Saturday, September 30, 2006

Donny's for lunch

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

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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Surprise for dad

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

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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Plantation House Tour

Caleb, Aaron and I did the official tour of Plantation House today. Being World Tourist Day, St Helena had arranged various tourist activities, et al Longwood and Briars’ House tours (Napoleon stuff), a cookery competition, and tours of Plantation House. Since I haven’t been past the diningroom at Plantation before, I thought this would be a good opportunity, so arranged with Steve and Maureen, and we all went together. Unfortunately Nick was busy, so couldn’t join us. We were the only people booked on the tour though, but all the better since I didn’t have to be too embarrassed by the boys leaning on all the antique furniture and hiding under beds and couches in every room. The house is over 200 years old, and really very big. We learned all about the various pictures and pieces on the walls, the furniture, the house itself, which I think is the third house that has been built on that location. Saw “Speedy”, the baby tortoise who lives in the courtyard as he’s too small to be let loose in the field with the bigger ones. He’s only 50 years old. Of course we didn’t actually go into the governor’s living quarters, that is strictly private, but saw the other upstairs bedrooms, including the one which is supposed to be haunted, the kitchen, pantry, library, ante-rooms, diningroom, drawing room, games room, flower room…and then there was also some staff living quarters, although there hasn’t been a live-in staff member since the 1980s. None of the bedrooms has en-suite bathrooms, because when the house was built there was only an outhouse. Each bedroom was built with a dressing room, into which water was brought for a bath. The dressing rooms have since been converted into proper bedrooms, and two bathrooms have been added upstairs.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shopping and dentist

I broke a tooth a couple of weeks ago, so this morning was my dentist appointment. I was so nervous!! Just because it’s a new dentist for me, and I don’t know if she’s any good, you know. But it all turned out well – no x-rays, no injections, no drills, no sucking machines. Not that they don’t have that stuff, she just didn’t need any of it – she simply applied some sort of stick-on stuff and then blow dried it. Seems that it is a permanent arrangement. It felt awkward at first, but has already compacted and settled as it is supposed to. And all that for the whopping price of £1.10!! On top of that, I got to wear huge blue sunglasses, I suspect as a courtesy for the patients so the bright dentist lights don’t bother our eyes.

Grocery shopping day today, and not a day too soon. We were down to the last toilet roll. Still a hassle doing the shopping though. I started at Queen Mary’s and got a bag-load of stuff there, put it in the car, then walked to the Emporium, bought two presents for the boys since we are on school holiday next week (I like to provide a small present for the first day, to make it special – a tradition they will remember), then to the bank to deposit £s. Also exchanged some St H currency for Pound Sterling. This goes into an envelope for one day when we have a holiday, because we can’t do anything with our St H £s in SA. So we have a stash of money here, so that if we come across a British note, we swap it out. Okay, then back to the car, drove down the road to find a parking closer to Spar. Did all the Spar shopping, lugged it to the car, then went home, dropped off the shopping and put away the freezer stuff, picked up the DVD which I had forgotten to take back, then to town again. Parked right outside Thorpes, what a blessing. Walked down to drop off the DVD, then all the way back up to the car, past the car to another shop to buy some nail polishes. Since I am surrounded by the male species, I have to do things like paint my toenails hotpink to feel girly-girly. This accomplished (and a more subtle shade of pink purchased too), I could do the Thorpes shopping. Then down to the wholesaler for 18l of milk, to the car with it, then across the road to Tinkers for more cold stuff. Finally, home to unpack everything! The boys are great unpackers. They take all the bathroom stuff upstairs, and de-paper all the toilet rolls and put them in the basket, and put away the other bathroom cleaning stuff into the right places. Can definitely see their use developing!

