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.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tumble Dryers and Money Matters

Nick’s word to sum up our experiences on the island so far: GREAT! He is having a good time. No huge pressure yet, but he is generating a lot of work for himself with putting some structures into place and finding his feet. I personally think he is doing an excellent job; he is authoritative without being bossy and knows what he wants to do. He is definitely a visionary and not one to plod along in someone else’s wake. Unfortunately there is a lot of driving for him (the church pays for petrol) but a lot of time is wasted, like this morning he left at 8.00 am and returned at almost 12.30. That was to go to the chapel at Sandy Bay and preach there, then to the Head o’Wain chapel and preach there, and drive home. I didn’t go with him, as I will attend church in the evenings in our Jamestown chapel at 19h00. Still debating whether to take the boys and have a distracted church experience, or to put them to bed a few minutes earlier and leave them here on their own. It’s very safe to leave them here. The only con to that is that they wouldn’t ever be exposed to church then, except for the monthly combined meeting. We did have Sunday School this morning, just Caleb and Aaron and I in the diningroom. I found some S/S material for their age in a cupboard here, so for the next 11 or so weeks we will be using that. It was quite a fun experience, though it might be nice if we could expand it a bit and have a proper Sunday School with other kids. Something to pray about.

The homeschooling material I would use is from Sonlight ( if you want to see more). It’s very largely literature based, so there would be a lot of time spent in me reading aloud to the boys. There is some worksheet stuff, and some hands-on stuff with the science and maths at later levels. I think initially it would take about 20 minutes a day to get through the reading part, then there are workbooks to develop co-ordination and things like that. It is a Christian-based programme, and really sounds exciting and interesting. I brought the whole big catalogue with me, so have photocopied a few pages to send to the education committee.

Outside, the back yard looks like a bit of a dump. We have a patch of grass, about 4mx3m, quite big I suppose, but the grass is not doing too well. Very weedy and thin. We will encourage it and weed it and get it looking good. There is a strip of concrete outside the back door, with a covered porch and coloured light bulbs out there, looks festive at night. The back outside house wall is looking very bad indeed, the paint is half peeled off in places. There are some old stone walls built up which was presumably part of the house at some point, with dead bushes growing in what were gardens. Those dead bushes will be pulled out, and we will see about procuring some lawn from the countryside and transplanting it (no such thing as instant-lawn for sale, you just go dig it up yourself). There is some washline strung under the porch, for rainy day washing, and some more washline over the grassy area for sunny day washing. You can hang up your washing in the open on a rainy day though and it will still dry because the wind whips all the dampness out. The kids enjoy the outside, not so much running on the lawn as digging up weeds, kicking over the bucket which stands under a drainpipe to catch the constantly dripping water, running in said water, and generally doing things that make them dirty. The back door (next to the washing machine) which opens to the back is one of those stable doors, top and bottom halves open separately. However, it being somewhat old or perhaps not too well made, the top half can stay closed while the bottom half can be opened, which is just on a simple latch. So of course both boys can open it by themselves, so they have outside access any time they want it. Nothing wrong with that though, outdoors is good for them. Aaron’s latest trick is to undress himself and come and present his naked body, with much hysterical shrieking and giggling, to you. Very cute but it’s not a good exhibitionist habit to form! His speech is improving all the time, particularly with dipthongs and tripthongs (is that a word?). “String” is a good example – he pronounces it perfectly. Grammar still bad, but vocab improving and pronunciation definitely much better.

