Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sea Shower

We’ve just returned from the docks. We were going to have a swim, but we arrived just before six, and they close at six, reopening at 7 until 9 pm. The boys were disappointed, but we had some ice-creams which we’d brought along, and then got out the car to have a look at the sea. The tide was in and it was spectacular – the waves were crashing against the stairs which lead from the sea to the roadside all along the length of the wharf, and splashing up over the road. Nick slyly led the boys along to a spot where the water was coming over quite high, and when the next huge wave came along they all three got thoroughly drenched. Caleb wasn’t impressed but Nick and Aaron thought it was great. Nick said it felt like a heavy blanket being dumped on them.

We need to buy a new stove, but the one we saw which I thought we were going to get, which is what we have the right amount of money for, was less expensive than another we had seen but doesn’t have a grill and is an “Ocean” brand – unknown to us. The next most expensive is a Defy, unfortunately also without a grill, but for a grill we would have to pay an extra £100 for the next best model, not really worth it. We therefore opted for the Defy at £199, but believe it or not, they don’t have any in stock and will have to wait for the next shipment, even then not knowing what will be on the ship. A big annoyance today was having to wait in line AGAIN to slice my bread. There must have been at least 30 loaves in front of me owned by two people, and they don’t seem to realize that there is someone waiting with just one little loaf of bread.

Aaron has had four nights in a row now of not wetting his bed. I am thinking that it might be time to stretch the 4 am waking up, but now Nick wants me to wake him at 4 and he will take Aaron for a wee, and then start his day (with a few cups of coffee), while I stay in bed. I just laughed, but we’ll see how it goes!

I bought some rooting hormone for plants today at Solomon’s DIY. I don’t know if you are familiar with it. You take a cutting of a plant (eg the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow), dip it in the powder and then plant it. The hormone helps it to grow roots apparently so that you can reproduce almost any kind of plant instead of just things like geraniums which should root in water anyway. I wonder if it would help me to sprinkle some on my feet and stand in the garden? Anyway, I have planted two branches of Y,T,T because it would be nice to have a few of those in the front which is still looking quite bare.

Nick saw the dentist today, very uneventful. It was just the initial consultation, so he was x-rayed, and the dentist says he has very good teeth. He has his next appointment in two weeks’ time, but she seems to think that she won’t be able to do any sort of crown for his missing tooth, only a temporary thing, and he would have to get a permanent arrangement when back in SA. I don’t think he explained in very much detail that we will be here for a few years, and that we can’t afford it in SA! He will discuss it more with her at the next appointment.

We bought some cute hats for the boys. The one I bought for Caleb really is too big, it’s adult size, so we saw these ones in Warren’s. They are kid-sized peaks, and have a flap at the back to protect their necks and ears from the sun as well. The boys are delighted with them, and showed them off to everyone. That was mildly embarrassing, but thankfully Nick was with me!

No rain yet, although it seems to be starting now (it’s 19h22 at the time of this post-script and there is a very light rain falling and a big cloud overhead). Let’s hope for a lot. The fire engines are having to pump water from one part of the island to another, and the water situation is still very bad.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Baptismal Service

This morning’s service was wonderful. The church was full – there were only about three pews with no-one in them. Nick reckons there were over 100 people – SDA’s, Anglicans, Salvation Army people were there. He preached an excellent message on baptism, based on Acts 8:26-40 (the Ethiopian Eunuch). He spoke on the method (full immersion), the command to do so, the fact that people celebrate Christmas, which is nowhere in the Bible, yet fail to obey one of the Lord’s commands to be baptized. He also very pointedly spoke about the fact that on the island, there seems to be the attitude that if you’re born an Anglican, for example, you remain an Anglican whether or not you believe what they teach or not, or if you marry into it, that’s what you become, etc. There are a couple of people of differing denominations in our church who don’t take the Lord’s Supper because they have not been baptized and feel that they are not entitled to it. He said this is wrong, and that any true Christian is free to partake. All in all it was very clear, very biblical, and very courteously put across. Steve and Maureen were baptized after the message and it was lovely. The boys were very good in church, I could actually fully concentrate on Nick’s sermon, although did have to intervene every now and then. Caleb took his ABC practice book and worked in it, and Aaron had a look at another book for a while before sitting on my lap.

We spent some time yesterday afternoon decorating the church. Teddy had brought some greenery and bougainvillea flowers, and honeysuckle, and other flowers, to be put in the windowsills. It looked beautiful, although by this morning they had wilted somewhat, but was still a colourful display. Caleb was so good with helping yesterday, he put the flowers up very carefully in all the right places, and just got on with what he was doing, without needing a lot of prompting.

We went swimming again today, only getting to the pool after 4.30, I think. It had cooled down substantially but the water was still warm. Caleb and I had a lot of fun in the pool – I would throw him up in the air, or nudge him up with my foot, so that when he landed in the water his whole head was submerged. That’s the latest progress then, that he doesn’t mind going under water. It was hilarious though, he would come up spluttering and gulping and frantically wiping the water out his eyes, but smiling as soon as he opened his eyes. I kept confirming that he was still okay with it, and he was loving it. Aaron doesn’t want to be dumped in the water yet, he is happy swimming around on his own with no intervention and can now kick his feet out behind him. Yesterday Caleb nearly drowned him by hanging onto him, not realizing that half his head was under water and he really couldn’t breathe. We had a good chat with Caleb after that little incident. But don’t worry too much about it, we do keep a good eye on them.

After supper this evening (which was an odd assortment of tinned potato and bacon stir-fry – honestly, the things they sell in cans here is unbelievable – mixed with left-over fried rice and sausage mixture, and scrambled egg, and I also had half a tin of pea and ham soup which I couldn’t finish at lunch time, which was also an odd meal of tinned goodies and other leftovers), my energetic husband tackled the lawn with the garden shears. It’s quite a job cutting grass by hand, but he got almost half way. I tried as well and it’s a good workout for the shoulders and upper arms.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

JWs at last

We heard on the news this morning that if the island doesn’t have a lot of rain this week, they will have to put sprinkler and hosepipe restrictions on some areas (not Jamestown). We are praying that the Lord will send lots of rain.

To give a report back from the doctor’s appointment yesterday, the following: After a 45-minute wait in the waiting area, which consisted of a line of chairs in a passage, we saw Dr Topliss, the South African doctor. He poked Caleb’s belly button a bit, then said that it might still close by itself, but since it hasn’t closed up now already, it’s not very likely to. Unfortunately though, he couldn’t do much more, not being a surgeon, so he phoned the surgeon and made an appointment for us to see her on Wednesday at 11 am. She will decide whether it must be attended to or not. It does need to be repaired if it doesn’t heal itself, because there is a slight danger of the bowel coming through the opening and getting twisted or caught. Just to refresh you on what the problem actually is, the muscle which formed around the umbilical cord when Caleb was a baby never closed properly after the cord had fallen off a week or so after birth, so he has the squelchy bit that pops out as soon as it has been pushed in. If it does need repairing now, it is apparently quite a simple procedure; an incision is made in the skin, then the muscle wall is stitched together like a double-breasted blazer (one side over the other), then put back and the skin stitched closed. I forgot to ask whether they would try to cosmetically modify Caleb’s belly button so that it looks like a belly button and not a scar in the middle of his torso, but I will discuss it with the surgeon on Wednesday. Caleb would probably have to be in hospital overnight. During our 45-minute wait, though, the boys boldly chatted to all and sundry. There was an ancient lady seated next to us who had been waiting to see the optometrist, who seemed a little hard of hearing (the patient, not the optometrist) but had no problems conversing with the boys because they are so loud. Aaron, particularly, is very fond of talking LOUDLY and we have to often remind him to stop shouting! They chatted about homeschooling, dolphins, shoes and anything else they could possibly think of. I’m just relieved that they didn’t ask any embarrassing questions about her moustache.

