Saturday, March 31, 2007

To help or not to help

Colin came to work at the manse today, surprise surprise. I heard the boys closing the front door at about 8.30 this morning, and then Caleb found me and said that Colin was here, but he (Caleb) told Colin to come back when Nick was back home from his swim. Well, Nick didn’t go swimming this morning, he had just got out of the bath, so I sent the boys to quickly go running after Colin. They retrieved him, and Nick got him working on the wall outside. I avoided him as much as possible, which wasn’t too difficult as I stayed inside and he stayed outside. He makes me feel very uncomfortable! Just before lunch, Nick took Colin with him to Solomon’s to buy the paint, and whilst there Colin encountered some of his friends who offered him some dope to smoke, which he happily accepted, and after that he was no good to work. Nick had to take him home shortly after that. But at least a little section of the wall got done, although not as neatly as Nick does it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Take what you get

Nick took a bit of time out for lunch, so we went to Castle Gardens with our provisions from Spar for chip rolls. It’s always lovely just to be there and enjoy the beautiful flowers and gardens. The boys ran around and climbed trees. Then we went to Solomon’s DIY where they are having a sale, and looked at their goodies. They have 5l buckets of exterior masonry paint on special, from ₤17.99 to ₤9.99, but only in two colours – a pale green and a pale blue. We are going to be wanting to paint the back of the house and the walls which Nick has been “pointing up” (patching up with cement), so are considering the peppermint paint. Ideally we’d like to get a biscuit or cream or beige coloured paint, but might have to just go for what we can get that is cheap.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Time for a new hobby!

Yesterday when I went to the library, I found a book explaining how to crochet, with very simple-looking step-by-step instructions for all the different stitches. I’ve been wanting to learn to crochet for ages, because there are some really pretty patterns in magazines sometimes, and I think it will be a useful skill to have! I set out on a crochet-hook hunt this afternoon, having found my hook which turned out to be the tiniest one imaginable…1 mm! I was very happy to find a wide variety of sizes at Victoria’s, so bought 5 hooks in different sizes. While I crocheted, I let the boys make beaded bangles on elastic, as part of their Egyptian gear. Caleb threaded three and Aaron one, and I crimped the ends together. We’ll just have to restrict the wearing of their new jewellery to actual dressing up stuff!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Young Egyptians

Back to normal for school this morning, fitting in all the regularly scheduled events. In history, we are looking at a book called “Living Long Ago”, and are currently working through a section on clothing. It’s quite interesting – today we learned how the ancient Egyptians used to dress, and there was a little section showing how to make a collar – so we did that after school, before lunch. The boys are extremely pleased with their new outfits, and I think I’ve lost two dishtowels to their outfit permanently! By the time I took the photo, Caleb’s face paint needed to be removed because it was making his eyes water (all in the mind).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Garden interest

Caleb was the hero of the day this morning…I was just too late in getting the rubbish outside, and the truck came rumbling past as I was standing on the inside of the alley gate. I got the rubbish outside anyway, and then Caleb went running down the street after them, frantically pointing to our little pile of white bags. The rubbish truck graciously reversed up the street right to the gate to collect our stuff! Caleb was very pleased with his efforts.

After supper (fishcakes from the freezer, scrambled eggs and beans…high protein!), we all wandered about outside in the back, looking at the plants and talking about them and admiring the growth of various things we’ve planted. The melon plants are flourishing in their spot, and there might be another little mango tree coming up where Nick planted a whole mango, or it might be a weed. I picked a bean and ate it today, but I do think they need to grow a bit more. Even so, it was very tasty, and quite a novelty eating something I’vemyself. I set Caleb’s apple seeds in a bottle, but we don’t know if they will germinate…being directly from an apple, they might have been GM’d so as not to propagate. It was really nice being outside together though…Nick mowed the lawn earlier, and it’s looking beautiful, and everything outside just looked good. Being late evening, it was cool and shaded. I think the boys are picking up our sudden enthusiasm for gardening. Caleb is full of ideas for what to do with his apple trees, and putting up fences, and picking his own apples, and so on. Aaron says he loves me so much that he wishes he was a flower so he could give himself to me. He also says funny stuff like “I’m so excited I could just fall over”. Caleb says that Nick (his father) is his best friend.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Combined service

