Friday, December 30, 2005


It’s Thursday evening, and I’ve starting sorting out the books on the bookshelf at the bottom of the stairs, and now I need a BREAK!! There are loads of books. So far I’ve debooked three shelves, and now the passage by the front door is littered with piles of books which have been sorted – so many different categories - we have books on gardening, the ice age, history, war, secular novels (Wuthering Heights, Nancy Drew, Lorna Doone and many many others), biographies and autobiographies of Christians, heavy theological books, family matters, to name but some.

The shops have been mostly closed this week, it’s pretty awful. I started my grocery shopping yesterday morning, when all four of us went to town because Nick needed some casual shoes, which he bought. I got toilet paper yesterday! Did some more of it this morning, and will probably do more again tomorrow if Thorpes happens to be open. It’s so weird that all the shops have irregular business hours during this whole week. Sigh. At least I’m not desperate or running out of things!

The town drunk came by last night at 23h50 to thank Nick for the birthday present, which was a box of chocolates. Not a very considerate time to come for a visit, but then again, he wasn’t sober. He really wants help though, he knows he can’t go on like this. This morning I was in the bath and Caleb was looking for something (his mask, I think). I told him I didn’t know where it was and he would have to wait before I could help him look. His reply, after a pause: “Well now I’m nearly in tears.” I notice that the boys say “ja” less and less, now “yes” or “yeah”. I hear them sometimes imitating people with a word here and there, in the way they speak. It will be funny if they pick up some of the accent! Shouldn’t be too strong though, since Nick and I are still their main influences and they hear us talking more than anyone else.

I’d better get back to my scintillating task of book sorting, so as not to have too many books scattered around tomorrow when the boys are about, it’s a disaster waiting to unfold if I do.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

View of Speery from Man and Horse

Man and Horse

Vincent and Vilma took us out this morning in the Land Rover to a point on the island inaccessible by car, Man and Horse. We got a good view of Speery Island which is to the south west of St Helena (left of the southernmost point). It was an excellent, though sometimes scary, drive in the 4x4, and lovely walk. It’s a very interesting place to go, a bit tricky for walking if you’re wearing slip slops. Had lunch out in the open, and Aaron vomited, we don’t know if he choked on something or breathed his food down the wrong place or what, but he wasn’t too happy. Otherwise a very good day. Left home at 10h30, got back just now at 15h20 or so.

Street Party

My Swatch has given up the ghost – we thought it was the battery but we took it to a watch and clock repairer on the island (which meant taking it to his house and staying for a chat – they asked if we knew Martin Holdt as they listen to him on radio, and were surprised that I had been his PA!), and he said the battery was fine, but being a Swatch it can’t be opened and fixed, so that’s the end of that. I will find a new one when the shops are open again.

This afternoon we walked down to town where there was some activity going on. The police have closed off the main road in and out of town, and there is a live band set up just outside the market, and almost everyone from town is down there. There were apparently some sorts of sports for the kids, little races and things, and then a street party which will continue until 1 am tomorrow morning. All the kids were given a packet with a liqui-fruit, chips, kit-kat and lollipop, for which a collection had been taken on Christmas Eve (the shops all stay open late on Christmas Eve, and the kids go in and buy presents for themselves, and there are people about collecting money – we didn’t go though). We got there just in time, our boys got the last ones! We walked back home after a short while, and since it was still early (about 4 pm), we decided to go to Ruperts Bay to throw stones, which we did, which was very pleasant. It’s always nice to sit and watch the sea. Caleb is getting quite sure-footed on the rocks, climbing about very well and loving it. Aaron kept passing me stones to throw into the sea, which he thought was very funny.

Oh yes, for Christmas Nick bought me a pair of casual blue shoes (suede/leather sort of things) and a pair of pants (which were slightly a wrong fit, so will have to change them). I bought him a lightweight jacket, unmentionables and swimming goggles. Nick received a pair of smart black shoes and a pair of socks, and I got a HUGE sleepshirt (one size fits all), a tablecloth and some pretty dishtowels. We also got a pretty blue island-made ceramic bowl from Steve and Maureen which will go nicely in the diningroom.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas, food, food, food

Hello, and happy Boxing Day. It is a holiday here too, and tomorrow also seems to be one, all shops being closed. If one hadn’t been thinking, one could easily be caught unprepared and not have the necessities to last. We have a freezer full of bread, but are down to our last toilet roll… let’s hope it lasts until Wednesday.

Our Christmas was most pleasant. For Christmas Eve, we had an elderly widow, Dot, over to join us for the evening. She is an ex-pat, and a dear old lady who loves the Lord. We had lasagna, salad and garlic bread for supper, along with a bottle of Chamdor (non-alcoholic champagne) which we were given. Pudding was fridge tart. All very delicious. Then we started opening a few presents, then Skyped my family, then finished opening presents. The boys got to bed at about 8, not too late, and Nick took Dot home shortly thereafter. Our Christmas Day services (there were three in the various locations, 08h00, 10h00 and 11h30, the last one being in Jamestown) were poorly attended. It seems the women stay home to cook. Nick preached well though, on Isaiah 9:6-7. After the service we went to Teddy and Brenda (uncle Teddy and aunty Brenda have babysat, you may remember I have mentioned them) for lunch, which was as we expected – lots of food. We had turkey, beef and gammon, roast potatoes, rice, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, corn and beetroot. Pudding was ice-cream (provided by us), Christmas pudding (best avoided), apple crumble, custard, and peaches and mango slices. We ate lots, and pulled crackers – I got a plastic puzzle which you assemble into a ball which kept me busy for quite a while. We left at about 3.45, and the boys slept when we got home. As also expected, I was given lots of leftovers – just a little, she said, which turned out to be enough for supper last night and enough for tonight. Turkey, beef, potatoes and Brussels.

The boys were thoroughly spoiled at Christmas, to the point where they can’t decide which gifts to play with. From us they got transformers and bouncy balls, and superhero capes and masks. Nick and I received Chamdor, chocolates, and chocolate covered biscuits. How we are going to get through it all I don’t know. Brenda also gave me a “few” chocolates “for the boys”. A whole ice-cream tub of chocolates, which the boys will most certainly not be having much of! We have to think of their teeth… Well, I did a good 25-minute workout this morning to an exercise video.

Aaron’s bee-stung thumb got worse, the swelling spreading to his hand as well. He couldn’t even bend his thumb which was thick and hard. So I took him to hospital on Friday afternoon. Dr Topliss was wandering around so he had a look, and prescribed some antihistamine syrup and a cortisone cream. Both took effect, and today it is almost back to normal. Still slightly swollen, but not hard and immobile anymore. His knee is still hurting him and he walks around with one hand pulling up his pants leg so the material doesn’t rub against the scab. I put a plaster on but he cried until I took it off. We painted their faces this morning (Nick painted Caleb into a cat and I transformed Aaron into a scary monster with black lips). We took pictures.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mandolin, Fairy Terns and Bees

We visited Vincent and Vilma last night for some fellowship (it was about a half an hour drive along dark paths and turns and curves, I was thoroughly car sick when we got home). They are very musically inclined, and have two guitars, two banjos, a mandolin, violin, electric guitar and piano. So we had a bit of a musical evening. I had a crash course on the mandolin, learning four chords which was enough to get away with. It was super fun!!

Aaron tried to catch a bee yesterday, and guess what happened. His thumb is still quite swollen and hard, but thankfully he is not allergic to them. Silly billy. He shrieked and wailed, and Caleb was quite worried too, but we reassured everyone that it was all right and no more playing with bees. We went to town and the docks yesterday. Town is sooooo busy though, with everyone and their dog visiting from Ascension and all over for Christmas, so you can barely walk, never mind find a parking spot. Will be glad when all the Christmas rush is over and everyone goes back home! Street planning was never done with so many cars in mind – more like donkey cart planning, so there are problems when so many people are out and about. We went swimming again yesterday afternoon, though the water was a bit chillier than previously because of the rain and drizzle we’ve been having. Today is clear again, and already quite warm (it’s only 09h06). While I was in my room just now getting dressed, two fairy terns landed on the windowsill outside our bedroom. It was amazing to see them so close up, with their dark eyes and dark beaks. The one looked like it may have been looking at its reflection in the window. I called the boys to have a look too and they were quite awed. Aaron scared them off though by moving the curtain, but I’m sure they’ll be back. Probably not good in light of bodily wastes.

The pile of presents by the fireplace is steadily growing. Lots of church people have bought for the boys, and some for us too. We’re pretty excited, really!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I write this from an overcast, but not downcast, island. Yesterday and today the day started off with rain, clearing later in the morning. Today though, the afternoon clouded over again and we’ve had a bit more rain. Lovely! The ship came back from Ascension about half an hour ago and sounded its horn, so now it is sitting in the anchorage again.

This morning we went for a walk. Nick doesn’t have bible studies to prepare for this week or next week, so although he is starting to prepare for a new series next year, he does have a bit of spare time, so we wanted to do something. You can’t just pop out to watch a movie or walk around a shopping mall, and anything you do is really outdoors. So we took to the mountain in town which looks onto Jacob’s Ladder, ie the mountain on our right as we face the sea. We tried one of the listed walks in the book I bought, which took us from Castle Gardens up the mountain to Munden’s and the batteries, old fortresses and things. Quite an interesting outing, very tiring, but the boys coped okay. Aaron fell while running on the way back, so has a very bloody knee as he reopened an old wound from Sunday or so. Silly billy. I have been doing some more painting – I started on Monday morning, just the door in the bathroom, and finished it yesterday. Having put in the cleat and toggle on the blind, I want to get the bathroom completely finished. Today I painted the old wooden chair standing in the bathroom, sort of a whitewash effect with watered down paint.

