Friday, March 31, 2006

Just peachy

I spent the greater part of the day, painting. There is now a shockingly large surface area of peach. I can’t decide whether it’s pleasing or not, but Nick seems happy enough with it. The boys watched the whole of Mary Poppins in the morning, and then I put on The Incredibles for them in the afternoon. They don’t normally spend the whole day watching videos, but I had to keep them out of my hair. Since it’s not a regular thing, I don’t feel toooo bad! I had to pop out for more paint this afternoon, but I had checked when I bought the paint that they had more in stock!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nature walk(s away)

After my morning walk (and my legs are not so sore today), I got myself ready and took the boys to Plantation House – just for something interesting for them to do. They are at home most days, so sometimes I feel sorry for them (and feel guilty), so we take a drive. They ran around the field, we had a little picnic, did a bit of school by way of Caleb reading from the library books I had brought, then I read them two books, and then they played some more. It’s nice for them to have the run of the field. Two of the tortoises were mating…or at least, the male was trying to have his way while the much smaller female kept walking away. Very interesting to happen upon that bit of nature though! The male has quite a loud voice, I discovered. Then we took a walk through Plantation Forest, the first time I’ve just done it with the boys. I wasn’t nervous to start with, but I can understand now how woods can be really scary, particularly at night on your own (not that I was). It was the first time I’ve actually heard trees groaning and creaking, and then the occasional branch would snap, and bamboos were rubbing against one another, and looking up to the tops of the trees I got the feeling that they wanted to fall over, they were swaying so severely. Our walk was of the longer variety, probably at least 1 km, maybe more, but very good. I told the boys to look for interesting things, and they found moss, bark, flowers, roots, and many sticks for hitting trees with. All in all, very educational.

Nick decided that he was going to help me with the painting and wanted to get started right away, so that’s what we did. We finished a big upstairs section – the part outside Nick’s office – and wow, what a dramatic difference. That whole area is so bold and bright, it’s quite a deep peach when it’s on a wall, but really looks good. It went very quickly with both of us doing it. Caleb likes to be involved in “making plans”, so when Nick mentioned that he’d like to get a sign for his door, Caleb quickly went off to make one (not quite what Nick had in mind). It says “prst nec”. You have to sound this out very carefully…p ar s ta – get it?

The boys with Jonathan

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Next project about to commence...

Let me see how much I can type now before anyone finds me. Lasagna is in the oven, and the kitchen is a bit of a mess, but time aplenty later for sorting that out.

Today was certainly a better day than yesterday, after I prayed for extreme measures of grace to get through! Some days are just better than others, in terms of patience and energy. I am in pain today because of my exercising yesterday (uh oh, Aaron’s calling me), so I’m hobbling up and down stairs and feeling very bad! It’s good though, at least I know it’s doing something. I did my walk this morning, though part of Jacob’s Ladder has been closed off for repairs, so I couldn’t come down it. We made date and banana squares, which are fairly healthy and fairly tasty. No sugar or flour in the recipe, but there is oil (and oats, bananas, dates, nuts, vanilla essence). The boys sort of helped. After lunch I took Aaron out with me to the shops to try buy some more things on my shopping list, and I was delighted to find Fattis & Monis macaroni, as well as Cross & Blackwell mayonnaise. Then I went to the Rose and Crown and bought paint (oh dear, now Nick’s calling) for the stairway wall. It’s peach, I think quite a deep shade. Should look good. (I’m not joking).

Nick took apart the non-working binoculars and extracted all the magnifying glasses. He found two very interesting triangular ones which can be used as spy glasses, and they do all kinds of interesting stuff with flipping images and mirroring them. Now all three of them are sitting in my room here. So much for hiding out.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shopping NOT fun

Aaron has gotten into the habit of answering his own questions, in the negative. “Can we have another biscuit, no.” “Can we watch a video, no.” It’s quite funny. He’s picked it up from Caleb who phrases his questions in the negative, “we may not have some juice now, hey?”

We all walked down to town and had lunch at Ardees. Nick slowed his pace today, being a Monday, although he doesn’t officially take a day off. It was good to all be together though and not be rushing. This afternoon I did most of my grocery shopping, but it’s a thoroughly depressing and discouraging experience. The shelves were so poorly stocked, it was almost funny – at Spar I got hold of about four different items out of the 15 or so I had listed for Spar, so ended up getting most of my supplies from Thorpes. Still have to get most of the cold or frozen stuff, I couldn’t even get cheese today! I’m sure they’ll have it in again soon, as I’m fairly certain it’s locally produced.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Flippers make quick glengths

We had a very good service this evening, specifically for Mothering Sunday. It was a guest service at all three locations, and very well attended at Sandy Bay and Jamestown. Jamestown wasn’t full, but there were more people (women) present than usual. Nick’s message was from 2 Tim 1:5, the influence and heritage of a godly woman. Very encouraging and challenging, on a mother’s role in shaping society through their children.

Today was a very quiet, at home day. I had an enjoyable morning, reading a bit to the boys, cleaning the house and doing a bit of computer stuff, and cutting Aaron’s hair. Hairdressing week is now over!

We went to the pool at about 3.15 and had a good time swimming, the water still being warm enough to enjoy it. The boys remembered that there were two pairs of flippers in the workshop, so they took those along, but they were much too big for them and fell off in the water. One pair was my size though, so I did four quick lengths with them on. I couldn’t believe the boost they gave! Nick and I competed, and he only just beat me, where normally I wouldn’t even be able to finish a length (‘glength’ as Caleb calls it).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sledding at Knollcombes

Island Living

Phew, I’m tired! Long day, but nice. Good news club, at our house again, with 16 kids, was good, just tiring! Then off to Knollcombes to go sledding down the steep slopes on cardboard boxes. Caleb has been wanting to do this for a while, so we said we’d go today. It was great, so much fun going down on our bottoms, we got a few video clips on the digital camera. It was so great out in the country. It was slightly cooler than in town, and quiet, with only the sound of birds singing. What a pleasure. I listened to the rest of a John Piper sermon while I finished putting together the chocolates and notes, and then Caleb came wandering into the lounge, so I let him listen to the sermon too. More out of interest, to see if he would listen, and he sat through about 15 minutes of it, which I was quite amazed at. Piper has a very soothing voice, and I think Caleb dozed off once or twice.