It’s been another really hot day today, with rain during the night, but a clear morning. We had our combined service at 11 am here in Jamestown, which meant that the morning was spent in various preparations…Nick had to set up the Augustine Bookroom, overhead projector and screen, and other bits and pieces, and I had to finalise the craft section for Sunday School, do the bulletins, and get the diningroom ready. It wasn’t stressed or rushed though, as we had given ourselves plenty of time. It’s amazing how much there is to be done though for church!! A lot of people came this morning, the church was nicely filled. Teddy led the worship, but took 45 minutes, so by the time Nick got to preaching, everyone was so hot and droopy and concentration levels were low. He forgot to send us off to Sunday School, so I had to prompt him before he got too tucked in to his message. We had 9 kids for Sunday School, and it was nice. Maureen did the creation story, and my craft was to make a garden scene, colouring in white cardboard and then sticking foam animals and butterfly and fish stickers etc on to it, with pipe cleaner Adams and Eves. The lunch afterwards was bounteous as usual, even though Nick had a mild panic in thinking that there wasn’t enough food – but there was so much left afterwards!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wow, a date!

Last night Nick and I went on a date. We dropped the boys off at Elza and Sarel’s house at 7 pm for babysitting, and put them to bed straight away, and then stayed to chat awhile. We had such a nice time chatting, on the topic of marriage and relationships, that we only got away at about 7.45. Since we didn’t have a booking, there was no rush to leave. We had decided to try the fairly new eatery, Café St Helena. We weren’t too impressed with it, although the food was quite good. We shared a plate of ‘Tapiss’ – chicken strips with four different dips. Very nice, but hardly a meal. We considered that the starter, as we also shared a pizza, which was delicious, with a crispy base. We chose to have bacon, sausage and pineapple on it. We stayed at the Café only long enough to eat, and then paid and left by about 9 pm. Went home, got changed and made a flask of tea, and then drove up to the top of Jacob’s Ladder. We were warmly dressed, and had the picnic blanket with us as well, so were very comfortable sitting a few steps down with our tea. It was reminiscent of being on Northcliff Hill at night, although the view is a lot smaller! It was really lovely being up there at night. It’s a lot noisier at night than in the day…lots of music playing. Pity we didn’t have the camera with us, as it would have been nice to try a time-exposure shot of town at night. Will have to try again some time. We were in bed at our usual time of just after 10, despite having all the wonderful freedom of being boy-less! At 5 am there was a heavy shower of rain, so it was the usual pandemonium of anticipating a leaking roof. Nick went off to sleep in the guest room, while I found a dustbin to put on the bed. As it happened, the roof didn’t leak through, but we both didn’t really get back to sleep properly. Pity. But without the boys waking us up early, I only got out of bed at 7.30 am! We had breakfast together, and then Nick had to rush off to get ready for prayer meeting. I went up to the Bloems just before 9 am for the boys, and stayed for a cup of tea. When I arrived, I found the boys in the garden giving Elza a lesson on pollinating flowers. Sarel was out when I got there, as there was a tourist ship in this morning and he was called out to the ship to see if some of their sick passengers and crew should be allowed on the island, which they were not. There is strict control with bringing infectious diseases onto our land! So he wasn’t very popular on the ship. Had to drag myself away, and literally had a minute to spare after getting home before Good News Club…cutting it a bit fine!

After Good News Club, Nick got busy straight away with the bell; he’s working with Teddy, Steve, Nick W and another church man called Trevor. They had to dismantle the supports for the bell, leaving the bell in the tower on wooden supports. After about 100 years of ringing, the pendulum had actually been worn away on both sides. The cast iron supports are so corroded, it’s only by God’s hand that the bell didn’t fall down. As I said two weeks ago, it was providential that the rope broke while Teddy was ringing it for Sunday service, bringing about the examination of the bell and its structures.

