End Of Year Bits & Bobs

2009 was an interesting year which definitely finished on a high as we were blessed with a home of our own again after 10 years of living in transit. It was also fantastic to be able to unpack our freight, much of which was packed away 10 years ago. We enjoyed reminiscing over our junk and pictures and are delighted to have it all cluttering up our home.

Christmas Day

We both come from very different backgrounds in which Christmas was perceived very differently.
Whilst Paula's family always made it a big occasion and had a sense of the real meaning behind the festival, Dean grew up expecting little of it as he knew it wasn't really worth getting excited about. He certainly had no real understanding of the festival and when it came to presents he never expected much as he knew he wouldn't get much.

This really changed for Dean after becoming a Christian and joining Paula's family. So for the last 20+ years Christmas has been a special and meaningful time in which we like to keep Jesus' birthday central to the whole occasion.

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas one and all!

We hope and pray that you have a really blessed time wherever you are and whoever you're with.

Lots of love

Dean, Paula, Joel & Eli
XXXX

Christmas Eve Picnic

We decided to start our Christmas with what is becoming a bit of a traditional treat - a family picnic in Vergelegen forest under the camphor trees. Once again, we were treated to fantastic food and the boys really enjoyed hunting for their treasure using the maps provided! The weather was glorious - and we felt like we chilled for the first time this holiday.

Had to rush home though to (a) check that Rose hadn't chewed or cried the house down and (b) track Santa on his travels via the official NORAD Santa Tracker!!

Rosie Comes To Stay

Today Rosie joined our family. She's a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Border Collie mix although she's missing the ridge on her back. So far she seems very playful and affectionate.

After much discussion around names the semi-finalists were Mutley and Rosie with Rosie being triumphant. The boys are delighted with Rosie although Eli is far more taken with her than Joel who is quite scared of dogs. This was part of why we wanted a dog so Joel would get over his fear, but we know it will take time.

4 Today! - Pt 2

Eli had a great day celebrating his 4th birthday. He was delighted with his presents (he didn't seem to notice the absentees due to the late post) especially his chainsaw & safety goggles. The goggles were later put to good use as he was tearing around the garden on his bike looking very pleased with himself.

Daddy & Eli had a little chat over lunchtime about where Eli would like to go for his birthday tea, not where Joel had told Eli he would like to go, so Eli chose Col'Cacchio which also pleased Mum & Dad!

4 Today!

Happy 4th Birthday Eli!!!

We were woken at 5.45 to the sound of the boys discussing Eli's potential presents!!  This then deteriorated into an argument and Joel saying he would buy Eli "the boringest present EVER..."a book full of lots and lots of words".

Thankfully, Eli was spared and got what any self-respecting 4 year old boy wanted - a chainsaw!  He was thrilled and spent the next while cutting everything down in the house and garden.  He loved all his presents and cards and did actually love the 3 books that he was given by various folk!  Thank you to everyone for your cards and gifts.  We are now busy building Meccano boats and people - deep joy!

Christmas Tree

One of the problems of moving house so close to Christmas is that the usual preparations get somewhat pushed aside. Actually that could be a blessing! Anyway, after much nagging from two small boys we managed to put the Christmas tree up much to their delight. This year Joel did most of the decorating as Eli lacked the finesse to put the baubles and bits on the tree so threw a strop and wandered off into the garden. Bless him.

Joel loves the tradition of decorating the tree and is beginning to understand the real meaning of Christmas. We had a bit of a chat about Santa and the real St. Nicholas and why he loved & served God.

This afternoon we had the privilege of joining Aunty Mona and her crew for the Firgrove kids Christmas Party. Each year she runs this party simply to bless the kids in the community. Wow what an afternoon. The turnout was fantastic and the kids had a brilliant time with the bouncy castle being the main attraction.

We were really impressed by the turnout of volunteers too which meant that Aunty Mona and Cindy (her daughter) had plenty of help. There was a also a fairly good turnout from Grace which was excellent. It's good to see church members getting involved in community events.

Family Fun Night

Last night we had a church Family Fun Night in Macassar and a fairly wild time was had by all. Sadly for us it was too late for our boys and Eli spent most of the evening asleep on Dean.

Despite this we had a fun evening and it was another great opportunity for getting to know more church folk in a relaxed setting. What was particularly good was the turnout of our youth group as they're a really good bunch. They were all very competitive so they really livened up the games, especially the coke drinking game which was a particular success!

