So the day has arrived – I could easily spend another week getting ready, and still not feel fully prepared. In an hour I’ll be leaving for the station, travelling by train to Heathrow to catch an evening flight to Johannesburg, the last place I saw Simon in August 2012. He would have been relaxed and laidback as always, whilst I am half-frozen in a snowstorm of panic and self-doubt.
On from Johannesburg to Bulawayo, by air this time, eschewing the uncomfortable bus which takes hours and includes an extended stay at immigration control at Beitbridge on the South Africa-Zimbabwe border, especially long at this time of year. On one memorable journey the other way, our bus broke down in the middle of nowhere on the Zim side. While Simon chatted happily to other passengers, I wandered into the bush for a pee and got bitten by a spider. My ankle swelled up almost immediately and when we finally reached Jo’burg I had to be attended to at a clinic. So the plane is, I hope, a relatively luxurious alternative.
Beyond that is my reunion with Charlie and the rest of the family, an afternoon and evening of rest before rehearsals with Sunduza on Saturday and our first recording sessions on Sunday and Monday at 10th District Recording Studios. We’d have preferred a longer rehearsal period, but Tswarelo our engineer has already delayed a trip to South Africa for us, and is keen to get as much down as possible before he leaves.
So I’ll be writing lyrics on the train and plane, listening to the Sunduza clips that Charlie has sent me and beginning to craft in my response. I’m looking forward to having just one project to concentrate on for the next month.
But for now, a strange feeling of calm envelops me as I realise there is nothing more I can do, and that this is really going to happen…