Morning Profile

This morning I had a great road ride with my mate Rod heading out to Kuilsriver, turning up towards Zevenwacht and then down towards Bottelary Rd into the back of Stellenbosch and onto the R44 towards home. For some reason on the last hill we decided to go right to Helderberg College and at the bottom left up Steynsrust. By the time we got to the top of Steynsrust I was cooked!

What a great ride and a brilliant start to the weeks riding. I do these early morning rides as starvation rides so just take drinks and a banana for half way round and then do breakfast when I get home.

This morning's ride was a lot of fun but I just had to post the profile of the ride taken from my heart monitor.
Despite the silence on the blog we're still alive and very much kicking. We hate it when we don't keep the blog up to date but sometimes things happen in life which are just not appropriate to be shared in a public way so it's best just to say nothing. All we will say is that the last few weeks have been very tough as we grapple with issues which have been bubbling for some time and whilst we're prepared to put the past behind us and move on others aren't which is tough to deal with.

So here's an overview of just what we've been up to....

Starting the good stuff, Joel's arm is finally healed and the sling has gone. To be fair Joel had pretty much given up with the sling for about a week before the Dr actually said he could. However, the mend in the bone isn't perfect and so Joel is not allowed to do ant sport until the end of term (like he's bothered).

The Dr is generally quite happy with the progress of the healing and we will have a follow-up appointment in a year's time just to check how the mend is doing in the light of the growth of the bone.

Other than that the boys are both doing fine. Joel's just had his 7th Birthday and Mummy doesn't think it's possible that seven years have lapsed since that fateful night when we were told to "Go home and have a hot bath" by the nurse on duty at the labour ward.

Just over a week ago we both attended Tom's funeral in Chris Nissen Park. This was a sad time but also a happy one as he was a Christian. Tom had been in Dean's old men's bible study group in Chris Nissen so had known him quite well. More recently Paula knew Tom as one of the patients of HOPE, our home based care team in CNP. Tom spent his life working hard to provide for his family but a couple of years ago he developed some health problems and was unable to work full time. Then one harvest season whilst working as a casual on a local farm he suffered serious chemical burns to his hands. The employer did nothing to help him and Tom never worked again. Slowly his hands got better but just as things were looking up he had a massive stroke from which he never recovered. It was sad to see Tom as a shadow of his former self. Tom was a great dad and grandad and will be deeply missed by his family and friends. Joyfully, he knew Jesus which is brilliant!

Roger & Moya Grady visited us briefly whilst on their travels several weeks ago. It was great to see some old friends from Blighty and they also brought a gift from St. George's in Weald (the village where Paula grew up) whic we had already planned to use to buy some school shoes for some of the neediest families in Chris Nissen Park.

The gift allowed us to buy six pairs of decent quality shoes which will allow some kids to go to school knowing they're wearing the same shoes as everyone else so won't be bullied for being different. This really is a big issue in schools.

Dean rode in the 2010 Cape Argus and despite having done no training whatsoever managed a not too shabby 4:17. The best bit about it though is that it has been the motivator he needed to get back on the bikes and start riding regularly again. So much so that this week alone he has done two MTB & two road rides having ridden for 12½ hours covering 247K's and burnt 11592Kcals. Dean is now well into planning his rides for the next week or two. The only downside is that he's getting up around 5am to fit it all in but it's worth it in the long term and already he's feeling the benefits of getting fit and healthy again.

We continue to thank God for leading us to Grace Community Church in Macassar, it truly is a privilege to be a part of the church and we're really thankful for the solid friendships we already have there. This morning was a great time for a number of reasons. Despite it being a bit chaotic due to the equipment being a bit late (we wonder how many of you attended church this morning in comfortable purpose built buildings with no equipment worries?) we had a great time of worship, literally stripped of any hint of performance as Daniel led us with his guitar. Then Graham from Love & Grace in Mitchell's Plain spoke with authority to the church. All in all a brilliant time together completely devoid of any sense of this being about us but rather it all being about our Lord!

Joel's 7th Birthday Tea

Joel has had a brilliant Birthday and was delighted to get so much Star Wars stuff. He got two bits of Star Wars Lego including Darth Vader's Tie Fighter which was a much coveted pressie! He also got a Darth Vader costume, some Star Wars action figures and a Star Wars lunch box thanks to some great family & friends!

To top it all off he also got some long desired Bakugan Brawlers which he sneaked into school to show his mates. Needless to say neither his teacher nor parents were too amused!

Joel had decided a few weeks ago that he would like to have a family birthday tea at Col Cacchio in Stellenbosch and he very kindly invited our friend Jo to join us. I think she may have seen us at our worst, especially with all the wind in the car on the way home.

So at the end of a very exciting day our gorgeous 7 year old & his little brother are totally sparked out and tucked up in bed. Bliss!

Joel enjoying his spaghetti

See more of Joel's birthday here & here.
Happy Birthday to our amazing 7 year old Joel!

A bit of a Star Wars theme going on with Lego, action figures and a Darth Vader costume.

At Joel's party yesterday his mates were well impressed with his Star Wars cake.

This evening we're out for a family tea at Joel's favourite restaurant so we'll post more about the whole day later.

Birthday party at Spur
I have previously taken a lighthearted look at some of the joys of life in Africa (see links below) and for a while have wanted to take a tongue in cheek look at the beauty of South Africa.

So here we have a selection of pics shamelessly nicked from other blogs and websites showcasing the best and worst of South Africa.

As one can see from this first pic, preparations for the 2010 World Cup are well underway. 

A Sowetan limo

A traditional 'braai' (BBQ in the civilised world) pack from a local supermarket

Making sure the beer gets home safely.

Everything has a price!

Some consider the recent hike in 'taxi' fares to be unreasonable so find alternative means of getting around town

A traditional Afrikaaner (redneck) braai (BBQ)

N.B. whilst Afrikaaners refer to the Brits as rooineks (literally rednecks) with reference to our tendency to burn in the sun, we refer to them as rednecks more in the N.American sense of the expression.


South African's love to braai (BBQ) and are quite good at creating new ways to put fun in a tiresome activity

Reasons We love Africa Pt 1
Reasons We love Africa Pt 2½
Reasons We love Africa Pt 3

If this in any way offends please do feel free to keep your objections to yourself.

Book Week

It's Book Week at school this week so everyone gets to dress up today as a favourite book character. Joel chose Flat Stanley whilst Eli is Harry from Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs so he's gone to school replete with a bucketful of dinosaurs feeling very proud of himself.

Joel was a bit gutted when he arrived as so many of the kids were dressed as Ben 10 and other TV characters but Mummy pointed out that they'll all be immediately disqualified from the judging when prizes are awarded for the best and most imaginative BOOK characters. He cheered up no end at that news!

He was also chuffed as Granny Beth who reads with all the kids individually recognised his character. She's also the main judge and she won't entertain any TV characters in Book Week.