As I type we should have been in the air en-route from Johannesburg to Aberdeen. Sadly our South African odyssey was not to be and I can't imagine we will be travelling anywhere any time soon
So, here is a memento of holidays past - a large lump of colourful copper/silver ore I picked up on the Gratlspitz mountain, high above the Austrian village of Alpbach.
Copper and silver mining in the general area goes back to the Bronze Age but the Gratlspitz mine dates only from the 15th century but remained in production until the mid 1800s.
I think that the copper ore is Tyrolite (hydrated calcium copper arsenate carbonate) but mineralogy is one of the infinite number of things about which I know very little indeed!
I remember collecting the ore with the greatest of clarity because, on the way down the mountain, a thunderstorm of the utmost severity descended upon us. We ended up soaked to the skin and were left cowering in a wooden barn as the lightning cracked into the ground all around us for what felt like a lifetime.