Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The BIG holiday!

Dear Blog Readers,

My apologies that the blog has not been updated since mid-November! As you all know, we are now on holiday in South Africa. To date we have been so busy with shopping and social engagements that we could almost long for our peaceful and boring life on the island! But no, we are very much enjoying our time here, and it has been wonderful catching up with family and friends.

Our voyage from the island was unfortunately not a smooth ride – seasoned travelers said it was the worst they had experienced the ship. We were pitching AND rolling, as we had a lot of wind, to the extent that chairs would slide across the lounge floor, with someone seated in them! Our toiletries kept falling off their shelves in the cabin, and at night, instead of being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking motion of the ship, we were rocked from one end of our bunk beds to the other. The photo, of the sundeck on the ship, must have been taken as we approached Walvis Bay, when the weather calmed substantially and it was comfortable enough to spend time outdoors. We were relieved to dock at Cape Town, albeit a day late, and get on to solid ground. Our sea legs, though, kept us off balance for a few days. Not that the trip was altogether unpleasant though – the food was up to the usual high standards (although difficult to enjoy sometimes on an unsettled stomach), and we saw a large school of dolphins shortly after leaving the island. The reunion at the OR Tembo airport was joyful, as some of my family were there to meet us, and we caught up with most of the rest of Nick and my families at my parents’ house on the night of our arrival.

So, with another 3½ weeks remaining in SA, we are hoping to find time somewhere to actually have a holiday! Of course I don’t want to give out phone numbers on the blog, but you can reach us at my parents’ e-mail, philsalz@absamail.co.za.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ready, steady, pack!

This morning the boys were up before six again, although thinking that they had done us a favour and slept really late, which of course they hadn’t. They went downstairs quietly and played anyway. After Good News Club we watched “The Nativity Story” on DVD together. It was truly wonderful and very close to the biblical account. It really was quite an eye opener as to the life and times into which Jesus was born. Highly recommended! When that was over, it was time to start on the big plan of the day, which was the packing. The boys have been looking forward to this day for ages, although I’m entirely unsure why – perhaps the holiday is more real with the suitcases standing open! I had to clean the cases very well as they have accumulated two years’ worth of dust. Once they were clean, and we had decided which cases to bring, the boys pulled clothes out of their drawers which they thought they would need – their entire winter wardrobe. Hello, summery South Africa! Had to pack most of those away and advise what the correct attire would be. Shame, they were so keen to help.

In the late afternoon, Nick drove up to Gavin and Tammy’s house, as Gavin has bought Nick’s black electric guitar and an amp – the same amp which we had so much trouble with after cutting off the American plug and attempting to fit a UK one, thereby blowing a part of it, and waiting a long time to get it fixed. With the money made from the sale, Nick has bought himself some other musical synthesizer thingie, which plugs into the guitar and can generate almost any instrument – so you play your guitar but it actually sounds like a didgeridoo or violin or piano. I say he’s bought it, but the buying is more of a process which has been initiated – it will be ordered by some chap here who goes through Richard James International, and will come from the UK. Tonight Nick and Tammy and the band are at the radio station, using their soundproof studio to record vocals and keyboards for one of Tammy’s songs, to release a single.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bookings, school fun and preparations

I was up at 4 am yesterday (that’s Wednesday), because before nearly making a flight booking for our return journey, we received an e-mail from Kulula advertising a special, whereby if we booked any flight between Joburg and Cape Town on 7 November, it would be R299. The booking had to be done yesterday, and the sale started at 6 am SAST. Not wanting to take any chances on the tickets being snapped up, I set the alarm, and by 4.05 or so had bought our tickets. Yippee!!! Our flight leaves Lanseria at 6 am on the 3rd January. I am thrilled at the timing, as I hadn’t been waiting for anything specific before making the booking, and could well have made it weeks or days ago, thereby missing the special – I see God’s hand at work here!

This morning, despite a mild sprinkling of precipitation, we went walking, but saw no whales. School was pretty good. We had some fun in maths – you really had to be there to appreciate the moment, because I tried to explain to Nick afterwards and he just didn’t get it. It had to do with the filling in of the worksheet, and Caleb writing an answer in the wrong place and then getting it confused again, and then still writing another wrong answer in the box – it was just so funny the way it happened though, where Aaron and I could see what Caleb was doing wrong, so we just looked at each other and started laughing, and then laughed and laughed. Aaron’s laugh was so funny – not a silly one, or even a giggle, just a pure laugh of absolute mirth. I laughed until my eyes were streaming. When we finally managed to explain to Caleb what on earth was going on, he thought it was funny too.

I had the craft class at 2 pm. It was a very simple craft, making finger puppets with felt, which just involved stitching the sides together and drawing faces on them. Boy, did they struggle! They couldn’t thread their needles, didn’t know how to make a double stitch to start and end, and some couldn’t even do the simple running stitch! A couple of kids got on just fine, and made three or four, but some struggled with just one. Often though it’s the attitude which is the problem, more than the actual ability. They were somewhat hyper today, so I had to keep quietening them, and even sent one boy out the class for a while. He was only a half a degree subdued when I allowed him back in. All in all it was a good hour. I made puppets for the boys when I got back, and Caleb tried to do one of his own later – he actually managed better than some of the boys in my class! He didn’t finish it though as he was battling to get the needle through the felt, but at least he got the hang of the in and out of the stitching.

There is much activity on the island in anticipation of the Governor Designate’s arrival on Sunday. He will be inaugurated on Sunday at 9 am, and immediately following will be the Remembrance Day service. A lot of the government buildings have been either washed or painted – I noticed scaffolding up at Plantation House the other day when I was there. A platform has been built on the courtroom stairs, and bunting has been strung up along the waterfront. It looks pretty good, really.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yes, we really do have an IT department!

I was back at the dentist today for some more work on the same tooth, as last time was just the start of it. I thought that last time was the start and end, and that all he was going to do was a proper filling, but alas, out came the needle and the drill. Fortunately the anaesthetic wore off after only about two and a half hours, much quicker than last time. It wasn’t really too bad. At 3 pm Nick brought the boys back up to the dentist, for their little checkup. The dentist really just looked in their mouths, at all the teeth, and said their teeth are very good. Caleb will need to go back early next year for a fissure filling, which the British Dental Health Board recommends – something new that they do with the rear molars (Caleb’s adult molars are erupting at the back), to flatten out the surface to prevent cavities. Sounds like a good idea to me. Hey, it’s free – why not! At 4 pm I was at the IT department in town, where I had arranged to take the laptop to download the anti-virus program I have bought. Instead of simply renewing our subscription with Norton, I decided to actually purchase the upgrade, which you simply do on the internet and then download the software. Unfortunately though it was too big for me to download on a dial-up and would have taken hours, so I asked the IT department for help. They couldn’t do it as the laptop had already grabbed part of it, so I had to physically take the laptop there. It was really great being on the internet via a network – such a fast connection! The boys had been riding their bikes in the schoolroom for most of the day; I think they have forgotten that they have a back yard to play in as well.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Whale spotting

WE SAW WHALES!! Nick and I went on our walk this morning, and while sitting on our favourite step on Jacob’s Ladder, we saw them – a mother and her calf. They were as far out as where the RMS usually anchors, but although they were fairly far, we could see them well. They were at the surface for about five or ten minutes, then disappeared, and surfaced at a different spot. We could see the water spraying up as they exhaled through their blow-holes, or whatever it is that they do – so awesome!

School passed by in a blink this morning, and then we all went to town to sort out our travel and medical insurance. It was very easy, really, just to fill in a form, discuss what cover we wanted with the girl behind the counter, and then she calculated the amount which we paid at the bank straight away. After getting a receipt from the insurance office, we went next door to shipping, but they will only issue our ticket next Wednesday. While in town, we bought spray paint for the boys’ bikes – red for Caleb and blue for Aaron – their choice, with some guidance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Boys and bikes

One of our church members passed away this morning, aged 87. The Lord took him peacefully from his home. Although we mourn with the family, we praise God to know that Joe is in glory!

During the morning, John and Cindy came to deliver the bicycles we have bought from them – kids’ bikes, for the boys. They are very pink, so we will be spray painting them soon. The boys are very pleased with them. Caleb’s is quite a big one, and he can just reach the ground, sitting on the saddle, on tip-toes. Aaron’s is quite a bit smaller, but well sized for him. Both bikes have training wheels, so while I was making lunch, Nick took the boys and bikes to the school room and they rode around, getting used to the pedals and brakes.

During the afternoon we went to the pool. Caleb is getting good at swimming underwater without his armbands – I think if he fell into a pool now with no armbands, he wouldn’t drown! Aaron apparently jumped in the other day with his armbands on his feet, which quickly came off, but managed to get himself to the side without any troubles, so he might be okay too. Probably next year when we start swimming here again, we’ll start teaching him to swim properly without armbands too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Futile teaching?

