Sunday, December 31, 2006

Traveling missionary

Yesterday I arranged to go to the Longwood playground with Svetlana and her boys. Svetlana (Dr Theron) is back on the island on a 6-month locum. She was the doctor who did the anaesthetics on Caleb’s belly button op in April, who lives in Pretoria, and is now back her with her two boys. It was a beautiful day, and one of those rare days when the sun is actually shining in Longwood. It was great to catch up with her while the boys played.

Today most of the shops were open again, at least for the morning, so we all went to town for Nick to exchange a too-small shirt. Then we went to a few other shops for some groceries, and home. We just stopped long enough to get some picnic stuff together, and then off we went for some kite-flying at St Paul’s middle school. Although not very windy today, there was enough wind to get the kite up for a satisfactory time. During the afternoon Aaron slept as he’s been a bit sick, Caleb listened to the missions story CD, and Nick played with his new pedal. He has been having fun experimenting with the different sounds. He can make his electric guitar sound like an organ, a bunch of cats, string ensemble, and many other effects and sounds, even a guitar sound!

Caleb wants to be a traveling missionary, so he wants to get a motorbike with a hook at the back where he can hang his tent. We made very sure that he doesn’t want to be a missionary just because he wants to travel, but because he wants to tell people about God. We spoke about assurance of salvation today. He said he wasn’t sure that he is a Christian, so we explained that if he believes Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins, and has asked for forgiveness and is now living to please God, that he is a Christian. He seemed satisfied with that answer, and satisfied that he is a Christian.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Church picnic

We’ve had an absolutely lovely day occupied with the church picnic. The weather was just right to be outdoors – not hot, not cold, not windy but just a slight breeze, a blue sky with a few clouds – which was an answer to prayer, because on the way there it was cloudy and misty and not looking good. We got to the Blue Hill Community Centre just after 11 this morning, and as soon as we thought everyone was there who should be there, which numbered about 50 people, we started with some worship, and then Nick had prepared some reflection questions. He was going to preach a sermon originally, but this was actually more appropriate. The questions were along the lines of “have you grown closer to God in the past year?” and “what do you feel God is calling you to be involved in this next year?” and so on. Nick just read through the list of questions and explained a few, and encouraged everyone to take the questions home and think about them over the next few days. We launched into the lunch after that, which was the typical Saint potluck thing. Loads of food as usual, both in variety and quantity. I provided some chicken legs (when I called them drumsticks later in the day, one of the girls said, “why do you call them that?”…so now they’re just chicken legs). After lunch and pudding, we played a bible quiz game which Teddy organized and ran. We split into teams according to the chapels, and then had to answer a question, and then if we answered correctly, we could throw a dart at a dartboard and get whatever points we scored on the dartboard. Quite a novel way of scoring, and lots of fun. After the quiz, which I think Head o’Wain won, we played skittles (photo - Vincent having a go). St Helena skittles is very similar to your regular 10-pin bowls, except that it’s all manually done and the skittles are made of heavy wood, and the balls are big solid rubber balls. You have to toss it down a long alley, and it’s not allowed to touch the edges (the banks), otherwise it’s voided. It also has to touch a white section on the alley before making its journey to the pins, so there are a few techniques and rules. It was fun, and our team came second in that. I wasn’t terribly good at it, but then, I was never terribly good at 10-pin either. After the skittles, everyone just chilled and milled around. Being such a lovely day, we spent some time outside, chatting with some of the GNC kids who came, playing French cricket, playing guitar etc. After tea, Teddy got a game of rounders going (photo), which we played until it was time for the buses to take us home at 5.30. I think everyone really enjoyed the day. It was so great to be together in an informal setting. I hope we will be able to have this sort of thing more than once a year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New car almost a reality

We had a phonecall early this morning from Martin Holdt in South Africa with some very exciting news. Constantia Park Baptist has been collecting funds for a new vehicle for our church, and they now want to transfer what they have before they close off their books on the 31st. We are thrilled and looking forward to getting our new car probably some time around February, due to the garage owner being off the island at present.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Happy Christmas everyone! This morning started off much too early, with the boys sneaking downstairs to see what was in their stockings, and finding a juice, packet of chips and scary monster mask. Then they got started playing with their toys. We spent the first bit of the morning just being at home and doing nothing in particular, and then we had our Christmas Day service at 10. The attendance was poor, particularly for a combined service. I think people here just don’t make it a big thing to go to church on Christmas Day. It was a good message though, with Nick concentrating our thoughts on the gift of Christ, and what a sacrifice it was, firstly to go from sharing in his place in the Trinity to becoming a human, and not just any human but the lowest of the low – a servant, born in a manager, died as a criminal.

After church I made an apple crumble and custard, and then we headed off to Brenda and Teddy’s house (see photo). It was a really great afternoon. Steve and Maureen were there, as well as Brenda’s sister and brother-in-law and their two children, and Brenda’ mom. We ate – boy did we eat! Brenda had turkey, gammon and pork, roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, corn, carrots, beetroot, rice and curry. Pudding was as bounteous, and then there were chocolates, chips and peanuts, and then still tea, which we actually just escaped from because we couldn’t eat anything more. Brenda couldn’t send us home empty-handed, so she gave us a box of Roses chocolates (like we need another box of chocolates right now!).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve

After church today at 2.30, we headed straight for Jane’s house, for Christmas cake and champagne (ie juice for us). There were a couple of other kids there besides Zara and Isaac, so the boys had a super time playing. We left just after 5, but we had all been eating cake and nibbling on bits and pieces, that no one really wanted a big supper. So much for my great plans for a lovely Christmas eve meal. I had made a potroast during the morning, which was all cut up and ready to be reheated, so I just heated a little bit of the meat and some rice, and cooked some sweetcorn. After supper outside, the boys had a quick bath, and then we started opening presents. The boys were spoilt again this year, so many presents.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Twas the night before the night before Christmas...

Since there was no Good News Club today, and Nick cancelled the prayer meeting, we had the whole day entirely at our disposal. I had in mind to do Diana’s Peak with the boys and Nick, but it was quite overcast during the morning so we decided not to do that, instead going to town together, via Jean and Joe to drop off a present, and Steve and Maureen. Jean was out at the time, but we saw her in town, and she asked if we could come to her house today (not knowing we had already been) because she had something (more) for us. As it happened, we gave her a lift home, and she had a bunch of groceries for us again – pork chops, beef steaks, drumsticks, chicken burgers, beef burgers, potatoes, onions, beans, biscuits, Chamdor…very generous. Then we came home and had lunch, and after lunch watched a DVD together, about a bunch of animals who escape from a zoo (In the Wild).

There was a big parade down the street at about 5 pm, which we watched together. Supper was a different fish called Grouper, which was deboned and filleted, so I battered it and we had it with chips. It was quite good – nice change from tuna. After supper we gave the boys a quick bath, and then headed off to town again. Tonight is the big night where all the kids go shopping for Christmas, so all the shops were really busy. The parade had by this time made its way back up the road again, so there was a truck with a live band outside the Cannister, and people dancing in the street. It was very festive and fun to watch. We didn’t take long to choose what the boys were going to buy (this with money given to them by one of our church ladies, particularly for them to spend tonight), settling on a pirate playset – it has a ship, and a rowboat and raft, and a sort of castle thing. They are so excited about it, so we let them play with it for ten minutes after we got home before sending them to bed, at about 7.40.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A morning alone

This morning we had a very relaxed and late sort of start to the day, and I had arranged to take the boys to Isaac and Zara’s house (or Jane’s house) to play. What a wondrous thing! Jane is happy because her kids then have other kids to play with, my boys are happy because they get to play with other children, I’m DEFINITELY happy because I’m boyless for a morning, and Emmy and Selina (Jane’s two helpers) have a doubled load, but also a halved load because our boys occupy their kids. It was very cool. I came home and did scrapbooking, and also drilled holes into a piece of wood I’ve decoupagéd to be able to attach coat hooks to it for the entrance foyer. Nick put it up during the afternoon but had a difficult time drilling into the wall, which is a bit of plaster and a lot of rock. He just couldn’t drill deep enough into the rock, but eventually got it all sorted out and now it’s up and looks super.

The other day we were telling jokes, because Caleb can catch on to some types of humour. Nick asked, “what do you call a man with no arms and no legs in the sea?” The traditional answer is “Bob”, but Caleb came up with “Bouy”! We were very impressed.

By the way, the last caterpillar didn’t make it. Eventually it looked so sad I just let it go in the garden to live out its last remaining hours.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas party and BIG ship

The Good News Club Christmas Party happened today. We played games, sang songs, played more games, ate loads of party food, and then Father Christmas arrived to hand out presents, one for each child. Enid did a fantastic job with buying and wrapping the presents and organising the catering. The party ran for two hours, after which we did our usual Saturday routine of going to town together. A tourist ship arrived this morning, a beautiful and monstrous thing. She can accommodate up to 1,200 passengers (and enough crew to support the passengers), while our RMS can lodge only 120 passengers, to give you a comparison. Needless to say, the island is once again buzzing with day-trippers eager to get a feel for our historic dot. A trade fair was on the go again, promoting the island’s local industries.