For all its disadvantages, St Helena is such a marvelous place to live. We don’t have poverty, haven’t seen a beggar on a street corner once. We don’t have crime (other than pot plant theft and obeying the call of nature in public view and that sort of thing). We have this beautiful scenery everywhere we go, and we have a community of people who all know each other. It’s a vastly different way of life to anything we’ve grown up with or ever known existed. As much as we love and miss SA, we’re going to hate it when we go back. Nick and I were chatting about it last night, and we decided the only real draw to go back there is our families and friends. We had this brief discussion in the kitchen while we were making tea and coffee for the people who came to the games evening last night, and agreed that if our dearly beloved friends and family were here, there’d be no reason to go back. Even the shops, as horrible as they are, wouldn’t be a driving factor to go back! I realized that after being here, we’re never going to really love living anywhere. Here, we complain about the shops and food shortages, and lack of take out places. Going back to SA, we’re going to complain about the crime and stressful lifestyle and the people, and anywhere else in the world would never match up to the good things we’ve experienced in other places. Only in heaven will we be fully satisfied! I’m sure it will look a lot like here, but we’ll be able to fly around and swoop into the valleys and glide over the peaks. How fabulous! The sea can be heard in different ways in different places and at different times – at the docks here, there are sometimes waves, so you hear them crashing onto the steps. Other times it’s quiet and calm and you hear a gentle lapping on the rocks. At Sandy Bay, and even at Ruperts, I think, the rocks are a lot smaller, so as the waves recede they drag pebbles back with it, so you hear them all knocking together and it’s wonderful. It’s not like when we’ve been on holidays to Ballito or Gonubie and you are constantly aware of the roar of the sea, but it definitely does speak its own language.

Nick found caramel Kit-Kat chunkies at Thorpes. They’re a limited edition here, and very delicious. Normal kit-kat, with runny caramel between the wafer and the chocolate. Very good, but at 60p each, we won’t be having them too often!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The boys on the Ladder

This morning I did my half of Jacob’s Ladder again. I noticed some slight stiffness in my hips (hip muscles, rather) from yesterday’s workout, which is good. I am listening to sermon’s on the IPod (MP3 player), so it’s a really enjoyable time out. Yesterday’s sermon was a load of nonsense by Tony Campolo, about homosexuality and equal rights, but today’s was excellent, by John Piper. I didn’t finish listening to all of it, so will pick it up again on Monday. The boys really wanted to try Jacob’s Ladder too. I suppose they think that if I can do it, they can too…Nick’s example didn’t do much for them, they obviously consider his exercises out of their league! So after getting ready for the day, and a very short bit of schooling, we set off and they climbed as high as they could. I was your typical worrying mom. I had to go up with them, which was a bother, doing it the second time, and Caleb got almost as far as I go, without seeming too tired. He says his legs were shaking though. Maybe they’ll feel it tomorrow. It would have been disastrous if they’d lost their footing coming down, and since the steps are quite big, I was anxious. If Nick takes them up it will be better, and I’m sure Caleb could even get all the way up. Supper was the last of the bullseyes, flaked and cooked into a pasta / cheese sauce dish. It was quite tasty, though a little dry since I didn’t make quite enough sauce. Good flavour though, my own recipe. The sage did it. (I’ll leave you to ponder that ambiguous statement.)

We drove up to the hospital for our 10.30 appt for Caleb. We had to wait about half an hour to see the surgeon, who had another quick look at his navel, then gave us a new date – 6th April. This time I had the presence of mind to ask if Caleb would still have a belly button when she’s finished, and she reassured me that it would look fine!

I started putting together the chocolates and little messages for Sunday’s special “Mothering Sunday” service. I got hold of individually wrapped coconut bars. I also accidentally bought non-individually wrapped ones, so I had to return them to Thorpes and get the right ones. But returning something, oh my goodness. They didn’t know how to do it. At first the cashier said I couldn’t, but then the cashier next to her explained how to, but even then she couldn’t do it. I waited for about 20 minutes for them to work it all out. Won’t be trying that again!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Jacob's Ladder


Today I tried a new exercise routine. I walked down to the bottom of town, walked up Jacob’s Ladder to almost halfway, where I exited and walked down a side path on Ladder Hill, which brought me out at Victoria’s, then walked up the hill home. I timed the various sections – going up Jacob’s Ladder only took about 6 minutes, and I stopped to rest briefly twice, I think. I set off at 07h20, and it was so nice to be out at that time, even though there were already quite a few people about. If I get very fit, I’ll go all the way up Jacob’s Ladder then come down again halfway, and get off again at the side path. I might also reverse the order, so I have more of a gentle walk uphill and walk down the steps. Hopefully this will burn away my new squishy, chunky look.

This afternoon I took Aaron out to the Half Tree Hollow Spar - I needed an egg for supper. When I got home I realized I didn’t have any flour at all which the recipe needed (sweet potato balls), so had to substitute scone mix for it! I was supposed to dredge the balls in flour and breadcrumbs but couldn’t do that either because we had just thrown all the old bread to the birds, and they ate it very quickly. All that aside, they turned out fairly well, though they weren’t balls, more like crispy grated potato bits.

The incident of the workman’s accident in the schoolroom has been on the news for the past few days. Nick has seen him a few times, and apparently he’s doing better. He might have to go to SA for special attention on one of his wrists, which was shattered. The work on the roof continues though. I think the skylights are going back in, which is a pity because it’s going to cost more, but it has to be done.

Nick has started a new series in bible study now, the Spiritual Gifts. It’s a good one, because he’s really emphasizing the fact that the pastor is not supposed to be doing all the work while everyone else has little involvement. We need some children’s ministries to be started, but Nick should not be the one to bear the burden…there are others that are capable!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I think we should buy putty

After my funny little story about how hilarious it would have been if I’d dropped the pumpkin, tonight’s supper actually did end up on the floor, and it wasn’t quite so funny as I would have thought. Supper was left-over meatball pasta, left over drumsticks from bible study and whatever tin of something I had yet to get from the pantry. Somehow I fumbled the bowl that had been in the microwave, so the pasta landed all over the floor. I had served about four meatballs before I dropped it, so at least we had those. Nick suggested takeouts, which would have been a lovely idea if anything had actually been open! I could have cried. I hadn’t had a very good day up to that point, so this just topped it off. I’ve started studying through Philippians with an Elizabeth George study guide, and today’s was the introductory lesson about Paul and Timothy being servants, and having that servant attitude, and joy in all circumstances, and grace and peace which are ours. Well I’m sure today was a day of testing and I failed in every way!

