Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flagstaff for the first time

There was some debate as to what we would be spending the afternoon doing: Nick wanted to do the Lemon Valley hike and then swim in the sea, but I need to really psyche myself into doing something like that for a few days…in the end Flagstaff won, which proved to be a good choice. We left home shortly after 2, stopped off at the shop for drinks and chocolates (a chocolate bar gives you energy to walk for an hour) and then drove as far as we could along the Flagstaff road before the path got too bumpy. We happened upon a couple we know who were waiting for some friends before going up Flagstaff, and when the friends arrived, whom we hadn’t yet met, we chatted for a short while before heading up (just the four of us; they stayed chatting for some time). It was a beautiful walk up a gently sloping grassy hill.

Eventually the others caught up as they drove a lot of the path in their little 4x4 and then only walked the last bit, so we all summited together. The other family had three small children – two girls the age of our boys, and a younger son aged 4. The kids played wonderfully at the top, collecting big clumps of moss which were actually fudge or pasta, depending on which stage of the game they were in. The top of Flagstaff is a wood, shady and cool, with spectacular views.

We stayed up for about half an hour, and then our plan was to go swimming in the late afternoon so we didn’t want to dilly dally too long. The four older kids, Nick and I ran the whole way down to the cars (it was a considerable jog) while the other four adults and little Luka took a very slow drive down. We waited a long time for them to arrive!

So, we had to wait with the kids anyway, and then it was discovered that Craig had three kites in his boot, so when the others came down we all kited. They were light-weight trick kites which could be made to swoop and dive, so it was really awesome. The kids also had a go, but there was some concern that Libby might have been pulled off her feet by the strong winds taking the kite up – a legitimate concern, because I was staggering a bit trying to keep a hold on it. We left at about ten past five, too late to go swimming, so came home and had hamburgers for supper.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cruise Ship Day

Up and about at the crack of dawn today…we left home at about 7.45 to get to town to set up my jewellery stand to be ready by the time the tourists disembarked their cruise ship at about 8.30. The ship was originally due around 9, but docked at 8 instead. I had a stall next to Jenny who was selling mini Christmas cakes and edible Father Christmas tree decorations, and on my other side was a Saint chap selling keyrings, mugs and mouse pads with St Helena pictures etc. On his other side, Emma Jane was selling her book, “For the Love of the Music”, and then there were a few other stalls – Post Office with post cards, Warrens with other souvenirs.

Nick, Steve and Tony Leo started busking at around 11, until a light drizzle came in at about 1.30, at which time they packed it up.

It was an awesome atmosphere, except for one thing – no people! The tourists, those who weren’t booked on tours, mainly walked straight by the stalls without stopping to look. A couple of them were friendly, and Jennifer was thrilled to chat to a South African couple who lived in PE in her neighbourhood! And the Saints, who we were all hoping also to attract with our wares (well, me and Jenny especially as ours are non-souvenir type things), either didn’t know about the marquee, or weren’t interested. So for all of us, it was disappointing. The musical trio did quite well with their busking, which goes straight to the Restoration Fund, so that was good. I allowed the boys to go to town on their own, twice, to buy things to occupy themselves. The first time they each bought a Kinder egg with the toy inside, which turned out to be a bit of a flop for Caleb especially, so later they went to the Emporium and bought a tub of plastic insects (Caleb) and playing cards (Aaron).

Above: the Captain laughing with the ship's doctor and security chief over his shaky legs after doing Jacob's Ladder. The Captain was very congenial - he bought a necklace, bless him!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Girl Guides {part two}

We finished off our week’s work of school today, leaving us free tomorrow. In the afternoon I domestificated…I cleaned, baked a flopped cake, put in a loaf of bread, and attended to bits and pieces of things needing doing. At 4.30 I had my second and last part of the girl guides scrapping, which was fun. The girls all finished their pages. Pam and Maddy came home for soup and bread, officially this time, and for pudding we had the very heavy and doughy cake with custard. Apparently if you use plain flour instead of cake flour, it doesn’t work out! Depending on the recipe, I guess.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin isn't poisonous after all

Yesterday Nick very kindly cut up the two small pumpkins which Nick W gave us on Saturday, as it takes me a long time and is rather tiring. Considering Nick’s distaste of pumpkins, it was a job well done! I cooked the pumpkins and took out some to make pumpkin fritters, using the rest in a gigantic pot of soup. I used my biggest pot, and it was almost full to the brim while it was simmering. Really delicious! We had that for supper last night, some for lunch today, and we will have the rest for tomorrow night’s supper, with Pam and Maddy joining us. Nick is quite happy with the pumpkin in the soup.

