Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy birthday dear Nick

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

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

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Pastor is appreciated!

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

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Curriculum and Carnival

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

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

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Need a holiday

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

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

Friday, October 26, 2007

On air again

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

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming in threes

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morning ramble

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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rugby...very patriotic...and tomatoes

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

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

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crafty Thursday

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

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

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dentist and big BIG sale

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Knollcombes 'treasures'

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last stretch of school

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

Monday, October 15, 2007

Three Crosses

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

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wow, a bird

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

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

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Make cake

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

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blow in for a cuppa

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

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bridge the gap

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

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Still more fun and excitement

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

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The fun we get up to on our holidays

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

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hospital visit II

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

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fourth week at Pillings

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

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

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Expensive bread!

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

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Magic modeling

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

Monday, October 01, 2007

Our discovery of Wrangham's Forest

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