Last night was the Pilling Primary School Christmas Concert, in which the Jamestown Baptist Choir (as they are called, actually just a bunch of people in our church who love to sing) was participating with two songs. It was an outdoor thing, starting quite early with a car boot sale. We already have a car boot so didn’t feel the need to buy another one, even if it was on sale, so we went across at about 7ish, and things were still happening with the bazaar. We picked up a plastic bag of assorted Lego for £1.50 which is very cheap. The singing part only started after about 7.30, and since it was quite windy and a bit chilly, I took the boys home rather with the intention of letting them fall asleep and then sneaking back to the school for the remainder. Well, eventually Caleb was still awake and I wanted to get back, so I just left anyway. He did fall asleep on his own, unaware that I had left.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Carols Service

The weather today was different from the usual hot. We had some cloud and wind, and then it even drizzled in the afternoon, and this evening it cleared up for the Carols Service outdoors, but was still a little windy. Pleasant to be outside in a jersey though. This morning we mucked around at home, I did a bit of weeding, Nick rested and played with the boys and went over his sermon. Church was at 14h30, and it was a communion service. Very good, although there were less people than we were expecting. The boys weren’t too good in church and had to have a smack straight after the service before tea. Then tea and cakes and fellowship, then the cleanup afterwards took us to about 17h00 or so. Mucked about a bit more, practiced our item, got everyone and everything ready and headed off to the courtroom steps. A lot of people turned up for the service, and it was recorded by Radio St Helena and broadcast live. The Salvation Army Band was very good with all their brass and other instruments, there were items by various choirs, and a few carols for all to sing, and then Nick and my item which was a duet with both guitars. It went well, no mistakes. Nick preached his five-minute gospel message, very clearly, then the Bishop gave some concluding remarks, more carols, prayers and blessings and so forth. Not a bad evening, but it was sad that so many people turned up and sang and appeared to be participating, even in the choir items and band, who probably don’t have any idea what the gospel is all about. It was an excellent opportunity for Nick to share though, but people think that they are religious if they sing carols once a year and that’s that, no need for anything else. Well, other than that it was a lovely evening.

Last night we went to town as planned, and that was most enjoyable. The shops were very busy, and there seemed to be some sort of party going on somewhere because most of the Saints were very smartly dressed. Got all our Christmas shopping done in record time, wandered about a bit, then headed home at 20h30. S&M stayed on for a little while chatting, then left about an hour later.

This morning early when we were still all in bed, but the boys were awake, we overhead Caleb teaching Aaron in this manner: “Do you remember the Ten Commandments? You must not covet.” I don’t know what of Caleb’s Aaron was wanting, but he certainly had a good biblical teaching as to why he shouldn’t want it. We were impressed that Caleb remembered it though because we covered the 10 C’s in family devotions shortly after arriving here.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Boer War Cemetery

We’ve had a super day so far. Nick had prayer meeting at 08h00, then after that I went next door to the chapel as well as they were starting to set up the schoolroom for tomorrow’s tea after the combined service, so I helped put out cups while Caleb ran around and Aaron ran into tables. Then we took a little drive to Knollcombes (same as yesterday), as Nick had to collect the communion set for tomorrow’s communion at the combined service. We packed a little picnic (juice, mixed nuts, Peanut Butter Cups and a packet of half-mouse-eaten tennis biscuits) and after collecting the stuff, walked down and into the countryside, ending up at the Boer War Cemetery. Didn’t really have a look at the names of those who died, but we found a spot in the shade on the grass, it was so nice. The sky was clear blue and it was hot, but in the countryside it was a bit cooler than in town with a gentle breeze, so most pleasant altogether. Had a swim in the afternoon, and finished off with ice-creams at the poolside. Tonight we have Steve and Maureen coming around to babysit because Nick and I are going into town to browse around the shops and see the lights and feel the evening atmosphere in town. I’m quite excited about it, looking forward to it, will be nice to be in the shops with Nick and without the boys. We also need to buy a few presents for some people, and get a couple of stocking fillers for the boys.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Today was business as usual. It was a bit strange not having a holiday on the 16th! After popping out to the shops, I came home for the boys and we went together to Knollcombes to collect some pinecones for around the fireplace. Had a bit of a look at the graveyard and tombstones. I pointed out some to the boys and told them how old the people were, and where there was a baby and his mother next to him who died a year later, and things like that. They found it quite interesting. After the boys’ sleep (well, Aaron’s sleep, Caleb just played quietly), Nick came home from prison ministry and we all went to the pool. The boys loved the big pool, and Caleb progressed some more with swimming. He’s doing very well. Today he jumped from the stairs into the water where Nick was standing by, and he went under but came up without complaining. Caleb and Aaron are both so keen to swim, it’s fun to watch them. Then after supper (Tuna steaks, yummy) we went to the church for our carols evening. It was a simple affair, only lasted about an hour which included a short message by “Pastah”, but it was lovely. I sang a duet on one verse of silent night with Maureen, and it was fine. The various chapels had prepared song items, and there were different readings.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Parades and Celebrations

Caleb is sitting with me in Nick’s office playing with M&M’s (Smarties), making pictures with the different colours and so on. Aaron is sleeping. Nick has gone out to climb Jacob’s Ladder and then swim. And here I am, having just finished putting chords onto songs for tomorrow night’s guitar playing in the carols. Today has been a quietish day, I’ve mostly been at home pottering, and being with the boys. I did pop out to the shops to buy some red lining because I want to make capes for the boys. They love playing super-heroes with their dressing gowns, so I’m going to try put together something simple which hopefully (or not) they will live in. Those will be part of their Christmas presents. Tonight I must wrap the remainder of their presents and put them by the fireplace. We’ve done a “Christmas Countdown” thing on the fridge, which starts today and has nine sleeps until Christmas Eve. Every day they can put a sticker in a block so they can see how many sleeps are left.

Today there was a little Christmas parade through the streets in town. I didn’t know it was scheduled to happen, but when a police van drove slowly past our house with sirens blaring, I thought there must be something going on. So I watched for a bit out my craft room window, then saw it starting, rushed into the boys’ room where they were playing, and we opened their bedroom window that looks onto the street and so the three of us hung out the window like real commoners, waving to the passing people. It was so exciting – the schools had put it together, so there were school kids marching in Santa hats, and then three or four or more bakkies decorated in tinsel with kids on the back. Some of the kids we knew and waved to. It was cool! Yesterday was toddler group’s last meeting of the year, and they had a Christmas party. What an amount of food! Well, while they were all eating, the Fire Engine drove past the schoolroom up the road with sirens going, then came down again slowly, in order to drop off Father Christmas. It’s funny how they manage to really involve the police and fire services in these Christmas celebrations! Everyone joins in and it’s truly exciting for the kids. Well Father Christmas had a bag full of presents, something for each and every child who had attended during the year. Every week we pay 50p per kid, so that must have gone towards it. The boys waited and waited until eventually their presents were taken out the bag, but when they were most disappointed that I said they must wait until Christmas to open them!

Last night we had Vincent and Vilma over to dinner. It was a good evening. We mentioned to Vincent, who is the person to tell if anything goes wrong (eg the washing machine) that the gas cooker isn’t working properly – one of the plates puffs itself out but the gas stays on – so between himself and Vilma (who is the treasurer) they decided that we should just buy a new cooker. I have to go around pricing them, I saw a price today of £199 for a four-plate gas. We could get electric, but actually I rather like the idea of the gas. Electric is about £300 for something simple.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Caleb swims and Aaron finds a pet

Breaking news from our side is that Caleb is now afloat in the big pool. Yesterday we took them, with the intention of starting to teach Caleb to swim. Both boys already love the water, so it was no difficulty to get him in, and he was keen to learn. We put armbands on him, and in no time he was treading water on his own, completely separate from the sides and from Nick. We are so terribly proud of him!! Aaron also had a turn with armbands in the big pool, and also managed to stay afloat on his own, but only for a short time because then he starts tipping over and doesn’t know how to correct himself. Caleb actually manages to move around, sort of a primitive doggy paddle. We will definitely take the video camera next time we go, probably Friday.

Yesterday evening the boys were mucking around outside, as we were waiting for it to get dark before we took them for a drive through town to see the Christmas lights. Caleb was making some sort of intricate cobweb with the strands from the couch waiting to be dumped which is outside now, and tying screwdrivers and bricks into his arrangement, when he dropped half a brick onto his bare foot from about 40 cm, which was quite sore. He really milked the sympathy though, limping around and not being able to go upstairs for his pyjamas and so on. Shame, we started laughing eventually because it was SOOO dramatic. No broken bones or anything, and today it’s fine.

We don’t do the tree thing for Christmas, but in the past we’ve been able to put our presents under the communal tree at the house of the Christmas hosts. This year we have no such convenience, so had to come up with a new idea for Christmas, as we needed a place to put presents rather than hiding them (which is a birthday thing) or just putting them on the floor. So last night driving through town looking at lights, we hit on the idea of a fake fireplace (having seen one in a shop window). I therefore painted paper bricks and fire last night, and today cut them out and stuck them on a black board (not a blackboard), and it looks quite good actually. I bought some Christmas lights, and wrapped tinsel around those and draped them over the fireplace, and now there are some Christmas crackers (we found those in the cupboard, which also housed a tree and decorations and badminton rackets and the old pink bedspread and the slide projector) and two presents that the boys got at the Good News Club on Saturday. We will add the presents we have bought them (and the ones that we bought from Granny and Grandpa in SA and the ones from Ray and La) by the fireplace gradually. I would also like to make them stockings, but will see if there’s time before Christmas! We did leave this a little late, but was waiting for inspiration to hit. The boys think it’s very cool. They sit by the fireplace and exclaim how lovely and warm they are. The fact that it’s probably about 30 degrees outside doesn’t factor into their body temperature…

Fresh fruit is in the shops again, from Cape Town. Today I bought three nectarines and five peaches, and paid £2 just for that. Worth it? I guess, but I’m not that much of a fruit nut, so haven’t been terribly bothered by the lack of stuff.

Aaron found a little bug yesterday, so he picked it up and it became his pet. He loved it. He carried it around and held it and talked to it and let it crawl up his arm before picking it off and putting it back in his hand. I felt pity for it because it must have felt so dizzy and claustrophobic, so we found a small shoe box and Aaron put some stones and grass in it, then we let the bug sleep. Later he retrieved it again for more cuddles. Unfortunately he tripped over Nick’s feet and broke his fall with the hand the bug was on, so that was the end of that. The bug split open, so Aaron had to throw it out the window. Shame, poor guy.

Also yesterday, we went to High Knoll Fort. It’s an historical building on one of the peaks, built in about 1840 or so, which was initially used to redoubt all the peoples of the island in the event of an invasion. It was also used to incarcerate the most dangerous Boer prisoners. The buildings are still in good condition, and very interesting to walk around the walkways and see through the little lookout holes, and go up ladders, through arches, out a different way – makes a great morning’s outing.

