Tuesday, February 28, 2006

First day of Holiday Bible Club

I am writing as a very tired person after a looong day! Praise the Lord, we had 39 kids at our first day of bible club today. We were encouraged by the numbers, and it seemed to all go off very well. A breakdown of the day:

Woke Nick up at 5.30 so he could have a short quiet time and be ready to leave home at 6.30 to fetch people at 7.00 am. This all successfully accomplished. The boys and I were ready for the day by the time he returned at 7.30. Then it was all the last minute setting up to do, which took us right up until 9 am, when it started. We kicked off with about 8 songs, then everyone split off to the various stations, according to their age groups. We found that the first session was too long and time hung a bit heavy – fortunately there is always colouring in as a backup for the craft, and Simon Says is a great activity! The snack time was also too long and everyone started getting a bit out of hand, from our perspective anyway, although perhaps the kids just enjoyed the freedom to run about and play with their friends. Then, off to the second and third stations, by which time we had readjusted the time slots and trimmed down the allocated time for those sessions, but they turned out to be too short. We closed with some more singing and a five-minute video on some farmyard plants and how they grow (provided with the SonHarvest material). The kids then left at 12. The leaders stayed behind for a quick feedback session, and all felt the times were a bit of a problem, but other than that they enjoyed it and felt it was a good start. Nick did very well as the co-ordinator, I can’t believe he doesn’t enjoy children’s ministries as he is quite funny and the kids respond so well to him. (He’s giving me that patronizing face with a fake smile while reading this…)

Then, Nick had to take some people home again, while I got some quick lunch together for the boys and myself, and then did a bit of cleaning up in the church and schoolroom, then I had to drive to the radio station to pick up a mic stand for the rest of the week, so Nick doesn’t have to strain his voice (it’s feeling quite sore after today’s shouting and very loud singing), popped in at the Half Tree Hollow Spar to do some grocery shopping (month end, but I only managed to get about 10 items from my list!), got home, did more cleaning up and preparation for tomorrow (set out all the craft goodies I need), then off to Thorpes to do the rest of my shopping, after first dropping Nick and the boys off at the swimming pool. Got a lot of shopping done (yippee, Jaffa Cakes were on the reduction shelf as they all expired earlier in the month – down from about £1.50 to 90p – bought two boxes of those!!). Then fetched the swimmers, came home and unpacked the groceries, then made supper which was bullseyes (groan) and chips. Not altogether bad, but I could have cooked them for longer, because I had to leave some flesh attached to the bone which wasn’t prepared to flake off nicely. The small boys thought it was fine as it was. The bigger one wasn’t too sure, he detected that there were some chewy bits and reminded me that he doesn’t like sushi. After supper, I had to wash up quickly because the 20-odd flies in the kitchen were about to carry the left-overs away, then I had to hang up a load of washing, put the boys to bed, and do a spot more cleaning up. So this is really the first time I am actually sitting down to relax all day. Tonight we are watching a DVD. Nick has to try squash in all his bible study and sermon prep in the afternoons which is quite hectic, but we are both so tired at the moment that there is no way he could have done anything constructive tonight.

Nick introduced the call of the Jahobadee da-de-da Minithnithne Bird today at the bible club. The call of this bird sounds surprisingly like half of a recorder blown into with much force, which produces a loud screechy noise which is effective in getting the attention of lively children. They laughed every time he said the name and they just couldn’t get it right. His activities were very funny, he did a lot of variations on the ones that the book suggested – like pulling pews around in the church to create a maze, which they had to navigate through tied together in pairs, with a balloon! The kids all seemed to enjoy the bible story time, and my craft, which was making cups with soil and seeds (hat hair ladies, which should have been grass hair men but for the lack of grass seeds in the shops in town) also went down well. Caleb and Aaron particularly are quite excited about it, and it was good to be able to show the kids the one I did last Monday which has just started sprouting little green shoots. One girl even got an earthworm in her cup, which provided a good biology lesson for them (hee hee, Lynn the Homeschooling Mother!).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Swimming progress

As you can guess, we have spent some time in the schoolroom over the weekend, doing some final touches. I covered over the two craft tables I will be using with white paper, so that it doesn’t matter if paint or wax crayon gets on the tables. Nick brought in our wheelbarrow, pitchfork, spade and some watering cans, so those are in front of the barn scene, which is the main assembly area. He also mowed the lawn and cleaned up the yard and swept, to make it nice for the activities. We had a bit of a music practice with Steve before Good News Club, but didn’t cover much ground. We are going to have to have daily practices (he is playing the violin, Nick is on banjo and I am the guitarist). The three instruments blend very well together, particularly for the country/farm feel we have going! It was so hot yesterday, and especially after being in the schoolroom, where the temperature must be at least 30 deg inside, so we went for a swim. We haven’t been swimming together since the boys were sick, so it was nice to be back in the pool.

Yesterday we took a drive to the radio station by St Paul’s to see if we could borrow a mic stand (very last minute), but there was only one person there and she was in the studio, so for tomorrow we will have to come up with a plan, and then see if we can borrow one for the rest of the week. It’s just that we’re teaching them some new songs, and it’s very difficult to sing loud enough for them to hear, above the instruments. If we can get Nick amplified, it will make things very much easier.

This morning we did a bit of Sunday School, then the boys played while I made a batch of crunchie-style biscuits with a Smartie on top of each one. They turned out very well, but already most of the batch has been eaten! After lunch, we all did our own thing while Aaron was supposed to be sleeping, and I did the songs for the HBC for the week, putting them onto overhead transparencies or typing out the chords etc. Those are now all organized.

We went swimming again today, and Caleb swam without his armbands for a little while, and didn’t do too badly. He wants us to teach him how to swim properly now, so despite begging us to put them back on (I’m not sure why we want him to swim without them at this point, but anyway), he will be begging us NOT to put them on in future. Aaron, not to be outdone, took one of his own armbands off and went down like a lead pipe. Fortunately Nick and I were both quite close, but I don’t think he’ll be doing that again too soon!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


The Barn

Mealie Patch

Aunty Dot's House

Bees live where??

These are the three big murals we have done for the holiday club. Unfortunately perspective is lost without one of us standing next to them, but the biggest one, the barn one, is about twice my height. Our quarter-page, colour ad went into the St Helena Herald today (on the very back cover), and a presenter of Radio St Helena came by the house this morning to interview Nick for a radio broadcast tonight, all about the holiday club. It’s had some good publicity! Please pray for us for next week, we are excited about it and trust the Lord for His work in the kids’ lives.