The washing machine is working again, it got fixed up yesterday afternoon. Just have to speak to the right people – Vincent came over to look and then popped out to buy another pipe. The church pays, of course. I tried the tumble drier this morning – had to first wire the plug as for some reason it was plugless. Cut myself in the process, but don’t worry, I only lost a little blood. When I switched it on, it hummed for a little while and seemed to warm up, but there was no turning action. Eventually it stopped and there was a burning smell. I turned it off and unloaded the washing and hung it only the sunny-day washing line (optimism). I later discovered that it had tripped all the electricity, but I managed to get it turned back on. Perhaps the reason why it was plugless is because it doesn’t work! Will mention that to Vincent…

I still convert and compare prices, just to get an idea of the value of something until we’re used to spending in pence and pounds. I mean, anything under 1 pound sounds like a good deal until you realize that it’s R7.50 for a tin of tuna! Well, when I shopped on Friday I spent £1.49 on a bag of apples, cheese was £4.50 per kilo, eggs were £1.08 for six, tomato sauce was £1.55 for 750 mls, and I paid £1.89 for a 500g box of Pronutro. All very expensive. I think Spar may be the most expensive place though. I am starting work on a full comparative listing of everything I need. I have my full grocery list on the laptop, so am going to start putting prices next to everything from the different grocery shops. We are probably looking at about £300 for groceries each month. The gas cooker is very easy to use, I am already preferring the gas stove top to electricity – it’s instant heat and instant off and very easy to adjust for simmering and so on. I haven’t tried baking anything yet, so can’t tell you how it’s going to be with using the oven part, but I imagine it should be easy to use as well. I have lit the oven, which involves turning on the gas and sticking your hand with a lit match all the way to the back of the oven and hoping for the best, that you haven’t turned the gas on too far and the whole thing explodes in your face. But don’t worry about it, see!! The boys are quite intrigued by the blue flame when I’m cooking but I keep on sending them out the kitchen.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

General update and Sandy Bay

We have been here a week and two days now, and in some ways it’s feeling like home, in other ways we are definitely living in a foreign country. Our house itself is becoming our home, in the sense that we are comfortable here, the boys love it, all our stuff is here, and we have started work on it. We have started weeding the back lawn to encourage the grass to grow properly, replaced lightbulbs, cleaned stuff and so on. The foreign parts are more evident when it comes to leaving the house for a drive around the country or a quick trip to the shops. A shopping expedition can leave one feeling vaguely depressed, considering the kind of shops we are used to (Menlyn!!). Food is very expensive here and one has to go from shop to shop to find all the necessary items. Also, there is not one shop which tends to be cheaper than the others – you need to buy some things at one place, some at another. For groceries we shop at Spar (there’s a friendly Spar wherever you are), Thorpe’s grocery store, or Queen Mary’s. For hardware there is Solomon’s DIY, the Emporium and Queen Mary’s. For personal items there is Warren’s, Spar and Queen Mary’s. For linen you have Queen Mary’s or Victoria. Queen Mary’s pops up a lot in this list, but it’s a tiny shop with many items all on top of one another. The frozen section in QM’s is a little freezer (like an ice-cream freezer with the glass sliding tops) which is directly opposite the groceries and next to toiletries, followed on by hardware, paint etc. It’s terribly difficult finding what you’re looking for, you almost have to examine each item to see if it’s what you want as there is often only one of each item. You don’t lock your car doors when you go anywhere. I feel silly putting a packet of groceries on the front seat and walking away to the next shop without any form of lock, but that’s the way it’s done. Enough about the shops.

We took a drive to the beach this morning. The beach is in Sandy Bay and it is about a 40-minute drive. Not because it’s so terribly far, but because you can only drive on a straight road for about 200 metres before the next hairpin bend. The roads are more suited to 4x4 driving and less to an old car which rattles and clunks and wobbles. You can’t see what’s coming around a bend, and the roads are mostly single lane, so you hoot going around a corner to alert any oncoming cars of your presence, then proceed blindly in the greatest of faith. Sometimes the bends are so steep you have to crane over the steering wheel to see where the road is bending to. Nick is quite confident driving, but I think it will be a long time or a great occasion of necessity before I venture to those parts! That being said, the countryside is unbelievably beautiful and lush, at parts you are driving through forest and jungle, with clouds falling over the tops of the mountain peaks and mist blowing about. Other parts are barren and brown. One road we took had cacti on one side and palm trees on the other! The beach itself was mostly pebbly with a small section of sand, which was black. Not dirty, just black because it is black volcanic rock which has been broken down over centuries. It’s quite weird. We did enjoy ourselves clambering down rocks to the beach, then sitting on the smooth rocks and pebbles and throwing them into the sea. The wind blows gusts all the time, and the sea drags pebbles back with it, so there is constant noise. Black crabs were sitting on the rocks, but disappeared quickly as soon as they saw us. It was a really unique experience though, which was enjoyed by all. We found a sheltered alcove and had flasked coffee and juice and a packet of tennis biscuits. The boys sit in the boot of the golf (no back board) or on the backseat, and think that’s quite funny. Seatbelts are optional on the island.