I know for a fact now that caterpillars, at least our particular brand, eat each other. I saw the biggest one attack its last remaining companion yesterday and bite it to death. Then it tucked in for a good meal. No wonder that today it hasn’t touched its leaves. I have no explanation for this bizarre behaviour – perhaps they are predatory and carnivorous, or perhaps it needed a protein boost before it metamorphosises. At the moment it’s sitting very quietly on a twig. Watch this space for more!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Murder trial concludes

We got an early start to be at the docks by 8.15 to see off Callum – this is the boys’ friend from the GNC who has been here a few times. They are off to Ascension for Christmas, and they came by a few nights ago to drop off a Christmas present for our boys. We got him something to keep himself busy on the ship – an activity pad and blowing bubbles. Embarkation was set for 8.30 this morning, but they only came strolling along at 8.50!! Of course the ship would have waited for them, but I would have been in a severe panic. Aaron tripped on the road while we were waiting and shredded his knee, it looks pretty bad, shame. He was very brave when we got home and Nick helped me wash it off, cream it up and band-aid it. It didn’t bother him at all the rest of the day. I think he has a high pain threshold!

There was a murder on the island 2½ years ago - two young men beat up another young man in a drunken brawl. The perpetrators have been in prison all this time, but one of the men, who we suspect was mainly responsible for the beating, was sentenced to four years as he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and claimed the minor role. The other chap, who regularly attends Nick’s prison service and has been taking guitar lessons with Nick, had his final hearing today, as a Judge was on the island for the day for the purpose of hearing his case. (The island does not have need of high ranking justices because the cases are usually not complicated or severely criminal). He was sentenced to 6 years, which is heavy in the island context although not in the ‘real world’, and is a bitter pill for him as he claims to be only the accomplice. We are praying that the Lord’s hand will be upon him. He has responded to the gospel.

We had the second part of our Jehovah’s Witnesses study tonight, on the actual teachings of the JWs, and after Nick’s part we had a lot of commenting and discussion which was great. It’s been so interesting studying it all, and I have learned a great deal - more than anything, that they are so gravely deceived!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

School is out!

Today we had our last day of school, finishing off all remaining books, and even doing a new one cover to cover, a little OMF book about a girl in Thailand who gets new toes and a new heart. So that’s that then for the year! I’m very glad to be finished, I need the break as much as the boys do. I’m sure I’ll still try to sneak in a bit of reading with Caleb though, especially since I got some nice easy-read library books. During the afternoon I did a bit of rearranging on the downstairs bookshelf, and moved their school books onto a cleared shelf, also labeling each on one the spine with “PK” for Pre-Kindergarten. Each year’s curriculum will have its books labeled.

The caterpillars are doing well, except that there are only two left, with no evidence of any dead ones…I didn’t know they were cannibalistic by nature, but all the evidence points to this. The two survivors are the biggest ones, and seem to be healthy. I clean out their jar every morning, and boy do they poo a lot. Hopefully this isn’t going to drag on for months and months! I guess I should try to find out the average life-span of a caterpillar…

Oh, I bought a bottle of Wellington’s “Fruity Sweet Chilli Sauce”. You must try this! It’s not a burny chilly at all, and it has pineapple in it. It’s delicious on a cheese and mayonnaise sandwich.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The other day I oiled the wooden floor in the entrance foyer. Oiling the varnished planks wasn’t a good idea. Where the weathered boards had lost their varnish, the oil soaked in beautifully, but was sitting on top of the better looking ones, and as it’s been so windy, the dust had blown in and simply stuck to the floor. I had to wipe it all thoroughly, and then I waxed over the whole part. I think it’s helped. Bought a very nice coir doormat. After 14 months, we’re still redecorating the house!

Nick carried on with his concreting today, doing more work on the wall. He’s doing an excellent job, painstakingly finding the right size and shape rock for each bit, and leveling it off with string and the spirit level. He’s very pleased with what he’s done and is thoroughly enjoying it – he says it’s so liberating knowing how to mix cement! He’s also starting to fill in holes in the wall separating us from our neighbours, where the holes are so big you could stick your whole hand through. He’s done a section of that. He’s been wanting to give attention to the walls since we arrived here, so to finally be doing it is really great for him. He worked right up until supper time, then came in and wolfed down his supper and then went straight back to work, only stopping when the light was fading just after 7.

Monday, December 11, 2006

New pets or science experiment?

Yesterday Nick left his sermon notes at home, the fact of which he discovered when he got into the pulpit to preach. As is his usual way of things, he had gone over his sermon early in the morning before leaving, so it was all quite tightly in his head, which meant he could actually preach it all from memory. Since he had preached the same message twice in the morning, he did it sans notes again in the evening, and didn’t falter. Meanwhile, I rearranged the lounge and we have now put out the “Christmas Fireplace” to get the boys in the spirit of things.

Today was the usual - school, lunch and Lorna for beading. The afternoon was just relaxed, finishing the ironing and sewing buttons on to things and stuff like that. The boys played in their room a lot today, in games of “soldier soldier fairy fairy” or “policeman policeman fireman fireman shoot the bad person shoot the bad person take them to hospital take them to hospital”. Apparently any game can be called a game if its title contains double words or phrases.

This morning I noticed that the flowers Jean gave us last Monday were ready for throwing away. I also noticed a caterpillar on a rose petal which had fallen off. I showed the boys, all excited to be the practical homeschooler, and they got right close up looking at it. After a while we took it outside and threw it in the garden, still on its petal. Then the boys noticed two more caterpillars, one quite big, which had crawled along the sideboard and down the side. Oh dear. While I was scooping up the smaller one, another even smaller one got scooped up. A closer inspection of the flowers revealed a colony of the worms, now being displaced on the shedding petals. Nick said to throw them away in the dustbin because they eat plants and so weren’t suitable for the garden, but Caleb begged me to keep them because he wants to see them turn into butterflies. So I found a jar, put in twigs, leaves, rose petals and more caterpillars, covered it with a superwipe and elastic band (so they could breathe), and put the jar in the diningroom. We now have our own caterpillar farm. After we had all gone out to town and come home, we saw that two caterpillars were now on the outside of the jar, having eaten a hole through the superwipe. Therefore they got more firmly enclosed with a piece of material covering the jar. Let’s see them eat through that. Ultimately we’re hoping that they will go into pupa phase, because that will be really exciting to see. I’m not sure if there are silkworms available on the island, but that would be a great thing for the boys!

Nick started scraping the old paint and cement off some of the blocks around an outside window yesterday, uncovering the original stonework. Then he mixed up some concrete and filled in some bigger holes elsewhere. We would love to paint the outside of the house at the back, and have paint available, but would need scaffolding or a tall ladder. Today Nick did a bit more work on the wall which he and Paul were doing – he’s getting pretty good at concrete and enjoys doing that sort of manly “Bob the Builder” stuff. Maybe it’s genetic?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

About the JWs

Today has been quiet but nice. We had Good News Club as usual, although there weren’t many kids and they seemed quite lethargic, perhaps year end weariness. Next Saturday is our Christmas Party and that’s the last one for the year. After GNC we went to town for a DVD for the boys, since the weather was quite blustery and overcast (the sun came out while we were in town though but disappeared again later). After the DVD we sent the boys to their room to play quietly which they did, while I worked on a scrapbook page of my parents’ visit in May, and Nick mowed the lawn. A bit later, since the weather had improved a bit, Nick took the boys swimming.

There was a parade of the primary school kids in the street yesterday, for Christmas. Not very big and wonderful, but plenty of music and tinsel and spirit. Yesterday I spent a long time in the afternoon sweeping and cleaning in the back yard. It was looking quite gross, but is all neat and clean again. Caleb was extremely helpful, finding a broom and actually doing some useful sweeping and throwing dustpan-fulls of dirt and dead leaves etc away. It was tiring work, and after that we still had to clean out the schoolroom in preparation for last night’s study! Nick did a lot of work in there too, cutting off the tatty frayed bits of carpet, vacuuming and dusting, and then arranging chairs and benches and a podium etc. I put out cups, and we got the urn out and filled up. It was the first of our Jehovah’s Witnesses studies last night, and we made 50 sets of notes during the day. At 7.30, there were 8 of us in the schoolroom. Extremely disappointing, especially since Nick has put so much work into these talks. We can’t understand why more people aren’t interested. The talk was the first in the series, on the origins of the JWs, and extremely interesting. Basically the man who started the organization was a fraudster, and his followers have been seriously deceived. If you would like a copy of Nick’s notes, drop us an e-mail or comment on this blog post (don't forget to include your e-mail address).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Unreal Father Goose

Today has been back to more of a regular day, after every day this week having something different on! We’re finishing off a lot of books now in school as the year draws to an end. All the story books are finished, except for Peter Rabbit which we start and finish next week. We’re nearly finished with the Real Mother Goose which I constantly refer to as a ridiculous book, because even I don’t understand half the nursery rhymes. But there have been some fun ones in there which the boys have enjoyed.

Tonight we attended and participated in a Cocktails and Carols evening at the Consulate. Does anyone see any problem with “Cocktails and Carols”? Somehow the two don’t really go together. We were both quite saddened if not appalled at the way the Bishop and one of the Fathers conduct themselves. The Bishop was the MC and he joked all the way through, and made certain that everyone knew there was a cash bar available (so you can drink a beer while you sing a Christmas Carol), and the Father, who was leading the audience in singing was full of innuendo. Not only was it inappropriate at a Carols evening, but more so from “men of the cloth”!! The Bishop’s “Closing Remarks” had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus, and in fact we don’t think that Christ was once mentioned. It’s so convenient for unchurched people to come and have a sing-along at Christmas time which has absolutely nothing to do with Christ. We won’t be involved in or attend such a thing again. All that aside though, our item went very well and we had good feedback - we sang a duet, with Nick on guitar and me on mandolin. We didn’t make any mistakes, it all went smoothly.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nugget of blessing

Nick explained to Caleb this morning that Aaron would be having different school, and that was really the part I was dreading the most – explaining that he wasn’t to be included at the wonderful, big, fun house to play at. Well, Caleb took it very well and didn’t complain or fuss at all. He came with me for the ride to drop Aaron off. Aaron almost forgot to say goodbye, I had to ask for a kiss and a hug before he disappeared into the house and that was that. My time with Caleb was good – I just did a quick tidy-up and put in a load of washing, and then we spent a long time looking at books and discussing things. It was much easier only having one child for school, instead of dividing my attention between two attention-sucking scholars! After school we went out for bread, and then to fetch Aaron again. I stayed for a while talking to Jane’s two employees while the boys played (Zara was still at school). Her ladies, Celina and Amy, are from the Solomon Islands and very devoted to the children who they have to look after while Jane works.