Today has been a good day, other than hot, despite a few showers of rain. The rain and clouds don’t seem to make any difference to the air temperature, although every once in a while there is a cool breeze. I vacuumed the house this morning quickly, and then did a science experiment with the boys (conduction this time). We did some puzzles and a bit of reading too. When doing the puzzles, Aaron was doing a little one of matching animals to their houses. Nick happened to be helping at the time, and he said to Aaron, “where do bees live?” Aaron’s limited experience with bees resulted in the answer: “In windows”. Ha ha ha. We saw more dead bees in the window at Spar after that, which made me think that Aaron’s onto something!

Some very exciting news – last night one of the older ladies in Nick’s Sandy Bay bible study professed faith in Jesus. She has been attending church for many years, and lately bible study, and over the last few weeks has been praying for conversion. Nick went to visit her on Wednesday, and she said then that she now believes she is saved. So at the bible study last night she made it public. Praise the Lord!!

Nick was given a huge tin (935g) of ground coffee, for the filter coffee machine. It’s quite a nice brand, and I suspect it’s going to last for a very long time! We pay over £3 for a little 100g packet of coffee, so this is quite a significant saving. I think it’s an American product.

We are now finally finished all the chocolate supplies we had in the house. Not one single piece of chocolate remains. This is the first time we have had no chocolate on hand since arriving!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Please can we get takeouts?

I made my first pompom last night, it was actually quite cute and I think I must make some more…you know, as more samples…different colours and sizes…but only because the kids should have lots to look at…you know. [Five months later Mrs Clevely was found dead under a pile of pompoms which had fallen out of a cupboard as she opened it, thus suffocating. Eye witnesses confirm that she had spent many days and nights pompomming, and that there were, in fact, several more cupboards filled with these woolly creations. It was a baa-d and unfortunate demise.]

After all the housework this morning, which started at 7.30 am, and a bit of painting with the boys (we made blobby paintings and then folded them in half to make symmetrically squishy blobby paintings), I took the boys to town, to finish off buying supplies for the crafts. I am now reasonably confident that other than things like soil, stones and twigs, I have everything I need.

I have really been battling to cook anything lately, simply because I have run out of ingredients, because there is not much of interest in the shops and it’s month end. Last night’s was packet macaroni cheese (you know, just add water and milk and boil it) with tinned viennas. Not very nice, mainly because the packet of macaroni cheese expired about a year ago, and the powder that had gotten inside the pasta had gone hard, and stayed that way during the cooking process, so the end result was crunchy macaroni with a crunchy filling. Nick didn’t really think I should try it again.

Aaron’s regular prayer has increased from his usual three phrases to about five or six now, something along the lines of “Djar Jesus, please give us more rain, and you must be good, and it’s nice to pray, and help us do good stuff and not be naughty and Amen.” He likes to point his little index finger at us and say “Jesus died on the cross for your sins.”

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hooray, the paintings are finished!

The ship is arriving next Wednesday and should be bringing spare parts for our golf, which is now just sitting waiting, so we have to continue using the Ford, sigh, what a bother. Also our new Defy 4-plate gas cooker should be coming. And maybe even fresh fruit!! Yippee, such a lot of lovely things to look forward to. And who knows, maybe even white enamel paint so I can finish off the skirting job I started about two months ago.

I spent about three hours today finishing off the outlining in the schoolroom. Nick and I are both happy to say that all the paintings are now FINISHED!! Phew! I was awake for ages last night thinking about the HBC and all the supplies I still have to buy, which actually aren’t that many, but wondering how I was going to buy the right amount of packets of seeds for the grass hair men (which will actually be flower hat ladies because there are no grass seeds available), and if I would be able to return any surplus, and what about the catering, and those thoughts just went round and round in my head. Nick solved the seed problem for me this morning in about 2 seconds – he said if I buy too many seeds, we’ll just plant them in our garden!


Right, I’m going to make myself a cup of tea, have a stale rusk, and make a pompom. I have to make samples of all the crafts this week so I have a finished product to show the kids next week at the bible club.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Nursing, anyone?

I finished off the painting today, but the schoolroom was so hot that it nearly did me in. Even with both doors open and some through breeze going, it was like an oven. Actually there was no through breeze. I’m sure today was the hottest day we’ve had. Anyway, all that needs to be done on the pictures now is to go over the black lines with a marker again to make the outlines nice and bold. We made a poster with the dates and times of the holiday club, and stuck that on the door. We really picked our time though – 4 pm on Market Street would be the equivalent of 5 pm on the N1! We are fairly certain that at least half of the island’s population saw us or the notice as they drove home (or caught the bus home) from work. Brilliant way of advertising! Kind of like hanging a banner over a bridge on the N1…

Today and tomorrow there is a careers fair on the go here. The Consulate Hotel is full of government departments and other enterprises and industries with stands, advertising what they do and why prospective school leavers should join. Nick and I took the boys (I couldn’t have handled this on my own). We saw Guy at his nursing stand, trying to recruit people to study nursing. I had to decline. There was some interesting stuff for the boys to see, like a microscope with a blood sample, and a video recording of a dog being castrated. I think that’s what they were doing, I didn’t stay to watch the whole thing because I thought it might be inappropriate for the boys…at least, that was the excuse I gave myself! It was interesting to see the inside of the hotel though, certainly a lot bigger than it looks from the outside.

Going into Spar today for bread was such a pleasure…Nick had dropped the boys and me off at the entrance, as he had to find parking right down at the docks and walk up. The Spar is one of the few airconditioned places on the island, and I’m certain that some old ladies go and sit there all day to pass time in a cool place. Anyway, I had a bit of a wait to cut my bread, but this time didn’t mind…when Nick walked through the door his hot face lit up and he hovered there for a while, before we remembered that we had to go outside again.

I have to include this here - first, part of a letter from Caleb’s grandpa, my dad: “…you must tell Daddy to cut the bullseyes heads off so that we can't see the eyes, because I won't like the bullseye to look at me with its eyes while I am eating it.”

Caleb’s response: “Dear Grandpa, um, the bullseye can’t look at you while you eating because it’s dead. It can’t see anything and it can’t feel anything.”

Monday, February 20, 2006

Medical care

Caleb had three or four coughing spells during the night, but I think I was up twice during the night, and again at 6 am. Today he is happy enough, but still coughing a lot and sounding quite wheezy. His nose is not streaming like Aaron’s was, but we have to blow it quite regularly. Aaron slept well in the other room and thankfully kept the bed dry – there is no waterproof on that bed! There is no medical aid or national healthcare here, it’s all just free for British citizens (St Helenians being considered British) – so for Nick, Caleb and Aaron all their doctor’s visits and medications are free. I think I might have to pay about £7 for a doctor’s consultation, and £1 for medicines. An operation for me would be a problem, despite having medical insurance – as far as I can gather, the medical insurance only covers the cost of being airlifted to Cape Town in the event of specialized medical treatment being necessary, which of course is an impossibility anyway. I really should read through my insurance policy to see what it covers.