Caleb and I had an appointment with Scilla, the optometrist, in the late afternoon. She did Caleb first, and was very thorough and very good. The outcome is that Caleb is short-sighted and will be getting glasses. He seems to have my eyes…so it may well be a downhill slide from here until we can one day send him for laser surgery! He chose his own pair of frames, a light coppery colour, which he will probably get at the end of April. Then she looked at my eyes, as I have some halo effects at night particularly, and although there is a very slight regression in my right eye, I don’t need glasses. Apparently in the “olden days” when they did laser, they did it in such a way that when the pupil is dilated, the image falls on a part of the eye that wasn’t treated or something like that. Nowadays when they do laser they treat a bigger area. So mine is nothing serious.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A girl's got to have shoes!

This morning I was feeling down in the dumps again about being on the island. It hit me after school while I was waiting around for lunch to happen, and Nick came downstairs, and I told him how I was feeling. Shame, he’s always sympathetic but there’s not too much he can do. Today he suggested retail therapy though – he actually said I could go and buy myself some shoes!! That put a smile on my face, for sure. I know that ultimately my contentment is in God and my hope is in heaven, but it’s difficult to always keep that perspective. I suggested that we go out for lunch, and then I would go out later on my own for some shoe-shopping. So we went to Sally’s. The boys each had a sausage baguette, Nick had a tuna mayonnaise brown roll with salad filling, and I had roast chicken baguette with mayonnaise and salad filling. They are really yummy scrummy. We took our food and liqui-fruits to Castle Gardens, where it was wonderfully cool in the shade of a tree. The wind was blowing so hard though that the water from the fountain was spraying us, but it was refreshing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Room with a view

The relevant government departments have trimmed a huge Saringa (spelling?) tree at the Adult Education Department. There were a lot of dead branches, giving the tree a greyish appearance, which have all been taken off. The whole of Market Street was closed from just below Seales’ Corner (close to us) to Thorpes. When I went out for bread, I decided to walk as it seemed quicker than taking the alternative route! Also the car had difficulty starting. We now have a much better sea view from the bathroom and boys’ window, which should allow us to actually see the RMS on its last stretch from Ascension. I feel bad for the fairy terns who nest in that tree though, as I’m sure a lot of them have been displaced. That was Reepicheep’s original home. (The photo is the view from our bathroom window).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


The big news of the day is that the bean plants are bearing beans!! We went to the garden during our science section to examine a tree, to see what insects we could find living in it and anything else observable on the tree, and it was then that I noticed that there are definitely beans on the plants. I showed the boys, and they were as excited as I! Quite a number of them are growing, so we’ll definitely be able to have a meal of them. I’m so pleased. This is the first time that I have grown something edible. The melon plants are growing slowly but looking good, and I have a tray of potted tomato seeds on the diningroom windowsill, hoping that those will germinate. Fabulous if we can get all these things growing. It’s really cool!!! Often tourists have remarked that it’s strange that more people don’t grow their own vegetables, considering the scarcity of them in the shops, which I think was sitting in the back of my mind as a vaguely guilty feeling.

This afternoon I pottered around the house, donning my figurative handy-man hat to replace a light fitting outside. The light bulb had broken off in the fixture, which had also broken, so the whole bracket thing needed replacing. It was very simple, just a bit fiddly…sort of like changing a plug. I had the electricity switched off, very safely, and was nervous when I flipped the switch up to test it – but it all worked fine. Now we will be able to see our way when we come home from church the back way at night. It was annoying not having that particular bulb working. You might wonder why Nick didn’t do this task…he very firmly handed it over to me, saying that he was sure I know more about electricity than he does. I’m not sure if he’s right about that, but he was running a mile from that business. Give him a bag of cement any day over electrical stuff!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mothering Sunday and Diana's Peak

