Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bible Study "light meal"

Rupert's Bay

Rupert's Bay

The last thing needing doing on mom and dad’s St Helena “To Do” list was to visit Rupert’s Bay. Today was a bright and clear day, perfect weather for the beach. It was the first time we were at a beach where the tide was low enough for there to be sand for the boys to run on, and that was in a sort of protected area which would periodically fill and empty with sea water. We have video footage of them screaming with joy as only children on a beach can do. Rupert’s Bay is where the petrol and diesel get pumped off the tanker and stored, as well as where the electricity generator is located. Dad wanted to see as much of the inner workings of the oil business on the island as possible, having worked for Caltex most of his life, so he did a walking tour and even managed to find himself a tour guide - an employee on the site who graciously showed him around. After a quick tea-picnic, dad then walked to the other side of the bay where he watched bags of ice being loaded onto a barge, to be taken to the nearby fishing vessel, in preparation for their next fishing trip.

A surprise was in store for mom and dad at bible study tonight - the folk had organized a supper (with Nick’s permission) in lieu of an actual study. Dad was puzzled to see a bowl of carrots taken to the diningroom instead of the usual selection of cake, but they were both overwhelmed when the table filled up with all sorts of supper dishes, particularly when it dawned on them that this had been arranged in their honour. Pudding was another whole meal, with four different trifles, two kinds of ice-cream, peaches, custard, cake…we had to very carefully pack the fridge to fit in all the leftovers at the end of the evening.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Augustine Bookroom...humble beginnings

Augustine Bookroom opens

We had a combined church service today, with all four congregations coming together for a service in Jamestown at 14h30. This morning therefore was free, and we used the opportunity to celebrate my birthday a few days early, opening presents just after breakfast. Nick and I set up the books for the booktable - today being the historical opening of the brand new Augustine Bookroom. The table was in operation after the church service (yes, doing business on a Sabbath!), and over half the books were sold within about an hour. It was a very encouraging start to this little ministry! As usual, the fellowship time was characterized by 90% of the people sitting on benches around the perimeter of the schoolroom while the other 10% served tea and cake to them.

Aaron had an accident today, toppling off a chair onto the floor using his head to break the fall. When the usual wails brought us rushing, Nick assessed that something was quite wrong with him, as he seemed to be flopping and unable to keep his head up. We lay him on the floor, and he seemed to pass out briefly, going limp and his eyes rolled around. Thankfully he came to again quickly and continued crying. He didn’t vomit (for any medical people out there reading this who would know to check for signs and symptoms of something serious), but Nick held him for a long time until he was okay. He was pale for a while after that, but seems to be absolutely fine again. We were all shaken and I thought about how fragile a life can be. We can only give thanks to God for watching over him and preventing a more serious accident.

We took mom and dad to the docks at about 17h40 today, and walked about a bit, before capturing the sunset on two digital cameras and a video camera. The sun is setting just after six at the moment; in summer it was about half seven. Out of interest, we’ll go back and watch the sun set on 21 June and record the time!

Sunset at James' Bay

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Diana's Peak

After the Good News Club today, two girls stayed behind because they wanted to become Christians. I was again privileged to explain the gospel to them and pray with them. These girls are best friends with the two girls who committed their lives to the Lord at the Holiday Club, so the original two have been witnessing! We give the Lord praise to see growth, and continue to pray for these young Christians.

The schoolroom reroofing is now complete, so a workparty was undertaken to remove the junk from the schoolroom, and clean and dust everything, which was unbelievably dirty after the two months or so of building operations. The work went quickly, with a group of about 8 people pitching in. We are thankful to the Lord for His provision of finances for this project to be undertaken - it was leaking quite badly. We are also relieved that the Good News Club will no longer be held in our diningroom - furniture shuffling is not one of my favourite ministries.