This afternoon after the boys slept and some pop-in visitors had left, we took a walk around town, because Caleb decided that he wanted to go for a walk. We walked down our road, along another one, up a steep hill past an old-age home, down a hill past some shops, and all the way almost to the waterfront. We went into “Castle Gardens”, a very pretty area of gardens and trees. You can go in there for a picnic and sit on the grass, it’s very well kept and colourful (dad, you would especially appreciate it!). Walked all the way back up the hill to our house. It was a good outdoor outing. The wind blew and we felt some drizzle, nothing unusual. Have had a good dose of sunshine today (at least ½ hour).

Now the washing machine is working again, so there is a load spinning and waiting to come out. I am going to go on-line now to try to find a good recipe for butternut soup as a butternut was donated to us and I don’t see any other way of getting through the whole thing, so soup it must become.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Grocery shopping and more

It’s Friday afternoon, the boys are sleeping, and Nick has finished typing a document he is going to present to the deacons. I spent most of the morning with the boys, we did life-size cutouts which they painted and we stuck them on their wall, and then we watched some of Mary Poppins.

Did some grocery shopping this morning, but it depressed me somewhat. Food is terribly expensive, and everything is all over the place, so to do shopping you park your car wherever you can find a spot, then get out and walk from one shop to another looking for what you need. It’s tiring and frustrating, and I wish I could pop over to Pick’n’Pay where everything is so much cheaper and readily accessible. So, I’m not in the best frame of mind right now. I’m homesick!!!

In answer to some questions, the following: We think homeschooling would definitely be best for Caleb, as a parent knows his/her own child best and can provide the best care and training. Education will then be tailormade for him. We also don’t want the bad language in the schools rubbing off on him as well as any other weird influences. We can also give him a good Christian education. There will be other opportunities to meet people and kids, like church and meeting up with other families on the island. The washing machine is a top loader, quite old but can take quite a big load. We had a disaster with it yesterday though – I was outside with the kids just about to blow up some balloons, when suddenly we heard this noise and discovered that the hose at the back of the machine had perished and water was spraying everwhere. The passage was half flooded by the time Nick figured out how to switch off the water supply. Thankfully we were at home, otherwise who knows what damage would have been done. I suppose it is quite funny in hindsight!! The stove is a gas cooker – four gas plates, a gas grill above the plates, and a gas oven. I’m not sure yet what petrol they use, I haven’t even seen where you go to fill up. I think there are only two pumps. They get an oil tanker every so often and we have seen the power station and place where they store it, and it presumably gets piped to the filling pumps. Not too sure about that – will let you know.

The Baptist Church has four chapels – one in Jamestown (next door to us), one in Sandy Bay, one in Knollcombes and one at Head o’Wain. From what I gather, every Sunday Nick preaches at Sandy Bay, then either at Knollcombes or Head o’Wain (they alternate Sundays), and then at Jamestown in the evening. Then once a month all the chapels combine for a 2.30 service at Jamestown. The chapels are only used by us. Other denominations have their own places of worship. There is only one Catholic Church on the island, just up the road from us. Our congregants (I also like the word) – some work, in various forms – nursing, government, teaching, and others are retired. Not really too sure what everyone does, still meeting people and trying to get their names right. It’s a bit daunting seeing new faces all the time, and of course everyone knows who we are. It’s quite funny, sometimes even in the shops people know who we are. Mostly if we introduce ourselves, or if I introduce myself and they ask if I’m here on holiday or what, and I say my husband is the new Baptist Minister, they say “Ahhhhh” knowingly. There are not many white faces around, so perhaps we are also more known because of that.

