Friday, July 31, 2009

Dampened spirits

Jewellery selling this morning was … not good. I had an hour or so of great sunshine, then it drizzled intermittently. I kept on covering and uncovering my display with the waterproof picnic blanket but eventually gave up after ₤19.50. On the bright side, my morning was really made by the unexpected offer of “would you like some tea or coffee while you’re sitting there?” by Hazel, the owner/manager of the Consulate Hotel. She had been dashing back and forth between the hotel and the seamstress’ shop in the Cannister, and on her way back made the offer. I accepted gladly, and was really touched when she came back with a tray laden with coffee and carrot cake – no charge. Random acts of kindness…
These are some images Nick took while going on his first exploratory drive of Ascension. First up is the Roman Catholic church, open on two sides, followed by a typical coastline shot - black rocky outcrops embedded in white beach sand. Next, the pincer of a beach crab left lying on the beautiful coral sandy beach, and a land crab below that, found several hundred feet above sea level on one of the mountains.

Let's face it...

...some days just aren't worth blogging about. If I weren't doing this PotD project I really wouldn't bother with it at all! Caleb had a miserable day in school, having to redo his writing assignment four times and at the end of it he STILL hadn't capitalized and full-stopped his sentences, and Aaron was disciplined at least three times during the course of the day. Not that it was all bad, mind you...during the afternoon I applied myself to beading and produced four pieces which I thought were great (Nick reserves the right to hold his own opinion on them, quietly).

And then I burned the chicken pie.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Donkeys, photos and shells

School seemed to go on forever today...we had to stop for lunch and then continue in the afternoon. Nick, Aaron and I took a refreshing walk to the Longwood store for our bread, stopping to chat with Puzzle on the way who followed us as far as he could along the fence, sticking his head through for a scratch periodically. Nick gave Aaron a turn with his camera (picture captioned 'small boy with large lens'). Once school was finally done I busied myself drilling holes in shells which Nick brought back from Ascension for me to use as pendants. Nick had a guitar 'lesson' in the afternoon with Gareth, who will be leaving on Monday to study in the UK. I had intended to make jewellery this afternoon but with school running late and the drilling taking longer than anticipated, as well as Nick's bible study being cancelled necessitating my catching up on some stuff this afternoon, I only made one piece. Will have to work hard tomorrow to be ready for Friday's planned selling.

And now, back to some Ascension photos...things have been a little hectic here, so apologies for the break in the photos. Below: "One Boat" - which is a place name, announced by the physical presence of one boat. Note the small detail of various trophies accumulating at the base. Nick doesn't know what they're there for, but can confirm that they don't get stolen.

Above: Sunday lunch at the American Airforce base. Lunch at the base is a highlight for many people as the canteen is well stocked with fresh salads, fruits and a wonderful variety of food and drink. Our friend Wilson who regularly attended the services and who works on the base, invited Nick and several others along.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Officially boyscouts

I did the grocery shopping this's kind of fun to do a big shop once a month because you never really know what's going to be on the shelves, one way or another - what will be out of stock and what new products they will have that one hasn't been able to get for months! (For example - I got Fattis and Monis macaroni, which is the only real macaroni [for you non-South Africans, F&M produces a longer macaroni which does not clump together as tightly as the Tescos you don't end up getting a perfect cube when you dish up a helping of mac'n'cheese, but rather a pleasing spread of it]). Shopping done, I stopped by the manse to pick up something for Aaron, and was again surprised by the progress. Nick went in yesterday and photographed everything, but even today there was change. This wall was newly tiled today.

The boys were properly enrolled this evening during the Scout's AGM. I had to miss most of bible study to be with them for this all-important ceremony which they had been looking forward to for so long. They had to say the promise and then received their scarves and badges. Aaron is a Beaver and Caleb is a Cub.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pedalling along

Nick brought Caleb's bike home from the manse today (Aaron's bike got squashed in the rockfall). We had thought that this bike was also unusable, but when Steve and Teddy and co cleared out the workshop they salvaged it. Caleb has been riding the bicycles of the other kids around Piccolo; this is a timely addition to the battery of bikes available (six kids and five vehicles was always a bit of a problem). After Caleb had cleaned it up and Nick had raised the saddle and taken off the training wheels it was ready to go. The boys spent the afternoon outdoors riding around.