Nick went for a swim today, it might be better exercise than going up Jacob’s Ladder twice a day, and kinder to his knees. The boys weren’t too happy that he went without them because all they want to do is swim again, but they can’t go every day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


It was Christmas this morning!! I went to the post office a short while ago, and collected the parcel from my parents. I had to pay 35p to collect, which I don’t think will break the bank. It was so exciting to open it and find all the bits and pieces, especially the presents for the boys, which they put on straight away and are now running around in their new clothes playing with their new cars.

With that excitement over, we are going to try capture a mouse which has taken up residence in the diningroom cupboard and set it free in the wild. I found it this morning when I wanted to get some puzzles out for the boys, and there it was scurrying about. Small brown one, very cute, but we’d rather it had a more comfortable home not in amongst the dolls in there.

Yesterday was a pleasant day. Another cooker, with a cloudless sky almost the whole day. Apparently it gets so hot in Jamestown over summer (December-February) that the tar on the roads actually melts. I think our house will be fairly cool though because of the size of the rooms – high ceilings and big windows. We took the boys to the paddling pool in the afternoon, which was a hive of activity, and they splashed about for about an hour before they got really cold and Aaron’s lips were purplish.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bits and pieces

The ship arrived back in port this morning, and it’s always nice to see it coming back, especially when you know it carries something for you! We went to the post office at about 3.15 today just to check, and there was some mail (a birthday card for Nick and some Baptist Today’s), and also a slip for a parcel collection, but we were just too late to collect, so I will go on Monday.

Today I finished sewing all the cushion covers for the diningroom lounge suite. Wow, what a difference. We’ve also rearranged the furniture in there, so instead of the table being in the middle with the couches and chairs scattered around the perimeter of the room, we’ve moved the table to one corner and the loungey bit to the other side, so we have in effect a sitting room. I spend quite a lot of time in the diningroom, more in there than any other place other than my craft room, so when it was in a shambles it led me to despair. The guest room is also receiving some finishing touches, and it’s definitely the nicest looking room in the house now. Even by SA standards it’s a good looking room. Everyone who has seen it is very impressed with the changes and they all think it looks very professional.

This morning the Good News Club held it’s year end party. If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned the GNC before, it’s because we took the boys there last week for the first time. It’s held in the schoolroom, and is run by a couple of people in the church, for the purpose of sharing the gospel with the kids in Jamestown. We will definitely take the boys there next year on a regular basis, and most likely Nick and I will also get involved because it seems they need the help. I was initially loathe to get involved because our Saturday mornings have been used for exploring, but perhaps being useful in a ministry is more important! Besides, we still have the rest of the day on Saturday or the whole of Monday to do other stuff. Anyway, back to the party – this involved lots of singing, then some games, then LOTS of eating of cupcakes and sausage rolls and savoury nibblies and cheesesticks and ice cream and popcorn and sweets and chips and juice. Typical Saint catering. Then Father Christmas came, with a wrapped present for each kiddie there, including our boys. Hopefully the people who arranged the whole thing drew on the church budget for this, because I’m sure it was quite costly. We haven’t let the boys open the presents yet though, they have to wait for Christmas. So now Aaron asks, every five minutes, “is it Christmas yet?” Grrrrrrr….

Yesterday Nick went to the radio station to do a recording of a sermonette which will be broadcast tomorrow evening at 7 pm. If I remember I’ll tape it. He also recorded one of his songs because they offered to record it for free, and then it will probably get radio time as well. Unfortunately though, their systems were not adequately set up for them to do multiple track recording, and there is a violin accompaniment, so each track (guitar, vocal and violin) needs to be separately recorded and then mixed. They will try to get something better set up and then Nick will try again. Shame, a bit of a disappointment that it couldn’t be done then.

Caleb continues to mature and is really a lovely little boy. For the most part, he tries hard to be good, but has his lapses. Even his eating habits have improved. If he doesn’t like something now (eg squash) he will put it in his mouth and swish it around with long teeth, but seldom gags on it and doesn’t vomit. He tries to like it, and does his best to eat it anyway. He also prays very well, often with countless repetitions of the same thought, but perhaps he just wants to be sure that God understands (for example, “Dear Father God, thank you for this day, and thank You that we can do the stuff that we are supposed to and not to things that we shouldn’t, and that we must try to do the good stuff we should do. Amen.”) Aaron prays along the lines of “Dear Jesus, please help me to be good, and help me not to steal people’s cars and fight people, and not to punch them and break their houses.” ? We have to just try to keep a straight face. They still enjoy one another’s company tremendously and get up to mischief together, very seldom do they do naughty or silly stuff alone. Often Caleb doesn’t sleep in the afternoons, but we make him stay in his room and play quietly. Usually though he ends up straying out before Aaron is awake, but he’s very pleasant on his own.

The Christmas lights in town have been switched on now. They look so pretty – I took a drive to town after the boys were down because Nick had been out to do Jacob’s Ladder shortly before that and said that I should go. There are coloured lights strung up all over the main roads, from one side of the road to the other in a zigzag all the way down, and the shops are open until late now in these two weeks before Christmas. Next week we will ask Steve and Maureen to babysit one evening and take a walk down and get some photos on slow shutter speed.

Friday, December 09, 2005


You may be wondering how we all really are. Truthfully, I am starting to feel homesick and a bit depressed, and generally tired, and a little weepy. Perhaps as Christmas draws near and I will face being separated from family for the first Christmas ever (that I can remember?), the reality of the distance becomes more keenly felt. I try not to dwell on it too much, but it just pops up every now and then and I am sad. I feel like I haven’t put roots down here yet, and somehow wonder if I ever really will – it feels like there is nothing really for me here, although we have made some lovely friends and I know people like me, but I am not being terribly useful in other ways. My world revolves around the boys and the home, which is a very tiny little world. Ag, I don’t know if I’m being very clear, so don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m going on about, I just thought I’d give you a snippet of the reality here. Hopefully this is just a little hiccup in the settling in process and I’ll be fine again shortly, with a real sense of purpose.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Recipe for Rice

Today was a really HOT day. Don’t know quite what the temperature was, but certainly it was quite high. Our house seems to stay quite cool though, particularly downstairs, it’s only when one ventures outside that it’s noticed. I popped out for bread this morning, sans boys, and so while I was out I thought I’d try to see if I could spend some money I had drawn from our Nedbank account – I withdrew £30 about a week or two ago, just to see what would happen, and it came to just over R400. I bought an eyelet maker last week, and then couldn’t find anything else anywhere to buy – how disappointing! Imagine me having money and nothing to buy with it. I had been looking for a pair of red sandals, even before we left SA and couldn’t find anything suitable. I had also been looking on the island for something, but of course there’s not much choice here. Well, today, I actually found exactly what I was looking for, and at only £4.95, very reasonable. I was so pleased! I also bought a St Helena cook book, with interesting recipes like Octopus Stew and Shark Mince, very localized, and another book called “Exploring St Helena: A Walker’s Guide”. This, I hope, will be well utilized! But let me quote something from the Cookbook: “A Chinaman’s recipe for drying rice: - ‘Wash him well, much wash in cold water, the rice flour make him stick. Water boil all ready very fast. Throw him in, rice can’t burn, water shake him too much. Boil ¼ hour or little more, rub one rice in thumb and finger; if all rub away quite done. Put rice in colander, hot water run away. Pour cup of cold water on him, put back rice in saucepan, keep him covered near the fire, then rice all ready EAT HIM UP!’” We enjoyed that.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Aaron's Birthday

What a LOVELY day it’s been. The weather was superb, quite hot, but almost a cloudless sky until about 4pm, and only a bit of a breeze. Aaron had a great birthday – we hid his presents in the lounge, so this morning was great fun for him to find them and then open them, and then he and Caleb played with all the new stuff. I made cupcakes, and then at 10.30 Steve and Maureen joined us to go to Plantation House, where we had tea and some goodies. I had taken three candles and a box of matches to light the candles, which we stuck into one cupcake, but when I opened the box the matches were finished! Doh! Well, we pretended to light the candles and blow them out. After that, we went for a walk through the woods, and then back home for sandwiches for lunch. The boys slept while we played with their toys and chatted more with S&M, then they left and I did some sewing. I took the boys to the paddling pool this afternoon, and then it was time to come home, make supper, eat, bath and go to bed! So it was a very busy and enjoyable day. As we suspected, Aaron was spoiled by church folk as well – £5 from someone, a set of clothing from someone else, playdough from S&M, and a yellow beetle which lights up, drives itself, puts its roof up and down, and plays music to “High on the hills was a lonely goatherd-a-lay-hoodalayee-hoodalay-hee-hee” It’s precious, but one of those gifts that has to be limited to about two minutes at a time! That was from Uncle Teddy and Aunty Brenda, and they have bought another one for Caleb for Christmas. We bought him a fire truck that opens up and inside is a little world – roads and a parking garage and car launcher and all sorts of fun stuff, with five little cars. The Zoob from Lara also went down well, particularly with Caleb.

Yesterday, our anniversary, was also a good day. Paul, the prisoner, didn’t escape from church, he enjoyed the service. After church he joined us for lunch, then Nick took him back to the prison, and we headed out to a camping area/picnic spot to try the kite again. But, again we were unbreezed, so it didn’t work. Also, the kite probably wasn’t a very good design, so we are going to try to find a proper kite in the shops.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


After prayer meeting this morning, there was a bit of a work party organized to do some cleaning in the church. It was a most constructive morning – we cleaned windows, dusted window frames, cleaned dirt off the tops of lights, and so on. There must have been a decade’s worth of dust on the windows, so cleaning them was a pleasure because the difference was so noticeable. I had to climb up a ladder to do some of the outside ones, while Nick held the ladder. There were others inside the church also climbing up ladders and that, so I wasn’t alone. Then, after that, Steve and Maureen took us out to lunch, I think for our anniversary, as they had also given us a gift of Moni’s white grape, a candle, and a chocolate. Nick and I made a kite this afternoon, and the boys woke up during that process. When it was done, we took it to Plantation House to fly it, but on the day we want to fly a kite, there was not enough wind. So we drove further inland where it is ALWAYS windy, but still couldn’t find enough wind. It was just a very calm day, most unusual!

