I last blogged in this series about five years ago, but just had to revisit it in the light of yesterday's fantastic celebration of Linda's graduation.

Each of my previous posts were anonymised, but today I'm naming, proclaiming and celebrating Linda for her faith, her perseverance and her never giving up, even when it would have been easier and more comfortable to do so.

Studying part time for seven years is never going to be an easy undertaking, but add in to that the loss of one's own business, one son being hit with a degenerative illness which remains undiagnosed, three family members mistakenly murdered in a gangland shooting and two abusive family members who just want your money and whatever else they can take from you, and the recipe for failure looks to be well set.

As a severe weather warning goes out around the western Cape this afternoon, I thought it would be good to revisit the issue of the Cape's three year drought and what it actually means for those of us living here.

Our drought seemed to be a popular source of conversation in Blighty as I was asked countless times about it, especially as it had hit international headlines a few months ago as Day Zero was scheduled to happen within days of that news breaking.

Day Zero is the day that Cape Town stops being a world class city turns the taps of to all homes and businesses in the municipality except for the CBD. Day Zero has now been pushed back to February 2019, which was just another ridiculous example of the pathetic mismanagement of the drought by the local government, but I won't get started on that.
It's great to be back and getting in the swing of the life of The Gathering again.

This morning has been largely about getting a few of my UK purchases up and running which will hopefully make church and especially our Homework Club run a little better.

In Blighty I managed to pick up a ten port USB hub so we can charge all of our tablets in one hit without having to scrabble around for cables etc. I also picked up ten good quality USB cables (with aluminium connectors) which will hopefully last better than the rather nasty plasticky ones that were supplied with the tablets.

Whilst on the tablets, thanks to a very generous gift I should be picking up two new tablets later this week to replace the broken two we currently have.👍

Adopted Son

It seems like a long time ago that Paula dropped me off at Cape Town airport to fly to England, but just three weeks later I really can't wait to go home!

I've had a fantastic time, reconnected with many good friends, and spent time with school mates I hadn't seen in 35 years. I had the privilege of spending time with some truly inspiring fellow pastors & ministers and can't believe that a few of them even let me preach in their churches (I'm sure one day I'll be found out 😂 ).

But the greatest joy has been spending time with family, and this last week has been special as I've never spent so long with Paula's sister & brother-in-law on my own before. All I can say is that my love and respect for Lisa & Stephen grows exponentially each time I see them and realise just how much they quietly get on with as they serve and support others around them. I really love you both! XX

My last post was about coming to Blighty and the sense of expectation that is attached to a Roadshow tour around England. Apart from one last engagement this Sunday in Oxshott (which I'm really looking forward to) my trip is all but over and my thoughts have naturally turned towards home and seeing my peeps again.

It has been a great time, but it has been quite tiring, and the first two weeks were a bit of a whirlwind as I caught a train from London to Stockport, spent a few days there then got a train to Sheffield where I spent a couple of days before getting a train to London where I spent a few days in Wimbledon -which included a train ride out to Witham in Essex- before getting a train to Abingdon, and then finally a train to Weald to spend the last week or so with Paula's family. I have to say, it's nice to be able to hang a few shirts up rather than grabbing bits out of the suitcase!
Dean will be undertaking a Roadshow Tour on his own this year, from 16 May until 5 June.

Quite simply we cannot afford to all come and the boys can't miss school like they once could. 😭

So, if you are in or around the Manchester, Sheffield, London or Sevenoaks areas, please come and say hello at one of my Roadshows or Church Visits, the dates are in the image to the right.

For the Sheffield and Wimbledon Roadshows, please save the date and I'll confirm the venues ASAP.
For the last few weeks I've been using less milk in The Gathering's soup , preferring to use Amasi, a local milk product that is totally gross unless you grew up with it.

I first encountered Amasi in '97 in Tanzania, where one morning I joined the workers for their morning break at the project where we were serving, and they thought it highly amusing to watch me being grossed out by it and almost vomiting. Amasi (or Maas in Afrikaans) is in essence curdled milk and unless your stomach is used to it it's very hard to deal with.

I had one of the saddest and most frustrating conversations of my life at The Gathering’s Soup Kitchen last night.

Frustrating because it was of a theme that keeps rearing its ugly head, and sad because we the church are responsible.

Towards the end of the Soup Kitchen there were a few regulars who had arrived late and we were chatting, when one of them, a mum of one of our Homework Club kids, asked if he was actually attending? Knowing the lad is a bit of a tear-away I got the register to show her just how regular he really is. She was thrilled and from there the conversation really opened up until she asked about Gathering Ground, our weekly ladies’ gathering and she said she would pop in one week. I assured her she would be welcome and encouraged her as much as I could to give it a go.

Glorious Rain

Suddenly the clouds rolled in, the sky went dark and an almighty thunderstorm unleashed itself right above us.  Thank you Lord!

After a few minutes of messing about in the rain enjoying its cooling touch (it was 35°C just after lunchtime), we grabbed every available bucket and got busy harvesting as much rain as we could. In the end I reckon we got about 200Lts, which isn't a lot but it will keep the loos flushing for a while longer.  😃

It was fun to watch Eli reveling in the rain and even funnier to see him get pelted by the brief hail storm.


At The Gathering we're acutely aware of the water crisis afflicting Cape Town and have been trying our best to save water wherever possible, but there's always something extra one can do.

So today I finally got around to changing the plumbing in The Gathering's toilet so that we can harvest the grey water from the sink and use it to flush the toilet.

In doing this The Gathering is no longer wasting valuable drinking water to flush the loo and that is a win win situation.

Every little bit helps as we try our best to avoid Day Zero, the day that the City of Cape Town turns off its taps and loses its status as a world class city.