Well, today was a beautiful day, with blue skies and just a few clouds. The boys were up before 6 am, so I got up around 6 as well, since I had such a lot of stuff needing doing, including my prep for the Good News Club. I asked Nick this morning if he thinks the kids are actually learning anything, and he said no – not from any of the four teachers. I think they sit and wait for the lesson to be finished so that they can play! I’m sure something goes in, but for most of them, it doesn’t even go in one ear. The boys attended a birthday party straight after the club, at the Mule Yard.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wait a moment or 7,200

School passed by cheerfully this morning. I had to carry Aaron downstairs because his foot is still very swollen. He was up twice during the night, once for a wee and once for water, so both times I got up as well and carried him back to bed. Otherwise, he can get around by limping, which he does if I’m not available for transportation! It bothered him a bit from time to time, and he complained about it being itchy or sore, but he managed to get his shoe on before lunch time and said it helped him with walking. Nick was out the whole morning at the Knollcombes Chapel, working with Nick and Vincent to start getting the church cleaned up. They apparently got quite a bit done, with moving pews, carting out rubbish, and painting a few rafters. He only got home at 1.10, just as we were considering walking up to the hospital for our 1.30 appointment for Aaron to have his medical checkup for travel insurance. I was pleased that he arrived home so we could use the car! We arrived shortly before 1.30, and eventually at 3.20 we were seen. The boys were getting extremely bored and restless, despite playing I Spy, ching-chong-cha, memory games, and reading a book. It was an awfully long wait! All that for the doctor to examine him for five minutes to confirm that he is healthy.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bees really sting

The news of the day is that both boys were stung by bees, one each, in their feet. Poor Aaron wept in absolute pain, while Caleb had a bit of a cry but then was fine. This was Caleb’s first sting, and we are relieved that he had absolutely no reaction. Aaron, who has been stung five or six times (lost count), has a very swollen foot. How did they get stung, you ask? Well, we had some left-over jam tarts from Bible Study on Tuesday, which no one was going to eat, so I threw them out on the lawn for the birds to eat. It was very funny, actually, because I didn’t throw them properly so they would have all landed at my feet except that I used the container as a bat to spread them a bit further as they were falling, and two fell into the bucket of water that catches the drips from the geyser overflow. The boys laughed at that. But, unbeknown to us, the jam had spread itself on the grass, so while the birds ate all the big pieces, the bees found the jam. Late in the afternoon both boys were playing outside, barefoot, and Caleb was stung as he tramped on one of about 20 bees in a confined area. Aaron came shouting that something had happened to Caleb, so I went dashing downstairs, and when I got there Aaron had gone back to check on him, and he also stood on one. Caleb was sitting on the ground examining his foot and wincing a bit, while Aaron started howling straight away. I eased the stings out and then got them inside for ministrations, which involved anti-histamine syrup, cortisone cream, chocolate, and a video!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Globally puzzled

The boys did the scheduled developmental activity of finger painting with a spatula after school. Nick came down and did a painting too, using some stamps, and Caleb ran out of inspiration after spreading some blobs about, but Aaron spread the paint all over his hands and the paper, not caring much for using a spatula! The clean-up took longer than the actual activity had. I started doing the new Global Puzzle we had ordered as part of our curriculum, and spent the rest of the afternoon engrossed in it. When Nick arrived home from his guitar lesson (to which none of the pupils had come), he put Africa together, and the boys managed to get a few pieces in too. It was a difficult puzzle, because the pieces didn’t really interlock for the most part, since the pieces are shaped like the countries, but it was very educational!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy birthday dear Nick

This morning, being Nick’s birthday, the boys came through bearing a yellow bag with a few presents. We had bought him a long-sleeved t-shirt and aftershave, a mini alarm clock with time projection, so you can shine it on your ceiling at night, a pen and pencil in one, and a plastic cockroach to scare him with. I used the cockroach last night on the boys – Caleb was busy making another birthday card at my desk, because he had misplaced the original one which he hid too well, and Aaron was watching over his shoulder, so I threw the giant toy on the desk and gave a shriek. The boys jumped back and stared in horror at it for some time before realizing that it was fake! Hee hee… After that, the day was pretty normal, except that we went out for lunch – takeaways from Sally’s which we ate at Castle Gardens, enjoying the rare sunshine. Before going home we went by the docks, just to see if any containers had been opened, or to enquire when they would be if they hadn’t – wanting to get the other box of our curriculum stuff. It was therefore exciting to see many of the containers standing open, with a lot of contents unpacked! We hunted around a bit and found it. Unpacked it all at home, and everything that we ordered has arrived.

Nick has borrowed a sound desk from a chap on the island who has just recently acquired this piece of equipment but doesn’t know how to use it. He came around last night and Nick gave him a basic run-through, as Nick has learned from watching the manual on DVD. The desk is the exact one that Tammy ordered and which didn’t arrive, so in the meantime, they have arranged to use this one. So Nick actually had a very enjoyable birthday, with his office now being transformed into a studio. He lay guitar, bass and drums tracks this afternoon for one of Tammy’s songs. This is a really big thing for him, as music is one of his strong passions.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Pastor is appreciated!

We had a combined service with fellowship tea this afternoon, and there were a number of guests, encouragingly. Nick and I had an unexpected surprise – October is apparently Pastor’s Appreciation Month, of which we’ve never heard, so Anthony, who was leading the service, read a poem for Nick and thanked him, and then Iva read a poem for me, about being a pastor’s wife, and then presented me with a bouquet of roses – I got a bit emotional! It was a really lovely gesture on their part. We had 12 kids in Sunday School, the biggest crowd we’ve had.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Curriculum and Carnival

Today was a really big day on our calendar, with two momentous events happening: the first one was the arrival of our 2008 Sonlight homeschool curriculum, and the second was the carnival, which the boys have been anticipating for weeks.

We couldn’t find our box at the docks on the first go, so had coffee with Elza and Sarel who were headed down that way. While there, the new surgeon joined us, who is completely German, and knows the town of Salzwedel. We had a brief exchange in German. He has only just arrived on the island, and will be here until May. He tried to escape from East Berlin, but was imprisoned for 1½ years before being released as a political prisoner – very interesting background! Also at the Coffee Shop, the ship’s doctor and her husband joined us for a while – they are South African and Afrikaans, and live in Cape Town. Very nice people. It was a great time of chatting! Our second try for the box was still unsuccessful, so we had lunch at the Mule Yard, and on our third visit to the customs hall, we found the expected box! Went straight home, to unpack the box…well, what an impressive collection of books! We are all very excited about next year’s school journey. We could only collect one of our boxes which came with the ship, because the other one is in a container, which were all still closed today, so we will likely get it on Monday or Tuesday. But the box we got today was the bulk of the books, so we could get a good feel for what we will be doing next year. We were so thoroughly engrossed, all four of us, with the new library, that I got a shock when I looked at my watch and it was 1.40. We had to be up at the hospital at 2 pm, and there was still a lot of organizing to be done with getting the car to the docks, us dressed, and to the hospital! Mad rush, got the necklaces and things into the car, which fortunately were all ready and waiting to go, got the boys into their costumes, meanwhile Nick drove the car to the docks and walked back up again, while I quickly got dressed and made up, and then the boys and I started up the road to the hospital, Nick catching us up on the way. We got there shortly after 2, and there were quite a number already assembled for the parade. The fire engine came shortly after, all dressed up with a live band. The parade eventually started at about 2.45, and it was certainly a crowd. It was no easy task trying to keep the boys with us, although they really would have been alright on their own. They had a lot of fun in their ghost costumes, and thoroughly loved the parade, although it was perhaps a bit overwhelming for Aaron and shame, he looked so small. We stayed with the parade until shortly before our house, and then broke away to go ahead and take some more pictures and video footage, and then we made our way quickly down town to the carnival area, to quickly get the stall ready. No sooner were we all ready and set when the first paraders came through! My stock sold fairly well – just over half the things were sold, earning a total of ₤92. I manned the stall from about 3.30 until nearly 5.30 – at that time we felt that the market was worn out and it was time to pack up. The intention was to have supper there as well, but after waiting in a non-moving queue for quite some time, we thought it best rather to go home! I made snackwiches for the boys after they’d had a bath, and we were all still looking at books by the time it was their bed-time. Caleb, entirely of his own accord, picked up one of the reader books, a Dr Suess one about a fly going by, and read the entire thing, out loud, just to himself. I was sooooo pleased that he did it! He is reading more and more without it actually being work, a chore, school, punishment, or forced. Yippee!! A love of reading is one of the most important things we want to foster in them, obviously aside from a close walk with God! Well, that ended the carnival day. We’ll have to wait to hear the news next week to find out how many people were actually in town, and how much money was raised towards cancer support and awareness.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Need a holiday

Lately our days have been so busy, and today was no exception. The first thing to happen was that the washing machine flooded again. I had manually switched on the water, and then should have been listening for the machine to start the actual wash cycle once it had filled so that I could switch off the water, but I was so engrossed in school that I forgot. Called Nick down, and together we mopped up all the water with towels and the floor mop. I switched on the water again for the rinse cycle, but noticed that it stopped running in briefly before it started up again, and wondered if it had righted itself. I listened carefully to the next cycle, and it did in fact stop filling at the right time. Strange – the programming had obviously gone amiss, and seems to be fixed now. We don’t trust it though – if it happened once, it can happen again! I’m going to have to just switch off the water in between washes, to be on the safe side, and especially when we go away on holiday! Imagine it decides to simply start filling up by itself, and there is nothing and no one to stop it!! We had a fine time in school, and not very much work scheduled for yesterday, so even with the washing machine episode, we were finished well before 12.

