Saturday, January 31, 2009

Elle Cee strikes again

Nick woke up at 5.30 this morning, wide awake (most unlike him), so decided to get out of bed and watch the sun rise, which he did from Millennium Forest. His photos were pretty spectacular, but this was our favourite.
The boys and I started school at 8, and worked only for an hour which was enough time to finish off the last of the week’s work – really, just the spelling, writing and maths. Nick and I had double-booked the car, but a little negotiation offered the solution of Nick dropping me off in town, then taking the boys with him to the radio station where he had some prologues to record. I spent the next few hours peddling my wares, and it was a fairly profitable stint.
Nick and the boys came back to town at lunch time, and we had take-aways for lunch – although not in our usual Castle Garden spot. In the late afternoon there was a sociable atmosphere around here...Nick chatted with Richard while the Piccolo kids busied themselves in a big pile of dirt and stones, left there by the government for their ongoing pipe works. That would have kept them busy for ages had pizza not lured them home…
The pumpkin seedlings which sprouted after Nick’s genius idea of burying the pulp in the garden have taken over…they have almost covered the entire patch of dirt out front. I’m wondering where the runners are going to go next – they will still get heaps bigger.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friendly faces

Very, very quiet day…school in the morning, then just normal at home stuff in the afternoon. Since there were no events happening during the day which called for a photo, I went wandering around Piccolo looking for something to shoot. I came across DT and Claire who had just returned from shopping, so here they are!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friends find fresh fruit for foreigner (that's me)

School was good…I’ve been doing extra work throughout the week to prepare for Friday’s short school day (I’ll be selling beads), so the workload has been a little heavier. We’ve started studying birds again, in more detail this time. Yesterday we did ostriches, and today was penguins. The Emperor Penguin can reach a height of 120cm as an adult – nearly as tall as Caleb. We measured.

The boys were invited to Katie’s birthday party at 4.30 this afternoon. I dropped them off, pottered about at home, and then Nick and I both fetched them at 6.30. We stayed for a cup of coffee and cake (me, drinking coffee at 6.30 – I wonder if I’ll sleep tonight?), then got home just in time for Nick to leave again for Bible study.

Yesterday Claire came by with a bag of tomatoes – she found them in Thorpes, and knowing how much I love them, bought some for me. This afternoon DT came by with a handful of them too – I must surely obsess over the lack of tomatoes more than anything else!! Mental note to self…stop discussing tomatoes with people you’ve only just met. Anyway, so now I have a beautiful array of them on top of the fridge in degrees of ripeness. I am blessed! Today’s lunch was a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich, on brown bread nogal.

Hmm, finished this page today…not entirely happy with it, but hey, I was whale-like after all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The dragon flies (not dragonflies)

It rained in the morning but cleared in the afternoon - I got a load of washing dry. Amazingly, doing the washing seems to be a big part of my life, which I hadn’t noticed in Jamestown when things were automatically dry by the end of the day regardless of whether it had been raining or not. Partly due to the drier weather, but I suppose having my washline strung under cover helped somewhat… Nick and the boys flew the kite in the afternoon. I had a 2-minute window of opportunity to catch the kite in the sun against the grey sky.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The beginning of the beginning

It rained a lot today. We had several hard showers during the day which started quite suddenly and ended as quickly.

Some excitement regarding building…Nick arranged with PW&SD to remove most of the rocks which had been stored in the schoolyard. They removed the gate from the yard, then cleared away rubble with a bulldozer. This is in preparation for the forthcoming repairs. I’m not sure what we’re waiting for now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Them muddy boots

We thought we might do Flagstaff with Claire and Rob today, but it rained so much that we decided against it, choosing rather to mooch about at home. There has been a lot of work going on at Piccolo to do with digging trenches for the re-laying of pipes – PW&SD has been here for a week or more with big earth moving equipment and dump trucks, all very interesting for boys. There are now huge piles of fresh earth lying about and long trenches, perfect for getting dirty in. The boys’ shoes weighed twice as much at the end of the afternoon – there followed a lot of bashing of shoes on tree stumps to loosen the cakes of mud.

