Friday, December 30, 2005


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

View of Speery from Man and Horse

Man and Horse

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

Street Party

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas, food, food, food

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mandolin, Fairy Terns and Bees

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

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

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

Thursday, December 22, 2005


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

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

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

Monday, December 19, 2005

Carols Service

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

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

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

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Boer War Cemetery

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

Saturday, December 17, 2005


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

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Parades and Celebrations

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Caleb swims and Aaron finds a pet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


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

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

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

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bits and pieces

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 09, 2005


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

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Recipe for Rice

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

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Aaron's Birthday

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

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

Sunday, December 04, 2005


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

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

Friday, December 02, 2005

Drizzle and drivel

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

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

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