We also hired a bouncy castle so the smaller kids had a great time playing on that. What is it about those things?

As ever when moving to a new home junk accumulates which needs to be sorted and invariably something major breaks down. Here you can see some of the excess junk waiting to find a home in the garage. What surprised me about the size of the pile is the fact that we're not hoarders by any stretch of the imagination and are quite ruthless when it comes to getting rid of stuff. But still junk accumulates!

Moved!

Last night was our first night sleeping in our new house so finally after what feels like an eternity of shifting boxes and furniture all of 100 metres it's beginning to feel like home. As with moving to any property it's only once one is in that one discovers what is or isn't so great about the place. This morning I tried the shower only to discover it is truly pathetic! That's going to have to be rectified as a matter of urgency.

Moving Day(s)

We're already exhausted and we're only half way through our move. There's a lot to be said for only moving 100m but it does bring its own challenges. Moving the 10ft trampoline was an interesting experience! Also moving a week before Christmas in 32° is not great.

Michael has been a legend and we couldn't have done half of what we have without him! He's coming again tomorrow morning when we'll move our beds and the last few bits. Then on Friday & Saturday we'll clean our old house before handing it back.

Weekend

Suddenly the decision to move just before Christmas seems a bit daft as jobs keep piling up and life seems to get messier by the minute. We're now living in chaos in two houses! Thankfully it will all be over on Friday this week as we will be fully moved in on Thursday which will give us a couple of days to get the old house cleaned up before handing it back to the landlady.

School finished today for the summer holidays and were our boys delighted! Joel has just finished Year 1 and will go into P8 in January whilst Eli has just finished Pre-Nursery and will go straight into Reception next year as the school re-jigs all the early years primary classes to fit with the International Baccalaureate system.

We marvel at how well the boys have done and how they've blossomed through the year. Joel's reading is really good and he adores books which is great.

Eli just had a year of playing but in the midst of it actually learnt quite a lot. He often amazes us with just how much he knows and can do.

To celebrate the end of year and how well Joel & Eli have done this year we took them out for their tea to Primi's. Joel devoured a huge plate of spaghetti whilst Eli did serious damage to his pizza.

Nativity

This year we were really pleased that the boys' school decided to put on a proper Nativity after avoiding it for a couple of years. Sadly they felt the need to send permission slips out to ensure that no-one was forced to take part that might not want to. We don't recall them doing that for Diwali.

Joel was really pleased to be a king with Calvin & Jason whilst Eli was one of Santa's little helpers (not sure where that fits with the Nativity) and showed no sense of being intimidated by the stage or audience. If anything, he played up to the crowd!

The production was great and really well done and as to be expected the evening was not without a few priceless comedy moments. The best being the miraculous birth of a white Jesus to a black Mary, truly a miracle!

Turner Prize

I saw on the BBC News website that the Turner Prize winner has been announced. This year the prize was won by painter Richard Wright. Wright was presented with the £25,000 prize by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at Tate Britain in London, with judges praising his "profound originality".

Hallelujah! Our freight was delivered this afternoon. Apparently it cleared customs very easily which is a great answer to prayer. We weren't expecting problems but you never know with customs.

The delivery guy was really helpful and thankfully Michael was already with me at the house so he too got stuck in with the unloading. Even the boys had a go at carrying some of the lighter boxes.

Weekend Sans Enfant

Just as we had planned, on Friday evening we sat out on the veranda overlooking Pringle Bay whilst sipping on an ice cold ’09 sauvignon blanc. 2009 really is an amazing year for sauvignon blanc and we look forward to a few years time when the reds are released.

We made the most of our weekend sans enfants and went to Pringle Bay where Peter & Gloria at the Wild Olive have an amazing way of making one feel at home in their guest house. Gloria is the perfect host and Peter is a phenomenal chef, so one doesn’t even have to go out for dinner.

At some point later today we'll sit down on a balcony enjoying spectacular views over Pringle Bay looking out towards the Cape Peninsula whilst sipping on a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc, sans enfant. Bliss!

However between now and then we'll be running around like lunatics as there's a mountain of stuff to do which began with Joel & Eli's graduation ceremony. Whilst Dean feels it's bordering on the psychotic to celebrate the end of each school year quite so formally it was a really good service with each of the children getting a certificate.

Door

This morning I was with Michael in Chris Nissen helping him to fit a door onto the front of his hokkie.