At 1.30 we were ready to go to town. Nick had prison ministry, but I had a long list of things to do. We all went to the museum together first, where Nick wanted to donate an ancient communion set which was found at Knollcombes (with the deacons’ approval, of course). Lucy was delighted to have the stuff, as well as a very old pulpit Bible, which she put straight into a cabinet. I showed Lucy the latest page, which she was delighted with. Cindy and the girls were there, doing a special activity which the museum offered during the school holidays, which was painting white mugs. I had heard about this activity, but thought it would only be during the mornings, when we have school, but as it worked out, the boys were able to do one each as well. While they were busy, I quickly popped across the road to the library to return books, and then to the police station to collect my vetting certificate. Dashed back to the museum, where the boys had finished their mugs and were waiting. We left there and went back across the road to collect the library pockets (I hadn’t wanted to wait around for them), then to the post office to send off a birthday card for a friend, and to Warren’s to buy a present for Nick from the boys, for Tuesday. Then across to the Emporium, for some birthday candles, and we were walking down the road back towards the prison to find Nick, when we saw him on the pavement, chatting to someone. The four of us walked all the way up to the Rose and Crown for the weekend’s DVDs, then to Tinkers for bacon, to Thorpes for some refreshments, to Brown’s to check on their DVDs, down to Sally’s, and then finally to the car.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On air again

Emma-Jane confirmed yesterday that I am not permitted to sell necklaces at the carnival, because of not having a work permit. I am not allowed to earn any money! I decided though to still sell necklaces, and just donate the proceeds to charity. Emma came up with the brilliant idea that the charity I make my donation to, could actually be our church if I so desired. Isn’t that great!! So any money I actually make on Saturday will be going straight into our church’s coffers.

For Caleb’s reading, he read a poem I read to them yesterday, which I read again this morning by popular demand. It’s a flowing poem which can be read quickly, about a meadow, and an old mother toad and her little toadie one, winking and blinking in the sun, and all that sort of thing. Caleb was thrilled to be able to just read the wonderful poem, and nothing else! We learned about Pablo Picasso today, and they found one of his paintings very amusing, wherein you can see a girl’s profile and both eyes, on the same face. His style of painting is called cubism, where all shapes in a form are reduced to basic geometric shapes and angles. We also learned about mountains, and the earth’s crust, and volcanoes. It’s always fun learning about volcanoes, and how mountains are formed, since we are on a volcanic island! After lunch I settled down to pick songs for the radio show, which took me up until the time I had to leave, to be on air at 2 pm. The show went very well. Tammy had a surprise guest, which was quite providential – this week is cancer awareness week (hence the carnival, which is a fundraiser), and the guest on the show is a tourist, who is a cancer survivor and recovering alcoholic. He shared a bit about his experiences, and could see straight away some of St Helena’s big problems – bad diet and drinking and smoking being some of them, which are a large cause of cancer on the island. It’s ironic – the government gets a lot of money from taxes and duties imposed on alcohol and tobacco, but most of that money goes into medical expenses, which are incurred from alcohol and tobacco abuse!! I didn’t really have much to say on the show, other than a bit here and there when I was introducing the songs. It was fun though, and not nearly as stressful as last time! Nick left at 5 for bible study, and then after washing the remainder of the dinner dishes which Caleb didn’t do, I baked a cake. I want to surprise Nick for his birthday on Tuesday at Bible Study, so had to make the cake tonight, which has gone into the freezer. It flopped somewhat though – it didn’t rise! So it is about 1.5cm high. I made it in a big rectangle, so have cut it in half and when I ice it, I will make it into a layer cake – but still, it’s very little and flat! I don’t know what went wrong, as I followed the recipe carefully (other than getting a bit of egg yolk into the white bit which has to be beaten, but it still went frothy). Oh well… Of course I had to wash and pack away all the baking goodies, otherwise Nick will know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming in threes

We had a series of unfortunate events this morning…while I was busy with school, Emma-Jane phoned from the radio station – she is the main organiser of the carnival – to ask whether I had a work permit to sell jewellery. I confirmed that I did not, but since I had already confirmed this with her, and checked whether I would need one, I didn’t think there would be a problem, since the stall holders don’t need trade licences, being covered by the carnival’s general licence. Now there has been some query though, so Emma is going to investigate a little further – but I might not be permitted to sell them after all. Then, I had just got off the phone, when the boys started calling to say, ‘what’s going on here’ – the washing machine was flooding the passage. Nick and I went rushing downstairs, switched off the machine, mopped up a lot of water, and wondered what to do next. While we were busy wondering, the machine was continuing to fill up, so it seems that the programming which tells the machine to stop drawing in water, has gone awry. Managed to get it all out by running a spin cycle, and stopped the flow of water, but at the moment we will have to manually stop the inflow during the cycles – rather on the awkward side. Teddy has given us the name of someone to phone. While that was going on though, Tammy phoned to say that not all the long-awaited recording equipment arrived with this ship, as it was supposed to. There is one part, the major piece, the desk, which was missing from the order, despite being ticked off on the invoice. Poor Tammy said she felt sick with the disappointment. They were hoping to start the recording of her new album as early as this weekend, I think. We were wondering what terrible thing was going to befall us next, but thankfully, nothing did!

After lunch I went out to the museum to take a photo, for a layout, of a model carrack they have on display – a ship which Jaoa da Nova Castella would have used when he first discovered the island in 1502. Then I went to the seaside to collect some sand, which I will be incorporating into the page. At 2.45 we all went to visit Tammy, just to see what was there already, and had a cup of tea. She had cheered up considerably, and can see that God’s hand is in the timing. Fortunately she managed to sort out the whereabouts of the missing piece, which actually was never sent – the shop was out of stock at the time, so because they didn’t alert anyone to the fact that it wasn’t with the order, they will kindly post it all the way to St Helena at their expense. We are all just so relieved that the sound desk didn’t go missing or get pinched along the way – valued at nearly ₤700, you can’t easily replace it! We were there for about an hour – the boys played outside with a go-cart, and also watched the cat chase a mouse around the garden. The mouse wasn’t really intending to catch the mouse, or certainly not kill it – it just wanted to play. It was really funny and interesting to watch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morning ramble

This morning was a gloomy morning, but Nick and I went on our early morning walk anyway, despite the threat of a bit of rain. I took the camera, and we went around the side of the bayhead again, and this time I went with Nick to the battlement or whatever you call it – we were really hoping to get a good picture of a fairy tern, as there were so many about last time, and very close. But terns are notoriously camera shy and today was no exception! They didn’t really even come very close to us like they normally would. Found a cute little cave around that area too. Got home and just managed to fit in a bath etc before it was time for school! I felt tired, but we managed well nonetheless. It’s a bit difficult to stay motivated, as we only have four weeks of school left, and feels like we should be winding down for the end of year. I think we will have finished our maths syllabus by the end of the second last week, so our last week will be really slow.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rugby...very patriotic...and tomatoes

Nick said he was tempted to invite ourselves to some friends to watch the big World Cup rugby game, but I wasn’t really keen – the fact that it was such a biggie doesn’t really change my dislike of watching sports! I encouraged him to phone someone to tape it. After trying three people, who all couldn’t tape the game due to some technical problems, we decided to invite ourselves to Sarel and Elza anyway to watch, with the promise of carrot cake as compensation! This arrangement was made at about 6.45, and we were there at 7. We put the boys down straight away, and then Elza and I chatted and made tea during the first half, and watched the second half, more or less. Well done South Africa! Not a very exciting game, but at least we can say that we watched it – who knows where we will be four years from now to watch the next one!

We harvested our first small crop of tomatoes during the week, which are unimpressive, but considering the fact that there is not a tomato to be bought in the shops, and likely won’t be until the ship returns from the Cape in a few weeks, this is better than nothing!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crafty Thursday

After lunch I was wondering what I was going to do with my afternoon, as I had it all stretching before me. Then I remembered I had the craft class! I had prepared everything already, so just had to keep reminding myself not to forget to actually go to it. The class went well, making the Chinese dragons. Nick had left to go to Sandy Bay to visit a lady while I was out, and after that he had a guitar lesson scheduled in that area, and then bible study.

Tomorrow morning I can expect Aaron to be awake before 6 am, and then to come into our room to share some maths fact with me. This morning’s was, “do you know what 7 plus 3 equals?” I always let him give me the answer, and he correctly stated 10. I don’t know why he likes to do sums in his head at that time of the day, but he almost always does. He obviously lies in bed mulling over numbers, and gets so excited that he has to share it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dentist and big BIG sale

I made it to the dentist just on the dot of 8.30 this morning for an emergency appointment, but there was a waiting room full of patients with emergency issues, so I had to wait until 9 to see the dentist, and since he’s a locum, I had to explain what the problem was – emphasising that my pain was so severe that I nearly vomited this morning – and where I thought it was, which was difficult to do as the entire left side of my mouth was in pain. The anaesthetic was so effective that it reached all the way up to my eyelid, so that when I was blinking, my left eye was still dry. I had to manually blink that eye for a while! Very uncomfortable and unusual feeling. Fortunately it worked well in my mouth. After that ordeal was over, I had to go home to fetch money to pay the princely sum of ₤1.20 for a course of antibiotics that I have to take, to sort out an infection. I also went to the hospital, having bought my antibiotics, to make an appointment for Aaron’s medical examination, which he needs for travelling on the ship. Not very pleasant having to deal with strangers with only half a face in working order, but I smiled my best smile and explained that I had just been to the dentist. Getting home and looking in the mirror, I guess that fact would have been evident, unless people thought I’d had a stroke. I was finally home again at 10 am, having missed the entire first section of school, and just in time to give the boys their tenzees. Aaron asked if I would have to smile like that forever, sounding very concerned about it. We had just started with the reading part of school, when Tammy phoned to let me know about a big clearance sale happening at the Malabar. The Malabar doesn’t normally function as a shop, but Solomon’s was using the space to sell off a lot of old stock foodstuffs. We ditched school again, and the boys and I hurried along to shop. I was amazed at what I found – packets of biscuits for 20p each, tubes of Pringles for 40p, tinned foods for 15 or 20p a can…really very cheap. Quite out of date, mind you – some things expired in January, some as recently as August – but for that price, it’s not too bothersome. Things like biscuits still stay pretty good. Since we go through biscuits so quickly and spend so much money on them usually, I bought quite a lot. The boys each had a basket, until they got tired of holding them, and then just stood in one spot guarding them. It was really fun! After loading up three baskets, I went to pay, and it all came to only ₤11.20. Once that was all packed away we could carry on with school - all we actually did was the history reading, and the science reading. I couldn’t pronounce most of my words properly, so decided to leave Winnie the Pooh until tonight, where it could be a bed time story. That took us up to lunch time, which was 20p blackcurrant jam sandwiches.