After the boys’ sleep today, we went out to town at about 3.30 pm, because I thought that the marine awareness week was ending today and that the tourist office would be open with all kinds of interesting displays, but actually it ended yesterday and it was all closed up. So we sat on a bench outside “The Canister” and looked down the main street for a while, then went home and I made pancakes for supper. Church was good, Nick is doing a series on John, and tonight’s was on the miracle of Jesus changing water into wine. Very good sermon, particularly on the issues of Christians and drinking. The boys were good so I could concentrate. I’m starting to enjoy our times together on a Sunday night in church, where the three of us are together for all that time.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dear, lousy, old tomato

Caleb is a lot worse than yesterday. Today he was wheezing, coughing a lot, runny nose, lethargic…but still wanted to his usual colouring in or dot-to-dot and other crayon activities. For the most part he has been cheerful, but now he is coughing again and it’s keeping him awake, and he’s very miserable. Nick has moved Aaron into my craft room for tonight, so he won’t be disturbed. Perhaps I’ll move Nick into the guest room so he can get a good night’s rest for tomorrow! Not really. Aaron awarded me a sticker earlier, which I’m wearing on my hand, for doing some good work – I coloured in a picture in his colouring book.

After good news club (thankfully not my turn to teach, so it was just playing guitar with Nick, but I had to leave at one point because Caleb was on the point of vomiting with his coughing) I made some toasted sandwiches, and we packed them up and took them to Rosemary Plain (Plain Raspberry according to Caleb, who couldn’t remember the name of it). We parked the car in the shade, and set the picnic blanket down on the grass, then sat watching cows in the next field while we ate. It was so much cooler in the country, I even managed a goosebump from the weather, and Aaron wanted to be wrapped up in the picnic blanket. We didn’t stay for very long, but it was nice to be out.

This afternoon we went to town to get some goodies, and among other things I bought a tomato, locally grown, and really sorry looking, and for that horrible bit of produce I paid 17p. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in SA you can get a whole bag of lovely big firm tomatoes for about R7 or R8? So one old tomato for about R1.90 is very expensive.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Talking Heads

What a HOT day it’s been. Spent most of the morning (in fact from about 9 am to 12.45) in the schoolroom, painting. It was fun today though, as Steve and Maureen came by the church for Steve to practice organ, and then Maureen entertained the boys for a while by chatting and telling stories, and eventually took them home and read library books to them. I was so pleased, because they have been a bit neglected of late! Nick also did some painting, and then when Steve had finished his practicing he donned paintbrush and paint too, so we got a lot done today. Almost finished the biggest one, and of the two smaller ones, one still needs a lot of work but the other is also nearing completion.

Nick sorted out the bullseyes, outside, with an axe! The boys thought it all very funny to see heads flying about and the eyes (the eyes are only firm on the first day, but after a day of refrigeration the jelly softens and they’re very wobbly), and the mouths which Nick benignly manipulated to make the fish heads look like they were talking. We had some words over who should clean out the insides, but then discovered that they had already been cleaned. Now they are in the freezer.

For lunch, we asked Steve and Maureen if they’d like to join us at Ardees, which they did, and we went dutch. But boy was it hot in the market. The restaurant is upstairs, with little apparent ventilation, so it was exhausting. After lunch Nick dropped the boys and me off at the hospital, because Caleb is really poorly today and Aaron was up in the night with earache (although otherwise is fine, and his foot has returned to normal). I didn’t have an appointment, but after waiting for about half an hour, Dr Topliss saw us. He looked in the boys’ ears with his light, and in Caleb’s mouth, and listened to Caleb’s chest, and has prescribed antibiotics for both (one for Miss Erin Clevely), and a cough linctus and pain killer as well. We have had to postpone Caleb’s surgery for about a month’s time, what with him being on antibiotics now. I don’t have a date yet, but the hospital will let me know when it is. We walked home. The boys normally run on the pavements where they can, but Caleb, after running a little way, had to sit down to rest. Shame man. Caleb wanted me to teach him some English, so we did some more dipthongs – ay, ar, er, ir, ur, and or, and then words with “all” – tall, ball, call etc. Then he drew pictures related to the words I had shown him. We had done some abstract words like ‘clever’, ‘bigger’, ‘hurt’ and he drew little scenarios. One word was ‘farm’ and he drew a block with some tiny sheep and a little man with a drooping head – “because he’s very tired, so he’s hanging his head”. He spelled out “market” – “m o c t”.

We are having a games evening tonight, and we’re just waiting for the people to arrive. I thought Nick had said 7 pm, but it’s now almost 7.30 and no one is here yet. Hopefully they haven’t forgotten! We are going to play Balderdash again.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Surely not still painting

My shoulders are feeling quite tired from all the painting I’ve done today, and typing isn’t going to be helping them! I painted most of the day, babysat Niamh from 1.30 to 3, fetched Bethany from school at 3, started making fishcakes, then Emma came for both girls around 3.45, and I continued making supper, then Nick left for bible studies at 5, and I went back into the schoolroom with the boys for another hour and a half of painting. I can’t believe it’s taking so long, but they really are very big pictures.

Aaron’s whole foot is swollen now from the bee sting, and he was crying during the night a bit, and cried when he tried to walk on it after his noon nap. Caleb is also getting sick now, with a runny nose, watery eyes and a cough. He’s quite upset about the fact of having a cough! Very unused to it.

I think we have sufficient volunteers for the holiday club, though not as many as we’d like. We basically have the very bare minimum to pull it off, but it does mean that Nick and I have quite a lot of responsibilities to shoulder. We’ve had some good rain again today, it’s actually been overcast most of the day, but we only had some rain in the morning. Lately it’s been raining every morning for a little while. Our grass is very green and very long. Still no lawnmower or golf!

And horrors….we received more bullseyes today. I think there are five in the packet, I really didn’t look too closely, this time with heads AND tails still on. The great big eyes were pressed up against the side of the plastic bag, so already I’m dreading doing something with them. I put them into the fridge and maybe if I’m very good, I can get Nick to take off the heads and tails. Or should we flip a coin for it – heads or tails???