We had previously fitted the steel plates to the front of the door and at last we were able to hang it. Being a hokkie it's not an exact science trying to fit a stable door within a 'frame' that isn't true. Still, it makes for some interesting on the hoof adjustments but it's all good fun.

The main thing is that Michael was delighted to finally be able to close and lock the door. Tomorrow he's got a friend from church coming to fit glass to his last open window and then the hokkie will be secure.

Pending Move

Today we figured out our moving day so we've notified Telkom to transfer the phone and ADSL line on or around the 19th, our moving day. We've booked a trailer for the 17th & 18th to move the biggest bits with a view to being in on the 19th. Hopefully the gate will be installed by early next week as once the gate is fitted the house will be secure and we can start moving stuff over, so we'll begin with the bookcases, books and other non-essential stuff.

Eli's 4th Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Eli's 4th birthday with a party for his friends. Eli had a blast and was really proud to have his friends at his house. Because Eli's birthday is on the 21st Dec' we have to have his party in the last week of school otherwise all his friends will be away on their summer hols.

Sadly his best mate "The little Daniel" couldn't be there but everyone else rocked up. We kept it all low key and only did two organised games but because there were so many boys they were more than happy to run riot in the garden and explored it to the max. From a brief post-party examination it seems they left no corner untouched.

The girls were a bit calmer but they still had a lot of fun. The parents of Eli's friends are a really nice crowd too so it was a pleasure getting to know some of them a bit better.

Leaders Training

This morning I attended the Senior Leaders Training hosted by Jubilee Community Church in Cape Town. To be honest I didn't really want to go but thought I ought to given that I've signed up for it and paid.

As I was driving into Cape Town I was really struck by the beauty of where we live. One of the highlights of the drive is Table Mountain as it starts of quite small in the distance and just keeps getting larger and larger the closer you get. What a privilege to live somewhere so spectacular!

The training was great, as ever and really helpful. I always enjoy listening to Steve Van Rhyn but this morning it was listening to Lex Loizides that really spoke to me. Steve had spoken about the Sovereignty of God followed by Lex on Our Authority in the Supernatural.

Praise God for answered prayers!

Our biggest and most important prayer request recently has been for the boys and their schooling. After another meeting with the Principal yesterday we have agreed that Joel should remain with his current class group so he'll be with the older end of his age group again but with a new teacher next year who also has a lot of special needs training and experience. Hopefully she'll be really good for him. We also agreed to let Eli go to Reception class with his age group (although he'll be the youngest by some distance) and see how it goes. If he really struggles the school are happy to revisit his situation so we'll remain in close contact with his teacher and the Principal.

Freight

Hooray! The UPS man found me at home today so we finally got the paperwork for our freight, which means we're much clearer about where the freight is right now and when we're likely to receive it.

Frustrating Day

The day started so well with taking Michael to the hospital followed by a good trip to Aunty Florrie's in Macassar. She has a lovely house but is desperate for a few simple jobs to be done and as is so often the case she can't afford to pay much and she's very likely to be ripped off by some cowboy. So I came away with a small list of jobs which I'll do for her in the coming days.

Documentation

Just had a call from UPS to say the documentation for our freight has arrived so they'll deliver it tomorrow. It should give us a clearer idea of when the consignment should arrive.

Brilliant!

Apology

Sorry seems to be the easiest word these days with politicians declaring themselves 'sorry' for this, that and the other, so why shouldn't I?

A while back I got into Facebook. It took three goes but on the third try I was hooked. Initially I had planned to use FB as a means of directing more friends to this blog and it worked. I quickly realised that a lot of our friends on FB were reluctant to venture much deeper into the web and some actually admitted that they didn't know what blogs were and were a bit intimidated by them. So my plan was to use the RSS feed from the blog to post onto Facebook so that friends there could follow the blog from the comfort of FB.

This morning I was up unusually early to pick Michael up before the traffic got too bad and take him to the hospital for his cataract operation. Amazingly he was only in for about an hour when he rang to say he was ready. I've got to take him back tomorrow for something else to do with his eye and apparently the Dr will put a new lens in in about 12 months.

There's much that's wrong with the State healthcare system here but praise God that this op' has finally happened.

Joel thinks Michael looks cool as a pirate!

Dirt Is Good For You

Here's something every parent who uses common sense has known forever, but for some reason it required a team of scientists with funding to make 'official': Children should be allowed to get dirty, as being too clean can impair the skin's ability to heal.

Apparently the study confirms the "hygiene hypothesis" which holds that exposure to germs during early childhood primes the body against allergies. Well hooray for science!