I had two visitors this afternoon, Ann and Joyce, who came in with a cruise ship today. They are Baptist ladies and love the Lord. They had actually been to the island two years ago when Don Wilson was the pastor here, and so had attended church and bible study while they were here. They are apparently quite an active witness on the ship and take every opportunity to speak to people about Christ. This is their mission field while they’re on the cruise! They started the cruise in Cape Town, and from here they are going to Rio de Janeiro and ending in Buenos Aires, then flying back to SA to be home for Christmas. I was thoroughly encouraged and uplifted and we I think we were all reluctant to part company! They wanted to carry on walking up the road and then possibly try out Jacob’s Ladder before they had to leave. They were only on the island for about 8 hours. They have promised to pray for us, particularly in their church prayer meetings when they pray for missions.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Aaron turned 4 today. It’s been a really lovely day, and the sun has shone brightly most of the day, even in the country. The day started early with Aaron of course waking up too early and remembering it’s his birthday, and then waiting and waiting and waiting until about 6.30 when we all went downstairs and he and Caleb found the hidden presents and he opened them. He nearly screamed in delight with our choices. Nick took the whole day off, and at about 10 we went out to town, to buy some goodies for a picnic. We sort of “went to town” and bought chips, chocolates, biscuits, juices…since we weren’t having a party, we gave ourselves the liberty of getting whatever. Then we went to the DVD shop and hired a video for the afternoon, and popped in at an art exhibition being held in New Porteous House. The artist is an Australian chap who has been living here for about 20 years, and he does oils and watercolours, really beautiful work. After browsing around there, we headed off to Plantation House, and had our picnic on the field. That was very pleasant with the good weather, and I managed to get a good updated family photo. The boys ran around with the new swords and climbed trees and tried to cut the grass, and then we went for a short walk through the Forest. We didn’t walk too far because we were due at Jane’s house at 12.15. Jane is the new Public Solicitor who arrived on the island a month or two ago. She has two adopted Fijian children just a little younger than our boys. They live in a house called “Luffkin’s Towers”, with an extensive manicured lawn and beautiful gardens surrounded by lush greenery and huge trees, really a wonderful place for her children to play. Our boys were immediately absorbed into the gardens with bikes and the other two kids and the two nannies, so we were able to sit outside and chat with Jane. She is needing company for Isaac, who is too young for the nursery school and so is being privately tutored three times a week, so we’ve arranged for Aaron to join him tomorrow and see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Today was the 7th anniversary of our wedding day. I spent some time this morning while I was out on Jacob’s Ladder, reflecting on our marriage, and have come to the conclusion that I have married a wonderful man who I can trust with our future. It’s a blessing to submit to a husband as worthy as Nick!

We had a busy day - Jean visited the manse early with a bottle of Chamdor, a box of Quality Streets, a cake, and a clock, in the shape of the ship’s ‘steering wheel’ with a picture of Jamestown in the background. It’s hanging proudly on the lounge wall where Nick will be able to see the time when he’s preaching in Bible Study. Nick had to do final preparations for a funeral service he was taking today. He wore his wedding suit (his only suit!), and looked so smart. He left quite early to first go to the chapel of rest where the body is viewed for the last time, then lead the procession to the chapel, and then to the graveside. It all went well, he said, although there were less people than he was expecting. He preached a clear and concise gospel message – the best opportunity for a gospel message is at a funeral, where people are considering their end (Eccles. 7:2 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart”).

I visiting Lorna during the afternoon for our weekly crafting session. There was another lady there, a Scottish lady whose husband is with DFID, and they will be on the island for about four years and have only been here 6 months so far. Liz also enjoys crafts, and she had some tapestry going while Lorna and I beaded. I was home again at about 3.30, and then the afternoon was just quite chilled, doing a bit of tidying up and what not. We all watched some bits of our wedding video – first time the boys have seen it, so it was quite interesting for them I think. Nick looks so much younger on the video – had lots more hair then, and just generally looked very young (he was only 23 after all). It was so nice to watch, and see so many people that we’d almost forgotten about!

Maureen came to babysit the boys so we could go out to dinner, but before she came, Nick presented me with a song which reduced me to tears (because it was so beautiful). We had a booking at the Chinese Restaurant for 7.30. What an absolutely wonderful evening we had. The restaurant is beautifully put together, very small, but so cosy and atmospheric. The two ladies who run the restaurant and do the serving are actually Chinese or half-Chinese, and were dressed in Chinese outfits. They have big paper umbrellas as part of their décor, and a bamboo screen creating, cutting off the main eating area from the reception desk. The food was excellent – between us we had a dish of BBQ spare ribs, chicken stir-fry and fried-rice, all of which we shared, as well as a starter of spring rolls. We had a bottle of Chamdor too, since we were celebrating! Really, we were very impressed with the place. I gave Nick his card, and a present of a watch which I bought earlier in the day. His other watch’s strap broke some months ago, so he’s been carrying the face around in his pocket.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Come back, tooth fairy!

It’s Saturday at 15h05, and I’m sitting in the lounge with the boys watching a DVD. Well, they’re watching it and I’m typing e-mails and doing stuff. It’s quite difficult concentrating on mailing people when I’m half watching too though! Nick is out – someone we don’t know died yesterday, and his last wish was to be buried as a Baptist (whatever that means, we have no idea of his standing with God)…anyway, so Nick has to take the service on Monday and arrange the order of service and all that sort of stuff. It’s his least favourite thing in the ministry, but unfortunately one of those things he’ll always have to do! The service will be on Monday at 11 I think. He’s with the family now discussing the hymns and that sort of thing.

Yesterday Caleb lost his second tooth. It was during supper and he said there was something hard in the pizza (which I knew there wasn’t), so I assumed it to be the tooth. The Tooth Fairy visited last night. He’s lisping his “s”s a bit now, shame. We took the boys swimming yesterday afternoon, during a bit of a gap in the cloud cover. The water wasn’t very warm so they didn’t stay in long. I went to buy chips from the little tuckshop, and I heard a familiar voice on the radio. It took some moments before I realized it was me! It was one of the stories I had recorded. Actually it didn’t sound too bad.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gecko burial and countdowns

Aaron found a dead gecko by the back door today, so he came inside waving it by its tail, demanding to know why Caleb killed it. Caleb didn’t, the poor thing probably got squashed in the door earlier. Aaron has no fear or qualms about dead animals, actually he doesn’t mind them alive either. I told him to throw it away, so he threw it right into the kitchen rubbish bin. Unfortunately the bag was quite full so it just sort of lay on top of all the stuff in plain view, plainly viewing us with its unblinking eyes. Made me feel totally sick. Luckily it wasn’t long before the gecko was covered with used tea bags and similar rubbish.

I made Christmas countdown and birthday charts for the boys this morning (before school). There are 24 sleeps until Christmas, and 5 until Aaron’s birthday. After school we stuck all the flames onto their wall and then they sat close to the wall to keep warm for a while. Then they rearranged their room to better accommodate the new fireplace (they rearranged again later, so now Aaron’s bed is just plunked in the middle of the room).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just read it!

Today was so eventful that it needs a proper description! Let me make a list:
1. Before breakfast, I made a strap for the mandolin. I had started it yesterday, so this morning I just had to stitch it up, put on a few finishing touches, add a lace and then Nick attached it to the mandolin. It looks super and does the job.
2. After breakfast, I cut the boys’ hair, just back and sides. They both look so cute and neat now.
3. After my bath, I cut Nick’s hair which clogged the vacuum cleaner. I had to pull his neatly coiled hair out of the pipe which still didn’t get it all, but blowing into the other end of the hose shot out a 20cm pouffe of hair.
4. Put in a load of washing, did school at last. We read an interesting library book called “The Willow Pattern” or something like it, about the Chinese-style pattern which you find on those blue plates, all about two lovers and the father and an arranged marriage and running away and dying and becoming turtle-doves. Anyway, I got one of our blue plates out of the cupboard, and it was the exact design. Certainly made that library book a whole lot more interesting!
5. Just before 10, Emma came by with the microwave. They are leaving the island today and we have bought their microwave. Yippee, after a few months of ours being broken, we finally have one that works. Definitely makes left-overs less of a chore.
6. At 12, I popped out to town with the boys for bread. Simple enough task. Still no mayonnaise in the shops, and no fresh produce unpacked yet.
7. After lunch, I drew flames (tongues of fire essentially) for the boys to paint. This will be for the fireplace in their bedroom for Christmas. We painted them all together, using red, orange and yellow paints. I showed the boys how to cover the whole flame with paint, using the red in the centre. They didn’t quite turn out the same as the ones I painted, but their efforts were good anyway.
8. Had just finished off with those, when the door bell rang and it was George with some mail for us which he brought from Cape Town. I was so excited to get my hands on the first batch of photos I ordered on-line. So, after sorting the boys out with something to drink, I got busy and finished off a page which was mostly planned to completion.
9. Just before 4 pm, we started walking down to the docks to see some people off on the ship. Nick had been to the school for guitar lessons so had the car, but we didn’t mind walking downhill all the way. Embarkation was set for 4.30, so we got there in plenty of time. I chatted to Wilson for a while, and then Nick arrived, and we wandered off to find Emma and Guy. Found them at the coffee shop and said goodbye and took photos, fortunately not an emotional goodbye, but I will miss Emma. Walking back to the car, I remembered that I had agreed for Nick to take Jean home, so we drove back down for her and took her home. She gave us £10 despite our protestations, so we went out to Half Tree Hollow and got takeaways for supper – a slice of quiche for the boys, and pizza for Nick and me (ever had tuna, sweetcorn and chilli pizza?). We took that to Jacob’s Ladder and sat on the top steps eating, then when it got too cold and drizzly we walked a bit at the top to where we had a good view of the ship, and stayed until 6 pm to watch it actually sail away. I’ve never really seen it start a voyage, so this was fun. It had to first slowly turn around, and then picked up speed when it was pointing in the right direction.
10. Home, bath for the boys, then their bedtime.
11. I then made a strap for Nick’s banjo, although I must confess that it’s not quite as nice as the mandolin strap, despite being made from the same materials. While I was busy with that, Nick was having a bible study with Paul Stroud.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Big lunch

