Cpt. Hook & Smee

Meet our pirates; Capt. Hook & his First Mate Smee.

Joel has been a bit pirate obsessed for quite a while and now Eli seems to be following suit. Joel let him dress in his 'old' pirate costume this afternoon and Eli really enjoyed it.

It's great to watch them grow together. Joel is beginning to realise that Eli's not a baby but rather is good fun, a good play-mate and a great brother. Eli is talking all the time now (his language is very advanced for his age) so they're really enjoying each other's company and getting into mischief together.

They are such a blessing they are to us!

Carry On Camping

We're home and we survived!

Actually we had a lot of fun and are really keen to go again. The boys had a ball and were really tired at the end of each day. Eli loved having Iza around to play with and generally the kids got on great. We had a really good time with Dawid & Petra and feel that at last we're building some good friendships with some church folk (only took 4 years!).

The campsite, Nightsky Caravan Park near Bonnievale was great, being well serviced with good ablutions with hot water and electricity near the tents to plug a fridge into so we had some cold beer. The site was next to a dam and had lovely views of the mountains in the distance.

Joel looking perky first thing in the morning

The swing was enjoyed by the kids

We managed to escape to a local winery/dairy & coffee shop..

..and got some complimentary drinks for starring in their upcoming promotional DVD!

Any ideas as to why Eli adores Iza as much as he does?

The boys took to camping really well

Joel gets camera shy..

..then forgets his shyness

The boys watch Petra preparing lunch..

..whilst Dawid serves as a climbing frame

Palace Result

Palace did themselves no favours today by drawing with Blackpool at home. Palace's play-off bid has definitely taken a big step backwards on this result. Palace needed to win the last three home games of the season (starting today) but having failed to win the first will now have to win at least one of their difficult away trips if there is to be any chance of making the play-offs. Arguably Palace should have had two penalties in the first half and were probably just the better team, although Speroni made two outstanding saves which prevented Blackpool from stealing all three points.

Click below for:
Match report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Mon 7th April away to Stoke.

Are We Mad?

Pray for us!

This afternoon we're going camping for two nights. Quite what possessed us to agree to it we're not sure. We're having visions of the Carry-On film but hopefully things will go a bit better than that. At least the weather will be good and if things go really badly we're only a two hour drive from home.

I know that the election isn't until the 29th, but based upon previous knowledge of the Zim' election process and past behaviour by Mugabe and ZANU-PF the election result isn't really up for discussion.

Maybe I'm just overly cynical but I prefer to think of myself as a realist (it's a fine line between the two) and as such I see little reason to get excited about the prospect for change.

I do find most media commentators quite amusing when they go off on their long discourses as to why this election is different and how Mugabe is making plans to step aside/down, or even allowing the opposition greater freedoms. I don't believe for a minute that Mugabe has any plans to step down, move aside, or to run a free & fair election. I believe that the only way he'll give up power is when he dies. The day he's carried out of State House in a box will be the day change finally comes to the beautiful land that is Zimbabwe.

So, to save having to add my voice to the myriads of media 'experts' who start crying foul on the 30th and beyond and to save from having to say "I told you so." I'm stating here and now that the Zim' election has already been won by Mugabe!

I really hope I'm wrong! Please let me be eating humble pie on the 30th!

Joel The Showman

Joel is surprising and delighting us at the moment with his 'maturity' - dare I put it in inverted commas?!! He certainly reminds us that he is very definitely 5 years old and not a toddler as he was last time we looked! Two class examples from recent days:

(1) Mummy, daddy, that boy's got chicken pox (spoken at 100 decibels whilst walking past a very unfortunate acne'd teenage boy in the Nature Reserve!)

(2) Mummy, daddy (whilst jumping on the trampoline), I've got a good joke. (This should be interesting think m and d whilst preparing to laugh "hilariously"..). What's small, green and sticky? (We don't know Joel.... this could be gruesome!) A frog swimming in jelly! (All delivered with perfect comic timing - we did laugh hilariously this time because it was really funny!!)

This could be why his teacher often says that he has the class in stitches - we have a little showman on our hands. Oh dear!

Easter Weekend

We've had a really good weekend so far, enjoying some great family time and sharing it with friends too. On Friday we went to Betty's Bay to see the penguins but unfortunately the wind was too strong and we had to give up. So we ended up in Pringle Bay where the boys had strawberry milkshakes and tormented the fish (see left) whilst we chilled out and pretended they were someone else's children. We also took the boys to meet Peter & Gloria who run the Wild Olive, a guest house we sneak off to occasionally.

