Thursday, June 29, 2006

Twins and road closed

Caleb has raised an interesting question – where did the animals poo in the ark? Perhaps Noah made a little table for each of them, with a hole acting as a drain. And could the birds fly higher than the flood? I explained that the birds would have had nowhere to land, but I couldn’t give much help with the poo question.

Today was another busy one. We had a leisurely breakfast time, as I skipped my walk due to unfavourable weather conditions. I made jungle oats, and the boys and I had grapefruit. Then Nick and I made paper aeroplanes for the boys, and just sat chatting for a while. Oh, the island life is the life for me (sometimes, when I’m not missing shopping malls…) School, some more sewing – got the first blind for Nick’s office done, but it was a bit of a flop and needs revision. I have to make some sort of alternate plan with it because I can’t do the usual arrangement of hooks and cord and stuff, because there is already a pelmet up. Anyway, I didn’t get any further with it. After a very short school lesson, we made paper cutouts again. Thankfully no green toes this time, but please take note of Aaron’s ear which seems to be coming from his neck, as he moved while I was drawing around him. I painted Aaron’s cutout, and Caleb did the whole of his own quite well, despite being blue in the face. We walked to town this morning because the golf was taken away for its MOT, and it didn’t come back to us - it stalled on the inspector! There is a green car in the driveway now.

Now here’s a nice St Helenian story. Side Path, which is one of the only three main roads leading out of Jamestown, has been closed for over a week. There is a building used as a charity school, the wall of which borders the road. The wall is now crumbling and making the road unsafe to use. The proprietor feels that it is the government’s responsibility to fix due to traffic and water leakage causing the crumbling, and the government feels that the proprietor needs to initiate the repairs. Negotiations have taken place and a stalemate has been reached. The road is now indefinitely closed. In the meantime, access to the eastern and northern parts of the island is only via Constitution Hill, which is more of a back road than an actual main road, and was not designed with high traffic and large construction vehicles in mind. It’s causing a lot of problems, but no one is willing to take action.

The Lord has recently been dealing with me on the “I can’t cope” lie which we women tend to believe. In my morning studies in Philippians, I have been reminded that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). I know that God will not give me more than I can manage to handle, so if I tell myself that I’m not coping, I’m doubting God’s care for me. Just the other day the boys were pushing my buttons and I was on the verge of hysterical madness, and almost about to tear my hair out or poke my eyes out, when I remembered that in Christ I CAN cope. My burden was immediately lifted; I had peace and could calmly address the boys and sort things out. I am thankful that I am His and He is mine; without being able to lean on Him and use His strength I wouldn’t make it from day to day.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Baa Baa Nack Neep

The Golf is being an annoying bother again – when I went back to town this afternoon (to buy a pair of denim knee-high boots which I had seen during my initial mission this morning), it stalled and I couldn’t run start it. Then I got it started, got to the Emporium where it stalled again, and it wouldn’t start after that. I got a lift home with Steve and Maureen, who also then took Nick to a high school in the country for a drug talk, but he had to walk home quite a distance after that. Caleb is a very handy shopping assistant. I tell him what I need when we set off, and then as we go from shop to shop, he asks the shop assistants if they stock whatever it is I need. Great time saver and saves me the job of asking around.

It’s just after 3 pm now and Aaron hasn’t slept, but now he’s out of his room and I’ve given up. Caleb is here in Nick’s office sitting at his desk doing a number worksheet for extra practice, which he’s very happy to do, although now that Aaron is here they’ve degenerated into singing a silly version of baa baa black sheep. Blah blah black bleep, blah blah blah. Nah nah nack neep nee nee ni. Ti nu tee no nah nee nu. And so it goes on. I’m going to have to go downstairs soon to provide some food as a distraction and then see what I can task them to do.

Apparently the new Chinese restaurant which caused such a stir in the immigration board, and the resignation of most of its members, is open for business…we will have to investigate soon.