I cut Caleb’s hair today. After Nick’s shearing yesterday, Caleb wanted a cut too to look like his dad. I left a bit in the front, but it’s quite short. (The pic of Caleb on this e-mail was before the cut). It looks cute but a lot of the blonde is gone and it looks more strawberry, so the sun will have to work on that. I also finished off scraping the residue off the window and rehung the curtain, so now phase 1 of the stair/window project is complete. Phase 2 is painting the walls, and phase 3 is making decent curtains. We may get to phase 2 before you arrive, but definitely not the final phase as you will be bringing supplies for that one! I battled with one pane of glass because it was loose on two sides (not just loose, actually completely free-standing) and I don’t know how sturdy the other putty was. Some of the panes are being supported by nothing less than Prestik.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Napoleon's Tomb

Napoleon's Tomb

The first big thing that happened today was not a nice way to start the day. One of the workmen working on the schoolroom roof misjudged his position on the roof, stepped onto the asbestos and fell through the roof onto the floor below. It must have been about a six or seven meter drop, onto concrete. He broke both arms very badly, and we don’t know what else. His two shaken coworkers came to the manse to use the phone for an ambulance, which arrived in less than five minutes. The fire station also responded, and it wasn’t long before the St Helena Media van was also out front. The poor guy was rushed off to hospital and they would have operated on him today after stabilizing him. Nick was appalled at the way the emergency services handled him. After about three or four attempts to secure his neck with a brace, they gave up because they couldn’t get it on. Nick had to tell them what to do and how to do it, to warn them not to let his arms flop over the edge of the stretcher and things like that. Very worrying. I think the surgeon will be more skilled.

Apparently the government building committee was going to meet this morning in connection with the skylights, but we haven’t heard the result yet.

We cut Nick’s hair today. All of it, all off. It had been growing since before leaving SA, and I had only trimmed it once, so it was really getting quite long. I wanted to see how it would look longer, and this was an ideal opportunity, but we decided that it wasn’t really working anymore, so today was the day for it to go. I think people are going to be quite surprised to see his new hair-do! We shaved it on a #4 all over, so it’s really short.

I took the boys to Napoleon’s Tomb this afternoon. I hadn’t been before at all, so wasn’t entirely sure of the procedure, so when I got to the entrance off the road, I drove the car all the way down on the grassed driveway, but ended up getting into trouble for it because no “machines” are permitted down there. Well how was I supposed to know? The man who keeps the gardens in Sane Valley (the tomb’s site) was the one to rebuke me. I asked if I could just go and take some photos quickly, and then we’d be out of there, to which he agreed. He really wasn’t very happy. But wow, the setting of the tomb is so beautiful. It’s in a green valley with very well kept gardens.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Schoolroom Skylights

It’s been extremely windy today! I hope this isn’t ushering in a very windy autumn, we don’t really know what to expect. It feels like it should be just about to rain, but apart from a few drops earlier there hasn’t been much.

The golf refused to start this morning, so if we wanted to go anywhere it was on foot. Nick had planned to do a hospital visitation, so he had to walk there too. The boys and I had a very pleasant walk down to the market to return a DVD, then to Spar for bread. Caleb boldly squeezed my little half loaf of bread in front of about 30 others. Walking back we had a bit of rain, but because it was so windy, the drops dried before we were even home. It was fun, actually! At some point during the day, the second Ford was returned to us, although the golf is now also still sitting here, but thankfully now we have a reliable car. Steve and Maureen popped on late afternoon to give a report on the schoolroom roof…some comedy drama has gone on there – there are skylights in the roof, which originally were going to come out and be replaced by a Perspex sheeting, so the whole roof would be flat…then it was discovered that because the church is a ‘listed’ building (historically important to the island), and because the schoolroom is attached to the church, any structural changes have to be approved by the council and the ‘agency’. Therefore the skylights were going to be left in and redone. Anyway, today when Steve and Maureen popped in on the building to see how it’s progressing (because they’re on the building committee), it was discovered that the builder had happily removed the first skylight and had already put the timber in place to hold the Perspex. They didn’t know whether they should be delighted or distraught, since they (and Nick) had wanted only the Perspex, but there was some doubt, and long stories…but now it’s been done and can’t be easily undone. So we may have to put in a retro-application or something for it to be approved! What a muddle.

I spent a large part of the afternoon cutting up a pumpkin. Here’s a little story of how to have fun in summer: take one pumpkin. Get someone else to slice it open because you don’t have enough strength to do the first cut. Then proceed to slice and peel and pip the pumpkin in a hot kitchen on a hot day, thereby working up a sweat and almost blistering your hands. Then accidentally cut your hand with the sharp serrated knife, while your children come in and say “I don’t want that”. Then cook the pumpkin and drain it in a colander, but run out of time to do anything further with it, so subject your family to pumpkin in its mashed state for supper. Then, finally, drop the bowl of cooked mashed pumpkin on the floor. Isn’t that a good way to have fun? Fortunately this story does not describe my experience to the end, but wouldn’t it have been funny if I had actually dropped the bowl? The pumpkin is now in the fridge and ready to be frittered tomorrow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Scenery en-route to Sandy Bay

AGM and more beautiful scenery

We left at 1.30 for Sandy Bay (church started at 2.30), after a quiet morning at home. The service was very good, and the little chapel was packed. Nick preached on John 3:17->, on “Those who love Sin”, “Those who love Man” and “Those who love Jesus”. Very challenging message about the three responses to Christ - those who make excuses, those who have other loyalties and those who truly are serving God. It was quite hot in church. Aaron kept nodding off. Nick kept the service quite short because of the heat and the AGM to follow. The church didn’t have an AGM last year, so this was the first big meeting in two years. Nick chaired it and did very well. Five new members were welcomed into membership (Steve and Maureen included), and deacons were elected. One deacon, who had been so for fifty years, had stepped down, and the six remaining deacons (and deaconesses) were re-elected, with one new one. The AGM finished at about 4.50, after which we left the church, and took a scenic drive home through Greenhill (you’ve heard of Bluehill…there is a Greenhill too, which is green, and it’s a hill). It was a new part of the island for us and we were amazed at the scenery. Photos can’t really capture it, but we did try. The depth of canyons, the heights of mountains, the greenness of the plant life, the amount of vegetation…it was spectacular. The drive to Sandy Bay itself is also extremely beautiful. There are loads of Potato Bushes (I think they are Potato Bushes – they have a purple flower) intertwined with other vegetation, and growing abundantly on their own as well, so you have this incredible greenery punctuated with purple flowers. Wow. We continued our long drive home, and went past Redhill (which was a little red sand hill), and also saw a sign pointing to Silverhill. I don’t know how many other colour hills there are, but wouldn’t be surprised if there is a Brownhill too. We encountered a ruin and a HUGE tree. We arrived home at 6 pm, and then the boys had a bath while Nick and I made tuna snackwiches for supper. Aaron was practicing his winking, which he can do quite well, and chatting away, so Caleb told him he’s full of nonsense. “Noooo”, he said, “I’m full of food.”

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cars and walking

On Thursday night it rained a bit, and Nick, while driving from one bible study to another, had a slight mishap in our loan car. He applied brakes and turned the steering wheel while going around a sharp bend, but the car didn’t respond appropriately and so he drove into the bank. He wasn’t going fast, but one of the front lights is broken and the bumper was also damaged. Nick had to take it back to the garage yesterday though so they could fix it up. As it happens, the Golf has been sitting at a garage about two doors up from us, so we went along to see if it would start, and it did, so we’re using that car again.

