My South African houseguests are leaving tomorrow, and it’s been very cool to have them around. Quinton, who’s my friend Sarah’s brother-in-law, researches leopards and set up The Cape Leopard Trust. As of yesterday, he has the word Doctor before his name and PhD after it, following his storming performance at the viva for his thesis. Awesomes. He’s also quite a personality – a passionate and eloquent speaker about his subject of choice, promoting conservation and raging against the tabloid instincts of various TV shows about animals. His wife Liz is lovely, too – clearly someone who really inspires the kids that she teaches. So it’s been a pleasure to host the couple, doubly so because beforehand neither my wife Jo nor I quite knew how it would go, having never met them before. It’s been kinda like a school exchange that could have gone either way but really worked.

Maybe sometime soon we’ll be able to go to South Africa and see the leopards for ourselves – apparently their behaviour is very much like upscaled versions of our housecats, which sounds bloody cool. But even if that’s a way off, I’ve definitely gained new insights into animal behaviour and how both the urban and rural parts of South Africa work. I’m very glad that Quinton and Liz came to stay. It’s been a lot of fun to have them stay with us, and I’ll be sorry to see them go.

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