We had lunch at Jean and Joe’s house today, as a farewell for Wilson who goes back to Ascension on Wednesday (Jean and Wilson in the photo). As usual, it was a fantastic spread of food: roast beef, potatoes, mixed vegetables, gammon and pineapple, rice, curry, drumsticks, and salad. It was all delicious and quite plentiful. To drink there was Chamdor (non-alcoholic champagne) in grape and peach flavours. We mostly let the conversation wash over us. Brenda asked me if it’s all double dutch to me or if I understood the conversation, and I said that I understood most of the words, but didn’t know the people they were talking about, so it didn’t mean much. But at least the dialect isn’t so foreign anymore! Pudding was apple crumble, custard, trifle, ice-cream, jelly, and another sort of cream and fruit tart. At about 3.30 the chocolates, chips and peanuts came out, so although we were still so stuffed, we indulged some more! We left before the actual “afternoon tea”, so Jean sent us home with mince pies, coconut fingers and scones, as well as a huge dish of leftover meat and potatoes. Phew! A very nice afternoon, definitely nice to be socializing on a weekend.

Church this morning was quite well attended. It was nice to have the service at 10, especially because we were going out for lunch. It leaves the rest of the day free, and because it was at 10 there wasn’t tea afterwards. Nick is coming up to the crucifixion in John, and this morning’s text was the Triumphal Entry. It is strange to think that Jesus didn’t ride into Jerusalem in triumph or victory, but that he was sad – he had to set his face like a flint to the events he knew were waiting. When he was hailed as King, it was as a political king – they weren’t giving any thought to his being the Messiah or the Son of God, merely a saviour from the Romans.

Yesterday afternoon we went for a drive around the island – I had told Nick that I would definitely like to be out and about in the car sometime yesterday because it’s going so well. So we took a drive. The weather wasn’t too bad in town, but inland it was really misty and rainy, so we took a more coastal route for our drive, going out to Rosemary Plain and back via New Ground. Nick took the boys swimming after, but I stayed home and did some weeding, then got supper ready. I did some grocery shopping last night after the boys were in bed, since it was a Saturday night and the shops were open, but I don’t think I’ll try that time slot again. There was less availability of parkings in town than there usually is! I thought it would be fairly quiet, but the night-life is quite busy on a Saturday. I only managed to get the Spar shopping done, and then couldn’t find a parking anywhere near Thorpes, so I just came home.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Car going well again

We all went to the pool when Nick got back from prison ministry, but only the boys swam. Nick actually dropped us off at the pool and then took the car up to the garage, and walked back down to the pool. They didn’t give us a replacement car, so we started walking home when we were ready to leave the pool, but on the way Ian found us and gave the car back to us, in excellent working order!! Apparently he found the problem after Teddy had eliminated several easier possibilities, which turned out to be a blocked or loose hose or something. So within an hour, he had the part fixed or replaced or whatever, and now it’s going so well again. The auto-shutoff feature has been disabled.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Early Christmas

This morning Caleb hit on the idea of decorating their room for Christmas. I don’t know what triggered this, apart from their seeing decorations in the shops, but whatever the reason, he decided that today was the day. Initially he cut up bits of paper and stuck them on the walls, and scribbled orange crayon on a huge piece of cardboard and made that the fireplace (our kids have obviously learned that Christmas trees don’t play any role in Christmas J). But I took pity and provided some tinsel and a few scrappy decorations from one of the passage cupboards. Then I thought that it might be fun to really do it properly, even though it’s way too early, so after lunch I went looking for proper things that we could hang on the ceiling. Not too much available though and quite pricey, so instead I bought some Christmas wrapping paper and we made paper chains. I screwed hooks into the ceiling boards and strung the paper chains across them, reminiscent of the decorations at 6 Protea Rd. Well, the boys are all excited about Christmas now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

About the boys

Aaron is still doing so nicely in school and tries hard. His main goal in school is to make me cry, as they’ve witnessed tears of joy when they do something well! Bless their hearts. Caleb brings out bits of information that he remembers from months ago and thinks about it or asks questions about it. He has a very inquisitive mind. Aaron’s favourite thing to do at the moment is to hide. He’s forever tucking himself away in places, usually not very well, but he loves the excitement of the hunt. He also loves when I hide, so in the evenings, after their bed-time story, they both go off for a wee and water and then I have to hide, sometimes in the dark bedroom, other times with the light on. They always complain that I didn’t hide in a good enough place, even though they might have looked in three other places before they find me! We’ve been reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to them (Nick and I have both been reading it), and last night we came to the part where Aslan resurrects after his death, which was the night before. Caleb usually sits and listens quietly, and I know he takes it in, but lately Aaron asks questions about words he’s unfamiliar with, so I know he’s really paying attention too. After last night’s section, Aaron kept laughing to himself and couldn’t stop smiling. He said he was so happy that Aslan was alive again. Caleb discovered for himself that Aslan is like God, in that he could come back to life. Nick finished the story today, and explained how Aslan is like Jesus, taking our (Edmund’s) punishment.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eggsceptional Muffins

Quite a busy day again, though not with anything particular! We did school as usual, and Caleb finished a Maths workbook we had been working through. There was a certificate at the end of it, so I did a little ceremony with him and shook his hand and handed it to him. He didn’t want to participate so I had to threaten him with a smack to get him off the floor. Aaron thought it was great. This morning, after breakfast, Caleb asked if he could help himself to an apple, because he wants to get that second tooth out now. It is so loose and I think it bothers him when he eats on it. He even had a little container ready in case it came out, so he could keep it safe, but alas, the tooth is still stuck in place. After school, I quickly dialed up to find a nice bran muffin recipe as I couldn’t find one in any of my recipe books. I let the boys help me make the muffins. They are not very good at getting the inside of an egg into a bowl. I cracked an egg first, then handed it to Aaron to let him pry it open. Unfortunately he didn’t grasp the concept of “gently break it open”, so he simply crushed it, but not before first dripping egg white all over the counter. I had to fish out quite a lot of shell. Caleb did pretty much the same thing. But beside that, the muffins turned out exceptionally well and the boys and Nick love them (and I do too).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Radio readings

I headed off to the radio station early this morning after selecting two suitable stories. I thought I would get these readings over with early in the week so I don’t have to think about it again. The stories went fine, one about a donkey who finds a magic pebble but accidentally turns himself into a rock, and the other about a steam shovel who eventually became a furnace. Home, put the washing in, school, hung up washing, quickly went to town and bought rolls because I didn’t have time to wait in the queue to slice bread, then off to Lorna to be there at 11.30 – earlier than usual today because she was being picked up by someone for an appointment at 1.40. I showed her how to make a chunky bracelet and she was really thrilled with it. I made three bracelets, but it doesn’t seem that I will be able to sell them here, because a work permit would definitely be needed, but wouldn’t be granted because there are locals who are doing, or can do, the same work.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gospel Sing

I bought two model car sets made from wood for the boys, so we painted them after school yesterday. Thankfully Nick was hanging around so he could help out too. We ended up repainting most of the bits properly, because I think the boys were going by a theory that if they slopped enough paint on one side, it would eventually seep through to the other side. Once all the painting was done, we sat gluing them together. They turned out really well and look quite cute.