The ministry is really going very well. Tomorrow Nick will be taking one of the prisoners to church, hopefully he won’t run away during the service. I will also be accompanying Nick to the Knollcombes Chapel with the prisoner, but not to look after him, just because I also like to go to the different chapels sometimes. We have shown the two rooms we have renovated to some of the church people who saw the manse before we arrived, who were most impressed with the changes we have made. It is very rewarding to show people and hear their comments and ooh and aahs!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Drizzle and drivel

Today we finished the guest room! Very exciting. I finished the painting yesterday, and today gave a final push and out popped all the rest of the sewing I had to finish (other than finishing touches, like recovering chair cushions which are still red). Well, we are thrilled. The room looks very nice indeed.

Weather-wise, today was another undecided day – drizzle, and then hot sunshine five minutes later.

Tomorrow I am taking Caleb to town, just by himself, to choose a birthday present for Aaron. He has managed to earn about £5, which will buy a nice car and trailer, or man with parachute and a smaller car, or something. We have all the other presents from us and Granny and Grandpa and Ray and Lara wrapped and ready to hide away on Sunday night for him to find in the morning. We are looking forward to his birthday because it means the boys will have some new toys to play with!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lego, Christmas and "Fshing"

The church service last night was very good. Nick is into his new series now, The Four Radical Love Commandments of Christ. I enjoyed playing guitar in the service, although we did make one slight muckup with the timing, but other than that it was great. Of course the boys were very good with Nick in church, and they were actually good with me too; it did help that they were each given a box of smarties which Nick opened for them just before he went up to preach, so that kept them quiet for a while. It also kept them awake when we got home!

This morning I did a bit more painting in the R&P Room. I have to continue tomorrow with the skirtings and pelmets and windowframes etc.

Aaron is bouncing back to his normal self. We had quite a trying time with him when we first arrived – he just seemed to have become this destructive little monster, breaking things and tearing pages in books and all sorts of naughty things. Now, he is careful with books, prays at devotions and before bed, and is generally quite co-operative. Perhaps that was just his phase of “terrible twos” – very short-lived! This evening, after I brushed their teeth, he said that there was something in his nose that he couldn’t get out (with picking), but I couldn’t see anything strange when I glanced into it, so left it. So then, after they had got into bed and I had gone downstairs to make some tea and get a few pieces of chocolate (we’re still working through the ones we were given before leaving!), he came out his room to say that he was just going to get the Lego out of his nose, and I mustn’t worry, he would do it. Silly billy. So I blowed his nose, and lo and behold out flew the tinest little Lego bit. I smacked him for putting it there in the first place, but was rather astounded to see it! Speaking of silly billies, Aaron often refers to himself as Billy. Sometimes he says “Oh, I’m such a silly billy”, and then goes on to say that he is just Billy. It’s really very funny.

Nick mowed the lawn again today – he mows either every week or every second week, and the grass is looking good in some places now. We have pulled out huge patches of weeds; Nick figured out that if one first loosens the ground with the garden fork, that you can pull out clumps of weeds instead of picking each one out individually with the screwdriver. So it’s going quicker now, but there are big patches of ground where we have deweeded. We are confident that it will cover over quickly though, and we will end up with a really lush piece of lawn! The front garden is still barren, I haven’t even finished pulling out the dead stuff. There is a very green bougainvillea growing nicely though, which is the only greenery in the otherwise grayish and brownish garden. No rush for that, we’ll get to it sometime.

The island is very much gearing itself for Christmas. Apparently on Christmas Eve the shops are all open until 9.30 pm, and the kids all go into the shops and buy stuff, usually junk or whatever they can afford, but it’s quite festive. We have a carols service on the 16th December and another one on the 18th, and I believe another one on the 20th. I still don’t know what’s happening when, and when I’m supposed to be singing, and who I’m doing an item with. I think Nick and I are doing something at one, and I’m doing one with Maureen at the other, or maybe they’re both on the same evening, I really can’t work it out. Will see closer to the time what’s going on. Nick has been invited to go fishing with somebody on Saturday week. He has to set out at 4 am because they first have to catch the bait – what they do is they catch a few little fish, then they pop the eye out of a fish and throw it back in the water, then put a hook through another little live fish. The one-eyed fish (not quite a fsh as it still has an i) writhes about in the water and draws attention to itself, while the other fish is the bait. What a disgusting method. Nick shudders at the thought, but will go for the experience. He has a fishing rod, so may as well use it!

Monday, November 28, 2005


Last night we had our braai, which went pretty well. Oh my, the amount of food that was brought. Well, I didn’t bother preparing anything to contribute because I knew what would happen, and it was exactly as I predicted. There were enough chicken drumsticks cooked that I kept about ten (for reheating for lunch today and supper tomorrow), and that I could make up parcels for each family to take home. The salads didn’t look like a dent had been made in them, although everyone had heaped plates of food. There were 17 of us in all, including the children (nine adults, and eight kids ranging from almost three to about 12). We did the unheard of and allowed the boys to get out of bed and stay up until after 9pm, to play with the other children as they have so little other interaction with kids. They had a lot of fun, and all things considered haven’t been too bad today. They are sleeping at the moment, and Nick is also having 40 winks (actually I think it’s more like 800 winks). I also now have another tomato sauce, Worcester sauce, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, frozen pork sausages and garlic butter which were partially used and then left here for us. That’s just the way of things – anything brought likes to be given as a gift to the pastor. The weather was pleasant to sit outside, and Nick did a good job cleaning up the back yard for it to look neat.

This morning while Nick was out preaching, I spent some time building Lego with the boys – Caleb is getting quite good at building it, and exercised extreme patience when his model kept falling apart as he was trying to build it. I kept expecting him to throw it down and cry in frustration, but he kept rebuilding it. Then we did Sunday School, just briefly – I told them a story and we prayed – then into the kitchen for the Sunday Food Activity. Today it was icing biscuits with red icing-sugar icing and M&Ms, whereafter we had TUC biscuits and juice, then they stripped to their undies and played in the sprinkler. When they started getting cold they wanted to lie down on the chairs outside and be wrapped up in their towels. Well, it was a fun morning. Lunch was a selection of last night’s leftovers.

Only 8 more sleeps until Aaron turns three. We are looking forward to his birthday, because we are so keen to give him the presents we bought before we left. Caleb has been doing odd jobs to earn money so that he can also buy Aaron a present. Shame, he really is a lovely big brother.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Today I painted in the red and purple room. It was hard work, my back was quite sore. I have to do another coat still but was too tired to finish today. Tonight we are having a braai at our house – supposed to be a bring and braai, but we don’t really know how that works in St Helena. Apparently everyone brings whatever and it all gets pooled and shared. We have no idea who is coming. It was arranged by two people who wanted to have it, and we thought it would just be them and their immediate families, but it seems it may have grown to their extended families and some other families and their extended families, so it will be most surprising to see who comes. Glad we have the dishwasher!

Last night Nick and I attended a Scottish Dinner and Ceillidh at the Rock Club, while Steve and Maureen came over to babysit. It was nice being out together by ourselves. The food was bountiful, we had roast beef, gammon, chicken drumsticks, roast potatoes, coleslaw, salad, tuna bake, vegetables…and for pudding there was crème caramel, jelly, custard, ice cream and apple crumble. The actual dancing part, which was similar to a barndance sort of thing, only started just before 10pm, so we left fairly shortly after it started, after trying one dance but ending up in a fit of hysterics because we couldn’t get the steps right. I had had a coke to drink as well, and I think it put me on a bit of a high! We sat at a table with Colin Forbes, the public solicitor who invited us and who we met on the ship, and his family, which was rather nice, but you had to almost shout to be heard. Ah well. It was an interesting experience.

I collected a box sent to us from Ascension from the customs hall at the docks yesterday, and we were delighted to find all sorts of lovely goodies in it – the stuff on Ascension gets shipped or flown from America, because it is closer to the Americas than to SA I think. Whatever the reason, they stock American products, so the stuff we got was all foreign – there were planters nuts, other mixed nuts, M&Ms, biscuits (Nabisco branding), juice, chocolates, and chips – Lays chips in the shape and packaging of Pringles, nothing we’ve seen before. We unpacked everything onto the diningroom table and took a photo of it all! There was also a lot of information on Ascension as well as a beautiful 2006 calendar with pictures of the island. It looks quite similar to St Helena, but they have white beaches. The turtles breed on the beaches, apparently.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cars, birds and writing

Today I took Emma and the girls home to their place to spend the afternoon there, but the car broke down on the way. It was completely out of water and overheated, so it just cut out and I couldn’t start it at all. But isn’t the Lord fantastic, we broke down where I could let the car roll downhill into a driveway, and then two men appeared from nowhere who happened to know a lot about cars, so in no time they had the radiator and battery topped up with water (poor car, it was EMPTY), tested the car, and we were on our way. That would not happen in SA! Well, we just need to be careful to check the water from time to time. It hadn’t really occurred to us at all that it might be a problem. The men who helped also checked the oil, but that was fine.

Yesterday and today we had a feathered visitor in the house. A pigeon has decided that there is not enough bread outside anymore, so it comes wandering in the back door, into the diningroom or kitchen to see what’s available. This is not a welcome sight. We have to open windows and let it fly out, or walk behind it until it goes back out the door. It’s not at all scared of us, stupid thing. There are two pigeons that regularly walk around the garden, and since pigeons tend to be rather dirty and are disease carriers, we have taught the boys to scare them off, but then they just fly to the garden wall and look at us.