New domestic worker

I wanted to do something a bit more interesting with the boys and school today, so we decided to do school “out”. First though, the homeschool instructor guide said that today’s activity was to help wash the dishes. With hesitation and trepidation I announced this to Caleb, who was so excited that he couldn’t wait to get started. Fortunately I had some easy dishes to do – a few plates from last night’s toast, and this morning’s breakfast dishes, and the pot from the Jungle Oats. He did an excellent job, I must say, standing on a chair over the sink. I did some video footage because it was so funny and unique. I wonder how long I will be able to milk his enthusiasm for dishwashing! The dishes done, we packed all the books and took to Longwood. Unfortunately, as I had anticipated, it was raining and windy there, so we just went to the shop, bought juice, chips and a marshmallow bar for our “tenzes” which we ate in the car. Had to go home for school.

Grocery shopping this afternoon, and quite a good shop. I was pleased to get almost everything on my list in one afternoon, and even got about nine grapefruits quite reasonably from Queen Mary’s. The boys were so excited when I got home and told them about those! Also got a 10kg bag of potatoes for £6.50 from Spar…and then saw them advertised for £4 at QM’s!! I have no idea if this is expensive by South African standards because I didn’t buy such big bags.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Feed the Fish!

Sunday mornings…not my best. This morning I did a Sunday School lesson with the boys, on Paul and Barnabas and their missionary journey. Then we made paper boats and pipe-cleaner men, which kept them busy for a while. I made date squares after that – the boys helped by breaking up the biscuits. Then I had to make lunch, which was an exceptionally tasty pizza.

This afternoon, to get out the house for a while, we took some stale bread to the docks to feed the fish. It was the best fish-viewing we’ve done in our 8 months! We were amazed at the variety of fish around the docks; apart from the pretty little scavenger fish, there were the sharp nosed eels, some other black fish, and then two big fish (is that a fisherman’s story…) of different species. They were really close to us – we sat on steps right at the water’s edge and the fish came right close to get the bread. We could hear them as they came up, sounded like they were kissing the bread. It was so interesting to see the bigger ones swimming quite high out of the water, not how you would expect a fish to behave at all. Aaron started getting bored though, right after I had exclaimed how privileged they are to be experiencing this kind of closeness to nature, but eventually I’d seen all the fish I wanted to for one day, so we drove up to Castle Gardens, where the boys could run around a bit and pretend to be animals…that was fun until they started doing roly polies in the grass, and then Caleb wanted to be an animal eating the grass, which wasn’t so good for his hayfever.

Feeding the Fish at the Docks

Sunday, June 25, 2006


It’s a lovely day here on our sunny St Helena. To be sure, we’re still wondering about the rumoured winter, because it’s still too hot for long sleeves during the day, and even early mornings and night times only require a light layer, if anything.

After Good News Club, we had planned to go to the docks to get our box from Wilson. Unfortunately the Golf wouldn’t start, so after a few minutes of trying we gave up and decided to walk instead. Donning hats, we set off. Retrieving the box was easy, but the uphill walk home was a bit less fun! But we made it, and unpacked the box which was a much healthier one than the others – not one single chocolate in it!

Caleb is heaps better, almost back to normal except that he still has to blow his nose every now and then and is still coughing a bit. Aaron started developing a runny nose and cough, but it doesn’t seem very serious, and is almost gone anyway. Nick’s voice is sore and we are praying that he will be fine. I am well.

I’ve had to make a list of the possibilities I can do for meals…it will help so much with the planning and the “4.30 pm oh dear what am I going to make for supper” problem. It’s up on the fridge, so in the morning I can look in the freezer and see what’s available, then look on the list and see what I can make. Tonight it’s spaghetti bolognaise (the tomatoes, onion and mince are already defrosted), and tomorrow it’s homemade pizza. Being so organized now, I even picked up cheese on the way home from the docks (reading that sentence back it sounds like I found it on the floor, but I mean that I bought some, from Tinkers).