Nick has been fixing the old pump organ he found at Knollcombes yesterday – he took the entire thing apart, cleaned it all thoroughly, and reassembled it. Some of the keys are still sticking though, so he will have a further look at it. When I got home from the dentist at 10 am, he was still in his pyjamas, as he was so involved in his job that he hadn’t taken time to bath yet! He seems to be having fun with it though. After his guitar lesson at Prince Andrew he took the boys swimming. The sun had only just started shining after a cloudy morning, so he deemed it suitable weather. They were home again about half an hour later, the boys almost blue, and went straight to the bath!

Supper tonight was our favourite grilled smoked chicken breasts, and I made a potato salad. We haven’t had potato salad for well over a year, I’m sure – either no potatoes, or no mayonnaise, or no opportunity! There is a big potato shortage here at the moment though, and apparently won’t be better when the ship gets back from the Cape, as the Cape has had a wet winter so potatoes are in short supply there too. Islanders are speculating that they will cost in the region of ₤10 for 10kg. Fortunately I bought a pocket of them some time ago, which I’m still using, and they have been very good. I only have about 12 left, so will need to go easy now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Knollcombes 'treasures'

After lunch today Nick had a site visit at the Knollcombes chapel, where he and Teddy wanted to inspect the building and see what needed to be done as far as maintenance goes. The re-roofing project is finished there, but the inside is a complete mess. The pews are stacked one on top of the other, the pulpit has been dismantled, and there is dust everywhere. Nick and Teddy basically discussed what would be painted – which are the rafters, walls and floor (ie everything!). They are going to set about recruiting the prisoners to do the job. It’s free labour, and it gets the men out of the prison walls and doing something useful. Nick took the boys with him, and they amused themselves by playing with their trucks, going for little walks on their own, Aaron tells me, and even playing inside a little bit without bothering Dad. “Well, we bothered him a little bit, okay?” I was happy (very happy) to have the house to myself. I sorted out the craft for Thursday. It’s fun to make up a shopping list of the supplies I need, and then go across to the school to pick them out, and not have to pay for them! Hee hee! Once back from the school, I cut up bits of paper and got all the stuff ready, and then made the actual craft – the Chinese New Year dragons that I made with Caleb and Aaron. Nick and the boys came home just after 3, armed with a carful of old stuff they found at the chapel, needing fixing or cleaning. There are beautiful antique oil lamps which Nick washed, and I tried to brasso a bit, but they didn’t really buff up very well. They also found a “füssball” soccer game, which the boys cleaned themselves with pink superwipes, so they could play with it. It’s pretty cool having a game like that!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last stretch of school

Back to school today, and now into the last five weeks of our school year. I took 36 plastic teddy bears out of the maths manipulatives kit, and set five of those aside, explaining to the boys that the remainder showed how many weeks we’ve done, and how many we have left. They were suitably impressed, as was I! We had a good morning together, and I think I actually rather enjoyed being with the boys in that way again. It amazes me how they can do some of the addition and subtraction mentally. Can you imagine little Aaron sitting with his head to one side, his eyes heavenward, as he contemplates 42+3, and then comes up with 45? There is a number line in front of them to help them, which means they simply have to count out the jumps, but both of them prefer the challenge of doing it in their heads.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Three Crosses

Nick said the chapels this morning were really full. Sandy Bay had all the regulars, and a lot of family members of the man who recently passed away. It was so providential that they were there, because Nick preached on Luke 23, about the three crosses. This was the same portion he had shared with Preston before he died, and Nick actually shared the story of Preston in his message. Apparently there was a good response from the congregation – some tearful eyes! Head o’Wain was also nicely full, and our chapel tonight was also really full. I’m sure the Lord orchestrated that there were so many people present, at this very important message. It was very good and very moving, how one of the thieves saw his sin, recognized that Jesus was the Saviour, and on his ‘deathbed’, believed and was saved.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wow, a bird

At 3 o’clock this afternoon Nick said he was going to climb Jacob’s Ladder and then swim, and I was to take the boys down after their threezees. Can you believe the weather was good enough to swim?! We got there at about 20 past, and Nick came in about 10 minutes later. I paged through a craft magazine – still too cold for me to consider getting in the pool! The boys love swimming, but shame, they do get cold quite quickly. They lay in the sun for some time after, getting nice and drowsy. For supper I made chicken burgers, which we took to the docks to eat. It was quite windy at that time, but still great to see the sun. We took some extra bread to feed the fish. Saw a really big fish come right close up for the bread – a weird looking thing.

You wouldn’t believe what made the news here last week: a large bird was spotted at the seaside and identified as a white stork. Seriously, this really happened. The reason why it was so newsworthy is because we don’t really get stray birds. The birds that are here pretty much stay here, and we don’t get new ones, other than arctic terns which migrate from the South to the North pole and back every year, and stop here for a rest. So, seeing an entire new species of bird was very exciting. Another white stork was seen at a different part of the island, but no one has established whether it was the same one or not.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Make cake

Nick had to go off to the funeral of the man who died during the week, this morning. He wasn’t conducting it, but had been asked to read the tribute. I decided to get some baking done, as the cake tin has been sadly empty of late. I’ve always thought that carrot cake was quite complicated and best left to the experts, but I found a really simple recipe and tried it. I was really pleased with the results! We did our usual Sally’s at Castle Gardens Friday lunch, as the weather wasn’t great but was okay to be outside.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blow in for a cuppa

This morning the boys and I left here at about 9.30 to go to town, to get a few things before meeting Elza and Maureen at the coffee shop at 10.30. We went firstly to the Emporium for the dreadful ghost masks, which the boys thought were super, then to a few places to look for plain white t-shirts or vests for the boys to wear under the ghost outfits. No luck at two places I tried, but we made our way down to the police station and library. I needed to renew our drivers’ licences, wanting to get it done before we go away, so as to be super-organized. It was only when I was actually at the police station and the lady in charge was already writing out a receipt, that I realized our licences expire a month later than I had thought, since we were late in renewing them in January this year. Felt very silly. We will have plenty of time to get them sorted out next year then when we get back. Also had to get a vetting certificate from the police station, to say that I have no criminal convictions and am okay to work with children at the school. This is sort of a legal requirement for the school, although they haven’t really been pestering me for it – it’s just something that should be done. I can collect the certificate tomorrow, for a price of ₤2.50. Then we went to the library to return books and get a new batch. The boys spent their time looking at Beano comics, while I chose the books. We got to the coffee shop at 10.30, and sat shivering under the umbrella with the wind howling around us. It definitely isn’t spring weather here – I’d say our announcement that spring had sprung was a false alarm! I went ahead and ordered our things, since Maureen and Elza weren’t there yet. The lady brought my café latte and almost got it to the table before the wind whipped the froth off the top and deposited it all over the table and me. I instructed the boys to eat their carrot cake very quickly before it got blown away! Fortunately it wasn’t raining as such, just drizzling a bit, but the boys had warm hooded jackets and I had a beanie. Elza blew in at 10.45, asking why I was so early, and I asked why she was so late! She said the arrangement was actually for 11, so I had got my times wrong. Doh. Maureen arrived shortly thereafter, and then Cindy happened to be walking along that way, having done some shopping, so she joined us too. It was a good time together, with always plenty to talk about. The boys and I left the coffee shop at 11.30, since we still had things to do – we went from shop to shop looking for t-shirts, which we eventually found. Not exactly like popping in to Pick’n’Pay to buy R15 cheapies!

I had my craft class at 2.00, but got there early enough to get some more paintbrushes from the store room, and then set up. We were painting the models today. It was a really good hour, which I was pleased about – I was expecting a bit of trouble and mess with the paint, but they all did theirs really well and no one painted anyone else’s clothes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bridge the gap

I have spent most of the day today in my craft room, happily engaged with sewing, and then some computer stuff in the afternoon. I finished the boys’ costumes for the street carnival coming up on the 27th, as far as I could without the pinking shears which Maureen will be lending to me, and the boys are very pleased with them. They are just long white hooded tunics, which I made from a book I borrowed from the library. The costume calls for masks, which I would have made, but when I tried the rough draft on Caleb it made his eyes water, because it’s touching his eyelashes – his eyes are extremely sensitive. If you even make him look at you for too long they’ll water. Mostly it’s psychological. So, because of that, we’ll be buying some ghost masks from the Emporium tomorrow. I saw them there today, and they’re dreadful, but will work.

