Monday, May 31, 2010

All this and a kitchen sink

Had a super-early start to the day this morning, or was that a late ending to yesterday...Nick and I stayed up until 3 am as sideline supporters for my brother who ran the Comrades Marathon, one of the longest marathons in the world with an 89 km route in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Well done Al on placing 9,556th out of 20,000 entrants. He missed a bronze medal by 3 minutes and 42 seconds but we are all still terribly proud of him for his 11-hour endurance run. After a quick 4-hour sleep we were up again to be ready for the kitchen fitter who arrived promptly at 8. He spent the whole day here, visited by an electrician and a plumber. And it's in!! It looks really awesome although there is still much to be done (pantry doors to be painted, among other things). The electrician will return tomorrow to wire up the plug points, so it's not really usable at the moment although we have water. It was so exciting to watch it develop and progress after so many weeks of thinking about it, talking about it, visiting kitchen places and discussing colour options - to see it come together is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to populating the cupboards tomorrow. During the morning, being the occasion of the 36th anniversary of my birth, Nick and the boys took me shopping and then to lunch. I think it was Nick's sole mission today to make me happy, and he did everything possible to that end! I was very spoiled by my men who bought me chocolates, socks and thermal items, and by so many friends with e-mails, texts, Facebook wishes and telephone calls; gorgeous cupcakes from Joan, a cake and delicious bodywash from Bronwyn, and a doormat and Proper Kitchen Scissors from Rachel...and since family and friends are scattered across various timezones, I guess my birthday will still be going strong for several more hours! It's been a really special day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Still during (sigh)

Another really cold day today although we had a tiny bit of sun - just for long enough to remember that it's still shining above the clouds. Nick preached on Pentecost Today? and miracles. It was very good and informative. We spent the afternoon at home in the lounge where the fire was blazing. It was too cold to be anywhere else. The boys had fun with their typing tutor and Nick did prep. I read. Here's another kitchen photo from a different angle - I realize the front-on position might make it look not really that bad, but it is. There are units in there now waiting for proper placement, and we are using the laundry for washing dishes and microwaving food etc. All the inconvenience makes the finished product that much more appreciated! Nick presented a 'paper' on Sending and Supporting Homegrown Missionaries in the afternoon service, which he will be presenting at the FRBCNZ Fraternal in July to the Reformed Baptist Pastors to encourage partnership and development of missions amongst reformed Baptists in New Zealand.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


We are officially kitchenless. We have to use the laundry to make coffee, meals, wash dishes, prepare meals...fortunately it will be a short-lived inconvenience. The whole kitchen was stripped of units in about an hour by the men (Matt brought some friends from his church who seemed to know how to pull kitchens apart) and Rachel and I finished building the flat-pack units. We could start a business renovating houses and designing and building kitchens! It's been fun. Some of the units have been moved back into the kitchen in the meantime so the diningroom is still fairly usable. The afternoon was quiet and cold...since we were going out to tea we didn't get a fire going until we were desperate at about 3 pm, but by the time the lounge had started warming up we were about ready to go. We met a lovely family who live near the Camerons who were there for tea as well (our landlords must feel sorry for us after ripping out our kitchen as they fed us) - four girls in the family who are all homeschooled. They live on a farm and I got to display my ignorance in a huge way over the finer points of bales and cakes of hay and silage. At least I knew what hay was made of.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kitchen and Attic

I'm so excited about the pending kitchen and I'm sure you all are just dying to see the progress too, so I shall be kind and give you daily updates for a while. Today I had to pack up all the stuff from the cupboards but fortunately the pantry stays where and how it is. So, presenting...ta-da...the kitchen, "before". Had a busy day on the whole with school, Rene popping in for a visit, kitchen packing and more general organizing of the household, filling in a bit for Nick when he ran late on a guitar lesson, the Camerons coming to build more cupboards which I lent a hand with (like building Lego on a huge scale with power tools, yeah), and traditional Friday Night Pizza. The boys installed a typing tutor program on the laptop while I was busy with tea preparations and have enjoyed learning the first few keys. By the way, I can highly recommend the "Stories from Grandma's Attic" series for reading. We did the first one in school about two years ago, and although I wasn't sure whether the boys would really enjoy another, being written from a girl's perspective, I ordered the next one as a general reader for Caleb this year. He wasn't convinced that it was a boys' book and rather resisted the reading thereof, but in desperation he picked it up one day and practically devoured it. Now he voluntarily reads it to me for my listening pleasure. This from my boy who declares that he hates reading aloud.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting a feel for the weather