Nick and I have been trying to sort out the boys’ Christmas and Aaron’s birthday presents. We need to get some stuff from the States because the stuff here tends to be junkified, so for their big presents it’s better to get it elsewhere. Anyway, after spending ages on-line over the weekend and more or less deciding what we were going to get, I dialed up after 10 last night and placed the order with ToysRUs. It took a long time, and at the final stage it said, “Sorry, we can’t deliver to this address”. Sometimes they have restrictions and can’t send to a postal address. Doh! I wasn’t happy. I had to start again with Amazon, trying to find similar products. Eventually at 11 the line dropped and I went to bed. I have to try again tonight, but am going to see if we can order from Hasbro or other similar places, instead of Amazon which is apparently very expensive. I know that Amazon delivers to our Ascension address though, and sometimes shipping is free, so it’s a safe bet.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Swimming again

It’s been a lovely calm, clear day today – the sun had a late start and came out at about lunch time, but after that it was clear the rest of the day. Nick deemed it fit for swimming, so this afternoon we headed for the pool. The boys jumped right in, no fears or hesitation after not swimming for so many months. They really loved being back in the water and Aaron was soon shivering, but insisted on staying in. Nick threw them around in the water so they were shrieking with laughter. I didn’t swim, but it was great to be sitting outside under an umbrella, enjoying the cool breeze and just happy to be there. After the swimming we went home quickly to get changed, and pick up some refreshments, then went up to Rosemary Plain. Nice afternoon at the Plain – slightly too cool there for short sleeves, but we had appropriate clothing. Nick kicked a ball around a bit, and the boys just sort of ran around doing their own thing. The picture was taken at Rosemary Plain, and they boys were being tigers in the long grass.

Nick says that the Sandy Bay church was well attended this morning, as there were several guests in attendance from the Church of England. They only have service every second week, and so are often invited, usually the third week of the month, to come to the Sandy Bay service. Some have said they prefer the Baptist service to the CoE, but because they were born or married into the CoE, they won’t change.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jesus' Pretty Clothes

Good News Club was just that this morning - Nick preached and explained the gospel again from a different angle, about dressing in the righteousness of Christ, from the parable of the wedding feast and not being properly attired. Caleb obviously listened, because at evening devotions he prayed for forgiveness, and to be dressed in the nice clothes that Jesus gives us. Aaron is also finally starting to think about things and ask questions. He was looking at their Bible, at the picture of Jesus on the cross, and this led to a discussion of what happened to Jesus after that. He actually didn’t know the details of what happened and thought an angel took Jesus out the tomb, so I explained that Jesus came alive again, and he was amazed to hear it. His little mind is starting to work and tick. Anyway, back to GNC – if ever I need an ego boost, that is the place to be. This morning I wore a denim skirt and colourful top, and the girls all commented when I walked in – “we like your skirt, ma’am”, “we like your top”, “your shoes are pretty”, and so on.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Solar Eclipse and Ice-Creams

Today started off as another cloudy, grey day. I was convinced it was going to rain, because it was getting darker and darker, but eventually at about lunch time, all the clouds disappeared and it was a hot spring day! I discovered later that the darkness was actually caused by an eclipse. Anyway…when Nick got home from prison ministry, he suggested that we go out for ice-creams, so we jumped in the car and raced to town. The take-away stand was operational, so we all got soft-serve cones and then sat on some stairs and enjoyed them in the sun. When those were finished, and all hands and faces wiped, we wandered up the road into some shops, to give Nick an opportunity to see what Christmas stock is available, particularly for the boys.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Missing the RMS

Tonight there is a different ship coming to the island, I forget the name, but it’s American. It’s bringing a surgeon from South Africa, because at present the island is sans surgeon. They flew him to Ascension, and then got him onto this American ship. It’s nice to have this one coming in, since the RMS St Helena will only come back from the UK on about the 15th of October. It’s a strange feeling to know that our lifeline to the world will be gone so long – you sort of feel a bit bereft. Fortunately it only does the UK run twice a year, I think. The rest of the time it’s between Ascension and SA.