Caleb has got as far as “t” in the alphabet in writing, and today he wrote “granny” and “grandpa” for the first time. He’s doing very well, but today was a bad day in terms of his concentrating on what he was doing and being serious about it. I had to threaten him with a smack, which isn’t what I want to do with homeschooling. I want him to enjoy learning and be keen for it, instead of dreading having to sit down for lessons. I don’t want to give up either, so we have to try find a way to keep him interested and wanting to learn. He did a puzzle entirely on his own though, a 63-piece that he hadn’t done before. So that was very good. Apparently putting puzzles together is an important step in the whole learning process, perhaps in teaching them to stick to a task.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Preaching and Fellowship

On Sundays, Nick preaches at Sandy Bay at 8.45 am, then either at Knollcombes or Head o’Wain at 10.30 (they alternate each week), then at Jamestown at 7 pm. Then about once a month, or as determined by the pastor, I think, there is a combined service, where there is only one service on the Sunday, held at Jamestown at 2.30, with tea and fellowship (ie cake) afterwards. The tea and fellowship times always seem really odd to us. Everyone sits on the benches against the walls and that’s where they stay. The tea is served to them by whatever ladies volunteer to serve tea (always the same people) and the cake gets served as well. It’s the strangest setup. No one gets up to help themselves, and no one moves around to speak to different people. You just speak to who you sit next to, and that’s usually your brother or cousin or uncle or something like that. For the weekly bible studies, Nick goes to Knollcombes at 6 pm on Tuesday evening, then comes back for the Jamestown study at 7.30. On Thursday, he goes to Sandy Bay and Head o’wain, leaving at 5pm and returning after 10pm, by which time he is exhausted from the driving, singing, preaching and standing. Just for people who ask, Nick will be doing a short series on the Four Love Commands of Christ next (ie Love your neighbour as yourself etc), and that will take us up to Christmas and New Year, and then he will start on the book of John. That will be interesting as he hasn’t preached on it before, so it will be new for me too. Shame, he has a headache today, perhaps from all the reading he’s been doing. He might need to get his eyes checked. We still plan for him to go to the dentist and get his missing tooth sorted out. It will be considerably cheaper here than in SA.

Emma came around with her girls at 3pm, and they all had fun doing a bit of a scavenger hunt I had set up while the boys were sleeping – it was very simple, the older kids had to find seven wild animals, and the younger two had to find six dogs. They had to leave early because their boxes of stuff arrived from the ship and they had to go collect them, so Guy, her husband came for her at about 4. So now I am just playing with Caleb, hiding wild animals and he’s looking for them. He’s looking properly now, he says; so far he’s found three. Aaron is sitting here with me asking why he may not touch things, eg switch on the light.

Everyone asks what happened to Caleb, with his black eye. I told Emma that he was being naughty and so I disciplined him. She wasn’t sure if I was joking (so I told her I was). Nowadays the boys take themselves out of the bath, dry themselves, then Caleb gets dressed while Aaron runs around in the nude waiting for somebody to dress him, so they only have a short bathtime now. We’re heading towards independence though!

I suspect now I’m going to start saying really arbitrary stuff, such as Nick and I had muesli for breakfast and the boys had Pronutro (one of those South African products that is thankfully available here), or that for supper we’re having some defrosted squash concoction, left over potato mush, and some or other pasta dish, so let me rather end.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tourist Office

Caleb’s black eye is looking lovely. The swelling has gone down and it’s a colourful mess.

Not a very eventful day – I did some weeding and made another disastrous dinner, Nick climbed Jacob’s Ladder, did a bit of work in the guest room, and we went to town all together to go to the wharf to see if a box had arrived for us from someone in Ascension, but there was nothing there. Also went to the Tourist Office to see if there were any things on the island we should be seeing that we have not, and behold, there are still several. Nick is very weary after a late night and his climb up the staircase (not in our house, I mean the 699-step one).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Church Report

Nick has just finished (today) a short series on Romans, basically a gospel series on condemnation, propitiation, justification, sanctification, glorification etc. It has been good. The people are really loving him and have accepted him as their shepherd with no problems. They all address him as “Pastor” or “Sir”, it’s quite funny, but very respectful. He is doing very well here, and is extremely proactive in his efforts in the church. He has started a prison ministry, going every Friday at 2 pm to visit the five prisoners, and holds a service for them. Apparently the response has been good, and one or two of the prisoners especially show much promise. He has also started a weekly prayer meeting on Saturday mornings, as the church doesn’t regularly get together to pray. This is, of course, vital for a church to grow and for revival, so we trust that the Lord will yet work in our midst.

We sang an item in church today, which went well – we both played guitar and sang “My hope rests firm” – quite a new one, sort of hymny, very nice. It was a combined service, with all of the chapels meeting for one service in the Jamestown chapel at 2.30. It’s nice when they have the combined service, because the church is quite full (probably ¾ full) and then we have tea and cake afterwards. We now have four plates of food in the kitchen needing eating! Caleb fell somewhere or ran into something and has a huge swelling under his left eye. We did have it checked by one of the ladies in the church who is a nurse, and she said it looks fine, but if he vomits we must have him examined properly. He is not bothered by it anymore though, so I don’t think it’s too bad. Will just be very bruised for a few days! Shame. Aaron is just the darling and everyone thinks he’s very funny and full of character, which he is. He sat very well in church today, just whispered a bit here and there, but for the most part sat still.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


This may be of interest – St Helena’s second independent newspaper. This one is fully on-line, not in print. This is the local news of the country! I haven’t looked at it yet, I’m still downloading it, but it looks quite good. The other newspaper, the St Helena Herald, costs about 25p and we just haven’t bought a copy yet.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Today we went to the museum and looked at all the interesting stuff, though I suspect we have older and more interesting articles lying around the manse and schoolroom! The schoolroom is the building attached to the church hall where we have the fellowship teas and things. Nick came across an old (very old) chest in there, wrought iron and heavy as anything, which he took a great interest in. When we went to the museum today, he happened to see a picture of this chest as one of the items they have been trying to locate for years, so he told the museum lady and she was very interested. Then he did a bit of sleuthing and located the owner, it belongs to the Royal Mechanical Society or something, and they are closing down halfway through next year, so they will probably donate it to the museum. It would fetch quite a price in an antique shop! Nick was tempted to buy it off them for a few pounds and then keep it, but he resisted the temptation and we will rather see it in its right place.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Caleb and Literacy

Yesterday I sewed curtains, duvet cover and pillow cases for the guest room (now called “Granny and Grandpa’s Room). It was a surprisingly quick job, so now that those are finished I have nothing more to work on at present. Still loads of house stuff to be done, mind you, but nothing I am keen to tackle!

I have started teaching Caleb writing. He practices the letters a, b, c, d and e, and practices writing his own name. He is doing quite well. We started yesterday and he was excellent, but today he didn’t really want to do it properly despite begging me to have a short bath so he could start his letters. We are very much looking forward to the homeschool curriculum arriving, but don’t really know when it will be.

The RMS is back in anchorage today, after being gone for about five weeks. Apparently there are something like 60 (or maybe 16) cars on it, it has brought a big cargo load (get it, car go…ha ha ha).

Monday, November 14, 2005


Dear Granny and Grandpa, I love you and I did go out with Uncle Teddy and share cake and juice and cake with Uncle Teddy and we saw Aunty Brenda with Uncle Teddy and we did share juice and cake with Aunty Brenda also. And I worked in the garden very hard and I worked in the other garden with mom a long time ago. I worked with the fork and took all the dead stuff off. Daddy and me and mom and Aaron need to tear all the garden up. We going to do homeschool and we gonna learn how to do what mom does. Mom is going to take the cake out just now. We did cook the other part of the um banana bread. I did jump to the couch and it moved. And I’m still four and I’m much more taller that my mom can’t pick me up. We going to also do something important that Aaron’s get things what I like. Granny and Grandpa, do you know what, um, we gonna read a story and then we go to bed. Bye bye. I mean, Amen. (Caleb)
Granny and Granpa, know what, Granny and Grandpa, I love you. I seed Jonathan the Tortoise. Bye. I go to church and I love you. (Aaron)

Today, the Pastor’s day off, we went to see Steve and Maureen’s house in the country. At present they are renting a house in town, just down the road really, while their new house is being renovated and rebuilt. The boys played outside as they have quite a nicely kept piece of grass in front, and cows grazing just on the other side of the wire fence. They have a magnificent 360º view of valleys and hills and trees, no neighbours in view. I cooked a very nice batch of pumpkin and hubbard squashes with onions a while back, and froze a few helpings. Of course Nick doesn’t eat it, but the boys think it’s okay. I just call it “squash” when I serve it to the boys, so I was amused when Maureen offered them squash today meaning juice, and the boys politely accepted though with some uncertainty. Ha ha ha.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Walks and Parades

Today we did a nature walk at Thompson’s Wood…definitely something to see. We just walked for about 15 minutes before deciding that maybe the path wasn’t heading anywhere, then turned around. It was a very pleasant walk though, nothing difficult, even for the boys though at times we carried Aaron because he was bothered by the fact that he couldn’t see his feet in some of the long grass. We headed down into a bit of a valley, but everything was just so lush and beautiful. The weather today was good for it too…clear skies and hot in town, cooler in the country. It was actually a bit chilly on the walk, so we were glad of our warm tops. One can always expect a few degrees colder weather inland.

Friday was Remembrance Day, so there was a parade today in honour of it. Quite a bit thing on the island – they seem to have a lot of traditions and celebrations, which is kind of nice. Nick was out preaching, so I got a lift to town with a church member, then we watched the parade and saw the governor get out of his car, but then left when they started the actual service as the boys were getting bored.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Jacob's Ladder and Donations

It’s a good thing I don’t have to type with my legs or feet. Nick and I have just completed Jacob’s Ladder – Nick for the second time and I for the first time. It took about 35 minutes for me to go up, rest, and come down, which is a quick workout, but very intensive. I am upstairs in Nick’s office now and don’t think I will be able to get downstairs again until tomorrow or Monday, my legs are like jelly! It was fun though, and hopefully I will do it again sometime. Nick wants to do it every day eventually but will probably have to build up to it. He took 16 minutes to get up on Thursday.

The boys are with Uncle Teddy this morning, he volunteered to have them for the morning to take them off our hands. Very kind of him! He and his wife Brenda are lovely people and the boys are very fond of Uncle Teddy. They are most likely at the playground in Longwood which is close to them. They will be back just now.

We got a new (new to the manse) lounge suite for the diningroom yesterday from Steve and Maureen’s landlord where they are renting while their house is being rebuilt. It’s all wooden frames with removable cushions. The cushions need recovering, but we have a lot of material in the cupboard here which will almost be enough. So I guess the next big project room then is the diningroom!