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday on the island, otherwise known as Mother’s Day. Nick didn’t know about this day until Saturday morning, by which time it was too late for him to organize something for the moms for Sunday. I specifically didn’t tell him about the occasion as it would have seemed like I was reminding him to buy me a present, so I just left it. He was none too pleased at not knowing though – it didn’t occur to me that the church moms would lose out! Oh well. We’ll celebrate the May day properly. We went out for a picnic lunch to Prince Andrew’s School, where we found a shady spot among the trees and ate our ham, mayo, cheese and tomato sandwiches with relish, followed by a chocolate for pudding. Then we headed off to Diana’s Peak, as we’ve been wanting to take the boys up for some time now, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. Nick decided that yesterday was the day for it, being Mother’s Day, and the weather was just right too. It was so lovely to be back in nature, walking along those grassy paths that we haven’t seen since May when my parents were visiting. The boys handled the walk exceptionally well, although we helped them a bit along the dangerously steep or muddy bits. They enjoyed the novelty of being on the highest point in the country. We were all exhausted when we got home! Nick and I were still recovering from Friday night’s late night, so you can imagine that after church last night we were knackered! Church was good, quite full actually, especially since some ladies had come specifically because it was Mother’s Day. Apparently the Mothering Sunday thing started by people going to the “mother church” on a given Sunday instead of their local parish, and it somehow became connected with Mother’s Day. So whether the extra ladies were there hoping to get a chocolate, or because they were following the old tradition, is unknown to me. Nick preached on the presence of Jesus, emphasizing that it’s not just the Holy Spirit who indwells us, but also the Father and the Son. It’s a difficult concept to grasp!

We’re doing Pp this week in school. I’m so amazed that I can tell both boys to write the word “map”, for example, and they both get it right. Aaron has a good understanding of phonics so far, and can easily break a simple little word like ‘tap’ down into its sounds. Caleb continues to improve with his reading. We’re working through The Three Billy Goats Gruff at the moment, a very easy read book, and he’s becoming fairly fluent in his reading in places.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sleepover #2

Yesterday was a busy day, with getting the house cleaned and ready for the sleepover. School was all fine, neither boys had problems with anything that I can recall, although my sleep-deprived brain might not be at its peak for memory. I spent most of the afternoon cleaning, and then made pizza for supper as usual. Straight after supper I made another pizza for the girls, and that was in the oven when they arrived. They launched into the fun straight away, although first started with some screaming because I had said that they may make as much noise as they wanted to since the boys were out. I had to revise that rule though, and say that they could make noise, but I didn’t expect it to be continuous!! We played all sorts of different games, including the old favourite, the chocolate game, with a slab still from Jean’s generosity some time back. I showed two of the girls how to make the poppies, as the other girls were more interested in wrestling each other at that point, and we also did the seed-in-jar science experiment / spiritual analogy. I compared their faith to the seeds, which need to be watered and looked after, so I hope that when their little plants start growing, they will be reminded of the lesson. At about 11 pm they were still running around, so I told them it was time to brush their teeth and settle down, and we’d watch a DVD. This we did, and actually managed to watch almost the whole DVD without too much disturbance and interference, although they weren’t lying quietly in their sleeping spots as I’d hoped. After the DVD ended I insisted that they get into bed and then we watched most of our wedding video, which they all loved. I fast forwarded what I thought would be boring bits, but they complained every time I did! (This morning they were playing bridesmaid-bridesmaid). They settled and were ready for sleep by the time Nick and the boys got home at 1 am. I lay awake very uncomfortably on the couch for some time, bothered by the fact that if I straightened my legs, the duvet didn’t cover them and they attracted the mozzies. About an hour and four mosquito bites later, I tried out an empty patch of cushions on the floor, but couldn’t settle there either. Eventually I got up, making sure all the girls were asleep, and switched off the passage light which they had begged me to leave on (scared of the dark), and got comfortable on the floor, just on top of a duvet. After that I slept fairly well, but woke up at my usual 6.30 or so. For that reason I am now very tired. Nick, meanwhile, had had a great time at Svetlana’s house, playing TV games with Tsvetan while the boys and Georgie played and watched a DVD. The boys went to sleep there at about 9 pm, not too late, but they were noticeably tired today.