The Gospel Sing last night was lovely. The church and gallery were packed to capacity, with an overflow into the schoolroom even. We’ve never seen it so full! The evening went very well, with the Salvation Army first doing their section on the Humanity of Christ, with their brass band. Then the Seventh Day Adventist Choir came up, led by Charles, and they did very well. Also in the SDA church is Tammy, so she did a duet, and there was another quartet, also excellent. Their theme was the Suffering of Christ. Finally came the Baptists, with the Exaltation of Christ. We just had each chapel doing an item, and then some congregational singing and scripture readings. Nick closed with a very short sermon, preaching the gospel. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the whole evening, and the feedback was good.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Petrol problem

I did my second story readings at the radio station which went better I think, although the stories were only 7 and 9 minutes, but both were missions stories from one of the boys’ homeschool books. Anyone who hears them will hear the gospel! I noticed that the petrol tank was quite empty when I was in town earlier this morning, but didn’t get around to filling up. I made it to the station and back, but when Nick had to go to the high school to do a guitar lesson, which he’s just started again today, the car gave up and fumes didn’t do it. Being as things are on the island, all the shops and garages are closed on a Wednesday afternoon. Nick had to leave the car parked on the road just above the Half Tree Hollow Spar, and walk home. He managed to arrange something with Steve, who had some petrol for the lawnmower at their country house – so Steve fetched him, took him to the house, then went for the car.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cruise ship, trade fair and beetles

This morning at 5.45 the RMS sounded her horn to let the island know she’s back. It was fun hearing the horn so early in the morning when everything is still quiet, and of course Aaron came rushing in to ask if I’d heard it. It’s amazing how cheerful he is the moment he wakes up. Caleb is slightly different. Another cruise ship, the MS Prinsendam, came in at around 9 am, with 600+ passengers and 400+ crew members. You can imagine what a difference 1000 extra people on the island makes! Town is crawling with camera-laden, be-hatted American tourists. In honour of the tourists, another trade fair had been organized, which I visited with the boys. It was in the mule yard near the swimming pool, so the boys were thoroughly occupied on the swings and slide etc. That left me free to wander about, and I had a short lecture of what happens to a coffee bean, from cherry phase, to pipping, husking, grading and finally roasting. I introduced myself to Sharon Wainwright, who is the Air Access Manager for the island, and also the mother of one of our GNC girls. Since we hadn’t met, she also didn’t know who I was, and was very pleased to meet me (apparently my name is well known in her house – Aunty Lynn this and Aunty Lynn that). She is a Saint, but has lived off the island many years and has a posh English accent. She has a really tough job with the air access.

In school, I read a library book about insects and beetles and things to the boys, and then decided to do a beetle craft. I made it up myself, and it was quite an involved craft with weaving, painting, sticking, cutting etc. It was great and worked really well – I did a lot of it, but the boys did painting and sticking. The beetles have a black body with a green thorax and black head, with pipe-cleaner legs and feelers, wiggly eyes, pompon dots on the thorax, and then the wings were the great part – they painted wings, and I had cut out transparency wings too, so the bugs had two sets of wings like a ladybird. I attached these with brads (split pins), so they open right out like a real beetle. Pretty cool!

While Aaron was resting, I went outside to take a photo of the house, since I thought I needed a nice one which included the golf for the s/book. As I was taking a picture, a tourist was walking up the road (well, there were probably about a hundred tourists walking up the road, but this one was close to me). I laughed and said I looked like a tourist myself, taking a photo of my own house. He was very interested to find out that I am the Baptist Minister’s wife, and promptly video-interviewed me. He is a Reformed Presbyterian, and actually his father was a missionary, so he was very pleased to meet me. He gave me a postcard photo of the ship, which I’m sure will find it’s way into my s/book somewhere. We finished chatting, and I went and told Nick all about him, so Nick went to meet him too and showed him the church, which was also very interesting to him and got appropriate video coverage. Nick was thoroughly interviewed too.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's Cooking?

Supper tonight is macaroni cheese with real tomatoes, onion and bacon – the real deal. Hopefully I’ve actually got macaroni in the cupboard. Sometimes I’m not too organized! Friday night’s supper with guests was almost a fiasco, because at 5 pm when I came to putting the rice on, I discovered that I only had half a cupful, so had to send Nick to town quickly to get it. Then he got back and I realized that I didn’t have anything suitable for pudding, but God intervened and Jean brought ice-cream. Doh!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Remembrance Day

There was an Armistice Sunday service at the Cenotaph this morning, for Remembrance Day. There was a parade of a marching band first, then the police force, then the various groups like scouts, brownies and so on. I didn’t stay for the Divine Service by His Excellency the Bishop because I couldn’t be bothered with empty religiosity, and the boys would have been bored, so we walked home as soon as the fun part was over. Quite a good turnout by the looks of it though. In the afternoon, we went to the pool. I didn’t swim, since I’ve started reading the third book in the Francine Rivers series and it was far more entertaining than swimming. Nick and the boys were in the water for a good two hours. They were all quite tired in the evening! As usual they fell asleep in church (just the boys, that is, not Nick). The service was good and quite well attended.

Mount Eternity

Yesterday morning, since Nick had finished his sermon prep and everything else urgent for the week and could spend time with us, we decided to go to the museum. There I met up with two ladies here on holiday, who arrived on Monday this last week and will be leaving again on Wednesday. The one lady lives near Corlett Drive in Joburg, and the other lady is German and lives in the Cape. Of course I exchanged some German words with her which is always fun.

Today, being gloriously hot and calm, we packed up a picnic lunch after Good News Club (cheese, tomato AND lettuce on ours, wow), and headed to Rosemary Plain, with the specific intent of climbing Mount Eternity, the foot of which is across the road from the picnic area. It was an easy little walk, a short steep uphill, which afforded a beautiful view. The boys collected pinecones on the way down, which Nick promptly burned when we got home (that was what they were collected for). We went swimming at 3 pm and came home at 5. It was so nice at the pool, and I even swam today. The water was warm. Nick and I played pool volleyball (just us), while the boys swam and played with the other children. There is one little girl, Jessica, who has taken a shine to Aaron, so the two of them hang out together. Jess is about 10, and I suspect she thinks Aaron is still a baby and wants to mother him, but they’re quite happy together. I’m surprised she enjoys his and Caleb’s company so much since they are so much younger, but when they had had enough swimming, the three of them sat chatting and munching chips. We all got a bit too much sun, but oh well. The German lady was at the pool yesterday and today, so we had some more conversation. She doesn’t believe in God, rather going for the evolution and philosophy side of life as many Europeans do. She told me the story of her two marriages, and a bit about her life, which was very interesting.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The apple did it!

I heard from two separate sources that Queen Mary’s and Victoria’s had unpacked their fruit, so in the middle of a slightly altered morning, I took the boys out to town and we started at Victoria’s. We bought some lovely big apples, red and green, and a few pears and some nectarines. I asked about tomatoes, but they said they had some which had been sold and were waiting for more. I paid for what I had, and then while I was still there, the truck came with more fresh produce, tomatoes included. They were beautiful – red, firm and plump. I bought about 8 of them, very excited. If you are wondering why tomato purchases are so exhilarating, you must remember the story about “the art of buying tomatoes”. It’s a thrilling experience to have a cheese and tomato sandwich after not having them for a few months. The boys were excited about the apples and wanted one each straight away, so they started theirs while they were still in town. Caleb complained about his wiggly tooth and that the apple was hurting it, but persevered anyway. We went to Spar and I left them sitting by the window while I looked for bread and onions (fresh onions). And that’s when it happened. Caleb’s tooth came out. I saw him flick something off his finger in apparent disgust, and it took me a while to find the discarded object on the floor which was of course, the little tooth. It’s safely tucked away in my purse now, for him to put in his slipper later on. He’s sure there’s no such thing as a tooth fairy, so I’m interested to see what his reaction will be tomorrow. Now he’s got this hole in his smile which will take a bit of getting used to.

After lunch, I went to Radio St Helena to record two stories. One was 12 minutes, and one was 9 ½ . It was fine, really, I wasn’t too nervous but made three mistakes in the reading. I don’t think anyone will mind. Those will be broadcast next week Thursday and Friday, and I’m going in again next Wednesday to do another two.

Had a fantastic evening at the barbeque tonight in honour of Tammy’s album. The boys found some friends to play with so we didn’t really see much more of them for the rest of the night. I had a long chat with a Saint lady who is a few months older than me, about all sorts, from babies to crafts and Christianity. I shared the gospel with her, and she said she would think about it and hadn’t thought of it before in the way I explained it. She considers herself a Christian in name but is not a church-goer, and thought she would go to heaven by being ‘good’. The mistake people commonly make. There were about 20 people there, maybe a few more with the kids, so quite a big gathering, and we all sat or stood outside, very casually. The whole evening was very relaxed and a lot of fun, just as good as being in the company of our friends back home! The spread of food was excellent too – braaied chicken, sausages and burgers, and then salads – tomato, peas and corn, potato, pasta, coleslaw, and also garlic bread. Pudding was ice-cream, trifle and fruit salad. They built their house themselves, which was 8 years in the making, and it’s gorgeous - like a little cottage.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paul and the Wall

The ship came back this morning. I went out for my walk, and then went and sat on a bench at the docks to watch her arrive. It’s always thrilling to see her appearing around the corner! While Nick was out swimming, I had a call from Social Services, and they have reinstated Paul Stroud in community service until they can find meaningful employment for him. Lucky for his, his community service is happening in our back yard! He started with the capping of the knocked-down wall today, and I think tomorrow he will be able to finish it. Nick helped too. They had to go and buy a bag of cement, and mix it up and cart stones from the school yard. Paul knows what he’s doing, thankfully!

A very quiet day otherwise. Yesterday was not at all worthy of an e-mail. We stayed at home all day and did very little memorable. Lunch was more or less of a flop, with fried chicken drumsticks (that was quite nice, though I’m not quite in competition with KFC yet), and fried rice, which was more of a minty pea mush. Even I couldn’t finish it, although inexplicably Nick thought it was nice. The day before, I made another disaster, which was fried steak in bite-sized pieces, with a carrot and tomato accompaniment over pasta. Unfortunately it just didn’t work well together – the carrot and tomato would have worked with mince, but with the bigger pieces of meat it was all wrong. So tonight, to avoid another cooking debacle, I stuck to good old tuna casserole and carrots, which even I can’t muck up. It was delicious!

