Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday stuff

I cut Nick’s hair this morning before school and he looks very handsome again. Not that he didn’t before, but he’s just especially nice now. School was okay, felt a bit all over the place, but the boys are learning stuff so it’s fine. We’re onto Mm this week. After school I went out by myself to town, just for bread and apples (both boys love apples, Aaron particularly, and eat them all the time. If I offer them an apple because they say they’re hungry, it’s like a treat for them). I had a quick lunch, and then headed off to Lorna. Made five bracelets while there, hopefully will be able to sell them. When I got home, I Baked Brownies with the boys, as it was supposed to be last week’s “crazy activity”, what with the week of learning B. They turned out quite well. Then it was the usual supper and etc etc.

Reepicheep is really becoming a part of the family. We’re going to miss him terribly when he flaps his wings and flies away, you know, empty nest syndrome and all that. This evening he was waddling around on the table when we had finished supper, and then sat on the bible for a while, before he started circling about looking for a good poo direction to aim at. He wasn’t too careful though because he fell off the bible and landed on his bottom, legs in the air…we all laughed uproariously, but I think R’s pride was hurt…heh heh. Eventually he squirted a good one right in Aaron’s direction, who would have got it in his face if he had been a cm or two closer. We all laughed at that too. Anyway, Reepicheep has sprouted feather buds from his bottom now. I mean, not right from his bottom, but from where his tail should be. His wings are definitely getting longer and stronger, and his whole body feels weightier.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Plantation Forest on a seed hunt

We didn’t have very much scheduled for school today, but there was an experiment to do, which was more like an exploration of seeds and how they travel. I had decided that we would go to Plantation to look for dandelions and burrs, and it happened to coincide nicely with Nick finishing his sermon prep before lunch, so we all went together for a picnic lunch first and then a walk through the woods. I found a couple of dandelion sort of things which we could examine, but no burrs – just the wrong kind of forest! You know you’re a homeschooling mom when…you go for a walk and end up digging mud to take home to see if any seeds will grow in it! The mud went into a plastic bag with some water, and is sitting on the windowsill now along with a kidney bean in blotting paper. The boys were absolutely great during the walk. We did a fairly long round-trip route and instead of complaining that it was too long etc etc, the boys were ahead of us most of the time. Caleb goes far on his own, very confidently, and Aaron wasn’t far behind him. Great that they’re enjoying the outdoors and getting better at hikes. Nick took the boys swimming during the later part of the afternoon, and supper was the usual Friday pizza. Oh yes, I thought there was a bit of a yeast shortage, so when I found a 500g packet at Thorpes, I was elated! I don’t think I’ll have to buy yeast again, at least not until September next year when it expires…

This morning we had GNC, and then the girls (and some boys) rushed off to our place to see the necklaces again. They didn’t even wait to get their popcorn, poor Nick W brings it every week so faithfully and now they don’t even stick around for it. Made some good sales again. A lot of the kids just stayed to play afterwards, but I had to get some shopping done (breakfast cereals and milk, mainly), so I left Nick at home with everyone. For some reason they are never in a hurry to go home, I guess because there’s nothing better to really do at home. They all have fun playing in the back yard with the tree house, so we’re cool with that.

Nick took the boys to visit the prison quickly this afternoon. They weren’t gone long, just long enough for Caleb and Aaron to see the inside of the prison and say hello to the inmates. I think they enjoyed it, and I’m sure Nick’s contacts enjoyed meeting his children.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Classroom organized

I had a call this morning while I was in the last section of school, to say that I could collect a desk and two chairs from St Paul’s Middle School - this after I phoned last week to ask about the availability of furniture to borrow. I was so excited that I left as soon as we were finished. It’s a cute little desk, quite old-fashioned (no inkwell, not that old!), and two small chairs. The boys are completely delighted with it as I hoped they would be, and raring to go with school tomorrow. I’m extremely pleased and relieved to have a proper sized desk because it’s very important that children develop a good posture for writing. After lunch we went to the library, but first to Queen Mary’s to buy a chalk board. I have also borrowed a globe from the school, as the lady in charge said I could make use of any of their resources, because with all the downsizing and school closures, there is a lot of spare equipment. I had to laugh at the globe – I always look for St Helena on a map, but on this one it has only finger-worn spaces over St Helena and Ascension – you can just make out the writing, but obviously many little fingers have pointed to those two islands!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fresh fish delivered to our door

We were glad to see that the tern survived another day. Always happy to see it still perched in its box when we go down for breakfast! One of the ladies who works for the agriculture/fisheries department came by this morning with a bird cage, as I had contacted them on Monday to ask for advice in helping the bird. It’s quite a big cage with three perches, but unfortunately our little fledgling is too small for it – it tries to get out between the bars, and managed to get one wing, one foot and its head through, but then had nowhere to go. So we’re back to the box for now.