Nick has met a guy here who is an alcoholic, this afternoon he called on at the manse while Nick and the boys and I were watching “Piglet’s Heffalump Movie” (aka Humpalump) (Nick had finished his major work for the week). I had to take the boys upstairs with me while he was here, as he had been drinking. Shame, it’s quite sad. He wanted to meet me, so I had to present myself and the boys downstairs for handshaking and perusal. A bit uncomfortable, but he’s harmless.

I painted the bathroom yesterday (apple mist – a very pale green, quite fresh), and the towels are peach, brown and cream, and the blind has greens and peaches in it. Overall the effect is very good and I am pleased with the result. Still need to paint the bathroom door and all the other white bits though, but will start that next week. At least there is now one room in the house that has my stamp on it and feels homely, so if I really get depressed, I can go sit in the properly decorated room and look at the sea and I’m sure it will cheer me up.

We got some new (new to the manse) mattresses delivered this evening. The boys were sleeping on quite old foam mattresses although they didn’t mind, but the St Helena Prison had these ones going and so we got them. They are proper springy mattresses, quite new and in good condition. We are very pleased to have them.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Thought I’d report on the day’s activities as I’m sure you’d want to know how the schooling meeting went. Well, it looks like we may be able to homeschool – we met with the chief education officer for primary age, and explained to her our reasons for wanting to homeschool. She said we must write a letter to the education committee, which meets sometime around the 26th October, motivating our reasons and outlining the material we will do with Caleb, and they will consider our request. She reckoned we have a fairly good shot at it. They will let us know, so in the meantime we wait and pray for God’s will in this to be done. Very nice lady, though – she is part of the Salvation Army church.

After the meeting in town, we were walking back to the car, and a lady (British, my age) stopped her car and ran over to us to introduce herself. She is the wife of the governor’s chief assistant or something like that. I think she is British, very pleasant indeed. She has a three-year-old, and seemed to suggest that she would get in touch with me so we could get together as she has a big garden that the kids can play in. There is a toddlers group at our church on Wednesday afternoons which she sort of invited me to (although the boys sleep at that time). She lives in the country though, so not very close to us. Would be nice to have a friend who I can understand, we have to really listen carefully to understand people, and the younger kids are the worst. Had an 11-year-old come in to play with the boys today, but turned out to be thoroughly unpleasant. Couldn’t make out half of what she was saying and she seemed to ask the strangest questions, like, have I cooked, am I the boys mom, where’s the dad (who was in the study), do we live here, can she borrow the boys’ books, do I have a packet of chips? No? Naartjies? Eventually I sent her home. She also kept trying to pick Aaron up, who was terrified of her, as she is slightly crippled and walks funny (and kept walking on their cars). Shame, felt bad, but it was quite an uncomfortable experience!!

Tomorrow my plan is to paint the bathroom. Today I finished sewing the blind and I prepared the walls for painting (ie scraped off bubbly powdery paint, taped up where I won’t be painting, took everything out the bathroom and so on). Looking forward to getting cracking on home improvements.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Getting to know things