Weekends

Last weekend we went to see our friends Sam & Cindy in Noordhoek just outside Cape Town. They've got a smallholding and are showcasing sustainable farming and living. Check out these two great websites for a better explanation: My Farm Online & Start Living green. It was great to see what they're up to and to get some ideas for our new house when we move next month. I was particularly keen to see the worm farm in action whilst the boys loved the animals and took the seed planting with Sam very seriously. They still check each day to see how the seedlings are doing.

Apologies for the delay. We had a useful meeting with the Principal, thankfully we get on quite well with her. She explained how the school is having to get in line with the International Baccalaureate system and as such the school have had to revisit the whole strategy of who goes where in the primary school. The upshot of this is that Joel will be going to P2 next year. This is more akin to Year 2 in the UK as the school needs to fit with a more international standard. This is generally a good thing as at the moment the school system is a bit stuffed by the South African families who expect it to fit with their understanding of the school system. In SA children start a year later than in Blighty consequently Joel has some 8 year olds in his class! Anyway, Joel will be moving up which we're pleased about although the reasons for him moving up aren't necessarily right. Please hold him up in prayer as he does have his struggles with school.

Today marked the eagerly awaited day for the Tiny Bubble creche in Chris Nissen. The boys' school have had a partnership with the créche for 3 years now, providing weekly sandwiches mainly, but also coming up trumps from time to time with school supplies, clothing and the odd cooker or two! Each year, we do a special party for all the children and "our children" have been generously buying presents for the individual kids and making and buying yummy party food for them!

Prayer Request

We've got an important meeting with the Principal at Joel's school at 10am to discuss which class he'll be in next year. School are keen to hold him back to repeat Year 1 but having solicited the views of many teacher friends who know Joel well we're keen for him to progress into Year 2.

Please pray that whatever the outcome Joel's needs and interests are put before ours or the schools.

Gross Weather

Being quiet on the blog is probably linked to the extremely gross weather we've been enduring for the last week. It has been raining here pretty much non-stop for the last five days which dampens the spirit never mind the ground and makes things very miserable. Apparently things aren't going to improve this side of the weekend. Great!

Dean preached on Sunday and once again really enjoyed doing so. He spoke about Faith with two main points being Simplicity of Faith & Strength of Faith. It seems to have been well received. Particularly later on Sunday evening after most of the church had been to Love & Grace in Mitchell's Plain for a celebration meeting. Dean received some very positive comments afterwards about how the sermon there had been a bit of a follow on from his in the morning. High praise indeed as the preacher was one of Dean's favourite local preachers.

Freight

I heard from our freight company today that our shipping consignment has been packed on to two pallets weighs 800 Kilos & measures 3.732 M³. It has been shrink wrapped in plastic prior to shipping from Southampton on the 9th of this month and the estimated arrival date in Cape Town is the 30th so hopefully we'll have it by the end of the first week of December.

New Smoking Laws

South Africa is very progressive in many areas and its anti-smoking policies have been at the fore of the action much to our delight, so we were pleased to learn that as of the 1st of October the anti-smoking laws took a new tougher stance.

Here's a summary of the New Smoking law which came into force on 1 October 2009

It is now illegal for adults to smoke in a car where there is a child under 12 years of age.

Fines up to a maximum of R50,000 will be handed to owners of a restaurant, pub, bar or workplace who breach the smoking laws and R500 for the individual smoker.

A Different Sunday

This morning was a bit of an odd one as we couldn't get the municipal hall in Macassar so most of the church joined with HCC.

I was really disappointed not to be with my family at Grace, so we decided to invest in some quality family time and went to Cape Town for some fun. The boys chose to go to the aquarium which remains a firm favourite of ours.

Back Home

We arrived home bang on time after a great flight with SAA. I'm still annoyed it wasn't with Virgin as there was no entertainment on the flight and Virgin promise loads of the stuff. Just to add insult to injury, a Virgin jet landed at Cape Town from London 8 minutes after us. Never mind.

Whilst dropping the bags off in Heathrow, I asked the lady at the check-in desk if we could move from the very back of the plane to the middle and she very kindly gave us a row of four seats to ourselves. This was great as it meant Joel could really stretch out and have a good sleep. In fact Joel was a star the whole way and even the flight staff commented on how good he was and I was amazed when he ate the chicken curry for dinner.