Friday, June 23, 2006

Golf at last

Yesterday the Golf came back from the garage. Since we phoned about their car and the brakes which were grinding, they said that the Golf was done, although it still has to go in next week for its MOT (that’s some sort of annual roadworthy thing that all the cars have to undergo). It’s kind of nice having the golf back, sort of like a comfortable old shoe, though not a very glamorous shoe and not really a ladies’ shoe either.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sort of a sunset

South African visits and Solstice

We skipped school yesterday morning, but had a practical exercise in the kitchen by way of making scones. Estelle came for tea at 10 am, and we had previously decided that the boys would make scones for her. I used a box mix, so it was easy – Caleb poured in the water and did a bit of mixing, then I rolled the dough out, and the boys each cut a scone-man shape out (scone woman, actually). Then they decorated their own with M&M buttons and raisins for eyes. I must say, the scone mix is not a very nice recipe, and I overcooked them slightly, so they were crispy and flattish and quite untasty.

This morning the boys and I visited Elsa, another South African lady, as arranged. Wow, what a marvelous visit! She and her husband don’t attend church, but they listen to a sermon in Afrikaans on the internet every Sunday morning at 7 am.

Being the shortest day of the year, we wanted to go to the docks to photograph the sunset over the sea. But as things happened, there was a pillar of cloud right where the sun had to set, so I could only establish that the sun set sometime shortly before 6 pm. That’s quite late for the winter solstice, compared to SA. Of course we are further north, so it makes a big difference. Winter has now officially started, according to local lore – 21st June is the beginning of the season. It’s still feeling more like the end of Spring though!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Public Holiday

I started the day off with a walk all the way up Jacob’s Ladder right from the bottom. It took me 15m45s, not too bad since my first go, a couple of weeks after arriving on the island, was about 19 minutes. And this time I was all alone, with no one encouraging me to finish, so I’m pleased with the effort. I still walked home after that, but didn’t feel too tired and haven’t noticed any stiffness whatsoever. I guess my legs are just getting used to walking. Today was a public holiday, but we still did school (wouldn’t want to deprive the boys of the stimulation), part of which was rolling modeling clay into snakes. This was great fun, but left the table in a bit of a mess, so that prompted a clean-up operation of the house. The boys are really very good at helping. I just have to give them jobs, and they go off and do what’s necessary – usually nothing more complicated than picking up and putting away. For lunch, I put a picnic lunch together and we went to Rupert’s. Since it was a p/holiday, Nick spared some time and could join us, which made it feel more like a holiday (I was very grateful to him). It was great being at the beach. We first sat on the pier and had our lunch there, also feeding the fish with some stale bread. That was great, much better than feeding ducks. There were loads of the little scavenger fish, and a couple of eels, and some slightly bigger fish too. After eating our peanut butter sandwiches, we went across to the beach part, where the boys paddled. The tide was quite a bit higher than the last time we went, so there was less sand, but they were all prepared for the water in their costumes, so they had a marvelous time paddling. Very hot and sunny day, ideal conditions for lunch at the beach. Quite a lot of other people around too, being a holiday. We didn’t spent too long at the beach though, because one little boy about Aaron’s age who had also been paddling with them, was stung by something in the water, we don’t know what, but his hand swelled up and he was in pain, so we quickly pulled the boys out.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Service at Knollcombes

We had a combined service at Knollcombes at 2.30 this afternoon. It’s so nice having a combined service – Nick only has to preach once, and I’ve got him the rest of the day. Being Father’s Day, Nick could finally open his presents from the boys – amazingly they kept it a secret for about four days, and Caleb only said the wrong thing this morning just before Nick was to open it. Nick was very pleased with the presents, although apparently he was expecting pyjamas. We had a very relaxed morning, sort of mucking about and doing the bulletins, and then we took a walk down to the docks to throw rocks. We noticed some oil drums spewing forth stuff into the sea, so went closer to investigate. Seems to be that sea sand is being pumped out off the seabed, and dumped onto the shore, and then the water drains off it, leaving the sand, which presumably gets used for building. Quite a good way of dredging sand, really.