During the afternoon, Nick went out to do a guitar lesson, during which time I had a visitor who was a stranger to me, but he had a delivery of two fresh mackerel and a chunk of frozen wahoo, for the bird. You have to love the way things happen here – you just mention something to someone, and next thing you know, you’ve been organized. I was extremely pleased to get the mackerel, and have cut them up (using industrial gloves) into bite-sized pieces. This bird can sluk quite a big chunk of fish, so we’ve moved right away from mashing it up with milk! I’ve put most of the fish into the freezer, frozen flat for easy access. Honestly, the things you do for animals…I took longer cutting up the mackerel than I did making our own supper!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More bird news and school

The fairy tern survived the night, no thanks to my sleepless night of worry. At nine o’clock this morning I dashed out to the shops to look for mackerel. No fresh ones, but Thorpes had three varieties of canned mack. It’s incredibly fishy-smelling fish, and the smell lingers! We managed to get a few small chunks of it into the bird, as well as some milk and water during the course of the day. So far it’s doing very well – it was very active and energetic today. It’s just too cute. We gave it the run of Nick’s office and my room for some time, and it’s getting quite sturdy on its legs. It tries to run, head down, wings out, full tilt, then bumps into something. It has stopped trembling when we hold it, and quickly settles down to sleep when it’s in a hand. This baby is more spoiled than mine ever were!

School today was very good, despite the bird. It just took longer because I stopped after every subject to feed. We started with the language section today, and I was extremely pleased with the boys’ work, both of them. We’re doing Bb this week, although focusing on the capital letters. Caleb is starting to write neatly between the lines I draw for him, so this handwriting method seems to be working well. Aaron is also learning to write the letters independently, not only tracing. I feel confident knowing that I’m teaching a proper method, not muddling along! Also for language I had them retell yesterday’s short story, which they did pretty well. After tea we carried on with the read-aloud and history, and then another break, and then science. After lunch Caleb read to me, and I couldn’t believe how much he had retained from last year. He only stumbled over a few words, but most of them he read fluently, just slowly. So it was a very encouraging school day.

We had lunch out today, to try out Sally’s new delicatessen. It’s so nicely done, looks like any modern SA deli/take-away. The boys each had a cheese sandwich, and Nick and I had baguettes (foot-long rolls). Nick had bacon, and I had chicken, mayo and salad filling – tomato, cucumber and lettuce. It was absolutely and perfectly wonderful! Sally makes her own mayonnaise, so doesn’t struggle with the shortages.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The pitter patter of little feet

This morning I was out for my walk, but didn’t get very far when I noticed a bird-shaped ball of fluff sitting on the road. It was a baby fairy-tern, which must have fallen out of its tree. The terns don’t build nests, they simply lay eggs on the branches, so fatality rate is quite high. I dashed home to get some gardening gloves, because the fluff-ball revealed a beak and an attitude when I tried to pick it up, so armed with industrial gloves I carried it home. Its first home was an ice-cream tub, but when the bird had stopped quivering and become accustomed to its surroundings, it was quite lively and tried to get out. We settled it into a much bigger box, with two soft toys for company. It likes to sit on the highest point of the soft toys it can find. It can’t fly yet but used its wings as arms for balance, while it shuffled around the box. We tried to feed it a mooshed up raw golden smackaroo inner, but were unsuccessful today. Apparently they eat mackerel, so tomorrow I’m going to have to try find some. It’s absolutely lovely, covered with downy fluff which is starting to fall out. It’s also completely tame now and loves sitting in or on our hands, or will sit on our shoulder while we walk around the house. It’s just too precious, and we are praying for its survival! Hopefully we will see it mature to adulthood - the beautiful white fairy tern.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New format for monthly combined services