Dad wanted to do the Diana’s Peak walk, and since Nick is more or less free on a Saturday, we thought it best to tackle it today. Mom was very happy to be at home with the boys, so after lunch we drove out to the entrance of Diana’s Peak National Park. It’s in a particularly beautiful part of the country, with spectacular views of lush green valleys and flax-covered cliffs. We picked the shorter two-hour walk, and when we arrived back at the car we were surprised to discover, that with stopping along the way, we had taken exactly two hours! My dear husband picked a flower for me on the way which was nearly as tall as I - I have never seen such a long arum lily. Some parts of the walk were quite steep, which is to be expected since we were ascending the highest peak on the island, at 823 metres. Diana’s Peak and the National Park surrounding it is almost in the middle of the island, and afforded us an almost 360º degree view of sea, valleys, cliffs and houses. Apparently there is what is known as a Cloud Forest in that area, which we could see. At times we were walking in clouds with 100% humidity, and we could actually see the clouds moving and forming and blowing just beneath us or ahead of us. One has to really experience it in person to appreciate it, but it was a very uplifting time!

The long arum at Diana's Peak National Park

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Let's go fly a kite!

On Friday Nick went to the local radio station to do some recordings for “Thought for the Day” which will be aired at 6 am over five weekdays. He did a short series on the Psalms. He tries to do something biblically sound, as most of the other “thoughts” are cute anecdotes and other nonsense. He was rebuked for being a minute over time. Since he had finished his prep for Sunday, he was able to drive us to Horse Pasture, where we had a picnic lunch and flew the kite. The conditions were again ideal for us to launch “Skye-yeye Dragon” and she flew beautifully. Nick had to be back at the prison for his Friday afternoon ministry at 14h00, so we wrapped it up and headed home.

Steve and Maureen had arranged a small party at Ann’s Place for Friday evening, and there were 12 of us in all. It was a super evening. Mom and dad thoroughly enjoyed the island cuisine, and it was certainly an excellent spread of dishes - baked stuffed tuna being the favourite. Spotted Dick for pudding didn’t sound appealing, but actually wasn’t at all bad.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Gardening and Ship Watching

Today we (dad, Caleb and I) went to Knollcombes to dig up some plants, with permission, from the Baptist Chapel grounds. Got quite a bit of stuff, and then drove a bit further out towards Bluehill and dug out some Arums from the side of the road, and even found an agapanthus or two. Came home and planted it all, and Nick also helped with that as he had finished his prep. So at the moment it’s looking great, but Nick and dad don’t hold out much hope for most of it surviving. The soil is quite porous and basically pretty rubbish, and the arums need a lot of watering which we can’t really provide (have to be responsible with the island’s resources). But anyway, it looks nice at the moment. I took a photo so that all posterity may know that at one time the Baptist Manse had a lovely front garden.

The ship came back from its Cape Town voyage this morning. We decided to be at the docks to meet it, just for fun, so I did my Jacob’s Ladder walk, from which vantage point I saw the ship come around the corner to the anchorage, and then descended to join mom, dad, and the boys. We watched the first busload (ex-boatload) of passengers come through the barriers, and then mom and I took the boys to the coffee shop for a milkshake. It was strange to have a milkshake at 8.30 am, outdoors, with rain blowing around, but there we were. There was an umbrella up which protected us from the drizzle, but the boys sat under the table anyway just to be sure.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mom the Fixer

Today has been a home day because the weather has been inclement, still very windy and grey skies with a little rain in between. Dad and Nick worked in the front garden – they have taken up most of the existing plants (weeds) which had died off, and raised the level of the garden with extra soil lying in the driveway which needed to be used. There was some debate as to what was going to become of the soil, but Nick had plans and those were followed! Mom made soup for supper and actually managed to light the gas cooker by herself. The big joke of the thing was that one of the front plates hadn’t been working for months, and we had been trying to get hold of a new cooker, instead of trying to repair the old one. But lo and behold, mom, without knowing that it wasn’t supposed to be working, lit it and had no problems with it. It’s been working ever since!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Examining the little coffee trees

Coffee Plantation

I took mom and dad and the boys to one of the coffee plantations at Rosemary Plain. Unfortunately it’s not the cherry picking season, so all the coffee cherries were green and there was no real action going on, but the owner showed us around and explained the process from planting a bean, to seedling, to planting the young tree, to harvesting, sorting, separating, draining, sorting and roasting and grinding. They package their own coffee and sell it at the St Helena Coffee Co (which they run), so it was very interesting to see the whole process. The trees take about two years of growing as little seedlings in black bags before they’re actually ready to transplant as a tree.