On Saturday we had a braai and a potjie (if you don't know what they are you'll just have to come and experience them) with some good friends joining us for the afternoon and evening. In fact we were all so relaxed that we lost track of time and the kids all went to be very late!

We've tried to communicate the meaning of Easter to Joel and tonight he had the Easter story as his bible story before bed which he enjoyed. He then thanked Jesus for Easter as we were praying which was brilliant.

Church was really good this morning, we had a guest preacher, Don (something) who is about 72 but he really could preach! Our regular preachers could learn a lot from him.

Mummy can be silly..

..although Joel can't quite believe it!

Eli doesn't look convinced either.

Adventures With God

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Palace Result

Palace rescued a point against relegation contenders Sheffield Wednesday when Matt Lawrence broke their hearts with an equaliser in the 93rd minute. The game ended 2-2, a result which keeps the Owls in the relegation zone. In honesty Wednesday were the better side but it was a good game of football. Palace's play-off push continues though it really needs a bit of a kick start to get back to winning ways.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Sat 29th home to Blackpool.

Easter & The Silly Season

Easter is the most important of festivals for Christians and as such we celebrate Easter in a low-key but meaningful way, taking time to remember that by giving up His life, Jesus opened the way for us to have life and a genuine relationship with the Father. For us this is a very important time of year, much more so than Christmas or any other festival.

Sadly, Easter is traditionally becoming the time for the silly season to kick in. Over the last few years there have been a number of idiotic claims made about Christ at Easter. Last year Christianity was "rocked" to its very foundation by the gospel of Judas. Some jumped on this pathetic bandwagon out of ignorance or just sheer hatred of Christianity, but there was no rocking of the foundations of Christianity because 'open-season' was upon us and anybody with a modicum of intellect could do a little research and see the gospel of Judas for what it was.

So, here's a collection of this year's offerings, some silly, some serious and some just trying to be objective..

Religion 'linked to happy life' BBC News

What does the Bible actually say about being gay?
BBC News

God's Problem - Bart Ehrman's New Book A critique by Ben Witherington

The Jesus Puzzle, An Exercise in Mythmaking - Earl Doherty A critique by Ben Witherington

Good Friday - In pictures BBC News

Crucifixion not good for your health The Australian

The BBC article about Religion & happiness contains a brilliant quote from Professor Andrew Clark of the Paris School of Economics in which he says:

"What we found was that religious people were experiencing current day rewards, rather than storing them up for the future"

Me thinks he somewhat misses the point, at least from a Christian perspective.

Image from BBC News


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Birthday Boy!

Would you believe that the letter of the week in Joel's class is 'B' so for show & tell today he stood up and announced that he was the 'Birthday Boy' and told the class all about himself and his birthday. What a star!

Joel opened his presents after school (not sure we'll get away with that in years to come) and was thoroughly delighted by them. The four favourites are Victoria from Underground Ernie, Tom & Helicopter from Fireman Sam, a Zorro action figure and a set of Charlie & Lola DVDs.

This evening we went to Primi's for pizza and pasta which is always a huge hit with our boys. Joel invariably chooses Primi's when he can and the food is excellent.

So we've had a really good fun day with lots of laughs and some really great presents for Joel. Thankfully they're both in bed now so we can chill with a film.

Opening his Charlie & Lola DVD set

Well pleased!

Raising a glass to his birthday..

..whilst Eli gets on with the serious business!

5th Birthday Party

After a whole year of waiting (we're not joking!)Joel finally had his Zorro party with 15 of his little friends, mostly from school. He was thrilled to dress up as Zorro and couldn't believe his eyes when he saw his cake!! All in all lots of fun was had by everyone, including Eli, who got away with scavenging from the party food table all afternoon while the bigger children were playing games!! Mum and dad were pretty pleased when all the kids, siblings and parents finally left though - it's exhausting hosting a kid's birthday party! Now we're looking forward to the big day tomorrow (Wednesday). Joel has been counting the sleeps for the last 3 weeks and is telling everyone that he is having his dinner at Primi Piatti's, his favourite pizza place! We wonder how long before conversation swings to what theme his party will be next year?

Zorro rides again!

The cake was brilliant

A very proud Birthday boy about to blow the candles out

We'll post more tomorrow.

Random Post

These photos have been sitting in the 'draft' box of our Blogger account for a while so thought we might as well just post them.

Joel is delighted that Eli can join him on the swing at last

Watching TV

Just being himself

A big day for Joel as he's 5 tomorrow!