On Monday Rachel and I were back in the painting business - best to get it done while we're still motivated and keen. We did the main bedroom although the paint took ages to dry but we got the mandatory two coats on. Tuesday and Wednesday have somewhat blurred together in my mind...unpacking boxes, doing school, organizing cupboards, hanging pictures and RAIN!! There have been flood warnings all over NZ but so far I don't think it's been overly bad, although the farmers are struggling with the mud and animals and feeds. There was a bit of sunshine today at last which lifted spirits...didn't help with the cold though as it's been bitter today. I understand the expression "biting cold" much better now. The house stays warm enough if we keep a fire going so we're not suffering. I wasn't going to take myself outside for a shot of these mushrooms which have sprung up next to the puddles in the front lawn, so you'll have to be content with this view from the lounge window. I was at the Waimataitai School for my bible lesson bright and early and continue to present the gospel through the Old Testament stories as and when I can. This afternoon I did the fortnightly grocery shopping which I always enjoy particularly when there are 'one day only' specials on meat and poultry such as today. (And how about this: this time last year I also went grocery shopping at the Longwood Store where I almost got everything on my list.) Made a huge mince dish for tea as the Camerons came around for cupboard building. They've bought kit sets from the hardware store so most of it can be assembled in advance before the kitchen section of the hardware place comes on Monday to properly fit it and join it all together. It's enormously exciting to see it coming together! Nick finished scraping the kitchen floor this evening; next step is to sand and then varnish.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Today we luncheoned at Rene and Bronwyn's place. Hannah was doing the 40-hour famine and not only was she not eating (only barley sugar sweets, chewing gum and juice permitted), but also undertook a fast from talking. While the rest of us ate a yummy lunch of corned beef, roast veggies and mustard sauce, followed by rice pudding, plums and ice-cream and engaged in hilarious conversation, Hannah excused herself as it was too painful to watch. After lunch we were initiated into the game of Dutch Blitz...a fast free-for-all sort of game which gets the blood pumping and the competitive-minded among us super hyped. Had to concede that SaN (Sam and Nick) was the best team while Bron and I (Lynwyn?) certainly outdid ReJ. Spent the rest of the afternoon with them enjoying and playing music until it was time for church. Thanks again for a lovely time, chaps! The Camerons called in after church for grilled sandwiches and for Matt to see the progress on the house. After tea, Matt made scones and Rachel folded my washing. No really, our house IS your house, guys.Did I mention previously that during a break in painting last week Rachel and I decided to rip up the lino in the kitchen to see what lay underneath? So this is the result - a beautiful floor somewhat marred by the swirls of old glue. Nick has undertaken the huge job of scraping and sanding the wood, which will later get varnished. The kitchen has a week left of its life before the new one goes in on the 31st.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sun day

Finished with the lounge this morning - just one more coat of paint needed, which didn't take long. Was glad to get out of my painting clothes and into decent stuff; went to the Warehouse with Aaron after lunch to exchange some faulty stuff and respend the money in the shop on net curtains, plugs and cubby holes. The house is gradually coming together. We had a brief spell of sunshine in the afternoon, so after Nick had helped with some of the TCS move to their new school, we went to Caroline Bay - just to get out the house and do something. It was chilly but the late afternoon sun was beautiful. We took a walk around the yacht club area.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How about that

More painting today. We were busy with the lounge today, getting on the undercoat and the first coat of "Soul" - a light coffee colour, much easier on the eyes. Although I would not have purposely planned to host dinner guests after a day of labour and to a house under construction, it came about in a sort of muddly way that we had Simon and Deborah Bruce and their brood around to tea. I was so glad that we went ahead and confirmed the tentative arrangement instead of putting it off again as we had an excellent evening. While the kids were watching a DVD on the Mac, Simon shared an incredible story with us which I simply have to tell about - he told it in church, apparently. It happened thus: One day he was in the supermarket with his youngest son, Daniel. As he entered one aisle, he walked past a woman who looked vaguely familiar, who thought similarly about him as they made eye contact but then passed each other by. On the second passing in the next aisle they stared hard at one another, and by the third aisle Simon spoke up, asking if he knew her. She said no, but she had lost a son in the war who looked very much like him, who had also had a young son before he went off. Simon was much moved by her loss and offered his help in any way, as one does in these situations. They talked a short while longer and then parted. She went off to pay for her purchases; he was not long behind and ended up two behind her in the checkout queue. One final goodbye took her outside and him up to the cashier, who rang up his purchases and told him an amount which was much more than he was expecting to pay. Simon queried the figure; the cashier told him that his mother, the lady who had just been there, said to ring it up under his, Simon's, bill. How about that - one can't believe this would happen. Anyway, he could still see her out the window, so hurried to pay the full amount and then try catch up with her. She started rushing to her car, nervously looking over her shoulder; he ran faster; she got her shopping stowed in the boot and was just getting into the car when Simon reached her. She was just about to close the door when he managed to get his foot in the way, and then sort of grabbed her leg and gave it a pull..."much like I'm doing with you now," says he. The End.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rachel: rapid rollerer