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Still painting

Nick and I are both worn out from the day’s activities (I seem to say that we are worn out quite a lot of the time, but it’s nothing that a night’s sleep can’t fix). My day has been very full and busy. I did some puzzles with Aaron, dot-to-dot and numbers with Caleb. Then read some library books while we waited for Sharon to arrive. She came just after 11 with her two boys, and we couldn’t get the pram past the car in the driveway, so had to go all the way around to the schoolroom, through the church, down the stairs by the church, and down more stairs into the back door. We had a good morning together, and at 1.30 we went through to the toddler’s group. Zak had just fallen asleep in his pram, so we left him in the diningroom, with Nick upstairs. That helped Sharon a lot. I enjoyed toddler’s group today. The usual horrible children weren’t there, and we had a small group because of the rain. Also, with the carpet now in the schoolroom, some kids played quietly instead of making the usual noise (I must confess, ours are the ones usually making the most noise!) I went back to the schoolroom after settling the boys for a sleep, and painted until 5 pm, then went home to make supper, which was warmed up left-over pizza (left over from the bible study last night – three ladies brought home-made pizza, so we had two huge platefuls left). After 7 Nick and I both went to the schoolroom again to paint, which we did for about an hour. So far we have done most of the brown, green, red and black. It’s starting to look nice.

The Lord has really been blessing us with provisions for the holiday club. As you know, we didn’t know what we were going to do about paper to do these paintings on, and the Lord gave us two big rolls. The other problem was paint. No shops sell any sort of craft paint, either powdered or ready mixed, so we had two options – either use the paints that I brought over, which are fairly small quantities, or buy 1 liter tins of acrylic house paint in whatever colours the shops had available. Neither option was really a good one. Then, on Monday night, Nick happened to mention at the deacons’ meeting our need of paint, and Teddy remembered that he had some left over from some other event, so he dropped off red, yellow, green and black on Tuesday morning. Then, I had mentioned to Sharon last week that we were needing paints, and wondering if I could buy her acrylics off her since they are leaving in a few weeks, but today she said that her husband, who is the youth worker (resigned though due to government meddling), said we could use the paints from the youth centre. So he dropped them off when he picked up Sharon after toddler’s group. We now have every colour we need except orange which is easy to mix, and big quantities of all of them. So not only do we have the paints, but the church didn’t have to buy them! Also, we have received £30 in donations, so only need to spend about £20 of the church’s money to get the remainder of supplies.

Aaron got himself stung by a bee again this morning. He was walking around barefoot outside the back of the church, and stood on it, I think. It caught him on the second littlest toe on his left foot. He cried and cried, but I immediately gave him some of the medicine we got from the hospital last time, and applied the cream. It’s a little bit swollen, and he limped very dramatically whenever he remembered he had been stung, but otherwise no complications. His cold continues to get better. He seems to have gotten over the bad part very quickly, but now let’s see how long this phase will drag on.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Flied Lice!

We heard some excellent news on the radio this morning – Governor Clancy has overruled the emigration board’s decision not to grant work permits for Bill and Fe, so now the Oriental restaurant is going ahead. We are very pleased. Bill’s work permit has also been granted which means he can go ahead with his consultancy as he planned. The poor ladies who will run the restaurant now have to re-order all their stocks and supplies, as they had to cancel their order, so a lot of time has been wasted.

Our electricity and water bill arrived today. It is for the period 28/09/2005 to 15/12/2005, and it is £202. We are relieved as we thought it might run into the 400’s. The church pays £90 towards it, so it’s really manageable. Now we can finally work out some monthly budget, instead of merely saving as much as possible to cover the bills when they arrive.

Nick and I finished off the tracing of farm pictures onto paper this morning, and then started the paint work. I didn’t think we would start painting so soon, but I’m glad because it’s going to take a long time. Today we did most of the red and most of the green, and it’s already starting to look nice. You can imagine that we will be extremely proud of our artwork!! We would like it to stay up in the schoolroom for as long as possible, or until they start falling off the walls or looking horrible, or we do next year’s club.

We took ourselves off to Spar to buy something for lunch, because I had no bread, and bought a little pizza and some sausage rolls, then went to Castle Gardens to eat. We had to think hard to come up with a shady place in town to eat our wares, but completely forgot that Castle Gardens were so convenient. We sat on a bench near the fountain in the middle of the gardens, and Nick threw some crushed Pringles on the ground, and it wasn’t long before the pigeons, doves and mynas were having a junk food feast.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Getting set for HBC

In case this has been plaguing you, withdrawing money from the bank is as follows: Go to the bank. Complete a withdrawal slip. Sometimes wait in line, otherwise go directly to one of about three tellers. Hand the teller the slip through the bars (you have to actually give the slip to them in their hand, they can’t seem to pick it up off the counter). She presses a few keys on her computer, takes the money out of her drawer, and gives it to you. Then you say “thank you”, put the money safely away, and walk out of the bank. Depositing money is more complicated. Step one remains the same, but in step two you complete a “paying in” slip. Steps three and four are as above. Then the teller presses some keys, writes the entry into a receipt book, which you sign, the receipt is given to you, and then you leave the bank.

Our church has an office secretary, though not very efficient. She does the bulletins, but sometimes only gets to fold them on a Sunday morning! She also does a lot of other admin, like typing out the songs Nick needs for the Sunday worship, and typing the notes for Bible Study, and helping him with e-mails. She also cooks for Nick and looks after the boys (and has been known to take dictation sitting on his lap), so I guess she is very busy and can’t always find the time to be as efficient as she’d like!

Nick had me working today almost from the crack of dawn. He wanted to put an old carpet into the schoolroom, to start preparing it for the holiday bible club. That was the first thing. Then he sent me out to the shops to buy prestick (Blue Tack) and buff tape, to tape together big pieces of paper from the roll we were given, to get them ready to make the farmyard scenes. I finished off most of the supply shopping for the HBC, although as you can imagine it wasn’t as simple as going into one shop and getting everything I needed. I had to look long and hard for some of the items, in three different shops! We almost had to change one activity because most of the shops are out of stock of marshmallows, but Maureen managed to find some on Saturday at a little corner shop somewhere. Anyway, got home, then got straight to work in the schoolroom. We finished off the tracing of pictures onto two huge pieces of paper which we had stuck to the wall (projected the images with an overhead projector (which we have borrowed from the Salvation Army)), and now they are ready for painting, sometime next week, or even later this week if we have the time and enthusiasm. We still need to put up the third large sheet and trace “Aunty Dot’s House” onto it, which will be the backdrop for the refreshment table, manned by Dot. I thought it was a cute idea. Nick wasn’t so sure, but I think I have convinced him that it will work well. It will look like she is standing at a table just outside her paper house. Nick rearranged all the furniture in the schoolroom, with benches and pews in the right places, and two table tennis tables acting as room dividers. It looks good, though maybe a bit cluttered, but it will work well. We also stuck up some posters on the walls (all the pictures and posters are part of the HBC material which was bought and used by CPBC last year). We are also going to bring in our wheelbarrow, and garden fork and spade, and buckets, and whatever else we can find lying around that will look farmy.