We had to have the GNC in our house this morning, gulp, because of the schoolroom reroofing. There were 23 kids in our diningroom and then outside for some games. It was rather chaotic and we will be glad when the schoolroom is available again!! We had to shift all the furniture (except the table) into the lounge this morning, and back in again afterwards. Nick is still busy with his 10 commandments series.

After lunch at Ardees we went to Spar to find something in the picnic line for later, but all I bought was a packet of biscuits. There were no packets of chips, and only half-tubes of Pringles which I don’t buy anyway because they are so expensive. Popped home to put on walking shoes and collect hats and jerseys (just in case), and then left to meet up with Emma and Guy at White Gate for a little walk. They arrived shortly after 2, and we drove to the entrance of the George Benjamin BEM Arboretum, not quite in Bluehill but in that direction. What an incredible walk it was!!! It was absolutely beautiful in there, and shady in most parts, and quiet and lush. A bit of a steep incline to begin with, but not too strenuous. The boys ran on ahead with Bethany; it was very safe for them. Excellent views from the top there too, we could see right down to the Sandy Bay Chapel. The walk was fairly short, so then we went to Rosemary Plain for a picnic. We all played a bit of Frisbee then the boys (Nick and Guy) played cricket for ages. Came home, changed into costumes, then off to the pool. Aaron is now absolutely loving jumping into the pool and being thrown around in the water, same as Caleb.

Walking through the George Benjamin BEM Arboretum

Friday, March 17, 2006

No potatoes, how sweet

It’s been a stinker again today, so the slight dip in temperature must have been a once-off! The lady at Brown’s Video asked me today how I was handling the Saint weather, and I said that I was fairly used to it, because it’s only up to about 27 where in Pretoria it was into the 30s, but the humidity is the big thing. I never feel like I can’t breathe because it’s stuffy, it’s just that it’s sticky weather. Gross.

Not much happened today to report, other than that there are no potatoes available for purchase in the shops. There was a write-up about the potato and onion situation in last week’s paper, that not enough were imported and there are apparently not enough local ones to go around. I walked down to the Market this morning with the boys (they wanted to walk, and it was before 9 am so still a lot of shade). Had to wait around for a while because the St Helena Growers Co-Operative Society was still closed (that’s the place where the farmers sell their produce), so we sat on a bench inside the market and had a chat. Caleb’s favourite topic to chat about is Jesus, and Aaron always adds that he died on a cross, and Caleb reminds him it was for our sins. Then we chatted about smoking, but I don’t think I explained it very well, so maybe one day he’ll try it out! Anyway, asked for potatoes at the co-op and they only had sweet potatoes, so I got some of those. I have some recipes in the St Helena cookbook so I’ll try them out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Science can be fun!

Bullseye success at last

Caleb showed a big improvement on his reading and dipthongs today. He remembered ar and sh, and all the others I taught him yesterday. He can read words like “church” and “thirsty” now. First thing this morning I had to go to the schoolroom to take down all the paintings and HBC posters that we had put up. The schoolroom is going to be reroofed, starting on Friday, and since it’s an asbestos roof at the moment, everything has to come out because of the poisonous spores. Did an exciting science experiment with the boys after that, which involved vinegar, bicarb, dishwashing liquid and a volcano! After lunch Nick went into the schoolroom to take down the really big picture, the top of which I can’t reach, and then he also cleared out one of the little back storerooms, and found all kinds of interesting stuff, like more computer paper, and boxes of linoleum tiles, and 10 lunch box/juice bottle sets (the boys quickly acquisitioned one each, to their glee), and a dismantled jungle gym, which has been reassembled in our back yard. Nick and the boys went for a swim, and the plan was for me to walk down to the pool after I finished all the washing up and cleaning of the kitchen after preparing supper (see next paragraph…flies are a real problem), but by the time I got there, it was feeling a bit cold (the sun had gone from the pool) and Aaron was already out, and Nick and Caleb were about done, so I didn’t bother.

I took bullseye # 3 out the freezer this afternoon, and then found a recipe for “American Fish Pie”. Actually it was a great success – the cooked flaked fish gets mixed with white sauce and put into a casserole dish. Then hardboiled eggs are sliced and layered over that, and then a tomato sliced and layered over, followed by mashed potato and grated cheese, and then baked - drop me a line or comment if you want the recipe! It was delicious and the boys even loved it. Aaron finished before Caleb, which says a lot. The boys really enjoy fish, and they stood around like little vultures while I was flaking it, waiting for a nibble.

After supper we took our pudding to the top of Ladder Hill (we drove around, didn’t climb up Jacob’s Ladder) and watched the sun set over the sea. Not as spectacular as South African sunsets, but lovely all the same. It’s unusual to watch it setting over the sea. If we got up early enough and drove a little way, we’d see it rising over the sea too.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jonathan the Tortoise

Knollcombes Meander

I took the camera and the boys to Knollcombes this morning, after getting an early start to the day with school, at about 9.30. Managed to snap two fairy terns who were flying just above me, having a good look at me – one of them has its head turned to the camera, and it’s really quite a good photo although not as clear as it could be…it’s difficult trying to focus on moving objects! After Knollcombes we drove through Francis Plain and back up to Plantation House, to get more pics. The Knollcombes/Boer Cemetery outing is a nice little walk, nothing heavy, but very scenic. There are a couple of good walks through Plantation Forest too. It struck me today as I was walking through the woods at Knollcombes, how safe it is. There is no way that I would venture out with the boys in some secluded spot in SA, but here there was no question as to whether or not it would be wise. We are taking it for granted that it’s so safe here, and that if I had encountered anyone, I’m sure we would have had a very nice exchange of pleasantries! It’s good to stop and remember those blessings.

After a quick joint-effort tidy up of the house, we all went swimming, but the water is getting colder these days. In the country this morning, it was almost chilly, but not quite. Just cool enough that Aaron wanted to wrap himself up in the picnic blanket. He jumped into the pool today without any announcement or fanfare, it was so funny. He doesn’t close his eyes when he goes under the water, so comes up with his eyes open and a dazed look on his face.

School has been a bit frustrating lately, especially with Caleb and reading. I’m trying to teach him “ar” and “sh” dipthongs, but he keeps on forgetting them. I don’t know why it isn’t sticking, but I’m just drilling it in all day, every day. He also hasn’t quite figured out what comes after 19, 29 etc…that “twenty-ten” is actually thirty! Dot-to-dots are still a patience tester for me, because he doesn’t really concentrate on where to go next, so 34 can come after 25, no problem, which leaves you with a drawing of a man with half a leg or whatever the case. But we press on.