Nick had been visiting a chap in hospital, the brother of one of our church-goers, who had stomach cancer, and lately was doing very poorly. Nick visited him specifically to share the gospel, and it would seem that this man had received forgiveness and salvation. He died last night. It’s a staggering and sobering thought that Nick may have been standing between him and hell. One can’t say for certainty that he wasn’t a Christian before, or that he definitely was one before he died, but there was strong evidence to suggest so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still more fun and excitement

It’s been another busy day for us here. I’m wondering if I’ll actually have time just to enjoy being on school holiday, without filling the days up with all kinds of things! The first thing to do this morning was to finish sorting out the boys’ clothes. Once we had tried on, assessed, and packed away yesterday’s washing, we moved on to the suitcase of too-big clothes. After the clothing activity, and tenzees, we tidied and cleaned the boys room thoroughly. This involved emptying out all the toy boxes on the floor, and then sorting everything into their right places again, finding a few odd socks, throwing away bits of broken toys – it’s always one of those things I dread doing, because it takes so long, but glad to have done. After lunch we made Chinese New Year dragons, which they boys spotted in a craft book I have on loan. Seems like a good craft to do with my Thursday afternoon class!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The fun we get up to on our holidays

School holidays for us this week…and time to get started on some to-do’s before the BIG holidays. We started with the sorting of clothing today, as I need to do a full inventory of what the boys have in their cupboards, and what I think they will need for the next two years. Clothing on the island is limited and sometimes expensive, so I am going to take the opportunity of holidaying in SA to stock up on their wardrobes. The boys were very good about it, not complaining once about trying on a thing, taking it off, trying on a thing, taking it off – for every item of clothing in their drawers and cupboards. It was difficult trying to guess how much they would grow during a season, and where long sleeves or pants would be up to at the next season! Surprising to see how many things they’ve outgrown. We didn’t quite finish the process, as it was heading towards lunch time. After lunch I went to Lorna. Getting the car out of the school yard was a challenge…not the driving part, but simply walking up the road to the garage without being blown away. By the time I had walked up the road, reversed the car out and parked it in our driveway and then walked up the road to lock the garage and down again, my hair was such a mess that I had to go upstairs and comb out all the knots and redo my plait.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hospital visit II

Last day of school today, as next week is a holiday for us…yippee!! Caleb and I went out to the hospital during our tea break, to visit one of our Good News Club boys who fell off a swing on Thursday and hit his head. He was hospitalized to have x-rays and things – apparently he couldn’t move his head. Nick and the boys had gone to hospital on Thursday afternoon while I was at the school but couldn’t see him as he was busy with the x-rays, so we tried again yesterday. I couldn’t take Aaron out in the cold as he’s a bit sick, but shame, he was heartbroken at being left behind. The promise of a DVD for the afternoon cheered him up. Caleb and I saw Kieran for about two minutes, who was sitting up on his bed looking like nothing had ever happened. We give thanks and glory to God that it was nothing serious, or that he recovered so quickly!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fourth week at Pillings

This morning we were greeted with rain again, so I skipped my walk again – rather spending the time on the Flax page for the museum, which I managed to finish (to a point) during tenzees. Nick was as excited about it as I was, wanting to know when I would be taking it to the museum to show the curator! He was all keen for me to go then and there, but I didn’t want to rush out, and especially not throw school out.

I had my craft class at Pillings in the afternoon, and got there early enough to set out all the little packets of clay and modelling tools, and then the kids came. I didn’t enjoy the class today as much as past days, because the activity didn’t engage them all as fully as I had hoped. Some of them, the girls particularly, spent the whole hour carefully crafting their pieces, while others rushed through it, and some of the boys had hardly started by the time the class was over. So because they weren’t busy, they got up to nonsense, getting out of their seats and throwing the clay around and generally being bothersome. I was glad when it was three o’clock! When I got home, negotiating three baking trays laden with the craft things which need to dry now, and my in-tray with the supplies, through the wind, Nick started asking when I was going to the museum…he seemed to be taking a break, so I suggested we all go. The page, the first offering towards the book for the museum, was deemed very acceptable by the curator.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Expensive bread!

I’ve been trying to teach the boys manners – despite that Caleb hasn’t mastered the basic ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ yet, we’re now moving on to specialised boy-manners, so we did a lesson yesterday on pulling out chairs and opening doors for ladies. Since then, the boys have been pulling out my chair for me at breakfast and dinner, it’s really cool. Caleb opened the front door for me yesterday after I had been out, and with a sweep of his hand, invited me to ‘please come in’. I’m sure if I keep reinforcing these manners, they will eventually be very courteous men! Nick, meanwhile, had been to St Paul’s Middle school to take the morning assembly, where he did the 10 Commandments and got them to sing a few action songs. He asked how many kids knew the 10 Cs, or Moses – can you believe that only one or two of them actually even knew who Moses was? Very sad reflection on what kind of religious education is taught in school – a smattering of all the religions of the world. After our school, I went to the HTH Spar for my weekly bread, counting down how many more weeks I would have to go all the way there for sliced bread (6 more after today). Two loaves of bread cost me ₤9.48. But that was because I also bought ham, tuna, one 14p fanta and one 69p fanta (the cheaper one was old stock reduction, and the more expensive one is just the standard price for a 330ml can – I was horrified), two apples, a box of reduction chewy bars, 6 9p chocolate bars and cheese, which was cheaper there than Thorpes. I was really pleased to find proper Yellowfin tuna in their little fridge, especially since I had opened the fridge expecting it to be empty. The Yellowfin is particularly nice because it slices into steaks so well. Supper was the usual tuna meal of steaks, chips and beans. Always very acceptable to the fussy Clevely males. It was going to be baked potatoes with cheese sauce, tuna, and cauliflower, but Nick pleaded the males’ case and mercy prevailed over nourishment.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Magic modeling

School this morning was pretty good, really. Since we’re not doing a new letter this week, I decided to review by dictating a pageful of three-letter words, one at a time, to be sure the boys have their vowel sounds down especially. It goes much quicker than waiting for Aaron to get through a page of writing on his own. After lunch I went across to Pillings for my craft supplies, selecting modelling clay, tools, paints, brushes, etc. We will be making door name-plates on Thursday, and then painting them the week after. As soon as I was home I started making my own thingie so I would have something to show the kids. The clay is really awesome – it’s extremely lightweight and almost rubbery, doesn’t stick to hands or table, but sticks to itself very well, and is self-hardening. Nick also came in and had a go at his own creation, sculpting a little man praying. He just did it for fun in about 10 minutes, and said I could squash it and reuse the clay, but I’m going to keep it! He was also amazed at the texture and feel of the clay. It’s just something that we’ve never experienced!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our discovery of Wrangham's Forest

Our Sunday has been an interesting and varied one. Nick wasn’t preaching today, but still needed to be at Head o’Wain to lead the worship. The boys and I went with him though, just for a change. It was bitterly cold and windy out that way, so we were all glad of warm clothes that Nick had advised us to wear! We had to go almost all the way to Sandy Bay to take someone home, and saw a road which we hadn’t explored before in the area, which led us to Wrangham’s Forest. Not knowing what to expect, we were surprised to come upon a beautiful old stone house, neglected although not in ruins. We weren’t sure if it was inhabited, but since there was grass growing higher than the front door threshold, we assumed it wasn’t! We took a good look around the front and back, feeling sad for this beautiful double-story house standing empty. It has a garage and two wooden sheds, and is surrounded by huge trees and hibiscus bushes, and a mass of flowers at the back. It must be maintained by somebody, surely, just not very often. There was a path around the back leading into the woods. It was really absolutely beautiful. We plan to go back there, definitely with the camera this time. I was kicking myself for not having taken it!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Whale, we think, and party

After Good News Club we took Keisha home, and then went to the Half Tree Hollow Spar to see what they had on offer on their reductions shelf – a great way to buy cheap and unnecessary luxuries! On the way home, driving down the steep hill towards the bottom of Half Tree Hollow, Nick thought he saw something unusual in the sea, so we stopped off at the top of Jacob’s Ladder to have a better look. It was very far away, but we are fairly convinced that it was a whale, slicing through the surface of the waters. It looked too dark to be a boat, and went under too often – must have been some sort of sea creature! Too small to be dolphins…so we are guessing at whale. At 2 pm we went out to Isaac’s party at the mule yard, and the boys dove onto the jumping castle straight away. You don’t really need more than some kids, a jumping castle, a round of pass-the-parcel, plenty of sweets and some juice to have a fabulous party. Jane had catered very well and there was loads of food which we all enjoyed, eating way too many cream-filled marshmallows and fake teeth. Caleb bumped heads with Hannah, resulting in lots of tears from both and a nasty bruise on Hannah’s forehead, and Aaron fell off something and hit his head, but otherwise there were no major catastrophes! Jane had bought pirate hats and eye patches while on holiday in SA, in preparation for the party, so all the kids were running around with their props. The plastic eye patches had a little grid in the middle so one could actually see through it, so dear Aaron put one over each eye, looking rather like a fly. (Photo: Nick trying to help Jane light the candles, with the birthday boy Isaac in front of Nick).

Today, the 29th of September, is our two-year anniversary of leaving the shores of South Africa.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New project on the go

Nick struggled with a headache all morning, so was taking it easy. He cancelled his prison ministry, leaving the car free for my use, uncommon on a Friday afternoon. I had a few things to do in town, so left shortly before 1, and only got home at about 3.30! I had to go to the museum firstly, to get Lucy’s photographs, and got caught up there for about an hour, looking through some very old photo albums and chatting. I also gave Lucy, the museum curator who has enlisted my help in the scrapbook, my rough estimate of the cost to produce the book, which I’ve costed at ₤60. She thought that was very reasonable. I can now go ahead with it, as the funding for that small bit will be approved.