Have had a very busy day, sewing a blind for the bathroom in between trying to keep the boys amused and doing typing for Nick for tonight’s bible study. To describe the house a bit, all the bedrooms, and the study and bathroom are upstairs. I have my own sewing/craft room now, one of the spare rooms. What a pleasure having my own table to work at, and my own space just for myself!! It’s a first. If we stepped out of the door in our bedroom, we would fall not quite onto the street, but into the garden just between the house and street. So we really should keep those doors closed. Apparently there used to be a porch built onto the front of the house, so that bedroom would have had a balcony. We haven’t bought, and won’t buy, a TV license. It is £16 per month, rather costly, so that’s an expense we can do without. I gather they get SABC though, which would be rather nice to have to feel like we were in touch, but we’ll be fine without it! There are quite a few hotels in Jamestown, the Consulate being one that we tend to walk past anytime we are in town. Haven’t seen the inside, but the outside looks fairly decent, same as any other building in town. Some of the buildings are painted quite nicely, like with blue or pink walls and white frames etc, and others, like ours, looks quite run-down. The St Helena Coffee Shop is just as you come in from the wharf through the tunnel, but we haven’t been to it yet. When we find a babysitter, we will go out on a date and likely patronize it! Not everyone lives in Jamestown, although it is where most of the shops are, but there are residences spread out all over the island. As yet I have only seen a few parts of it, and haven’t been to the Sandy Bay area yet. I wish you could be here to see what it’s like (yes, and to help, could use dad’s painting skills here!) The weather is still drizzly, we hardly saw the sun today although it didn’t really rain or drizzle much. More like just a fine cloud hangs around so if you walk outside it’s 100% humidity but no rain, if that makes sense. It was a bit cold today, though the boys were comfortable in shorts. So far they haven’t had any more scrapes or falls. Caleb has started eating bananas, which are smaller and tastier here, and enjoys them and is not vomiting on them. This evening I cooked a tuna fillet, a brand new experience for me (and on the gas cooker!) What a yummy meal. I’ve never seen a whole chunk of tuna like that, but someone had put it in the freezer for me, so I thought I had better overcome my dread of doing something with it, and took it out this morning to defrost. I just cut it up into slices (sort of like making steaks) and fried them with some lemon seasoning and marjoram. They cooked quickly, and were delicious. I had also parcooked some potatoes in the microwave, so fried those. The boys enjoyed them, so I’m glad that’s a meal easy to do and delicious and edible by all!

Tomorrow at 3.00 we have a meeting with a lady from the education department to discuss Caleb’s schooling. Will let you know the result of that tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Jamestown Chapel

Induction Service

The official induction service for “pastor” happened yesterday afternoon. Nick will be preaching at three chapels each Sunday, and once a month all the chapels combine in the Jamestown chapel for an afternoon service. Yesterday was a combined service, and the Salvation Army, Anglican Church and SDA churches had been invited for the induction. The chapel was packed! It had been decorated with fresh flowers on the windowsills and looked beautiful. It was extremely moving to at last be in the church and amongst the people, and uniting with fellow believers in such a remote location who are of the same heart and mind. Nick preached a sermon on “the Glory of God”, which was a message about the direction in which he wants to take the church. A tea was hosted in the fellowship hall afterwards, and the church ladies certainly do like to do it in style! Homesickness hasn’t really started yet, but will probably seep in gradually, especially when it comes to Christmas and the family traditions and so on. We have been too busy to really miss people terribly, but you are all in our thoughts.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Health and Boys

Rightly said that the ship is not good for the waistline, although the extra effort of trying to walk straight does burn up extra calories. Also, our cabin was on the top floor (about four flights of stairs up), and then to get to the sun lounge one has to go down some stairs, along a corridor, and up some more stairs, so there is quite a lot of walking. Also, there is a little exercise room on the ship which has a bicycle, another walking machine, and a rowing machine. Free gym! It’s a really worthwhile ship ride, and I don’t think we would trade it for an airline ticket if we could.

The boys are doing very well!! They thoroughly enjoyed the ship, and didn’t notice anything different to being on land as far as seasickness went. Getting back on land also didn’t seem to be a problem for them. They have spent the last few days since we arrived running around the house, getting into trouble, making as much noise as possible on the wooden floors and stairs, playing with toys which are starting to get unpacked etc. We have set up the TV and video so they have watched a video. On the ship there was a children’s playroom, quite small, with a video and a couple of toys, so they spent some time in there watching videos or playing with whatever was available. Mostly they were with us, playing with the cars Grandad and Sue gave them before departure, or the turtles from Lara, or the other cars we got them, or anything else we had. They drew a little, built some puzzles, but generally were occupied well and not bored or a problem on the ship. You can imagine the ship crew were quite friendly with them and enjoyed them! They were very well behaved, such that we were complimented a couple of times on how nicely they were behaved from different people. Generally they have continued in their outgoing way, chatting to anyone about anything. When we tell them to be polite or say hello, they generally freeze, but otherwise they are making friends with the church folk. We have met a nice British couple in the church, Steve and Maureen Terry, who are from the UK and now live here. They have given us a few tips on life on the island etc.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Still settling in