In devotions, Aaron prayed for Colin (the boys both pray for him regularly, to stop drinking and become a Christian and GROW UP). Tonight Aaron prayed, “please help Colin to stop drinking the bad drinks, and drink good drinks, like juice and water”. It was so cute. Then he rambled on about helping everyone have enough money so they can go to the shops and buy lots of things and be able to pay the person who they have to pay the money to. I think he was trying to fill up a self-imposed quota of prayer time.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

German again

The first cruise ship of the season is in anchorage this morning (good thing the two navy ships left yesterday, to make space). Caleb described the ship as “chunky”. You can see why! It’s huge, and a beauty. The ship carried mostly German passengers, so I accosted some of them in the street and practiced my German. I was so excited about it! One couple that I spoke to could speak less English than I could speak German, so I felt very comfortable chatting to them. I could actually make myself understood, and understand and answer their questions. It was really great being able to speak the language again, and particularly hear it spoken. I was very surprised that I could actually speak it enough to converse with genuine German-speakers. At one point there were about five tourists around me, because the one said I could speak German so they all came flocking.

This morning there were kids coming around knocking on the door wanting pennies for their “guy” – it’s Guy Fawkes tomorrow, so today is the day where they go around with their home-made guys in prams or boxes. I’m ignoring them though. I’m not about to hand out money to 100 kids!

After the GNC, we took a drive down to town because we heard that there was a trade fair on the go, which was reasonably uninteresting. On the way down, Tammy stopped us – they had just finished their Sabbath Service – to give us a copy of the CD. Nick put it on as soon as we were home, and we are very impressed with it. She has a beautiful voice. Nick’s guitaring is very good and he’s had a lot of positive feedback.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Real helicopter experience

On the news this morning, it was announced that the helicopter from the Royal Navy ships in harbour would be flying over the island and landing at Francis Plain. Nick, the boys and I were in Warrens when it flew over, so we went dashing outside to have a look. We don’t often see air traffic! Later, in Spar, we heard that it had landed and that we were allowed to go and see it, and get right close to it. It was a great opportunity for the boys to see a helicopter, so I dropped Nick off at home (he had the prison service shortly following), and raced along with the boys. It was as they said – it was “parked” on the school field, with school kids swarming all over it. The personnel were actually permitting the kids to get inside the helicopter. Caleb and Aaron both got in too, and then even into the cockpit section. They were terribly excited as you can well imagine, to be sitting in a helicopter with all the myriad buttons and switches, and the joystick to touch. Definitely an experience not to be forgotten. They both want to be helicopter pilots now!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Windy day and toilet hay

The wind blew gales today, and we had rain too. I wore jeans and a jersey all day! Two military ships arrived this morning, bringing 300+ crew members to the island for the day. It was nice to see them in town – you could spot them with one blind eye and a cataract. It was a Royal Navy ship, with mostly British crew. I had coffee with Emma this afternoon at the Coffee Shop. It was peculiar being at the coffee shop, with its very outdoor set up, in today’s weather. Bill dried off a bench and table for us where we would be the most protected from the weather, which was the table closest to the main entrance, because we were slightly sheltered by some bushes. Still, the table nearly blew over and you had to be sure to spear a piece of cake on your fork, otherwise it would have blown away.

The boys were looking at a library book today about the middle ages, and I haven’t seen the book yet, but there must have been a picture of a toilet, and apparently the person was using hay to clean himself. The boys coined the phrase “toilet hay” which sent them into hysterics every time they said it. I’m not a big one for toilet humour, but this was quite funny. Which reminds me of another little story. I cut my finger the other day on my craft blade, and a spot of blood appeared so I just quickly sucked it off before dabbing some toilet paper (not hay) on it. The boys were appalled and amazed, never having seen someone actually do that with blood. A few days later, we caught a mouse in the pantry, but the poor thing got caught in such a way that it bled (instant death, I’m sure, but there was internal bleeding). There was some blood on the pantry floor, so Caleb, very seriously, offered for me to lick it up. “There you go, there’s some blood for you”. What am I now, a vampire?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Album a sell-out

Tammy’s album was released today, and the 300 copies produced were sold out in 40 minutes. Wow! They will be getting in a new supply of CDs on Monday with the ship, which I’m sure will continue to sell well, unless people decide to pirate the CDs instead of buying them. Would be such a pity. But I’m sure Tammy must be delighted with the sales.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nick's 30th

Today was Nick’s birthday. It was a pretty run-of-the-mill day, which made me feel a bit depressed. I didn’t arrange any form of party or gathering or even tea. I gave him his present this morning and the boys had their cards, and he had a few other cards to open, but then it was the day as usual. Jean popped on at 9 am to give him a present which was very generous. After lunch I headed off to Lorna. We had coffee and chatted, and then eventually got going on a necklace. She has just returned from a quick trip to the UK where she stocked up on beads as she’s new to the hobby. I think she is a bit overwhelmed by the choice now! It was good to be with her again, and she is also way into the card-making/scrapbooking scene, and has a wide variety of bits and bobs. She has lent me some crafting magazines which I’m going to enjoy looking at, for some ideas and inspiration. Nick took the boys up the mountain while I was gone, and they just wandered about up there for a while.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just reading

We had a very leisurely day. In truth, we spent most of the day reading! Had to get the bulletins done this morning, but that was all by way of church duties. The boys occupied themselves well, Caleb was making things on bits of string, and Aaron paged slowly through a Thunderbird library book. Aaron can spend hours by himself looking at the pictures in books and catalogues, and Caleb loves drawing and cutting and making. Lunch was supposed to be pre-prepared lasagna which I had defrosting, which didn’t defrost in time for lunch, so we had it for supper instead and “mletzzas” for lunch (this is a pizza-type omelette). We left home at 1.45 for the Sandy Bay chapel, and by the time we got there it was almost packed. The boys sat quite well during the service, Aaron particularly who was very pleased with himself and the fact that he didn’t even suck his fingers, and that he listened to God and not the devil because he obeyed. Caleb found the bookshelf uncomfortable to sit on (so did I, I’m sure my back is bruised), so he sat cross-legged on the floor instead and listened. After the sermon, he could tell us two things he learned – that Jesus had friends, and he learned about Martha (Nick preached from John 11 – Lazarus’s death). Glad that he is starting to listen. After getting home and having coffee and donut sticks, we put a video on for the boys (we gave them an option of making a craft or watching a video), so Nick and I went upstairs and continued reading. I’m reading the second novel in the series, which I’m sure Nick’s going to want to read soon because it follows on after the first one, same characters.

Boys, boys, boys

Quite a nice day today, weather-wise – bit of a cloudy morning but the afternoon was lovely, even to the point of being hot. We had the sprinkler on this afternoon for the boys to play in (and for the grass of course!). We finally convinced the boys that if they stand in the middle of the sprinkler, they don’t get very wet, so that’s what they did.

This morning Callum’s granny phoned to ask if he could stay with us after GNC, which was fine by us, since we didn’t have a plan for the day. We also ended up with Andrew and Harry for a while, and another boy, Michael, also hung around since he didn’t have to be anywhere else, so for a while there were six boys running around outside. It was great fun.
I have been suggesting to Nick for a while now that he might enjoy reading the Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series, and this afternoon he picked up the first book. He is probably almost halfway through it already since he has huge blocks of uninterrupted time that he can use (what a luxury), and he’s really enjoying it!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Shopping expedition

Wilson took us shopping this morning. I arranged for Maureen to babysit, so just after 9 this morning, Nick and I met Wilson in town for some grocery shopping. We went to Thorpes, and Nick and Wilson trailed around behind me while I loaded baskets. He said I mustn’t be scared to put things in the basket, he really wanted to spoil us because he doesn’t know if he’s going to see us again, so that’s what I did. I was still quite conservative in what I bought, but it was well-timed since I hadn’t done my grocery shopping yet. Then he took us and Jean to Ardees for coffee, and Nick and I ordered a plate of chips to share and went to get our drinks. In the meantime, Wilson ordered three ham and cheese sandwiches, so Nick and I shared one of those too. So yummy – all the works, cheese, tomato, ham and lettuce. The local lettuce is not your regular rabbit-variety. It’s more like rocket, quite tasty actually, it has a spice of its own and I find it quite palatable. I haven’t had fresh tomato in ages, it was wonderful to bite into a crispy slice of it. I helped the boys to make birthday cards for Nick this afternoon while Nick was out at the prison, so he will be getting two very home-made cards from the boys with glitter, wiggle eyes and foam fish, and lots of terribly-spelt happee borthbay greetings. I am giving him a DVD of his favourite guitar-playing person, which I ordered from Amazon (it’s not a surprise for Nick, unfortunately…)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Lord at work

Nick visited Colin in prison today, and said it was a very positive meeting. Colin feels he is ready to become a Christian now but was too shy to pray, so Nick prayed for him and Colin said he would pray tonight. He said that when Nick was praying he felt all funny and shaky, so we are hoping the Holy Spirit is at work! We’ll see what the next few weeks bring, and then we’ll see what happens when he gets out of prison. At the moment it’s easy – he’s sober, he doesn’t have contact with his friends, and has no access to alcohol. Will be tough for him when he gets out. Very exciting though!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chase the Wind

The album which Nick played guitar on is due for release next Wednesday, the 1st of November. The title track, “Chase the Wind”, was played at least ten times on radio today, and it’s the first time I’ve heard it – first time anyone’s heard it, actually. It’s excellent! Tammy has a beautiful voice, and the production quality is really good, all the instruments are nicely balanced and so on. At 4 pm there was a live radio interview with Tammy and the musicians (Nick included), so it’s really being pumped. All the excitement comes from this being the first locally recorded and produced CD, so it’s a history-maker. No other songs are being played on radio yet, because it’s being kept under lock and key at Jaspers (who is the only retailer of the CD, and who also sponsored it entirely), who will not allow even a snippet of another song to be played – they want people to buy it! I’m sure that it will sell well. It has a distinctive country feel to it, which the island loves.