While they were occupied outside, I was inside…scrapping, of course…Jess came to watch while I scrapped. Fortunately the page fell together in very little time, otherwise Jess would have been bored watching me stare at the photo, wondering what to do with it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nitakaposema, ‘Go,’…

We've just come home from a morning in town. First, I took Caleb to see Scilla, and she's ordering new specs for him as his prescription has changed – he’s had his current pair for two years, so that’s not bad. Caleb chose his frames – a dark copper pair which look super. Then on to Good News Club just in time to start. I did the teaching today using a fairly amusing object lesson regarding missions and bible translation – I gave instructions to one team in Swahili and one team in English. Unfair disadvantage? So have the people who don’t have the bible in their language! After GNC, Nick needed to see someone about the building, so the boys and I went to the manse where I sorted a bit more of the remaining household contents. Since I don't think we'll be living in the manse again, I may as well pack it up slowly - better now than later! We were there for about an hour, then did a bit of shopping in town, buying up some more reduced, out of date goodies. The Star was having a promotion on some of their meat products - they have a new butcher who makes a lot of lovely things. They were barbequing burgers and kebabs as testers, so we all had a little sample. Yummy! Then finally, home.

Pam and Maddy came here in the afternoon – Pam can’t make a Thursday night anymore so we’re trying a Saturday. Pam digi-scrapped and I paper scrapped. Maddy and the boys found Tom and Sappho, and the five of them ran around outside playing some sort of prisoner game with sticks. Pam supplied ice-cream, fudge sauce and sprinkles…double yum!

Sappho's ice-cream...she asked me why I take photos of weird things.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Deep thoughts, grotto, building and party

I’ve been thinking about a few things (I have deep thoughts while I’m washing dishes). Presently I have two thoughts of substance in my head. The first is that I enjoy hanging around with people (specifically, female people, since I tend not to hang around with males other than my husband) with whom I can absolutely be myself. I suppose this is a normal thing – really, who wants to spend loads of time with people who put you on your guard – but I like to be with people who will laugh if I use the wrong word and not think I’m an idiot, or with whom I can swap cooking disasters. I have a couple of those very wonderful ladies right here on the island, a few more in South Africa, one tucked away in Pennsylvania, and a few more dotted about the globe. I’m enormously thankful that God has put these ladies in my life. Friendship is a mysterious and valuable thing. The second deep thought is something I’ve always known, but lately it’s becoming more of a forefront matter. It is that God’s grace is sufficient for me (2 Cor 12:9). It is more than a sentiment which applied to Paul; it is a solid truth upon which I can base my convictions that whatever happens, God will sustain me. Linked in with this truth is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, a favourite of mine – in all things, God is at work.

Well, today has been a quiet day – I like to have quiet days, so long as there aren’t too many of them all strung together. The weather was great early morning so Nick and I walked around Longwood - there are a few little roads to explore, and we can usually get into the expansive fields from any of the roads and thereby back to Piccolo, making a pleasant round-trip.

School went well and the boys have done fabulously with their spelling and writing this week. We finished the book “Red Sails to Capri”…it was a bit of a mystery novel which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Set in Capri, Italy, it was about a mysterious cove housing a cave which the people of Capri had been afraid of for many years. Along came three foreigners who caught wind of the mystery and were determined to find out its secret…the last chapter revealed the surprise, and it turned out to be a true phenomenon! We googled it afterwards and saw pictures of the famous Blue Grotto of Capri. We were all super-excited that the book, which I had assumed to be purely fictional, had basis in fact, and we even watched a short video clip of what our dear characters in the book experienced.

