Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Out at last

Boys and kids...ya gotta love 'em. One of Aaron’s wobbly top teeth came out at last – he bumped it accidentally which caused some bleeding, but it still held. After rinsing and more wriggling he gave up on it, but was using his tongue to push it around when it flicked out of his mouth and landed on the carpet. We all laughed – both at how funny its evacuation had been as well as Aaron’s new look. He looks even more roguish – this gap tooth smile somehow suits him. Steve was giving a violin lesson to Sappho in the afternoon, so Maureen came and kept me company while Steve was busy. Good to have her company. In the evening we had a social instead of a bible study as such, sharing a huge pot of spicy chicken pilau provided by one of our ladies.

I CAN cope!

We were back at school today after our week’s holiday, and it was great. I had to sternly remonstrate the boys a few times and remind them that they are in school and need to show proper respect for me as their mother and teacher, but on the whole they were fine. Nick phoned just as we were about to start science, and he chatted with the boys first and then me. He has taken photos of about 200 baby turtles running down the beach to the ocean, and has a picture of one in his hand (I mean, not that he’s holding a picture of a turtle…he photographed a turtle sitting in his hand). I’ll post some of his Ascension photos when he’s home again. His back is much improved and he is able to continue with things as normal. His service last night was good, attended by 28 – double last week’s Sunday service.
I took Nick’s Monday night bible study tonight, out at Deadwood. It was great – since there are only ladies attending the group I spoke on a topic that is close to my heart – which is the lie that the devil would have us believe of “I can’t cope”…and the threefold truth that will set us free, being (1) God’s grace is sufficient, (2) God will not give us more to bear than He knows we can handle, and (3) God is sovereign over all things and in control of our circumstances. So next time I am having mud issues I will try to remember my own lesson!!

The Miry Story: A response from t'other side

This is just too good to be hidden away as a comment...thanks Nils :-)

Man, oh man, my sides, they have split.
For once again we've put our foot in it.
For men and boys, as you now see,
To dirt and grime, have affinity.

The differences they say are two,
Between the boys and older few.
Men have at one time hopefully done
A load of washing from which has run...
the vilest... greenest... reddest... slime,
to ensure no repeat of mentioned crime.

The alternative is soon found though,
in form of vehicle, with friends in tow.
For mud and grime improves the looks
of 4x4's driven 'oer muddy brooks.
And when the ladies go to town,
With garden hose, it is washed down.

They get revenge, the ladies dear,
when said men get stuck, 'tween here and there.
Taking on a slope that be to steep,
Or in the mud with brand new Jeep.

And home they come with wounded pride,
To the ultimate 'lekkerkry' of their bride.

A mother, two boys, and mud: a Miry Story

Once upon a time there was an age-unspecified woman called Maree who was, by no fault of her own, a temporarily single mother. She had two marvellous boys called Joel and James. Joel and James, being boys, loved playing outside and especially loved playing with their friends, Oz and Brit. Now it happened that Maree and the boys and the friends all lived in a particularly long, muddy Wood, and on this particular day there had been much rain and so there were many mud puddles – ideal conditions for three boys and a girl to thoroughly sully their clothing. Unfortunately, the three older children possessed a fair amount of common sense while James, the youngest, did not. So when Joel and Brit encouraged James to jump in a puddle, James happily complied – returning home shortly thereafter with shoes that were an inch higher and brown pants which had previously been beige. To say that Maree was unimpressed would be putting it as mildly as Nando’s Lemon and Herb chicken. Rather, her anger was comparable with their strongest Peri-Peri offerings. James excused his behaviour by saying he had been tempted by the other three; his sibling was briefly questioned and fobbed the blame off on the two friends. Maree found Oz first and chided her; when the hapless Brit came wandering by he came under her stern and unpleasant rebuke too. Eventually Maree dismissed them all and set to work soaking the offensive garments. If her precious husband Ronald had been home, he would no doubt have helped her gain an appropriate perspective on the situation; her depression at his absence, however, only served to magnify the molehill which James was trying to wash off his shoe. Meanwhile, Truth, who had been bound up in Lie’s gossamer threads, fought her way out and in her delicate voice, vindicated Oz and Brit. Now Maree was even madder – she could add to her bullet list of Murphyisms a lying son and the humiliation of having wrongly censured the unfortunate friends.

The next day Maree took the boys to Century Forest where they had their midday repast, and in the afternoon they were due at a birthday party. Maree waited for as long as possible before instructing the boys to don clean apparel which was to remain clean throughout the celebrations so as to be in a fit state for church attendance, and then let them play outside for a short while with Brit, who was also to be attending the party. A quarter of an hour passed and then Maree called the boys to go. Her fury and disappointment at the highly visible and very fresh mud stains on their outfits was tangible; it found an outlet in a spectacular wheelspin on the loose gravel which did not escape the attention of her neighbours. Maree felt wretched; she knew her anger would benefit nobody and that she must quickly master it. It also occurred to her that insulting her children’s intelligence over an issue of dirt was neither godly nor helpful, but she could not seem to reign in her temper. However, by the time they reached their town destination she was sufficiently calm to confess her wrongdoings to Oz and Brit’s parents - in part an apology, and in part to lighten the burden by sharing it.