Church was great today, really enjoyable. We still had a lot to do this morning before church started by way of preparation and setting up, but by 9.30 we were ready to go. We all started in the chapel with the lay preachers’ service, and then after the preliminaries of worship, notices, offering etc, the kids left for Sunday School. We came to the Manse. There were 7 children, with two of the moms present, and then Joyce, Maureen and me. I started off with prayer and then the story, relating to God’s love, and then Joyce did the craft. She had pre-made all the craft things at home, so all the kids had to do was write their names on it, which didn’t take up very much time. Then we sang a song, let them colour in for a while, and then served them juice and biscuits. Nick came at about 10.30 to say they had finished church, so we went back to the schoolroom for tea. Quite a bit of rushing around then although the ladies had gotten the tea served and organized. Before we knew it, it was 11 and time for the next service. Nick wanted to do something quite different with the worship, so we had the overhead projector with a big screen, and Nick played guitar, Steve the violin and I played the mandolin, like the Bible Study. It was really nice – Nick even got them clapping! I haven’t seen them so lively in church before. Then I shared my testimony, which Nick had asked me to do. I recounted two of the lessons I’ve learned – about honouring God, and about submission in all things - I told how I was always too scared to commit EVERYTHING to God, in case He did something horrible to me like sending me to a remote island to be a missionary!! Well, I think that went well because although they all looked blank while I was speaking, they applauded! Nick said it’s more than he gets J Then we sang another song, and then Nick and I did a duet – one of Nick’s original compositions, very good. Then another song, and finally into the message. Meanwhile the boys had just been sitting on their own in a pew, and were very good. Nick’s message was excellent, tying in with what he was trying to achieve with the two services and the lunch and tea – which is fellowship and love. He wants to foster a more loving spirit within the church. Although on the surface they are very loving and warm, that’s as far as it goes. People don’t get together for a meal, or socialize together. For most of them, the only time they mingle is at church!! It’s a very difficult mindset to change. The finger lunch was quite nice, I think, although people still didn’t get the right idea of sitting at the tables we had laid out yesterday and chatting to different people. But still, it was pleasant enough.

Yesterday was equally busy. While Nick was at prayer meeting, I took the boys to the docks to say good bye to our neighbours, who left on the ship yesterday. Embarkation was 8.30, but no one really seemed to be in a hurry to get on the ship. Well, we eventually saw them coming along, so bid them farewell. I really enjoyed the experience of having a neighbour who I could talk to! Then it was Good News Club, the first of the year. Straight after GNC, the girls came to our house because they wanted to see the necklaces I make, so they had all come prepared with money. I sold about £24 worth! Very pleased to have made some money, and perhaps word will spread. For a while the diningroom and lounge was swarming with little bodies, because they’re never really in a hurry to leave. We had arranged for Callum to stay after to play, and another little girl decided to play too, which we don’t mind. God has really provided many friends for the boys – it was a big concern a while back, that they wouldn’t have friends, being homeschooled. Now they are always seeing other kids! At about 12.30 we sent Riana home, as Callum had already left, and took a quick drive to the docks to see if perhaps Wilson had sent a box. We weren’t sure if he was sending one with this ship or the next one in February. That was closed though, so we are still none the wiser. During the afternoon we got the schoolroom ready, and Nick had sermon prep and I had Sunday School prep and testimony prep to finish. So really, this whole weekend has been in preparation for this morning! Last night we went to town again to see if we could find anything ready-made to eat, because the option for supper was scrambled eggs which we didn’t feel like. Spar didn’t have anything, so we went to Tinkers and bought frozen smackaroos, but then we saw that the burger stand was open, so supper was cheeseburgers, chips etc. Quite fun, just a bit ridiculous that it’s the only fast-food thing open on a Saturday night!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Little Firemen