This morning the girls had their breakfasts, and then took forever in the bathroom getting themselves dressed and brushed. I tidied up the lounge a bit and folded sheets, and then bathed when they were all finished their ablutions. Had to pick up clumps of long dark hair off the floor and practically wash out the whole bath to get the toothpaste away before I even tried to feel at home in my own bathroom!

Nick had to be at Tammy’s house at 3 for the next session of album practice, and I had arranged to take the boys to visit Steve and Maureen, since they live so close and I haven’t been to their house in a while. We spent a very relaxed afternoon there. The weather was almost wintery in the country today – overcast and chilly. The boys played inside with Lego mostly, while Maureen and I chatted and read magazines. I fetched Nick at six, and then we came home for a very quick supper of fish fingers and scrambled eggs.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dang flies

Supper tonight was fishcakes. I had a lump of tuna in the freezer, as well as some wahoo, and also the left over mackerel which Reepicheep didn’t live long enough to eat. I used all three fish varieties together. I ended up with a huge batch of fishcakes, after spending nearly 3 hours in the kitchen, which will do for another two meals. The boys tried to count the flies having a feast in the kitchen, but it’s difficult to count 20 flies who don’t keep still.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

School again?

This morning Caleb said he didn’t want to do school, and he doesn’t like school. That sent my heart plummeting, since I wasn’t particularly in the mood either! Fortunately Nick came in just then, so he had a nice chat with Caleb. Shame, he didn’t seem to happy though. Aaron works hard and continues to amaze me with how well he’s doing with the literacy program. Sometimes I battle to distinguish between Aaron and Caleb’s work. While we were busy with school, just as we were about to break for tenzees, Elza’s familiar voice came floating through the diningroom curtain. I think she’s given up on the front door, and knew we were in the diningroom, so she just came right up the path and addressed me there. She had found some ribbon and beads to give me, and a kids craft magazine. I invited her to stay for a cup of tea as it was so well timed, so we had a good chat. While she was visiting, Nick offered to take her camera up the mountain to take pictures of the bell tower, as the bell will soon be coming down. By this time we were ready to start school again, so Elza just stayed for a bit of the second session, and I’m sure she learned something about fruit and flowers of trees! The fruit of an evergreen tree is always called a cone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Get the paper, got the paper?

This morning I was very upset to see a strange brown blob sitting on my desk when I came in for my QT, and it took me a few moments to realize that it was two pieces of chocolate which I had left there the night before, which had been diligently nibbled all around the edges. The mouse ate my chocolate! That’s it, the trap has been set now in the pantry.

After lunch I went shopping alone, just to see what’s in the shops at the moment. I came away with a pack of marbled papers, in five different colours, quite reasonably priced, at the corner shop. We don’t often find anything useful in the crafty line in the shops here. At about 2.30 Elza called on with some ferns she had uprooted for me from the Sandy Bay Clinic, which she thought would still look good in the bottles. Of course I had to show her the new paper, so she buzzed off there as soon as she left here. The boys and I quickly went to visit the old people, and Caroline was so pleased to see us again. I felt bad that it’s been so long since we had been (before Christmas), but I’ve just been avoiding going. She said she knew I hadn’t forsaken her. We didn’t stay long, getting back in time for afternoon tea, and then I got stuck into doing something with the plants. It’s awkward to get into the hanging bottles now, as I have to undo some wire holding them up…so I didn’t put the ferns in, but rather planted them all into a container. Then I potted the melon seedlings which are progressing well, and also planted some more bulbs in the front garden, those aloe-type plants which Nick hates. The weeds on the house side garden are really flourishing, but I’d rather have healthy green weeds growing than nothing at all. They’re a nice succulent type of weed with a thick green leaf and purplish stem, which spread out as a ground cover. The portulacas on that side are also quite abundant now. Some time during the afternoon Lorna phoned, and we both had a good laugh about the fact that she was phoning to let me know about some nice marbled papers in the corner shop…I told her I already had them and had told Elza, and would have e-mailed her tonight! At least we all know we’re looking out for each other.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Unusually out on a Sunday morning