Yesterday one of the church ladies came by with packets of groceries for us, probably about two weeks’ worth, which included about a kilo of steak, two packs of pork chops, bacon, butter, ham, potatoes, ice cream, sweets, biscuits, coconut fingers, juice, onions, cauliflowers etc, and six litres of milk this morning. It must have cost a lot of money, and she is quite poor as it is, so her reward will be great! That seems to be the attitude of a lot of people though, they are all very keen to bless the pastor.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Aaron slipped going up the stairs today and cut his lip open on the inside. Lots of blood and crying, but he settled down in about ten minutes and was ready to go to toddler’s group, swollen lip and all. Bless his heart, he said I could touch it a bit later.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I have started tearing out the dead stuff from the garden in the front of the house. Everything is coming out, and once I’ve dug the beds over a bit and somehow prepared the ground I will go and uproot plants. The dead stuff comes out quite easily, some of it rolled up like a carpet! Emma came around at 3 after fetching Bethany from school, and then I drove us all to her home in Piccolo, just past Longwood. They have a nice looking modern house, very comfortable, with a big garden enclosed with bushes, so the kids played hide and seek, and then played with Lego. Emma showed me photos of her husband’s family, as her family are on CD, so I will see those another time.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How the Wind Blows

Today was a good productive day in terms of projects – I have now finished sewing the stuff for my craft room, including an ironing board cover and curtain tiebacks, and the room has been called “the Watermelon room” because of the colour scheme.

Yesterday we went to a baby dedication in Bluehill, on the other side of the island. I hadn’t been that way before, although Nick goes there regularly for bible study and the Head o’Wain chapel is nearby. Wow, it was stunning. You could see the ocean on the left and right in some places, we were really high up. We passed by cows close enough to touch, and we were level with the clouds in some places.

It’s been VERY windy and drizzly again today, but quite nice for a change. Yesterday was also a bit chilly and wet. Maybe tomorrow we will have hot sunshine again, one just doesn’t know. Sunday School yesterday was fine, although over in 20 minutes, but the boys are getting better at paying attention. We have been reading to them a lot with the library books we have access to, and Caleb will really concentrate on what is being read – they are not simply picture books with a few words or silly story, they are proper little stories, some of them quite funny. We have read Postman Pat and Noddy and Balto the Brave Dog and all sorts of other things. Glad that Caleb takes it in though, good preparation for homeschooling. Aaron fidgets about and asks many incorrect questions, but he does actually listen inbetween too.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Stuff

Today has been a pleasant day, despite the weather (quite wet, it almost got up to rain today) and VERY windy. We spent most of the day at home, not doing our usual Saturday morning exploration. We did make a trip to The Emporium, where we browsed for about half an hour – not because the shop is so big, but because there are so many interesting goodies in it, especially lots of toys now that Christmas is approaching. The hardware section is also most interesting! I am pleased to say that work has begun on the double guest room (my room being the single guest room) and that we bought the material to make bedding etc. We suspect the room is going to look very nice when done, and already it’s getting the name “Granny and Grandpa’s room” for lack of something else to call it.

I finished making the duvet cover and continental pillow case for my “special room” which is looking very pretty indeed. I still need to finish off pillowcases and tie-backs, and then get stuff up on the walls, but it’s taking shape nicely. Nick still things the pink and green his horrid, but I like it more and more.

Monday was Halloween which is celebrated here, so there were trick or treaters coming around to the door every five minutes on Monday night. Then today, being Guy Fawkes day, we had kids coming around asking for a penny for the guy – they had each made a “guy” out of clothing, hats and masks, stuffing etc, which presumably they are supposed to burn tonight on a bonfire. It was vaguely annoying, but fortunately there is a pot filled with pennies left by the last pastor, so most of those were used. I certainly wasn’t about to give out 10p every time! I think some of the kids weren’t too impressed at getting only a penny or two, but really, there were a lot of kids.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Today I got the overlocker out the cupboard (the one I was given just before we left), and I watched the instructional video. So now it is threaded and I have already sewn one seam on the duvet cover I am working on for my craft room. Hopefully tonight I will finish it, as all the pieces are cut out and ready to sew. Looking forward to getting the room in order. I am also looking forward to getting stuck into the red and purple room, but I suspect it won’t be red and purple by the time my parents get here in May. Emma and the girls came around this afternoon. We had a really nice visit.

We had rain today – just a light drizzle, but it got quite chilly in the afternoon. That being said, here I am sitting in Nick’s study with a short t-shirt on and bare feet as usual. The wind is blowing, maybe tomorrow will be drizzly again. Shame, I don’t envy you the heat you are experiencing!

Airports, homeschooling, and something from the boys

I met one of the chaps who is over from the UK re the airport, he is an environmentalist something or other and has to do an environmental impact study. Apparently getting an airport in here is a HUGE undertaking – roads have to be built that can accommodate the equipment that is needed to level the land and assist with the building etc, another ship will probably have to be hired to bring over all the building supplies etc etc – so it is much more than simply building an airstrip and terminal. I don’t think it will ever become a swarming metropolis, they are going to limit who comes with the building of the 5-star hotel – so only the rich will come unless they know people they can stay with. I think some of the charm of the island will be lost though.

The homeschooling material will be shipped from the States. We qualified for free shipping because our order was over $100, but I don’t think they know where they are shipping to! We may end up paying in when it arrives, but that’s also okay. All in the budget. Hopefully that will arrive before the end of the year so we can start next year. Nick doesn’t enjoy the garden at all, but is seeing its maintenance as a necessary evil. He has some exciting plans, but the actual implementation involves work, but he is tackling it with gusto nonetheless. I am very proud of him! I spent some time in the sun yesterday sweeping out where he had moved rubble and scaffolding and other junk, then hosed it all down. The boys thought it was great, Aaron stripped down to naked and sat in the dirty muddy water. Then I turned the sprinkler on, which they also love, and from there it was straight into the bath at 4.30! On the news the other night, by the way, one of the stories was that two juveniles were arrested for stealing a handbag from the Consulate Hotel. Do you think that would make news in SA? Ha ha ha..

A letter from Caleb to his grandparents: Granny and Grandpa, I love you 40-10 and you coming to our island and we excited, and we playing well. Granny and Grandpa, um, dad always preaches. I’m gonna do homeschool at home. I do play in the garden with cars. I play with the bakkies in the garden, and granny and grandpa, we are living on the big island that’s very big and we did move here. We went on the boat and then we flied to Cape Town and then um boxes went on the truck. Bye bye.

And one from Aaron: Granny and Granpa, I love you 59, Amen. I love you, I love you. Stop pushing buttons, stop pushing buttons, I say! Mom, stop pushing buttons, I say mom. Don’t push BUTTONS I said!!! Have a good day and I’m going to St Helena.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Meaning of Life

Had a fairly good day today – yesterday I was feeling rather low, and wondering about my particular purpose in life at present. It seems I am plodding on from day to day and sometimes wonder what should motivate me to get up in the mornings. Of course the answer is that I am now a full-time mom and have the lovely privilege of sowing into the boys’ lives and discipling them, but what does that mean when you get down to the nitty gritty of things? It’s a horrible thought that I am just filling up their days with activities until they are old enough to move onto another phase in life (eg for Caleb, reading, which would then mean more independence) etc. I guess maybe that’s what a lot of moms with young kids feel. Perhaps it’s still an adjustment from having always worked, where there was always a definite objective to one’s day, so now I need to shift my thinking and slow down. Yesterday I drove (yes, drove) the boys to Longwood. That meant driving up Side Path, the road on the other side of the mountain out of Jamestown (last time I tacked Ladder Hill Road), and then finding the way all the way to the playground and shop at Longwood. Actually it was just one road all the way with one turnoff, but you will know all about driving here from previous postings. I was quite proud of myself for having made it there and back with no incidents. Today we went to Toddler’s group in the afternoon at 13h30. I don’t really enjoy it much, but it is a good springboard for making friends. Caleb just plays with toys and doesn’t really bother much interacting with other kids (which is really the point of our going, so the boys can see faces other than each other’s!) and Aaron sort of wanders around, doing I’m not sure what. I have arranged with Emma to bring her girls around tomorrow afternoon again. She seemed very pleased at the invitation, which I’m glad about. She is also a newie to the island, having been here a week less than us, so she probably needs friends as much as I do. Her girls, Bethany and Niamh (pronounced Neve) are aged 5 and 3.

Last night’s bible study was fabulous. Nick is doing the spiritual disciplines in the weekly studies, and last night’s was on prayer. After the preachy part, we usually open it up for a time of sharing and prayer, but people are very quiet to share and pray, so this time Nick did something different, by making each person share a prayer need, and then having each person pray for the person on their left. It was great, not only to hear people sharing about something or other, even if something simple, but to have everyone pray as well. I think a couple of the ladies felt very uncomfortable, but that is fine. Church should be a place where people also come for fellowship, which means more than superficial exchanges! I managed to crumble into an emotional disaster when it came to my turn, where I just asked for prayer for patience with the boys and that I am still settling in and finding my feet and I have good days and bad days and today (yesterday) was a … choke …bad day…choke, sob…oh dear! It was good though. Another lady also broke down during prayer when she was praying for her own husband. But I think we may have turned a corner. We’ll see what the newly-initiated prayer meeting on Saturday morning brings. I did my first Saint impression for them all (So you’all is comin’ at six o’clock?) They roared with laughter and thought it was very good. I’m still working on it though. I practice on the boys every now and then and Caleb is picking it up too.

Aaron fell down the stairs here about two weeks ago – backwards, down about five steps before he stopped himself. Shame, I was quite shaken up. He was fine though, just a bit bruised. It’s getting quite hot now in Jamestown but still cooler in the country.

Nick has been clearing out some more stuff from his office. He has found some ancient books and documentation – at the moment he is holding in his hand the original deed to the church, dated 1st October 1846. It is yellowish paper with brown handwritten text. There is also a book of church records from 1845. Very interesting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nick's Birthday

We received a letter this morning from the education committee. They have given us approval to homeschool! We are thrilled! They also attached a certificate stating our permission to homeschool, so it’s all very official and formal. Now we have to go about buying the material and getting it shipped over, it’s going to be quite expensive I think, but a price we are willing to pay. If we can organise ourselves quickly enough, we should be able to get the material at the end of December on the ship that comes then, so we can start in the new year.