After school this morning, we went on an impromptu field trip to St Helena Fire Services! Jane actually arranged the whole thing, because she works right next to them, so just asked if the kids (hers and mine) could come and look at the trucks. It was wonderful. The boys could actually get right into one of the trucks, unfortunately not the huge fire engine, but one of the other smaller ones. They were allowed to switch on the sirens and the hooter, and the floodlight in the front, and then they even had a go with the hosepipe, which looks like an enormous gun – what better toy can there be for a little boy!! The three boys each had a turn while Zara hid inside the building peering out from behind the glass. It was a really great experience for them. After that, Jane whisked all the kids off to her house so they could have an afternoon of playtime. I went straight home so that Nick could use the car to get to the radio station. While I had the house to myself, I did some homeschool reading, as I haven’t actually properly started the handwriting program because I didn’t know I should have been, so have been a bit confused about what I was supposed to be doing in that particular slot. It’s all clear as mud now and next week will be more organized. While reading, the idea popped into my head to phone the education department to see if I could arrange some smaller desks and chairs for the boys, because working at the diningroom table is not good for them. They should really have their feet on the floor and be able to comfortably lean their elbows on the desk. What we need are child-sized furniture items, and since some schools are closing, I feel sure that they would have something available. I spoke to a very nice lady, the Education Officer, who said she would find out what she could. I wait to hear from her.

Nick had his prison service this afternoon, so I went into town with him and wandered around the shops, actually looking for yeast. There is no yeast in any of the shops. So we have a yeast and mayonnaise shortage. We fetched the boys at about 3.30 and of course they had all had a lovely time. Jane’s mom is visiting at the moment from SA, a very pleasant and down-to-earth lady. Supper was yeast-less pizza, which wasn’t quite as good, but still tasty. After supper we dashed down to the docks, because it occurred to us that there might have been a box from Wilson today, but everything was already closed up. We stayed a while at the docks though, because it was a nice atmosphere and lots of other people about. A rare occurrence for St Helena today – three ships in James’ Bay. The RMS came in this morning, and then a tourist ship, the Saga Ruby, arrived at lunch time, and there is an LPG (gas) carrier anchored in Lemon Valley which you can see from the docks. I think a lot of people turned up just to see the unusual sight!

Friday, January 19, 2007

This and That

Let me start with yesterday’s happenings…school was fun, with a science experiment to do with expanding air. We made a coin jump on top of an empty long-necked bottle by heating the air inside the bottle. It worked very well. We have a DVD of every single experiment that we will do this year, fully demonstrated, so if ours doesn’t work, then we can at least watch it. It’s great to have such a good guide. Caleb still thinks school is boring though. After a quick lunch I went to Lorna, as I couldn’t make our regular Monday slot since we had that luncheon appointment. I had a great time with Lorna and Liz yesterday. For some reason I was in a silly mood and didn’t really feel inspired to make necklaces, so instead I helped Lorna with some of her fixy-projects, and then made a space-man dangle for a necklace she was trying…she had started off with a normal looking thing, but it looked like a little person with a head, neck and body, so I just added arms and legs. This with much laughter, but she thought it was adorable and will actually use it (definitely will be a talking point!) Home at 3, fed and watered the boys, and then popped off with them to Maureen, to drop off a birthday card I had made for her. Got home just in time to make supper of drumsticks and chips and beans, and then at 7 we had a short Sunday School meeting to discuss our first Sunday. This Sunday coming we will be having an experimental day of services. We will start at 9.30 with a Lay Preachers’ Service running concurrently with Sunday School, then have a tea break, and then have our regular, although combined, service at 11.00, followed by a finger-lunch in the schoolroom. It is experimental because we haven’t tried this full-morning sort of program before, with a Sunday School included. Should be interesting.

Today after school, and learning about William Tyndale and snowflakes, I tidied the house in preparation for an afternoon visit with Janet and the boys. Since our boys all had such a good time on Tuesday, they came to us today. Well, all four of them ran riot and got completely silly and out of hand, but they had good fun. Janet and I had a quiet chat in the lounge. She is very pleasant and easy to chat with, so we had a good time. They left at 4 to go have a swim. We might meet up tomorrow afternoon at the pool if the weather’s good, otherwise I’ll definitely make a plan to say goodbye before they leave on Saturday. I gave her a box of old clothes which she will be able to give away to poor people in Cape Town, since there are no poor people on the island that I can give clothes to. Supper was the second half of Tuesday’s macaroni, and then Nick left for Bible Study at 5. This is the first week of being back into regular routines, poor Nick wasn’t looking forward to all the driving around again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Neighbours (everybody loves good ones)

