Planning Ahead

About two weeks before we were due to leave SA for Blighty, our line manager at church informed us that they were terminating our contract with them. This came as a bolt out of the blue and the timing wasn't great but that was the reality we had to deal with. Sadly over the next two weeks things were said and information was made public which never should have been and this lead to a lot of hurt on the part of our friends here who (like us) simply didn't understand the reasoning behind the decision. For our part we didn't agree with the decision and were very unhappy with the way in which the situation was managed. However what has been done can't be undone so we've tried to act as graciously as possible and attempted to ensure our words and actions remained honouring of the gospel. If we've failed we can only ask for forgiveness.

School Run

So here's the latest mode of transport for the school run. The boys are really excited about this new contraption (it's a Raleigh trail-a-bike), especially Joel as he'd outgrown the child seat a while ago.

I've been taking Eli to play-group on the child seat for a while now and Joel has been desperate to go on the bike again as I used to take him on it to school quite regularly.

The great thing for us too is the saving in fuel. We save almost a pound a day just taking Eli so the saving will be even greater taking Joel too. Just hope my legs can hold out!

Top Gear

We're alive and well but don't seem to get much time for blogging at the moment so you'll have to excuse the silence.

Just to prove we're still here, here's a photo of Joel playing 'Top Gear' (a well known TV program in the UK), he's re-enacting the episode in which the Hamster races a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon of the RAF.

Joel was heard commenting at one point during our time in Blighty: "Daddy really likes Top Gear doesn't he."

Guilty as charged!

Routines

We've been back for just over a week and it feels like we've hit the ground running in terms of following up on contacts, establishing new contacts and working out a plan of attack as to what we do, where we go and who we see over the next few months.

The boys have slotted back into their routines smoothly and they're both delighted to be back with their friends at school & playgroup.

Home Again

We arrived home safe & sound on Thursday morning after a great flight. Everything went very smoothly from the clear M25 to Heathrow to getting the luggage (all 120kg's) dropped off and getting something to eat in the airport. In fact, as we were eating our plane started boarding so we took a leisurely stroll to the departure gate. The plane took off on time and landed about 20 minutes early. Customs left us alone and Jo was waiting for us when we got through. We'd also arranged for Andy to help as we had a lot of luggage. The boys were great on the plane, Eli slept the whole time and Joel slept a bit and watched quite a lot of TV.

We're glad to be home and settling back into our routine. The boys are pleased to be back at school/play-group and we're glad to have some space again in the mornings. On Sunday we went to NewGen in Somerset West and enjoyed the service so we'll visit there again.

We're both back into our fitness regimes with Paula back into the gym 3/4 time a week and me back on my bikes. I've managed one MTB ride and one road ride so far which is great.

We'll post some photos of our time in Blighty and Spain in the next day or two.

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!