I’ve decided to take up a new hobby – scrapbooking!! I’ve been wanting to put together all the bits and pieces from our ship voyage, and various tourist maps and information and things, into a nice presentable format. Last night Maureen gave me a small catalogue for a card/craft shop in the UK, and looking through it this afternoon gave me so many ideas. Suddenly I feel inspired to do a proper scrapbook with all the bells and whistles and fancy papers and punches and embellishments. Up to now I’ve spurned scrapbooking because it seems like such an expensive hobby, but now I’m really keen on it. I think because I have a specific project in mind, rather than trying to do every event in our lives, which seems a bit overwhelming. So it will focus specifically on St Helena and our time here. I’ll pepper it with photos, which I’ll get printed on the island. Unfortunately, there are no craft materials to get me started here! I can start planning my pages in the meantime, but I’ll have to order things and wait to get some sort of outfit together before I can start properly.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New converts

Our house had gotten to a point of being dirty and untidy, since sometimes there isn’t time or opportunity (or motivation) for housework. This morning I woke up and thought, “I need to do something different today”, so as to have a sense of anticipation of something exciting – you know, sometimes you get bored of the blah. So I more or less cancelled school, and spent the whole day sorting the house out. I started at about 8.45, and finished at 5.15, only having a few breaks in between – one long break while Aaron slept, where I read a little bit. I didn’t want to entirely neglect the boys though, so at ten o’clock I did reading with Caleb. He could almost read the sentences fluently, and didn’t struggle or get frustrated. The sentences were something like “I am going to clean the house today” and “It is very dirty” and “I still have to vacuum the carpets and dust”. He sounds the words that he’s not familiar with out, and then can guess what they say, like “vacuum”. Other words he can read right off without spelling them out. We’re getting there! Then I also got them to do puzzles, while I quickly popped out to town for bread and peanut butter.

I let the boys help me with supper tonight, which was savoury pancakes with a mince and grated cheese filling. The boys had been wanting to try their hand at pancakes, so tonight was the night. It was fun, really. The boys pulled chairs up to the counter, and with washed hands they helped me pour the milk and stir the batter. I did the tricky stuff of getting the eggs mixed in from a hole in the middle of the flour, but once it was going I let them take over. Then they watched as I did them in the pan, and they’re always impressed when I can flip it nicely. Caleb helped me with the recipe too – he read the ingredients to me. “What’s three and then a line and a four?” “Three quarters.” “Okay, three quarters puh i nn tuh, what’s pint?” Then he figured out two eggs. So it’s all good – a bit of maths by way of fractions thrown into the cooking/reading lesson!

This evening we had the second meeting of our new and very exclusive bible study. Nick took a long time explaining the gospel again, and they both said they were ready to make a commitment to Christ. So Nick asked if they wanted to pray now, and they both did. Nick opened in prayer, and then they both prayed, in their own words. We wait to see by the fruit if this is a genuine commitment, but we really think this might be the real thing. It’s exciting to see people interested in the gospel and wanting to change their lives. Often the case is that they want to get their lives right and then commit to Christ, but Nick explained that you don’t wash yourself and then have a bath. Then, straight after our prayer time, Nick left the thought of baptism with them, as the first step of obedience. No holding back – Nick really laid on thick the issue of leaving behind the old way of life, and then straight into such a public demonstration of the new life!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chapel reopens

It was lovely to be back in the chapel today, and the church was quite full for the combined service. The difference to the chapel is very noticeable. The walls are white, the carpets clean, the railings cleaned and varnished – everything looks fresh and clean, instead of the dull shabbiness we are used to. Nick continued in his series in John, although did a topical sermon on Satan. It was an excellent message, really to teach us about our enemy, and what to do about him. Many of our members participated in the service, with scripture readings and music items and that sort of thing. After the service there was the usual tea and “fellowship”. We finished cleaning up at 5.45, and then took a drive up to the top of Ladder Hill to watch the sun set. Typically, it rained, and the sun was obscured by cloud. We did have a beautiful view of its rays breaking through some cloud though and shining down onto the sea, which was spectacular. Caleb ran around with his binoculars pretending to take pictures of things.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Preacher Caleb

