Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This morning Aaron told us that his new tooth is loose. New, meaning adult. Not good. I rushed him off to the dentist for an emergency appointment – we arrived at 8.45 and left at 11. The waiting room was full of emergency patients, and since Aaron had to be seen twice (once for a full-head x-ray, and again for the dentist to tell me that the corresponding permanent tooth is trying to come up underneath the first one and that we will need to keep an eye on it), it necessitated a lot of waiting. We amused ourselves by reading, playing noughts and crosses, doing a puzzle and playing a hand-slapping game. The time passed easily enough. Had a bit of shopping to do – I’ve had my eye on a bottle of local honey at Thorpes, but at ₤4.40 for a jar I thought long and hard about it. It’s been so long since we’ve had honey though, and it’s rarely available in the shops, so I convinced myself that it would be a good purchase, which it was. It makes PotD mostly to emphasize its scarcity!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Model building

Caleb has long been hoping to build the second of his model airplanes, and all this week has been gently suggesting to his dad that a Sunday would be a good time for it, as that is a time that Nick is generally available. Nick had been noncommittal; memories of super-glued fingers and neck ache after hours of bending over impossibly small bits last time squelched his enthusiasm. The afternoon came though and Nick found himself seated at the diningroom table with a tube of specially requisitioned super glue, a pair of scissors and an excited boy. The two of them worked together to build the plane – it only took an hour this time (although Nick did suggest that some of the bombs on the wings could be considered optional and Caleb was happy to exclude them). Voila! At 2.30 Nick pointed out that it was a really lovely day and suggested a swim. He dropped me off at Pam where I helped her with the lasagne and then we read; dropped the boys off at the pool where they swam with Maddy and Elizabeth et al, and he went on to swim with Geoff in James’ Bay. Eventually we all met up again at Pam and Geoff’s for ‘tea’ (the British type). It was an excellent afternoon, and a pleasure to just walk next door to church!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The mystery of clingwrap unravelled

Nick and I ran a bit late in getting to the school to collect equipment and jewellery which we didn’t have boot space for last night after the Gospel Sing, but we got everything and then headed over to town for GNC. I did the teaching today on temptation, and not allowing the devil to get as much as a foot in the door by wrestling with temptation…Jesus’ example was an immediate and emphatic “NO” when he was tempted. After the club we did a bit of shopping and then came home via the hospital where I needed to get another asthma pump for Caleb. I was dealt all kinds of stern rebukes though for not having had Caleb properly assessed, when in fact they’ve never told me anything like that before and we’ve always simply just collected a pump from the hospital. So I have to take him to the doctor next week otherwise perhaps I will be court marshalled or feathered and tarred.

I did a bit of grocery shopping this afternoon – among other things was a new roll of clingwrap, which I thought I would get neatly pulled out and ready for use. Trouble was, I couldn’t find the end of the roll. Eventually a tiny bit of an edge unfurled which I pulled upon, thinking that Tesco had been awfully clever in arranging such a clever little pull-tab arrangement. This soon proved not to be the case though, as the 2cm strip I was unrolling turned into a metre with not much encouragement that the rest of the roll would soon follow. I tried again in a different spot but alas, still no edge. I handed the roll on to Pam who had been scrapping with me. Twenty minutes, 20 or 30 metres and a huge ball of discarded wrap later, I now have a straight edge…
Thanks for the comments on the blog about our scrummy breakfast the other night...you'll be pleased to know, Lara, that I included broccoli in our supper this evening (I just won't tell you what else we had ;-) ). It seems that having breakfast at night is an unusual thing, but we've been doing it for years. It's a delicious meal, and it's one that Nick and I do together. I highly recommend it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gospel Sing

