Saturday, October 31, 2009

Parade, party and pizza

The Anglican church is still celebrating their 150 years on the island and had yet another parade to mark the occasion, this time re-enacting the arrival of the first Anglican Bishop all those years ago. The plan was for the current Bishop, accompanied by the Cubs, to come around from Ruperts to Jamestown by boat. The sea was uncooperative though with an incredibly rough and high tide, so the boat ride plan got canned and the parade simply started at the landing steps and headed up lower Jamestown to the roundabout, then back down to the Grand Parade area where it was concluded with a short service, which the boys were required to attend. Nick, Pam and I left the boys there and went to Pam’s place for lunch. Geoff had taken Maddy around to Ruperts for a Guide’s swimming thing, so he was home alone when we arrived. At 1.30 Nick went to fetch the boys; they had their lunch, I took them to the manse to get dressed in swimming costumes and regular clothes, then drove them back down to the swimming pool where Hannah was having her 8th birthday party. Cindy had produced a beautiful cake with marzipan-sculpted mermaids and other sea creatures which took many days of hard work. Pam and I experimented with some black and white photography in town and then walked back down to the pool a little later to fetch the boys (Nick had left during the afternoon to do music with Tammy as usual). Pam and Geoff treated us to pizza again for supper – we were happy to not be at home in the early evening so as to avoid the trick-or-treaters!

Friday, October 30, 2009

33 today

Happy birthday dear Nick…was his wake-up call this morning...Then onto an early school day for the boys so that Nick didn’t get saddled with too much schoolwork on his birthday, as I was off selling jewellery. I had a dismal morning of sales so at 11.30 I packed it up and came home – also preferring to spend as much of the day as possible with Nick! We had hamburgers for lunch, and at the same time started watching a DVD I had hired which was suitable for family viewing. That was finished mid-afternoon, and we went back to town together. We left the boys swimming while we did a bit of window shopping, and then at 4.30 there was the official opening of a photographic exhibit at the museum. There had been an island-wide call for photographs depicting ‘people, place and politics’, and a number of photographers had submitted work. It was so exciting to see our photos printed on A4, mounted, and displayed! The actual opening was attended by invited guests including the photographers and the National Heritage Society etc. Nick chatted briefly with the Bishop (above) who was also celebrating his birthday. To end off the day (and also because it was too late to go home and cook), we had toasted sandwiches at the Consulate.

Free verse and beads

The boys were required to write a free-form poem this morning. We clearly are not up to Ema W's standard, but I thought the boys did a good job. I scribbled off my own while they were busy.

Soldier by Caleb
There he stands holding his shiny sword
Not a sound he makes when wounded,
not a sound he makes.
He shows but a brave face
at battle
My brave little soldier
is brave.

An apple by Aaron
It is nice and red and green
Like a hummingbird.
But when you bite it you reveal
something completely different.
An apple.

Home by me
Toys about
Specks appear
on the carpet, once so clean
I struggle on.
The washing machine has lost its hum
And so another plan must come.
Cups on table,
Coffee stains
Always something left undone.
This is home, my resting place
A place of life and days of grace
Though not immaculate
Its space is bright
Filled with love and family light.

And yes, we are still without a washing machine while the one belonging to our unit is being repaired. Fortunately we have access to the our old one at the manse, but it’s not extremely convenient!

I’ve been commissioned to make a beaded window hanging, sort of a faux-curtain. I’m sure there’s a proper name for it. I love seeing the beads like this: mixed, colourful and shiny...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

8 weeks left

Caught up on a bunch of stuff today – fixed a toy, finished August and September’s PotD pages, made digital calendars for November, typed an e-mail or two, tidied up a few things (and had school of course), and made supper of chicken stir-fry with fresh carrots, broccoli, spring onions, a small section of a HUGE courgette (all local), and frozen corn. What a blessing to have so many fresh vegetables. The boys were not allowed outside today as the grass was sprayed with poison to kill the weeds – it was agony for them but they managed to fill the time by watching an episode of Thunderbirds, playing music with Nick in his office (quite a privilege), drawing and making paper puppets on kebab sticks, and reading. They will be heading for the door at the first opportunity tomorrow though to have a bounce on the trampoline! Nick had his regular guitar lesson in the afternoon – this is Sophie who obligingly sat for a photo before playing riffs and chords. Most Saints have dark brown eyes – hers are a real treat! (The boys acted as my photographic assistants to hold a silver reflector in the right place).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