Boys Will Be Boys

For the first time since arriving in Blighty I managed some time on my own with Joel this afternoon (I've missed not having much time with him) and we had a lot of fun. After the inevitable trip to Barbara's shop for some sweets we went to the swings where Joel got bored because there were "too many girls" there. So we went for a walk and I was able to introduce Joel to the wonderful British pastime of Blackberry picking. Initially he was a bit skeptical about picking a berry from a bush and eating it but after watching daddy do it he gave it a go and was an instant convert to the delights of blackberries. Joel then decided that each time a car came past we would have to freeze on the spot and pretend to be trees. We even ended up with leaves in our hands to give it some authenticity. I'm not sure who had the most fun being so silly.

Much to my relief our freight was collected at 10.30 this morning by a very cheerful chap from the shipping company. I had estimated that the freight was 4 cubic metres at most and he seemed to agree which is a bit of a relief as it all fitted into his van very easily. I think he was grateful for the extra help in loading up too.

I was up 'til 2am putting the finishing touches on the boxes, packing a couple of pictures and then making sure the boxes were all clearly labelled. Then this morning I finally got the packing lists done. In fact the last sheet was printing just as the van rocked up.

When I started this job I really wasn't sure I would get it done in time but now that it's gone I feel it was a worthwhile exercise.

Joel has had another fun packed day with Grandad, Lesley & Jo. They all went to Bodiam Castle where they had a picnic lunch before taking a steam train ride on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.

Joel had a lot of fun and was exhausted by the end of the day.

Big thanks to Grandad, Lesley & Jo for looking after my boy!

I managed to get a lot done and have now completed the packing and labeling of the 48 boxes and crates. I estimate it to be about 4 cubic metres in total so I'm interested to see what the actual figure is.

Cracking On

The 'to do' pile has shrunk massively today so I'm feeling very encouraged by the progress I've made. Thankfull Joel was looked after by Lesley & Grandad today and it sounds like they had a lot of fun which included going to see Jo (Paula's little sister) at Burrswood.

That meant I was able to crack on with the task in hand and am quite pleased with the results.

The question now is; do I crack on and finish tonight or have a rest and finish it off in the morning? I guess it'll depend on how many ales are to be found in the fridge!

Bro

I don't get to see much of my brother even when I'm in Blighty so it was great to see him last night and this morning as we celebrated his birthday.

We had a great time in the village pub followed by a couple of real ales back home. All in all a very pleasant time!

Joel also really enjoyed some time with Andrew and was thrilled with the Ben 10 toy he was given.


A sense of foreboding and panic is sweeping over me as I begin to fully comprehend the size of the task facing me and the little amount of time left to complete it. I'm about ¼ of the way through the final packing (see below) but as you can see from the pile of boxes that's not really very far.

Hopefully the next couple of days will be better in terms of no distractions. Lisa & the family have all gone to Spain and my brother will be going back home this morning, whilst Joel will go and have some more fun with Lesley & Grandad. They're also planning on taking Joel out for the day tomorrow which will be really helpful.

Fun At Spier

Paula & Eli joined our dear friend Jo today at Spier for some silly fun.

Given that Joel & I were 6000miles away you'll have to rely on the photos to tell the story.

What is abundantly clear is that Eli had a lot of fun which probably means Paula & Jo did too.

Joel had a lovely morning going shopping with Lisa (Paula's older sister) . He was reluctant to go, just as he was yesterday but he warmed up after a few minutes and really enjoyed the precious time with Lisa.

Great Day!

I managed to complete Phase 1 of the shipping in that I've got everything out of the attic and had a cursory inspection and sorting of each box. I've had one testing but ultimately successful trip to the charity shop and the rest of the stuff now awaits its formal unpacking, sorting and repacking ready for freighting to South Africa.

We had a lovely 'Christmas Dinner' with Lisa and the family which was a lot of fun. Joel adores the prawn starter and did quite well with his main meal. I simply adore Lisa's roast potatoes! Thanks Lisa!!!

Good Day Ahead

Today should be a good and productive day. I'll be cracking on with unpacking, sorting and repacking. It's starting to feel a bit relentless but it will be so worth it. This morning I came across loads of photos from the '80s, Oh the shame!

Today's been a great day for Joel & I.

Joel got to spend the day with Sal which he really enjoyed. He adores Sal and really enjoys time on the farm. Also he had real fun chasing around with Josh after he got home from school, as they were shooting each other and causing chaos running around the house.

Exhausted!

