Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Holidayish Wednesday

Brace yourself, it’s a long post…

While waiting for the workers to arrive this morning, I noticed that the morning light was falling on the sea in a spectacular way with an awesome bank of clouds just above it. Neither Nick nor I could properly capture it, but this was Nick’s best attempt, followed by Flagstaff in its morning glory. We had to leave our house at about 9 am when the workers came to continue with the plumbing, so sat in the police unit for about half an hour before heading to Pam and Geoff’s place for the day. On the way down we saw that the work on the schoolroom roof is nearly done, and in fact the last few sheets went on during the course of the day. This is very exciting progress! Nick mentioned the possibility of hiring a second contractor to continue with the work in the schoolroom while the manse gets repaired – so it might still happen that we move back into the manse before our time on the island draws to a close. I am thrilled at the prospect. On to Pam and Geoff – it didn’t take us long to come up with a game plan for the day, which included a hike, picnic and swim. Pam and I walked to town looking for some supplies, then went back to her place to make up the lunch. Took Geoff to the manse as he hadn’t yet seen the rockfall damage, then we were on our way for the first part of the day’s plan – a hike up Mount Eternity. It was really more of a short walk up a hill, especially for me as I didn’t continue along the ridge, choosing rather to stay put at the top and wait for the others to come back. It was a gorgeous day with very co-operative blue skies. By 12.30 we were all starving and ready for our picnic lunch and a bit of restful chit-chat. Headed home (that would be Pam’s place) for a breather, then Nick, Geoff, Maddy and Aaron drove to town for a swim at the docks. Pam, Caleb and I walked down town, cameras in hand, before meeting up at the docks. We didn’t have to wait long for Aaron to finish his swim, then the four of us walked back up home again. We had barely arrived back and got some supper going before the swimmers were home. Supper was pasta bolognaise – yummy. We left at about 6, but wanted to try some slow-shutter photography on the sea in low-light conditions. We weren’t entirely successful in our efforts, but practice makes perfect, right?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The blessing of sisterhood

Cruise ship day today…like me, several traders were out early with their wares to peddle, and I suppose, like me, were also disappointed that the 1500+ people, both crew and passengers, didn’t want to throw their $$$ around. It wasn’t a thoroughly disappointing day and I did fairly well, but really, with so many tourists milling around, it could have been better! As one gentleman said it, they are a bit jaded - they've been cruising around the world and have shopped in Hong Kong, South Africa, and every other port - so they're a bit shopped out. Quite understandable.The day was fun though and I met and chatted with a great many interesting people. I met one particularly wonderful woman who asked if I know the book The Purpose Driven Life… “Oh, Rick Warren”, I said – to which she replied that he is her pastor; they attend his church which is one of the biggest in the States with 50,000 members. And truly, her life is filled with purpose – not only to win people for Christ, but also to aid those in less privileged circumstances. She and her husband have raised vast sums of money to build orphanages in Central America and Africa, and she is involved with HIV/AIDS awareness, education and care in her community and abroad. Even sailing on a cruise ship with the rich and wealthy she has a ministry – she does a bible study with the crew between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm when they have finished their duties! After talking with me she sat on a bench in front of the canister (in the center with the purple top) and chatted to some of the local ladies. Oh, what a blessing to have met someone who oozes Jesus out of every pore, and displays such a genuine concern for those who are suffering. It was a great day just to be in town anyway, besides selling stuff – it was simply buzzing with so many people about, and the museum lost count of how many Jacob’s Ladder certificates they sold.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, Nick and the boys had been temporarily evicted today while our plumbing gets redone. All the Piccolo units are having new toilets installed and all the pipes are being redone – something to do with draining and sewerage, and old systems. This is what all the digging over the last few months has been for – now that all the external stuff has been done, the internal piping must be changed. So one by one the residents have had to relocate. Our turn came today and we were given the use of the Police Unit where they do interviews, medical examinations etc.