Tonight was our Gospel Sing, held at Prince Andrew High School. The auditorium starting filling up quickly until almost all the chairs were occupied – I think we had 300 set out. Vincent MC’d, and all in all, apart from one or two mix-ups, the program ran very smoothly. Items were presented by Vincent and Vilma, Tammy, the Seventh Day Adventist Group, the Jamestown, Sandy Bay and Head o’Wain Baptist Chapels, the Palm Villa Choir, Maddy and her friend Elizabeth, and a few other individual or family groups. There was quite some variety, although the main feel was ‘country gospel’. Nick presented the gospel in a five minute sermonette, and then the grand finale saw all the singers back on the stage for “I’ll Fly Away”. There was a hotdog/hamburger stand outside, so people were free to come and go although most people sat through the whole program, only getting up for the intermission. Sales of jewellery, CDs and books were mostly restricted to the end when people were leaving. People remain wonderfully supportive of our efforts at fundraising and rebuilding.
Above: The Palm Villa Singers. Below: Pam assured me this was not an "I'm bored" posture, but a "politely listening" posture.
Above: Maddy and Elizabeth sing and play "Amazing Grace". Below: "I'll Fly Away".


The day started with bright sunlight. Aaron pulled his pyjama pants up to his chest and danced around like a tribal person while Caleb quietly ate his breakfast in the background. School was school; for the most part a good morning. After lunch the boys played outside and Aaron became a punk rocker.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I is...tricky

After e’sing into cursive so well, starting with the vowels this week, Caleb hit a wall today with his i’s. The book said one thing; I showed him a better way which he did not like. There followed a scene which I shall not describe, but many tears later we agreed that we would leave it for today and try again tomorrow.

Supper was one of our favourites…cooked breakfast goodies! Admittedly, I was just using up month-end freezer produce and soon-to-expire tomatoes, but it was delicious.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not again

School was much better today. I guess we’re out of the valley of the shadow of quitting and back on normal ground. I had to rush a bit at the end, as I had an appointment in town at 12.30…surprise, surprise, it was at the hospital again for a different infection, probably from the last antibiotics. I am on another course of antibiotics, to my dismay. The afternoon was taken up with beading as I am trying to build up my stock in preparation for Friday night, where I will have a stand at the Gospel Sing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting straight A's

School this morning…well, I heaved a sigh of relief when it was over. Despite telling myself all of last week that I must lower expectations and let the boys have a small measure of freedom to mess around, I still got annoyed when they started playing with cushions right before we were about to start and I had to wait. So they were duly disciplined. I’m still trying to work out the balance between their respecting me as the teacher, and having school at home where they may be permitted some liberties. Caleb starting learning cursive this morning. It was a big deal for him – he’s been looking forward to starting for ages, and has already been practising some of the letters. This is now the official start though, and he didn’t even complain that he had to fill in an entire page in his book with a’s.
We barbequed for supper – yum!! I had bought chicken legs earlier and when Nick saw them defrosting he suggested BBQing them. Nick had bible study this evening at Deadwood, and he said it was very good – he had about nine people, which felt full.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cheerless church

We decided to stay home this afternoon and relax – a change from what has become the usual Sundays! I was feeling gloomy about the mess the house had gotten into so went to lie on the bed, expressing to Nick my earnest desire that I could wave a magic wand…you know, every housewife’s wish. It wasn’t long before I heard the magic wand hard at work…in no time at all Nick had cleaned the bathrooms, finished washing the dishes (and even dried the pots as there was no space for them to airdry), tidied the lounge, diningroom and kitchen, and vacuumed. Wow!!! My love tank is full.