Today’s school was fine again – I’ve been enjoying school again, and it’s going a lot better. I had to help Caleb with his Maths – just a temporary confusion over carrying into the tens’ and hundreds’ column. Aaron is picking up speed in his Maths and is only about four lessons behind Caleb. It’s a good arrangement now though – Aaron just does Maths as long as Caleb is busy with his allocated worksheet. When Caleb finishes, Aaron stops where he is (or sometimes goes until he’s finished a page, at his own bidding). We’ve been studying microbes and Louis Pasteur, and now we’re doing a book called “What makes you ill” which is quite interesting. We’ve also learned about food groups and general health and stuff…it’s funny to hear Caleb say, “let’s get some protein” before having a handful of peanuts! Caleb is getting quite into fitness, exercise and healthy eating; he voluntarily eats bananas now, and runs up and down Piccolo and then does push-ups, before showing me his bulging muscles. I asked him if he’s becoming more interested in his body and health since doing health etc in biology, but he said no, it’s because he’s heard that Dad and the Governor are two of the fittest people on the island, and he reckons he can also get fit. (His Dad isn’t one of the fittest people, by the way…Sally is probably the fittest, Buffalo a close second, and the governor after that. Nick is on par in fourth position!).

In the afternoon I beaded - I've been getting a lot of stuff made in preparation for the cruise ship on Friday.

Supper tonight was gammon steaks, chips and pumpkin fritters…the fritters were more like an hors d’ouvre because they were ready before the supper, and are really more of a tea-time item anyway. The boys had been begging me to make them for ages – that’s another thing I can cross of my domestic list for now! Nick even had a couple – he said he couldn’t taste the pumpkin. Of course they only taste like pumpkin, but he doesn’t really know what that tastes like because he never has it. I added a lot of cinnamon…they were very good. Gareth, Nick’s guitar pupil, had two on his way out too!

Nick’s bible study this evening was cancelled…again…he is very disappointed. The Guides’ Hall where they usually meet is covered in paint, or full of paint, so can’t be used.

Oh, I just couldn't resist this:

Apparently old cardboard boxes make fine beds.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Food, glorious vegetables

I’ve had a wonderfully productive day; we had a good morning in school, after which I did the grocery shopping, paid bills etc in town, then tidied the house, packed away remnants of the last three loads of washing scattered in various drying locations in and around the house including today’s, which all dried, made supper, did most of the ironing, and have attended to a few small bits and pieces of things needing doing.

Yesterday I had our lunch of beef stroganoff and fresh cauliflower ready and waiting in the oven when Nick got home. The cauli was delicious – just cooked the right amount, and it must have been a particularly nice one to start with, because really, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nick and the boys weren’t quite as enthusiastic but everyone managed to finish. The weather cleared wonderfully in the afternoon and it was pretty warm in the sun. There was a cricket event happening in the field next to Piccolo – a few cars parked in Piccolo, so the boys were curious and went to watch. They were quite fine to do this on their own. Nick preached an excellent message on “The Fatherhood of God”. I believe the morning services were well attended but sadly, the evening service was very empty. There is a flu bug going around which so far we have managed to avoid, but perhaps that was the reason for last night’s depletion. We’ve moved our evening services to the Salvation Army Hall now…last night was our second meeting there, although of course we’ve been having bible studies there since shortly after the rockfall.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

...Friday, Saturday

Friday morning we managed to have another almost-normal school day. I showed the boys on the calendar what forthcoming events there are – next week we have the cruise ship coming on Friday, so I am selling jewellery and Nick will be busking with Steve, so school won’t happen on that day. The following week we have a coffee morning on Wednesday, child clinic on Thursday, and Aaron’s birthday on Friday, so a couple more school days will be skipped. It’s okay though – since we are so near the end of the school year we can simply catch up in what would be our first week of holidays. We did all our school yesterday except for science, which was an experiment, before going out to Sally’s for lunch. It’s been quite grey in Longwood this last week or so, and so we really wanted some good town weather which we did have – we ate at Castle Gardens as per our usual Friday-thing. As soon as we got home from town Nick and I worked on the cover for the St Helena book he is going to get published. The bank has approved funding for ₤1000, so the church only needs to pay another ₤300-something for the printing of 500 copies, which will generate funds towards the restoration fund. We are really pleased about the bank coming through – we only heard on Thursday or Friday.