Rachel and I have been hard at work the last two days with painting. We have now replaced the 'new carpet' smell with eau-de-paint. It's also not a bad smell but I preferred the rubbery cleanness of the carpet. We have whipped through parts of the house, going from start to finish in the guest room (my craft room), the main passageway, Nick's office and the minor hallway. Tomorrow we start the lounge, which will need an undercoat to hide the bright coral wallpaper. Caleb and Aaron have been enjoying this week of renovations at home as they get a bit sidelined. Still getting through sufficient schoolwork though, but they do have extra time for play. Josh was here yesterday doing his work in the lounge - what a merry homeschool co-op! This morning was my usual Bible-in-Schools morning, which I am doing every Thursday at the Waimataitai School. I am so enjoying the class, and more and more aware of just how much they need the exposure to the Word of God which is powerful and effective through the work of the Holy Spirit. This morning I took them through the Ten Commandments - we take for granted our working bible knowledge; these kids had never even heard OF this particular set of rules.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hearth and home

These last two days have been Super Great Fun, in that 'thisishardworkbutwithagreatoutcome' sort of way. Phase I of recarpeting the house was completed today, with a lot of preparation done yesterday and Sunday afternoon. From now on, if someone casually mentions that they are recarpeting, I will knowingly smile and nod and wonder if they, like me, are aware of the ramifications of that simple statement. It's essentially like moving house. We had to pack up and take out ALL the furniture in the three bedrooms, lounge and hallway, and this after just starting to unpack the boxes we so happily received last week. Not that we're grumbling in any way as we are absolutely thrilled with today's result. With the poor house in a shell-state last night we slept over at the Camerons, getting back here early this morning to let the Carpeter in. Also yesterday, as part of the renovations and falling in with the carpeting timing, was the replacement of the hearth. It was generally felt that the chipped slate tiles needed some sort of facelift. We had not anticipated such a radical change as the whole hearth was stripped away with no lack of billowing clouds of concrete dust, and replaced with a HUGE slab of bluestone. It looks very smart indeed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A glorious goodbye

Nick was asked, somewhat unexpectedly, to take a funeral today. He had not met the matriarch who has gone home to glory, but through her last pastor got to know her as a godly lady who loved the Lord and was of much use in His service. It was a very small gathering as she had not long been in Timaru where she stayed with her daughter and son-in-law, and Nick was under strict instructions to preach the gospel as "this is what Mum would have wanted". It was truly a lovely service. We were invited to join a few of the folk at the Shearer's Quarters for a light lunch afterwards which we gladly did.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Teatime with the Taylors

I make no apologies or excuses for the tardiness of this post, or its lack of's been an imaginably busy week with unpacking boxes and sorting things into their rightful places. I've had a super time rediscovering the joys of Tupperware and Being Organized, not to mention how wonderfully a tumble dryer works after days of inclement weather forced us to get that ducting sorted out. It did in 25 minutes what the clothes horse had not achieved in two days. Yippee! On Wednesday afternoon we had a delightful visit with Gilbert and Ailsa who attend our services. Ailsa had set up a scavenger hunt for the boys which was just the loveliest forethoughtful idea, and had also rummaged through cupboards to find an assortment of games. AND she had baked - and boy, can she bake!

Monday, May 10, 2010

They're here, they're here!