This morning I was just busy at the computer when Elza phoned, wanting to know I could help her with some on-line ordering. I offered my services immediate availability, since Sunday mornings are usually so blah. She was at the house in about ten minutes, and I heard her calling through the diningroom window to announce her presence. When I opened the front door, she said that she hopes that heaven’s gates are easier to get into than our house! She must have been knocking at the door for some time (the doorbell doesn’t work anymore). We spent nearly two hours at her house, first getting the order finalised and sent off, and then looking at photos and other scrapbooking chit chat stuff. It was great to be out on a Sunday morning! She dropped me off at home at about 11.45, which left me just enough time to put together spaghetti bolognaise. When Nick arrived home, he asked where I had been as he had come home between services, desperate for something to drink, and found the house locked up. Shame, I felt so bad. The rest of the afternoon was our normal quiet at-home stuff, me reading, the boys playing, Nick resting or playing guitar. Caleb made swings for himself and Aaron, very cleverly, with ropes and batons, which are actually functional and usable.

Church this evening was good, although seemed quite long. It was full – behind me was the medical row with Scilla, Svetlana and boys, and Elza. Sarel was called out, so couldn’t come. Last week when Teddy was ringing the bell for church, the rope broke, so Nick inspected it during the week, and discovered that the bell itself is actually extremely dangerously positioned now because the trussing and supports are so old and rusted in crucial places. It’s going to have to be taken down and repaired. So tonight there was no bell-ringing. Teddy announced in church that he believes it was providential that the rope came away last week, otherwise it might have been quite disastrous!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Green hill

After GNC we took a picnic lunch to Greenhill, which we’ve driven past before but never stopped for an outing. It’s very far from us, right down by Sandy Bay way, but extremely beautiful. There is a big grassy bit with some picnic tables, and a very unique bench a little farther away – one side of the bench is supported by a tree, the other in the usual manner. It was actually quite hot when the sun was shining, but there was a big cloud which kept obscuring it. Aaron informed us that he needed a poo, so I asked if he could wait as there were no toilets around, otherwise he’d have to squat in a bush somewhere. He went away and I forgot about his request, until we heard him calling and then saw him sitting on the grass by a bush with his pants down. He had finished his poo, he said. Armed with toilet roll, I went to inspect the damage – he didn’t understand the concept of “squat” so had merely sat down. Miraculously though, it had come out in a neat little pile in front of him, so was an easy-wipe type. Could have been much worse! Was very funny.

Tammy, the island’s greatest singing success, has started work on her next album, and this afternoon was the first gathering of the clan. Nick was gone from 3 pm until just after 7 pm, after a long afternoon of putting music to the lyrics Tammy had written. They now have ten songs ready for practicing and polishing, and then recording. It’s unfortunate that he will be away from us every Saturday afternoon for the next however long, but it’s something he wants to do and enjoys.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hanging garden

Yesterday afternoon the boys and I went to Knollcombes to source some small plants for the hanging garden. I didn’t find what I wanted, ideally looking for ferns, but got a few other bits and pieces. The boys were helpful with finding bulbs lying on the ground, some of them already growing little plants and roots, but easy to lift up. Those will eventually grow into huge aloe-type things, but in the bottles they won’t get very big. Later in the afternoon I invited Elsa around to help with the bottling of said plants, and so I could show her how to work with pewter. We had a good afternoon. The plants got planted, and the pewter was pewtered, with much chatting in between.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Car nearly on its way

Good news! We’ve been praying that the Lord would provide a NEW car…the funds were transferred about a month ago across to St Helena from Constantia Park Baptist Church, and it’s been looking very much like we would be able to get a good, second hand car. Well, the Lord has graciously answered our prayers for a brand new car…we will be getting a new Ford Fiesta, in a pale metallic blue (our choice of colour), at the beginning of May on the ship from Cape Town. Awesome!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hospital visit