This afternoon the boys attended a birthday party at the Mule Yard (that’s the playground area next to the swimming pool, overlooking the coffee co). I got my times muddled though and arrived an hour early, so the boys played on the equipment with the birthday girl, who was also there early. I had taken a book along with me to read, so I occupied myself happily while the boys played. The party lasted the rest of the afternoon, with a few games, and eating a meal of chicken and chips, and all the other party foods. Mostly the kids (about 30?) played on the stuff and with each other, and everyone had fun. Caleb and Aaron especially had a good time, happily blending in with the other kids. They have no socialization problems!

The work on the chapel (the inside) is finally, and completely, finished. It is all clean and ready for tomorrow. Even the 22-year-old red carpet running down the aisle has been repaired – where there was a tear up near the front, it was cut clean on both sides, and then duck tape stuck underneath, and the join can hardly be seen. The gallery looks amazing – only two pews in there now, which have been restored, and not a thing else. Steve put in new railings all around it, so children can’t fall through, and it’s very inviting now. We might make it a rule that children are NOT allowed up there during the service though, because with all the space up there, the temptation would be to walk around, and that would make a noise.

Yesterday the boys were playing some action game of transformers and cops and robbers or something, and Aaron was pretending to be the robber. The conversation went something like this:
Aaron, in a deep voice: “I’m a robber, and I steal things.”
Caleb, also in character: “You mustn’t steal, stealing is bad. If you ask God, he’ll forgive you and help you be good.”
I had to smile to myself. It’s great to see that God is included in their playing!

Since it had been such a lovely day yesterday, we decided to drive to Longwood and let the boys play. Would you believe it though, it started raining almost as soon as we were out of town, and we’ve never seen such bad weather at Longwood – it wasn’t raining hard, as such, but so foggy you could hardly see a thing. Well, we turned around and drove home, eating our goodies on the way, and then stopped off at the fortress at the top of Jacob’s Ladder and sat watching the sea for a while – not that we could see much of that either with the rain again, but it was fun anyway. Pizza for supper last night, one of the better ones I’ve made. I hope we still enjoy the real deal when we have it again. I can’t imagine what an oven-fired pizza even looks like anymore, nevermind what it tastes like! I’m getting so used to my home-made one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Deep Blue

We decided that we couldn’t possibly put the horrible little arrangements of artificial flowers in bottles back into the chapel, so I made another arrangement. I pulled out all the suitable red and white flowers from the others, and then went to Queen Mary’s and bought a whole lot more to add to them. QMs had marked down a lot of their flower stock, so I got quite a lot of stuff within my budget of £20. Also bought a “vase” which is actually just a plastic flower pot, and some oasis, then had fun putting it all together this afternoon.

We’ve been doing a book called “What’s Under the Sea” for the last few weeks, and it’s so interesting. I’ve mentioned before about the whales, but lately we’ve been doing the seabed, and the plates that move together, and hot springs, and smokers. To add interest to their learning, I got a DVD called “Deep Blue” from Browns, which we watched this afternoon. It was fantastic, and exactly what we’ve been learning about. It’s a different series to the other nature videos we sometimes get from the library, which are the nonsense ones about mythology and evolution and all that. This one had very little narration, but orchestral music throughout. They mentioned the Marianas Trench, which is the deepest part of the sea, and is in the Pacific Ocean (FYI), and we saw the hot springs, and coral, and deep-sea fish that light up…there are some incredibly spectacular species of fish in the depths where there is no natural light. Their transparent bodies pulsate with colourful lights, it’s amazing. Even the boys were awestruck… Aaron commented that they are “so beautiful”. Less people have been to the depths of the sea than have been to the moon!! I highly recommend Deep Blue for everyone, it’s hugely interesting and very well put together.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Snail Mail Rules!