We had Steve, Maureen, and Priscilla, the optometrist, over to dinner last night. Priscilla (or “Cilla” as she’s called) arrived recently for her 3-month stint. She comes every year for three months, gets all the optometry done, and then is back in the UK for the rest of the year. I made my usual “uh-oh-we’re-having-dinner-guests-what-must-I-cook” lasagna and garlic bread. No salad, but I explained that there would normally be one accompanying the meal but I couldn’t get any ingredients, and they all nodded knowingly.

This morning was the Good News Club. I was quite nervous about it, feeling ill-prepared about the gospel message and still didn’t have any sort of activity when I woke up this morning, but it all came together in the end. The singing part was fine, though there was one boy who refused to sing the right words, and sang his own version VERY loudly. But they are enjoying the new songs we’re teaching them, and all love Nick’s banjo. I did the teaching and they all sat and listened very attentively, for which I was grateful. The other leaders felt that it was a good gospel presentation, with all the correct elements included (heaven, sin, Jesus’ blood, repentance, clean heart, and growth). I thought it went well. I spoke a lot! Somehow it just seemed to all come, I think when I get going with children I can really talk. But also I’m very sure that the Lord was helping me. For the activity, which is usually drawing a picture relevant to the lesson, we made little wordless books, colouring in pieces of plain white paper and stapling them together. One boy (not the singer) said he would keep his in his pocket all the time to have it with him. I will be doing every third lesson, so it’s not a great pressure. I’m excited about the club!

Almost directly after the club, while we were wondering what to do next, two ladies came to the door. After exchanging pleasantries, one lady pulled a “Watchtower” magazine out of her bag, so we very quickly invited them in. We had been wondering if and when the JWs would come knocking on our door! Nick was very gracious in his attempts to show them the inconsistencies of their religion and the errors in their translation, but of course they don’t really listen to the other side, they just wait for an opening to show another scripture which backs them. Nick could have spoken circles around them, which he didn’t, but as it was they couldn’t answer his questions, so they have written them down and will research them. We are praying that the Lord will speak to them while they are looking for their own answers! We hope they come back. It was very brave of them to come to the Baptist Manse – obviously they know our position! They stayed for over an hour.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Watch your manners

I know you must be dying to hear about the fishcakes, the conclusion to last night’s fish story. I made them and they were a great success! We all enjoyed them. Of the batch of 24, only 4 are left. I think I didn’t get all the bones out though because I heard a lot of crunching when I was chopping up the fish in the Braun, but no one noticed them and I didn’t announce the fact that they should chew carefully.

I took the boys to the library and Spar this morning. I parked towards the bottom of town, close to the docks, so that I had to first walk past the library before walking up to Spar, so instead of taking both boys up the road, I left Caleb at the library by himself. I felt fully confident doing this, not only because I trust the people, but I trust him to behave himself. He boosted my confidence by saying “I’ll stay inside and I’ll watch my manners”. Aaron cried most of the way up because he also wanted to stay at the library. Bought bread and a box of cereal, because all we had left after breakfast this morning was half a serving of banana Pronutro, which wouldn’t have gone very far among three hungry people and a bear tomorrow morning. Met Caleb at the library, who had been chatting with the librarian in my absence. We chose the next 11 books rather quickly, because I needed to get back home to meet up with Steve to go over some songs for the GNC. He played the songs on the organ so that I could hear the melody lines. Some really good ones. We bought a lot of worship books at the Operation Mobilisation bookroom in Pretoria some time ago, one of them called “KidSource”, but mostly songs I don’t know. Anyway, I picked out some that looked good lyrically and easy-chordally, and have now learned them so can introduce them over the next few weeks. One is called “A wiggly waggly worm”. I have decided, or rather, the Lord laid it on my heart, to share the gospel on Saturday morning, both for the purpose of making sure everyone knows what the GNC is about and how to get saved, and also to teach them how to witness to their friends. There has been a lot of teaching on missionaries, and how they went to speak to people about Jesus, but do the kids know what they were saying about Jesus, or how to go about speaking about Jesus? I will be using the Wordless Book.

Nick has composed his first banjo piece, a little song about St Helena, “where all the stars can still be seen”. It’s a catchy tune. He was inspired after being outside the other night and looking at the sky. You can see the Milky Way.

I am taking Caleb to the doctor tomorrow at 11.45. Will let you know the result tomorrow night. I like the doctor, Dr Topliss, he is South African, from Cape Town, and has a typical flat South African accent. Reminds me of home! He is the one who attended to Aaron’s bee-stung thumb.

We regularly have power surges here, which somehow speeds the electric clocks up, so our bedroom alarm clock/radio is usually at least 5 minutes fast. The bad thing is that you never really know when it’s happened, so any electric clocks are entirely unreliable.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bulls Eye!

Aaron didn’t manage to stay dry last night again. That’s one night dry, two nights not. What I am going to do tonight is set my alarm for 4.00 am, and take him for a wee then, which should let him go through until he wakes up at 6.30. If that works, I will gradually set my alarm for later and later, stretching the length of time his bladder can contain itself! Feels like being back at the 8-week stage of getting a baby to sleep through…

Today was HOT! Although we had some good rain this morning, the skies cleared and it was as hot as a non-rain day. We had to specially water the yesterday-today-tomorrow in the front, despite the watering this morning, because it was looking wilted. Thankfully it has revived. Vacuumed the whole house which must have taken almost an hour and was hot and bothered by the time I had finished. Popped out to town with only Aaron, bought a new hat for Caleb (far too big, but it’s a nice peak cap bearing an embroidered design of the St Helena wire-bird on the front). That was £4.35, quite reasonable for a souvenir! Also bought three cute little picture frames with wooden painted animals set in them in orange, yellow and white. I have yet to find a home for them because Nick thought the original location won’t work, but there are plenty of bare walls still.

I am now going to describe today’s cooking experience, which started shortly after 4 pm. I had taken the bullseyes out the freezer to get them used. Nick told me after reading my blog that he had in fact NOT deheaded them, so I put them in the pan as they were, heads and all. Fortunately no tails, otherwise they wouldn’t have fitted. Well, fish eyes do some interesting things when they are in direct contact with a hot frying pan. First they go a bit runny, then if you happen to put your fork in the wrong place, you can actually extract some of this gel, which leaves a trail behind it. After prolonged contact with said hot surface, they eventually glaze over with a cataractic effect, completely white. So now I have these blind fish staring blankly in my direction, their mouths closed in an angry scowl and fins and wings coming off all the time. You are probably feeling as uncomfortable as I was. After about half an hour I decided that they were ready to come off, and then I had to take the flesh off. While they were cooling, their eyes cooled too, and runny, white fish eyes tend to coagulate into blobby white bits where once they were black. Now try eating the flesh that you have just taken off these disgusting carcasses. Could you eat it? Neither could I, so it has gone into the fridge and I’ll deal with it tomorrow – probably make fish cakes. Aaron liked it though; he kept helping himself to the pile of white flakes on the plate and was sorely vexed that supper turned out to be fried rice and not fish and chips.