Had to go to town this morning for a couple of things, particularly bread. At 10.00 the bread hadn’t come in yet, so we did the other shopping and then returned shortly before 11, at which time it still hadn’t come in. I and one other lady stood around waiting because rumour had it that the bread was shortly to be delivered…by the time it came about ten minutes later, a crowd of about 25 had gathered. When it was wheeled in through the back doors in trolleys, it was like a feeding frenzy in a shark cage…25+ pairs of hands grabbing loaves out the trolleys. Not much of it actually even made it to the shelves. It was bizarre.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wrong doctrines

Today was a windy, rainy, grey, warm day. Not that there was so much rain, but the sun only came out a few times and mostly it was just rather dull outside. So we opted for an indoor day, playing Scrabble, mandolin, mucking about and so on. It was unfortunately a public holiday today and so all the shops were closed – which caught me unawares with no bread in the house, except for two rolls in the freezer! The horrible thing about public holidays here is that everyone takes them very seriously, so absolutely nothing is open. You can’t exactly pop out to the local mall and get take-outs for supper… Dad and I took a walk down to town just to check, and on the way back walked up “The Run”. The Run is a very big gutter which runs from up at the top of town all the way down to the sea, and most of it can be walked. It can be dangerous in sections, and someone recently fell into it in an inebriated state and died. Nick had to go to Vincent’s house this afternoon to collect a box of books, so dad and I went for the drive. He lives extremely far away, about a half an hour drive, but a very scenic drive. Had a pleasant stay, and Vincent played a song on his mandolin to show me how it’s done!

Nick and I attended a funeral recently of a person who, by virtue of birth, belonged to the Church of England. The Bishop took the funeral and boldly proclaimed that we pass from death to life at our baptism as an infant. Of course this is absolute unbiblical heresy, because only faith in Jesus Christ can save us and give us eternal life. It was a false comfort to those who were mourning, and to preach such a thing at a funeral particularly is so dangerous. So Nick, in his sermon last night, made it very clear that the only way to pass from death to life is at salvation, not by works or baptism, but faith alone. The rest of his sermon was about resurrection and judgment, continuing in his series in John, but I unfortunately missed some of it because Aaron was sick and I took him home.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Lunch was out in the country today with church folk. We had warned my parents that there would be lots of food, and so there was. It was a braai with about four different types of meats, along with about five or six other dishes of salads and things. It was a superb afternoon of laughter and comfortable chatting.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ridge Walk

Good News Club this morning - hopefully the second to last one in our house, since the schoolroom is nearly finished and we are having a work party next Saturday to get it cleaned and ready for next Sunday’s combined service and tea. It will be a relief not to have to shuffle furniture around every Saturday morning, and make sure that 15 or more pairs of dirty feet have been sufficiently wiped! The Club was good though, and the children are asking questions, which is encouraging since the questions are fairly intelligent and indicate an understanding of the teaching.

Nick, dad, Caleb and I went for a walk along the ridge of one of our valley’s mountains (does that sentence make geographical sense?) It was so windy that sometimes we’d lose all momentum for the next step. Fantastic views of Jamestown and Rupert’s Bay from the old battlements where canons are still firmly in place.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Out about town

You know who!