Nick had another building meeting in town with the builder, planner and some other important meeting to discuss the way forward with the repairs. It seems that work can actually begin next week! The first phase will be to repair the archway between the church and schoolroom which needs to support wooden beams running across the schoolroom, before that roof can go on. The poor schoolroom has been standing open these last five months. It was also been suggested that instead of tearing down walls in the church and manse, the loose stones can simply be hammered back into position, wedged in place with smaller stones, and then lime-mortared. This will save unimaginable resources of time and money! We are very excited about this development, which originally came from some experienced Saints, but then was confirmed by the aforesaid Important People who have the last word.

We had a Piccolo Party in the evening. It’s amazing how many words there are beginning with P that go with Piccolo…people, picnic – one can really have fun coming up with silly titles. It was Louise’s 19th birthday on Tuesday, so we were all invited for a bring-and-share style party. It was good! The kids had a ball playing outside at night – not usually a privilege afforded them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This week I have been scheduling school to accommodate a half day today. I did some extra bits yesterday, and Nick read a chapter from their read-aloud, so I was all set to sell jewellery late morning. What a blow when the lady phoned from the tourist office to say that it had been drizzling in town, and the sea was too choppy for the passengers of the MV Aurora to disembark. Apparently the big passenger cruise liners have insurance issues with our crude landing steps; if seas are too rough, they don’t allow passengers off at all. I’m sure they were all disappointed not to be able to see this little pile of rock, but even more so were the local traders who had set up stalls around Jamestown, hoping to peddle wares to the ­+2,500 people coming to the island. I decided to go ahead and set up in town anyway – I haven’t sold on a Thursday before, so thought perhaps there might be Thursday people in town who I wouldn’t normally catch. I left here at 11, got to the manse, dropped off my stuff at the tourist office, parked the car, did a bit of shopping which included buying a stylish bucket hat for the forthcoming hours in the sun, then set up my table and was ready by 12. Then I sat. Fortunately I had a homeschool booklet to read on the teaching of mathematics, otherwise I would have been very bored. Not to complain too much though, as I did sell some things. I’m selling again next Friday – hopefully better, as it’s both end of the week and end of the month.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New sights to see

This afternoon Nick was at a bit of a loose end. He can’t do much preparatory work in the afternoon because his brain is tired by then, and his guitar pupil cancelled. We took a drive to Millennium Forest, hoping to get some good scenery photos, but the skies greyed over again as we were en route. It’s been raining and raining these past two or three days, with just a few short breaks of dry weather or sunshine. So we turned around to come home, but made a detour along a road where we saw a signpost pointing to “Cox’s Battery”. Nick very much enjoys the battery excursions, and this is one we hadn’t explored. We drove the car quite far through bumpy dirt roads until we thought best to park, and then walked a short distance along the track. Didn’t find the battery, but the scenery was very interesting. We were on the verge of a huge valley, very rocky and dry, with the Barn in front of us. I was wearing sandals, so couldn’t accompany Nick and the boys too far down the track before stopping, where I waited and waited while they threw rocks down the valley, feeling very proud of themselves at the noise they had made. Boys. We had a snack and took an unimpressive family photo, then headed back.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We ar beginning to be good spelrs

Very little has happened today of import! We did school (and I’m pleased to report that the boys, with much concentration, can spell ‘beginnings’). We finished early, around 11.30 – either the boys were just a lot quicker with their work, or there was slightly less work to do. I think a bit of both. I finished a layout in the afternoon and then did housework.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Welcome back Scilla!

Nick had to be in town for an afternoon meeting regarding the first phase of the Upper Jamestown Rockfall Prevention Project, as I’ve called it, and I needed a few goodies too, so we all went. After a bit of shopping, the boys and I went to wait at the manse (we went home?), where I readied my bead-board for a stall on cruise ship day on Thursday. Nick eventually came back to the manse with John Thurlow, who works at the AVEC center down the road. John and Cindy were on the island during 2007, then have been back in South Africa for a year, and are now returning on a two-year contract. It will be good to re-establish the friendship. Nick showed John around the damaged buildings.