Aaron likes to make his hair “different” – anything is fine so long as it’s not lying flat. He will stand under the drips outside and get it a bit wet in front, then run his hand through it until he feels it’s different enough. Caleb also likes his to stand up, and wants it to be curly. Neither boy likes my hair to hang in my eyes, it seems to bother them. Nick and I were trying to decide who should put the boys down, as he has been playing banjo and I’ve been typing…eventually Caleb said, “Guys, don’t worry, I’ll put Aaron down.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Answered Prayer

I have come to the conclusion that homeschooling is an emotional drain. After 20 minutes of working with the boys together, Aaron on my left doing a puzzle and Caleb on my right with a dot-to-dot, I was done in! My patience reserves for the day were finished, and unfortunately they only get replenished at night while I’m asleep. So I need a bigger patience tank.

Nick took Caleb swimming after lunch while Aaron was sleeping. When Aaron awoke, he wanted to swim too (of course), so I phoned Nick at the pool on the payphone and asked if they would still be there for a while. Advised “yes”, Aaron and I walked all the way down through town to the pool, and Aaron had a lovely swim too. Have I mentioned that Aaron is also fully confident now with armbands, and swims all over. He and Caleb are now at the same level of competence, although Caleb can just touch the bottom of the shallow end so will be ready to lose the armbands sooner.

After supper, we had a little yoghurt each. We haven’t had yoghurt since disembarking the RMS. We don’t get yoghurt in the big 500 ml tubs, only the small 125g ones, which is a pity because it makes it so much more expensive. It was therefore a bit of a luxury. I have been given a yoghurt-making recipe which looks easy enough - perhaps I will put it to use as a science experiment for the boys.

God answered prayer! For the holiday club, apart from paints, we also need big pieces of paper to stick together to paint and make backdrops. Not knowing how to get some, I prayed about it, and then wondered what the Lord would provide, and how. Well, today I went to return some songs to the GNC cupboard, and what should I find there, a big roll of thick white paper!!! Definitely the Lord’s provision. Very exciting to see that answer to prayer!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dream on!

This morning I took the boys for a walk about town, to do a few bits and pieces. Replaced a guitar string, cheaper than in SA, actually. Then to the catalogue shop to pick up a toy catalogue to see if we should order something for Caleb’s birthday, but it seems we would have to add about £20 for delivery charges, shipping costs and import duties, which is silly if one is only buying something to the value of £20! Stopped in at Spar for flour, which is sold in a clear plastic packet, completely unbranded. Don’t know if it’s locally produced, or if Spar buys it in really huge containers and decants it, but that’s the way you buy it. Then down to the museum to try replace Caleb’s cap which was lost at sea, but they are only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Ugh. Nick and I took the boys to Plantation House for a picnic lunch, after which we tried the kite again, but still not quite enough wind. We just seem to pick the wrong days. This afternoon I started work on putting together songs for the Good News Club. I have to type out the songs from a music book, put in the chords, then hand-write them onto a big piece of cardboard because the church doesn’t have an overhead projector. Suzanne, the crippled girl, came around while I was busy with this, and by this time Caleb was with me in the lounge. I told her politely to go home because I was busy, but she ignored that and lay down on the carpet, and she and Caleb interrogated one another and she asked me lots of questions. I thought, oh well, she’s not doing much harm. She left after about 20 minutes or so. Another lady who I had not previously met came by later wanting to borrow £3. I turned her down. I don’t know why people think we are a charity centre (generally they don’t repay the loan), perhaps because we are linked to the church.

The other night I dreamed that a Pick’n’Pay had opened up on the island – not a hyper, the “Family” size, but it was such a wonderful thing! It was fully stocked with everything one would need, even lighting and appliances. I guess I must really be missing shops! In truth, that is my biggest, or possibly only, dislike of the island. I don’t miss much else (other than family and friends of course).

Nick swam 32 lengths today. He hasn’t done Jacob’s Ladder in a while because it’s tough on his knees, so he is giving them a good rest from that. Caleb is doing a lot of work by himself now. He has a little book, so he takes his book and the twisty crayons, and sits on his bed or a chair in the lounge, and writes letters and draws pictures. His drawings are cute, people and houses. Sometimes he copies pictures out of books – today he did a cow and pig. They all looked the same, like they have kwashiorkor, but the idea is there. Aaron can go from sleeping to 100% happy in about three seconds. His temperament is vastly different to Caleb’s. He doesn’t seem to need as much encouragement – he is probably more like Nick in that regard, where Caleb, like me, thrives on praise. Aaron doesn’t take himself very seriously and jokes around a lot. He played a trick on Caleb earlier, telling him I was in my “special room” when he knew full well I was in my bedroom. So Caleb rushed in there and discovered that I really wasn’t there. Aaron was all raucous laughter at his cleverness but Caleb thought it was funny too, and addressed the imaginary mother in the room.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Music, shopping attempts

Yesterday was another HOT day. We had the Good News Club from 10-11. Nick and I have now taken over the music side of it – although more accurately, I have taken it over and Nick is helping me. I did all the talking bits in between singing, and got them to stand and do actions, and generally tried to get a bit of an excitement going about singing. We are introducing many new songs, and it was nice to have the guitar (me) and banjo (Nick). Next week I am doing the lesson as well, which I gladly accepted when they asked. I think this may be a good place to minister, and I have been praying about ministry opportunities.

After the GNC, we went to town, to buy bread and juice for communion and hunt for acrylic craft paints that we will need to paint backdrops for the Holiday Club. We went from shop to shop, but no one stocks that sort of thing! It’s not a very specialized thing, any shop in Joburg would have it. We couldn’t find any sort of poster paints or powder paints or anything!! I did bring some with me, but those won’t go very far and there’s no prospect of replacing them. So what we will probably have to do is buy tins of regular wall acrylic in different colours, and thin them down slightly. Such a simple thing of procuring paints becomes an impossibility on the island. We had lunch at Ardee’s (our favourite place, I think). After lunch, we walked back down to Spar to do the shopping, and do you think we could get bread? No! Not even one roll. So we drove up to the Half Tree Hollow Spar, but they also didn’t have anything except for a few donuts which I didn’t think would be appropriate. One last place to try was a 7-11, but they only get bread on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I think we just left it a bit late and everywhere had sold out. Thankfully I have a few slices of bread in the freezer, I just hope it will be enough!

Yesterday afternoon was Bethany’s birthday party. The kids all seemed to have fun, other than one fairly unpleasant incident: the party place seems to be on the premises of a disability home, and one of the patients wandered in to see what was going on. He seemed to be in a fairly bad way – severely retarded, and had both arms bandaged up over burns, I think, judging by his hands. Both sides of his face, below his ears, were raw and bleeding, must be because he scratches himself all the time. He knocked some things off the table, and it was a while before one of the staff came to retrieve him. Some kids were quite shaken up, and one little girl would not be pacified. She must have been about six years old, and eventually someone had to phone her mom to collect her.