Still summer in April

The weather today was glorious, so much so that we couldn’t waste it doing nothing. I spent part of the morning cleaning the house while Nick did prep and the boys played outside, then we went into town for lunch and for the boys to swim in the pool. It was a bit of a treat for them to swim in the pool, I guess, after all the sea swimming. They much prefer the pool. Aaron says it’s because it doesn’t hurt his wounds as much (he has wounds?) and it’s smaller and there are more children to play with. Nick and I left them there and went to buy lunch which we ate poolside. There are several new picnic-style table-and-chair pieces around the pool which look good and serve their purpose well. In the afternoon I did more housework – even going so far as to mop the kitchen floor – and Nick had a guitar lesson with a 12-year-old, whose mom I chatted with while the lesson was on. The boys disappeared into the Piccolo hinterland again until supper time.

And here's Charlotte: she's developed an affinity for Nick's shoes, either to sleep in or simply to play with. Such a darling!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flip flop

A very grey day today. It rained or drizzled from the morning until about 4 pm. We had planned to go swimming at Ruperts’ but had to take a rain check on that one, opting instead to stay in and watch a DVD. It was the perfect weather for a pancake afternoon too – just a pity that the pancakes weren’t so perfect!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Look, just look!

If you’ve been following the blog carefully for some time, you’ll notice how many mentions there are of pineapple (well, at least two in the last two weeks). So when I did more grocery shopping after good news club and saw the newly unpacked tins sitting on the shelves, I had reason to celebrate! I guess for those of you living in places where shops regularly stock all the usual and unusual items one could hope for, finding tins of pineapple is not cause for rejoicing. I’m sure I’ll look back over this blog in years to come and be amazed at how the little things were really very big things at the time.Nick took himself to the docks while the boys and I (and Maddy) shopped. There was a large vessel in the bay today, sort of a training yacht with a lot of young people on it. Genevieve, you’ll probably be able to add more detail to this post once you’ve read the Independent!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Old Mother Hubbard

Spent the day largely at home, other than going out to the Longwood store for a spot of shopping. The cupboards are bare but I couldn’t do a proper grocery shop as Nick had plans both morning and afternoon, by way of recording radio talks to be broadcast next week, then doing his prison ministry in the afternoon and attending a band practice after that. As a result the pizza was forlorn without bacon, and of course without pineapple (sigh). Nick picked up Caleb’s new glasses – they look great on him. His first pair broke a week or two ago, so these were really needed.

Introducing Jocelyn

Elza and I had a “two minds think alike” notion earlier in the week – that being that we should throw a baby shower for the dentist’s wife, Jocelyn. (Which reminds me, I was at the dentist again yesterday morning with yet another broken tooth, but it was a minor repair quickly done). We decided to coincide the shower with Elza and Maureen’s regular coffee morning, which would allay any suspicions…plan successful, as Jocelyn was duly surprised by our efforts. It was a lovely morning – Jocelyn is extremely bubbly and bright and one can’t help being buoyed by her laughter. Kitten #4 has left us, leaving only little Charlotte. Nick took Cinderella with him when he left for Bible Study, where he will hand her over to Donald. I will miss her, as she is particularly playful and very amusing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go-cart, first attempt

The boys and Sappho built themselves a vehicle of sorts today. It was quite inventive, really, and by 5pm they were ready to test drive it, quickly coming to the realization that 5l gravel-filled plastic bottles do not make the best wheels. Still, they had fun doing it and it kept them busy in a constructive way. I scrapped and Nick played with the camera, experimenting with colours and tones.In the late afternoon Nick assumed his altar ego, as with a flourish of apron and brandishing of tongs he emerged as…BBQ Man (dramatic music and thunder clap). Well, he didn’t really cook the chicken legs and porkies with his heat-vision, but they were still super, man.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shop-shop, walk-walk