Coffee at St Helena Coffee Co

Finished bedroom

First Date

For your viewing pleasure, a photo of our finished bedroom is here. We bought two cute paintings at Queen Mary’s, £6.36 each which is good considering they are nicely framed and actually original works of art - you can see the texture of the paint, and they are all unique though similar. I had to rush Nick out to the shops during a 20 minute gap he had for him to okay them!

Mom wanted to go out for tea yesterday morning (I think they are missing Wimpy), so we took ourselves to Ann’s Place in Castle Gardens. I’m not sure whether they are actually open for tea, or if they only do lunches and dinners, but there were no patrons in the restaurant and the only staff member was on the telephone and ignored us, so we left and went to St Helena Coffee Co instead. It was pleasant as always although quite windy outside.

This morning we drove to Prosperous Bay Plain on the eastern side of the island, past Longwood, where the airport will eventually be built. It is always an interesting drive, and dad was quite taken aback with the trees which are so windswept that they now grow at an angle. We drove around for a long time after that looking for a suitable picnic spot since it was drizzling and cold at Longwood. We ended up halfway home before stopping! Lunch at Ardees in the Market after that, and then dad accompanied Nick to his prison ministry.

Nick and I had a long awaited ‘date’ at Ann’s Place for dinner, which had been prebooked. We were the only people there for the first hour, after which two other gentlemen came in. Supper was three huge tuna steaks each, an enormous bowl of chips, and salad, with apple crumble and ice-cream to follow. We surely do miss being able to go to a proper restaurant, without booking in advance, and ordering something off the menu! But it was a good evening nonetheless.

Miss St Helena 2006 took place last night at the Consulate Hotel. 14 young ladies entered, and the winner received £500, with all the runners up receiving consolation prizes.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Last of the Triopses

I played the mandolin for a while tonight – getting much better, I’m learning some new chords every day and my chord changes are getting quicker. I didn’t know how difficult it would be to learn a new instrument – all entirely new chords, it’s nothing at all like playing guitar. So I’m struggling a bit and getting frustrated, but it’s nice to see (hear) progress. Nick, on the other hand, already sounds like he’s been playing it for years, he’s quite good and it’s encouraging to hear that it really can sound lovely.

All the sewing for our bedroom is finished now and I put it in our room this evening, working in the dark a bit though because of two power failures (the first we’ve had since being on the island, at night anyway). Still a few finishing touches to do, so I’ll post a photo when it’s completely done.

The triopses are totally grossing me out now. This afternoon there were five of them left; now there is one last one, with the two huge ones lying motionless at the bottom of the tank. I don’t know what the cause of death was but I can’t say I’m too cut up about it. I spotted a gecko eyeing them out.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Painter found

Today I set dad to work with a paintbrush. The master bedroom is being redecorated, and the first thing was to trim the carpet where it curled up against the skirting. Then we had to paint the skirtings, windowsill, doors and pelmets to get rid of the last of the “government green”, and it’s now a fresh white. Unfortunately this now highlights how dirty the walls are, but repainting that will wait for another day or month. It took us most of the day to do all the coats of paint, but it’s a relief to have it done. One can’t really have three different tones of green in a room, somehow it’s not too pleasing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Triops update and dog bite

The triopses are getting interesting. There are two really big ones, about 2cm by now from head to the end of their bodies, not counting the spiked tail at the end. There were about 10 yesterday, and now we can only see about 6. Suspect the big ones are eating the little ones when they are moulting (have seen lots of empty exoskeletons floating about). The big ones are extremely ugly now, with all sorts of pointy bits coming out their sides, and lots and lots and lots of legs, and their scaly backs. It’s kind of like having cockroaches for pets – one doesn’t really know if one should keep feeding them and letting them live. Still, we’ll see how long the experiment lasts.

Aaron got bitten by a dog yesterday on his face. Not very bad, and it was partially his fault because he petted the dog from behind, so the dog twirled around and just caught Aaron on the bridge of his nose and grazed his chin. He was quite upset so I rushed him home and administered sugar granules and antiseptic creams.

