Rub a Dub Dub..

..Three men in a tub or at least a hammock.

The weather is really picking up and today it's 29°C and a little overcast so we're having lots of fun in the garden.

Unintended insult of the weekend goes to Liz, our baby-sitter on Friday night. As she was putting on a DVD she noticed the David Gilmour in concert DVD and said "You'd get on well with my Dad." Thanks for that!

Further to Reason's We Love Africa - Pt3 I found this sign just around the corner from where we live.

I wonder what the punishment is if it's not really a "fine"?

For more of this kind of nonsense have a look at: The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.

GoLD Peer Education

On Friday evening we had the privilege of attending the Ukuthasa Peer education Mentor Gala Evening held at our church premises. Charmaine who heads up the project really pulled all the stops out and put on a fantastic evening for us all!

Ukuthasa is a British charity (lead by Gary our former boss at HCC) which is heavily involved with the GoLD programme. The Ukuthasa Peer Ed' programme is also run in close partnership with the Western Cape Departments of Health and Education.

Apart from a great spread of food and an excellent opportunity to network, the highlight of the evening was seeing almost 50 young people graduating as Mentors from the Peer Education program after three years of participation and training. This was such a credit to Charmine, Eric and the team who have work so hard over the last few years.

We felt very honoured to have been invited to attend the evening.

Home Based Care

Paula joined the home based care team as usual yesterday for a morning of visiting our 10 'patients'. This is always a special time and yet can be full of frustration. One man has recently had a second stroke and has been discharged from hospital after just 5 days. He is now bedridden and incontinent and his sister-in-law has had to give up work (the only family income) to care for him. There will be no visits from a health-care professional - he has simply been left to get on with it. The care team visit him 3 or 4 times a week to ease the burden, but it is clear that this is not enough. This is going to be a typical situation for the team. On the other side, 3 other men we visit are doing very well, taking their medication and getting stronger. We had excellent times of prayer and reading the Bible with them. However, as the men gain strength, they realise how bored they are without work. This is another big social problem we are up against. It is hard to encourage people when their self-esteem is at an all time low. We give thanks for the testimony of another patient who gave up drinking and smoking 3 months ago and now feels (and looks) like a new man! His witness in the community is huge and this is exactly what we have been praying for. However, he has throat cancer and every day is a constant battle. Our final visit was the most frustrating. I hadn't seen the person for 3 weeks and could not believe how much weight he had lost. He is very weak and is clearly in the final stages of AIDS. I felt angry that he is another victim of the system - now too weak to get to the clinic to obtain a letter which will give him access to hospital testing and then, hopefully to life-extending ARV treatment. Being faced with people who are purely victims of poverty is a real struggle for me. How many of us would simply sit back and let ourselves be walked all over when we knew that there is help out there if we could just access it? Paula is now liaising with our personal GP who happens to be in charge of the local ARV clinic, to see if there isn't any way we can help this man. It is sad though that it so often comes down to a fight and only the odd individual gains. How we are praying for better facilities and access for the poor to health care.

I continue to be thrilled by the dedication, commitment and levels of care given by the ladies in the home based care team. We have called ourselves HOPE - (Hands On, Prayer and Evangelism) as we feel this encapsulates our heart and what we are trying to do. I am now asking a friend to come up with a design so that we can make head scarfs for the ladies with our name and logo on.

Church Leaders

Having been at Helderberg Christian Church for just over three years we felt it was time to introduce our beloved leaders to you, so here they are in all their glory...

left to Right: Paul, Theo, Wesley, Sean, Francois & Charl

Sincere apologies to the Village People!

That's My Boy!

Quite often at the moment I seem to end up taking Eli to his nursery which means we have about 40 minutes together in the house, just the two of us. These times are becoming savoured moments in which we have a lot of fun with no disturbance from Joel or Mummy. This morning I had to leave Eli to eat his breakfast while I grabbed a quick shower and when I came back he'd finished his cereal and was swigging the last of the milk form the bowl. When he put the bowl down his face was splattered with milk and he looked so gorgeous!