We've had a really fun weekend which started with breakfast in the Nature Reserve with some friends from church. We're getting to know Dawid & Petra as their Daughter Iza is the same age as Eli and the both go to the same nursery. They adore each other! It's great to build some new friendships, we've been a bit starved of good friends so hopefully the kids will be a good catalyst. Over breakfast we agreed to go camping next weekend in Wellington, so we had to sort out a tent and borrowing some stuff to make it all a bit more comfortable. Hopefully we'll do a bit better than my good mate Roger (see here).

Most of the rest of the weekend was spent playing in and around the tent in the garden. Joel was really upset that we couldn't sleep in it for the last two nights, but tomorrow we're planning to get the mattresses and sleep out, but we'll see!

Eli somehow managed to squeeze himself into a baby seat!?!

At least he thought it was funny once he'd struggled free

Eli & Iza running around

Examining something that was probably best left alone

Our tent in all its glory

Two very happy boys, they're really excited about the prospect of going camping

We had a 'Grumpy Face' competition..

..the jury is still out as to who won..

..it was a close fought contest!

Joel thought the whole thing was hilarious and was in hysterics when we saw the photos on the computer.

Palace Result

Palace beat FA Cup giant killers Barnsley 2-0 this afternoon which was a good result and keeps us in the play off hunt. The first half was entirely forgettable but Soares strike in the first minute of the second set Palace on their way and they were comfortable from then on, with Scowcroft scoring his 100th goal to secure the points. Warnock showed his delight with a victory punch as the team was cheered from the field. That makes for a refreshing change!

Palace are now unbeaten in five games and are looking good for a strong finish to the campaign with only seven games left.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Sat 22nd away to Sheffield Wednesday.

Palace Result

Palace drew 1-1 with West Brom' last night to earn fantastic point and it was well deserved! West Brom' were good in patches but restricted to long shots as Hudson and Fonte held firm in defence. Palace played the ball around quite well at times but it was their defending that earned them this point that won't do their play-off ambitions any harm at all. Kevin Phillips scored his 200th professional goal but Palace Academy star Victor Moses popped up and ruined the party by scoring his first professional goal. Text nicked from EagleEye Live, edited by me.

Palace are now ninth in the league, just two points from the play-off zone so hopefully we can push on through and get there.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Sat 15th Mar home to Barnsley.

Cape Argus

So here are my official stats for the Cape Argus yesterday:

Time: 3:31:02
Ave Speed: 30.99
Overall Position:6925/28669
Group Position: 7/422
Age Position: 1096/3366

So I finished comfortably in the top quarter of the entire field and 7th in my starting group, so I'm very pleased even though I know I could have done a bit better. For those who work in old money this equates to almost 19.4mph over 68 miles.

Stats courtesy of Winning Time

Recent News & Events

This weekend and last have been extremely busy but full of fun! Last weekend the boys had a Thomas birthday party on the Saturday morning, complete with little sit-on train for them all! Eli was very scared of the noise and Joel wouldn't go near it - that worked well!!! The party was amazing as the mum had really gone to town with Thomas accessories!! Eli was in 7th heaven - the biggest decision being what shall I eat next?

That afternoon was the very first International Day at Joel's school. This was a really big event for the school and celebrated the huge diversity of students and cultures represented at the school. Each class had chosen a country to represent and presented all the spectators with a dance/song/play from the country as entertainment. The afternoon proceeded with lots of yummy food from all over the world; water slides etc and a fashion show from around the world. It was great fun, though we all sweltered in the heat! Joel's class was representing Great Britain (who else!) and the boys did a rendition of 'The Grand Old Duke of York', which Joel really entered into wholeheartedly. Thankfully he is a boy because the girls tried their hands at dancing round the maypole in pretty dresses - yes quite!

This weekend we finally succumbed and took advantage of the weakening Rand buying a 10ft trampoline for the boys. They are absolutely thrilled to bits and we now quite expect an imminent visit to A& E!! They know no limits and cannot stop bouncing and somersaulting all over the place. Bring it on we say - they are completely exhausted at bed time!!

Enjoying the party bag

Paula & Jo who's become a very dear friend

Performing the Grand Old duke of York

The trampoline has been a huge hit!

Daddy wasn't going to miss out on the fun...

...nor was Mummy!

Head over heels is proving popular

Fireman Sam on the climbing frame

Cape Argus

I rode the Cape Argus on my road bike this morning and cracked a respectable time of 3:30. In truth I'm a little disappointed as I know I could have gone better but circumstance and my legs conspired against me. At least I know what I need to do next year to crack a sub 3hour.