Today I took mom and dad to High Knoll Fort, which they both found very interesting, and then to the Knollcombes Baptist Chapel and the Boer Cemetery. It was great to be out with them, and show them the island spots about which we’ve been thinking “mom and dad will love this bit”.

Dad did his “Sweet Hour of Prayer” farmer poem after bible study tonight, and the people thought it was very good. Then we all sang some Sankey hymns after that. Our people are really mom and dad’s kind of people…takes them to way back when they used to sing all those hymns three decades ago.

Monday, May 15, 2006

We're waaaaaalking in the rain

The triopses are growing all the time. The biggest two are about a centimeter head to tail, and the smaller ones are about 7 mm. There must be about 15 of them, in constant motion. I’m sure they only have two eyes though – I can make out two black dots in front of their heads.

Lunch was fishcakes made with Wahoo, and one of my better batches. It always helps when people give you hints and tips - like using raw fish! Mom, dad and Caleb went for a walk after lunch, in what started out as a gentle drizzle. Unfortunately it turned into quite a heavy downpour shortly after they had set off, but it was enjoyable anyway (Caleb didn’t think it was so great since his legs got wet). All part of the fun.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Dolphin trip undertaken today…though technically we couldn’t call it a dolphin trip because we only saw two of them, and swimming very slowly at that. Very disappointing to have dad with us and not see the schools we saw last time. We spotted a few flying fish which were interesting to see - since I’ve never before seen them, I’m going to assume all the blog readers haven’t seen them either and describe them. They are fish, and they fly. Probably that’s why they are called flying fish. Really, they fly for a couple of metres just above the water, and their fins look like wings. We saw plenty of skuas, which are brown terns (those are birds). It was a good morning though, and nice to be out on the boat. We sailed quite a distance from the island looking for the dolphins and the sea was quite rough, but since we were only out for a short time, no one got sea-sick. And no hats were lost this time!

On the Gannet Three

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sandy Bay

Nick finished his sermon prep early today, which left him free to join us for an excursion. Since he was driving, we went to Sandy Bay (I won’t drive those roads myself!). We had a bit of a picnic as usual, but after pouring tea and making sandwiches, we were rained out. We quickly got things into a deserted corrugated tin shanty nearby, after unsuccessfully setting up a makeshift cover with the picnic blanket. But after a few minutes the rain stopped and we could carry on what we had been doing. We rolled up our pants and walked in the black sand, and felt the cold Atlantic water. Sandy Bay is one of the few places you can actually walk on the beach.

Sandy Bay beach

Friday, May 12, 2006

Island Style Confidence

I’ve mentioned a few times that security and trust on the island is very different to SA. Let me quote what dad had to say about it:

“Lynn bought something at the Emporium on Tuesday and left it on a shelf at the entrance to the shop. She forgot all about it, and when she just happened to go into the shop again yesterday she recognized the parcel on the shelf and realized that it was her parcel from the day before, so she just picked it up and carried on with her day. As you know I did Jacob’s Ladder on Monday, so I went into the Museum this afternoon to get a certificate to prove that I had done it. No problem, the lady just printed out the certificate. I said “How do you know that I actually did it?” She just said “We trust. If you’re not trustworthy, you are the loser.” OK. She said the certificate would cost £ 2.50. I said I wasn’t sure whether I had enough on me. “No problem, bring it next time you pass this way.” But how about this one: Mom and I went for a walk down town this morning, and Lynn said she would follow later in the car and meet us somewhere in town, so she gave me the walkie talkie. While we were in a shop called London Gift Shop, she called me just to make sure that I could respond. In a moment of absent-mindedness I left the instrument on the counter and continued our walk down town. About an hour later a lady came up to me in another shop and said she was glad to have found me because she wanted to return the walkie talkie. I had not even missed it and thanked her profusely. She said she had phoned the local radio station, and they were sending out a broadcast message every half hour, presumably asking the gentleman who had left a walkie talkie at London Gift Shop to come and collect it. She said she would phone them again to discontinue the broadcast as she had found me.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Our babies hatched!