Poor Caleb was sick enough this morning for me to take him to hospital. I phoned the hospital, because I never know if I’m supposed to try get an appointment or just arrive, and I was asked if it was an emergency, and told that it’s not outpatient’s clinic day today. Oh. So I said I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to bring my sick child, he needed attention today. So yes, it’s an emergency. We were all ready to go right then, so the boys got in the car and I started up, put the car in gear, and didn’t go anywhere. I tried to put it in gear again, but this time the gear stick was completely stuck and no amount of jiggling would set it free. By now the hospital was expecting me, so after trying and failing to arrange a lift, we walked up. I had to piggy-back Caleb because he was already wheezing so badly and the walk uphill would have been very bad. Poor Aaron struggled to keep up even though I was going quite slowly, as he was carrying two school books with him. Had only a slight wait at the hospital before Svetlana saw to us. She nebulised him and prescribed four different syrups, including antibiotics.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Toilet issues

Last night we had the heaviest rainfall we’ve experienced on the island so far. Not only was the rain heavy, it was continuous, for what seemed quite a lot of the night. As anticipated, we had a shower in the bedroom too, but it actually only came after I was out of bed. I just noticed that the duvet was wet, so either one of us has incontinence issues, or in fact, as I rather suspect, the roof leaked. The sight in the back yard was something to behold. With the extensive rain and insufficient drainage, the paving area and concrete area beyond that was quite flooded. Unfortunately the rain had caused all manner of blockages in pipes, so we had bits of toilet paper and various other unmentionable sewerage items floating about. Ja, it was pretty gross if you’re thinking that. Nick got busy straight away with draining off as much water as possible, burying what big bits of manure he found in the garden. Then he climbed up on the roof, confessing afterwards that I wouldn’t have liked what he was doing up there in terms of safety, to fix the holes in the roof with some flushing/flashing he found. He said the roof looks like a tin can that’s been opened, so he mended the biggest holes he could find until he ran out of the stuff. Then he cleaned out the gutters around the roof, sending years of dirty water where it doesn’t drain off properly, down the drainpipe. It came out the other end with such force that it appeared as if the drainpipe was projectile vomiting.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Good ol' cricket

This afternoon, to relieve the boredom of the day, we took a drive. At first we were without heading or direction, but then Nick remembered that there had been a cricket match on the go at Prince Andrew’s School, so we pulled in and had our picnic there. It was so windy that the Cremora almost blew off the spoon before I could get it into our flask mugs. We watched a bit of the cricket from a distance, but it’s difficult to follow without commentary! Walked around the school a bit because I haven’t seen it before (Nick teaches guitar there, so he’s well acquainted with the school grounds), and I must say that I’m quite impressed. The school buildings are old and a bit on the run-down side, but it’s big and the lawns are well kept. There are many trees about, and overall it seems to be a nice learning environment (picture of boys taken at the school grounds).

I wanted to look for some plants for a hanging bottled-garden I’m going to make for the kitchen, so with Nick’s encouragement I climbed up the precarious route up the back wall and onto the mountainside. I think my days of rockclimbing helped a bit with this adventure, but I was nervous to be up there, I must confess. I had visions of spending the night on the mountain, being too scared to come down! I didn’t find any suitable plants except for one more geranium, which I planted into the front garden as soon as I was successfully off the mountain.

At supper we were discussing the fact that I was so scared about getting up and down the mountain, and Nick tapped his head, and said “it’s all in there”. “No”, I countered, “it’s in my muscles”, pointing to my arm. Caleb’s pearl? “But this” (points to head) “controls this” (points to arm).