Today the boys were singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” but it’s usually “Ho Ho Ho Hosanna” or “I may never march in the infantry” completely out of tune and wrong words, but very heartily. Caleb said that Christians can’t really be soldiers (all the killing and stuff), so I explained the concept of us fighting the devil, even though we can’t see him, and how Satan comes to attack us by telling us to do naughty things, and we have to fight him by saying no. We’ll see what comes of that.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Interior of Spar, well-stocked after ship's arrival

Painting tips and Cricket

Today was very much an at-home day, other than a brief visit to Spar, where I finally bought mince. Also bought some brown bread for a change, but it’s definitely not as tasty as white. Supper was spaghetti bolognaise, with two batches extra to freeze. What a relief to have mince again. I cleaned up the whole downstairs window, scraping off the masking tape and then using turps to get the sticky bits away. It took about two hours to do that, but the turps worked well. A note to all would-be DIY homemakers - if you use masking tape on your windows and they get a lot of sun, take off the tape as soon as possible after painting. Leaving it there for two months while your country has a paint shortage is not a good idea.

My dad sent a very descriptive e-mail about yesterday’s very exciting SA/Aus ODI cricket match. We wish we could have seen it!! Congratulations to the Australian side on their record number of runs, but bigger congratulations to our home team for beating it and making such a history for themselves. Can imagine the excitement back home.

There's a friendly Spar wherever you are!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A good description of the island?

Masking tape disaster

It’s Sunday afternoon and Nick and Caleb are out swimming, and I’m sitting in the lounge with the laptop on my lap (fancy that), and Aaron is lying on the couch watching a video. I guess you could call what he has a cold, but his nose has only starting running today.

Today’s been okay, “not ta baaad” as the islanders would say. Nick left at 8, and I only got in the bath after he left. Had a leisurely time getting ready because I thought I could use up more of the morning that way, but the boys starting banging on the door saying I was taken too long. So, we had a short Sunday school lesson and sang a few songs, then made marshmallow cornflake thingies. The boys wanted them blue, but they came out slightly green. They were supposed to set and get cut into squares, but instead I rolled them up into little balls and coated them with icing sugar. They look like little green vegetables, but are very tasty! Then we started playing with Lego, which is when the phone started ringing…it was good to hear Ray’s voice, and then my parents. Then Wilson, the sender of our snack boxes phoned from Ascension, and he always enjoys a chat, so we spoke about the airport, racism, Nick and I getting fat, the weather and the change of seasons worldwide.

I took up the masking tape from the stairs today and the windows, and it’s a disaster. The masking tape pulled away varnish on the stairs, and also some of the paint, so there are bits where the green is visible again. In other places, the paint crept under the tape so there is white paint all over the place. On the windows, because the tape had been there so long and the windows get full afternoon sun, all the stickiness is left, so I’ll have to try use turps to clean the windows. What a mess! Almost wish I had stuck with the green… The walls now look even dirtier with the fresh white paint surrounding it, so that will have to be the next project. Nick is going to have to get involved on this one though as there are tricky bits going up the stairs.

Church tonight was disappointingly empty, but it was a very good message on John 3:16. To conclude, Nick said that Jesus is God’s best, the best that God has to offer. To reject Jesus is to say that God’s best is not good enough. Actually, he mentioned “to spit on it”, and to offer God our highest insult through our rejection of His Son.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Painting continues

It’s raining! It’s just started, and it sounds like it’s quite heavy. I got home about five minutes ago from getting a DVD from town, so I made it back just in time. Wonderful, lovely rain. Today the mercury sat at about 27 most of the day, even into the late afternoon after the sun had gone down. It doesn’t seem to cool down much in the evenings.

Today we took lots of photos. Nick drove to Bluehill and back, and I stood in the car looking out of the sunroof, and we took almost 100 pictures (deleted about half!).

GNC this morning was nice, Nick did the lesson on the Rich Young Ruler, as part of his series on the 10 Commandments, and the kids listened. Caleb answered questions as they were asked, and he does us proud with his knowledge of stuff! Then we coloured in a picture, and then played some balloon and paperplate races. 19 kids came, which is still a good number.

After lunch I set to work painting. I thought that I may as well get it over with, it’s an unpleasant job (I never enjoy painting with enamel). I finished in about two hours, maybe a little more. Tomorrow I will be able to take up all the masking tape and try to clean up all the paint drips that managed to find their way onto the steps. I was quite careful, but I guess it’s almost inevitable. The big problem comes when you forget there is a paint splot and stand on it, and then transport more little splots, gradually fading, onto other parts. Wow, it’s really raining quite heavily now.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Our article in the St Helena Herald

Newspaper Fame

Our HBC article was featured in the St Helena Herald. I thought it might get some good coverage, but didn’t expect it would get a full front-page, full colour prominence! There it was, the cover story in today’s newspaper. We were quite excited to see it there.

Apart from that, today was quite ordinary. Did school with the boys, then went to town to pay our telephone bill, look for white enamel which I found, so I can finish my painting project some time soon, over to Spar for bread and mince, neither of which they had, then to the docks to collect our photocopier toner. Then up to the Half Tree Hollow Spar to see if I could get lucky with bread, since the bakery is right there. I was lucky, even got six very fresh rolls, so lunch was salami, cheese and tomato rolls. Made a stew for supper during the early part of the afternoon while Nick was out at prison, then we all went swimming at 4. The water was cold today though. It’s been exceptionally windy today, and last night, and the temperature has dropped by about two or three degrees. It was still hot, but not sweaty, sticky hot. We didn’t stay at the pool too long.

Coming into town from Half Tree Hollow, down Ladder Hill, my ears have to actually pop because it’s such a steep descent. Kind of like when you’re coming down to land in an aeroplane. Our car goes up the hills so nicely, and it’s a novelty having a hooter that works. Still no word on the golf, and apparently the lawnmower is kaput, but Teddy might be able to organize a new motor for it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cable - yippeeee!