The ship returned from Ascension yesterday, and so I collected post this afternoon, not really expecting anything though, but there were two items for me from a friend in South Africa. Wow, it’s so cool to get a handwritten letter! She also posted a CD, of an artist I’ve never heard of before, but very, very nice…a young female Christian musician. Even Nick likes the CD, so that says a lot! Those both were a lovely surprise.

I think I overdid my exercise this morning – felt completely drained and tired the rest of the day! Struggled a bit with school because it’s difficult being nice and kind and patient when all you want to do is flop, but we got it done. Nick finished what he wanted to do for the day quite early, so I suggested he do some painting with them, since he’s the artist in the family. I think the boys really enjoyed it. Nick drew pictures of monsters, and they painted them.

Weather report today: mostly sunny and warm, though with a very strong wind. Some rain in the morning. It’s been confirmed that winter ends on 21 September…only another week then, and spring will pop in. Very precise, isn’t it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Island Morality?

Tonight was the start of a new Bible Study. A teenage girl approached Nick a week ago and asked if he would do a bible study for her and a friend, but Nick handed it over to me, being in the women’s department. We arranged for the first one tonight, but it didn’t go exactly as I had envisioned…her “friend” is her 34-year-old boyfriend with whom she is having “relations”. Neither of them thinks they are a Christian, so I shared the gospel, and we talked quite a lot. Actually her friend did most of the talking, while she said about 4 words the whole evening. Nick had a deacons meeting, but he was able to join us when he got back from dropping them off at home after the meeting, and we had another long talk. Anyway, it seems their biggest hindrance to committing themselves is that they would have to discontinue their sleeping together. The island morality is abysmal. They don’t even see anything wrong with it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Art of Tomato Purchasing

There is a very definite art and skill in buying tomatoes on the island. For the imported tomatoes, you have to time it quite precisely. You have to know exactly when they will be unpacking their fresh produce, and then on that day, you have to get to the shop at exactly the right time. Five minutes too early, and you’ll never know that the tomatoes are about to be on display. Five minutes too late, and you’ve lost your chance. They get picked up almost as soon as they’re out, like ladies of the night. For local tomatoes, you still have to know when to get them. You can’t just go to the market any time and buy some…it has to be on the right day, and before the crowds. Even then, you’re lucky to get them red. It’s kind of annoying. Also, the tomatoes from Cape Town, of which I bought three, were on the riper side of ready when they got here, so are mostly too soft. But that’s just one of those island things…

Yesterday there was a squid outside the church. I kid you not. When the boys came and told me they had seen one, I thought they must have been mistaken, but there it was. About 15 cm long, very dead, and rather disgusting. One ant-covered tentacle was lying next to it. We can only imagine that a fairy tern must have caught it, and then dropped it when it flew to our bell tower, where they like to congregate.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Aaron is really into writing “3”s. Up until now he’s only been able to trace his numbers, but now he fills up pages with really big digits, which look more like Ws turned on their sides, but at least he’s trying on his own now. All other numbers are still impossible for him, but he has fun tracing them anyway. I’m amazed how much he has picked up without me actually purposely teaching him. School seems to be more focused on Caleb at the moment, but Aaron doesn’t miss much. He can recognize and name most of the letters of the alphabet – untaught. I taught them to Caleb earlier in the year, so Aaron just absorbed the knowledge along with him.
(Pictured - the curriculum which should have gone into the previous post, but due to technical errors could not!)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New arrivals and all about whales