School today was better – we started with the read-alouds and then had science (thunder and lightning today), then had tenzees, and then tackled the language, which is always the difficult part of the day. We finished at 11, and then were due at our temporary neighbour for tea. Her husband was out fishing, so she had a morning loose, and since she has two boys, we thought it would be fun. Indeed it was! We had a lot to chat about, and I shared the gospel with her. Her boys are 9 and 7 years old, but the 7 year old is Caleb’s height and the older boy is not much taller, so given those factors, they were more or less on a par. They had a great time playing all sorts of stuff – amazing how kids can make friends with strangers and get on with playing hard.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

School Again

Well, first day of school today. It was fun, confusing and awful, all in one! The confusing part was trying to figure out which activity sheets to do when, and paging between two files to find what I needed. I’ve rearranged the material though so tomorrow will already be better. The fun part was the variety. Today we learned about Martin Luther, how rainbows are made and the water cycle, we read a chapter from the Boxcar Children, and did Aesop’s fable, the Crow and the Pitcher. Then we did the experiment of putting water in a bottle and filling it with pebbles to make the level rise, just like the crow. That was all fun. The horrible part was the language section, which is the literacy part – Caleb couldn’t hold his pencil nicely, or couldn’t write the letters, so he dissolved into tears, despite my reassurances that it was normal to have forgotten a lot of what he’d learned last year. I think we got it sorted out though, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Every week we learn a new letter of the alphabet, and this week’s letters is Ff. All in all, I think it was a good morning. We spent about two hours, including a tea break where I hung up the washing, doing school. We haven’t yet started the maths program or the family fitness program, and I think they are easing us into the year with the read-alouds, so I imagine we will increase our time to about three hours per day.

We went out to lunch, to people in the church who live in Sandy Bay. It was a really, really nice visit – Mervyn surprised us by being quite chatty when you got him on the right topic, and very well spoken. We had always thought of him as one of the shy-stare-at-the-ground non-conversationalists, so although the conversation wasn’t sizzling, it wasn’t overly awkward! They are a super couple and we enjoyed the time with them. Daphne cooked up a storm – roast potatoes, delicious (the best to date) drumsticks, a stew (non-curried for my benefit), rice, cabbage, fishcakes, and a salad. She said she doesn’t cook very well and was very modest about the meal, but we were very complimentary. The boys also enjoyed it, and both had second helpings. Pudding was ice-cream, and Daphne couldn’t find a tin of peaches she was sure she had, but we didn’t mind at all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday Lunch

Some good news – Nick’s amp returned from getting the new component put in, and it’s working now. We are so relieved about it, because when it first blew, we thought that was the end of that and a big waste of money. But the only thing lost was time, so no problem. Nick is very happy with his whole guitar configuration now – he has an amp for each guitar, with the electric guitar amp having loads of effects, and then a separate pedal for the acoustic guitar/amp, which he can also use on the electric, so he will never be at a loss for different sounds.

Today has been a nice Sunday. Paul Stroud just missed Nick for a lift to church – he came by the house at 10.45, as he had been at the docks hoping for a position on one of the yachts. There was a fun race around the bay today, and anyone interested could participate or catch a ride. I contemplated taking the boys, but when I heard it would be a few hours, I thought we’d rather skip it! Anyway, Nick and I had decided to invite Paul to lunch, so when he came by I extended the invitation, and then he asked if he could just stay at our place until lunch, otherwise his friends would be bugging him to hang out, which he wants to avoid doing. I didn’t mind, so he came in and went out to the back, where he played ball with the boys and chatted to them. That was quite nice, otherwise the boys might have been a bit bored. Lunch was beef steaks (quite peppery, but nice), potato bake, beans and sweetcorn. I enjoyed the meal. After lunch Nick showed Paul the amp, as Paul also plays a bit of guitar, so that took some time and was quite loud, during which time I came upstairs to do…what else, scrapping. Then we watched Aladdin with the boys – Paul hadn’t seen it, so watched the whole thing too, and then left. After that we went to the pool, where Nick and I read books while the boys swam. Always plenty of kids for them to play with. Then it was supper of sandwiches, and church. The message was very good, about Jesus’ betrayal, and how you can look and act so much like a Christian without actually being one – the disciples had no idea that Judas was the betrayer. Nick also touched on forgiveness, as Jesus had loved Judas throughout his ministry.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More visits