The moral of this story is unclear, as the story is unfinished; will Maree learn to get along with mud, knowing that as long as she has boys living in her house it will be an ongoing problem, or will she continue to exhibit a dazzling lack of self-control and cease to progress along the Christian path of sanctification? Will she be able to lower her expectations regarding boys and clean clothing, or must Joel and James stifle their expressions of boyhood and avoid mud? We can only pray that Maree will keep trying to pick herself up out of the mud.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lunch out and supper out

We left at about 11.30 to quickly pop on at the Longwood Store to buy a present for Charlotte as I had forgotten to get something yesterday, and then drove to Millenium Forest where we ate our chicken burgers and some white chocolate. Aaron took forever to eat as he can’t bite with his front teeth which are still very wobbly…the roots, which have almost disappeared, are starting to show through. He just can’t get them out though, not for lack of wiggling! Once all the food was eaten or discarded, we took a short walk through some bits of the forest, talking about the forest and why it was that way and how cool it would be if we came back to visit the island in ten years and saw how big the Gumwood trees have grown. We can already see growth in the few years that we’ve been on the island. They are still miniature, but on the whole the reforestation of that area has been a success. We were home again for about two hours before going to the birthday party at Ann’s Place. I wasn’t so keen on going on my own but it was okay. There were loads of people, as it was also partially a going-away party for Miles and Sharon, Charlotte’s parents, who leave in two weeks. Miles was contracted to the island for the airport development, but since there is presently no airport development, his job has fallen away. They should have been here for four years; instead, they are leaving after less than a year (Charlotte was a newborn when they arrived). Directly after the party (where we had had a finger supper) we went to church; Nick Williams was the preacher. He delivered a fine message on the Ten Commandments.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More of Longwood

I phoned Nick tonight after not having spoken to him since Thursday morning. His first words were “You won’t believe what just happened” – and he didn’t sound too happy. He has thrown his back out again. It’s not as bad as the time that he was completely immobilized – he still managed to drive himself to the Ascension Hospital for a voltarin injection, and will have to rest it until his next service tonight. Dear me, I am so upset to think of him in pain and there’s nothing I can do about it. On the up side, he said that there were a few more people in the service on Thursday night, but I didn’t get a number. We didn’t chat for long, but the bottom line is that we are missing each other dreadfully, and as much as we don’t want to wish away this ministry opportunity on Ascension, we both want him home!

The rest of Saturday proceeded in its Saturdayish way – I did the message in Good News Club which was “how much does it cost” – the answer being nothing and everything. I spoke about the cost of popularity, fancy lifestyle, giving up things like family etc. During the free time a few of the boys got hold of some hibiscus flowers and paraded around like girls. Pam visited in the afternoon for some scrapping......and photography – the day was too good to waste indoors. We did a circular route, first crossing quickly over the golf course (there were a few golfers about…FORE!!) to the road behind it, then down around the back of Napoleon’s house and home along the regular route we would drive.


The boys invited Tom over early this morning to watch a short Mega-Blocks pirate movie on the computer. Then Tom had to go off to town; the boys meandered and I scrapped. We did a quick house tidy before going out to lunch – Sally’s take-aways at Castle Gardens, but we had to find cover as it started raining halfway through. After lunch we did the grocery shopping, again having to wait under cover for the frequent 2-minute downpours to end before delivering bags of groceries to the car and going to the next shop. Home again at 2.30. The boys meandered, I washed the kitchen floor. Supper was a correctly proportioned pizza. And that was our day. Ho hum. I guess it would have been better had Nick been here to share in the humdrum of it all...but I didn't even get to speak to him today :-(

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's official...rainy season has begun

The boys and I met up with Pam at the Coffee Shop at 11…Maddison and her friend Elizabeth were already there but left soon after, needing to be back home by 11.30 for Elizabeth to be fetched. We had a good chat, although I was aware that I was doing most of the talking while Pam nodded her head occasionally to indicate she was still with me. When we were ready to leave I offered to come up to her place, really because I was needing to collect Nick’s amp and the data projector that we had been using on Tuesdays for the Noah’s ark DVD that we were watching for bible study, but she invited us to stay for lunch. The boys disappeared upstairs with Maddy, playing a computer game, and when the rain came down in town Pam and I took up our cameras. When the rain stopped I was pretty much ready to come home. The boys spent the next two hours waiting for time to pass and worrying about which bags to take for their fishing expedition, while I scrapped and got annoyed with them. Unfortunately the fishing was cancelled due to the weather which was a terrible disappointment for the boys, but since Beavers hadn’t been cancelled altogether they were consoled. I took the three of them to town to be there at 4.30, and then went to Pam – again, under the guise of dropping off something, but she didn’t even give me the opportunity to ask whether I could hang around there again – she told me to make myself a cup of tea and then let me sit quietly browsing camera magazines with no need to interact. That took me up until 6 pm when it was time to collect the boys.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Impromptu Photowalk