We had Elza and Sarel to dinner tonight, which was a great evening. We don’t do a lot of entertaining. It was a challenge locating marshmallows for the chocolate mousse for pudding, but I finally found them after days of searching!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bulls in a china shop or boys in a toy shop?

Since we finished school early, and since we had promised the boys that after Nick got paid we would give them ₤1 each to go and waste on junk toys, and since Nick isn’t preaching on Sunday coming and has a bit of extra time this week, we decided to go out for lunch today, but going out before lunch so we could go to the toyshop first. We tried Queen Mary’s first, which didn’t have anything new or great, so then went to the Emporium. Still busy with renovations, they have scaffolding up around the front, but the shop is still open for business…what a transformation though. The partitioned off section has only today (or possibly yesterday) been reopened after several months of work. I personally can’t tell the difference, but I think possibly the upstairs section has been expanded. So, with all the downstairs floorspace available again, they are sorting all their wares out. The toys, which had been squashed into a tiny section, have been moved to a bigger space, and they are getting their Christmas stocks in now already, so there were loads of new things to look at. The boys haven’t seen so many toys together since last Christmas. It was really cool, and they were so excited. Nick and I thought, if this is how they react to the Emporium’s relatively meager supply, imagine how they will be at a ToysRUs or Reggies!!!!! We saw some nice things, but settled on two foam swords (adding ₤1.20 to their money, but it was worth it). The foam is a very high density, strong foam, so they can completely hit each other as hard as possible without hurting themselves or breaking the swords. Super duper toys – nothing better. So, with their purchases in hand, and safely tucked against their shoulders, we walked down to Sally’s for our lunch, and then took it to castle gardens – the boys shared a sausage baguette as usual, and Nick had a spicy chicken and cheese on brown baguette, and I had my regular roast chicken with salad filling baguette – yum! Since Nick and Caleb were finished first, they had a good old sword fight there and then. I said to Nick that perhaps we ought to have bought a third sword!

Reflecting on life on the island, we have had many adventures and opportunities here that we would never have had otherwise. Nick has noticed this with his music…the opportunity with Tammy came about from our providential meeting on the ship when we came over!! He’s been able to buy a lot of equipment because of our link with Wilson. I would (probably) never have started scrapping unless we’d come here, as I wanted a way of keeping all the bits and pieces from the ship together and labelled. If I hadn’t started the scrapping, I wouldn’t have had the school opportunity, because the Head Teacher knows I am crafty because she runs the bookshop in the market – word gets around. I’m developing a scrapbook for the Museum too…we’re kind of small fish in a small pond here, in a place where everything is noticed. And I definitely wouldn’t have caught a fish from the deep sea off a yacht! There’s a lot that we can reflect on and be grateful for.

Oh, Caleb did actually manage to pull his own tooth out last night, shortly after going to bed…he came to me with tooth in hand and a big bloody hole in his broad grin.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Temporary studio

Nick is in the process of roughly recording all the songs he’s written for me with the laptop, just with vocals and guitar – he discovered he could do this by plugging the amp into the microphone channel on the laptop with a specialized cable that came with his drum machine. It’s a very recent discovery, so we’re quite excited!

Caleb showed me his new trick with his lonely and loose front tooth – and I just started laughing. He managed to get it sitting sideways, and then even backwards. I thought he could surely just pull it out, but I think he’s having too much fun with it now. He had to keep rinsing though, because it kept bleeding! I think my laughter was mostly hysterical – I don’t deal with blood very well J

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bayhead hike

Nick and I went for our morning walk together, as is becoming customary, and we even jog part of it. We took the usual route, past the back of the Rose and Crown and up the hill, but instead of going all the way up the path that would take us to Jacob’s Ladder, we got directly on to the mountain via a slightly lower path, which brings us to J’s L slightly lower down, where there is no access point. We had to just climb across the cemented section on the side to get safely back on the steps. Having done that though, Nick wanted to see what was on the other side, as the path continued around the bay head. So, off the ladder again, across the threshold – Nick helped me across as I’m pretty useless with inclines – and over the other side along a path around the side of the mountain. It was really exciting, actually, as we’ve never walked that particular bit before. We came very close to some fairy terns’ nesting spot, so they were hovering really close to us, definitely closer than I’ve seen them before, and eyeing us out all the time. The path continued around the corner, and led to some sort of battlement or fortification, which Nick went to explore while I stayed and looked at the terns. We had a lovely view over the harbour and a bit of town. I wish I had taken the camera, but of course wasn’t expecting that I would need it!

A recommended DVD, and unusual find in a shop here: “Beyond the Gates of Splendour” which is the Jim and Elisabeth Elliott story, and is excellent. It is more of a documentary than a movie, with actual footage and photos from the 1950s, and interviews with Elisabeth and the four other ladies whose husbands were killed. It is extremely moving, very good to watch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tooth fairy a regular visitor

We had a combined service, Sunday School and fellowship lunch today. During lunch, I happened to be sitting next to Steve and Maureen, with Caleb across the table from me, so I showed Caleb’s teeth to Steve, the retired dentist, and remarked that I was wondering when that obviously ready tooth would come out. Steve said it would come out when it’s ready, and to let nature take its course. He went on about mothers bringing their kids into his practice, begging him to extract their teeth, but he said it’s not a good thing and not helpful, etc etc, and that the teeth will move about and do their own thing, etc etc. While he was talking, I noticed that the neighbouring tooth had a bit of blood around the gum, as Caleb had been eating, so gave it a gentle tug and it came out quite easily. I was so embarrassed, after Steve’s discourse about letting nature do its thing! It was very funny though, and everyone saw it happen…they all joked that they are going to report me to social services or child welfare. So, that’s four teeth out now. Caleb has a decided Alfred E. Neumann appearance now, with two big gaps, and the poor little middle tooth that is left, looking very skew and alone. The tooth fairy has come and gone in their room already, leaving ₤1 as usual.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Evidence of wind damage

Although it wasn’t sunny weather, we decided to go out for a picnic tea in the afternoon - quickly packed up some snacks and juices, and headed off to Rosemary Plain. It was quite cool in the country, but we were armed with sufficient clothing, anticipating the temperature drop. Remember I mentioned the strong winds a week or two ago, which blew down many trees (see post for 16/09)? You have to actually see it to believe it – there were quite a few blown-down trees out that way. The entire tree actually gets uprooted and falls down, impaling some of the branches into the ground. It’s quite a sight. We saw a number of these uprooted trees as we drove home, too. The boys collected pine cones while we were out, which were lying around all over the place (strong winds), and then when we got home we burned them, and some pieces of wood and cardboard boxes, which made the boys very excited (or excitable).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

DIY cheese rolls

We had a science experiment to do in school this morning, which was to demonstrate how yeast works. I mixed up a package of yeast with sugar and water (as per our instructional DVD and book), and left it in a clear plastic cup to do its thing, while I prepared a batch of dough for bread rolls, with the boys observing and helping. Aaron couldn’t wait to get his fingers in the flour and dough, while Caleb was happy to watch (happy that he wasn’t made to touch it). But when he saw that the dough was pretty dry and unsticky, he had a turn with kneading it too, which I was glad about. I left the dough in the oven (on low) for a while, while we went and did the geography book, then when the dough had risen we formed them into little mounds, sprinkled cheese on top, and popped them in to bake. While they were baking, we finished off school with the reading. Dorothy is now safely back in Kansas. At 12, the rolls were ready, and actually turned out very well. I let them cool down a bit while I went out quickly to Tinkers for cheese, ham and bacon (the lady who served me specially selected the best pieces of bacon for me, with the least amount of fat – this is when I really love St Helena!). Lunch, then was the fresh rolls with ham and cheese. The boys were pretty darn pleased with the results of their science experiment, and at first didn’t even realize that they were eating what they had had a hand in making!

An all-new fully-local book was on the shelves for the first time today, called “For the love of the music”, written by Emma-Jay Yon, one of Saint FM’s deejays. She’s taken a look at about 50 years of music on the island, and various influences and styles and bands, and has interviewed several people. It’s full of colour photos, and really well done. It was printed in Cape Town, but sponsored by the St Helena National Trust. Nick is featured in it (Nick Cleverly) as one of the contributors on Tammy’s album. There is a group photo of him and the others on the album, taken while they were recording. At ₤6, it’s a good buy and an excellent book to keep, if not to actually read!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pillings, tomatoes and teeth

I had my second week of the craft class with the Pillings school kids today, and managed to find the right classroom after one wrong turn. Just had time to put the scissors out before the kids came piling in, ready and eager for their craft. We made gift bags out of paper, with string handles, and they mostly did it quite well. I was surprised at how neatly the boys managed to fold and glue their bags together, in some cases better than the girls! They made two or three each, and took some extra pages home to do in their own time. The hour passed quickly and was fun.