Nick did a full communion service, preaching on the Lord’s Supper, which was an excellent sermon. He first covered the few wrong views of the Lord’s Supper – ie the Catholic’s view that the bread and wine actually become Jesus’ body and blood (transubstantiation), or Luther’s view (consubstantiation) that Jesus’ literal body is with the bread, like water in a sponge, or of course our view that the tokens are symbolic. The second part was the Biblical truths about it, who it’s for, and so on. It was a very challenging message, that we should prepare our hearts beforehand to take the Lord’s Supper, and encouraging, in that our sins are forgiven.

Despite all my complaining about the island and its shortcomings, I know that the Lord has a plan for us here (Nick’s plan is fairly straightforward, mine might need a bit more searching out), and I know that He is gracious and is teaching me a lot of things about my walk with Him. I suppose there are fewer distractions here, and I can learn to be content in ALL circumstances (yes, even having to cook EVERY night, and not be able to go shopping properly)! Every phase of life, or every situation, should be seen as a tool to grow us as Christians. I can definitely give God thanks for so many blessings here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Queen's Birthday Celebration at Plantation House

Tea with the Queen

Good News Club this morning was okay – I did the teaching on “The Tongue”, and its effects. I started by getting some kids to squeeze toothpaste out the tube into a bowl, and then I asked them to put it back in – of course, they couldn’t! The application was that we can’t take our words back. Hopefully the lesson will stick. Then they made cards for Father’s Day. After lunch we got ourselves all dressed up for the Queen’s Birthday Celebration at Plantation House, which was quite nice, nothing spectacular. It was nice to officially meet the governor – since Nick already knows him from swimming, the introduction went something like “have you met my wife? This is Lynn.” Lynn said, “hello, I’m guessing that you’re the governor!” Very inelegant introduction on my part. It was nice to get a bit of look inside Plantation House. We all stood around making small talk with one another, and sipping juice (most people had champagne). The governor made a speech, and then we toasted the Queen and continued chatting. I met a few people who I had previously seen around but not really spoken to. So all in all, it was a pleasant experience.

When we got home I just didn’t feel like cooking. We tossed about options – should we go to KFC or MacDonalds, or maybe phone for pizza, or perhaps just wander around Menlyn and see what’s available. All these came to naught for obvious reasons. Instead we jumped in the car to go to town to see if Spar was open and perhaps had some pies or pizzas. They were closed, and so was Donny’s, so our next best was to go to Thorpes and Tinkers and buy some vegetarian chicken cutlets and a tin of spaghetti and sausages. Very humble supper, but I didn’t particularly have to cook it, other than grilling the cutlets. Well, island living really annoys me when there’s nothing open for convenient food. I guess you just have to live with inconvenient food. Poor, poor us.

Yesterday was a pretty normal day, school as usual. Nick went off to do his radio recording which went fine, and then he was free to drive us to Half Tree Hollow Spar to get a bread loaf for the Lord’s Supper tomorrow – he wants to actually have a proper loaf which he can break apart during the ceremony, as part of the symbolism. Lunch was hotdogs of sorts. There are no proper Vienna sausages in packets like you get in SA, so we have to make do with tinned sausages which taste a bit like corned beef and definitely aren’t very good compared. Nice fresh rolls though.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gasp, more painting!