After five months of waiting, our camera cable has arrived. Certainly I am learning patience through living on this island! Not only did we get the cable, but we were on our way to the docks this morning to collect a parcel which was sent to us from Ascension, when we were flagged down by a stranger who asked if Nick is the Baptist Minister, and on confirmation, handed us a package of biscuits, which were actually addressed to the previous pastor, but since there is not much we can do with them otherwise, we had to just accept them. Collected our package from the customs hall (third time lucky, actually – I went early this morning but not all the goods had been unloaded off the ship yet, then Nick and the boys came back with me a little later, but still nothing. We must have looked a little desperate). We are now fully stocked up again with chocolates, chips, biscuits, puddings, hot chocolates…not that we are complaining, but how is one supposed to exercise self-control in a house with so much edible stuff?! Collecting things from the docks is really funny, there is basically no security there, but everything is safe. We’ve collected someone else’s parcels on a few occasions, and no one checks whether we are trustworthy and if we are actually going to pass it on to its rightful owner – we just take it. Anyone could do the same with our things, but I think there is a certain element of trust among the islanders. I went to the post office after 3pm, when they had finished sorting the 83 bags of mail which came from Ascension, and had to collect two parcels at the counter. One was the cable, which is now a highly treasured possession, and the other was a SonLight Cook Book. SonLight is the company that produces the homeschooling curriculum I will be using. Well, the curriculum hasn’t arrived yet, but since this free gift of a recipe book has made its way to the island, I’m sure the rest will follow within a month or two. We also received a letter and photos from Nick’s grandparents in Scotland, posted in November. It’s interesting that much of our mail has arrived via Ascension, and so late!

I took the boys into the schoolroom this morning and we did some painting. Actually we made wrapping paper by blowing paint through straws on brown paper. It was fun though I think the boys were nearly passing out from all their blowing. Then I started tidying out the Good News Club cupboard which was a mess and filled with junk. Sorted through crayons, felt tip pens, pencils, paints, paper and loads of other stuff. Didn’t throw away too much, but just reorganized and now the doors can even close.

Caleb is getting very good in the pool – he can now do a somersault into the water, and nearly drowned himself trying to do a backwards somersault with his armbands on. He got his head under water, but then didn’t know what to do with the rest of his body, and it took him a while to get orientated. Quite funny though. Aaron is happy to drift around in the pool with his armbands on, but doesn’t like to be thrown around as much as Caleb does.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Luncheon, darling

I bought a thermometer today, I have been curious as to what the island’s temperatures are. This afternoon it was 29 in the shade and 31 in the sun. Nick and I have spent some time this evening, from about 8 pm, sitting outside drinking tea and chatting, and it was 26 degrees. I bought a very basic thermometer – not that I had much choice, it was the only one the Emporium had – and doesn’t give the day’s highs and lows and that sort of thing. Serves the purpose though. The problem with the heat here is the humidity. Today there was no rain and it was a dry, blistery heat, but usually it is a suffocating sticky heat.

Now let me tell you about lunch today. It was at 12, and I arrived at Ann’s Place (a restaurant in Castle Gardens) promptly, along with some other lunch ladies. I was relieved to see there were quite a few ladies I knew, and I sat next to Alison, the Public Solicitor’s wife, who we met on the ship coming over. Lindsay was opposite Alison, and then next to them were Elsa and Estelle, two South African Afrikaans ladies. Elsa is the lady I met at the coffee shop a while ago, who I spoke to in Afrikaans. On my other side was a Saint I had not met before, and on her other side was Claire, the Governor’s wife. Opposite me was Margaret, a British lady who leaves the island tomorrow, whose husband works for DfiD (government thingie). The wives all seem to go by their husband’s profession, so when I introduced myself as Lynn, Claire looked at me for a further explanation so I had to say “The Baptist Minister’s Wife”. We’ve all lost our own identity! She said she had heard very good reports about the “bible holiday school”, so I spoke about that for a while, and how happy we were about how many kids had turned up, and how excited we were to see kids responding to the teachings which was the whole point, and that sort of thing. I alternated conversions between the five ladies on my left (Alison and co) and the four on my immediate right. There were about 25 ladies altogether, and a complete mix of islanders – some ex-pats, some locals, all professions and walks. Very nice. The food was good, we had tuna salad, cold meats, baked tuna, chicken drumsticks, salad, peas, carrots, roast potatoes, rice and curry. Pudding was fruit salad and ice-cream, yum!

Nick had a guitar lesson from 3-4 at Prince Andrew School, and we went swimming after he got home. The pool was quite busy, but it’s really fun – you see all your friends at the pool so it’s this big social thing. Emma and Guy were there with the girls, and some girls from holiday club, and some other people we know. Aaron has still been running a slight temperature today, but we thought a swim would cool him down nicely. The ship came back from Ascension today, and although it only docked at 6 pm, we could see it on the horizon from about 5:10. Ascension is north of us, and since Jamestown faces North, we can see the ship coming in. When my parents come, they will approach the island from the South East, and sail all around it until they come around the top corner and see Jamestown, so unfortunately we won’t see the ship coming from a distance. Tomorrow we will collect our parcel from the customs hall. We’ve seen pictures of Ascension, and it looks much the same as here except that they have white beaches. Apparently not a very nice place to live though because there’s nothing to do there, and the people who live there are only there for work. I don’t think anyone is allowed to own land (there’s been a whole big thing about it in the news – right of abode). Their shops are probably not too much better than ours, although they do have air access so would have regular supplies.

Poor Nick is sleeping on the bed in my craft room now, he’s so tired. I know he’s sleeping because his foot keeps twitching. It’s only 21h07 now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Roly poly jumps

“Granny and Grandpa, um, um, I did jump in the pool and I did a roly poly jump, you know how? You do a roly poly half way when you not in the water yet when you still in the air jumping and you also do do a roly poly half way when you are in under the water in the pool. Love from Caleb.”

I wasn’t at the pool to witness Caleb’s amazing jumps, but Nick says he is doing a somersault into the water. Aaron is sick again, running a temperature today, but otherwise his normal self. He still ate well and was cheerful, but we didn’t think swimming was a good idea.

Tonight we had battered tuna and chips for supper, because Aaron asks for fish and chips every night. Such a delicious meal. I bought fresh tuna today, and it was so fresh that the raw flesh was flaking apart when I was cutting it, and it was superbly tender. I added a cut-up tomato to my plate as well, which no one else thinks is a treat, I can’t understand why.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A quieter day

After all the activity of the past three weeks, today has been almost boring! But not really. It’s been quite a nice day, really. We’ve had some rain today, starting off early this morning, then a bit more at 8 am, then a light drizzle at 9 am, and a bit more drizzle around lunch time. Has been a bit cooler today because of it, but as soon as the rain stops and the sun comes out, it’s boiling again! Anyway, got an early start in the shops, heading to Spar to see if they had any mince yet, but still nothing new in the frozen section. Someone from the St Helena Herald had phoned Nick while I was out, and asked him to do a write-up for the paper about the holiday club, since they have the photos. That was quickly passed on to me, which I duly did, and took it to the newspaper offices after lunch. Sewed new net curtains for our bedroom and the boys’ room, the material for which I’d had for a few months, but was just waiting for a “round tuit”, which I got today. Nick did some visiting today, accomplishing two visits, and taught a guitar lesson to an 8-year-old today for half an hour. Caleb is dead set on learning guitar as well, so he sat in the doorway of the lounge watching everything that happened. Aaron, as usual, just wanted something to eat. I don’t think it’s that he’s always hungry, but he just likes to eat stuff, mostly sweet things.