I'm exhausted from the flight, a disturbed sleep and some physical labour this afternoon. I can see that Joel's also desperate to get to bed so hopefully he'll be there shortly.

Having been been back less than a day and having had to hit the ground running I'm quite pleased with what I got done today.. I had planned to get all the boxes down from Brian's attic (he's my father-in-law) ready for sorting over then next few days but in the end I only managed to get 2/3 of them down but was able to sort them in terms of freight, charity shop & bin which was far more than I'd expected to achieve.

Surprise!

The cat is out of the bag on our well guarded secret. Joel came to Blighty with me and was in on the plan to surprise Grandad and the rest of the family. Grandad was at the airport and I'd got Joel to stay behind me until the last moment so that he could jump out on Grandad. Now that we're here I think Joel will be thoroughly spoilt and well cared for which is great.

The flight was great and as there were no personal TV screens Joel actually slept quite well. He also ate the food on the plane so he's definitely growing up.

Smart Cover

This morning I finally got a secure top fitted to the bakkie which is a great relief. Our previous bakkie had a roll-top which was great but it was non-removable. This new top by SmartCover is secure but also removable when I need to utilise the full load-bed of the bakkie.

This now means that when in Chris Nissen or Macassar we can leave stuff in the bakkie in the knowledge that it's safe. This will also help when we do our feeding programme deliveries as we'll no longer need to be on tenterhooks worrying about bags of food being knicked from the bakkie.

Does anybody have a 26" wheel unicycle they want to get rid off or know anyone who might have one they no longer want?

Please let me know, Ta


Swimming Lessons



Our boys have been having swimming lessons for a few seasons now and they have really paid off. So much so that when Eli recently fell into a swimming pool by accident he knew exactly what to do and saved himself. He actually emerged from the pool laughing. We weren't there at the time as he was at a friends house, needless to say our friend wasn't laughing!

Bodgit & Leggit

I had a great morning today as I was helping Michael to fit a huge window into the side of his hokkie.

It turned into a much bigger job than we thought, involving lots of cutting and banging as we got the hole for the window just right but eventually we got it into place.

Michael is really chuffed as it's a huge step towards getting his hokkie finished and he really needs the extra space as he & Joyce having just taken in a young mum with her daughter. He really does make me so proud!
I'm a fan of PhotoshopDisasters a blog which showcases some of the best (or should that be worst) examples of Photoshop cockups.

Recently Ralph Lauren ran a campaign with this pic which is clearly very disturbing.

PhotoshopDisasters and a few other sites picked up on the campaign and understandably criticised it. Ralph Lauren then threatened legal action against the ISPs which hosted the image. Pathetic!

I'm only posting this to assist in proving the Streisand Effect and to support PhotoshopDisasters.

See also Boing Boing and The Huffington Post

We're Back

We've just had a wonderful 10 days away during the school break. We went back to Ravenna which is mid-way between Montagu & Barrydale on the scenic Route 62 in the Klein Karoo.

The boys love the freedom of being able to roam the farm safely as well as playing on the jungle gym and the occasional dip in the (freezing) pool. We on the other hand simply enjoyed the peace & quiet being in the middle of nowhere which forces one to chill out.

Recently the boys school held a Library Challenge in which the pupils and parents were encouraged to read as many books as possible within a specified time-frame and then write a brief review of each book. The lower school pupils just had to write about why they liked each book and what they learnt from it.

The challenge was taken very seriously in our house with Joel really enjoying reading more than normal and Mummy getting quite competitive!

It seems to have paid off as today at school it was announced that Joel had won 1st prize in the Junior Challenge and Mummy had won 1st prize in the Parent Challenge.

Apparently Joel was totally surprised by his win and had to pick his way through the assembled mass in assembly to collect his award from the principal. We're also told that he was really proud that his Mummy had won the parents prize.

Feeding Programme

One of the joys of being involved in the stuff we are is that we get to distribute food to some of the most vulnerable and neediest people in Chris Nissen Park.

Each month the food is provided by St. George's in Weald, Paula's home church and the Phillipi Trust here in Somerset West.

The distribution is specifically targeted through our home based care team; HOPE with the most vulnerable patients being at the top of the list. Amazingly, the usual gossip and jealousy which has often dogged feeding programmes in CNP and other places seems to be diminishing in CNP as the community are beginning to recognise how and why the food is distributed.

For us it's a real privilege to be able to bless some dear folk with desperately needed food which makes a massive difference to their daily lives.