It’s now 3.40 on Saturday afternoon. The boys are supposed to be sleeping, although more likely Aaron is sleeping and Caleb is lying on his bed waiting for “wakey up time” to occur. Got some more unpacking done last night, which involved a lot of tossing out of old junk left around here before we can even start putting our things away. I have now managed to sort through all three steel cabinets in the passage. Ever wondered where my old pink bedspread ended up (sorry, only immediate family will relate to this) – the cotton pink spread with the fluffy bits sticking out all over the place, which used to be on my bed when I was in the room with the deep turquoise carpet? Well, remarkably, it ended up here. There are also some old curtains in the cupboard which reminded me of some old laundry curtains or something, or possibly they were in Raymond’s room at one point – sort of a blue hydrangea pattern. I came across the nylon pink bedspread, and also a bright lime-green nightfrill, as well as some other oddities I can’t imagine why anyone would have wanted to buy. Okay, the house – it’s very big, as we anticipated, but in a somewhat rundown condition. Not depressingly bad, just enough to make you want to get paint buckets and sealant out. The bathroom window rattles in the wind and even when it’s closed there is quite a draft. The kitchen is very nice, looks like the cupboards are new, so that room is definitely workable. The diningroom actually has no proper chairs for the table, the 24 chairs we were expecting turned out to be blue and brown plastic stackable chairs. We have to use two each for the boys to reach the table, which seats six. Most of the furniture in the house is really antiquey, so if you’re into that kind of thing it’s quite nice. Nick’s study is pleasant enough, although also badly in need of paint and some nails in the ceiling where the strangest assortment of skirting boards are falling down. He has finished unpacking his books and just managed to squeeze all his books into the two bookshelves. It looks fairly homely. One of the spare rooms has shiny biscuit-coloured paint on the walls, another nylon pink bedspread, a wardrobe whose doors we can’t persuade to stay closed, and a brownish carpet. The other spare room, with the double bed, has a white and mauve nylon bed cover, and…bright red carpet! The walls, once white, also have a flowery stenciled pattern at dado-height, which must have looked good in its day, but will have to be painted over and out. Our room is not too bad. We particularly like the glass doors which open onto nothing. We likely won’t be opening those doors too often. The boys’ room is the best in the house, with wood paneling on one side and a view of the sea and the RMS St Helena when it’s here. The other window looks directly onto Pilling Primary School, the school which we may have to send Caleb to (more on that another time). The lounge is huge, newly carpeted, and has good furniture. We have the TV and hi-fi plugged in and working there now. Thankfully none of our stuff was lost or damaged, and we didn’t have to pay any customs or anything like that.

As I said, Nick was taken around yesterday to look at the different chapels. The one in Jamestown, which is accessible from our back yard or the street, is in fair condition – that’s the one you would have seen on the video-tape, with the red carpet down the middle. It looked better on the video! Also needs some work. The multi-purpose hall next to it leaks and is very shabby. Nick’s heart sank when he saw the chapel in Knollcombes, and apparently the rest aren’t too much better. I haven’t seen any of the others yet. Nick is planning to organize a building committee to start getting the chapels back into good order. Apparently lack of money isn’t the greatest problem, it’s willing hands to get involved. So it will be a challenge to rally some people together to get things in order.

This morning we were taken out by the bell-ringer (who goes by the name Teddy, fabulous chap) around one side of the island. It really is very big, and completely impossible to navigate without a map if you’re new. The roads are incredibly steep, and from Jamestown they wind up on both sides of the valley in hairpin bends up the sides of the mountains. Will have to get some video footage for you to believe it. Anyway, wow, some parts of the island are incredibly beautiful. Jamestown is quite barren, the mountains have some greenery, but mostly rock face and very brown. Further inland, the mountains are covered in green, with flax, grass, and big trees (pine and so on). The size of the mountains is staggering – the valleys below are very deep, and when we got out of the car at one point to get an aerial view of Jamestown, it was quite dizzying. Some parts just defy description – you have to come and experience the island to see how it really is. It is feeling less like a dot in the middle of the ocean, and more like a real country full of real people.

