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.

Quinton rocked up a bit later on so we had a bit more help with fitting the top half of the door which was great. For some reason the bottom half is about a ½centimetre wider than the top so Michael will have an interesting time putting the finishing touches to the door.

Quinton & Michael with the door fitted

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.

We'll all be sad to leave 33 Bizweni as it's been a great home with some very happy memories but sadly we can't always control events and the landlady needs to sell it. So another chapter begins and who knows where it will lead us.

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.

Eli was particularly pleased with his Thomas the Tank Engine cake and when he prayed before bed this evening he thanked Jesus that his friends ate his Thomas cake!

The boys decided to play 'soccer'


Eli showing Raadiah & Leyla how to jump properly


The gorgeous Zara


See the full photo album here

Palace Result

I had promised to blog about Palace results again this year after missing out on last year but so far I've been remiss in this matter. No harm done, I can start now and what a result to start with! Palace 3 Watford 0.

Palace were 2-nil up on 6 minutes thanks to Victor Moses and Alan Lee. Palace pretty much dominated the game as Watford never really got going. Palace could certainly have added a few more to their tally. In the second half Darren Ambrose (who else) popped in his 6th in 6 games, his 12th of the season. All in all an impressive victory for Palace who had the lightening quick start to thank and Julian Speroni's fantastic penalty save just before the break. That's the unbeaten run extended to six games now and just one defeat in the last 12. What a win for Neil Warnock in his 100th game as Palace manager.

Particularly sweet to put three past a team which played a really negative game against us in the Play-offs at Selhurst.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Next fixture: Sat' 5th Dec', home to Doncaster Rovers

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.

What particularly struck me as Lex was speaking was the simplicity of it all. As Christians we so often complicate things and I think particularly as we get older we're guilty of obscuring the simplicity of the gospel to make it less challenging for ourselves. I'm guilty! Anyway, one of the passages Lex used was Matthew 10: 7-8 "As you go, preach this message: `The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." As Christians we see the preaching of the gospel as a fundamental of our faith and yet here Christ clearly puts healing the sick and raising the dead on par with preaching the gospel. For me it was like having my eyes opened for the first time. How many times have I read that scripture and not grasped it or chosen to complicate or obscure it so as to make it less challenging. And yet here it is in all its simplicity. As Christians we are to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead etc. Freely we have received so freely we must give. The gospel really is incredibly simple!

So I was really glad that I had made the training and now I've got to live in a way that reflects the impact this has had on me. Wow, what a challenge!

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.

Thanks too for your prayers regarding my meeting with the neighbours. It turns out that they're a really nice couple but they're only renting the property until April next year which means they can't give permission for our garage as they don't own the property. Helpfully, they gave me the agents details. I contacted the agent who was helpful to a point. She refused to give me her clients details instead saying I must email her all the stuff with an outline of what we're proposing, then they will look at it and decide whether to forward it to their client. Cheeky wotsits! Why are estate agents so full of their own importance? This has nothing to do with them so I'll hassle them today and if no joy we'll have to submit our planning application and go through the usual 30 day notice period. It's looking more and more likely that we won't get any building work done until early next year which is a bit frustrating.

I'm a little concerned about our freight and would value your ongoing prayers for its safe arrival later this month. On the tracking site I noticed the ship has hung a left into the Mediterranean and is seemingly heading for the Suez Canal, which means it will be running the gauntlet of Somalia. Deep joy! I can just imagine trying to reason with customs here that the freight is late due to circumstances beyond our control. That is a conversation I'd rather not enter into! Please pray for its safe passage through to Durban and then Cape Town.

I've restarted my series entitled Kleure Van Die Klein Karoo over on our photoblog; Finnie's In Focus so at 8pm (our time) for the next month a new picture will be posted. If you pop over there now you'll see today's offering which is Pt10 of the series.

Here's a taster of what's coming up over the next few weeks.

Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.

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.

Presently it's wending its merry way South aboard the MSC Sophie somewhere off the coast of Portugal. Thankfully it is sailing along the West coast of Africa so piracy should not been too much of a concern as long as it doesn't get too close to Benin! The MSC Sophie is due to dock in Cape Town on the 30th of November so hopefully we'll have the consignment by the end of the first week of December or beginning of the second week which will tie in nicely with moving to our new house.

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.

Around lunchtime the day took a frustrating turn as I was supposed to meet the seller and get the keys to the house from him. We'd arranged to meet but when I got there he'd already left. Then UPS failed to pitch and cheekily rang to tell me I wasn't at home. Strange thing is, I was in the kitchen when they rang! Later I contacted half a dozen companies for a quote to fit a gate to our new house. Only three bothered to respond. One rang back to say he was too busy, one waffled forever causing me to lose track of what he said and the third promised to ring back at 5pm when he would meet me at the house. Well that didn't happen.

Prayers would be appreciated for tomorrow as we need to go and meet our new neighbours and get their consent to put a garage up on the boundary wall. Should be a simple process but you never know. Hopefully tomorrow will be less frustrating than today.