Yesterday morning the sun was shining and there was just the gentlest of breezes, so after the morning session of school I took the boys to Castle Gardens for tenzees and the remainder of school. I should have anticipated that they would be distracted by being outdoors, and it was pretty bad! Our tomatoes are coming along nicely, at about a 2.5cm diameter now. I last counted more than 30 on the plants. I see a few of them have brown marks on the skin, so I guess some of them have been infested or infected by insects. The other night after supper, Nick was playing with the boys in the lounge, and Caleb somehow tripped over Nick’s foot and got his mouth a bit rattled, and a tooth fell out! It wasn’t the one we were expecting to come out next, although it was one of the three loose ones – a bottom tooth. So the tooth fairy has ₤1 in her pocket, ready to go in just now and exchange it for the tooth. There was a bit of blood accompanying the tooth, but Caleb wasn’t phased in the least. Hope the photo isn’t offensive!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Reading the word

It’s been cold and windy today! Grey skies all over. We drove to Longwood during the afternoon, just for the sake of having a drive and being out of the house – it was really cold in the country and even more windy. Went to the site of Napoleon’s tomb, but couldn’t walk all the way down because the gate was locked, being a Sunday – but the short walk to the gate and back was enough to make us glad of the warmth and shelter of the car! Came home through Gordon’s Post, St Pauls, and Half Tree Hollow, to make it a round trip. The rest of the day has been at home, spent quietly doing whatever.

Our church service tonight was a special service, to present Bibles to the Good News Club kids who have been coming regularly for most of the year. The chapel was packed! All but four of the kids who were getting bibles were in church, and even some who weren’t, who still wanted to join in with the two items. It’s always so fantastic to have a service with a full church. Caleb is thrilled to finally have his very own bible, and his plan is to get up early for his own quiet time tomorrow. He says that if Aaron can learn to read well enough, then he can read it with him. Nick’s message, although shortened in sensitivity to many shuffling feet, was powerful and clear. His two points were “How we got our Bible”, and “what the Bible is for”. He spoke firstly about William Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English, and was strangled to death because of it, as well as many others who were tortured and killed because they were considered heretics for wanting people to read the Bible in their own language. The second point was interwoven with the gospel. We pray that the seeds that have been sewn will take root and grow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

See Spring...see Spring spring!

I think it’s safe to say that spring has arrived on the island now – after the third day in a row of sunny skies and fresh breezes. It was such a nice day that Nick didn’t want to be indoors, so we took our lunch of hamburgers to Castle Gardens and ate there! In GNC Nick did a lesson about the Bible again, handing one to each kid and having them page around in it to various locations. He also showed them that there is a new and old testament – we take this kind of knowledge for granted, but the kids have no concept of books of the Bible or chapters and verses. As they will be getting these bibles to keep tomorrow, it was a great idea to do this lesson today so that they will be able to start reading them. The boys had a birthday party to be at in the afternoon, in the schoolroom. I didn’t feel the need to stay with them, so left them there and came to get some scrapping done - it was great to spend the afternoon doing it, with no-one needing me (Nick was occupied – he had a young chap over and they jammed guitars).

Caleb is wanting his loose tooth (the one with the root showing) to come out now, so this afternoon he said I could do the door-slamming trick. We had told them about this method of removing teeth some time ago, but I never thought he would actually want me to do it. I obliged in so far as getting a long piece of cotton tied around the tooth, and tying the other end of the cotton to the door knob, but then didn’t have the guts to actually slam the door. Dear Caleb pushed it himself, although the cotton was a bit long and it was difficult for him to do it. The tooth remained in place though.

Yesterday was quite a normal day. I had to pop off to the HTH Spar for bread after school, and was thankful to get there in time before it was all sold out. Nick went off to do some recordings for his next ‘thought for the day’ series for the radio, and in the afternoon he had prison ministry. Nick took the boys swimming later in the afternoon – the first swim of the season. They came back with chattering teeth and cold bodies, but since the sun was still shining in the back yard, I told them to get dressed and play in the sun. It’s been so great for them to be able to play outside again.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tomatoes, shopping and craft class

They’re here! Lots of little tomatoes all over our outside plants! We saw them today for the first time, as I was outside (such wonderful weather) examining the plants to see how many flowers were on them, and I was thrilled to see at least 10 tomatoes growing. They’re only about 1 cm diameter, although the biggest we spotted was about a sturdy 1.5 cm. Let’s see what happens with them…an exciting start anyway!

It’s been another lovely day, weather wise. A little on the windy side, but not a cold wind, and no rain. Indeed, short-sleeved weather in the afternoon! The ship left at 11 am this morning, and returns next Tuesday or thereabouts, before making its dreaded voyage to the UK. But people are mostly happy because there are onions and milk again. I bought up a good selection of onions and carrots this afternoon, and even three aubergines, for which I shall have to locate a recipe.

Today was the first day of my craft class (see last Thursday’s post). After lunch I popped across to Pilling to see where I was supposed to actually be going, and gather some supplies – also see what supplies of craft stock they have there. I was shown into the storeroom, which is a bit of a crafter’s paradise. They have all manner of plain coloured cardboard, crepe paper, paper, paints, scissors, glues, and lots of other bits and pieces. It was great! I took some sheets of cardboard and scissors and glue, and the very helpful lady gave me an in-tray sort of thing to put it all in. I took it all home with me, and cut up a few bits and pieces in preparation. At 2 pm I was back at the school, and no one really knew where I should be going or what was actually going on. Eventually the deputy head was found, who showed me to the classroom, and then I just had to wait a few minutes until the kids arrived. There were 11 kids in all. I knew a couple of them from GNC or just around, and the rest of them I got to know as we went. It was actually a good hour – chaotic, but it worked. They managed to do their cards, and I had taken my paper punches, which I let them use. They absolutely loved them, both boys and girls, and spent most of the hour punching shapes from their cards and sticking on other coloured punchouts. Very much fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Worm hunters

It’s been a balmy day in town – everywhere we went, people’s delighted comment would be, “isn’t the weather wonderful!”. It was moderately overcast, but warm, with a mild and warm breeze, really felt like the beginning of Spring. Since the weather was so nice, and Nick was feeling relaxed after finishing all his radio talks this morning, we went out to lunch, to Donny’s. We did all our school stuff as usual, finishing just before 12, so left straight away. It really was a treat being outside! The ship is still in James’ Bay, so we had the added benefit of seeing it, imagining ourselves on it in 2 ½ months. The boys found a centipede in the lounge, so got themselves dressed up in capes, masks, long sleeve tops, socks etc, to be able to capture the creature without getting stung in the process, otherwise they thought they might die. It was a classic, actually, and I would have taken a photo except that there was no boy actually sticking out anywhere to be viewed. They had their capes over the heads, so they could only see through the material, and then masks over that to keep the capes in place. I don’t think the little centipede would have known what was coming at it. As it happened, they lost it, and when they spotted it again later Nick was home from his guitar lesson, so instructed them to spray it with Target. I think they not only killed the centipede with the enthusiastic spraying, but every living thing within a 10m radius of the lounge.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Steve and Maureen home

The ship came in early this morning, a day later than scheduled. Nick and I went for our morning walk, but instead of the ladder route we just walked straight down to the docks, so we could meet Steve and Maureen. Elza was waiting there too, as she was taking them home. After a long wait, passengers finally started disembarking, and S&M were in about the third busful. We greeted them with much joy and enthusiasm! It’s wonderful to have them back home, and they are pleased to be back. This is home for them in every sense of the word. They both said that three months away was much too long. They also said that the sea was very smooth, and that they ran out of food on the ship!! Also that the ship shop was very poorly stocked, so I guess you could say everything was not shipshape.

I made an “American Fish Pie” for supper, using those Yankee clippers I bought yesterday (had to fillet them, but I’m getting to be an old hand at this fish business). The pie was the flaked fish mixed with white sauce, then layered with sliced boiled egg and mashed potato. Nick flared his nostrils in protest, really hating the smell of the fish as it cooked – he has a collection of not very happy childhood memories about fish dishes his mom used to make – but said that it was very tasty, and the boys and I enjoyed it too. So nice to have a successful meal for a change.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Young insomniac

Went out to town to try find something for supper – can’t find any decent meat in the shops, other than mince. Bought some fish (dressed baby hake) which didn’t defrost in time for supper, so we had fish buddies and chips instead, along with peas and Brussel sprouts to be healthy, and a tomato for me.

The boys went to bed at their usual 7 pm, after a rowdy time of rough play with their father. At 8 pm I heard Caleb very quietly calling “Aaron”, so gathered he hadn’t fallen asleep yet. I went in to see how he was doing, and he was wide awake. I felt so sorry for him, lying there bored, so let him come and lie on our bed and look at a book for a while, which he did. Nick read a bit to him after about 20 minutes, and then he looked tired so he went back to bed. He still hasn’t lost his top teeth, but the one is looking extremely ready to come out. Half the root is exposed now and there is a huge gap between it and its neighbour. Caleb allowed me to actually try pull it out with pliers today!!! Of course I didn’t try very hard because it was pretty gross, but I was surprised that he would let me get anywhere near it, especially with an implement.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saturday's story

This morning was my turn to do the lesson in Good News Club. I spoke about the importance of reading the Bible, in preparation for the Bible-awards service next Sunday. After GNC we had to take Keisha home, but couldn’t get the car out of the garage as the gate was being fixed. With the strong winds the other night, the gate, which was open, swung out and was almost ripped out of the wall. So the guy who made the gate had to come and sort it out, with another chap’s help. We didn’t want to ask them to move their ladders and tools, so just waited until they finished. Keisha phoned home to let them know she wouldn’t be home soon, and then the five of us took a walk down to town, to get a DVD for the boys’ afternoon viewing. By the time we got home it was lunch time, so I made sandwiches and we all ate outside. It was quite nice having K around – she’s a very quiet sort of girl, but friendly and polite. I happened to bring some craft work downstairs – some letters needing cutting out for Aaron’s page – and she asked about it, so I explained what I was doing, and then after lunch took her up to my room to show her the scrapbook. She was extremely interested. I eventually took her home at about 1 pm, and then Nick and the boys and I settled down to watch “Herbie goes Bananas” – quite an old movie. Tammy stopped by while we were watching, to say that there would be no band practice again, but invited us all to come to their place for a cup of tea. We thought this would be nice, so as soon as the movie was finished, we headed off to their place in the country. Freezing cold and rainy, and as muddy as a concentration camp after 2000 prisoners have marched through the yard during a spring rain. We couldn’t let the kids play outside, so they all played in the bedroom, somehow managing to play hide and seek in such a confined space. The grown-ups chatted, and then Nick and Tammy played/sang two of their songs, and then Nick and I did a duet too (me under coercion). We left quite late, getting home at 5.25, and then it was a quick supper of burgers and onion rings, which was my supper plan anyway.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Strong winds stop school (not ours)

Yesterday afternoon I was busy scrapping, when Elza phoned. I asked what she was doing, and she said she was just wondering what to do, so I invited her to come and visit. She was here within five minutes! We had a super chat, and admired each other’s latest work. It’s wonderful to spend time with a genuine believer who loves the Lord and includes Him in her ‘everyday talk’!