I drove myself into town yesterday (that was about a 2-km drive) in the rickety old golf we have use of. It was a bit scary, not driving in town, but driving the golf! Almost got lost coming home (yes, blonde). I mentioned yesterday something about security on the island. You don’t lock your car when you go into the shops, you just get out and close the door and that’s that. When you go into a shop (Spar, for example), if you bring any packages in with you, you leave them on the windowsill (not behind a counter, and you don’t pick up a card or voucher to say it’s your stuff). You just leave it there, and hopefully remember to pick it up again on the way out. That’s to help with shoplifting. How bizarre.

Okay, can’t think of anything else I need to say right now. There is still a lot going on which I’d like to describe, like meeting the Public Solicitor and his family on the ship and making friends with crew cabin who are resident here and bumping into at least four people you know when you go into a shop, but that will have to wait for another e-mail.

If you have any questions, ask! By the way, I am looking at the famed Jacob’s ladder out of Nick’s study window and if I lean forward I can see some sea.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Settling in

Wow, where to begin describing all that’s happened in the last week. We arrived safely in St Helena yesterday morning after a really super 7-night trip. We thought it would be long and tedious, but it was a really good holiday. We ate all the time (breakfast – fruit, cereals, yoghurt etc, followed by fish of the day, your choice of bacon, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, sausage and so on…lunch, if taken in the Sun Lounge, a selection of cold meats and salads, if taken in the Dining Saloon, the usual three course…supper, in the Dining Saloon, after the boys were in bed, a three course meal with stuff we’d never heard of. Nick had swordfish one night!) In between those meals, if there was space, there was tea at 4 pm with sandwiches, cake and biscuits. The time passed quickly. We loved being out on the deck watching the sea go by, it tends to be very relaxing, although the constant wind got a bit annoying, so often drove me indoors! When we initially boarded the ship last Thursday, we told Alan and Kate via Walkie-Talkie that we could barely even notice the motion of the ship. Well silly us, when we actually got out into open waters the movement was considerable! I had to take an anti-nausea tablet the first night, but after that was fine for the next few days. The boys didn’t even notice that anything was strange. We docked at Walvis on Sunday and were permitted to disembark, and so caught a shuttle service “kombi” into town and walked around a bit. I phoned “home” to say that we were having a good time and were fine…it was good to be in touch with a familiar voice, mom! It got really boring waiting in the Walvis harbour to launch, which happened at about 6 pm Sunday night. Sunday night was nauseating again, both because we had been on land and because we had changed course, bearing more westwards instead of north so the sea was rougher. The rest of the trip after Walvis was pretty rough but enjoyable. Once you’ve found your sea legs, you still notice the motion but it doesn’t make you feel sick. Sometimes it was difficult to walk in a straight line along the passages!