We visited the old people again today. I stopped by Caroline and heard all about the ulcer on her ankle, onto which the nurses applied a white dressing and when they looked again it was green. Oh my. Then she told me again about how it was green. She was very worried about it, so I prayed for her, which she appreciated. The boys found a man in a wheelchair to talk to, and were delighted that he was pretending to be a baby, and talking like one, but I suspect this old gentleman had had a stroke which affected his speech!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Christmas in May and again in October!

Christmas happened for the second time this year, when we got our boxes and boxes from Wilson. Apart from the goodies we had ordered from the States which he brought for us, he had also packed more snacks, a very generous amount, which he had spread across at least 7 boxes (some small). It was so exciting to finally get our hands on the things we ordered. Nick had a very unfortunate time with his new guitar amp, in that it had been configured for US electrical systems and had the little US plug on it, which he cut off, and then attached a regular British plug – this made the amp make a very loud noise and smoke came out of the back. It doesn’t work now. He is going to try reattach the molded US plug and change the fuse, which we are praying will be the solution, otherwise it’s useless. I felt so bad for him, and he wasn’t too pleased about it himself. My scrapbook things are fantastic - my plan for this evening is to do my very first page! Very excited.

Monday, October 23, 2006

When I grow up I want to be a...

The ship’s horn sounded at 11.30 this morning, so directly after lunch we headed down to the docks. On the ship was Wilson, who regularly sends us snacks from Ascension - this was the first time we met him. While we were waiting at the docks, Caleb took the opportunity to evangelise, and struck up conversations with at least two strangers and told them that Jesus is the only one who can save them, and invited them to church. We are so pleased, especially because in Sunday School we prayed that God would give us people to witness to. He said afterwards that he felt good when he had shared the gospel. Instead of being a truck driver, he has decided to be a missionary in the Muslim countries. Aaron still wants to be a fireman.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Album ready for launch

Nick’s recording sessions are finished now – the album he’s been helping with is finished and ready for release next month, and there has been a bit of publicity in the local papers. This is the first CD to be locally recorded and produced. There was one article all about it, mentioning that Nick Clevely, a professional guitarist, has provided invaluable help. He is apparently now known as the best guitarist on the island, according to someone who phoned shortly after the newspaper article, wanting to use Nick for an old-people’s gospel venture. Someone we haven’t met yet, a Mr Timm, who is apparently a Christian who has just returned to the island after being in the Cape for many years. An Anglican, but he wants to use his talents for the Lord and really get involved in doing things. Sounds like the kind of man we’d like in our church!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back to The Haven

I took the boys to visit the “old people” again yesterday. This is our second time. We started off in the main lounge again, but it’s difficult to really visit in there because the TV was on with the sound muted, and a radio next to it playing some loud and awful music. We stayed in there for about five minutes, with the boys staring in the direction of the TV which pictured little dogs dressed up in ridiculous jerseys, and then decided that this wasn’t really working, so I wandered around the complex until I found someone who could direct me to someone else to visit. We came upon a lady in her room who had been napping, and so the staff lady woke her up, and I sat on her bed while she spoke quite loudly, with an accent, about this and that. She was so happy to have visitors though and of course thought the boys were lovely. The boys, in the meantime, chatted with the staff lady who introduced herself as Phyllis, and was very friendly. We stayed with our new lady, Caroline, for about ten minutes, then walked home again. It was a positive visit though and I think more beneficial than sitting in the lounge with The Gathering. The boys are happy to come along, which I’m glad about because I want them to get into the habit of doing unusual things like visiting old people. If there were an orphanage nearby I’d probably take them there too. (Island culture doesn’t lend itself to orphanages though – too many grandparents around if the parent doesn’t want or can’t look after the child).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Local Friend

At last, the RMS is back in James’ Bay. She’s been gone for five weeks, so many people, including us, went to the docks this afternoon, just for the sake of seeing her again. We went down shortly after she sounded her horn, and stayed for about an hour, leaving just after the first bus-load of passengers had come through. It was fun being there – sort of like being at the airport, with all the buzz and excitement.

Yesterday, after the Good News Club, Callum stayed behind to play with Caleb and Aaron. They played in the back for a while, and we also had two girls with us who we needed to lift home to Half Tree Hollow. We decided to make some sandwiches and take the boys out to Plantation, thinking it would be nice for them to run around there. It was fun indeed, and somehow having another little boy there made our boys more interested in running around and climbing trees. The intrepid explorers had a quick look at a cave across the road. They all got extremely silly together though which is unfortunate but to be expected. At one point we had to rebuke blasphemy from Callum and ban it from his conversation. All the little kids, even the primary age, make use of the Lord’s name in vain and swear regularly. They pick it up in school, from their parents, older siblings, and the DVDs they are permitted to watch.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sheep and Pigs

This morning we started school a little earlier than usual, so as to finish earlier so that we could accompany Nick to Sandy Bay to drop off prayer meeting lists. We left at about 10, and Nick had phoned ahead to let the first recipient know that we would be coming to tea. This was Daphne Peters, who lives with her husband William on somewhat of a farm in Levelwood, I think you’d call it. They have a magnificent view across a green valley to the green slopes and houses on the other side. It’s a big view, makes you feel like you’re in an I-Max theatre with that really huge screen. After a good chat with Daphne, I went to have a look at the pig, which the boys had seen last week already. They buy a piglet periodically, rear it and fatten it, then kill it and gut it themselves. It’s quite funny because Daphne speaks to the pig and sometimes even goes as far as naming it, so it becomes a bit like a pet, then they have to kill it, scald it in boiling water to get the hair off, then hang it up and slice it open to gut it, then cut it up and sell it. You can imagine that she isn’t particularly partial to bacon anymore. The pig is huge, about 1m long, and just lies in a dark pen and stinks all day. It got up when I looked at it and started snuffling and grunting and seemed quite skittish actually. Caleb was standing quite close to the pen, and there was a gap between the wall and the ground, so a wet pink nose came through the gap to examine the foot. While we were looking at the pig, their sheep came wandering down from the hills to an adjacent pen. I’ve never looked a sheep right in the eye before or even touched one, but these sheep came right up as close as they could without being nervous as sheep tend to be. A sheep’s pupil is rectangular, interestingly. William will be shearing them next month for the hot weather, so I might try to arrange that we can visit them to view the process – will be good for the boys to see that sort of stuff (we’ll skip the pig slaughter though).

Friday, October 13, 2006

I love the Dentist!

This morning I had to phone the drainage people at Public Works and Services because our drains are blocked. They came within an hour, I think, and set to work with their pipes and plungers on the outside drains. They put together about 20m of pipe, but still couldn’t clear it, so had to open up the street drain which is just outside our house. I was horrified to see what lives inside the drain just outside the kitchen – between the manse and the church – a thriving giant cockroach community, though I’m sure death by drowning is a regular event. The boys were keen to see exactly what was going on, and even the smell of the dirty water didn’t keep them away. Eventually the drains were all sorted out and we could continue with the rest of school.

Nick went with Colin to court today. Colin has been sentenced to five months’ imprisonment and a fine of £10 for his drunken conduct. He had to go straight to prison after court, so now he is locked away and probably not feeling too happy about it.

This afternoon the boys had their very first appointment with the dentist. They had been looking forward to this day since I first announced it, so it was on their minds all day. Time dragged on, but at last it was time to go. Caleb decided he would be first, so bravely got onto the big chair, and lay back, and opened his mouth wide and did all the right things. The dentist lady just looked very gently at his teeth with her mirror – no poking or prodding. When it came to Aaron’s turn he just crumbled and didn’t want to get on the chair at all. When I asked him if he would rather let the dentist look at his teeth or have a smack, he opted for the latter – so much for that threat! Eventually we got him on the chair though, and then he opened his mouth so wide I thought his smile might split. Both boys’ teeth are fine, very nice. Aaron’s teeth are crowded. Afterwards they got a sticker each and that was that.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Visiting the Elderly

Yesterday I made brownies with the boys in the morning. I let them split open the eggs after I had cracked them, but they didn’t like getting the runny stuff on their fingers! They love helping in the kitchen, so this was kind of a treat for them. They also stirred the mixture a bit for me. As usual my brownies didn’t turn out too well, but they’re edible. I took the boys for a (very) quick visit to the Haven, just across the road, because I want to make visiting old people part of our regular schedule. It was extremely awkward though, because we were directed to a lounge where a number of ladies were sitting, so we had to just sit where we could and chat to the person next to us, and unfortunately had deaf ladies on either side. I don’t quite know how to overcome this and find out who can have a conversation, but we’ll keep trying anyway. We only stayed for about 15 minutes, and then it was their tea-time which I didn’t want to intrude on. Caleb had fun, and was disgruntled at only having had such a short time chatting. Aaron only petted a cat on a lady’s lap but was too shy to speak to anyone.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Crab, apple

After yesterday’s beautiful day, the weather didn’t know what it wanted to do with itself today. We woke up to a cloudy sky, and then had rain during the morning. It cleared up, but remained windy and not altogether nice. Not really being an outdoor day then, we let the boys watch a video after lunch, but then went out later to the docks to feed the fish. There we encountered a boy of about 9 years old, fishing over the dock wall. He had already caught a few mackerel which he was using as bait. We watched as he baited his hook, then tossed the line into the sea – no fishing rod, just a line. The fish came, but he eventually let the hook dangle up the wall where the crabs were keen for a taste of fish. He caught two crabs while we were watching, whipping them up over the side of the wall, then picking them up, dehooking them, ripping off the claws, then squeezing them until they died. Then he would pull off the legs to use as bait. It was entirely revolting but the boys were fascinated, and held the dead crab gingerly by a leg.