This morning the boys were involved in what is called a church parade, in which the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides participate by marching down the road and then attending St James Anglican Church in town. The church is high Anglican and left me feeling that the devil has done a good job of blinding the congregants to the true message of the gospel. The service came complete with incense, pomp and splendour; lovely pipe organ accompaniment to “Hail Mary”, and various other hymns dedicated to the worship of the blessed, spotless eternal virgin Mother; the admittance of councillors and wardens which took the place of preaching; the mass at which the bread and wine were transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of Christ at the ringing of the bell (amazing); salvation and a blessing to all who partook of the Mass. I had to stop the boys from following the sheep to the front of the church to receive mass – Caleb was already in the line but I caught Aaron as he was about to go, and quickly explained in two sentences why it was so radically unscriptural, so he quickly went to call Caleb back. The Father set our minds at rest by assuring us that in order to save time, he would not be preaching. How’s that for getting your priorities straight? Seems like there are less important things which should be first to get knocked off the order of service. What saddens me the most is that those attending the service have now ‘done church’; many feel that this is enough to grant admittance into heaven. They are not encouraged to search the scriptures, to earnestly work out their salvation which has followed repentance, forgiveness and a changed heart. This is simply empty religion which benefits them nothing. It’s meringues and soda pop instead of milk and roast beef. It was interesting to hear the boys’ comments afterwards. Aaron noted with disgust that they worship Mary, and both boys were emphatic that they did not want to go on another church parade and sit through the boring service. I am so glad. On the up side, today is the UK Mothering Sunday, so all the moms were given small posies of flowers during the church service. The flowers were blessed with prayer and incense.
And the boys continue to exhibit their masculine genes…this time by jumping off the roof of Sappho’s garage. Yes, they will continue to be boys.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unsurprising picnic and afternoon out

Today was super, but hectically busy. The first order of the day was to drop off an e-mail from Zac’s mom off at the radio station, for the station manager to pass on to Zac. He has been trying to leave the island for the last few days but keeps having engine trouble, so he starts off then has to turn back. We thought he had successfully left on Thursday, but apparently not. Glad we could help in some small way. Then on to Good News Club after which we quickly dashed to the shops where I bought small pebbles and two twigs of fake apple blossom twigs for my display. On to home where it was a mad rush to get things ready for the afternoon which comprised a birthday picnic and a pampering event for women at which I was invited to sell jewellery. I left Nick in charge of cooking pork sausages while I did what I needed to do. We made it to the Community Centre in Bluehill in good time for DT’s surprise party. At least, we all thought it was going to be a surprise, but one small boy who shall remain nameless but who lives in our house gave the game away by boldly stating that “you are having a birthday on Saturday and I am going.” Doh! Phil and DT arrived quite late, by which time we were all longing for the picnic lunches we had prepared. After they arrived the food quickly got going and we had a jolly lunch together. I had to leave early, but left Nick and the boys there where they had an excellent afternoon (they said the fun started after I left, but not to take it personally!). They played soccer and cricket and got super dirty.
I headed over to the Jamestown Community Centre and set up – all the work I put in this week to the new look display paid off as many ladies came over to look at my wares. A couple of them bought some things before the afternoon really got started, but the main flood came between the talk and the tea. I didn’t hear most of the talk as I needed to sit outside with my display to prevent it from getting blown away, but I did learn that you should always wear shoes that are darker than your hemline, and if you’re really stuck for shoes for an outfit, stick with black. After the talk the ladies were free to browse the stands – next to me was a magazine display, and around the corner one of the hairdressers was doing some hair straightening free of charge and there was also nail painting on offer.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rockfall 2009

There was another rockfall yesterday afternoon in town, originating from almost the same place as last year’s big one. This was only a small fall of about a ton, and at this stage it seems that only the AVEC building (100m from the manse) was damaged. Ladder Hill Road and Shy Road caught most of the fall and have sustained damage to their walls. The people working in the AVEC centre heard it coming and quickly evacuated their premises and were no doubt quite terrified. There is also evidence of a rockfall on the Side Path mountain, with another hole in the wall. This is following yesterday’s torrential rainfall – it’s rockfall weather again. The rain has washed a lot of dirt down the valleys into the sea and the water was astonishingly muddy in both James’ Bay and Ruperts’ Bay.
We were in town over lunch time (we took rolls and bought ham and cheese in town) and after enduring some drizzle, some rain, and some more drizzle, the sun came out and we could eat at Castle Gardens. The boys caught fish in the pond, just with their hands – the fish swim right in to their cupped hands! In faith I did a load of washing during the afternoon but the rains came again and so it is all soaked.
During the morning, Aaron and I made muffins – all we had to do was add water to a packet mix and beat it. They were delicious. I also played a round of top trumps with Aaron, who had already dealt the cards in the hopes that he’d find someone to play it with. I assigned a book for Caleb to read as he was looking for something, and he finished the entire thing in half the morning. He’s started on another one. Aaron has also been reading quite a bit. While they were busy I was busy with the jewellery stuff (still!). I whitewashed the cactus and it looks pretty cool – much nicer. I’ll use it until it falls apart or until I get tired of it. I’ve very much enjoyed the break from school this week. I think it’s been very beneficial, mostly for me to evaluate things and see where we’re going wrong. The main problem is me – as I said to a friend, it’s a case of expectation conflicting with reality. I need to lower my expectations of the boys, and to some degree allow them to be boys.