Caleb is busy cleaning windows outside by throwing water at them.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Shopping and Submission

Earlier today Nick and I were having a little disagreement as to the best way to put songs together for the Good News Club (we’ve taken over the music part of it which needed a bit of help). Caleb later said to me that if I want to make daddy happy, I must do what he says. Quite correctly in terms of the role of the wife. Just to see how his train of thought was running though, I asked how I could be happy, and he said that daddy must do what I say, “like if daddy says to you, you must put um um macaroni on the bread, you must put macaroni on the bread, or if you tell daddy he must cut the bread then he must do it and that will make you happy.” Bit of a conflict of interests though, so I asked what would happen if, for example, daddy said we must paint the wall blue and mommy says we must paint it green, then who should listen to whom? His reply? “I know, you must listen to me – paint the wall white!” Poor Caleb, trying to solve the world’s problems. I did explain though what the bible says about submission, and that daddy is my boss just like God is daddy’s boss. “And I’m the boss of Aaron!”. No Caleb.

I took the boys for a walk to town this morning, because Nick was out at the Radio Station doing recordings for the “thought of the day” sort of prologue spot on the radio. He’s done a series on death. He reckons it’s not going to be very popular, but people need to give it consideration. Anyway, while at the shops, we popped into a brand new shop which has opened called “Tinker’s”. It’s across the road from Thorpes, and really is just an extension of Thorpes. They have moved their entire frozen, fridge and delicatessen section to Tinker’s. This means that there is also much more stock, because they have at least three times the amount of freezer space, and in the original Thorpes, they have more available shelf space and floor space with the fridges and freezers moved out.

Nick has taken the boys swimming while I have a stew on the stove. (That is to say, I have put a pot of meat and vegetables to simmer on the stove).

Friday, January 20, 2006


I went to the post office again yesterday as I said I would to post the letters which I couldn’t post on Tuesday, and arrived just before 9 am. Their opening hours are 9 am to 3 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, closed on Wednesdays, 9 am to 3 pm Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 am to 12 pm on Saturdays. So I waited a bit, but by about 9.10 they still weren’t open. I know there is St Helena time which means you arrive when you want to, but really, that was getting quite unprofessional. At last it dawned on me that yesterday was Wednesday…didn’t I feel like a fool! So I went home and continued with a very ordinary day.

Last night we had some of the church’s young adults over for coffee and games. We really just wanted to get them together to have some social interaction between them, because there is no young adults’ group as such and I don’t know how much they see of each other. Also, with being in the different chapels, they probably don’t get to socialize much. It was a small group, only six of us, but it was a super evening. We played Balderdash, the first time since leaving SA where it was a regular feature of socials. We’ll probably make it a monthly thing. I won, and Nick came in third, with a very intelligent young lady taking second place.

It has been raining off and on today. This morning it was quite heavy, actually, Nick had to put two containers in his office to catch the drips.

Yesterday I was feeling a little bored, and it was too sunny to do weeding, so I started crafting again. I am now in the middle of decoupaging a small box to be kept on the passage bookshelf, to hold the car and house keys. Last Christmas, Kate used some serviettes with bushmen on them for the Christmas Eve table, and I acquired a few extras for “one day”. That day has come, so the box is an African theme, painted in peach, gold and brown, and will have bushmen and elephants on it.

Aaron was splashing around in the puddles this morning, then tried to help me weed, which means he digs the screwdriver into the ground and pulls up grass. Not really much help. Sometimes he throws the screwdriver around.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Food and Stuff

Did some letters with Caleb today; we’ve progressed to capital letters now before moving on to more complicated dipthongs (vowel sounds particularly). He also did some join the dots in a new book. He’s doing just fine. I went to the post office to post a letter but they were already closed, so I’ll post tomorrow. Then we all went for a swim, very nice because it’s been hot today and the water was lovely. Nick always tries to do quite a few lengths, I don’t think he’s counting though, and I did about three. It’s great exercise. Caleb has freedom, with armbands, to be anywhere in the pool, and Aaron is happy to float around in the shallow end, also with armbands of course.

Foodwise, the bullseyes are still in the freezer. Perhaps tomorrow they’ll come out and I’ll dig up a nice recipe for them. Thankfully Nick and Paul deheaded them for bait on Sunday. We regularly get the following: Potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, frozen peas and corn. All the usual assortment of frozen veggies as well and many tinned ones. Also apples, yucky looking pears, bananas on a regular basis. When the ship comes in we have imported tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, grapes (obviously according to season). Those are only in the shops for a couple of days before selling out or going off. There are very strict importation rules because of crop diseases and that sort of thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dolphin Trip

Today we undertook a dolphin trip. We were at the docks just after 9 am, to be ready for 9.15 for 9.30 (yes, we were rather eager). Boarded the little vessel, which was the same one that ferried us from the ship to the docks when we first arrived on St Helena. This was our first time off the island! We had a few drops of rain while we were sitting on the boat in the harbour, waiting to go back and collect three or four more passengers who were a little late. We couldn’t get them straight away because there was a tour ship, Saga Ruby, visiting the island today and its little ferry was offloading passengers, so once we had boarded, we moved away giving them a chance to alight, and then our boat moved back. It’s fairly perilous getting off and on the boat, you have to basically wait until it’s close enough to jump across from or to land. No injuries were sustained though, and there are plenty of hands available to help. Anyway, we left harbour around 9.40 or so, and navigated out around the island to the south, towards Speery Island. As anticipated, we encountered dolphins about half an hour into the voyage. There must have been hundreds of them, some near, some far, swimming and leaping and jumping about. Some of them would swim just in front of the boat, every now and then popping out for a leap and a breath of air. Others would keep pace next to us. They swim unbelievably fast, without much apparent effort. Nick says that they are the fastest sea swimmers. It was really awesome to see so many dolphins, up close. We had no really unusual encounters, no dolphins tried to board the vessel or smile at us, but it was still amazing. We circled around a few times where the dolphins were swimming, then headed off again to Speery. This we circumnavigated, getting into some rough waters which was fun, before the trip back up the coast. Speery Island was also an awesome sight up close. It rises straight out the ocean, all tall cliffs and jagged rock faces. Not your typical tropical island with white sands and a palm tree! We stopped for a while at Lemon Valley, where a couple of people braved the salty waters for a swim, Nick included. He reckons that the water here is much saltier than in SA! The boat had been anchored while they were swimming, but while the swimmers were still in the water, the captain started up and moved off a bit, I’m not sure why, so they had a bit of a distance to cover before getting back on board. We had some lunch (we just brought sandwiches and chips and things) while there (or before for those who were starving), and then went back to James’ Bay, arriving back at around 2.30. All in all, it was a lovely outing, though it was incredibly hot and surprisingly unwindy on the boat at times. Hats, sunblock and lifejackets were worn at all times while outside! The boat did have a little enclosed bit as well, but not much circulation in there so it was more bearable outside. Some of us on the ship felt the motion of the waves more than others, and weren’t entirely comfortable with the resultant nausea, but thankfully there was only one casualty by way of a three-year-old (not mine). Everyone else made it to land without incident. We had a brief stop at another point because Nick’s cap blew off, so the kind captain stopped, turned around, and everyone on board shouted directions as to where it was so it could be fished out with a long pole. Easier said than done though, because the waves are up and down, the boat is rocking and the hat is bobbing, so the crew member who retrieved it was duly applauded. Caleb’s cap also blew off (what’s with the Clevely men?) but has been sacrificed to Davey Jones’ locker. Nick is quite sun burnt. The boys have commented that the house is rocking, which I thought was nonsense until I sat down to type this, and realized that we are actually feeling the after-effects of the motion of the sea.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Peanuts and everyday talk