I spent a large part of the day tidying and sorting, mostly in my craft room. Every time I have a box arriving for me on the ship, I have to tidy my room again and get it ready to put out the new stuff! I did all the ironing while listening to the radio, because there was a very nice morning slot hosted by Tammy Williams and her sister, both strong Christians in the SDA church. They have been doing a children’s show twice a week during the school holidays, so when the boys heard them playing nice music and talking to “the boys and girls”, they arranged themselves in a cramped little corner of my room next to the radio. When Colette said “don’t go away” and Caleb nearly got up, Aaron was very concerned because the lady had just said they mustn’t go away! They had a competition on the go for children to phone in their wise words, particularly as to how the people of the island can get along better with each other. I encouraged Caleb to think of something, so we phoned the station with “don’t do anything in anger”. When I had finished the ironing and it was time for tenzees (at about 10.30), we went downstairs and I was surprised to see someone sitting in the lounge with Nick. He’s a pastor at a church in Cape Town, not Baptist, sort of non-denominational, but evangelical. Lovely guy, very charismatic, who had actually come as part of the crew on one of the yachts. He didn’t stay too long, but will probably come to church on Sunday night.

I’ve been decorating the diningroom to look like a classroom, with the alphabet, numbers, maps etc stuck up on the walls. After tea I made some origami birds (after Nick showed me how to make it properly, because I couldn’t work it out from the book’s instructions), and then strung them up from the ceiling on fishing gut, while the boys watched a DVD. At 5 pm, Svetlana, Tsvetan and George came by, primarily so that Georgie could play with Caleb, but I had also invited them to dinner. The boys had a wild time playing, and Caleb has promoted George to ‘best friend’. Sorry Aaron. George turns 6 next month, so they are very close in age.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

High Hill Hike

Busy day today - we had a morning visit with church people for tea in Bluehill. They have just returned from Cape Town where she had a back op, very successful. We left them at 12, and then drove around all over that part of the island looking for a picnic spot, as I had packed some rolls and chips and apples, in preparation for a whole day out. After much driving, we found ourselves at the foot of High Hill, where we ate and then played hide and seek for a while. That got boring, so Nick suggested that we climb High Hill. We were all wearing good shoes, just in case of something like this happening, so we tackled it. It’s quite an adventurous walk/climb, although only rated 2/10 for difficulty but there are many very steep bits, and the boys managed splendidly. Aaron held Nick’s hand almost all the way up and down but Caleb is like a little mountain goat. There were only a few places on the way down where Nick held his hand. I was quite scared in many parts, feeling like I couldn’t go any further, because I have no confidence when it comes to leaping about on sandy and pine-needly inclines, but Nick helped me in some places and the other bits I just took slowly. We got to the top eventually, and then came down again, with me shuffling down almost on my bottom. Thankfully the car was parked in the shade, so we sat in the car and recovered. It was hot and sweaty work! We were very glad of the weather though – sunny and warm, but with a nice breeze. We sat in the car for about half an hour, and then went to our second visit of the day. Their driveway was a surprise for us. Nick parked just outside the gate, and then we walked up. Had we known about her driveway, we might not have bothered getting the exercise from High Hill. It must have been easily 1 km long, and fairly steep! First there was a bit along the gravelly driveway, then we went through a barbed-wire gate through the cow field, then another gate led us into the actual house property, after which there was another very steep grassy bit. We couldn’t believe how long it took us to get there! They have to do that walk every time they go anywhere, because they park their van about half way up and walk the rest. Had quite a nice visit with them, despite the awkward silences. We left at about 4.30, but not before Harold warned us not to go near the cow, because she doesn’t like children. Unfortunately the cow happened to be standing right next to the path, so Harold accompanied us down half way, assuring the cow that we had no harmful intent. It was a little on the scary side, because this cow was huge and old with long sharp horns. We didn’t really want to be attacked. Thankfully got to the car without incident, and even more tired than before. Got home, then got busy cooking, as we had dinner guests. Very good evening with them. Nick is extremely satisfied to have accomplished three pastoral visits in one day!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The good news of today is that I bought tomatoes. Yes, this is reason for celebration! I happened to be at Queen Mary’s and noticed all the people gathered around the just-unpacked fresh fruits, so I selected some apples, plums and apricots, and then waited a little while after confirming that they would be unpacking tomatoes. I was really excited to get my hands on about 6 firm tomatoes, one of which I ate single-handedly when I got home.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