I’m having lunch with the governor’s wife on Wednesday. It’s a buffet lunch at Ann’s Place, so I can safely conclude that it won’t be just me and her. I received a very formal invitation under the door last week, and since I hadn’t RSVP’d yet, I was phoned today from the governor’s office.

Church Service

I’m sure you’re keen to hear how the service was this evening. Well, it was packed! There were over 30 kids from the HBC, and many parents, grandparents and aunties came too. The church was absolutely full, it was wonderful to have so many people there, although very hot. Nick had to more or less shout the whole way through because there was a lot of extra shuffling and whispering from the kids who occupied the first few rows of pews, but he preached a clear gospel message. The whole service got a bit muddled towards the end because Nick changed the order of service mid-stream and left out the notices and offering, so tacked it on to the end and had two benedictions. But all in all it was a great time.

Our day was super. I spent a lot of time on the laptop this morning while the boys amused themselves, then Nick popped home for tea between services which was a nice surprise. Lunch was left overs from the braai, and I made a pasta salad and cut up a tomato (another whole one for myself), and we set up a table outside and ate on the patio. After lunch we mucked around outside for a while, and chatted, and the boys went for a sleep. Then later we drove to Longwood because we had communion this evening but I hadn’t bought the grapejuice (I thought it was next Sunday, see), so we were hoping that the shop at Longwood would be open. Unfortunately it was closed, so we had to use a pineapple flavoured juice concentrate, which was orange even after adding some red food colouring. Oh dear. After Longwood, and a bit of time at the playground, we went to the pool. Since it was overcast I didn’t consider it to be swimming weather so I read the newspaper instead. News of importance is that the ExCo is reconsidering the decision not to screen migrant workers for HIV. At present St Helena is thought to be AIDS free, and there is a big concern that the flood of workers for the airport will change that. Initially it was decided not to screen, but there has been a hooha so now they might. They jolly well should, if they want to protect their young people! Other news is that the Hutts Gate Store is falling down. Oh, I forgot to mention that a chap from the media services came to the HBC on Friday during the last half hour to take photos, so those will be going into this Friday’s paper.

Caleb drew a picture of what he dreams about when he cries – a page full of monsters. There is one particularly nasty looking one with big bunny ears and a big hand with 13 fingers. No wonder he is in such distress!

Nice hat

A long week has finally ended and now it feels like things can go back to normal. I’m still trying to sort the house out after the HBC and the braai and there is just so much disorganization everywhere that it’s taking a long time. Yesterday I was cleaning out the pantry a bit, and found a dead mouse on the floor, which had been hidden under something. I tried not to freak out too much but it was pretty gross. Caleb discovered me in my distress, and I asked him to please tell Nick so he could take it away, but Caleb came back and said that daddy said he can do it himself. So he did. He carefully picked it up by its tail, and having been dead for so long, the mouse was thoroughly stiff. “It’s crispy” Caleb said in delight.

I’m considering starting a discipleship group for young girls – mainly the girls from the HBC, who seem to be bored anyway and would probably welcome the opportunity of having something to do. If we do it, it would likely be on a Friday afternoon for an hour. I’m praying about it still. I’m just so concerned that they are going to flounder in their faith if there is not enough input, and I don’t think the Good News Club is going to meet their needs, although they did enjoy it yesterday.

Some tourists arrived on Wednesday with the ship, and there is one lady from England who we have seen at the pool a few times. She must be at least 80, with a very posh accent, and she thinks the boys are the most precious things she has seen, wonderful, darling, angels, so adorable, and so good. And you know the boys, they love chatting to all and sundry, so they will have a chat to this lady about anything, which puts her opinion of them up even more. She has 10 grandchildren, I think 8 of them boys. She wears a shower cap when she swims, and the boys think it’s very funny and they ask her about her hat. Caleb says he thinks it’s because she has washed her hair, so she doesn’t want it messed up in the pool. She just laughs. There is a definite “pool community” – you tend to see the same people at the pool at about the same time every day, and you become friendly with them.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Apples and tomatoes

I’ve just finished doing the bulletin, and now it’s photocopying. Our copier is running low on toner, and we are expecting another one from England soon, but until then we have to keep an eye on it.

Last night was our bible study braai (barbeque), which was a great success. I think in all we had over 30 people, including kids. The food was good, and the conversion was merry, although I didn’t join in much, being too tired. At one point Nick and I were both sitting here in his study while everyone else was downstairs enjoying pudding, and since some people were inside and some were outside, no one noticed that we were missing. We debated going to bed and letting them lock up on their way out, or having a rest and then reappearing when they showed signs of leaving, but we didn’t go with either plan. Eventually got to bed around 11 pm, but then Caleb was crying in his sleep again so that kept us awake a while longer. But it was good to sleep in this morning! We only had to be up at around 7 am for Nick to get ready for the prayer meeting, so that was really great. The boys got to bed at 9 pm last night, but Aaron was awake and ready for the day at his usual 6.30. Caleb only woke up at about 8 am! I asked Caleb if he remembers crying in his sleep, and told him that he must stop this nonsense because it is keeping us awake. He thought about that for a little while, and then apologized for it! Shame, that took the wind right out of my sails.

Today, then, I rushed off to Spar shortly after 9 because Brenda had mentioned that they had finally unpacked their fresh fruit, and it was going to be like a gold rush. Well fortunately it wasn’t too bad, but everyone was very excited about the fruit. I bought four apples only, because the peaches looked a bit green. 20p per apple. I went back to Spar later, on our way to the pool, because they had unpacked their tomatoes then too, so I picked up six firm ones from SA, and only 56p for all of them, which I thought was very reasonable, especially when compared to the 17p I paid for that horrible local one some time ago! Good News Club was at 10, and as we had hoped, a lot more kids joined than usual. We were happy with the numbers. Nick is doing an 11-part series on the 10 commandments, so that takes the pressure off the rest of the teachers for the next while. Some of the girls hung around again after the GNC, which we didn’t mind tooo much, although they never seem to know when to leave, so they just stay and stay until one of us really has to be firm and kick them out. It gets annoying, because one really does want a start time and an end time to ministries. Still had a lot of cleaning up to do, both from the HBC and last night’s do, so really wanted to get stuck in.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Too hot

We had a good final day of the HBC – 52 kids! They have really enjoyed it, and it was good to wrap it up properly. We did thank you’s to the leaders and helpers, and gave out prizes for those with perfect attendance (31 kids attended every day). Many of the kids have said that they definitely want to come to the good news club, so it will be interesting to see how many actually come tomorrow. Went swimming this afternoon, and it was nice to see some of the kids from the HBC. We definitely feel like we have gotten to know some of them. We look forward to Sunday night, with the guest service. The kids are about 95% outsiders, ie completely unchurched with unchurched parents. That is why it is such a good outreach ministry – get the kids in, and thereby attract the parents.