We headed down to the docks around 5 pm to see the RMS and were pleased to have arrived in time to welcome Scilla, the island’s annual optometrist and a Baptist, back to the island.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ruperts Beach and Fishing

We went to Ruperts this afternoon. Claire, Rob, Tom and Milly had gone earlier for a picnic lunch, but were still there when we arrived. They had been paddling in a sheltered sandy section, but when we arrived we decided all to move across to the pier side, as Nick wanted to swim in the sea which you can do better from there where the water is deeper, calmer, and there are ladder steps to get in and out. We set up camp there and spent the next hour and a half, I guess, swimming, chatting and chilling.

Two fishing boats came in while we were there, and the fish truck had to back down to the water’s edge to load up fish and hand out ice, so we had to move a few times. Nick jumped down on to one of the boats to help the struggling lone fisherman unload his heavy crates of tuna. He got himself covered in stinky fish guts which we could still smell on him even after swimming in the sea and having a bath at home. Gross. Nick was fairly sure he saw a Wahoo in amongst the tuna.

Before the evening service we had time to head down to the docks – nice lighting for photography, Nick said. We happened upon Lisa and Michael, two kids from our Saturday morning ministry, fishing off the wharf.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nick gets off the island

Traditionally, after the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race is finished there is a race around the bay, but today there were so many people wanting to get onto the yachts that they cancelled the race and simply took the landlubbers out a distance. Nick and Geoff had to wait at the landing steps for about two hours to get onto one of the yachts, and then were out for about an hour and a half…Geoff skippered. Meanwhile, Pam and I had been wandering around town. We tried to have a milkshake at the Coffee Shop, but they were closing as we got there, having run out of supplies. Maddy and the boys were swimming, and the boys also took advantage of the slippery slide set up in the mule yard. Eventually we got bored of being in town, so we hauled the kids out the pool and went back to Pam’s place for a picnic. The picnic was originally planned for Piccolo, but what with the yacht race it was rearranged…we should have had it in the Mule Yard but that wasn’t going to work out either. It was much more pleasant to have it in Pam’s lounge!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gone swimmin'

This morning dawned bright and sunny. Nick and I took a walk around Longwood (with the camera, of course). It’s becoming less of a novelty to have sunshine at 8 am! I struck up a conversation with an old Saint man who was looking for something to prop up the flowers in his garden. He offered us sugar cane and coffee beans, but unfortunately we couldn’t go back during the day due to lack of time.

Above: peekaboo! Below: the jawbone of a donkey?

After school (and it’s been working pretty well running from 8.30 to 12 with half an hour’s break) we had a quick lunch here and then went off to town. Nick dropped off his latest, unreleased, un-anythinged CD with Danny Couts, from whom Nick bought the electric guitar he uses.

Nick had a short prison visit after which we went to the pool. The boys are both swimming well now without armbands, although they always wear flippers in the pool which gives them a nice boost. Nick did a few lengths. We ate our traditional Friday night pizza outside as it was such a lovely evening!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This afternoon Nick offered to take a drive to Flagstaff to photograph the Wirebirds. We saw at least four of them running about, but they weren’t obliging in coming closer to me. It’s lovely to see them though – they are St Helena’s national bird, and nearing extinction. The boys had the old point-and-shoot in the back seat of the car and took photos of the backs of each other’s heads, the car window, cows and sky.

On the way back we drove past this genuine pack-donkey. We very seldom see donkeys in use or being ridden – they were very popular during the flax production era as a mode of transport, but since then they have mostly been left to their own devices.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The boys and other things

Nick played cricket with the boys in the afternoon. Both boys had a chance to bat before getting bored.

Aaron found a puddle of water on the tennis courts, which worked well for his other discovery of marbles, which he found lying around Piccolo.