We’ve played French cricket a few times, with the new set…once at the Good News Club, and once at Rosemary Plain with mom and dad. That was quite fun. Mom’s actually not a bad batslady.

Anticipation heightened today as we anxiously awaited the birthing of our little Triopses. And finally they hatched! There are a number of the little darlings swimming around in their tank on the diningroom windowsill, which is being warmed and lit by our bedroom lamp. The dears are about 1mm long but we expect them to double in size by tomorrow. We started the process yesterday with getting spring water, getting the temperature stabilized, and putting the sand and eggs in, and then today I crushed pellets and fed them. I lay awake last night wondering if their water was warm enough, so today we put the lamp in. I’ll leave them in the kitchen tonight with the lamp on and some foil over part of their tank so they can have a shady place to rest (this is all according to the instructions). The whole thing is really cool! I hope they don’t die off overnight, but I have to restrain myself not to overfeed them. We’ll tell you their names when we’ve worked out their genders.

Mom and dad had a day of Napoleonic history, first visiting the house at the Briars Pavilion where he lived for a few months after arriving on the island, while waiting for the renovations of the Longwood House to be completed. Then they had a conducted tour of the Longwood House, and finally we drove to the site of the tomb in Sane Valley.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Triops...will they work?

Since Aaron loves little creatures so much, Alan and Kate sent over a science experiment kit where you can grow little sea animals called “Triopses”. They are supposedly from the Jurassic age. We had to go to Bluehill to get spring water (it’s literally available on tap, for free, at Bluehill) because they can’t hatch in chlorine water. I’ve followed all the instructions so we wait to see what happens with them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What we're up to

Today we celebrated Caleb’s 5th birthday by taking mom and dad to Rosemary Plain for a picnic and cricket. Caleb was happy enough with this small party since he had a cupcake with a candle in it and we sang to him, and there were some more presents for him…what more does a five-year-old need by way of party? The boys are enjoying having their grandparents around, and every morning they creep into the guest room to have a chat with their granny and grandpa.

Dad did Jacob’s Ladder this morning, and for a 70-year-old, his 15 minutes was excellent. He went on a Charabanc tour on Saturday which gave him a good overview of the island.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Saint turtles

Nice to have company on a Sunday instead of the usual lonely blah blah. Dad went with Nick to the Knollcombes Chapel, and I spent some time in the kitchen preparing lunch, which was a braai without braaing (grilled drumsticks and salads – fresh tomato, yummy!) I set up a table outside and it was pretty great. I highlighted my hair this afternoon so I look properly blonde again (didn’t do a very good job of it so my roots are still dark, in true blonde fashion). Steve and Maureen came around for tea, and Steve told lots of interesting island stories. Then it was church, which was great – quite full, there were 31 adults.

Some news on the island – a turtle laid her eggs on Sandy Bay Beach. Now this is a big thing because there are no turtles on St Helena – they are vast in Ascension, but none here. So this turtle must have become disoriented and settled here. The eggs have been settled into an artificial nest by the Agriculture and Natural Resource Development team, and we’re all hoping that they’re going to hatch and do well. It will be pretty awesome if St Helena can have a turtle population! Apparently turtles tend to return to their birthplace for breeding, so it’s unusual that this one is here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

First exploration

Yesterday morning we drove out to Plantation House. This was the first proper glimpse of the inland of the island, and mom and dad were suitably impressed. We had a picnic on the field, they saw Jonathan, and then we took a walk through Plantation Forest. Dad got into trouble with the governor’s security people for getting too close to the car. There was quite a long sunny uphill bit and mom had to go slowly, but other than that they really enjoyed it. Stopped off at Half Tree Hollow Spar for bread, and dad was excited to spend some money at last – on Pringles and reduced (outdated) ginger beer! After lunch everyone drifted their own ways and I started fiddling on the mandolin, learning a few chords. It’s way different to guitar, so I have to learn it from scratch.