The boys had an apple each to eat this morning (this shouldn’t really make news, but being St Helena, fruit intake is noteworthy). The point of this is that Caleb was complaining of a sore tooth after eating his, skin and all by the way, so I had a look and it’s loose. Yip indeed, his first milestone as a big boy. We reckon it should be out in a week or two. I feel strange that my little boy is growing up, and we’re into another phase now – I shouldn’t really feel so sentimental about a tooth coming out, but he’s getting so big and growing up fast. Before we know it he’ll be flying the coop.

Nick’s message this evening was excellent. Still in John, he preached on Jesus’ “I am the Gate” saying. We are the sheep, and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. What really struck me is that Jesus knows us by name – he actually knows my character and personality and strengths and weaknesses, and is interested in me personally. As Nick put it, so often we come to Him in prayer, and think He is concerned with everyone else but not really us, but that is not the case.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

South Side

Today the sky was a deep blue, and almost cloudless over Jamestown. After Good News Club, we packed a picnic lunch and headed off to the country. It was one of those hot days where you want to escape the heat of town, to where it’s a few degrees cooler higher up. We drove all the way down to the south of the island until we could drive no more, then parked the car and walked a short distance to a suitable spot. To our chagrin though, it was overcast, windy and a bit cold where we were, so our plan of experiencing the sunshine in the country didn’t work out too well. I was sorry I didn’t have the camera with me, because the vegetation where we were is very different to the rest of the island. This is sheep pasture, and the grass was spongy and tough, where you can step in tufts of grass up to your calves. Quite fun walking on/in it, especially because you don’t know if there are going to be any big holes you’re about to fall into. There are no snakes on the island. The countryside was dotted with little yellow flowers, of the variety that look dried even when they’re on the stalk. We had a superb view of Speery Island, and little Salt Island just next to that, and the sea was a deep blue, with white caps that made you wonder if there were dolphins about. Aaron wrapped himself up in the picnic blanket, while Nick and Caleb threw rocks down the mountain. I was the sensible one who sat sedately while I ate my lunch.

Later in the afternoon we went swimming, although the weather is still not to my taste for swimming, but the boys love it. They swim until their teeth are chattering and then some. Two girls from the Good News Club were there so of course they wanted to play with the boys. The girls treat Aaron like a pet or a doll – they love to have him sit on their lap, or they want to sit next to him with their arms around him, and he just laps it all up.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Scrapbooking Buddy

Elsa, my South African friend, picked us up this morning, and we drove out to Fairy Land in Bluehill. We were hoping to picnic there, but it was drizzling and windy, so we thought we’d try somewhere else. You can have so many different weather patterns going on at once on the island, so it’s worth trying different places for different weather. We were in luck at Rosemary Plain, where the sun alternated with severe cloud and wind. Had a good picnic – Elsa made sandwiches, and had used genuine South African cheese, which someone had imported for her. Yum! Not that the island cheese is bad at all, in fact it’s pretty good cheddar, but some fresh Gouda went down well. Elsa is quite keen on scrapbooking too, but like me she has never gotten into it. She had a look at the catalogues I had brought along, and has now also caught the bug and will be looking into acquiring supplies.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I like Treehouses!

The boys now have a treehouse, except that it’s not in a tree and you can’t really call it a house. It’s actually a space underneath the back porch, where Nick has laid down planks of wood on the rafters to make a solid floor, which lends itself to a hidey-place. Nick nailed a ladder in place, so the boys will be able to play up there any time the need takes them. Caleb seems to be missing the point of it though and doesn’t want any toys or things or books in it. He just wants himself and Aaron to occupy it. I think they’ll get bored with it soon like that, but hopefully they’ll soon realize that it’s a good place to play with stuff!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Old Person's Day

Yesterday was Old Person’s Day on the island. I’ve never heard of this being celebrated before, but on the island everything can become cause for celebration. There were no parades as one might expect for such an occasion. Perhaps rolling people in wheelchairs down the main road wouldn’t be appropriate J We received an invitation to join in for tea at the Haven, one of the old age homes, for yesterday afternoon. This was generally aimed at our church, so all interested met at the Manse at 3 pm, then we walked the 200m to the Haven and squashed into the lounge. I don’t know how the 10 or so clients who hadn’t been taken out for the day felt about our presence, since we far outnumbered them, and we were a noisy bunch, taking over their quiet Sunday afternoon. Nick took his guitar along, so we had a sing-song which went down well, although the visitors sang more lustily than the clients! I think though that they enjoyed it, and it has certainly opened doors for future visits. Nick is very much burdened about the fact that there is no ministry to the seniors, and although he doesn’t want to run one himself, he is keen to get something started and hand it over. As for me, I’d like to go back in a less ministry-oriented capacity, to take the boys and visit one-on-one with some of the elderly. Of course the ultimate aim would be to preach the gospel, but also simply to show compassionate to the lonely. The staff are very good, and welcome visitors for their clients.

Yesterday was also the big event of another nephew being born - congratulations to Nick’s sister on the birth of Jack Nicholas Main!

On Saturday it was Good News Club, and then we didn’t have anything needing doing for the rest of the day, so I packed a picnic lunch and we took it to Ruperts. That was fun, but very windy (see photo). Caleb and Nick clambered over rocks, and Caleb saw a dead crab. Aaron enjoyed climbing up on a crane and sitting in the drivers’ seat. We had a DVD for the boys for the afternoon which we watched together.

Today was the first day of our holiday, so I had a present in the boys’ room waiting for them. It was a train set with a wind-up train that goes along the track. Quite nice, but Caleb broke one of the tracks within about 20 minutes. Oh well. Nick has taken the day off today so we can spend the day together. This morning then, we got an early start and headed off to Warrens’ at 9 am, stopping for petrol on the way. Warrens’ is having a big pre-Christmas sale on toys, clothing and gifts, starting today, so we thought it worthwhile having a look. Unfortunately it was mostly their horrible stuff that hasn’t sold for good reason, but we got a very nice bright yellow Adidas top for Nick for £2, and a few items of clothing for the boys, including pyjamas for £1 each. All I got was socks. Nothing else to do in town after that, so we came home for coffee and cake, and then Nick arranged to do a visitation out in Bluehill, which we all did together. After our visit we had a picnic lunch at Plantation House, but it was windy and cold so we didn’t stay long. Always nice to be out as a family though!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Donny's for lunch

Caleb said he had a headache this morning and wasn’t feeling so great. I also wasn’t feeling too hot, so we had a very quiet and restful day. We did school, since it was the last day before our holidays, but that didn’t take long. Then I let they boys rest on the couches on their duvets, while they listened to bible stories. I went upstairs and rested while this happened. We went to Donny’s for lunch, as it’s been a long time since we’ve been out to eat, and it was very pleasant, although Caleb couldn’t finish his lunch. We didn’t tarry too long in town.

Nick likes his new tie, but I can't understand why he didn't wear it out to town?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Surprise for dad

When it came to school time this morning, I opened the book to find that we only had two or three things to do, so I thought “nah, I’ll do it tomorrow”, and instead I put on a short educational DVD about Spot and his colours. It was completely horrible and I couldn’t sit and watch it, but as usual the boys had their TV faces on and wouldn’t have cared if it was worse. In the meantime, I sat in Nick’s office, drinking tea and chatting! At 10, we had our usual break, and then we did a craft, cutting out and sticking cardboard cutouts onto a big piece of paper, similar to what they saw in the DVD. We now have a landscape of trees, clouds, a red shed, a blue pond, a yellow Spot (that’s a dog), his green crocodile friend, and an orange basket, stuck up on the passage wall. Then Caleb took it further, and on a separate piece of paper, drew robots, spaceships, aeroplanes and arrows, indicating that they were about to destroy earth, with the words “end of the wild”. Oh boy. Fortunately the robots thought St Helena was a whale, which if you look at it on a map you can see how a robot would think that, so they didn’t annihilate us. Just another advantage to living on a remote island. Come to think of it, if aliens ever invaded, I don’t think they would target us.

After Nick left for Bible Study at 5, I cut the boys’ hair. Caleb’s hair likes to stand up all the time, it very seldom lies flat, so it invariably looks untidy. Aaron’s hair becomes a birds-nest if it gets too long at the back. I told them that it would be fun to surprise Nick, and then Caleb had the idea to make him a present, which turned out to be a black tie with multi-coloured felt polka dots all over it, and elastic so it can go around his neck. Actually it turned out well, and although I don’t foresee Nick wearing it in the pulpit, it definitely is wearable. That was then put into an empty cereal box to disguise the shape, and wrapped (all Caleb’s idea). Then “dyr dad, welcam” was written on the wrapping. That means, “welcome to the present”. Now it is on the floor at the front door, so Nick can trip over it as soon as he gets home late tonight.