The Saints are complaining about how hot it is – which is good in a way, because it means that this heat isn’t something they’re just used to, which means that they don’t live with it all year round. We are definitely looking forward to autumn and winter!! The nice thing is that it’s really pleasant to sit outside at night, which we are doing tonight at our bible study braai.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Two conversions

Two names have been added to the Book of Life today!!! Praise the Lord. I shared the gospel with two girls after the club today, they were just hanging around and I was trying to get rid of them because I needed to get home to feed the boys and so on, but eventually we got chatting about death, and I said they might die today and not when they’re 60 years old as they said, and then I asked them the EE3 question, if you were to die today and Jesus asked you why he should let you into heaven, what should you say? And that was my starting point. I asked if they wanted to hear the gospel, and they did, so I shared it very simply. Then one girl asked how to become a Christian, so I explained all the steps (acknowledge you’re a sinner, believe in God and Jesus his Son, accept Jesus’ death for your sins and his gift of life), so then she wanted to know BUT HOW – so I prayed with them both. They were both very excited, and as soon as Nick came back after dropping off people, they told him too. I am so excited. We will have to wait to see if this has been a real conversion experience though by the fruit of it, but I have encouraged them to come to the Good News Club on Saturdays, and to church, and to read their bibles and pray.

Other than that, today was hectic as usual. We had 49 kids today! The craft today, which was pompoms for the two older groups, was a bit of a disaster because some of them just couldn’t do it, and their wool tangled, and they ran out of time, but some others managed fine. The youngest group, which I have in the middle section of the day, did seed mosaics which was great, just finished quite quickly, but then we played hiding sheep. Nick’s activities were mostly water based as that is what the kids enjoy the most – water balloons, or throwing water soaked sponges at one another, that sort of thing. His t-shirt was completely mud-spattered by the end of the day, so is in the wash now. I believe Caleb contributed a great splat to the back of it.

I went to the shops this afternoon to buy final supplies for tomorrow. They don’t have any fresh produce yet, or any of the frozen stuff. Apparently the frozen stuff is only getting offloaded tomorrow, probably the fresh things too. What a bother! Had to also go to the docks to collect more rocks, and the sea was coming up quite high, so Caleb and I had to watch the waves and be sure we didn’t get in the way. I did feel the water as it was receding though, and I think it’s the first time that I’ve actually felt the Atlantic Ocean. It was warm. I was tempted to take off my shoes and stand on the stones a bit further down, but I thought better of it – didn’t want to slip or cut my feet open or anything! Nick’s toe is very sore (the one he dislocated yesterday). His foot is a bit swollen. He’s pretty sure it’s not broken though, because he’s had a broken toe before and this is nothing like that.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Popped toe and missing ring

Today’s HBC was good, 43 kids came. Another 6 new ones, so in total I think we have had about 51 kids come through the doors. They are really enjoying the singing, and getting louder every day. I was worried about my crafts for today, which was melting marshmallows over candles and squishing them between marie biscuits for the two older groups. It could have been a disaster with all the little candles and wax and flames, but I found extra volunteers (rather, the Lord sent an extra helper today), so all was well controlled. The last group took all the candles home with them, I guess they all want to try it out at home! Nick’s activities went well too, although he is battling to keep the youngest group entertained. I guess the teaching slots are also going well, haven’t had too much feedback about those.

This morning we didn’t get off to a good start. Aaron lost my engagement ring, and no amount of beatings would get out of him where he lost it, so we spent about half an hour searching fruitlessly. Then, Nick caught his little toe at the top of the stairs and dislocated it, and he had to actually pop it back in place. This was more or less an hour before we were due to begin. Nick thought maybe we were under attack! Had to really pray for God’s grace today, and He got us through. We are getting to a point in the HBC now where we are building up a rapport with the kids, and they are becoming more than nameless faces in a crowd. On Sunday night we are having a guest service, and we are going to draft a letter for the kids to take home to their parents to invite them to come to the service. We will incorporate a few songs from the week, and get the kids to stand on the stage, so hopefully it will encourage the parents to come. A lot of what we are doing we have made up as we go along. It’s been a growth curve! Anyway, after the club ended, we came home for lunch and I searched for the ring again, and thankfully found it in Nick’s office. Such a relief.

Can you believe all the shops are closed, on the day the ship finally comes back. You would think they would stay open on a Wednesday afternoon if there are a whole bunch of tourists who have just landed, but no. I was hoping to get a nice plump tomato, or at least a loaf of bread for tomorrow. So I still can’t come up with anything decent for supper. Last night it was vegetarian viennas on bread, sort of a hotdog gone wrong. Actually quite tasty though.

Oh, we now have another different car. Now I can get more confused. Now it’s an 1800 Ford, hatchback thingie, with a sunroof and electric windows. It’s a bit of an upgrade. We should be getting the golf back soon, if the ship brought all the correct spare parts. What it didn’t bring was a camera cable, but by now I’m not expecting it anymore, so no great disappointment.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lynn the would-be car thief

Second day of holiday club down, three more to go. Today we had 42 kiddies, although six were new, so some didn’t come back, but might come again tomorrow or the next day. I guess it depends on the parents’ schedules too. We had a good day again, although Nick’s activities for the youngest kids (Caleb’s class) flopped a bit, and my craft for the middle group didn’t work too well, it seemed to be too difficult for them. They were supposed to make an elephant out of cardboard, but the group leaders and I had to basically make all of them. But other than that, it was great. The singing part, yesterday and today, was really good, they are learning some new songs and singing loudly and enthusiastically on songs they know. Nick used the mic and also amplified his guitar, which made a big difference, and helped in that he didn’t have to strain his voice. We’re still finding that we have too much time to kill, so tomorrow we might show a veggietale video, which will be appropriate to the theme of peace.

I nearly stole a car today. I think I have mentioned before that no-one bothers to lock their cars, the windows are all open, and security just isn’t a problem. Well, off I went to town after the HBC today to buy some more supplies (biscuits) and stuff. I came back to the car (the temporary Ford), put my shopping onto the seat through the open window, walked around to the drivers’ side, got in the car, and when I tried to start it, the key didn’t want to turn. I thought maybe the steering wheel had locked, so fiddled a bit, when suddenly it dawned on me that actually I wasn’t even in my car. How embarrassing. I picked up my parcels, got out of the wrong car, and walked further down the parking bays to get to the right one! It was really bad. I don’t know how many people saw, but there was one chap who gave me a very odd look as he was driving down the road while I was sitting in this car. Unfortunately he was driving up the road in the other direction when I was walking to the right car, and used the opportunity to give me another strange look.