Aaron is much, much better today. No more vomiting, and his runny nose is not as runny. He likes to pretend he is a fairy tern, and points out which part of his body is blood, and which is skin. Caleb drew a very interesting picture today of four robots, spread across three pieces of computer paper. One robot had three eyes, complete with eyebrows, and another had two heads, one on top of the other. He got hold of my German exercise books again, and is getting thoroughly confused between German and English, and is copying down German words and wanting to know what they say. I tell him that I am not going to teach him any German until he can write in English, but then he gets upset because he thinks the German is English, and the language we speak is called “Language”. How do you explain it to a four-year-old?

I bought the St Helena Herald today, and it’s been revamped to a 28-page, semi-colour newspaper, and the price is now 40p (about which people are complaining). I’ve just come across a little notice that will be of interest to my parents, who are visiting us in May: “On St Helena’s Day 21st May 2006, the CPTA will be organizing a fun afternoon at Francis Plain in aid of the CPTA. There will be lots to entertain you and your family, such as a sponsored walk, stalls, side shows and various sports. Many excellent prizes to be won. Reserve this day to come and join in the excitement to make it a success. Watch this space for further details.” What luck! I didn’t know there was a St Helena’s day, much less that my parents would be here for it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Some comments on the weather

Ours has been a good Sunday, certainly not the usual boring Sundays which I dislike! We left home just before 9 am, with some mild concerns that we might not have enough petrol to get us all the way to the Head o’Wain chapel, but we made there just fine. This was the first time the boys and I had been inside the chapel. It’s very small on the inside, and by the time we arrived it was already about ¾ full. I had to sit in the second row from the front. More people arrived, until the chapel was completely full, with about 40 people. Not a very good attendance for a combined service, but just as well because there would only have been standing room! A good service, followed by communion.

After church we drove to Longwood, because the only petrol pump and shop open on a Sunday is there, opposite the playground. We got £10 worth of petrol, and some supplies from the shop. Got home shortly before 12, and then I had to start lunch. I had taken out one of the tuna fillets earlier to defrost. I noticed that it was lighter in colour than tuna normally is, and when I fried it up it behaved a little differently to tuna…I eventually concluded that it was in fact, not tuna. We don’t know what kind of fish it was, but it was good.

Arrived at White Gate at 15h00 to meet Emma and Guy who arrived shortly thereafter, but we ended up only going to Rosemary Plain instead of the walk at Bluehill, because they were also low on petrol. Had a great time at the Plain though. We walked to Farm Lodge, the same hotel that Emma and I had been to previously for a look around. The owner, Steve, obliged us a look at the farmyard, and had to feed the ducks and sheep while we were there. The ducks were particularly cute the way they ran after him when he walked into their enclosure with the bucket of corn. There were about 7 sheep, and we stood right next to them, no fences or anything, while they crunched their corn. (I didn’t know sheep eat corn, but they sure do have strong teeth). They were terribly nervous, so we couldn’t touch one. There was a lamb and its mother, and although the lamb was only about 6 months old, it was already bigger than its mother. We chatted a bit to Steve, and then walked back up the road to the picnic area, had juice, biscuits, chips, plums, chocolates, and then played a bit of cricket. It was very windy, and we had a bit of light drizzle although the sky was clear overhead. It’s been a funny day for weather. I know I comment a lot about the weather, but it’s just so strange on the island – completely unpredictable, and different in Jamestown to how it was at Rosemary Plain, to how it was at Bluehill. Arriving at church this morning, after leaving a hot and dry Jamestown, we had some light drizzle and it was completely overcast and windy and a little chilly, but looking down into the valley we could see the sun shining. We saw a faint rainbow this morning.

Aaron was at his worst today, health-wise. His nose has been running since Thursday morning, but today he was coughing quite a lot and his nose streamed all day. He’s still had a bit of a temperature, and he vomited at Rosemary Plain, possibly from all the running around, or maybe he choked on some apple, or maybe he was just sick. Then he vomited again at supper time (toast and soup), bringing everything up. Poor thing. He was very neat about it though, none of Caleb’s projectile nonsense! Today I told him I love him, and he said, “You’re very special to me, mom.” (He did get this from me originally, but it was so funny to hear it repeated).

Caleb was doing a puzzle today, the 100-piece of a Bambi scene, and thought he needed some help. I told him I couldn’t, because I was making lunch, and Nick was reading or relaxing after his morning duties. Aaron told him, therefore, that he must just help himself. Caleb’s response: “Aaron, can you pick yourself up?” Aaron: “No”. Caleb: “Well, I can’t help myself either.”

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pizza imPerfect

I gave both boys a haircut yesterday. Not shaved all over as usual, but just around the back and sides, leaving the tops long. Looks neat again, not a bad job. We then went to the library to get the next batch of 11 books, and I read a story to them while we were there – quite a strange one by Oscar Wilde about a selfish giant and some children, and one child who represented Jesus, and the garden of paradise…certainly an ending I wasn’t expecting. Nick and I made pizza for supper. I had recently bought a pizza pan, and I bought a mix-with-water pizza base from Thorpes. The dough mixed up really nicely, it was easy to handle. It didn’t stick to the base one little bit – slid off perfectly when the time was right. Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking too well and instead of mixing up the tomato paste with water and sugar and oreganum, I just spread it straight onto the base, so it was quite bitter and strong. The boys didn’t enjoy it all that much, and it wasn’t enough for Nick and me! We agreed that one of the first things we will do when next we are in SA, is go out for a proper pizza!!!

This morning was the Good News Club. I was scheduled to do the second half of the Jonah story, but I only did my lesson prep this morning. I felt heartily unprepared, and forgot to pray about it and for it beforehand, so I really didn’t think it went well. Despite my dramatic gestures and voices, some of the kids were more interested in their underwear or bible covers. After the GNC Nick went to visit an old couple who are members in the church, but haven’t attended since our arrival because they are both old and sick and can’t get to church, and live quite far away from anyone else. Nick said they were both deaf, so he shouted a few questions at them, shouted a few more things, and then prayed, and left. In the afternoon we went out to a fĂȘte at St Paul’s Middle School, but apart from having a hamburger with real onions for lunch, it was a bit of a waste of time. There was a marquee set up with tables and tables of emptiness, and a few plants, and some old fluffy toys, and other bits and pieces. The highlight was that the boys each got to have a donkey ride. Caleb loved it and sat up straight and relaxed, but Aaron didn’t really enjoy it much at all. Also, it was drizzling quite heavily, and not very nice to be outside on the very muddy and sodden field. We didn’t stay for very long!