They put a spring in my step

There is a national onion shortage again…it’s to be expected, really, since the RMS has just recently completed her bi-annual UK voyage leaving the island with a long gap between Cape imports of fresh produce. It’s been weeks since we’ve had apples or other fruit, apart from local bananas. There are the occasional local onions but lately, none. However, I came by these spring onions in a most unusual way – an act of typical Saint kindness, really. I can’t reveal my source as they might otherwise be inundated with other hopeful blog-reading onion-seekers, when they only had two bunches. I am counting my blessings. Other than that, the day was uneventful. Both boys came with me to town for Part II of the grocery shopping, mostly because they wanted to spend some money. Aaron bought a torch and Caleb a radio. School this morning was full of its usual ups and downs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School, shopping and socializing

We were back at school this morning; the first day of our last term. The boys were not secretive about not wanting to start school again but I didn’t anticipate anything different. All went well. We started a new book called “The Little Riders”, and we also started reading about Marie Curie’s search for radium; we learned that radioactive elements generate electricity and Radium glows blue. Aaron and I went grocery shopping, though first had to pay bills at the bank and I paid ₤25 for the next six months of my work permit. Unfortunately they couldn’t slim it down to a two-month payment. We got a good amount of shopping done but couldn’t finish as I had to be home to make an early supper so Nick could leave early for a deacons’ meeting. Aaron was a great help with the shopping. I found a parking right outside Thorpes, so as quickly as I was packing groceries into bags, Aaron was taking them to the car. It really made the process a lot easier. I’m looking forward to one day using a trolley to take my bags to the car, and being able to get everything on my list!!
Since supper was so early the boys could still play outside afterwards. The trampoline remains the great social centre of Piccolo. I just loved Sappho’s sweater – what novel pockets!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Our morning was spent in the usual way, and Nick managed to slip in these two photo shoots between services. Directly below is Edith Isaacs who is nearly 90, and faithfully gets a lift with Nick every week to services.In the afternoon we had our monthly visit to the CCC. The old folk really look forward to our visit and this is something practical we can do for them. On our way home from the CCC we saw that an ice-cream stand was operating at the Longwood Green, so we stopped off for ice-creams with flakes (not quite the variety that you might find at Bonkey’s!). Super yummy, but what a mess – even I couldn’t keep the melted bits from dripping onto the grass.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's party, without the party

What’s a work party? It’s a cleaning party without the party bit, as Pam told Maddison (who decided to go swimming instead, who can blame her). That left Pat, Prudy, Regan, Steve, Maureen, Teddy, Pam, Nick W, Nick and me in the manse and schoolroom to get a substantial amount of work done. Pat and Prudy tackled the upstairs windows by removing the sash windows for easy washing, Regan washed the downstairs windows; Pam and Nick W did the kitchen from top to toe; Steve and Maureen started assembling the kitchenette in the schoolroom, and Teddy and Nick shampooed carpets. I assigned myself the polishing of the wooden guest room floor and cleaning of that room. We also washed and ironed curtains and bedding and did other general cleaning. All in all, an excellent effort – thanks to all! Caleb and Aaron were present but there were not many smallish jobs that they could get stuck in to, so they wandered around or read books.
Nick was trying out some different colour feature on his camera last night, and I was the unfortunate model - so here is my brown hair for those of you who have asked!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jayden and a Tern at Sandy Bay

Nick had an afternoon visit planned at Sandy Bay but felt it would be better to do this one alone. It was a beautiful day in Piccolo so Nick suggested that the boys and I go to the Sandy Bay beach while he was visiting. The boys had been playing with Jayden most of the morning so we invited her along too – she had not been to Sandy Bay since she was a baby! The three of them had a blast in nature’s playground, and when Nick came back they were allowed to paddle in the waves as well. I wandered along the rocks a short way and came upon a tern, nestled on the rocks. It looked like a juvenile fairy tern but the red feet said otherwise – perhaps a sooty tern? It seemed to be fully grown but was very weak and could not balance or stand and we felt it best to leave it be rather than bringing it home and watching it die slowly. I felt sad but there was really very little we could do for it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coffee at the Consulate