My boys make me very proud!!

Palace Result

Palace lost 3-1 to Stoke City last night, making Neil Warnock's Selhurst Park debut a night to forget after a poor second-half performance saw Palace lose at home. Palace started the game brightly and should have score early on but two goals from Cresswell and another by Shawcross in the second half were enough to give the Potters a well-earned victory. Warnock will be hoping for a lot better from his Palace side when they host Watford on Monday night, but somehow that's not looking likely! Text nicked from EagleEye Live, edited by me.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Mon 29th home to Watford
Below are three local signs that have been amusing me for some time so I thought I would share them with you.

Nothing quite like making tourists feel welcome by allowing them to park conveniently

Just in case you missed the sign for Robari Lodge, the municipality put up a street sign showing the way

That is a lot of Chiropractors in one place!

For previous installments of this series click the links below:
Reasons We Love Africa - Part 1
Another Reason.. (Part 2)
Reasons We Love Africa - Part 2½

To all the south African rugby fans out there.. you won! Not only did you win the World Cup but you deserved to win it. You played a great tournament and were generally entertaining to watch.

You won, live with it!

Having been in SA for more than three years we've come to know and understand quite a lot about what makes South African's tick, especially in the sports arena where they are a very passionate bunch. However, South African's are generally very bad losers and even worse winners. Take the content of the email (complete with photo) below:

In case you have some English friends/colleagues who feel somewhat aggrieved by the "try" that was your breath and just forward them this email...should clarify things nicely.

Apparently Law 23 has caused some confusion amongst English rugby fans. Herewith the relevant portion of Law 23 with a pictorial example of when it should be applied.
A. Touch
(1) The ball is in touch when it is not being carried by a player and it touches a touch line or the ground or a person or object on or beyond it, or when it is being carried by a player and it or the player carrying it touches a touch line or the ground beyond it.

I've discussed the final with a few South Africans and they all bitch and moan about the disallowed try. Why? It was disallowed and rightly so. Let it go! After all, it was the English who suffered for it not the Boks.

Had the boot been on the other foot (so to speak) the bitching and moaning would be really insufferable! However it is the right of the defeated to moan about seemingly unjust decisions. Take the Germans in 1966 and the English after the so called "Hand of God" goal by Maradonna. It is not the right of the victor to bitch and moan about decisions that went in their favour!!!!!

Friends & Weekend

On Thursday we picked Richard, Sal, Josh' & Isaac from the airport for their eagerly anticipated three week holiday here in sunny SA. Their staying in a cottage in Gordon's Bay just a couple of minutes walk from the beach, ice cream parlour and chippy so they're well set for a good time. It's really great to see them again and joel is especially delighted to see Sal whom he adores!

Today we drove along the coast road in the hope of seeing some whales but no joy there. We then went on to Betty's Bay to see the penguins followed by lunch at Pringle Bay and another slow drive along the stunning coast road home. That was a lovely relaxing morning with good friends.

A helicopter over the Nature reserve helping to fight the fire on the Helderberg

During lunch at Pringle Bay Joel decided he was going to take some photos, below are soe of his better shots..

Josh looking unimpressed with Dad's efforts to scare Joel


Dad in normal pose

This afternoon we had a quiet stay at home so Dean & the boys got the hose sprayer out and had some silly fun.

Not convinced by this lark

Loving every moment of it!

Palace Result

Palace threw away the lead against Blackpool to draw 1-1. So Neil Warnock's first game in charge ends in a 1draw, but should have been a win for the Eagles as they had an excellent opportunity to nick all three points right at the death of the game after Lawrence shot straight at Rachubka from five yards out. Sadly it was not to be and Warnock will go home a relatively happy man after securing a creditable away point in his first game as Palace boss. Text nicked from EagleEye Live, edited by Moi.

Tom Soares went from hero to villain as he opened the scoring for Palace and then got himself sent off. Silly boy!