It’s been raining off and on today. This sort of weather in SA would last for days – completely grey skies, drizzle, rain – but here, the sun could easily be shining again and the sky bright blue in the next ten minutes! Glad to hear about all the rain in South Africa, but it seems that it’s causing many problems…it never rains but it pours. Ha ha ha. Aaron’s sniffly nose is still sniffly, and he feels a bit hot. But otherwise he’s fine.

Friday, February 10, 2006

From an empty freezer to politics

We had an interesting day today. I quickly went out to the shops at 9.15 to get bread and draw money to pay the telephone bill (£27.48 – too much internet again!) and buy baking cups and a sieve. The bread hadn’t arrived at Spar yet, so instead I bought a ridiculously overpriced garlic baguette for 57p. Also needed mince from Spar, but they didn’t have any. The freezer is looking quite empty and it’s only the 9th – all I have is three big tuna fillets, some bacon, mixed diced frozen peppers, golden smacaroos, mini pizzas and four beef burgers. I didn’t buy mince at the time of my monthly shop, probably because either they didn’t have, or because I didn’t feel like adding more stuff to the packets I had to carry across the road to the car. Anyway. Picked the boys up from the house, and left for Knollcombes to visit Sharon. Found the farm no problems – her entrance is right next to the Boer Cemetery official entrance. Had to stop the car, unchain the gate, drive in, close and chain the gate again, then drive along the long driveway past the cows to the house.

I did some German recording on the laptop while Aaron slept, and Caleb asked lots of questions about letters and what does “c h” say in German and in English, and then he wanted to record stuff as well. Caleb is really gathering momentum with the reading and writing and drawing. He is constantly drawing or writing, and there are pictures all over the house of birds, skeletons, cows, houses, people and robots. He wrote “mirror” today – he asked me how to write it, but I suggested he spell it out for himself by sounding it out. I wanted to see what he would come up with – it’s not that I didn’t want to help him. He wrote “m r y”. If you sound out the letters (mmmrrr juh) it is quite close. I thought it was an excellent attempt, and showed him afterwards how it’s actually spelt. We started on the “magic e” today – I showed him how mad becomes made, and rid becomes ride and so on. He understands it. Oh, yesterday I was beading, and he came in and said I am playing with my beads. I said I’m not playing with them, I’m working with them. He said I’m playing because I’m God’s child, and children play.

Aaron has had a sniffly nose today. He managed to flip his plate of supper up in the air and land it all over the floor and chair. He must have leaned on the rim of the plate as he was climbing on to his chair, and just caught it at the wrong place. Unfortunately, being Pizza Pasta Mince Mate, it really made a mess. I had to take the chair outside and hose it off and wash the fabric. Caleb said, “God already knew from when we were borned that Aaron was going to do that.”

The lawnmower is still away for repairs, and the car is also still out. It was wonderful driving the Ford all the way to Knollcombes today, it’s so smooth and the hooter even works. We haven’t heard anything about the golf, but you can understand that we are not anxiously phoning every day to enquire after it. The lawnmower, however, is something we’d really really like to have back. We don’t fancy cutting the grass again with the shears! The milk situation actually isn’t too bad. There is powdered milk in the shops, and there is also out of date 500ml full cream on sale in Thorpes. People seem to be finding hidden stocks, so it’s not a complete crisis. We are still doing well with our supply but will be very happy when the skim milk is finished and there is full cream in the shops again.

Political wrangling goes on in our little country too. The government newspaper is the St Helena Herald, but there is another newspaper on the island, the St Helena Independent, which is not government controlled, and is highly critical of the government. It’s interesting reading, although somewhat gossipy and nit-picking, but does give a different slant on what’s really going on here. I suppose that all countries have these political hoohas, and the newspapers serve the government’s agenda or they are just neutral, or they are openly slanderous, but here, in such a small country, you really notice what’s going on more acutely. There is a lot of speculation as to whether the airport is really going to go ahead, and what will happen, and if it really is feasible. For example, do we have enough water to support a 5-star hotel with a swimming pool and how ever many baths and showers and toilets, not to mention adequate water supplies for the construction and the construction workers, for the airport and the hotel to be built, when there are already water shortages? One gets the feeling that St Helena is really a crumbling society, because people want to hold on to the old ways, and the pillars of society are leaving for greener pastures. A recent restaurant issue, where a couple were denied the necessary permits to start an Oriental establishment, is another thing that had people up in arms. The one thing that tourists always complain about is that there are not enough eating places. Yesterday, when the cruise ship was in and there were so many extra people about, the few restaurants that were open (remember, it was Wednesday yesterday) ran out of food before long. So why does the government want to squash an enterprise that is necessary and would be well patronized? Many people here say that it would be so nice to be able to pop out for a meal in the evening, and it would be especially nice to have something Chinese since there is nothing like that. Ah well.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Longwood House

We visited Longwood House today (Napoleon’s residence). Today was a good day to go, because a cruise ship came into harbour today, so Longwood House was open all day, which meant we could drop in without having to prebook. One doesn’t pay to get in or anything, but you just have to phone ahead the day before normally to make a reservation. It was fairly interesting, though we did have a very quick look around. We couldn’t really dawdle or read all the manuscripts and his journals and things because the boys were too touchy-feely and there were signs all over saying “Don’t Touch”. Apparently they had had about 200 tourists through the house today. We saw many buses and taxis full of tourists. It was strange from our perspective to see so many people videoing and photographing the scenery and places of interest – this is our home country now, and we felt a bit invaded!

Other than that, a very quiet day. I finally got around to mopping the floors this evening, which I haven’t done in at least 6 weeks because I really hate the mop, so rather avoid it

Colin came by this morning at 02h41, ringing very politely but persistently on the doorbell. He needed Nick to give him a lift to a place where he’s staying, up Ladder Hill. Quite a strenuous walk, but a quick drive. Nick obliged.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

RMS schedule creates problems

I was supposed to go visit a friend this morning at Knollcombes, but I had to reschedule for Thursday so Nick could take the car in for fixing. We now have a courtesy car, a Ford, I think. Quite a nice looking one, much smarter than the golf we’ve been rattling around in! I haven’t been for a drive in it yet, but I’m sure I will soon. I walked to town this morning with both boys, because I wanted to get some ingredients for some kiddie-baking – I bought sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, bran, oats and smarties (for choc-chip biscuits). We made sesame-snaps when we got home, but they seem to be sticking in the baking tray. I used syrup instead of honey and I think that has affected them. I’m sure the boys will like them though. I also bought two very nice baking trays, one a rectangle and the other a pizza tray with holes in the bottom to allow the base to crisp. Unfortunately the baking tray is too big for the oven.