We did that until about 3 pm, after which the boys and I finished school with the science experiment. We’re still doing a section on light and mirrors which has been very interesting. Friday’s was particularly good – we made a pinhole camera, which I’ve never seen working before. We painted the inside of a paper box lid black, then pricked a hole in the bottom and stuck a big piece of vellum (or tracing paper) over the top. Then we had to sit under a dark blanket so there was no light coming in, and look at the vellum side as though it were a TV screen. The result was truly amazing – I won't give it away in case any of you want to try it! I was so excited I wanted Nick and his two guitar pupils to come and see, but they asked if they *really* had to so I let them off. Anyway, the boys and I were exclaiming at how wonderful it was.

Yesterday was the usual Saturday stuff: Good News Club, a quick stop in town to drop off a DVD, then home by 11.15 where there was plenty of time for a mom-imposed-all-family-clean-up which yielded good results. After lunch the boys watched a video and Nick and I did some more work on the book. I spent a large chunk of the afternoon weeding the front garden. I have been meaning to do this, but never seem to get around to it at a time when it’s not raining and I have nothing else pressing needing attention – yesterday was the day! There was some drizzle, but it was fairly comfortable to be outside. I’m still trying to get the dirt out from under my nails. I threw away countless snails – fortunately the mud was so thickly crusted on my fingers that I didn’t really need to touch them as such. I even found snail babies. Apparently snails start off as little round, semi-opaque white blobs. I also uprooted a lot of worms which I did NOT enjoy seeing. The nasturtiums are doing really well and taking over a large section, but I’m happy with them as they tend to keep the other weeds under control.

By 4.15 I had removed most of the larger weeds and was really tired and sore, so came in and rested for a few minutes before supper, which was fried wahoo steaks, chips and corn and Brussels. The fish was really lovely, and when they had finished their supper the boys each had an extra piece of it from the frying pan. Nick did the chips – we went for a different look, leaving the skins on and slicing them into rounds. They were really great, kind of like brown-bread chips. Aaron wasn’t keen on the skin idea, so between those and the solitary brussel sprout I made each boy eat, he took a long time to finish!

No particular plans for today...we were hoping to do the Diana's Peak walk, but the weather is going to put an end to that plan!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...

On Monday Nick had to be at the manse at 3 pm to meet briefly with the builder again, who is doing a quote for us. We left straight after lunch to go to town via Printech, where we had to drop off CD labels for Tammy’s stuff, check on the status of their work on Tammy’s album, and drop off a couple of different files for Nick’s album. We were not very happy to see that they had not been successful in scanning the scrapped pages I had given them – they were fuzzy, so they had tried to photograph them but then they were fuzzy and the colours were wrong. Oh dear. I took all the pages back with me to try scan on a different scanner, since Printech’s scanner was obviously either not good, or not equipped to handle depth focus. Then on to town where I left Nick and the boys at the manse and went to the shops on my own, just for a few things that I needed. Back up to the manse, and then up to Elza to try her scanner which was also unsuccessful. Had a long talk with Elza, then heated up sausages which we had brought along, to take them to the docks for a hotdog supper. Home again at about 6.30 where we decided it was too late for the boys to bath, so they played until bedtime.

I didn’t sleep well on Monday night – I tossed and turned, and eventually got up at 1.30 and scrapped for an hour (didn’t get much done). Back to bed at 2.30, lay awake for another hour, then was awake again early in the morning. So on Tuesday I was a bit tired, but no time for sleeping! I had to go back to town after lunch to hunt down another scanner. Lucy and I had done the museum scrapbook scanning at Legal and Lands, but when I phoned them to ask if I could scan Tammy’s stuff they said it was unavailable until Thursday afternoon but that was leaving it a bit late as Tammy is hoping to release the CD next week. So I had to walk around town looking for a scanner. I thought the IT department would have one, which they did, and they were happy to oblige, and it worked – what an enormous relief. That didn’t waste too much time. Home again, spent some time on the computer touching up the scanned images, and then I made a pot of soup for supper which involved cutting up a pumpkin which took ages. The soup was good even though it was quite strong in the pumpkin taste, but Nick said it was tolerable and the boys enjoyed it (so did I).

