Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ready, steady, pack!

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

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

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bookings, school fun and preparations

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yes, we really do have an IT department!

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Whale spotting

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

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

Monday, November 05, 2007

Boys and bikes

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

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

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Futile teaching?

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

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wait a moment or 7,200

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

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bees really sting

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

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Globally puzzled

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