This morning Nick and I set off on our exercise missions together, since we have live-in babysitters. We both did the Jacob’s Ladder bit, although Nick went all the way to the top and I didn’t, then we came down together and he went off for his swim while I walked home. But we had a good close up view of a fairy tern – two of them, actually, who wanted to see people up close and so hovered about a metre above our heads for a long time. I almost thought they might even land on my outstretched hand, but that’s quite optimistic.
We heard on the news this morning that the ship’s crane had problems yesterday when they were unloading the containers, and they had to stop for a while and fix it. The poor old tub. First the engine, now the crane. If the crane actually breaks and can’t be repaired, we’re pretty much done in as far as supplies go. They would have to open up all the containers onboard and manually unload everything, which would take weeks…definitely wouldn’t work.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Unpacking the suitcases!

Christmas in May??

Here’s what we’ve been up to today: opening presents! Ha ha, not really all day, but wow, we have been spoiled. We collected the huge suitcase and two togbags from the docks this morning and didn’t have to pay any import customs whatsoever. The mandolin also came through yesterday with no charge. We were a bit concerned about the duties we would be paying, so were relieved to get everything cleared.

After opening everything, and leaving the lounge in a shambles (and the kitchen, and the stairs, and bedrooms, and the spare rooms), we set off to town on foot. We took a slow walk up the hill again (by this time the sun was really hot and mom and Aaron were wilting, but only one of them fell over and hurt a knee), had lunch, and then I took dad out again to sort something else out, and to get his drivers’ license endorsed for driving on the island. He got himself an international license before coming here which was unfortunate, because all he needed to do was go to the police station here, and his SA license is valid for three months! Shame, he also spent a lot of money on their travel insurance policy, but because he paid for the trip on his credit card, travel insurance was automatically included for free. What a bummer.

The ship brought mail today, and at long last the homeschooling curriculum has arrived. Wowee!! There are 29 books, fantastic quality, mostly hardcover, and some workbooks too. We will get started when I’ve gone through a bit of the schedule and familiarize myself with what’s going on. I’m so excited about it though, because it will feel like homeschooling is a bit more official now and I won’t be muddling along wondering if I’m doing enough for or with them. Included in the box was a little gift for the mom, which was a silver pendant bearing the Sonlight logo, and a silver chain. I’m very impressed so far!

Spent some of the afternoon building new Lego with (read for) Caleb, which I had loads of fun doing! Got through some vegetables tonight - had carrots and courgettes with left-over lasagna. The kitchen was stinking today, and after emptying the bin and carefully checking the fridge, we found the source to be a cabbage which hadn’t made its way into the fridge because the fridge was too full…and it had started rotting already. I didn’t know cabbages like to be refrigerated!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

First glimpse

Safe arrival

Hi all,

They’re here!! The ship pulled in at 14h35 this afternoon, but officially docked at 15h15, after making a few runs at the proper anchorage spot, having some difficulty maneuvering with only one engine. Mom and dad disembarked and got to the customs hall at 16h20, and it was a very happy reunion! The boys spotted them and went running off into restricted areas, but of course no one minded. They traveled well, other than the first night where mom thought she might die, but they are here in one piece and doing well! We are all still saying how unreal it all feels, that they are actually here now. They thoroughly enjoyed the ship and say that it exceeded their expectations. Dad has taken many excellent photos, except that his cable is missing, so we can’t view them (déjà vu?)

We’re going to start all the fun stuff tomorrow, and all looking forward to it very much. Their hold baggage is still on the ship and will be available tomorrow, so we’re going to have Christmas all over again!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

History in the making

Big day today – the all-important fly-over of the airplane over the island. I went down to the harbour with the boys to wait and watch for it, and after over an hour of waiting, it flew over the harbour. One had to be careful not to blink. Before flying over the harbour, it had done some takes over the proposed airport site, where tyres had been set alight in old oil drums down the centre of the envisaged runway, also serving the purpose of indicating wind direction to the pilot. Very crude, but not a bad plan in light of limited airport resources on the island! The plane came down to a height of about 300 feet. Town was deserted today in light of the historical occasion, with many people off at some of the suggested viewing points. It was really exciting!