Nick went off to preach this morning, and I had some housework to catch up on. I didn’t feel too happy about doing it on a Sunday, but had two loads of washing to do and had to vacuum downstairs. Also did some weeding while the boys played outside. Made lunch of cottage pie and vegetables, and Nick brought home Paul the Prisoner for lunch, after he had attended the Knollcombe service. He’s still with us at the moment, Nick will take him back to prison at 16h00. Nick and Paul and the boys went off to the docks after lunch which was nice (for me), and Paul caught a little fish which he threw back. The boys seem to like him a lot, in fact he is very pleasant. They came back about half an hour ago, and now the boys are in bed. I did some reading while they were gone. Apart from my German book and another one I’m reading, I’m also about halfway with “Everyday Talk” which is about the everyday talk we engage in with our children and how we can talk to them naturally about God, and so on. It’s very interesting and convicting. The latest chapter was about teens – preparation for those years. I guess if we keep the channels of communication open, then the teen years won’t be so rocky. So I am making an effort now to let them know that I’m interested in what they say, and I try to understand what they are saying and meaning, and what makes them tick.

Yesterday afternoon we drove down to the docks to see what was happening at the pool as there had been a swimming gala, but it was all over. So we wandered through town – most shops were closed and it was quiet, and by 16h45 or so when we were there the sun had set behind the mountain, so it was lovely and cool and shady, very nice. We went into Thorpes and Nick browsed around because he had never taken a good look at what they stock (or even been in at all, I’m not sure). We found some Mild Curry Flavoured Battered Peanuts on special for 10p for a 200g packet, so we bought one to see if they were okay since they expired in April last year. Turns out they are delicious and still crispy. We also bought ice-creams, then walked back down to Castle Gardens and ate our ice-creams. Then on the way home I popped into Thorpes again and bought another five bags of peanuts. At that price, it would be silly to miss out!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Fritters, fruit and food

Yesterday I made pumpkin fritters as we were given a small pumpkin and I had to use it, and they were most successful. The boys love them, they had three yesterday – one before supper, one with supper and one afterwards as pudding. It’s strange that they enjoy them so much! Made chicken ala king for supper, much better than my last attempt because I chopped the green peppers by hand instead of using the Braun. The last time, when I used the Braun, the peppers got too finely chopped and produced a green juice, which coloured the sauce, so I added turmeric to make it look yellowish instead of greenish, but it looked more like a nuclear-reactor waste product and tasted a bit odd too. Last night’s, however, was the real deal. Caleb shoveled it into his mouth with great haste so must have enjoyed it, and even Aaron didn’t waste much time.

We received our package from Wilson in Ascension, filled with lovely goodies – chips, coffee, hot chocolate, coconut filled chocolates, bite-sized kit-kats, peanut-butter cups, other chocolate miniatures, about 100 superwipes and eight tins of little viennas. It was fun unpacking it!

I bought two peaches from Spar, they are delicious. Fresh fruit like peaches, nectarines and plums are a real luxury item, and the price proves it. Made me think of when we used to have to pick and peel and slice peaches every year for bottling. Wasn’t so fond of them at the time, and didn’t look forward to that yearly event!

Friday, January 13, 2006


I am pretty tired after a busy day and late night last night, and my hands are sore from sweeping – I’m tidying up the alley between the manse and the church, which is dusty, weedy and full of dead leaves and bits of garden rubble. I’m sweeping the whole thing, but only got halfway today in the time I had.

This morning at 10h00 Emma dropped off the girls for me to babysit. It went very well, the girls behaved very nicely. Emma was back by about 11h15 and then stayed for a cuppa since I was just about to put on a Veggie Tales video for the kids. I popped out to Spar later this afternoon by myself to get a green pepper, as I had heard rumours that Spar had some. I got one indeed, and also bought a Kiwi for Nick (45p for ONE) and an imported tomato, which is so much nicer than our local ones. The tomato looked so lovely that I ate it all as soon as I got home!

The Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow in the front garden, which was almost dead due to lack of watering because we probably already thought it was dead when we got here so didn’t bother much with it, has been brought back to life by Nick’s daily watering. Apparently one of our church people planted it there himself a few months ago, and it had taken him ages to get it to grow at all and he had really gone to a lot of trouble to keep it alive, so we felt terrible that we had neglected it. With constant watering though, it started budding leaves, and today we saw the first flower on it, a deep purple. It’s exciting seeing something flourish. The weeds in the lawn are dying off after spraying with weedkiller, and the lawn is continuing to cover over the bare areas and thicken. We give it a lot of water, mostly from the bath, and Nick mows once a week. Progress!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Today was finally a newsworthy day. This morning was usual blah blah, going to town for bread, duck tape (to mend the broken vacuum cleaner pipe), weed killer and washing powder, as well as making cardboard puppets on straws for the boys to play with. Then at 1.30 Emma and the girls came over, and she drove us to Rosemary Plain, which is a picnic area. Very nice, lots of grass and tables and benches, and a lovely view of the sea on one side and lush mountains on the other. Had some juice and biscuits and so on, played cricket for about three minutes, then we walked down the lane to a very nice country hotel called Farm Lodge. We walked through the front gate to see if we could look around, and found the owner and asked if he would mind if we had a look around. So he personally took us around a bit of the farm where there were ducks (lots of them) and sheep, and then showed us their coffee making process. A chap had just picked a bucket of cherries off the coffee tree, so they put them through the first machine which extracts the pips (the actual coffee bean) from the middle and dumps the pulpy bit into a wheelbarrow. From there the beans will have to ferment for about a week to get rid of all the sugar – it produces an alcohol which is thrown away. Then he showed us where they have trays of beans drying out, and explained how they have to rotate the beans in the sun so they all get some hours of sun every day. Once the beans have dried, they have to be peeled – the outer husk removed and an onion-skin looking bit taken off, which leaves a greenish looking bean. Those have to all be sorted by size, and then he showed us the roasting machine. The beans all have to be the same size in the roasting machine otherwise they will cook unevenly. It was all very interesting and most educational! Then back up the lane to the picnic spot. We passed by some sheep on our walk as well, and one was fairly curious so he was less than two metres away from us. All in all a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hotel Rwanda

From Caleb to his grandparents again: “Granny and Grandpa, you know what, I love you, and I swim well, and we bought yellow rectangles with letters on and I can read them by myself and with mom, and sometimes mom lets me wipe Aaron’s bum [no I don’t] and the washing machine did spray water everywhere and the vacuum cleaner doesn’t work. The red vacuum cleaner doesn’t work and we got two banana trees, little banana trees. And we losing bugs all the time and we love you and we went to the post office today but mom’s key didn’t work but then she’s key did work. And there wasn’t anything in the post box so we went down to Spar and we got in the car and then we went home and now we at home and that’s all.”