Worked in the garden a bit with the boys and Tom this morning…it was sunny outside and just wonderful. We got rid of the last of the ivy and most of the weeds before having a break for lunch. While I was out buying bread, the rain came down. That was the end of the gardening on our side, although the boys went over to Tom’s place in the afternoon during a patch of sun to help him with his veggie garden – a fair exchange of labour. While it was raining the boys worked on a foil engraving art thingie sent over by my dear far, far away friend – this arrived in the mail on Monday which I received last night. She also sent, among other wondrous goodies, a superb beading magazine which is exactly what I need right now – yesterday’s beading session left me cold, tired of the same boring designs which I seem to be producing! The designs in the magazine are just the kinds of things I love to make – intricate, fun and modern. During the late afternoon Caleb and Tom went on their own photo walk. Both Caleb and Aaron are quite keen on photography, but today it is Caleb’s photography that gets a PotD spot.

Squatting for a self-timer portrait...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A day of crafting is not so relaxing after all

It’s been a long day! My legs are feeling twitchy from sitting still for so long. I got out all my beads this morning and dedicated the day to replenishing my stocks, which are drastically low after a lot of things went onto the RMS. The boys mucked around at home during the morning, waiting for time to pass until it was time for them to go to Tammy’s house. Tammy and Gavin kindly took them out to town with them and Harley and Katie, where they had lunch (since the boys had already had theirs at home they only had a few chips and some juice) and went to the library. They were planning on going to the museum but it was closed, so instead they drove to Plantation House, and then dropped the boys back here at about 3.30. That gave me a big chunk of peace and quiet! Once the boys were back they were still fairly well occupied with Tom and Sappho, and I’m happy to say that the sun came out so it felt bright and cheerful after a very grey and cold morning. I went for a quick walk outside, going across the golf course to the road on the other side. I just wanted to be outdoors for a while. This then, is our Longwood:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You've got mail, sort of

After spending part of the morning at home (scrapping of course), and then having coffee with Clare, the boys and I headed to town, partly to bid farewell to Sarel and Elza who were off on holiday today, and partly to check for post. We tried so hard with the post, strongly suspecting that there would be something exciting waiting, but quite fruitlessly. We hung around, browsed the shops, had pizza slices for lunch on the post office steps, bought milk, dropped off something for someone, paid a visit to Iva, browsed more shops, visited Pam for tea, quite successfully killing about three hours in town. Eventually we gave up and came home. Maddy phoned during our supper to say that they had gone for post, and there was something in the box which I’m most eager to retrieve tomorrow night! Nick phoned again this morning, and said that his first service on Ascension last night went well – there were only 14 people, but he was encouraged by the turnout and said he felt great liberty in his preaching. This is usually indicative of strong prayer support. He is hoping that the numbers will increase as word gets around – his next meeting is tomorrow night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fatherless Day

The boys and I went to Anne’s Place for a League of Friends lunch. This lunch was a Father’s Day present for me, since I am the stand-in father, from Pam and Steve and Maureen. I guess they didn’t want us to be alone on the first Sunday without Nick, for which I was enormously grateful. We arrived on time at 12.30, and Pam and Maureen were receiving the guests and taking in any outstanding monies etc, so I went and sat at a table on my own. The boys disappeared into Castle Gardens with some friends. I felt completely alone and like a total spare part, until Elza and Sarel arrived and I moved tables to sit with them. We kept seats for Pam, Maureen and Steve, and the boys, and from then on the afternoon was great. We had good conversation, the food was excellent and the puddings were super yummy. After lunch there was a raffle (good thing Elza and I were paying attention and watching Steve’s tickets, who was sharing an anecdote during the calling of the numbers and would have entirely missed his prize). Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, including me! Church in the evening was good, although it hit me hard not to have Nick there and I had to blink back tears. Steve led the worship and then preached on justification, doing an excellent job. We had quite a full house – 28 people in all!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A, B, no C

Good News Club this morning – not quite the same without Nick, but we managed. Aaron tripped on the tarmac playground, giving himself a badly grazed elbow and waist, poor chap. As soon as we got home I made lunch, then we watched a DVD – quite a well-done Japanese movie (not animated), which we initially watched in its original language with English subtitles, until I figured out that we could watch it in dubbed English. Sappho and Tom came to watch as well, so we had a full couch. They all made a quick exodus when it was finished to play in the lovely sunshine. It’s been a really terrific day, weather wise. I’ve felt a bit lonely this afternoon, but I think I usually feel lonely on Saturday afternoons anyway, so this is really no different. I finished the first page of my UK album.

