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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.