Another busy day behind me – today I put on the hat of painter again and set to work on the ancient “punk” chair which one might have previously avoided sitting on. Nick put a screw or two into it yesterday to stabilize it a bit, and declared it ready for painting. It’s now a bright postbox red, although the very dry wood has absorbed approximately half the paint, so despite almost pouring it on in some places, the wood merely looks stained in parts and not painted. I might have to have another go at it tomorrow. Perhaps if I had applied some sort of wood sealant before painting I would have had better luck…another incident for the “DIY don’t” archives…

Other than that, we did school, then went to town for a few bits and pieces, and I realized that its Father’s Day on Sunday. With that in mind, we wandered around the tool section in the Emporium, and finally settled on a hammer and saw (but don’t tell him, it’s a surprise). Those will be extremely useful to Nick, since we currently use the machete and hacksaw for any woodworking project – rather limiting. Nick finished his sermon prep last night, and then did radio talk prep today, which he finished before lunch, so he was at a bit of a loose end during the afternoon. He wanted to do some visitation, but got waylaid watching me paint the chair (this sounds vaguely reminiscent of the time he sat blowing into a bottle while I, seven months pregnant, scrubbed a newly-acquired headboard clean, or some other heavy physical labour – I forget what. Perhaps the reminiscence is vague rather than the story being vaguely reminiscent). To his credit though, he fixed up another chair which he found in the garage, which I polished and he put into our bedroom, to replace the blue plastic chair which had been inelegantly awaiting replacement or covering. That being accomplished, Nick was free to set up a complicated arrangement of ladders and ropes to create a pulley system for the boys to play with. This amused Caleb greatly and he found inventive ways of anchoring the very long rope – around poles, over pieces of wood, meshed with pipes…the garden looked like the workings of a demented spider.

Supper was a good macaroni and cheese, with proper macaroni this time – no more “fusilli cheese” or whatever other pasta I had on hand! I even managed to get myself organized enough to buy bacon, and I had half a tomato in the fridge. After the boys bathed, we made Father’s Day cards. Caleb did all his own writing, though I spelled out each word for him so it’s actually decipherable, and Aaron traced over the writing I did for him. Then Caleb drew a picture on the front of what he wants to see on his dad’s face – a big smile! There are two little eyes, two ears, and a nose with two giant nostrils to accompany the smile.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Drilling and other stuff

Nick and I finished off the tidying of the workshop today. More correctly, Nick wandered in and out at intervals to see how the work was progressing and help here and there, while I did the main sorting and cleaning. I am extremely satisfied with the result! It’s a proper work room now, with a whole counter top of space and lots of floorspace, and everything in its place. We borrowed Steve’s drill, and after some dithering, the brooms and some tools are now hanging neatly on the walls. We found a basketball hoop amidst the junk which Nick put up outside. That was a perilous undertaking and nearly accidental – something (like the handle) wasn’t properly attached to the drill (I think that was my fault) and so the bit (very thick masonry bit) got bent and the drill spun around crazily. But thankfully no one was hurt!! That took up most of the day; the rest was spent on school and other necessary bits like eating.

Nick did school visits on Monday and last Friday, to do talks on “the Baptist religion” and “Succouth”, of all things. The kids always enjoy him and it’s always good to get a foot in at the schools for future ministry.

The boys are in high spirits as usual. I’m still trying to figure Aaron out, to “get into his psyche” and know what makes him tick, because that will help me know how to approach him and deal with him, and encourage him. I’m not sure if he does things (naughty things) because he’s just silly or ignorant or actually naughty, and then says he’s sorry and will try not to do it again because he’s genuinely sorry and will try, or because he just knows the right things to say but actually isn’t sorry, and if he does things because he just thinks they’re fun even though he knows he shouldn’t do them. Caleb presents a fairly uncomplicated scenario; we know that he generally likes to please and do the right thing. But today was a good day with the boys. They played outside a lot, building little shelters from cardboard boxes and chairs and the slide when it started drizzling.