Monday, July 27, 2009


This was pretty much me for the most part of the day - Nick and I came home from the wedding yesterday with 1,482 photos (not counting the ones we had already deleted at the time). Some photos are easy-deletes while others require close inspection to see if all eyes are open and looking forward and so on. Thankfully Nick joined me during the afternoon and we could work on it together.
Yesterday morning while selling jewellery (and I brought home a staggering ₤10.50), a lady approached me to ask if I would please cut her hair - after all, I had cut Maddison's hair so I must be able to. I explained that I really am not qualified at all and don't know what I'm doing, but she pressed on and set a date for this morning. How could I refuse? She brought her 17-year-old daughter along who also wanted a cut. I was happy to oblige but concluded that straight hair poses a far greater challenge. While cutting the mom's hair she asked if I used to cut hair in the UK. "No and no", I said, "We don't come from the UK and I've never cut anyone's hair outside the family except Maddy's." "Oh," she said. Then after a pause she added, "So who actually is Maddison?"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wedding photographers (that's us)

Nick and I are now a wedding photography team (she said, tongue in cheek). We've only done one wedding... but hopefully this is the start of great things to come! The day was stressful, exhausting, pressurised and chaotic...but enjoyable and an excellent experience. We went our separate ways at 2 pm to join up with the bride and groom in their different locations to photograph the 'before' stuff. The bridal party ran late so there wasn't time to get some relaxed poses beforehand of Claris on her own which was unfortunate. The ceremony ran smoothly; afterwards the family gathered at Longwood Gardens for the group shots - again, much chaos as we sorted through the various family groupings and crowds. After all the groups, the couple was all set to get to the reception - we had to remind them that we wanted some snaps of just the two of them! Then onto the reception where there were approximately 400 people attending the two receptions (the early reception was for the close family; the second one was the extended family/friend/dance reception which ended at 1 am). Nick and I left around 9 pm having photographed all the main events with tired feet and nearly one and a half thousand photos! It was a great wedding and I do believe that Paul and Claris enjoyed it immensely.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My 15 minutes of fame

It doesn't really take much to get into the newspapers here, but it's still fun when you do! I wrote a follow-up article about the photowalk which was given a full page of text and two of my photos...the group photo made the front page and was repeated on the inside (I guess they were looking for fillers). We had our slide-show in the evening, and although only five of the original ten walkers contributed photos it was still great to get a feel for what people did. Our next photographic expedition will be to a night!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Back to the chapel for more photo practice, following Wednesday night's rehearsal. This week has not been very interesting as far as other news goes - pretty much just focusing on Saturday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Part one of the wedding shoot…the rehearsal. We left the boys reading in bed with instructions to turn off their lights when the buzzer went; Nick dropped me off at the chapel and then proceeded to bible study. The rehearsal was great – as the photographer I got to contribute ideas and arrange people. I have complete liberty to move around and boss people about on Saturday – it’s going to be great!! (And when I got home at 8.30 both boys were sound asleep with their books neatly closed and stowed.)

And...still more Ascension photos (there are lots to come still). Nick started one of his walks at the golf course where he parked the car, headed for a swimming beach called Comfortless Cove. I can confidently say that St Helena has a more appealing golf course (the greens are actually green).

On the way he visited some 'rubbish or ruins' - depending on one's opinion of these World War II fuel storage tanks. Some people feel they should be removed and discarded while others see them as historical artifacts.

The area is bristling with communications devices and equipment - radio transmitters and wires and cables are rampant.

Barren but beautiful - this is a side view of the slope of one of the Three Sisters.

At last, the long walk was reward with a swim in Comfortless Cove. The rope prevents swimmers from being swept out to sea - there are strong undercurrents.

Behind the cove is a small graveyard, where the victims of a yellowfever outbreak were quarantined and subsequently buried.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unnewsworthy day

Had another beautiful day; in the afternoon I took the camera and tripod to the golf course intending to take a photo for a scrapbook magazine – I was unsuccessful but Nick came to help later ), but I came across the loveliest little donkey on the golf course and photographed him – he was tethered and eating the grass, so I could stroke his nose and scratch his forehead which he (or she) liked. Guess he would make a lovely pet because every time I moved away he followed me and would just stand next to me, waiting for love. So cute! Bible study in the evening was poorly attended – disappointingly so – we thought that since Nick is back and preaching, that many people would come! Nick’s message on the unforgivable sin was good – a slightly controversial topic but well received.
More from Ascension: these photos were taken on a 'holiday' day for Nick - first is the government building, then Nick met up with Mike and Karen from Faith, and took them to English Bay where they spent time on the beach; lunch was a picnic at Green Mountain followed by a swim at the pool in town. Nick went home for dinner which was cooking away in the pot, and then back to the beach where they helped some turtles find the sea before the frigates found them.