Nick had a prison service in the early afternoon, with four men attending. He preached on hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and they discussed the sinful nature. He feels the men are responding to the Holy Spirit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting things into perspective

Today, the second day of unschool, we made masks. Rather, the boys coloured in the masks I cut out for them while I retagged jewellery – I am revamping my bead board and the overall look of Elle Cee Handcrafts. It rained almost the entire day today, so both because of that, and because I wanted to carry on working on the jewellery, they watched a video (gasp!). Then we did history and the read-aloud. So we’re getting through a lot of the work, in an unorderly sort of way! I’m finding the break to be most beneficial. Tomorrow we will continue in this way, then start again properly on Monday. Nick did a lesson on perspectival drawing during the afternoon, and the boys had their Beavers’ group in town in the late afternoon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Following yesterday’s school trauma, I’ve decided to take a short break, mostly from the written work. We started with a few rounds of dominoes, then made and flew paper airplanes, followed by the building of their Junior Tradesman house with bricks and sand. The boys enjoyed doing that although I had one boy trying to spread the cement finely like margarine, and another boy slathering it on so generously that it squelched out the sides each time another brick was added. It looked pretty good in the end though. That took us up to tenzees, after which we did the science and read-aloud. I was conscious of trying to let ‘boys be boys’ regarding shuffling and fidgeting but had to draw the line at boy #2 picking his toenails.
Nick went to collect the 500 copies of the book he had published and is very pleased with the result. We will sell them for ₤8 per copy as a fundraising venture – all proceeds to the rockfall relief fund.

Caleb harvested the first of his vegetables – very proud of his solitary radish.
Nick and I took a fabulous sunset walk on the golf course where flocks of red cardinals and java sparrows were having dinner.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homeschool meltdown

Today I reached an all-time low in school. I am very seriously thinking about quitting and sending the boys to the public school! It wasn’t one particular event that sparked it – really a culmination of the last few weeks of school. The boys are really not enjoying school – not all of it, mind you, just some parts, which makes it difficult for me to enjoy it. I didn’t even finish today’s work. I sent the boys to their room to go and think about their schooling and education, and why it is important that they attend school. After they had thought about it, we discussed the option of going to Harford down the road. Ultimately they have concluded that the day is too long so they would rather be homeschooled. In the afternoon, to get out of the house, I went to town alone. I just needed a few things, but mostly I needed to clear my head. The drive was good – time to think and pray.

Tuesday night bible study continues...Nick is now in 2 Peter. After the study we have a time of tea and fellowship.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lunch break

Nick was just heading off to town at about 11.30, but I asked if I could come too. We put the rest of school on hold and piled into the car. After a spot of shopping we had Sally’s at Castle Gardens, then went home to finish school. A bit later in the afternoon we went back to town for a swim in James’ Bay – very good swim and snorkelling. Nick had his regular evening bible study.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


After lunch at home, we met up with Pam, Geoff and Maddy at Plantation Field at 2.30. We partook of some picnic goodies, then took a walk through the forest. It was a gorgeous day, hot all over the island, so really a pleasure to walk through the shady woods and bamboo plantations. After the walk we had a bit more picnicking, climbed a tree, had grass fights and romped about on the field. It was super fun! Jonathan the Tortoise was having a good time too. Have I mentioned before that tortoises can roar very loudly?
The evening service was excellent. Nick took a short break from his Acts series to preach on “Salt and Light” from Matthew 5.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here, fishy-fishy