There was a big car parade this morning, in support of Option A for the airport. The parade made its way down from White Gate to town, appropriately led by a JCB. It was a grand sight to see the string of cars driving slowly down Ladder Hill Road, hooters honking and lights on. Meanwhile, more and more handpainted red “B”s are popping up in shop windows – these are supporters of a replacement ship. I still don’t know of anyone rooting for DFID’s ridiculous Option C, which they themselves favour, which is to defer any decision for another 5 years.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Last day of school today! We ended our term by going out to town for lunch – keeping things traditional, we got take-aways from Sally’s and sat in Castle Gardens. It was another beautiful day in town and we were happy to be outside in it – barely a breath of wind, and some strong autumn sun shining. I’m trying to keep things as normal around here as possible, so we had our regular Friday-night-pizza-supper too. It’s been ages since I’ve made pizza and it was delicious, except that I made the same sized pizza that would normally feed all four of us – consequently it was rather over-filling. Nick phoned during the afternoon while I was gathering in some washing. At the sound of the international phone call I dashed to the phone in much excitement. Nick got onto Ascension at about 10 this morning, was met by Clayton (one of Vincent’s sons), and since then he had been wandering around town. The boys each had a turn to speak with him, and then I had my turn. He says it’s really hot there, like a Joburg summer, and the beach is beautiful and he saw two dead baby turtles. Please add to your prayer list Nick’s loneliness! He sounded very lonely and like he was missing us very much.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I took the boys to Beavers this evening, as of course I have the car at my disposal now…normally Clare takes them all, so I’m glad to be able to help for a while. I took advantage of the ‘golden hour’ by walking down a dirt path between town and the Munden’s mountain from the Scout Hall in Napoleon Street right down to the seaside, and back. When I got back to the boys they were being instructed on how to tie line to a fishing hook and add a sinker. They were brimming over about the whole thing, and next week they are going to put their skills to use with some real fishing from the wharf. I’ll bet they dream about it tonight.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting sorted

24 hours in…and we’re still okay. I don’t expect to really fall apart at any point, but it is reassuring to know that we can do this. Aaron still reckons he feels sad, but Caleb is Caleb. We’re all thinking of Nick – at supper time we discussed what we thought he might be eating on the ship. Caleb suggested roasted pig’s head with an apple in its mouth, and I added pigeon pie and roasted baby duckling to the menu. Then we had an imperative sentence conversation, followed by an irrelevant answer conversation, and then answer-question-with-a-question conversation. It was all rather fun. The boys and I are bonding. I’m forced to stay friends with them as they are my greatest allies against loneliness.

School this morning was fine, despite that I had to make my own coffee. I attempted the impossible by doing two loads of washing, which involved a lot of juggling during the morning between the airer, washline, chairs, and our bed. One just has to be quick, and get everything in again at the first drops before there’s a downpour. The boys had been looking through some scripture cards, then wanted to find the full verses in their bibles, so they spent a bit of time poring over the Word – it was a wonderful sight! I cleaned the house, caught up on stuff, and then before any sort of boredom could set in, I started looking at the photos from our 2001 UK holiday to decide how to use them. I’m very excited about this whole project – it should keep me busy for ages!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The countdown begins

Day 1…30 days to go. Nick got on the ship this afternoon…the boys and I didn’t linger, fearing an outbreak of weeping, so as soon as Nick was on the bus to be taken down to the landing steps and thereafter the ship, we left to come home. I feel slightly relieved that it’s begun, as I’ve been dreading his departure and this month of separation for the greater part of this year, and now it has come at last and I know I will cope. Nick’s sermon on Sunday night was an earnest plea to us, the church, to pray for him while he’s away, based on Colossians 4:2-4 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” And so, dear readers, I would beseech you to remember Nick in prayer as well, resolutely, for the following: open hearts to the gospel; that the message would be clearly understood; and for boldness for Nick as he goes out on his own, that he would not compromise the precious message of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. Nick is Joshua going into battle with the Amalekites, and we are Moses, lifting our hands in prayer to the Lord (Exodus 17:8-13). Tony’s funeral was this morning; it was a beautiful service, and because Tony is with the Lord it was not an overly sad occasion. We were in town this afternoon early enough to stop in at the shops before Nick had to embark, and look what is available again: potatoes! You'd have to have lived on the island to know that this is, indeed, a photo-worthy event.Kind-hearted Caleb bought an early birthday present for Aaron (with his own money too), as he felt sorry for him not having any musical instruments. He then advised Aaron that it was useful for him to have a big brother for things like this.