On Wednesday we got an early start on school (the boys did their maths and writing before 9) so that we could get to Patsy Flagg’s coffee morning. First though, another stop at Printech to deliver the digital images for Tammy’s CD which were duly examined and declared to be fine. They can now start work on that and hopefully get the printing finished by Monday so that we can assemble the sleeves and cases and stickers etc, to have the album ready for next Friday when the cruise ship comes in. Then off to Patsy. She’s a lovely lady. She and her late husband Arnold started these coffee mornings in 2002, and have tried to have them once a month to raise funds for whatever the need is. Yesterday’s morning was a great success. There were 40 people in attendance which included invited guests (like us), and altogether the donations amounted to ₤153 towards the Baptist Church Restoration Fund. It even made the news last night!

We left Patsy shortly before 1, and decided that we didn’t really need lunch as we had had quite a lot of eats at Patsy. We hovered at the manse for a short while – Nick needed a few more books (actually it turned out to be only one more book), and I did some more school with the boys. I had brought our read-alouds along in case we had a spot in the day to finish school. At 2 pm Nick and I had a meeting in town which we couldn’t really take the boys to, so we took them up to Elza for half an hour. Then we went back to collect them, spent a long time chatting to Elza again, before finally leaving some time after 3. Home for about an hour, during which time Nick made supper of sausages on toast while I had a cup of coffee to soothe my headache, then at 4.45 we headed off again, this time to Bluehill where Nick had lay preachers’ training. The boys and I had to tag along because we needed to practice an item for the Ladies’ Orchestra on the 5th of December with Vincent and Vilma, and this seemed like the best time to do it. Actually I was glad to have sat in on the training as we watched a John Piper DVD and it was excellent. The boys played outside as it was still light. The training finished at 7, Teddy and Nick W left, then we pulled out the instruments and practiced “I’ll Fly Away” until our fingers hurt and our voices were sore. We left at 8; the boys were exhausted and quite ready for their late bedtime. Incidentally, today marks a year since we boarded the ship for our first off-island holiday!

School today (Thursday) ran its normal course with only minor interruptions. After a delicious cheese, tomato and onion snackwich for lunch, I went to town. I had very little to do there other than posting a parcel, and couldn’t even check our own post from Ascension as they hadn’t finished sorting it yet. I inquired as to whether there were any parcels for us though, still hoping for our Maths curriculum which I didn’t order from Sonlight, and which hasn’t arrived yet. Then home again, where I almost finished a scrapbook page I’ve been working on for a few days. I ran out of time though as I needed to still do a bit of preparation for the Girl Guides’ scrapping thing. That was at 4.30; at 4.15 Nick wasn’t home from his busking practice with Steve, but just as the boys and I were preparing to walk up the road to the place, he got home. Didn’t really help us as far as transport went though as he was dying for the loo, he said! It wasn’t a long walk so I really didn’t mind. I got there in good time, and after about 10 minutes all six girls were there. Pam first did a quick demo on digital scrapping, and then I took over with the paper side of it, and they got started on their very simple pages. I had already done a (very simple) page layout (using a photo of my niece ZoĆ«), so they just had to follow my design exactly. It went very well. They only got about half way with their pages, which is good because we still have next Thursday to work on them. Pam brought me back home at 5.30, and then stayed for the usual Thursday evening get-together. I daren’t call it a guitar practice anymore because we hardly ever pick up the guitars! Tonight, since we hadn’t yet had supper, we all had a bowl of soup followed by biscuits and chocolates which Maddison and the boys had bought (with Pam’s money); they walked home from the shops while I heated the soup.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Almost solitary Sunday

The boys came home from their sleepover at about 10.45 today (I had the morning to myself while Nick was at church…what bliss!). Well, when I say boys, I mean there were two, but I only recognized one of them, Caleb. The other boy looked like Aaron but didn’t act like him. This boy was sulky and grumpy and said he was very tired. I suggested he have a rest, which he did and even fell asleep. Shame. I think Aaron is back now though. Lunch was lasagna which I declared to be as good as my mom’s version. Except that mine was runny. But it had that lovely green pepper taste, and since I had a salad with it I felt like I was right back ‘home’! The rest of Sunday was spent in traditional Sunday style: at home, doing this and that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Concert at the Consulate

Tonight was the big sleep-over for the boys. They were counting down the hours since lunch time, but managed to occupy themselves in the afternoon with crawling along the top of the hibiscus hedge. Of course the reason for the sleep-over was that Tammy was an artist in a concert being held at the Consulate, and Nick was playing and singing backing vocals. Gavin offered to babysit all the kids, theirs included, so they thought it would be fun if Caleb and Aaron spent the night since they all seem to get on so well.

