What are the first things that strike one, returning to Cape Town after a few years in the northern hemisphere?
1. The light. Yikes, it's bright! I feel like a mole that's just tunneled out from the gloom.
2. The accents - once part of the local landscape, they now strike the ear with all their variety.
3. The warmth and friendliness of people (and, after England, their slightly shocking, but so welcome, directness).
Day one -
which should, by rights, have been day two, were it not for a tricksy little valve on a reserve fuel tank that grounded our intended flight and had us chugging home on the M25 in the middle of the night, just around about the time we should have been winging it over the Sahara -
- we moved into Cape Town's historic Waterkant area, on the slopes of Signal Hill, overlooking the harbour. Part of the 'Malay Quarter', so-called because it was originally settled and built by freed Muslim slaves from the East in the 1700s.
It's now a vibrant area of steep cobbled streets, characteristic architecture and interesting shops and places to eat, with views down to Table Bay
So many new shops to indulge my nostalgia for African artefacts ...
and old favourite places to stop for tea ...
La Petite Tarte in the Cape Quarter adds a French touch to the mix of cultures
Wheat free chocolate and hazelnut cake and a cup of Mariage Freres thé de l'opéra on the little covered terrace
And then back 'home' for a dip in late afternoon sunshine ...
It doesn't get much better than this ...