The ride was great, the weather was perfect, very hot but no wind to speak of. I was on my own for the first 10k's then got onto the back of a peloton for 20k's before some muppet ran me off the road causing me to get dropped by the peloton. No other pelotons came past me so I really had to work on my own for the bulk of the race. That said, it was still good fun!

I rode the entire race in my big blade at the front, not dropping to 'granny' at any point which was very satisfying, especially on Suikerbossie (the last hill). Also, at no point did I stop for a drink or anything else, so I was as focussed as I could be. My bike ran very sweetly and all in all everything went as good as one could expect.

My vital statistics read as follows:
Ave Speed: 31.4, Ave Cadence: 65, Ave Heart Rate: 162 / 87% of max and I burnt just over 3000Kcal's. So now I'm drinking copious quantities of beer to replace my lost carbohydrates!

I'll post the official time when it goes on the Winning Time website, but according to my HR monitor 3:30 is about right.

Unnecessary Quotation Marks

Bethany at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks has posted one of my pictures: How Personal?

Do pay her a visit and enjoy more silliness of a similar ilk.

Palace Result

Palace seem to be finding a bit of form again having won again by beating Colchester 2-1 at home. Warnock targeted four points from these two home games and that's what he got thanks to Watson's winner. It was a thoroughly deserved three points today as well, considering Palace also hit the post three times it could have been a much heavier scoreline. All in all an encouraging performance which should guarantee safety in the division whilst leaving us well placed for a push into the play-off zone. Text borrowed from EagleEye Live, edited by Moi.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Wed 13th away to West Brom.

Health Care

Paula had a real eye-opener experience of the South African health service last Friday. One of her friends in CNP, who also happens to be a home based care patient, has been really struggling to get information, test results etc. etc. Finally fed up with all the fobbing off that seemed to have been occurring, Paula bundled her friend, 1 of the carers and another friend into the car and drove to the local clinic for some action. After 3 hours (a miracle in itself!), we had finally found the right healthcare professional who could help; established that the patient has got TB; received the first TB counselling session and 2 days's worth of drugs and made an appointment for the AntiRetroViral clinic the following week - it turns out that our friend had been taking vitamin pills thinking that they were ARV's!!

In amongst all of this, Paula was able to introduce Anne, the home based carer to the Sister and explain about the team as well as asking all the questions she has been wanting to ask about her friend's condition. On top of this, she was able to explain all the test results, about the drug regimen etc. etc to her friend - the first time this has ever happened and accompany her to the TB counselling session. Remembering that Paula is not a family member - this was extraordinary!

She came away on the one hand rejoicing that so much ground had been gained, but appalled that it had taken such a forceful approach. Why should it take a white foreigner who isn't afraid to push for what is rightfully the patient's information, to get results? Thankfully, the level of professionalism from the Sisters was excellent, although the counselling session offered in English to an Afrikaans speaking very sick patient was dreadful! Now Paula will attend the ARV clinic next week and find out just what goes on there. We see, read and hear so much depressing news about HIV everyday in South Africa, so it will be good to see what goes on at the sharp end.

Paula saw her friend again today for the first time since Friday and she is looking and feeling miraculously improved! This is the impact the correct treatment can have, so we praise God for the breakthroughs He gives us.

Palace Result

Palace drew with Cardiff last night which did neither side's play-off ambitions any good but on balance was a fair result. Palace started well trying to pass the ball on the floor but went very narrow after Scowcroft's introduction and Morrison was pushed wide. Morrison had the best chance from six yards out in the 70th minute and should have scored though Cardiff could easily have snatched it too. Text from EagleEye Live, edited by me.

Palace's biggest problem now in trying to get into the play-off zone and stay there is the size of the squad. We currently have one of the smallest squads (if not the smallest) in the division which is making life tough for the team as well as Warnock as he tries to put the best team together each week.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Sat 8th away to Colchester

Image from www.sportinglife.com

On Sunday morning I rode the Boschendal 55k MTB race and finished in 3:18 which wasn't too bad for the first MTB race of the season. The course was very fast and easy with only one hill of note two thirds of the way into it. The course was also very sandy which made for some challenging riding at times. All in all this is the easiest of the MTB classics but a nice prelude the real race season which starts shortly.

Next Sunday morning I'll be riding in the Cape Argus
which is the 109k road race. Last year's post is here.

Palace Result

Palace ended their winless streak thanks to a good bit of poaching from Morrison. All in all Palace were the better team and should have put the game to bed in the first half. However it took until the 76th minute for Morrison to score and seal the win. It was nice to see Palace passing the ball on the deck in the second half rather than punting upfield in the vague hope it finds a Palace shirt.

Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Tuesday 4th March home to Cardiff