What an exciting day today was! We received a slip for parcel collection in the post yesterday, but got to the issuing office too late, so Nick took himself to the post-office early, since he was expecting an order from Amazon. I was also hoping for something from Amazon, and there was also the off-chance that it might have been the curriculum. Well, ALL of our parcels were waiting! Unfortunately my mandolin DVD isn’t playable on our old TV, so I can’t use it at the moment, but we’re still looking into remedying that. I was thrilled to have next year’s curriculum already, so our routine this morning was completely disrupted, as we were just about to start the read-alouds when Nick came home, and of course we had to unpack the box right away. Next year’s course looks about ten times more intensive than this year’s one, and the schedule is much more complicated. I spent a large part of the afternoon just putting the instructor’s guides into the binders. For all the read-aloud books, there is background information and additional help. It really provides the teacher with a spectrum of information, so as to be prepared for any questions which may arise from the books. There is a markable map, so you can mark off all the places you’ve read about (so we’re learning Geography as we go along), there is a time-line book with a line running through every page, with years marked off from 5000 BC to 2050 AD, so you mark off time periods (history). There is a completely separate Maths course, with a thick teacher’s guide and two full-colour student books (and the manipulatives box from last month). There is also the separate science guide, with activities and experiments (and a whole DVD explaining how to do the experiments, and other bits and pieces), as well as the science kit we received last month. You will probably pick up on the fact that I’m terribly excited about it!! I also ordered a recommended resource, Ruth Beechick’s three R’s, which is three small books explaining the hows and whys of what is done regarding the three Rs. I have been using a photocopy of a photocopy on teaching little ones to read, which has been my only guide on teaching literacy to Caleb. Imagine my surprised delight when I discover that the original of my photocopy is actually one of these books!

Nick’s CD and accompanying book is to help him with his electric guitar technique (Joe Satriani’s Surfing with the Alien for those into electric guitaring). It’s not my favourite style of music, but technically it’s excellent. There is one song that the dude wrote where he doesn’t strum, rather taps on the strings on the fretboard with both hands, producing a very interesting effect. Nick is suitably happy with his delivery and didn’t waste much time in getting to start learning that piece. He will be able to use this resource to teach pupils, which means he can keep a more advanced guitarist for longer.

Caleb has a runny nose, and I bought a “One Day Cure” for him. It’s vile-tasting stuff with cinnamon oil, and it’s the only thing available in the shops that will stop a runny nose. They have lots of cough medicines, and even some blocked nose stuff, but nothing else, and nothing for kids in that line either. This is an adult medicine, but with a children’s dosage allowed (children being people aged 6-12. I reckon Caleb’s close enough though). I have to administer it every two hours, but after the first dose I didn’t think he’d want another one. He bravely had it though.

In school this morning we learned about whales – did you know that there are two main types – the baleen whales don’t have teeth, they have a fringe of bristles called baleen, with which they sweep Krill into their mouths (Krill are shrimp, which the humpback whale particularly lives off). The other whales have teeth. Dolphins are part of the whale family too. Having learned all this stuff, we went to the library and borrowed two short videos – one on sharks and one on mammals. Unfortunately they didn’t have one particularly on whales. But the videos are filled with so much evolution, old-earth and mythology nonsense, that there is more rubbish on it than there is fact. Nevertheless, it’s still interesting to see the things that we’ve been learning about.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sunday Stuff

Yesterday was a very pleasant day. The weather was good again, and the same today, so it seems like it’s definitely warming up for spring. Since the weather was so good, we drove to the country during the afternoon, more specifically to Plantation House, armed with the picnic blanket, a bit of cake which was given to Nick at church from someone’s birthday, and juice for the boys. We also had some National Geographics in the car, so while we sent the boys running to the other side of the field, we paged through magazines. It was very restful and enjoyable, although typically a little on the cool side up there. At home, we mucked about the rest of the day, playing with the boys in the lounge for a while. After supper of toast, Nick started drumming a rhythm on the table, and before we knew it, the boys each had a pot and two utensils, so there we all were making the hugest noise. Nick had a wooden spoon and I had an empty plastic cup. The fun you can have with kitchen stuff!