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's comments

Next fixture: Tue 23rd Oct' home to Stoke City

Taken last night (excuse the blur), this give an idea of the extent of the fire

The morning after the night before

Some idiot/s started a fire on the Helderberg late in the afternoon and firefighters have been battling all night to put it out. From our house it looks like their just about getting the upperhand, but their not being helped by a very strong Southeast wind. I'm not into corporal punishment, but when these arsonists are caught each resident of Somerset West shopuld be able to beat the c**p out of them for 5 minutes, that would deter them.

The forest on the slopes also contained a lot of very good singletrack mountain bike trails which will probably have been destroyed.

It's not often these days that Christian's get good publicity, admittedly we tend to solicit bad press (such as the whole fiasco surrounding the ordination of homosexual clergy) by failing to handle situations well. Anyway this post isn't a rant & rave about that but rather to draw your attention to some very positive press regarding Tearfund and the work they're doing in Zimbabwe.

Today the BBC are running an 'In Pictures' feature entitled Hardship in Zimbabwe which focuses on Tearfund and the role of the local churches in Zimbabwe as the famine deepens.

So pop over the the BBC News website and have a look.
All images ©BBC


3-nil in the Euro 2008 qualifier and we stuffed the French 14-9 in Paris, oh what a sweet weekend!

My favourite quote of the whole weekend comes from Matt Dawson 72 minutes into the RWC semi-final:

"If the game carries on this way, England will steal it, I'm telling you, they will steal it. Stay patient England, stay patient."

Following last weeks fire in Nomzamo, our local rag the District Mail ran the above article on the ladies who have been working tirelessly for the community, co-ordinating donations and sorting them out ready for distribution. Sindi (back row 2nd from right) is a former church member of ours and we still work very closely with her, she's worth her weight in gold!

The relief effort continues in Nomzamo and these volunteers continue to serve their community ever so faithfully. Praise God for such amazing people!

Neil Warnock has been appointed manager of Palace. The sports wires have been buzzing over the last few weeks with this inevitable piece of news. Personally I'm quite pleased, he did a good job at Sheffield United so hopefully he'll build on that and take Palace back to the Premiership and keep us there. My biggest concern is that Warnock and Simon Jordan (Palace's chairman) are quite good friends and that always has the potential to mess things up.

Simon Jordan

You know when you've been Tangoed...

Palace News & Results

The results are pure rubbish and as such lead nicely onto the 'Palace News' bit of this post.. Peter Taylor has been sacked as manager of Palace! Truth be told even a blind man could have seen that one coming, so it's hardly a sensational piece of news. Regardless it is generally good news for the long suffering Palace fans amongst us. Taylor has spoken out saying he has "no hard feelings" over the situation, but when you're rubbish you can't have regrets you just have to accept responsibility.

Palace currently languish 6th from the bottom of the table so hopefully the new manager will be appointed soon and Palace can get back up to a decent position in the league.

So, in the unlikely event of Palace employing Jose Mourinho, the Croydon Guardian has a poll for you to vote for who you would like to be the next Palace manager, so go and cause mayhem with their poll.

Last Snow Of Winter?

After a good week of warm and mostly sunny weather on Sunday a cold front rolled in with a vengeance and sprinkled the Hottentots Holland mountains with a generous coating of snow. We usually have one last cold snap in Spring before the weather really turns for the better, so hopefully this was it. However, it is unusual to see this much snow on the Hotties.

On Saturday I rode the Lourensford Classic MTB race, a tough 60k's around the stunning Lourensford wine estate at the foot of the Hottentots Holland mountains. The weather was almost perfect apart from a brief spell of rain, with the sun remaining firmly behind the clouds.

I was with my usual crowd and we had sort of agreed that we'd take it easy but in reality we were racing. Somehow I ended up at the front of our start group with my friends stuck in the middle, but I met another friend at the front so we rode together for the first 20k's, after which I left him and carried on alone. Everything seemed to go just right for me and my confidence was a lot higher than it has been lately, so even the singletrack was good. I also managed to keep out of a few nasty accidents and didn't actually stop once on the route.