And Aaron: “Granny and Grandpa, I love you two and we at Santalina and I will able to be five and I love you too and I love you two Granny and Grandpa. I can jump high also and I can run fast. And I love you toooo, and I love you. Amen.”

We watched another good DVD last night called “Hotel Rwanda”. It was a Hollywood production about the Rwandan genocide, really very well done. It’s based on truth, and the actual real-life hero of the story, Paul Rosesesbowana (or something) was a consultant on the movie. He was a hotel manager at the time of the Tutsi uprising, and played a big part in sheltering many people and saving many lives. It was terribly sad and shocking though, nearly 1 million people were killed (not during the making of the movie). Many Rwandans who survived the genocide were cast as extras, so it was quite something for them to have to relive it, but they all wanted the story told and everyone apparently was open to talking about the details and specifics of what went on so that the movie could be very accurate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A really down day

Today I awoke with a delightful sense of anticipation that I would be going to the post office a little later, and nine o’clock was at the box. Lo and behold, the box was empty, not even so much as a postage stamp graced its inner walls. I thought maybe they hadn’t finished sorting the post yet, but actually they had. The ship only brought four bags of mail, so it was sorted on Saturday already. You can imagine the disappointment! I thought it would be a sure thing that at least our cable would arrive. Nick was sensitive to my disappointment, so when I suggested we go out to lunch, he was quite keen. We went to Argees in the market, which was very nice (the highlight of the day). Then we went to the Rose and Crown to have a look at paint colours to decide what we’re going to do with the upstairs landing and stairway passage. They didn’t have much in stock, so we’ll have to try again next month or so. So then we went across to Queen Mary’s to look at carpets and rugs – we want to get something for the bottom of the stairway, in front of the bookcase, because the boys like to sit there and look at books. Found something quite nice and suitable, but didn’t buy yet. Did find a set of three hand-painted ceramic pots for £3.25, which I bought for the bookcase. Then down to the Emporium to see what material we could use for blinds or curtains for the two windows, and found that they are quite low on stock and don’t know when they will next get material. There was one material that was quite nice, but there wasn’t enough. So we don’t have any plans at the moment to continue with that. Bought some weed killer and gardening shears, then went home. Put the boys down, then I finished off with masking taping some window frames – I had run out of tape previously and thought I might just try painting without tape, but then reconsidered. Then set to work painting, only to find that I had hardly any paint left – I hadn’t realized how little I had when I finished off on Saturday. Had to therefore go back to town, this time walking, to Queen Mary’s again. They didn’t have any more white enamel. Across to the Rose and Crown, nope, they don’t sell enamel at all. Down to Solomon’s, they didn’t have it in anything smaller than 5l and quite expensive, so across again to the Emporium, and same story – nothing smaller than 5l. And that was that. Walked back home, now very hot and bothered and frustrated. I have to now leave all the masking tape on and the paint job incomplete until they get more paint in. What an absolute nuisance! All in all, it was not a fun day.

We bumped into a lady on our town excursion who had come in for a cup of tea some time ago, Esther. She is probably in her sixties, and she was pushing a pram with quite a littlee in it. She says this is her grandson, he’s four months old, and his parents left today to go work in Ascension, leaving him in his granny’s care. I thought, how terribly sad, they will probably not see him again for at least two or three years. There is no work for them on St Helena, so they are forced to go elsewhere, but imagine going off and leaving your little baby, even if you know and trust the caregiver. We have some new neighbours for a couple of weeks. The house next door to us gets rented out as the need arises, and currently the ENT specialist and his wife are there. They will only be on the island for two weeks though. And we got a fish delivery while we were eating supper, two bullseyes, which have gone straight into the freezer, heads and all.

Monday, January 09, 2006


This morning while Nick was at church, the boys played in their room for a long time by themselves, giving me lots of time on my own. I read my new novel, which is two books in one called “Nirgendwo in Afrika” und “Irgendwo in Deutschland”. I’m getting into it although there are lots of words I don’t know, but I’m getting the meaning of it. The boys played a game on Aaron’s bed where they put both duvets on it, then all sorts of toys, and that is their workstation, or it becomes a car with computers inside it, or something. Very creative. Their little imaginations have become quite fired up, although Caleb usually initiates the game and Aaron is forced to comply with the rules. This afternoon, after lunch and sleeps, we took a walk along the mountain ridge – if you’re standing in our house looking towards the sea, it’s the mountain to our right. We walked all along the top to where there are old canons left over from last century. A very pleasant walk, VERY windy, but a short walk. No more rain today, though not as hot as it’s been. Still a bit overcast at times, which was enjoyable. After our walk, we went for a swim. Aaron is so funny in the water – he alternates between the paddling pool, on his own, and the big pool. When he’s in the big pool with the armbands on, he stays afloat, but doesn’t move around. So he drifts around with the currents, squealing with terror when he thinks he’s going to sink, or laughing gleefully when he realizes he’s not. Then he gets out and gets warm and cosy under a towel. Caleb swims around all over the pool, he doesn’t bother much with staying in the shallow end. We’re going to gradually wean him off armbands and see how he does.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sanctification by Housework

The Lord has been dealing much with me in the area of housework, and teaching me to do it to His glory! It certainly makes everything a lot easier when I’m not going about grumbling or having a bad attitude about it, and rather to commit it all to Him, and speak with Him while I’m peeling potatoes or painting skirtings and so on. Today was a loooong session of painting. Nick took the boys out at 9.30, and only came back after 12, so that gave me a good long time to get on with it, but there was really a lot to do and it took long because of all the fiddly bits. We broke for lunch when they got home, then I started again and finished at 2.30. I have white enamel paint on my arm and hands and under one eye, and can’t quite get it off.

By the way, Nick is busy serenading me on his banjo to the tune of “Lynnie, Popsie Poodle, poodle, Lynnie…” and so it goes on. I think he’s trying to get my attention because he’s finished his prep for tomorrow and wants to get on with watching the DVD we hired for tonight…Beyond Borders. You must think, correctly so, that we are watching a lot of DVDs. It’s still a bit of a novelty, watching them on the laptop, but also it’s something nice to do where there is not much else available for doing! Also, having had a bit of a holiday from bible studies etc, Nick’s had a bit more time. He will be starting a new series of preaching though from the book of John, so will need more prep time in the evenings.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Banjo and tomatoes

Nick is now the proud owner of a banjo! Vincent March had this one spare, and has graciously parted with it.

We had a salad with lasagna for supper, I bought tomatoes at Thorpes, and Aaron thought he might like some and some feta cheese, so I gave him some. He put a piece of tomato in his mouth and his face was a picture, but he finished it and then asked for another. I asked him if he liked it, he said, “yes, it tastes like concrete”. He then had another four or five pieces!