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.

Sadly, somewhere en route I got horribly distracted by Mob Wars and then Mafia Wars and ended up spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to play fundamentally flawed games on uneven playing fields! All this really achieved was a total distraction from this blog and from some other far more important aspects of life like family.

Well, tonight I have reset the stupid games and blocked them from Facebook. I've deleted all the 'friends' made through the games and have tidied my FB page up so none of that rubbish shows.

So, to our loyal readers, I must apologise profusely for neglecting this blog and you! I promise to get back to blogging properly and wasting far less time on pointless stuff like Facebook.

Pirate Michael

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!

But before you let your little ones run amok in the garden, bear in mind that a spokeswoman for Allergy UK said there was a growing body of evidence that exposure to germs was a good thing. But she said "more research was needed". Obviously any further research would need funding so clearly there's no vested interest there then.

Read the full story on the BBC here: Dirt can be good for children, say scientists

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. Hopefully they'll sprout very soon! We also met our puppy which hopefully will join us in a few weeks time. She's a Ridgeback, Border Collie mix so things could be quite interesting with her. Joel & Eli are very excited about getting a dog and we're having some interesting discussions around naming it.

We love catching up with friends so it was a really special morning. we've known Sam since our time in Zim' and Dean spent some time with both Sam & Cindy a couple of years ago driving up to Lesotho. It's good to see friends at any time but especially when they're doing what they're passionate about and are in the midst of God's will for their lives!

Last week was a bit of an odd week, especially as Dean was unwell for much of it (that probably explains the absence of any posts). However we're all well now and things are picking up again.

On Saturday we had our inevitable trip to the Nature Reserve, we really enjoy that place!

Trapped! Viewing the rabbits

Eli loved trying to feed the bunnies

Joel and a goat. Which is which?

On our favourite 'climbing tree' in the Nature Reserve

Simba is a little bit small for Eli these days


ps. if you fancy a laugh, check this out: Farming in the EU - is this a real letter?!

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.

We actually came away from the meeting more concerned about Eli than Joel and we'll have a clearer idea after a parents meeting on Wednesday as to what we will do. In the midst of reshuffling children around, Eli will be moving from pre-Primary straight to Reception next year. We're not overly happy for a number of reasons. Firstly, we love the Nursery teacher and really want him to have a year with her. Secondly, we're very unconvinced by the Reception teacher, Joel didn't have a great year in her class. But probably most important of all is the fact that Eli's year in pre-Primary has not been about preparing him for Reception so it would be quite a big leap for him.

We'll go to the meeting on Wednesday with open minds but would appreciate prayers for wisdom.

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!

At 11 am we went with one other mum and her daughter to have some fun! The kids really enjoyed it and Eli and Raadiah were so good at dishing out all the food and then playing Father Christmas as the presents were given out. It is always really humbling to experience the Tiny Bubble party. For most of the children this will be their only real wrapped present and they are overwhelmed by the fact that someone has bought and wrapped something beautiful just for them. Most tend to sit and eat whilst clutching their unwrapped present, to make the moment last. Can you imagine our children doing that! Once again, huge admiration for Sandra and her 2 helpers who selflessly look after 26 under 5's, five days a week from 7 am to 5 pm for no pay. Now, how many of us would do that?!!

Serving the food


Enjoying the fruits of their labour


Raadiah giving out presents


Eli & Raadiah were brilliant giving out the presents


See the full photo album here.

See 2007's party: Tiny Bubbles Christmas Party 2007
We don't seem to have blogged about last year's party.

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.

Joel has had an interesting few days at school and on Tuesday he ripped up a task as he refused to do and told his teacher it was boring. Sounds scarily like his dad! Other than that things seem to be going well and his homework suddenly seems to have become a pleasure rather than a burden. He's learning to tell the time at present which is quite tough.

Eli's loving school so no change there. Once again we find ourselves having to plan his birthday party for a month before the actual day as so many of his friends will be away over the Christmas/summer holiday. That's a bit of a downer about a Christmas birthday out here. There are just over four weeks left until the end of the school year which is quite a scary thought!

Testing, Testing

Test post.
Please ignore.

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.

Smoking is now illegal in “partially enclosed” public places such as covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways and parking areas.

Smoking is not permitted on premises, including private homes, used for commercial childcare activities, or for schooling or tutoring.

The tobacco industry is no longer permitted to hold “parties” or use “viral” marketing to target young people.

The sale of tobacco products to and by people under 18 years is prohibited, as is the sale of confectionery or toys resembling tobacco products.

At last we can sit outside a restaurant and not have to share someone else's cigarette. Fantastic!

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.

We had a great time looking at the usual favourites like the sharks, crabs and the octopus, but today the boys really enjoyed the kids play area where they made some stuff and then just ran riot doing their own thing with no grumpy adults telling them off.


BeenThere.tv

In the absence of a puppet show Eli decided to do the honours

The sandpit was a great distraction

What a handsome boy!

Joel being attacked by his shark