The concert was pretty good, although we didn’t stay for the whole thing. Tammy was first on the bill, and then we stayed for part of the next two artists before leaving. Since Nick has an early church start on Sunday mornings we didn’t want a late night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The boys enter the PC-age

Yesterday morning while we were busy with school, the washing machine started its spin cycle and made a dreadful noise, like there were rocks bouncing around in it. I got a fright and called Nick (my knee-jerk reaction) to have a look. Caleb, in his fright, dashed to the back door as he though the washing machine was going to burst into flame or explode. A few minutes later, when the noise subsided and the boys came to the kitchen doorway, Aaron noticed that Caleb’s lips were blue – indeed, his face was ashen and his lips were a lovely shade of light mauve. Poor boy had had a huge shock – an after-effect of the rockfall is that loud, unexpected noises are more traumatic than they would normally be! We saw nothing amiss in the machine, so perhaps it was just that some buckles on skirts and jeans were making a noise against the drum.

Steve and Maureen have given us a computer! It’s fairly old, an upright tower with screen, printer, mouse, keyboard etc, with Windows 98. We are allocating it to the boys so they can learn computer skills – it’s such a blessing! Nick collected it yesterday afternoon, and they have also given us a stand/desk, so the whole thing is free-standing and not in the way. The boys are very excited about it too, so computer lessons will be integrated into our school day.
Today was a great day – I bought tomatoes and onions!! Nick had an early morning as I dropped him at Steve’s place shortly before 8, where he was going to spend the morning clearing more rubble. The boys and I came back here and started school, finishing around 11.20, then we drove to town. I needed a few bready items, so we went to the Star for those lest they should sell out quickly, before going up to the church for Nick. He was working with Steve, Teddy and Trevor to clear out the schoolroom, and they made good progress on the church as well. Nick was nearly ready for lunch, so we waited in the windy church a short while, and then went to Sally’s. After lunch I did the rest of my list things – collected post, where I collected a parcel (wooohooo!!) and also a wedding invitation to a wedding that happened on the same day (I knew about it – was just really touched that they actually sent us an invitation, and amazed at its timing!), waited in a throng of people crowding around the Grower’s Co-op in the market to buy onions, bought fish in the market too, etc. I got a lot of things I hadn’t been able to buy in some time so was very happy about that. In the afternoon I scrapped, and then it was the usual pizza for supper but the pineapple I had in a container in the fridge had gone mouldy and the pizza just wasn’t the same without it!

And um...Nick likes to have some fun when he shaves down from a beard to skin...very obligingly stood still while I took a photo. I was nearly convulsing with laughter...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear Diary

The boys wrote journal entries today, something they have done a few times over the course of the year. The assignment is to be done in their own hand and spelling, although Caleb really wanted to get it right so asked how to spell a few things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Town and about

I can now see some surface space reappearing in the diningroom after finishing Tammy’s album cover last night! It’s a relief to have it done well before my deadline, and I have put away all the bits and pieces that had accumulated over the last 10 days while I was working on it. Nick had to be at Tammy during the morning to create a piece of music someone wanted for a funeral – this is paid work, so he was happy to oblige once he had finished his bible study. He needed to be back at her house after lunch to do some more recording, so the boys and I all went too. I showed Tammy the remaining pages she hadn’t yet seen, then leaving Nick and the boys there, I went to Printech to see about getting them scanned and printed. I will get the quote on Monday. After that I had to be in town to deliver a necklace and earrings to a friend. I had a cup of tea with her and a really great visit – we spoke church and religion and the gospel which I really enjoy. Then on to town for a free anti-virus program, as our paid-for one has expired and I didn’t want to renew it. I had a wee amount of shopping to do – still can’t get onions, but there should be lovely produce on the ship from Cape Town arriving tomorrow. It’s been a long time in coming – because of the UK trip, there are about 7 weeks from one return Cape trip to the next – that’s 7 weeks of waiting for the next fresh shipment!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gettin' good and dirty gettin' rid of dirt