The ship’s coming in tomorrow, can’t wait to see if it brings anything for us. Really hoping for the cable and the homeschooling stuff (I’ve probably mentioned this about ten times already).

Friday, January 06, 2006


We’ve had a lovely rainy day – it rained solidly for at least 20 minutes this morning, not hard enough to soak a person if they were to run in it, but someone said we had 4 mm in that time. Then it drizzled off and on during the day, although it wasn’t cold, and again later this afternoon it rained properly for a few minutes. It’s been nice having actual rain rather than drizzle, and the cooler weather to accompany it – not cold, just enough that you can feel slightly too warm with a long-sleeve top on. Nick and I and the boys went to town this morning because we had to get our drivers’ licenses sorted out – the three month mark for driving around on a temporary international license was reached, so we had to pay £7.50 each and were immediately issued with a valid St Helena license, valid for a year. How easy though – went into the police station, there was one person in front of us – actually one of our deacons, then said to the lady, “we’d like to apply for licenses”, gave her the forms which we had already filled in (just a series of questions about one’s driving capabilities), then she wrote out a receipt and wrote into a little blue card, stapled the receipt into it, and there we had them. No long queues, confusing forms, dangerous places to go to, shuffled from one queue to another or anything one might expect in SA. Nick was a bit concerned that because his SA license has just expired, that he might have to completely redo a license or something, but they didn’t even look at our SA licenses. That being done, we popped into Spar for bread and a few other things. The queue for cutting bread was quite long – there must have been at least 20 loaves in front of me, although only about five people, so I cut the bread at home with a bread knife rather. Our bread here is really lovely, not like your mass produced Albany and such-like – it seems home-make, has a crispy crust, and is deliciously soft. Later in the afternoon, Nick decided that the weather was good to fly a kite, so we went off to the school grounds across the road. Unfortunately this coincided with another good shower of rain, so that was short-lived.

I did some more words with Caleb this morning, we learned some new ones, and now he’s confident with “ee” as a dipthong. We are still struggling a bit with “th”, but will soon move on to “sh” and “ea” and others. It’s quite incredible to watch him read though, I mean, he’s actually doing it! I’ll string together a sentence (eg “Caleb has been in the car” or “the big pet dog can run and jump”) on the fridge with the magnetic yellow words, and he’ll spell the words out first and then go back and read the whole sentence slowly. He doesn’t appear to have any dyslexia or anything like that. Aaron has a problem with lying at the moment. At supper, for example, he was taking so long with a piece of meat that I eventually went to get the wooden spoon. When I came back, I asked if he had swallowed yet and he said “yes”. I said, “let me see” and there was a big wad of chewed steak. I therefore gave him two smacks, one for not swallowing and one for lying! We talk to him very earnestly about this and explain how serious it is, and he looks very downcast, but two minutes later he is laughing his raucous laugh again and doesn’t appear very repentant! I’m trying to teach Aaron to say “the” instead of “ze” and “th” instead of “f”. Other than that his speech is very clear and there is much of it. His latest word is “actually”. I’ve just heard him say, “I’m actually finishing bathing”, and now he is out the bath and drying himself.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


I’ve been having to deal with my attitude towards housework, and Nick and housework, as I’m becoming terribly sinful in my thoughts! I hate the fact that I have to clean this huge house by myself, but have to remind myself that Nick is employed full-time and is very busy, so can’t really help me, and also, it is my responsibility. I have to do it cheerfully! He does look after the outside, and does regularly set mousetraps in the pantry and remove the dead mice in the morning, for which I’m grateful. There was another one this morning. I hate seeing the poor things dead, but worse is having half a packet of maries nibbled away, and a corner chewed out the rice packet, and icing sugar being delved into, and the list goes on. My next painting project is to cover up the government green skirtings and stairway, handrails etc. I bought a small tin of white enamel paint, and have started masking taping the necessary bits. I will likely paint on Saturday when Nick can keep the boys out of the way. It’s going to take a long time because there are so many fiddly bits.

I had to renew my medical insurance policy, so that’s another £99 down the drain for the next three months. I suppose if I actually need it we’ll be very grateful for it. I also had a small shopping victory in that I found three pairs of 100% cotton socks for Nick. These I found at the fourth shop I tried, the others only stocking cotton mix socks, or children’s socks (did you see the pun in there?) The boys were squabbling over who got to hold the socks, so the kind lady in the shop split up the three-pair pack, and put two pairs in one packet and one pair in the other, so both boys got to give Nick a packet of socks. During Aaron’s sleep, Caleb and I worked on some words, so now he can read about 20 words, and only struggles with “the”, which I recall also battling with when I was learning to read, aged 5 ½ or 6. He’s doing really well, I’m so pleased to see that he’s remembering more and more letters and words. After that he wrote his name, and then coloured in no less than 8 pictures in a colouring book. He worked very hard. When Aaron came down, he also did a bit, but he likes to rather just colour in, very intensely, over the eyes of whatever the picture is, or he’ll pick the smallest dot on the page and colour that in. For some reason he really likes small stuff. On Monday night when we were playing Scrabble at Guy and Emma, he came out of the room where the kids were watching Robots, to fetch Niamh’s doll because he felt that it was getting cold, then he gave it a toy bottle, and then gave it to me for safekeeping. He’s such a funny little boy, very tender and loves babies of any sort. On the other hand, he’s also very boy, loves guns and fighting and crashes and cars!

This evening I did some weeding after supper while the boys sucked water from the hosepipe and spat it at one another. They also did a bit of weeding, which means poking a screwdriver at the weeds until the leaves fall off, then throwing the leaves into the nearby bucket of water. I know you’ll laugh at that because it’s quite a funny description, but in fact it’s rather annoying! Although I am laughing too as I type this. Caleb prayed such a lovely prayer at bedtime tonight, something like “please help us not to do naughty stuff, but you still love us even if we do naughty things.” A lot of the teaching really sticks. Tonight I was telling them how we must do things that God tells us even when it’s difficult, like coming to St Helena was difficult but we did anyway. So Caleb says that sometimes he gets sad because we came here. So I told him that it’s nice being here because his nose doesn’t run anymore, and he and Aaron have this lovely big house to run around in. Caleb’s reply? “We may not run in houses because we’ll bump into the glass doors.” All this while Aaron was sitting on the other side of the table playing with a tape measure…pull it out, let it run back in, pull it out, let it run back in, pull it out…you get it. He is still stuck on the Ark of the Covenant, although we’re into the New Testament now with devotions…his prayers often revolve around the box, and that Jesus mustn’t splash blood on it. What a mixed up theology.

Nick is at a deacon’s meeting tonight, but should be home within the hour. He almost couldn’t get there, because the golf is running on petrol fumes, and I didn’t realize when I went out today otherwise I would have filled up. Sorry for you if you forget petrol, because the filling station runs with normal shopping hours – closed on Wednesday afternoons, and closes at about 5 pm every other days, except Sundays when it’s not open at all.

