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.