It's just stuff, really...but it's our stuff and has memory-labels stuck all over it. Yesterday our three worlds finally came together as our goods from South Africa (in storage for four years) and St Helena (in transit for four months) joined with the household stuff we have acquired so far in NZ. Now we are longer aliens using brand new or borrowed stuff, we can slip comfortably into our old shoes which have walked many a road with us. We are so very thankful to God who we know had a hand in the safe shipping and arrival of our 68 boxes. I found myself shedding silly tears over a two-year-old mug! The boys were just as excited, exclaiming over their toys, and "hey, remember this"-ing each other. It's hard work getting unpacked, like moving into a house for the first time, but oh such joyful labour.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother

Nick preached a superb message from Acts 1, bringing in a Mother's Day application regarding Mary praying with the disciples - this is the last mention of her, and it is significant that prayer was her final recorded activity! Nick and the boys sorted a picnic lunch for me at Centennial Park - we first went to PaknSave for supplies, and then enjoyed the sunshine at the park. Thanks boys! I'm sure they wouldn't mind my sharing their cards which made this mother's heart very happy. Rene shared his recent short-term missions trip to Ecuador experience in a slide presentation which was very interesting and certainly drew a crowd; the church pews were almost full!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

TCS preparing for move

We helped Grant this morning quickly with taking their brand new faulty washing machine back to Harvey Norman who exchanged it for a brand new working model. Getting the machine there and back was heaps of fun as Nick simply put it on the borrowed trailer with no strings attached except a short piece of cord which slackened during the drive. Grant was having palpitations which didn't help my nerves either so it was with great relief all around when the shrink-wrapped model was safely home.The Timaru Christian School has recently purchased the Watlington Intermediate School which has been vacant for some six preparation for their pending move they hosted a clean-up day and invited as many parties as were interested to trim hedges, dismantle classrooms, scrub toilets, wash windows and the like. I tucked into some nail removal from boards with Nick, working as a team for a while. When that job finished I was thrilled to take on the next designated task of photographing the event. It's no secret that I would rather have a camera around my neck than a toilet brush in my hands!Above: "THE MEN"...below - lunch break!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bikes, boxes-to-be and blooms

So, we find ourselves at the end of another school week. It's been a really quiet week with little happening that I would care to blog about - housework or just generally being at home. This afternoon when Nick suggested doing something we were all keen to get out, and a walk to Tweedy Park sounded good - it's just down the road, about 10 minutes away. The boys rode their bikes and Nick had a skateboard tucked under his arm. While the sun shone it was gloriously hot. Later on we had a phonecall from NZ Van Lines who are handling the relocation of our boxes, to say that they will be delivered on Monday afternoon - we are super excited! Nick attended 'youth group' at the church in the evening. It happens once a month at our church although this is the first one of the year - I guess it has slid a bit. There were about 20 kids from various churches, he said. I stayed home with the boys as it's not for their age group.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


We did a brief study on Stonehenge in history this morning, and the curriculum suggested that we try to construct a perfect and large circle outdoors - I gave the boys a hint to do it with a long stick and leaves, but had to pretty much show them how to do it as I could see they were not going to stick around and figure it out. They put it all together very neatly and with much patience, and afterward Aaron coined the name "Leafhenge". The boys' new passports arrived by courier during the morning...I was impressed at the short turn-around time of just over two weeks since I posted the applications off. Good on you, Kiwi-land! I cut the boys' hair in the afternoon using scissors instead of shears for a change. I suspect you would still kindly suggest that they need a haircut, Mom! Tradition dictates that following a haircut there is a reward, so I took the boys to the $2 shop again, this time with permission to each choose an item. They bought dragons which broke during assembly. Tea, for a treat, was KFC which we had hoped to take away to some sunny spot, but it was too chilly to want to be outdoors.
Yesterday, Monday, was an athomeandcleaning sort of day, and on Sunday we had church lunch between services - a good opportunity for us all to mix and chat.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Soccer, boots

Attended Caleb Cameron's soccer game at the SBS Events Stadium this morning, which was a draw. Very Exciting watching them all run around after the ball. Sorry that I missed the netball that was going on at other bits of the stadium where some of 'our girls' were playing. Brought Caleb and Josh home with us, where the four boys with Nick's help made a skateboard/bicycle ramp and got VERY dirty - awesome fun for them though. We took them back to Matt and Rachel in the afternoon, and I dragged Rachel out with me as I needed a girlfriend to help with shoe shopping - bought some sturdy boots for winter. I don't do cold very well and we can see already, in autumn, that our St Helena sub-tropical wardrobe is simply not going to be sufficient! We have never lived in a country that gets truly cold winters, so have been purchasing clothing made from Merino (100% wool, an NZ speciality) and polypropylene thermals which are known to be heat-trapping and quick drying. Have also had to invest in a few coats and woollen socks. Quickly learning about all things warm!