This morning Nick brought me tea in bed – what did I do to deserve such a wonderful man. He gets up early on Sunday mornings to go over his sermon prep, while I have the luxury of lounging about until 7 am. Then the boys came into the room too, to be with us for a while. We got onto the subject of God, and that He doesn’t actually have a smile, or hands, or some physical feature which Aaron was querying. So Nick said, “God doesn’t have a body”. Aaron’s face screwed up in amazement and perplexity as he said, “only a head???”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Domestic Therapy

Did you know that there is such a thing as ‘Domestic Therapy’? You’ve probably heard of Retail Therapy, where you go out shopping when you’re feeling down and it picks you up. Well Domestic Therapy is a new one we’ve coined, where you get stuck into some serious housework task to cheer you up. I’ve just been feeling so narfy again the last few days, and not lus to do anything in particular. I’ve been wandering around the house, fiddling here and fiddling there, but not actually doing anything constructive. So this evening after washing up, I attacked the grimy stove-top with a scourer, and even though I didn’t get it completely spotless, doing such an intensive domestic chore made me feel better. Nick is just wondering if my conscience is bothering me! Perhaps that’s it then…neglecting one’s household duties leads to a restless spirit…

Not much to report on from the day’s activities. Good News Club was fine – I did the talk, on “Goodness” today. I’m continuing with the fruits of the Spirit. It was basically a gospel presentation, about how many people think that their goodness will get them into heaven, and then shattering that illusion. The gospel will be preached many times over while we’re here! I was saying to Nick earlier that I don’t think I’ve shared the gospel as many times or in as many ways as I have since I’ve been here. So many opportunities pop up with various people, it’s great.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Nick and I were both woken up by the heavy rainfalls and the sound of dripping on the ceiling last night, as the roof leaks in a few places. We lay awake wondering when it was going to start dripping through from the ceiling, and eventually there was a deluge onto our bed. Panic stations everyone – I tried to catch some drips in my hands while Nick fetched a dustbin, and then I checked my craft room to make sure that there was nothing lying around which could be water damaged if the leak opened up in there, which it has done in the past. I went back to our room to find Nick lying on the bed, half asleep, with the dustbin between his legs. I had expected that he would move the room around to get the bed out of the way, but actually by that time the dripping had stopped. Unfortunately we were both wide awake then and couldn’t get back to sleep for ages!

Directly after breakfast I got stuck into the front garden. Prudy organized three bags of manure to be delivered to us about a month ago, which we just had not got around to digging into the soil, so I made it my goal for today. Thankfully the rain held off long enough to get it done, and I finished the front before the sun was shining there too brightly. Nick helped me with lifting the bags and turning over what he could with the fork. I also planted a little bush we’ve been nurturing in a pot in the back, which we didn’t want to plant until we had dug in the compost! So that’s done. Then I had the back to do as well, turning over dead leaves and grass cuttings into the banana tree garden, and then planting the bean plants which were top heavy in their little peat pots. It was very muddy doing all this work; my old shoes were about an inch taller with the caked mud. We also now have six sweet-melon seeds growing, same method as the bean plants. They have sprouted their shoots after less than a week. Who knows, we might actually get a vegetable garden growing after all. The papaya tree is doing very well, flowering at the moment with sweet-smelling little yellow flowers, and the mango trees are growing slowly, although one of them has mysteriously lost its leaves again.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Drug bust

This morning we were with Cindy and the girls again, as I had volunteered to help her with some stuff on the computer. When we arrived, she and the girls were waiting for us just outside their house where the driveway begins, so that I would be able to find the house. They live in St Paul’s, fairly close to Plantation House as the crow flies, but difficult to find if you haven’t been there before. We had a fantastic time together – arrived at 10, and only left at about 2.40! I installed a little program for her to aid with photo resizing, and then set up a blog for them. Panic welled up when the computer blue-screened (what is it with me and computers blue-screening?) and then wouldn’t start up again. I was very worried, but eventually, after me feeling very embarrassed, it righted itself and we could carry on. In the meantime, the kids were playing Lego and all kinds of other stuff, with the occasional dispute and teary “that boy” did this and “the smaller girl” did that.

The RMS left for Ascension this evening. When she came in on Sunday, there was a big delay with getting the luggage and containers off the ship, because there was a drug-bust. Someone was trying to smuggle Cannabis (marijuana) into the country, and somehow customs and police got wind of it. They had to take the sniffer dogs on board when she docked on Sunday. People have only been able to get their luggage and hold goods off today and yesterday! We were very fortunate to be able to get our box on Monday.