Church last night was very good. The people are enjoying Nick’s preaching. The boys were much better in church, they sat in their chairs and were quiet. I think there must have been people praying for us yesterday, because I had abnormal amounts of patience and could cope with them without feeling totally hassled. We went to lunch with a church family yesterday (actually, only the mom comes to church and sometimes her two younger sons). She cooked enough to feed about 20 people – tuna cakes, chicken drumsticks, onion rings, roasted tuna, stuffed baked potatoes, potato salad, roast potatoes, coleslaw, beetroot, peas and corn, AND curry and rice!! I’ve probably forgotten something. For pudding we had a trifley-thing, plus tinned strawberries and peaches, ice-cream, jelly AND a HUGE cake, half of which we have brought home. Phew, what a lot of eating. Then straight after lunch we retired to the lounge and she brought out chips and sweets. We didn’t have much of that! We came home after 3 pm and put the boys down for a sleep, then we also slept because we were just so tired after the huge meal. In church last night during the notices the church sang happy birthday to Nick. Other than that, it was a very low-key birthday. Caleb gave him a knife (for cutting fish one day), Aaron gave him Pringles, and I gave him a desk lamp. He was also given a St Helena keyring, a smart white shirt and tie, and a book called “A doctor’s thoughts on the island”, a very nice book full of pictures and interesting medical bits and pieces, like how to treat ingrown toenails and where you inject to anaesthetize a finger and so on. Nice coffee-table sort of book. We think we may buy a few other books on the island for one day when we move on from here. The boys and I did Sunday School yesterday, which went better than last week, probably because I didn’t have such high expectations, then after Sunday School we had a treat – digestive biscuits with caramel and 100s and 1000s on them. Nice messy activity, but it was in the kitchen and quite well contained.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Tomorrow marks three weeks since our arrival, and time has flown by. It feels like we’ve been here a lot longer than three weeks! We are settling in well now, better each day, and feeling more like this is home all the time. Island living is so completely different to everything we’ve experienced. The jam of traffic, masses of people always in a hurry, the idea of having to keep up with trends…all those are things we don’t miss at all. Things here are much simpler, no one is concerned with the kind of car you drive or what clothes you wear. People are friendly (on the surface), and nobody ever seems to be in a terrible hurry.

Yesterday I experienced a couple of firsts: First drive alone out of town, first tea get-together with a mom, first time to see an island bird, first meeting with Jonathan, first time to see the governor’s house and drive in one of his cars, and yesterday the boys experienced their own back-yard heated swimming pool for the first time. In a little more depth, let me explain the day! I was met in the morning at the Manse by Lindsay and her 3-year-old, who I then followed to her house which is near Plantation House. Following her was easy, because I could just stick behind her going up Ladder Hill and stop when she stopped. Going up one has right of way, so the cars coming down have to pull over into a little widening as they can find it. It’s a little tricky to navigate because you can’t see what’s coming around a bend, so you have to try look as far down the hill as you can to see if there is any traffic, so you know what you are going to encounter in the next few kms. I was surprised a few times coming back down the hill on my own, but managed to find place to pull over and it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I did feel quite a sense of accomplishment though! Anyone’s who been to the island will understand… Anyway, Lindsay (who is a British ex-pat and more or less my age, who stopped me in the street one day to invite me to a toddler’s group which is how we met) and I took the kids for a walk to Plantation House (the governor’s residence) where the famous Jonathan the Tortoise resides… really in a field in the governor’s back yard! There were five tortoises in all, Jonathan being the oldest and biggest (apparently 170 years old). It was lovely to meet him! Seeing a giant tortoise up close was a first for me as well, and actually I had never really touched a tortoise other than the shell, so that was fun too. We fed them lettuce and cabbage leaves, although there are restrictions on feeding. The boys (all three of them) kept wanting to climb on him, which is prohibited. There was a lovely view from up there, right down to the sea. Part of the walk to get to the tortoise field was through a Plantation Forest – this is one of the places you can go for a really nice walk, where the paths are wide enough for cars to use, but the trees are so huge that it’s completely shady. There are a couple of set walks of varying lengths one can do through the forest. I plan on taking Nick back with me for a good decent walk in the woods. During this part of the walk, a white bird with black rings around its eyes flew down and hovered, helicopter-style, a couple of metres above me. A Fairy Tern! These terns are indigenous to St Helena, so I was most pleased to see one. Apparently they like people and like to come and look at them, but if said people pull out a camera they quickly swoop away. Very pretty birds. After doing the whole tortoise thing, Lindsay asked if the boys would cope with the walk home (which had turned out to be quite a long walk) and I reckoned they’d be okay, with some whining, but she, being the wife of the Governor’s Staff Officer or something like that, managed to organise us a lift with the gov’s chauffeur in one of his cars. Unfortunately not the stately black one, but a Focus. Nice ride all the same! Fancy us being in the governor’s car, driven by his own chauffeur. Then, after the boys had had their afternoon sleep, Nick decided to put the blow-up swimming pool out for them (yesterday was the sunniest day we’ve had, really wonderful – today is sunny as well, but not as warm as yesterday). We have solar panels up on the back porch which interface with the geyser, but there is also an outside tap from them, so Nick ran water straight from that source into the pool, having to add some cold hosepipe water as well. Only in St Helena…

Today I met with another mom, Emma, also ex-pat. Her husband is an educational tutor, which means that he is running post-reg courses for Nurses to train them how to work with special needs cases (or something like that). She has two girls aged 5 and 3, so after a bit of shyness on all parts, the kids made some more friends. They have just recently arrived from the UK via Ascension, a week after we arrived. It’s good to be making friends, particularly with moms of young kids. Unfortunately their kids normally attend school, so we wouldn’t always have mornings together, but at least the contact has been made.

Nick is doing well – at present he is off doing visitation, which is why I have a good dose of computer time in the middle of the day! He has settled into the work quickly. He is working through the Spiritual Disciplines during Bible Studies, and is doing a series on Romans in church. The people seem to be receiving him well. We are starting to teach them some new songs that we introduced at CPBC, and they catch on quickly. They love singing and do it heartily. Hymns are still a problem for us because they have their own timing (slow) and can’t seem to budge from it. Tomorrow Nick is doing a radio interview – I think they interview all the pastors for some reason. He will also have a regular ‘prologue’ spot where he has to record five three-minute spots, something like a thought for the day. He’s not too thrilled about that as he doesn’t feel it will be very useful, but the Lord can use anything. The other day he had a most interesting telephone call from a chap in Australia, who is Anglican, and whose sister may be coming to the island for a holiday and he wanted to make sure she would be able to come to a church, so he rang the Manse all the way from Australia to speak to the Pastor.

This afternoon I am going to walk up to the hospital where there is a child welfare clinic every other Wednesday, so I can be sure that the boys’ inoculations are up-to-date. It’s not going to be fun, but the sun is shining, birds are singing, and the wind is blowing, so off we will go.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fire, fire!!

Have had a good, although not very rewarding, day…worked some more on my comparative price study and so am almost able to establish what a monthly grocery shop will cost. Finished painting the skirtings this morning, so I can put the carpet back in place tomorrow and then it’s just the window frames. Gave the boys a haircut. Nick did some more work in the garden, and burnt a pile of stuff he had pulled out of the garden…unfortunately it smoked a lot and I had two loads of washing on the line, so all our clean clothes smell like fire. Oh well.

Monday, October 24, 2005

More cooking disasters

We went down to the wharf again today, and sitting on the pebbles I just thought how much I would love to share in some of our experiences with friends and family. The “beach” at the wharf is actually quite nice if you’re not expecting a sandy beach. It’s super finding a big rock to sit on and just watching the waves. The boys could spend hours looking for crabs, corral, sea snails, and chucking rocks back into the ocean. Makes quite a nice Sunday afternoon activity, and the best part is that there’s no sand to be blown in your eyes, gather in the boys’ pockets, and get all over the place. A very clean activity…

Nick has just finished preaching and they have sung the closing hymn. The boys and I attended church in Sandy Bay this morning, and then Nick dropped me off before backtracking about 5 ks to Knollcombes. First time I had been in the chapel. Wow, what uncomfortable pews. I had to sit sideways on one cheek because otherwise my spine dug into the back part. The sitting part is extremely narrow and certainly not designed for actual grown up people to occupy. Not sure exactly who they thought would be sitting in the pews, but some big design flaws there. The boys were their usual church-going misbehaving selves, so they got a big smack from daddy when church was over. I don’t know what comes over them, but they become like different children, completely un-cooperative and Caleb sulks most of the time. Then they want biscuits, and it’s the kind of chapel where every shuffle and whisper is magnified because it’s uncarpeted and very bare. Anyway, got most of the message all the same. I tried to attend this evening’s service without the boys, but when I told them that I was going to church, Caleb just sobbed and asked who would look after them and said he was very worried about it and I mustn’t go. Shame, in the end I compromised and told them I would just go for the singing part, which I did. When I got back and got upstairs to let them know I was back, Caleb wouldn’t acknowledge my presence. No doubt I’ll hear about it from him tomorrow when he tells me what a horrible mother I am and I mustn’t ever leave him again. Ah well.

We had fishcakes for lunch today with baked beans. Not a very great success as there was too much mashed potato in the mixture and so they sort of fell apart when I fried them. I used one of the bulleyes we were given yesterday, which was delicious when cooked. The fishcake mush tasted good enough! Last night’s meal wasn’t too much of a success either, the chicken drumsticks – I ended up roasting them with a sauce I concocted in the gas oven, and as I wasn’t sure how long it would take it was difficult to judge when it would be cooked. Nick also turned up the gas halfway through as it wasn’t even getting warm, and in the end the broccoli burned and the chicken tasted odd. The boys mainly live on bananas now…not really, Caleb is eating very well and can often finish a plate of food of fair size shortly after I finish mine. Aaron still needs a lot of reminders to eat because he is so distracted by his own jokes all the time.

Nick feels that the response from bible studies has been very positive, and that they are learning much about the Spiritual Disciplines. He is enjoying reading a nice book on the SS of the third reich which he found in the library that was left here. He says its very interesting. He rather likes history stuff. Not my cup of tea. Speaking of which, we do get Rooibos here which I am so pleased about. Here it is known as “Red Tea”. I am developing my St Helenian personality to add to “Poppie” and “Sandton”. I think I’ll call it “Helena”, eys?