We started with the clean-out of the church properties today – there are piles of rubble which need to be cleared out and removed before any building and repairing work can begin, otherwise the builders will charge us extra labour for doing this. Nick organized a truck from Public Works and Services, so they were there at 8 am when we arrived. Steve and Maureen, Teddy and Nick W arrived quite soon after, and Nick went to fetch Donald from the prison at 9, so we were quite a merry work party. Caleb and Aaron were tasked with clearing the bamboo from the backyard while the grown-ups were busy in the schoolroom, and I set about clearing the alley between the manse and church - sweeping out broken glass, weeding and carting out plaster and rocks. It’s still staggering to see the amount of damage a rockfall can do! I left Nick working and took the worship part of Good News Club on my own, which I prefer not to do but it was fine. Nick W did the talk, after which some of the bigger kids went back to the manse to help with more bamboo removal. Caleb, Aaron and a little girl from club cleared the pile of rubble from the bottom of the stairs. Not that it’s exactly looking homely now, but at least the Manse looks like less of a builders’ site. Nick, Teddy, Donald and Steve carried on in the schoolroom, first removing the loose roofing sheets on the mountain side, then taking down the partitioning which was creating a little storeroom for the toddlers’ group toys, which is no longer housed in the schoolroom (obviously). They also cleared away a lot of the debris. While there is still a mound of work needing doing, it looks like some progress has been made. I, in the meantime, not being of much use in the schoolroom, set to work in the manse with bin bags. I gathered old socks, bits of broken toys, magazines, mouldy books, and tossed them all. Six bin bags are now sitting outside the Manse waiting to be collected on Monday morning!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Too skinny

Yesterday I had to take the boys to a Child Clinic here in Longwood, to see which of their inoculations I have missed. Aaron was supposed to get one at 5 years which I went for, but they didn’t have the right thing in stock and I guess I forgot about it after that. Well, two of the nurses suggested to me at Bible Study last week that I should get the boys checked out, especially because they aren’t in public school where all this stuff would be done as part of their schooling. The clinic happens every second week, so yesterday was the first opportunity I had to go. Jacqui had a good look over their immunization charts, and then decided which shot they should get. Unfortunately she didn’t have the stuff again, but apparently it is coming on the ship from Cape Town. She then weighed and measured both boys and plotted their height/weight on a different chart to see if they were okay. Caleb is just falling within an acceptable percentile for his age, but Aaron is underweight. I explained that he’s always been small, but they want me to try fatten him up a bit. I’m happy to try, anyway, and I have to get him weighed every fourth week now. We’ll get their inoculations done when we get Aaron weighed again. So, that was yesterday’s fun. The rest of yesterday and today have been much the normal – school, then I’ve been busy with Tammy’s album cover.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Silly Billy (goat)

Early this morning I spotted five goats just at the edge of our property, nibbling on a tree. Two of them had ropes around their skinny necks but the ropes were not attached to anything as they should have been, leaving them free to wander. The other three were kids who generally follow the adults around. I looked at them for a while before rushing for the camera, and after photographing them it occurred to me that they probably shouldn’t really be in Piccolo, eating the plants…we have a little garden which we’d like to see growing! Nick suggested that I leave them alone and then they wandered off anyway – but when they came by the same tree again, I decided to take action. Still in my dressing gown and slippers, I walked right up to them (bravely), and got hold of the ropes. One of the goats probably sized me up and thought I was no match for him, so he went running off and I had to let go of his rope or risk being dragged across roads and fields. The other one, I think a female, was very docile and came with me, although stopped when she pleased for a delicacy – obviously the weeds in Piccolo taste different to the weeds and grass in her field. Had I been watching myself, I would have thought it a very funny sight – this city girl in pyjamas, picking her way through long grass, dragging a goat on a rope! The little kids seemed confused; two of them followed the first goat and the other one stayed with the female, bleating plaintively all the time. Eventually a Saint man came over and said he had been looking for the goats, so took the rope from me and took charge. I went home and continued the morning!

School was fine, no problems, except that Aaron is still slow with his writing, gets distracted, forgets how to hold his pencil, doesn’t sit properly, and isn’t writing neatly anymore. But the readings were all great. After lunch I took Aaron with me to town. I needed a couple of things from the manse and Aaron needed new shoes as the ones I bought in Cape Town had big holes in them – Caleb’s developed holes some months ago already!