There have been strong winds again today, and during the night last night – measuring about 53 km/h. A lot of damage has actually been done by the wind – fallen trees, rocks, and even part of the wall of High Knoll Fort has fallen (quite a big section apparently, measuring about 12 feet across!). A lot of roads have been closed, especially in the Bluehill area, and there have been power outages in a lot of areas, Sandy Bay being one. Because of this, both of the Bible Studies have been cancelled for this evening. Nick is glad to have the rest! All island schools were also closed for the day, because of transport issues and so on. We haven’t experienced any major inconveniences in town, except for a lot of dust in the house everywhere. We did some painting after school today, Aaron doing finger paints and Caleb using a paintbrush. I had told them yesterday that we would be doing finger painting, which the school schedule said we must do, but Caleb begged not to have to – I conferred with Nick, and Nick said it was okay for him to use a brush. He really hates getting his hands dirty! So weird. Hopefully he’ll outgrow this. Aaron, on the other hand, had a ball with the paint. He did one picture, and then painted his palms to be able to stamp.

During the afternoon I had a phonecall from the head teacher at Pilling Primary, asking if I would be interested in helping with a weekly craft class. The “help” to which she referred actually means “run”, but I have agreed to try it out for 10 weeks. I will go across the road on a Thursday afternoon, to run a group of 8 to 10 children, aged 7 – 11. I have to decide what craft thing we are going to do, and then do it with them. I will have access to all their craft supplies though, so I reckon it should be okay. I have a lot of resources for ideas, so won’t have to actually come up with my own original ideas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Telephones and plumbing

School this morning was pretty good, after a bumpy start with the writing. We are learning telephone technique and manner, so I had some conversations with the boys on a pretend phone, pretending to be various characters. Then I instructed the boys to pretend they were grown-ups, and to phone each other. Then Aaron asked, if he vomits into the phone, if it will come out the other side. Well, that was the end of that, as Caleb dissolved into a fit of giggles. He was laughing so hard, he could barely recount to me what Aaron had asked, as I missed it the first time. So we all had a jolly good laugh. We’ve been doing such interesting stuff in science – yesterday we looked at how helicopters work, and today we did trains, covering steam, diesel and electric engines. Tomorrow we are doing the humble bicycle.

Some men from the council were working on the water pipes on the street during the morning, so our water was off for a while. When they turned it back on, the water that ran from the taps was dark brown. The boys and I just stood in the bathroom looking at it in disbelief. It ran clear eventually, but even when I ran the bath later, there was still a lot of grit coming out. The toilet coincidentally stopped working, so even after the water had been turned on, the cistern was empty. I always get worried when Nick tries to do DIY on the plumbing (at least he leaves the electricity to me), so when he started asking for wrenches and pipe cleaners, I was concerned. Eventually he phoned Teddy, and Teddy phoned someone, and within about an hour, someone had come to fix it up. He sorted it out in about ten minutes.

It’s been raining most of the day, and quite cold. We are still in winter after all! Our spring officially starts on the 21st or 22nd September, which is fair, since winter starts on 21 June.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Daily bread

School started today – after a two week break, it was actually quite easy to slip into it again, although I nearly forgot to get the boys to read aloud to me! Aaron reminded me by asking, “what about my book?” They don’t seem to have much lost of their knowledge over the holidays, thankfully. No major issues, episodes or anecdotes of the day. We crossed off a lot of days on our calendar, and looking at it on the calendar, with the school terms coloured in, it really doesn’t seem like a long time until 18th Nov.

After a quick lunch I went to Lorna, although stopped off at HTH Spar first for bread, but could only buy two small loaves of brown bread. At least I got them sliced!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Not everyone goes

Nick preached a very honest, hard-hitting message about “Who goes to Heaven”, as we feel that some, or many, in our midst are unclear on this point. He said it was not an easy message for him to preach, but dealt with it very sincerely and honestly, and of course biblically. He felt that it was not well received! I wonder how many in our congregation, even the members, believe that God will actually send people to hell. If they don’t believe it, then what’s the point of witnessing or inviting people to church?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Slumber(less) party

We hosted a sleep-over last night for the Good News Club and Friday night club kids, but allowed them to bring friends too. The kids came between 7 and 7.30, with all their stuff, and the rest of the evening was utter chaos and noise, until about 12.30 when we finally fell asleep. We were all together in the schoolroom until about 10.30, I think, and then the girls wanted to put their pyjamas on, so we went home and stayed there. The schoolroom part was pretty horrible, really, although the kids seem to enjoy the pandemonium. The older girls were looking very bored and unimpressed at one point, so I took them into the church and we played a game of clicking fingers, slapping knees and clapping hands, and calling out numbers. Then we did some other little activities, before drifting back into the schoolroom. By then Nick was playing his guitar and drum machine very loudly, adding to the general noise, but the children thought it was cool. We put a video on in the church around the time the girls left, so the boys were left to watch it. I don’t really know what happened with the boys after that, but I do know that Caleb and Aaron got to sleep at about midnight, being very wide-awake all evening. On my side, with the girls, it was pretty difficult being the only authority and counsellor, with 19 girls. That’s right, 19. Aunty Lynn this and Aunty Lynn that, until the time came for lights out. Everyone had issues with something – no place to sleep, I can’t find my shoes, where’s my sleeping bag, the other girls are taking too long in the bathroom, I can have something to drink?, I’m bored, and so on. It just went on and on and on. Shame, one girl has some very bad eczema, and she’s such a dear little girl, so I applied some of our eczema cream and prayed for her. She was still itchy later when I was washing dishes in the kitchen (the first of about a million instances of washing dishes), so I started telling her the story of Peter Rabbit, as far as I could remember from the Beatrix Potter book and the movie! Her older sister (who is very caring and protective) joined us, and then some more girls came in and listened, all sitting on the kitchen floor in rapt attention. When I finished that one, and Benjamin Bunny, they were getting cold but wanted another story, so I told them to get their duvets and come back. Eventually about 14 of the 19 girls were huddled together on the kitchen floor, so I used the opportunity to share my testimony, although did it in the third person – the story of “Maree”, and how Maree met the Lord, and later met Ronald, and so on. They thought it was a great story. Eventually I unveiled the fact that I knew so much about Maree because it was me, and they were so excited! And when Maree and Ronald came to the island, they were really interested and excited. I guess it was quite novel for them to hear about a Westernized girl and her experiences, but it was also great for them to see God’s hand at work, and I hope it made an impression on them. We watched some DVD after that, and eventually at about midnight I started to get them settled. At about 12.30 I threatened to phone their parents to come and fetch them if they didn’t stop whispering and being a nuisance, because the rest of the girls were complaining that they couldn’t get to sleep.

After not very much sleep on a hard floor, we were awake at about 7 am. Then the Aunty Lynn, Aunty Lynn, Aunty Lynn started up again. We had instructed all the kids to bring their own breakfast, and we provided milk. However, I didn’t have 19 breakfast bowls – plus enough for the 15 boys that Nick had to deal with! So we just had to eat in shifts, and then I was washing bowls as they became available. Then I had to replenish the milk and sugar, find spoons, reprimand the girls in the bathroom for taking too long, find the string thingie that held a mattress together, stop the girls from going to the schoolroom in their pyjamas, get them to pack up their things, provide juice for them and then wash those cups again, stop them from drinking said juice in the lounge, stop them from eating chips in the house and making a mess, which they did anyway because they treated the Manse like a camp dormitory instead of someone’s actual house, wipe toothpaste off the bathroom door, find out why the bath was running (someone was scrubbing their teeth in the bath, using loads of unnecessary water), help them roll up their sleeping bags, etc. I ate my breakfast in the kitchen, getting in a mouthful whenever I could. It was hectic, and definitely too much for one person to handle. Nick had the same scenario on his side, although perhaps a bit worse, because the boys couldn’t even pour their cereal into their bowls, never mind the milk part!! By 10 am the kids had all managed to get their stuff moved into the church, to be ready for collection after GNC. You can imagine that we had a good number of kids at GNC! Quite a relief to bid farewell to the kids (or at least those who bothered to even say goodbye or thank-you) and have a quiet moment, before we had to tackle the enormous job of the clean-up.