Flying Tonight

A quick post before we leave for Heathrow tonight. We fly out at 9pm tonight and arrive in Cape Town at around 9.50 local time, it's quite a long flight.

Please pray for safety as we travel and for swift exit through the airport once we arrive. We've checked-in on-line so don't have to worry about that side of things. Also, although we're only traveling with 4 big bags and 3 pieces of hand luggage the main luggage still weighs around 120kgs. Thankfully we've got two people meeting us at the other end.

Can't Wait To Go Home

You know it's time to go home when your kids start telling you just how much they're missing their special toys. This is Joel's pirate ship which was a Christmas present 2 years ago from Grandad. Joel lives on board in his fantasy world and he's spent many a happy hour sailing the seven seas and fighting off other pirates whilst also trying to out run the Acheron as Cpt. Jack Aubrey.

Hiding

It might seem like we've disappeared as we haven't posted anything for a while but in actual fact we're hiding out in a corner of south-east Spain close to the town of Cartagena, a beautiful old port town dating back to 1BC. We're on holiday as a family with Grandad and Lesley and having a really nice time. the boys are really happy to have a swimming pool all to themselves and are really enjoying having Grandad & Lesley to spend time with them. We're also grateful to Grandad & Lesley for giving us a bit of space to get out on our own.

We'll post some more when we get back to Blighty on Saturday.

Today we were at Christ Church Parkwood in Maidstone. Dean preached and we followed this with our Powerpoint presentation, lunch and our photo presentation.

The morning was quite chaotic, one of the qualities we really love about Parkwood. The church is as unpretentious as is possible to be and yet the Spirit of God is so clearly present! We love it!!

Birthday

We had a nice family meal out at The Bottle House Inn in Penshurst last night to celebrate Paula's birthday.

Lisa had gone to town with some decorations (sadly not visible in the photos) and left a cake there too which was brought out after the meal.

The birthday celebrations just keep on coming and will continue once we get home to South Africa and we can celebrate with friends.

Left to right: Ian, Jo, Susannah & Paula

Fun At Penshurst Place

We spent a lovely morning at Penshurst Place yesterday with Richard and Sal, Joel's Godparents. We managed to dodge the showers and the boys had a great time playing in the amazing wooden playground. As always, Eli was very pleased with his exploits and, not to be outdone, Joel soon followed along and enjoyed a few of his own 'achievements'. It was lovely that Richard was able to take precious time away from the farm to join us. Eli and Richard seem to have a special bond - we think he will probably be Richard's size and build one day!

It is always good to have a natter with Sal too and we enjoyed tea and ice cream half way through the morning. We'll see them again tomorrow when we go to the farm for tea. Special times and sadly all too rare!

Christmas Day

Thursday night was Christmas Day!

On our way back to the UK, Joel had asked if we were going to have Christmas dinner at Lisa's and he was particularly keen to have the prawn starter he clearly remembers from last Christmas. So the ball was set in motion and Christmas dinner was mostly prepared and sorted by Lisa with a bit of help from Paula & Grandad. I made some mulled wine.

Happy Birthday!

Paula celebrated a significant birthday yesterday. I've already been told-off for saying how old she is so let's leave it at 21 with 19 years experience.

We had a lovely continental style breakfast at a new French eatery in Wimbledon Village. We all had fantastic food.

In the evening I managed to escape with Paula and we went on a bit of a reminisce around London, starting with a glass of champagne on the Southbank. This was followed by an exquisite curry in Soho and frozen Margaritas in Leicester Square. All in all a great evening!

On Sunday morning we were at St. Andrew's in Oxshott speaking at their 'First Sunday of the Month' service at the local primary school.

This was a bit of a different service, not just because it was very 'un-Anglican' but also because rather than give a presentation on our work the church wanted Dean to give his testimony which he's not done for a long time.

The service was great and as ever the church was very friendly and welcoming. The boys also recognised this as church which is a first since we've been back in the UK. They're used to a bit more chaos than most Anglican churches offer.

Bodiam Castle

On Friday morning we had a family trip out to Bodiam Castle in East Sussex. As you can see from the photos this is a truly picture postcard castle, exactly as you'd imagine it should look.

The boys were really excited about the castle and enjoyed romping around the grounds and climbing on the various bits inside. Joel was a little too scared to go looking for Princess Fiona in the highest room of the tallest tower in case he saw the dragon but despite this he still enjoyed the castle.

Grandad came too which was great and the boys always enjoy time with him as they don't get to see him as often as we'd like.

Family time like this is such a blessing in the midst of our hectic schedule.

Mission Education Visiting

On Thursday evening we gave a presentation of our work with Chris Nissen Park to St. George's in Weald (the village Paula grew up in). The was based around a Cheese & Wine supper during which we interrupted the proceedings with twice with different presentations.

We began with our powerpoint presentation of the work we've been doing for the last four years and immediately followed it with a 5 minute DVD of the HOPE Home Based Care project. This all seemed to be very well received.

After a short break for more cheese & wine we the gave a 25 minute photo presentation of our lives at work and play in Somerset West. We then concluded with another 5 minute video which can be seen on this previous post: The Local Church Responds.

Warning To Zimbos

It's now clear that the African Union (AU) has desperately failed the people of Zimbabwe and as such Zimbabwean's are now on their own. No-one is going to come to the rescue! The international community can't intervene without consent from other African nations and the African nations have sent a clear message to the world that they don't really mind having the Desperate Despot in their 'exclusive' little club.

Better Late Than Never

The BBC news website has the following story on its front-page: Mandela taken off US terror list.

At least US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had the nouse to acknowledge the restrictions as a "rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela."

It only took them 14 years to finally recognise a democratically elected govt.
Today was a bit of a mixed day for the boys. It all began with a trip back to Interhealth for the second lot of rabies and typhoid injections. The really bad news is we've still got to go back once more! They were both very brave as the 'horrible' nurses jabbed them in both arms.

Shortly afterwards we had a trat lunch in Mc D's followed by ice cream on the Southbank by HMS Belfast.

Desperate Despot Rattled

I've been at a loss as to what to post about Zim since the farcical one man show that was called an election. Of course the Desperate Despot won with a landslide because he was unchallegnged. Still, that doesn't stop him from crowing from the rooftops.

Thankfully the Kenyan prime minister has spoken out very clearly against the Desperate Despot and has called for action to be taken.