Ta da...the lovely workshop

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Junk room tackled, at last

After a quick school session this morning, we set off for tea with a South African lady, whose husband is on contract with Solomon’s. She has an Afrikaans accent and everything, wonderful!! Their house is huge and very grand, and belongs to the company. It was raining in the country so the boys couldn’t play in the garden, which was a pity because it was enormous and the perfect sort of set up for two little boys who enjoy playing hide and seek. It was a good visit though - it’s always great to chat with South Africans and compare notes about struggles with cooking on limited supplies and shortages, and the sad lack of craft and hobby supplies, and that sort of thing.

After lunch, I got started on today’s little project – tidy out the workshop. It’s been on the waiting list for 8 months, although at some point it got transferred from Nick’s list to mine. Made a good dent on the junk, and can now see the three different types of linoleum almost covering the uneven concrete floor. Also discovered a huge slab of marble which is actually the counter top. Perfect for all sorts of DIY activities!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ho hum...the weather

Not too much to say today…had a mostly quiet day at home, only going out briefly for bread, and then again in the afternoon for petrol! The boys and I spent some time in their room cleaning it and tidying it again, and moving the beds back to their proper positions. We also emptied the toybox and sorted out its contents (much to the boys’ delight – they exclaimed over their toys like long-lost friends, not realizing that all those things usually languish in the box without being touched from day to day).

Um, let’s see, what else…it’s raining at the moment, actually sounds quite heavy (it’s now 21h29). The weather today has been its usual St Helena variety – hot, then a light drizzle and a bit overcast, then some drizzle from an apparently clear sky, then hot, and then suddenly this evening quite a hard downpour. Lovely to have the rain though. It’s still very hot here, although the mornings and evenings are getting crisper. Still short sleeves in the evenings, but my feet tend to be cold when I get into bed! I’m very annoyed that there are still mosquitos at this time of year.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Clifford Arboretum Take 2

I went with Nick to church at Sandy Bay this morning, instead of going to Jamestown at 7 pm. It was lovely to be out at church this morning instead of being at home on my own, and although the boys tend to be a bit more of a handful during a daytime service, they were still okay. I had to take Aaron out for a smack during the missions focus though because he started crying because I said he couldn’t sleep! Nick continued in his series from John, with the portion of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. It was such a good sermon, and although he said he struggled with the passage because it’s so well known, he really drew a lot out of it, the application being “am I like a little loaf of barley, yielded to the Lord?”

When Nick returned from Knollcombes this morning, we took a picnic lunch and headed out to the Clifford Arboretum, which we attempted last Sunday but decided not to continue. Today we started out and had our lunch in a shady spot, then tucked the cooler box and blanket away inside a lean-to for later retrieval. Then it was time for the serious walking to begin! Last week we turned back just before a steep downhill, so today we knew what was waiting. It was really steep! Unfortunately it just carried on going down and down with no apparent circular route or ascent; the boys started complaining so eventually we had to turn around and head back. For two little boys though, they did really well. I’m sure we must have walked for more than an hour over very steep up- and downhills. (And the cooler box was still there waiting for us). Then it was home for a sleep, and the rest of the afternoon was very laid back.

Yesterday I did the teaching at the Good News Club, but I don’t think it came across very well. I spoke on jealousy but was ill-prepared. But the rest of the club was good. I find that it’s a blessing if I consider the need of these kids as individuals, and that this is the only place where they can really grow as Christians (for those who are). We went to Ardees for lunch, and Nick had his usual cheeseburger (can’t go wrong with a burger) while I decided to go for soup, having little appetite. It turned out to be some sort of spicy island soup, which would have been delicious if I could have tasted anything after the first spoonful.

Second try at Clifford Arboretum

Saturday, June 10, 2006

South Africans party with the Queen

The most (only) exciting thing that happened today, and this is relative to the complete lack of anything else that happened, is that we received an invitation along the lines of “On the Occasion of the Official Celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 80th Birthday, the Governor invites Mr and Mrs Nicholas Clevely to a Garden Party at Plantation House.” Nick groaned but I’m quite excited! It’s on Saturday the 17th June in the afternoon, so there’s nothing really stopping us from going.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No comment

You’d fall asleep or stop reading the blog if I outlined today’s events…truly, I think you’d have more fun looking at coffee beans.