Holiday blues were dramatically diminished today as the boys found Tom and Sappho to play with. They set up a shop of sorts outside our unit and sold unwanted easter eggs, donated toffees, biscuits and chewing gum. When no more customers came to patronize their stand (actually the only people who bought anything were me, because I thought that ₤1 for an egg would go to a good cause, and Tom’s grandparents who arrived on the ship this morning), they took their wares to the peoples. When no one else wanted sweets they expanded their line and took some of my necklaces to sell – I was amazed that they actually came back with money! That was an easy way to move my stock, and it earned them some commission too. While they were occupied outside and Nick was busy with bible study prep, I scrapped. Lately I’ve found little time for scrapping and have been hoping to get something done during the holidays. Nick harvested the first pumpkins – one of them green and unripe which he cut open (I wasn’t in the kitchen at the time to stop him, but perhaps this was actually Nick's way of having one less pumpkin to eat...grow-your-own still doesn't mean eat-your-own), and the other was quite severely stung by fruit flies as an infant pumpkin, but may be fine inside. In the afternoon Nick and I went for a drive (the boys had taken themselves off to the Longwood Store with Tom and his family, so we had to first find them there to extend the invitation to accompany us, which they declined). We took a road from Longwood which we had not traveled on, wanting to see where it would lead, but eventually our car couldn’t handle the terrain so we had to stop. There was no point at which to turn so Nick had to select the widest bit of the road he could find and do a 7-point turn, with yours truly pushing the car to move it when it was wheel-spinning on succulents or loose gravel. It was a relief to get back onto tarred road. Then we took the road more traveled to Millennium Forest, where we parked the car and walked. It was incredibly windy and a little chilly, even though the sun was shining. We followed a wire bird down the road some distance before veering off the path to find another track. The most fun part of the afternoon was playing with the camera – and discussing which lenses would be more suitable to capture the panorama! (For the camera-people aka photographers reading this, we’ve just ordered a 50mm f1.8 AF lens (popular because of its affordability), and looking longingly at a 12-24mm wide-angle…)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get me back to school!

If I were to say that school holidays are not enjoyable, especially the first day, I’m sure I would have some feedback from other homeschoolers along the lines that I should be finding meaningful ways for the boys to occupy their time. And truly, I know I should. But when it comes time for the holidays, I’d honestly love to ship them off to visit their grandparents, if for nothing more than not to have to hear their giggling over a new form of silliness discovered or their bickering over who gets to sit in the spinning chair, or the thousand times a day I am asked what the time is, with reference to ‘when’s the next food coming’. I realize that I’m opening myself up for criticism here and yes, it would be deserved – but where’s the holiday for the frazzled mom who never gets a break? Okay, let’s hope this is just first-day-of-holiday melodrama. Tomorrow will be better. I’m sure of it.

Grey skies today, with the Barn coming and going, and Flagstaff losing its tip. I wandered around Piccolo briefly looking for inspiring subjects and came across a beautiful poinsettia bush in bloom around the front (back?) of one of the units. I had no idea it was there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Out to sea

A wonderful day to be out on a yacht today – and this afternoon the oft-expressed desire was fulfilled by way of an invitation onto Faith again. After a quick lunch as soon as Nick arrived home from his morning services, we met up with Pam, Geoff and Maddy, John, Cindy and girls, and Mike, Karen, Jessica and Kian at the docks. We had to be ferried over in three loads in the dinghy but eventually were all aboard safely. It was a fantastic afternoon of chatting, chilling, eating ample snacks provided by Karen and Cindy, swimming, and even turtle spotting by Pam who sat quietly at the front of the boat (I’m sure there’s a fancy name for that, like the upper deck or fore-seating or something), wondering how long she could hold on to her lunch. Eventually the bobbing and swelling and dipping proved too much and she literally fed the fish (yes, they really do come up for a nibble). Enough said. Caleb and Aaron got to go out on the dinghy with Kian who gave them a crash course in piloting the dinghy, which surely was the highlight for them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Happy birthday to you! Aaron graciously woke Caleb up early this morning to whisper the greeting, being far more excited about birthdays and parties than the birthday boy himself. The morning passed by in the usual manner, with much to be done when we got home from Good News Club. While I was busy in the kitchen, Nick went out to collect the jumping castle. Tom was here early to share in the excitement, so he and Caleb and Aaron got the first jump – what a great way of entertaining kids! The afternoon was very good. Pam and Geoff swung by to help us maintain our sanity, although the kids pretty much did their own thing. I had some drawing stuff available inside, but mostly they were on the jumping castle all the time (we’re not looking forward to the results of the afternoon on our electricity bill). The parents, meanwhile, had been at the Queen’s Birthday Party at Plantation House (we were invited too but had to send our regrets in lieu of a party where the honoured guest was present :-) ). They arrived back here around the ending time of our party, but by then we had put on a DVD for the kids, so the adults stayed for a cup of tea and finished off the birthday cake. We are especially thankful to God for answering our prayers for good weather.

(There you go, Ema - lots of photos!)