No more baaaad hair days

Yesterday Nick asked what I wanted to do today – I said there wasn’t much to choose from! So we were very happy to get a phone call from Daphne Peters who has a farm in Sandy Bay, to say that they would be shearing their sheep today. We got there at about 9.30, and they were waiting for us to arrive before they started. They only had four sheep to do today, I guess they will do the rest another time. Daphne’s son-in-law, David, was there to actually do the shearing. It was great to watch – they have to get a rope around the sheep’s neck and then lead it to the cement block where they do the deed. The sheep are very docile and obedient, bringing to mind the Scripture “as a sheep before its shearer is silent…”. They are arranged and positioned where the shearer needs them, sometimes sitting on their bums, sometimes lying on their backs, sometimes standing – but they pretty much did whatever they had to, every so often having a huge twitch and needing resettling. David did a good job with them and is obviously quite used to doing this. It’s all manual, simply with a pair of shears which could even double as garden shears in an emergency (you know, when your bougainvillea starts attacking you and you have to hack it down quickly, that type of emergency). At one point he accidentally cut the sheep, so when he was finished shearing it they sprayed on some purple stuff, which would help to keep the flies off the wound. The boys lost interest after the first five minutes, but at least they’ve experienced it. We had tea inside, and then while we were inside, William, Daphne’s husband, called for the boys to come outside. They had finally caught the big ram and wanted the boys to see it. The ram was jumping all over the place, but finally calmed down a bit and the boys could get close enough to pet it. Aaron was in his element when William picked him up and sat him on the ram!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Front garden (sort of a garden)

We took a drive out to Sandy Bay this morning for Nick to drop off the prayer meeting lists, and took the opportunity to go to the chapel and take some plants. Of course we’re allowed to take plants from the church property, so we uprooted a few small guava trees and small other hardy sorts of bushes, all very small. We figure that if plants can grow in Sandy Bay, in terrible soil, with full sun and with absolutely no water except the bit of rain they get, they can definitely grow in our garden! We’ve planted the things into pots so that they can grow a bit stronger before we put them in the front garden. The photo is of the front garden at present with just two small geranium plants - assuming there is any growth and change in the garden, I’ll post updates!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Day

After and quiet morning and lunch, we headed off to Francis Plain (i.e. Prince Andrews High School), where there was a big New Year’s Day bash happening from 12 noon, running through to midnight tonight. There were lots of food stalls about, and a few car boot type sales, where we picked up 4 hotwheel cars for the boys. Since we had just had lunch, we bought some juices and chips and sat down under cover (to get shade) to enjoy those. As always, you see lots of people you know, so there was a nice sort of atmosphere. Unfortunately the fair was completely rained out during the afternoon, by which time we were already home and watching a DVD.

Yesterday Nick got busy with the hammer and nails again, and made a flowerbox to go on the highest kitchen windowsill. This morning then, he and the boys painted it a lovely shade of red, sort of an oxblood colour, which Aaron managed to get on his legs so he looks like he’s been bleeding, but which I’m sure he had fun doing. This afternoon Nick planted out three geraniums into the now-dried pot, and put it in place. It looks pretty there. Sometime soon he will go up the mountain and get some more small geranium plants which we’ll look after and grow.

The Governor’s Cup Race is a yacht race from Cape Town to St Helena, which I think happens every second year. Once here, the yachts are hoisted aboard the RMS and shipped back to Cape Town, as it’s very difficult sailing a yacht against the trade winds (normally yachts go to Brazil from here, always west). The race started on the 28th of December, and they are expecting the winner to arrive on the 5th or 6th. Apparently “Our Dianne”, which is the island-manned yacht, is in the lead. I gather this is quite a big event around here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

And so the year ends...

Happy new year! Our last day of 2006 ended with a potluck dinner at the Manse, and a watchnight service. Fortunately we had some warning that not a lot of people would be coming to the potluck, so I could also prepare some food – I made mince, rice and green beans. We had Steve and Maureen, Dot and Nick W. It was a good evening though. As Dot put it, we had “quality not quantity”. She’s cheeky! We had dinner together, and then played a game of Balderdash, which Maureen won hands down. We all enjoyed it. Jean, Teddy and Brenda joined us at about 10.45, and then at 11.30 we had the service, which Vincent preached and led.