Church last night was well attended, and Nick deviated again from his John series to preach a message on “Paul Curses Heretics”. It was a message that the Lord laid on his heart to preach, to warn our people against the false teachings of the Anglican church on the island. The Anglican, or Church of England, church here, is of the non-evangelical wing, which teaches faith+works, and sacramentalism (regeneration through the sacraments, eg baptism, last rites, Eucharist, marriage etc) which is of course non-biblical. It was a brilliant message, perhaps even one of the best he’s preached, and he did it with much love and grace. There were even a couple of Anglicans in the service; perhaps the Lord prompted them to be there! I think there was a mixed reaction to his message, although he hasn’t actually received any negative feedback.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sleep-over and school closure

I spent most of the day yesterday in preparation for the party – after school, I got busy in the kitchen, making a fridge tart, and then did some other important things that needed doing and I nominated yesterday to do them – like making pumpkin fritters with the pumpkin I cut up about two weeks ago which had been sitting in a packet in the cooler drawer. Happily it hadn’t gone funny, so those are now frittered.

The first girls arrived on time, and I launched into a game straight away, sticking the name of a personality on their back which they had to guess. That went on as the girls arrived and was quite hilarious. They also found the “Sleepover Survival Pack” bearing their name, and were mildly impressed with the contents (tissues, a cake, pencil, beaded cross). When all the girls had arrived (8 in all), we had pudding. Along with the fridge tart, I also whipped up a strawberry fluff, and had ice-cream available. Sad to say, the fridge tart and strawberry whip were almost untouched, the ice-cream finished, but most of it was left in their bowls to melt. I settled them down for a serious talk shortly after that, and kept it casual, so I don’t know if I actually made my point. I know a couple of them take to heart what we teach, where others don’t give a fig. But for those who listened, I hope it’s a lesson they will learn – that their bodies are not made for sexual immorality, and that God wants to be involved in their date life. For a group of 8-10 year olds, you would think this would be a lesson for the distant future, but it’s nearer than I thought for some of them. What followed after that was a chaotic night of screaming, laughing, running around, jumping around, DVD, eating stuff, and too much noise. I had laid down two house rules – no drinking in the lounge, and no screaming. Unfortunately at one point I actually shouted at them all because they were screaming! It had a momentary impact on them, but they carried on with the fun in only slightly subdued tones after that. In the meantime, Nick had been out visiting Paul at his mom’s place, and they watched a guitar DVD. He came home at about 10 pm, and went straight upstairs and played guitar for another two hours. At 10.30, I told the girls to brush their teeth and get settled, and then put on a video for them and told them to go to sleep! This sort of worked, and by 11.30 they were all ready for lights out. Sleeping in a lounge with 8 little girls is not conducive to a good night of rest though, with all the sniffing and shuffling that goes on.

The boys were awake at their usual 6.30 this morning and couldn’t wait to come downstairs to wake the girls up. I kept them quiet until 7 am though, by which time most of the girls were awake. Then the noise and high-energy activity started again until I could finally usher them out the house for Good News Club at 10! Phew! After the club they had to come back for their “stuff” and then went home. They all want to have a sleep-over again, definitely more than once a year, but I don’t think I’m going to be entertaining thoughts about that. I’m happy that they enjoyed it though. Next year maybe Nick will sleep in the school-room with Caleb and Aaron, so that noise won’t be a problem.

Today has been hot and sunny, with a clear blue sky. Spring perhaps? I wonder if this is the end of the cold weather, though somehow I don’t think so. September is the windy month. Nice to have some respite from the wind and clouds though!

I think I’ve forgotten to mention that some of the schools on the island are closing down. There are a lot of unhappy parents and teachers, but the sad reality is that the population on the island is dwindling, and some of the classes are down to about 10 kids. It’s apparently not viable to keep all the schools open, so at the beginning of the school year next year (September 2007), Pillings Primary and some others will permanently shut their doors.