We heard on the news yesterday that the RMS St Helena schedule for the year is creating difficulties for us islanders. The ship has just arrived at Tristan da Cunha, which was quite a long voyage, and gets back here on 1 March, after six weeks away, bringing with it much needed supplies (milk, onions, you know…) Then it goes up to the UK, and only arrives back from SA, our main supplier, on 2 May. That means that even when it comes on 1 March, it probably won’t bring enough supplies to last until 2 May, since it has to make up the gaps in the current shortages. It does get some stocks from the UK, but not the bulk of it. Whoever did the planning must have been having a bad day.

Nick’s just returned from a swim. Maybe I can persuade him to take us for a drive in the fancy car, before I have to get home and prepare supper (tuna again, yummy).

[Insert a few hours here – now it’s 17h47]

We couldn’t go for a drive together because it was getting a bit late, and if we had gone into the country it would have meant coming back down either via Side Path or Ladder Hill, both of which would have had the rush-hour traffic coming up (that means there would have been about 15 cars on the road at any given time instead of the usual 5, but slows things down terribly). Instead, I nipped out to Spar on my own to get an ingredient for supper, which was a delicious tuna salad. The car is a Ford Escort, probably 2000 or 2001 or so, has power steering, a seat that adjusts easily so I can reach the pedals, and a radio. Sheer luxury, I tell you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Car troubles

Today was uneventful, as most of our days are these days, other than the car not starting! I was all set to pop out to town to return the ill-fitting sheet and buy some bread and earbuds, and Aaron was sitting in the front with me while Caleb stayed home to do maths experimentation with raisins – putting raisins into groups and multiplying and adding and subtracting. They mostly got subtracted into his mouth. But I digress. The car just turned over and over (the ignition I mean, we weren’t actually rolling over in the car). Eventually I had to leave both boys at home and walk to town, which I didn’t mind doing. Unfortunately though Nick had to call off the deacon’s meeting for tonight, which was scheduled for 6 pm at our house, but he has to drive all the way to Sandy Bay to fetch people, bring them back here, then take them home again afterwards. Nick phoned the guy who looks after our car, but he couldn’t get around to us today.

I helped Nick prepare a list of books today to order from Augustine Bookshop, to start our own little bookshop on the island. There are no bookshops on the island, let alone Christian bookshops, so we really hope this will take off. It will be completely non-profit, the only markup will be to cover shipping and expenses.

Caleb poked Aaron in the eye with a crayon earlier, and the affected eye is still red (if I had merely said “it” was still red, you might have thought the crayon was red, which would be a strange thing to say, because why would the crayon “still” be red and why should I especially point it out? In any case, I think the crayon was yellow).

Have I mentioned that Nick has started guitar lessons at Prince Andrews High on Wednesday mornings?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Starry starry night

This afternoon I read and Nick rested while the boys played in their room, then we went to the pool at about 3.30. I just didn’t feel like swimming, despite the heat, so I took a book and the video camera. Got some lovely footage of Caleb flying through the air into the water, and also of Aaron performing similar feats. Came home, put supper together, cleaned up, got ready for church, went to church, then home and put the boys down. Caleb fell asleep in church. Aaron played with my fingers, stroked my arm, shuffled, sucked his fingers, put a finger in his nose, stared at me, looked at his hymn book, and sat quietly for a while. Our service was quite well attended tonight, I think I counted 28 adults and about 5 children. There was a new couple, who said to Nick at the door that they think they will be back. That is very encouraging! Aaron woke Caleb up when the service was over, but Caleb was so tired that he sat up in his chair with his eyes closed. Nick and I were laughing at how many times his head kept flopping to the side. It was still so hot after church, that Nick and I lay on the grass and looked at the stars. It was cool outside with a bit of a breeze, and there are so many stars visible here. We picked out Orion’s Belt (that’s the easiest one) and then tried to figure out where the Southern Cross is. I think we found it, with its tail pointing south. We are going to get some information on the constellations and try identify them on a moonless night.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Swimming, swimming

Today has been a superb day, very relaxed and very together as a family. After prayer meeting this morning, Steve and Teddy came over to have a look at the problem of Nick’s leaking study ceiling. They fixed it while I was at the GNC. Nick played banjo with me, and then left after the music bit to go and help with the fixing. I was out in town to get a few thins, and walked up to Victoria’s, and bought another pillow for me (maybe it will help me sleep better) and a double fitted sheet for the guestroom bed. The pillow was £4.55. For that price, I hope it has anti-allergic and anti-aging properties, neck support, back support and emotional support. And it would be nice if it makes tea in the morning. The sheet, which I was excited to put on, was too small. What should I have expected for £5.10 when all the other double sheets were at least £9. I will have to return it – it is about 5 cm too narrow, but is clearly marked ‘double’ and the bed clearly is a double bed.

We didn’t have a particular plan for the afternoon, but ended up doing some cleaning up outside in the back yard – Nick burned some more garden rubbish and the section with all that junk is now almost ready to become a garden (just need some soil in it). I swept the paving and concrete, and rearranged the bench and chair, so it all looks good and tidy and clean. Very rewarding day, really! The boys played some imagination game with extra brooms and buckets about the guys with the bad commandments whose paper just says “blah blah”, and their good commandments, which were two barrels on top of one another. Confused? I couldn’t figure it out either, but they knew what the rules were and who wasn’t allowed to come past. Well, all that hard work made us hot and sweaty, so we went for a swim. That was really fun – the boys are both happy now to be thrown around in the water and go under and jump in and all sorts of exciting stuff. Caleb had a ball climbing out at the steps and then jumping in again. At one point one of his armbands came off and although he had no problem swimming without it, he really panicked! I had to quickly swim over to him to help him because I could see the lifeguards eyeing out the situation. The lifeguards are great though, Nick has become very friendly with them. One is nearly 60, but does 10 lengths in about 7 minutes, Nick says. Very sporty. He gave us some mango trees and roseapple trees which have been planted. This morning we were given four huge tuna fillets from a chap who we met on the ship coming over. We have also recently been given plums, some off Steve and Maureen’s tree in the country, and some others from someone in the Sandy Bay church. So after supper I cut some up and threw away the wormy ones and we all shared the rest. They are very small, some as small as 1.5 cm in diameter, and the biggest probably about 3 cm across.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Wat soek jy?