Aaron always sleeps well. He usually wakes up before Caleb, and comes quietly through (I’ve taught him to be quiet in the mornings so as not to wake Caleb), to say that he loves me too (or 2), grins at me, then goes back to his room and lies on his bed or looks at a book. I suspect he watches Caleb quite closely, because I’m certain that the minute he opens his eyes, it’s playtime for Aaron. His companion is awake, what better thing than to speak to him! New fun games, apart from “camp-camp-man-man-man” is to drag duvets to the passage outside their room, and camp out there during the day, which also lends itself to banging their feet either on the steel cabinet doors, or the wall of our room which is strangely made of wobbly metal.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Kite flying

On Sunday we went out to St Pauls to try fly the kite. Unfortunately not much wind, but the kite did get up quite high even on just the slight breezes, but we had to do a lot of running! So it will work well in windier conditions. We found ourselves on the playing field of the St Pauls Middle School for this kite-flying, which was ideal because the boys could jump on a trampoline, swing, or play on the jungle gym while we played with their new toy. Church in the evening - again, a good message for the New Year, Nick encouraging the congregation to read their bibles more and get to grips with what it says. Yesterday, Monday, was a public holiday (AGAIN), so of course shops were still closed. I had a lazy morning, while Nick was back in his study, despite that it is supposed to be his day off and it was a holiday, but he has a lot of prep to do this week. The boys set up an elaborate game of “camp camp man car camp” in their room, just with little toys from the “stuff” box – the stuff box is a 5-litre ice-cream tub filled with miscellaneous bits and pieces, including men, chairs, macdonalds toys and so on. So they set up a camp site and I was invited to play. My man asked Caleb’s man to tell me about Jesus, and the result was very interesting. They did it again today, and Aaron decided that his man would have a turn at preaching, but his man just shouted a lot and sang a bit. Then, at 4 pm, we went to Emma and Guy for a braai. When I first suggested a braai, Emma sort of hesitated and looked a bit blank but agreed anyway. I realized then that she hadn’t a clue what I was talking about! A barbeque, I should have said. Well, it was very nice. Nick and Guy chatted about all sorts of stuff, and of course Emma and I can always talk, but the kids did need some help playing together. After supper, and when it was dark, around 7 pm, they put on a DVD for the kids and us grownups had a game of Scrabble. We only got home at half nine, which is why the boys were in bed so late. Aaron woke up at 7 this morning, and Caleb at half seven.

The boys rode bikes a bit in the schoolroom this morning. I’ve just been into their room to check on them because I could hear they aren’t sleeping, and noticed a box covered with blankets on Caleb’s bed. I went to remove it, and both boys said, “no, no, the baby’s dead, that’s its grave.” They had put a teddy in a big box and buried it. What will they do next?

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years

Yesterday we took to the shops, and after going from one shop to another, couldn’t find anything suitable for the boys to buy with their combined £20. We had almost given up, when I spotted a kite tucked away in a corner of a shop which doesn’t even sell toys, so we promptly encouraged the boys to buy it. It’s very big, dragon shaped, and looks quite sturdy. As yet haven’t had opportunity to test it though. I bought a watch, a purple kiddies watch which works just fine, as my Swatch isn’t working too well anymore. We pottered around in the afternoon, I cleaned pots and replanting some little plants (get it, ‘pottered’ around…), and Nick cleared away some plant rubble (actually bougainvillea cuttings which had accumulated in the alley between the house and church). We’re still working hard to get things nicely organized around the house and sorted out and personalized, and still lots of work remains. It’s good though. After that, we were so hot that we went to swim. Got there just after 4 and left about 5.15. Caleb was in the water the entire time, swimming around, even swam out to the deep-end, under our eagle eye supervision of course. He is doing doggy paddle now and LOVES the water. Surprising how he’s taken to it, isn’t it? Aaron also enjoyed it, but he gets cold, so he got out after about half an hour and lay in the late afternoon sun with a towel under and over him. I think that’s his favourite part of the whole swimming thing, when he gets to be wrapped in a towel and lie in the sun. Got home, had a quick supper of pasta-and-sauce, then had to start getting the house tidy again in preparation for the evening’s guests. Our first caller arrived at 20h50, ten minutes early. Then someone else came at 21h15, then some more dribbled in over the next hour. We had a small group of twelve. 23h30 came and we went next door to the church for the watchnight service. It was very good. Nick opened a prayer time for anyone to pray, and many did. He preached a short sermon on Psalm 1, what NOT to do to be spiritually blessed, and what TO do. Then at 00h00 we all wished one another, then people went home. Then there was a bit of cleaning up to do, and finally bed. By the time I got to bed though, although tired, I couldn’t sleep again. Lay awake until the rush hour traffic started at about 02h00, people walking home from town or driving home, all of whom seem to have to pass our house. The pedestrians were talking and laughing, mostly inebriated to a greater or lesser degree, and that went on for at least 40 minutes. Sleep finally came sometime after that. I thought I would have a little rest now while the boys are quiet, but that didn’t work either.

Yesterday Caleb and Aaron were playing a game of doctor-doctor. I asked how the game went and Caleb explained that Aaron was the sick person and he, Caleb, was looking after him. Then he led Aaron away with his arm around him, very sweetly. Shame, they are so good together. Caleb often takes it upon himself to be Aaron’s teacher, so he will show him how to write letters, or ‘read’ a book to him, or show him how to put books back on the bookshelf properly. He has also taken on the responsibility of opening the bathroom blind in the morning, so when I go in it’s been higgledy-piggledy pulled up and somehow wrapped around the cleat. I have to redo it everytime, but I don’t mind that. He’s learning responsibility and can really be quite helpful! Yesterday when I was potting, he walked around to the front of the church where we had put some beach pebbles in the grave thingies, to get some stones for me to put in the pot. This while Aaron was sleeping.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


This week has been quite busy and we are rather tired, also because we’re not sleeping well. Caleb is having bad dreams at night, and often just as we’re going to bed he will cry and whine in his sleep, and then be quiet for a while and then start again. He’s fast asleep though, so not much can really be done. I don’t know why we’re not sleeping properly otherwise though, just can’t seem to get comfortable. Also, by 22h00 when I’m normally ready to turn in, I’m wide awake! Last night Nick went to bed at about 21h45 and I went down (after we watched a DVD together) to finish sorting the bookshelf. All the books are sorted and back on the shelf, and it looks much neater and more organized.

Yesterday I went out shopping in the morning (again, grocery shopping) and also to return the pair of pants Nick bought me for Christmas because they didn’t quite fit properly, so I managed to exchange them for a totally different colour and style, and also bought a top. It’s a struggle to find clothes though, there’s not much of a selection, so you take what you can get even if it isn’t that great! I have to alter the pants a bit around the waist and take them up. The top is a good fit, age 13-14. In the afternoon we went to Sandy Bay to visit a family in the church – Nick thought it would be nice if the boys and I came along too. Tea involved tea, savoury tarts, chocolate cake, Christmas cake, cream crackers with cheese and tomato and jaffa cakes. You would have thought there was a party of 10 people with the amount of food, but that’s usual. They gave us a quarter of a chocolate cake, a whole box of 24 jaffa cakes (those are delicious cookies with orange jam in the middle and dark chocolate on top), some of the savoury tartlets, and lots of bananas, nice ones, and the boys each £10. There are two types of bananas here – nice ones, smaller than the ones you get, but just a good few bites, and then smaller ones than those which aren’t so nice, which is the type we have planted – but that will take a few years to bear fruit anyway.