We made up for the days of ‘at home-ness’ during the week by being entirely out of the house almost all day. First on the list was Good News Club, after which the plan was to grab lunch in town before snorkeling. We made our way down to Pam and Geoff after a quick bit of shopping though and got stuck watching “The Princess Bride” which is about 20 years old. We all stood around watching, mouths gaping open in our slack TV faces. That eventually led to us staying on for lunch which was a far more companionable (and cheaper!) option than the Pink Flamingo. By 1 pm we were all ready for snorkeling. This was certainly the best swim we’ve had – the sun was almost directly overhead (and hot – we’re a bit burned) so the visibility was excellent. Nick and I swam a little further out where there were literally hundreds of little scavenger fish in a school. We had brought some bread with us which we scattered about while we were swimming and the fish came close – still not within nibbling distance, but it was a truly spectactular sight! Saw something quite a bit bigger as well on a shallow ledge around the corner of James’ Bay, but still can’t identify any names.

By 2.45 we were ready to leave. I dropped Nick off at Tammy for their regular Saturday afternoon practice, continued on home where the boys got changed and I sorted out all the swimming gear. Out again ten minutes later – I dropped the boys off at Tammy, then went back to Pam in town where I scrapped and she scanned photos in preparation for scrapping. I picked Nick and the boys up at 5.30 and we were home for supper, after which Nick washed the car.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Another fairly normal day – Nick spent some time with one of his Lay Preachers in Sandy Bay during the morning, and in the afternoon he was out again, first at prison ministry, then on Nick’s yacht (which was an excellent ministry opportunity), then at a band practice in town. While he was out, I took a walk to the Longwood store, timing it with DT and Claire’s daily walk to collect Sappho and Tom from school.
I baked a batch of choc-chip cookies, inspired by Genevieve…this was Sam’s birthday cake last year. I must have got it right, because Aaron remarked that it was just like Sam’s cake! Spreading the cookie dough out as one large entity is much quicker than forming each cookie individually. I found the smarties at the Longwood store at a really good price (so bought up all their stock, which was only three boxes).

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Took the boys to the Longwood playground during the afternoon…we all needed to just get out the house for a while to stay off cabin fever!
For the most part I am stymied in my attempts to photograph the boys. They see me coming and yell “aaargh, the photograph lady” and then hide. So sometimes, unless I sneak up, this is all I’m getting.
Here’s Aaron’s thumb, after two weeks. It’s healed up really well, despite Aaron’s oblivion to wound care – it’s been in the sea, in sand, up trees and everywhere else that a six-year-old boy takes his thumbs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Parcels and pumpkins

Mail-call for us…a few surprises in the post today: Scrapbook Inspirations magazine sent me a prize for getting my letter published; Genevieve sent a papercraft magazine and gorgeous shell pendants for me, and postcards for the boys from the Baltimore Museum of Art which they recently visited. Genevieve said that since we couldn’t go to it, she would bring some of it to us as a field trip. She wrote comments about the various pieces of art on the back of the postcards. It was really wonderful. I had my follow-up visit to the doctor today. I had no sooner sat down and opened up the new magazine than the doctor was ready to see me – and I had arrived about 10 minutes early! It’s very gratifying when hospitals run early although I wouldn’t have minded a wait. He had received the labwork from last week just this morning, and confirmed that the antibiotic he gave me had been the correct one, but has prescribed it again just for another three days, to be sure that all the bacteria have been eradicated. On the way home we stopped in at one of our dear church ladies who returned yesterday after a few months on Ascension.
After a supper of fish fingers, mashed potatoes and broccoli in cheese sauce (yummy), we did a bit of gardening. The pumpkin patch had all but swallowed up the concrete path to our house, so we were having to walk either on the grass or on the plants to get to the house. I didn’t find this very satisfactory. Caleb found the first little pumpkin growing which he cut off the vine – it was hanging over the path, after all. I probably would have done the same thing. Nick found a few others though which made up for the loss. As far as I’m concerned it’s no big loss – we’re going to have far more than we can handle! Nice to see them starting to bear though.