Freshly roasted coffee beans at Rosemary Gate

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Boy still sick

Caleb is pretty much the same today as he was yesterday. That is, he’s hardly eaten anything, sounds like a sick cat and is as lethargic as a pregnant sloth. I took him to the hospital again this morning for nebulising, but it doesn’t seem to have any lasting effect. The asthma pump is as good as useless because we can’t get him to inhale as we spray it, so the stuff mostly goes around his mouth. Our only medicinal hope is in the antibiotics!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sick boy

Caleb is officially sick. What started off as a runny nose on Sunday got worse through the night, and had developed into a cold yesterday. Today he was coughing and vomiting, and this afternoon was wheezing quite badly and short of breath, so I took him to the hospital and he was examined by Dr Kardam (the surgeon for his belly button) who still had to ask if this was the younger or older boy. Anyway, Caleb was nebulized straight away, and is now on antibiotics and has an asthma pump. Dr Kardam reckons he has asthma. Poor Caleb. We still did school today and the boys are thoroughly enjoying the new curriculum. The daily requirements don’t seem to be enough, so this morning we covered the entire week’s work of one particular book in one sitting, since they were enjoying it so much. Aaron and I went to town during the morning (I was actually trying to buy some sniffly-nose medicine for Caleb but nothing was available in the shop, necessitating the hospital visit later). I was really pleased to buy satsumas, oranges, potatoes, grapefruit and apples all in one day. That made up for the otherwise down morning.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Day at home

Well, I didn’t wallow today. Instead I launched myself into homeschooling, then housework with a vengeance. I got while lazy while mom and dad were here (okay, more while mom was here) because she took over the washing of dishes, mopping of floors, vacuuming, hanging up washing, taking down said washing, folding washing, brushing boys’ teeth, attending to their bath, making them toast, cutting their apples…see, I said it was nice having them here. Anyway, today I started getting annoyed with the house again, so after a very good hour or so of schooling, where the boys concentrated and did all the right things and Caleb hadn’t forgotten his flashcards from last ‘term’, I cleaned…I used the squeegee thing so that was fun, and I cleaned the stove top, and ironed, and peeled and chopped about 14 tomatoes and cooked those up to freeze so they don’t go off, and cleaned the bathroom, and cleaned out the fridge a bit, and tidied in the lounge and diningroom (that’s a horrible daily thing because it keeps getting undone), AND I made toast and cut apples and supplied yoghurt, and blew Caleb’s runny nose about 20 times. So it turned out to be a highly productive day and I’m well satisfied. This morning I went all the way to the top of Jacob’s Ladder from my halfway starting point, so that’s very good. Blimming hard work, I must say. My face was still red after I had bathed. Right now I’m trying to get the next year’s h/s curriculum ordered. It’s quite tricky because there are some things which are included and some which are not which I might need, so I have to be quite sure I know what’s going on. Nick and I are both very impressed with the curriculum we have at the moment, but feel it is a bit too easy for Caleb, so we’ll cover it in 36 weeks instead of spreading it out over the year, and then start with the next level in January. They get quite expensive though – the next one is $700!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Donkeys at Bluehill

Clifford Arboretum

Nature trail

We picked Dot up without any warning at all at about 3 pm this afternoon, then drove to “Luffkin’s Springs”. I had always wanted to see what exactly was down that path, so we took a drive down there, only to discover that it’s actually just a suburb! Rather disappointed after all those months of anticipation, but successfully laughed it off. Then we went instead to the Clifford Arboretum, which is just around the corner from the George Benjamin Arboretum. That was really lovely; we didn’t go all the way to the end because we suddenly faced a steep downhill and I didn’t have the best choice of footwear, so instead we turned around and left with the intention of going back another day more appropriately attired. There were some donkeys right by the fence across the road from the spring at Bluehill. One has to actually get close up to an eating donkey to know just how loud they are and how crunchy grass apparently is.

