be just to sensible and cost effective! Now if a South African want to do a stop-over in the UK for a night or two on the way to Europe (which they often do), they will need both a British and a Shengen Visa!! I do think it will impact on British tourism somewhat because there are a lot of South Africans that holiday here every year. For me it is closer to home. It has just, over night, made a trip to visit us, £260 dearer for a family of four. And what do they get for their £260? Absolutely nothing! I cannot pretend that I am happy with this ruling at all. I just don’t see what they achieve through this?

Tim has a new car: it is a very cute cream Mini Clubman. He has kindly given me back my BMW 1-series that he has been driving for the last year, once he had added 12,000 miles! We took the Mini for a long drive to Nottinghamshire last week and it did surprisingly well. We even managed to drive Anita back to Broadoak Park, where she now lives, so we know it can definitely accommodate tall people in the back seat quite comfortably. The boot is really quite tiny, but quite adequate for day-to-day use. I have tried to convince him that perhaps we should swap cars as I will now have a very long commute, but he’s having none of it!

We have also tentatively booked our flights to South Africa for Christmas. We are planning to go for 3 weeks, from about 11th December through to the 1st January. Hopefully we will be spending 1 week in the Cape, a week on the farm in Greytown, and a few days in Durban and Pretoria. But we’ll plan it closer to the time. The timing has to, of course, be planned around the England vs SA cricket!