Pearl

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary which traditionally is Pearl. Now I can't afford to give Paula a pearl necklace and she wouldn't want one anyway, but what I can do is share a pearl of wisdom...

Paula has already written the most beautiful post over on Facebook, so there's not a huge amount left for me to say, but if I could offer one tip for longevity in marriage it would be this: keep God at the centre of it!

It was a horribly wet and cold evening last night as the latest cold front slammed in to the Cape. Winter might be on its way out but it's not going without a fight.

Given how wet and cold it was, it was even more of a blessing knowing the The Gathering's Soup Kitchen had more than enough to make sure that no one went hungry, and everyone could have as much as they needed.

The 140 litres certainly went a long way and it was one of the few Soup Kitchen's in recent times in which we've not had to turn anyone away because the soup was finished.

Our Soup Kitchen is always a chilled and laid back affair, but everyone seemed to know there was more soup than usual and so our regulars were more than happy to take their time over being served, even if it meant standing out in the wet and cold for a bit longer than usual.

140 Litres

This morning I drove through to Cape Town to pick up a second 70lt pot for The Gathering.

So this Thursday will be quite a monumental one as our Soup Kitchen moves beyond our dream of serving 100 litres of soup each week to serving 140 litres.

It feels so right to be expanding in this way to help meet some of the need amongst the more vulnerable members of our community and we hope & pray that this is a real blessing to those that come for soup on Thursday. 

3D Printing

This may well be a case of 'little things pleasing little minds', but I'm rather pleased with myself today.

I've been battling to get a small bag to fit on my unicycle for a while now. I used to have one mounted on the handlebar but it broke and they don't make it anymore. So I was pleased to find a thread in the unicyclist.com forum (yes there really is such a thing) on the topic of saddlebags and unicycles.

Uni-Hockey

I've wanted to try Uni-Hockey for a long time so it was cool to finally get a game yesterday with some fellow unicyclists in the Cape Town area.

It was fast, hectic, just a little chaotic and I was rubbish at the hockey part of it, but it was great fun and I really want to do it again!

Massive thanks to Donna at Oddwheel for organizing these monthly unicycling events.

Winter Warmth

On days like this we're really thankful for our wood-burner and the heat it provides.

Winter is in full swing down here at present, and our wood-burning stove in the lounge is the only heating source we have in the entire house, so it's a joy to see the fire roaring inside it on days like today.

We've just got it going for this evening and in about an hour's time the lounge will be nice and toasty for the evening.

#blessed

In our August update (available here) I wrote: "It’s not easy to communicate just how hungry many people are now, and it’s not just our old faithfuls, we’re seeing many new people coming for soup and asking for food".

Last night at The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen I think we might just have found a way to communicate the levels of hunger...

For some time now it has been a dream of mine to increase The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen to 100 litres so that we can be even more generous with our soup than we currently are. Most weeks we have been serving 70lts and sometimes just 50lts depending on how close we are to the social grants having been paid.

Over the last few weeks we've just been using our 70lt pot and a couple of times we've had to turn folk away because we had run out, and that never feels good.

So it was great to be able to be our usual generous selves and then some, as we had plenty to go around tonight and by the time the queue had fizzled out we had just a single one litre pot and a cup left.

Firstly, for me the the Sani Pass was the highlight of our recent roadtrip around SA. Sure game viewing in the Kruger & Kgalagadi were amazing experiences, but the magic and beauty of the Sani were something I had never experienced in quite the same way on a drive before. As such, I would wholeheartedly recommend you do it at least once before they have finally paved the entire thing.

Joel & I have been home for just over a week now and whilst we're both very happy to be home and to be back with the ones we love most, there's a small part of us that's missing the busyness of the adventure a roadtrip of this scale provides.

We covered 7710.6 kilometres (almost 4820 miles) in twenty days and drove through eight of South Africa's nine provinces. We camped for 10 nights and stayed in accommodation for 9 nights. We wild-camped twice, both in the Eastern Cape where it was very cold. Our coldest night was -4C in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, our warmest night was 14C in the Kruger National Park.

One of the unintended consequences of the pandemic and lockdown is our involvement with other local Soup Kitchens.

We never intended to get involved with any others as we were quite happy focusing on The Gathering's own outreach.

However it has been a joy and a privilege to be able to serve and build a relationship with two local Soup Kitchens being run by two amazing ladies in Macassar.