The day was beastly hot, 32 degrees C. I am on leave, but promised that I would drop in at the office and check that the systems were running smoothly, which I did and they were. Yay! The call desk had a misconfigured PC, but I copied the firewall settings from another one and that sorted that out.

Did a lot of painting in the afternoon – most of what I had wanted to get sorted out before new year.

In the evening we (Myself, brother and brother’s friend) were off to Somerset West, a drive of about 40 minutes, to meet our uncle and a cousin on visit back from his new home Australia.

Uncle Ed used to make me very nervous. He was my mother’s gruff elder brother, with three daughters. He had a merciless sense of humour. Once when I was a callow and awkward 18 or 19 years old, he had transfixed me with his gaze and asked in all seriousness, “So, do you still smoke dope?” I was in my first year of university and had only just started with this guilty pleasure, and was reduced to embarrassed stammering in reply.

It's better now. Years later he tried exactly the same thing, and I replied in total honesty “Oh yes, years ago”. The fact that I also these days cultivate an appreciation of wine, his beverage of choice, doesn’t hurt either.

Cousin George has been in Australia now for more than ten years, and has naturalised well. We caught up on all the whereabouts and doings of all the cousins, scattered in an arc from Perth and Calgoolie via Cape Town and Pretoria over to London and Oxford.

George’s sister Cath has surprised us by emigrating with her mining engineer husband this year when we weren’t looking. She now has two beautiful little daughters. But by some ghastly coincidence both of them bear the same names as Ex’s of mine.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that George is now 42 years old. He is still sprightly and fit, but I remember him as a muscular rock-climbing youth when I was a child. He asked my age and remarked that you remember people the way that they were, changeless.

The wines: Thelema Chardonnay and Backsberk Klein Babylon’s Toring Red that I brought, and Villiera Red and another white that Ed and his wife supplied.