Really just trying to kill time now until my mom and dad arrive tomorrow, the time of arrival now 14h30. I drove out to Knollcombes this afternoon to pick wildflowers, which I accomplished. The boys are being very unsuccessful in their attempts to keep the house clean as per my instructions, so I guess I will be having another quick clean-up tomorrow morning!

The plane flies over the harbour

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nice weather for a visit

It’s been really hot again the last few days, no rain since last week some time, although we expect the weather to change at any moment, given that it’s so unpredictable. Clear skies at present though, it’s lovely.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Street Carnival, some bad news, but we have onions

Yesterday after prayer meeting, Nick dropped a bombshell – “bad news”, he said. “The soil has just been delivered and we need to get it off the road asap. You’ll have to do the Good News Club today.” Which I did, though not without some complaining and panicking first! I had to lead the worship, teach the lesson, run the outdoor activity and suggest the indoor colouring or drawing activity. Thankfully Nick is still in his 10 Commandments series, so I didn’t have to come up with an actual lesson plan (with all of an hour’s notice), I simply taught on the 7th commandment. It went really well, I thought – the 15 kids paid attention, asked the right questions, and were well behaved (except for Aaron who had to be told about 5 times to keep quiet). I digressed a bit and taught about dating and unequal yoking, and looking at paintings in art galleries when you already have your own painting…but they got the point. Spent some more time cleaning the house after that while Nick went for a quick swim with the boys. He and two other men from the church had worked hard for about two hours shoveling dirt off the road and wheeling it into our back yard, where it will stay until we get around to dressing the lawn and deciding where the rest of the soil will go. This soil comes from Steve and Maureen’s country house, where they are doing building operations.

Last night was the St Helena 2006 Street Carnival Parade. Wow. I think about 80% of the country turned up to either be in the parade, or watch from the sidelines. The parade started from the hospital at the top of town and worked its way down to the docks, taking about an hour to get there. Our house is on the main street, so all we had to do was wait on the wall outside until it reached us, then we walked with it so the boys could experience the action. I have never seen such a colourful parade – people dressed themselves up in bright colours, and flowers, feathers, balloons, tinsel and beads…it was awesome. There was the local fire truck decorated with banana and palm leaves and balloons and dancing girls, and pumping out party music. There was a Ninja Turtle, a fire breather, a slinky pink peacock, a fairy or two, along with the general St Helenian public dressed up in odd getups. We stayed with the parade some of the way, and then went ahead to the bottom of town where there was a boerie-roll stand set up, and got our supper before the rush started. We suspect many people were going to patronize the stand, and we wisely beat the crowds. Pudding was soft-serve ice-cream from the adjoining stand, but by then a long queue had already formed. A South African girl and her family are visiting the island on their yacht, and she did a fire-spinning stint. We walked home at about 7, looking in on some shops on the way home – it’s a nice atmosphere on a Saturday night, with most shops open until 8.30 pm.

The service at Head o’Wain this morning was recorded for a radio broadcast. Nick diverted from his series on John to preach a topical sermon on marriage, which he preached at all three chapels today. It was excellent, and we pray that many marriages will be helped as a result. He touched on content from Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages” which is a worthy read for any married couple. Today we were blessed with onions, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, cabbage, carrots, fresh parsley and courgettes, from three different sources! Never underestimate the value of an onion…

We heard today that the RMS St Helena has lost one of her engines, and will be delayed by a day and a half - instead of arriving on Tuesday morning, it should dock on Wednesday at 3 pm. I’m sure my parents are as disappointed as I am.

Street Carnival

Fire Breather outside the market