Yesterday morning, then, we awoke early to be up at first light to see the island as we approached. We have video footage from about 5.50 am (that is 7.50 your time), from when we first saw it to actually getting quite close. I expect you are curious to hear about the disembarkation procedure…we were too! Having heard rumours of a cable car to ferry you to land because the ship can’t dock, we were pleased to hear that it was not the only means of disembarkation, although it was an option for the infirm. Actually, what happened was, after we had had our passports stamped by the immigration officer who boarded the ship, we were first to disembark down the gangway onto a pontoon (floating platform), then we had to jump onto a smaller boat (20 passengers at a time) which took us to the harbour. That little ride was really cool, it was the first time we were close enough to the water to feel the spray. We had to have life-jackets, and only the smallest amount of hand luggage possible – the rest of our luggage had been taken to the luggage offloading section the night before and that morning. Arriving at land’s edge, we jumped off again and went straight through to the customs hall, where an unintrusive body search was performed, and all hand luggage searched. We were met there by Vincent March, with whom we had been corresponding, and a couple other members of the church congregation, and taken to the manse. It was really rather overwhelming actually being on St Helena after so many months of thinking about it and praying about it and wondering about it. I still can’t believe we are really here! At the manse, there were more people waiting to meet us, and several women in the kitchen preparing food. The Saints can apparently really eat! It was probably about 9.30 am by the time we got to the manse, so we just wandered around the house to explore it (feeling a little like intruders in our own home which other people obviously felt so much more at home in!), then went back to the docks to collect the rest of our luggage, which had been offloaded by then, which also had to be searched. By that time, the container with the hold baggage had also been offloaded and unpacked, so we were able to start getting our boxes and having those all opened and searched as well. You may wonder how the security worked – our stuff just sat around unguarded in a communal waiting area. Well, security on St Helena is very different, but more about that later. All our boxes are now present and accounted for, and so far nothing damaged (the TV hasn’t been connected yet, we still have to rewire the plug as all the sockets are UK fixtures). We also got my medical insurance sorted out, internet service applied for, Nick’s drivers’ licence sorted out. Anyway, somewhere in between all that, we had lunch – so much food, of all types, had been prepared – there were chicken drumsticks, beef curry, fishcakes, other fish thingies, gammon, salads of many varieties, hot vegetables…it was probably more variety than we had seen on the ship! It seemed that whoever could and wasn’t working, had turned up for lunch but had actually brought a dish of something, including cakes for pudding. Wow, lots of food. Our cupboards have also been fully stocked with loads of stuff for the month. You can actually get most of a month’s normal groceries here – so we have pasta, juice, biscuits, tinned goodies, soups, toilet paper, toothpaste, boxed milk, bananas, loads of stuff. The church folk were very friendly and welcoming, and seem to like us well enough for now. Some of the people you saw on the video, family, we have met – Nick, the young convert, was there, and we met the bell-ringer if you can remember that bit. Nick was taken for a drive around the island to the different chapels, while I stayed here and entertained the rest of the people here who left shortly thereafter. I managed to have about 35 winks (not quite 40), before the telephone rang and someone else wanted to come around. It was about 5.30 pm by the time we were finally on our own! Then began some of the unpacking…at present there are boxes lying around everywhere, unpacked suitcases, and general disarray wherever you look.

This morning we went into town to explore the shops, and were much encouraged at all the stuff you can actually get your hands on, even home perms and pyjamas! We also got my driving permission sorted out, and opened a bank account. Things here are incredibly simple, for example applying for medical insurance yesterday consisted of filling in a form which had about four blanks to complete, paying over some money, and there you go. Our drivers’ licences are valid for three months here, then we have to fill in some forms and pay STH 7.50 and we will be licenced for another period (presumably the rest of our stay). If you long for the simple life, this is it! No queues, no reference checks, no red tape…just walk into the relevant bureau and the lady behind the counter sorts everything out!

I have two loads of washing hanging on the line, although technically “hanging” is not the best description…more like being tossed about in the wind. It was raining five minutes ago, but now the sun is shining, although the rain will probably be back in about the next two minutes by the looks of things. That is how it has been since we arrived…five or ten minute intervals of rain and bright sunshine. Not the soaking rain, mind you, just a gentle wafty drizzle. Actually not at all bad to be walking in, which we have done much of. I am now going to go into Nick’s study where one of the phone lines is situated, and dial up to send this mail. I will do a proper Clevely Chronicles next week after Nick’s induction service, with more descriptions of the house and more, but thought you guys might like to get the fuller version of life so far!

PS – the house is starting to settle down now, in fact the whole island is not rocking as badly as it was when we arrived. People tell us that it is from the ship (our bodies need to adjust again), but we’re sure that we’re fine, it’s just the house that moves a lot. I keep putting things on shelves and thinking, oh dear, this is going to fall over when the house sways in the other direction…