This is how Caleb has been occupied in some of his free time for the past five or six days. He has already finished one whole book, which is really fantastic. He was giving me impromptu book reports along the way too, so I know he’s comprehending his reading.

While Caleb reads, Aaron sometimes browses through the more picture-intense books, often asking me what something spells. Today he was looking at continents and countries.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Done it

I debated whether I should put this on my blog, as it really highlights my lack of domestic discipline... but here it is anyway, sympathize or despise. I finally got around to cleaning the warming drawer – yes, after more than two months of being here, I did it! The dead spider curled up in the corner which has been there since we moved in has been a constant annoyance to me…why it has taken me this long to toss it out is a mystery to me. I also scoured the greasy handle, so I’m sure next time I want to keep something warm I won’t be stressing that it’s another job to do!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A quick demise

Aaron was first up this morning – I didn’t even hear him creep along, unlock the kitchen door and go outside. He wanted to see Alvin and play with him. Alvin survived the night. Aaron held him a bit, then thought he’d see if the cats wanted to play with him – after all, who could resist such a cute, fluffy little thing as a playmate? I woke up when I heard Aaron telling Caleb, between sobs, that the cats had got him. Apparently mamma cat ran off with him into a hedge, and so that was the end of Alvin. Aaron was grief stricken and couldn’t eat breakfast until at least 7.30. He cried a bit off and on during the morning – really, it must have been very traumatic to watch his dear little bunny carried off as prey!

Introducing Alvin Clevely

There are approximately 30,000 rabbits on the island, we’ve been told. We see them scampering across roads from time to time, but can hardly imagine that there are 30,000. This afternoon Aaron caught one; it was running along the track to Steve and Maureen’s house and eventually ducked into the long grass in the centre. Steve couldn’t proceed; the boys and I got out the car to assess the situation. Aaron saw it running in the opposite direction, caught up with it, and eventually caught it. It’s a tiny little thing – quite a baby still, and just completely cuddly and cute, as fluffy bunnies are known to be. After some consultation with Steve and Maureen as to the ethics of removing such a small rabbit from its mother and trying to keep it alive as a pet when there are so many rabbits on the island that one wouldn’t be missed if it died, I decided that Aaron could keep it. So we now add a rabbit to our small menagerie of four stray cats. We’ll have to be sure to keep them separate though – apart from getting a severe fur-ball, the cats would love a little bunny chow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lovely ladies' luncheon

After Good News Club today we were at the manse for a short while, then Nick took me up to Willowdene for a ladies’ luncheon to which I had been invited as a paying guest and as “Elle Cee Handcrafts”, to sell my beadware. The luncheon was organized by the League of Friends to raise money for their various causes – I think they have been working towards buying an electric piano for the Community Care Complex. It was a very good afternoon, with plentiful and delicious food. Meanwhile, Nick and the boys had gone home for lunch of freshly-baked homemade bread, and they came back for me at 3. Nick was due at Tammy at 3, and since Willowdene is almost across the road from Tammy, it worked out well that he would fetch me and then I would take the car back home and fetch him later. It’s a bit of a juggling act sometimes with one car between us, but never a problem. As it turned out, Tammy wasn’t home yet, so Nick guessed that he would be due there at 3.30 rather than 3. By the time I had finished packing up all my wares though it was closer to 3.40. We went to Tammy; I left Nick and the boys there, headed down to the Manse to drop my stuff off there (it’s easier to have it in town, instead of taking it all backwards and forwards from Longwood), then went back to Tammy on the way home to drop off Nick’s other guitar which we had left in the manse. Since it was a fairly nice day, the boys stayed at Tammy and played with Katie, Taylor, Harley and Ross – they had a marvellous afternoon! I went home alone, and had about an hour and a half to start on Tammy’s album cover and reorganize my scrapping papers which were getting a bit untidy (I keep outgrowing my storage solutions!). I fetched them all at about 6.15, and then we had a quick supper of left-over vegetarian lasagne from the lunch (there was a whole extra one which we were given). Nick thought there was no way the boys would manage their helping of absolutely-no-meat-with-lots-of-spinach meal, but they did, and without complaints too! Well done to Pam who made it.