I believe there are a couple of hairdressers on the island. One is within walking distance (in the market), but not sure of prices. Will be interesting to find out, but I’m still good for hairdos at present. Actually, this haircut was a really good one, with the length and style it still looks fine when it’s windswept! (Ha ha…no pun intended. My hair is always “fine”!!)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Something fishy

We drove up to Longwood this morning. It’s not too far from Jamestown, probably a drive I could manage on my own. We found a little playground with some swings, roundabout, seesaw, slide etc, so the boys played there for a while. Not good weather for it though, very cold and windy. It gets colder as you go more inland, and there was a bit of a drizzle (or we were in cloud, not sure). Found another shop at Longwood and also a petrol station (which consisted of a pump, nothing more). Came back home for lunch, sandwiches, and then the boys slept. Did some more painting in my room. Still have half the room’s skirtings to do, as I can only do one half at a time because I have to lift the carpet out the way. I will try to get one coat of the second half done tomorrow and the remainder on Monday, then on Tuesday I can start moving furniture back in and paint the window frames.

We were given fresh produce today! It started with a packet of bananas today, which we are always pleased about as we keep eating them. We can easily go through ten bananas in a day. Then on our way home from Longwood, we saw one of our members, who has been super since we arrived. She had onions for us, as they are in short supply until the next ship comes, tomatoes and a large piece of pumpkin (uh oh). Then we had a phone call from some other people who said they had extra fish and eggs, so they came around a little later to drop those off. The fish were nothing less than two freshly caught bullseyes and a great big hunk of tuna. We’ve never seen the bullseyes before, they are little (about 20cm) reddish fish, and apparently very good for children because there are no small bones and the flesh easily comes off the main bones. Their 10-year-old son had been fishing with a friend this morning and caught them, so these were of his own pickings (or catchings). He also caught the tuna himself. The bullseyes were completely whole except for the tail which had been removed, and they had been gutted. But eeeuw, the eyes were still on and everything. I took a photo of them. I was totally grossed out cutting off the head and breaking its spine, and cutting off fins and wings. Really not my thing, a city girl like me. Also had to cut the main bone out of the tuna which wasn’t as bad because at least it couldn’t see me. I handled them so gingerly – if you’ve not grown up handling fish, it can be a disgusting experience. I mean, you buy chicken from the shops and you know it was a live chicken running around, but knowing that these fish had just been plucked from the ocean a few hours before was just horrible, not from the point of view of the poor things, how cruel, but I prefer my food to be a little more processed! Anyway, got through it all and put one bullseye in the freezer and all the tuna in the freezer. Will try cook the fish tomorrow. I was told I can just cook it in a pan with some salt and pepper. The funny thing as well is that the fish were room temperature – if you buy it from the shops it has been refrigerated, but these had never seen a fridge! Well, quite a novelty at any rate.

Nick has done his sermon prep, so Saturdays are not too much of a stress. I just have to type a sermon outline tonight, and then perhaps start typing Nick’s next Bible Study notes for handing out on Tuesday. So the work keeps coming, but it’s good to keep busy. Am starting to grow fond of our little town in the valley and the sea view.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Making Friends

There is another mom, Emma, whose kids are each slightly older than ours, and they only arrived on the island last Friday from the UK, on a year’s contract (her husband is the educational tutor, whatever that means). Their shipment of household stuff (and kids toys) only arrives mid-November, so she is at a bit of a loss as to what to do with her kids, especially since next week is half term and all the kids are on holiday. So I offered for her to come around as we have toys.

This morning the weather was cold and miserable, not good outdoor weather, but this afternoon it cleared and we got a bit of sun. There is always cloud hanging over the island, which is fine so long as we see a bit of sun. Apparently it does get very hot and sticky in summer, this is a bit unseasonably cold at the moment from what “they” say.

We have about 20 people attending the Tuesday night bible study, as many, if not more, than come to church! Nick is doing the Spiritual Disciplines, the first one being Worship. I think they are learning a lot, much of it seems new to them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Painting and Discipline

We are getting a bit more used to the currency here, so now I can just look in my purse and see what coins I have without having to take each one out and try to find a value on it. It’s kind of weird having a two-pound coin though, that’s about R24 and it’s just a coin!

I made the butternut soup and it’s okay, definitely edible, but a bit lacking in something. I only added salt right at the end because none of the recipes included salt, but it was GROSS otherwise. Have frozen about eight single portions so I’ll work my way slowly through those. Also had to add some turmeric because it looked very pale, but now it’s almost a baby-poo colour. Might try again sometime. Aaron has started putting things in his ears because we have told him to stop putting things in his mouth. What a silly billy. The boys find great delight in screaming for joy, so tonight I told them that they must stop screaming because people walking past the house will hear them and think I am doing terrible things to them and will come and take them away and make them live with another family, who won’t love them very much, and they will never be able to come home again. Caleb took it quite seriously and his screams were considerably subdued after that.

Well, I spent the greater part of Tuesday and yesterday painting. The room really looked very bad, cracked plaster and sticky tape and prestick, but now it is all smooth and even and officially Apple Mist instead of mustard biscuits. Tomorrow or sometime when I have bought the right colour paint (looking for a Hunter’s Green sort of colour) I have to paint the pelmets, window sills and skirtings. At the moment the skirting boards, which presumably were once wood and probably looked nice, are a sort of aqua colour, termed “government green” by the locals for some reason. You can imagine it.

I went to a toddler’s group yesterday afternoon so I met some moms with little kids. I hope I managed to make some friends, I have a sort of invite to one of the mom’s houses next week some time (that’s Lindsay who I think I mentioned some e-mails ago), it will be good for the boys to have some scenery other than the house and the shops. Shame, poor little kids. Had to drag them to town this morning as I needed a few things, but we may as well have walked because I couldn’t find parking anywhere near where I needed to be so parked on our street, about halfway between home and town. Had to go from one shop to another with the two in tow, it’s not exactly Menlyn where you can load your kids into a trolley and sail from one shop to another in the comfort of an air-conditioned centre. Here we have to try stick to the narrow pavement between shops. Eventually the boys start whining, then I have to try sort them out, but in the meantime all the passersby are kind of watching because they all know that I’m the pastor’s wife, and you never know, there could be our members amongst them! Sometimes I greet people so enthusiastically because I suspect they are in our church, but I can’t be sure because I don’t know anyone well enough yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Going Bananas

I painted an undercoat today in my craft room. It took almost the whole day and was very hard work, my hands are sore from the roller and brush. The room is 2.5 m by 5.5 m and 3 m high.

We are waiting for people to arrive for bible study, which starts in 15 minutes. They tend to bring loads of eats with them, so we should have left over cake again tomorrow! We were given a parcel on Sunday night at church by one of the ladies, and when we opened it later there were chips, flavoured peanuts, mini Hershy chocolates, trail mix, other snacky stuff. Wonderful. Last night Nick was given two bunches of bananas by one of the deacons, they were organized for us at my earlier request to someone as to where to buy bananas. So the people seem very generous.

Must go, doorbell’s gone..

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lots of Waffle

Nick is at a deacons meeting tonight, he left home at 5:15. Today was his day off, and he did some more work in the garden, tearing out dead bushes and clearing a spot to be filled in and paved or grassed. Wish I could send some photos! I went to the shops this morning as I discovered we had no flour, so I couldn’t make macaroni or many other easy dishes. Also needed bread as we were caught short yesterday with no bread or flour in the house. All shops are closed on Sundays, and Saturday and Wednesday afternoons. Why Wednesday afternoons I couldn’t tell you, but that’s the way it is. Apparently it used to be like that in the UK too, but has changed.

Started preparation today for painting in my craft room - moved furniture out, sanded walls in some rough spots, wiped the walls with a cloth, put some masking tape in necessary areas. Still need to apply filler in some spots, but that will be quick. It’s quite a big room though and the ceilings are high, so it’s going to take a long time.

I started getting prices today as well of all our necessary monthly groceries. So far I have got most of the prices from Spar, and will continue with Thorpes another time. From the few prices I got from Thorpes though, it is quite a lot cheaper than Spar. It’s very interesting doing these comparisons. I also have my old Pick’n’Pay prices on the grocery list, and have put in a formula to convert it to pounds (more or less, I’m using R12 to 1 pound) so I can see how prices compare to SA. It also gives me a good indication of what I used to buy that I can’t get here. So far I’m not lacking any major necessities, but it’s unfortunate that bulk packaged goods are not easily available, eg Pronutro and other cereals, flour etc. You have to buy smaller boxes which tend to be more expensive.

Yesterday afternoon I was getting sick of the weather and being at home, so we all went for a drive down to the waterfront/wharf. I don’t know which term is best to describe it – basically where sea meets land. It was nice, as soon as we were a bit beyond our mountains we could actually see the sun. Although it probably only sets after 6 pm, it is fully shaded in our house by about 4.30 or 5.00 because of the mountains. Was good to see the sun. We walked along the seafront a bit and found a spot where we could sit right close to the water. There were a whole bunch of fishes floating around, they looked dead but weren’t. We suspect there is a sewerage outlet there, it looked like there were bits of toilet paper floating in the water and the fish were very happy indeed to be there. There were some funny long fish which looked like eels but had pointed snouts, grey in colour and about 40 cm in length. Most peculiar. Also saw lots of crabs again, this time some big red ones as well. Came across a superb rock pool where the water came in and went out constantly, so the height in the pool changed by about 2 m every 20 seconds. Very powerful pull of the tide. Sea living can have its bonuses – we get to see all kinds of interesting stuff. By the time that little outing ended, it was almost 6 pm so we had to go home, made some scrambled eggs and beans for supper (very meager!), then we all got ready for church. We bathed the boys before supper (wow, this is really minute detail, what a lot of ramble) so it was easy just to brush their teeth and then take them along to church. Nick decided that they should get into the habit of sitting through a service, instead of going to bed at their usual hour. Well, it really wasn’t too bad! I sat right at the back, and took along plenty of books. The boys did fidget quite a lot and moved around and whispered and generally were a distraction to me, but I got the message anyway. The church was quite empty, only about 20 people including the four of us!!

Tonight I am going to tackle the butternut soup, since I am home alone. It’s not at all scary being here on my own, even though the house is so big. It’s very safe here. Apparently the crime is so low not because the people are nice, but because they fear the social stigma if they are caught doing anything criminal. Also, in such a small community, it would be difficult to get away with crime. Crime is generated because of alcohol, so I think is more localized around the drinking places.