Today has been quite a lazy day, overcast most of the day but no rain. We went out for lunch to Ardees, which was nice. Nick and I spent some time this morning chatting about the holiday club and various aspects of it, and I’ve done a load of washing. Other than that, I’ve been reading most of the day, finishing off a little book I started last night.

Back to yesterday – I had to take the boys to the library to get more books in the morning. We get 11 at a time, and they have usually begged Nick or me to read them all within the first two days of getting them! I don’t mind though, sometimes the books are quite entertaining. Emma came to pick me up just after 1, and we went down to St Helena Coffee Co for a Frappe Special and carrot cake. I left the boys at home, and she only had Niamh with her, so we could really have a nice chat. It was very pleasant and we had a good time together. Jill, the co-owner of the shop, has broken her leg and ankle in three places quite badly, so she is in a wheelchair and sits around chatting to the patrons. She chatted with us for a while as well, quite interesting about the milk shortage and onion shortage and things like that. They will have to take milkshakes and frappes off the menu, as well as toasted cheese and onion! I calculated this morning that there are 25 days left until 1 March, and we have 25 litres of milk. So we just have to ration it to one a day and we’ll last fine! No macaroni, lasagna or custard this month though. At one point Niamh had to go to the loo, so off went Emma and Niamh, and I caught some conversation of the couple behind me, which was being conducted in Afrikaans. They seemed to be looking for a boat on the sea (the St Helena Coffee Shop overlooks the docks), so I turned and said, “Wat soek julle?” She must have stared at me with her mouth open for at least 7 seconds!! She was absolutely delighted that I spoke Afrikaans to her. They are obviously from South Africa, and her husband is the Chief Medical Officer on the island. It was really fun conversing in another language, and they seemed to think my Afrikaans isn’t too bad.

The house is in desperate need of a cleaning – I thought I might vacuum today, but somehow just didn’t get around to it. I caught up on the ironing this morning though, so at least got something done! I need to buy a new mop. The old one, which I’ve used twice, is so old and dirty that it’s barely useful at all. And actually, I don’t know where it is.

We had a long swim, we are usually in the pool just over an hour. Both boys stay in the whole time, but poor little Aaron was getting very cold. They are learning to dive now. Caleb saw another little boy with armbands jump into the pool, so that inspired him to try, and of course if Caleb does something Aaron thinks it worthwhile to try too. So as of today they can both jump into the water by themselves, though Aaron is still not so sure about it, but Caleb does a beautiful belly-flop. Aaron hasn’t really got to grips with closing his eyes when he goes under water, so he comes up with his eyes open and the most bewildered look on his face. They struck up a conversation with the little boy jumper and his very young-looking granny who I assumed to be his mother.

Still eating way too many chocolates, and more keep coming. It’s terrible having to try eat one’s way through so much confectionary, but what can one do?

We bought two jigsaw puzzles for Caleb today – one a 100 piece with a Bambi scene, and the other a 200-piece of bible story pictures. He did the 100-piece one quite well with a bit of help from me, for the most part figuring it out by himself. Unfortunately we can’t get anything smaller for Aaron – he really needs to work on small ones, between 12 and 30 pieces, and we can’t find anything.

Every night we have family devotions, which Caleb reminds us about if we forget or are slow in getting to, he really enjoys them. He listens very attentively, staring intently at Nick who usually reads the story. He has some interesting insights from the stories and seems to understand. Aaron is a bit behind on the listening side, but in his defense he is usually still busy with supper when Nick starts, otherwise he is thinking about his own world based on one small detail in the story. His prayers are usually the same: “Dear Jesus, please help us to be good, and not do naughty stuff, and it’s nice to pray. Amen. That was a long one, hey?”

Friday, February 03, 2006

No onions either...

There is a national crisis of milk shortage! There are also no onions on the island. No resolution until 1 March.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Guyana

We’ve just returned from Toddler’s Group. I didn’t think I was really going to continue going this year, because frankly the boys are a bit old for it and I sometimes get the feeling that the moms with little toddlers are eyeing out these two big boys almost crashing into their little kiddies (rightly so). Anyway, bumped into Emma in town earlier and she said I really must come, and also the lady who runs it, Kathryn, said that she truly doesn’t mind the boys coming, even if I think they might be a bit old.

We had to walk up to the hospital today for Caleb’s belly button appointment, because Nick was using the car to go to St Pauls School for a guitar lesson and a chat with a teacher about drugs and a drug awareness programme. We encountered a slight drizzle while walking, but I was happy that it didn’t rain hard or that the sun wasn’t shining brightly, would have been too hot. Got there in just over 10 minutes, and only waited about 20 minutes this time to see the doctor (surgeon). I was better prepared this time though and had two library books, but the boys still spoke to everyone in the waiting area. Then we had a very brief meeting with the surgeon. She looks like a Saint, but seems to be Indian in fact, and I understood her accent less than I understand the Saints! Nonetheless, I gather that we are going to have Caleb’s hernia operated on, and by the looks of the piece of paper she gave me, it is on 23 February. We have to go up to the hospital the day before, the 22nd, to meet with the anesthetist, and then be at the hospital at 7.30 am on Thursday morning for the op, I don’t know what time they’ll actually operate though.

If you want some really good lawn fertilizer, go to Egg Island off the coast of St Helena, and collect some bird poo, which covers the rock faces. Apparently it is very high in nitrogen. If you happen to be an entrepreneur with a business license, you can sell it for £30 a bag.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

No use crying over no milk

Didn’t do much of anything today except buy 24 litres of milk because there is a milk shortage (as advertised on the radio, but I think it is a marketing ploy…I suspect they have too much skim milk and they want everyone to rush out and buy it…my conspiracy theory), get a few bits and pieces from Tinker’s, and defrost the fridge which had huge blocks of ice all over the back cooling device, taking up at least 10% of my shelf space.

Nick got up this morning at 4 am as he said he would, and even switched on his study light and sat on his chair, but came back to bed about five minutes later saying that he will get up again at 5 am. Needless to say, we both fell asleep again and only awoke after 6.30.

The canned stuff we get here is unbelievable in terms of variety. You can get canned potato salad, ravioli in cheese sauce, potato and bacon stir-fry, viennas, pork sausages, to name but a few. Perhaps they are all available in Pick’n’Pay as well, but they are more noticeable here because the shop is small and you can’t miss it.

Today has been slightly cooler due to the presence of clouds and wind and a little bit of rain, though still not enough. We continue to pray.