I finished in under 4 hours which is a great result for this particular race and I'm very pleased with my time especially as I beat my friends that I normally ride with.

The best bit of the whole event was seeing Paula, Joel & Eli at the finish line! Because the race was in Somerset West Paula was able to bring the boys along and Joel was really excited when he saw me coming towards the finish line.

Official results:
Time: 03:52:15, Overall Position: 145/380 Average Speed: 15.5kph
My friends were about 4 minutes behind me.

A large fire swept through an area in Nomzamo completely destroying nearly 500 shacks, home to approximately 2,000 people.

The fire started at around 4 a.m. and was difficult to control due to the strong winds. Firemen from Strand worked for many hours to dampen down the smoke and flames.

The shacks were packed tightly together causing the fire to spread rapidly. Many homes use parrafin stoves which added fuel to the fire.

The area has long been of concern as the homes were situated beneath power lines, several of which were damaged during the blaze.

The lack of available land for communities forced people to live in this dangerous location.

People worked for hours trying to salvage what little they could.

The church responded in an amazing way, working together to serve all those affected by the disaster. By lunchtime many churches had responded in a coordinated way delivering food, clothing, physical and financial assistance.

Nomzamo Community Hall was used as a temporary location from which many hundreds were fed over the following few hours. Later that evening food and blankets arrived from the government for distribution.

Local ladies from the community worked with other volunteers to sort through thehundreds of items of clothing donated by churches in The Helderberg area.

Despite the many challenges, it was an amazing time to see people working together and serving one another. The great sense of humour kept everyone positive during this difficult time.

The main needs now are for donations of furniture, especially beds and bedding as most of these items were completely lost during the fire.

An area of land is now being prepared for new shacks.It will take about 12 days to prepare the new area. Once the site is ready, the residents will be given building materials.
Report written by Andy Hawkins.

The scene of devastation

The only thing left unburnt was the zinc roofing sheets

The fire damaged overhead powerlines knocking the electricity out for several hours

Firemen worked for several hours to control the blaze

Ladies in Nomzamo Community Hall sorting donations

Donations began arriving very soon after the fire

Fire In Nomzamo

After church on Sunday morning we received news that there had been a big fire in Nomzamo which had swept through the informal settlement part of the community destroying almost 600 shacks leaving upto 3000 people homeless. We immediately spoke to our church leaders and the cell group leaders with a view to obtaining as many donations as possible of blankets, clothing food and money. In the short term these things will really help. In the long term we're also looking for furniture etc to help people rebuild their lives. Our church responded brilliantly and so far we've taken two bakkie loads of donations into the community. We'll probably have a few more loads later in the week which is great. The response is also amazing given that many folk won't be returning from their holidays until today. We're also hoping to post a few photos of the devastation and the donations later in the week.

If you'd like to help financially send us an email or leave a comment on this post and we'll contact you.

Family Life

After seeing the penguins Joel asked if we could have pizza for tea so we decided to bring Dean's Birthday tea forward from Tuesday to Saturday evening. We had a lovely time together and Joel was really excited when he saw one of his friends at the restaurant. Another reason Joel enjoys this particular restaurant is one of the waiters plays with him and Joel calls him the "Silly Man". On Saturday we asked Silly Man his real name which turned out to be Silla, Joel thought that was very funny.

Cheers! Eli loves to get in on the act of clinking glasses together

Not sure what was going on here!

Yes, Joel ate the whole pizza!

And Eli scoffed his bolognese

Palace Result

Palace drew 1-1 with Burnley on saturday in a game which began with a lot of action but petered out into a mediocre draw. Palace were straight out of the blocks and 1-0 up on three minutes but conceded the equaliser on 13 minutes. Palace should have been 3-o up by that time but this is Palace and so it was not to be.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Tue 2nd October away to Plymouth - a win would be a sweet Birthday present!