Caleb has a very runny nose. We think it may be allergies but can’t be sure yet. His nose streamed all day and so I gave him Allergex after supper. This made him drowsy, so he was asleep before the first hymn in church. Unfortunately his arm was hanging off the bench and it must have died, because he woke up in some pain during the middle of the preaching. I had to take him outside. There is no mother’s room at our church as you know, and I had left my house key on the pew (along with a sleeping Aaron), so I was stuck for options. Had to just wait outside until he stopped crying long enough for me to explain that he had to keep quiet otherwise we just had to stay outside. After a while he said he was going to try be quiet (this between sobs), so we went in for the last few minutes. In the meantime Brenda had moved to my pew to sit next to Aaron in case he rolled off the seat in his sleep. The service was good though, from what I heard…Nick broke away from his series in John for tonight, and rather preached on “Dealing with Disappointments”, using Moses as his example (Deut 3:21-29).

Friday, June 02, 2006

How not to plumb

An otherwise sad day started off quite comically. I reminded Nick that an outside tap was still dripping and actually worsening, which meant a simple job of putting in a new washer, if you happen to know where the tap is to turn off the main water supply. Unfortunately we didn’t, or thought we didn’t…after having a lovely morning outdoor shower, Nick got a new washer installed and the tap closed, and then we found that the little red handle to shut off the mains just hadn’t been turned properly. But it was terribly funny. I don’t think Nick will ever take up plumbing as a hobby.

Mom and dad had to have their luggage at the docks by 12 noon, and so they spent the morning packing up the last few things and chatting to the boys. Nick and I popped out a few times to check for post, buy a DVD to send home, buy bread, buy a shirt for Nick and so on. So it was fairly eventful in an uneventful way. We took the folks to the docks at 1.15, and after a short wait, during which time we chatted with Steve and Maureen who had come down to say goodbye to them, they boarded the bus which took them to the little boat which then ferried them to the ship. It was pretty awful saying goodbye as we all expected. We left as soon as they were out of sight, and the ship departed some time after 3 pm, which I didn’t see.

Time's up

Mom and dad’s last day today…we are all feeling a little sad about tomorrow. We spent the day at home for the most part, only going out together to the coffee shop at the docks for cappuccinos and carrot cake, and a last meander through town for a few necessities. Then it was getting all the last minute things finalized - we realized that we can’t send St Helenian Pounds home with mom and dad (our savings to be put into our South African account), so we had to go to a few shops to see if they had any British Sterling they could swap (our currency being exactly equivalent to the GBP). That was done, and I had to get some documentation certified at the police station. Unfortunately the first PC I spoke to didn’t know what I was on about, but then a female PC stepped in and hand-wrote all the verification stuff on the copies. Not quite as sophisticated as one would like! Then Lynn the Hairdresser attended to a cut, a trim and a few snips. So it was a pretty busy day, which is good because any prolonged times of sitting and thinking would surface the waterfall we are trying so hard to keep in check.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Birthday for everyone

My birthday today was a good day. It started off just after midnight when a crazy woman from SA phoned to wish me…she had to get up at 2 am to phone! Good to have friends prepared to make those kinds of sacrifices, and nice to know that we are still missed. A church lady came by during the morning to drop off - wait for it - a present for me, as well as a huge arrangement of roses, a cake for everyone, a bon voyage present for mom and dad, a present for Nick, a present for Caleb, and a present for Aaron. We hardly knew what to say in the face of such generosity. My middle brother phoned from SA and it was great to talk a bit of Afrikaans (just for fun) and jabber a bit of nonsense with family. The rest of the day passed by in a quiet manner, but it was so nice having mom and dad with us for the day, as they had timed their visit to coincide with my birthday. Tonight will be leftovers for supper, yippee!