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.