As always on a Thursday during our school holidays, I joined up with Elza and Maureen for coffee (or, to be more correct, hot beverage). The Coffee Shop near the docks has been closed for a few months whilst the owners are off the island (although I believe they will be returning soon and reopening) so we met up at the Consulate which is a lovely venue with a scrumptious selection of cakes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A day for the beach

I was in the market selling jewellery today, unusual for a Wednesday which turned out to be a bit of a dead day. But, also unusually, the boys were with me – selling some toys, videos and puzzles! They had wanted to sell their own stuff, and today was the only table booking I could get this week. They made approximately ₤20 which is not bad. We packed up at twelve, then went to the manse quickly to gather in yesterday’s washing and hang up another load which had been going while we were in the market. Then it was home to Piccolo to fetch Nick who had been at home doing sermon prep, gather supplies, and head back to town, for lunch at Pam and Geoff. After lunch and coffee, and a quick look at Pam’s new lenses which she got this morning, we went to Ruperts’ together. Nick, Maddy and Geoff swam; the boys paddled in the water which has been made into more of a swimming beach by the removal of several large rocks, revealing more of the black sand and a safer swimming area; and Pam and I meandered with our cameras. Plenty of sunblock was applied and hats were the order of the day. Seems like Ruperts was the place to be today – the weather was great after days of grey skies, and the Queen Mary’s and Victoria’s stores were having a going-away party for a staff member so many of their staff and families were enjoying the beach.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The ridiculous become sublime

Laptop adapters, ink cartridges, capos…all seemingly unimportant items, but when they are not readily available in the shops one realizes just how important they are! We received our long-awaited order of these goodies today and I am so thankful for these small blessings.

We like the dentist

School holiday week begins…I milled about during the morning, repacking some of the boys’ toys and leaving a box of Lego out for them (what a mean mom I was to pack away all their toys already). This kept them occupied for most of the morning. Had to get to the post office before 12, then we spent the next 2½ hours killing time by going to the docks to look for a package (partially successfully) and doing more work at the manse. At 2.30 it was dentist time for me and the boys. Caleb and Aaron played ‘ching chong cha’ to see who would go first, and Aaron won. His teeth were fine and the dentist is happy. Caleb was next, and he has a small cavity in a back milk tooth, but since it’s on the verge of expulsion by the permanent tooth underneath it, the dentist left it alone. Then it was my turn and I’m pleased to say that all is well!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Calling Pastor Graeme

After a quiet morning at home (in which Nick helped me dye my hair brown [not the intended outcome]), and lunch of tuna steaks, chips and beans, we took the boys to Luca’s birthday party in town. The theme was pirates, but since we were heading directly off to church during the party we didn’t even think of dressing them up. There were spare hats and props though so the boys didn’t feel out of place as they participated in a treasure hunt, floated boats and eating. We left at 1.45 for church, leaving the party in full swing. The Sandy Bay chapel was nicely packed out in anticipation of the special meeting. Nick led the first part of the service, then we tuned our ears to the CD player as Graeme Beckett preached for us. After the service Steve conducted the official members’ meeting, giving a very nice biographical sketch of Graeme, with Maureen including a few details about his wife Hazel as well. The vote to call Graeme as the next pastor of the St Helena Baptist Church was conducted by show of hands, and it was unanimous (of course!). The show of hands in the photo is deceptive, as only members could vote. We are very excited about the upcoming events as we wait for Graeme and Hazel to arrive on 30 November. After church we called in at Steve and Maureen so we could be with them when they phoned G&H with the news. I couldn’t believe that they wanted us to have a cup of tea first!! Having just been through the process of waiting for the call I was imagining the new pastoral couple sitting by their phone, anxiously waiting to hear the news. By the time we phoned they were in their evening church service, so Steve left a message and then e-mailed them after we had left. Had a great visit with S&M though, good to catch up and chat. We will miss them – Maureen has been one of my ‘island moms’.