Family Stuff

As you're reading this I'll be out with a few friends enjoying an 80k road ride and hopefully Paula will just be having breakfast after a decent lay-in.

We're so proud of our boys at present as they're coping incredibly well in trying circumstances. Despite the difficulties they're both thriving in school & play-group which is great relief for us and they're really enjoying church which is a first in a long time for Joel. Sadly, they've both had quite nasty ear infections and it's looking like Joel may well have to have his grommets re-done. We'd appreciate your prayers for him as he can hardly hear a thing.

Thankfully the rain has abated for a few days although it is due back on Sunday/Monday for a few more days. We had hoped to miss the worst of the winter by being in the UK for June & July but this August has been so bad that we missed very little.

Sports Day

Joel had his Sports Day at school today and it looks like the kids had a lot of fun. The idea came about because SA only came home with 1 medal from the Olympics and the school thought it had better do its bit to train the future 2016 athletes!! Somehow, we don't think Joel will be in the squad, but he certainly had a lot of fun trying.

The little ones had their own half hour of fun and it was amazing to see how competitive the 5 and 6 year olds could become!

Back Online

After a very frustrating week with no phone line and 10 days without internet access we're finally back online. Telkom sent an engineer out on Sunday morning to sort it all out, which we thought was quite impressive, although it meant I was an hour late to church. But we've got our phone back so must not complain!

In some ways it's quite liberating being unable to access emails and the web as it gives you so much more time to do proper stuff. I hadn't realised what a waste of time the web and email can be until it was taken away!

We're all OK but we're fighting the dog-ends of various colds, ear infections etc. with Eli suffering the most. The weather has been truly appalling over the last week with torrential rains leaving the garden flooded and the boys unable to play out - frustrating for them and us.

The plot thickens with our phone provider. Telkom are the local phone monopoly and generally their service is good although very expensive. Apparently, on the 26th of August someone -it now transpires that it was our ISP- requested that our DSL line be cancelled. Very helpful!

Then on Monday out landline went dead, yes the bill was paid on time. Following a few trips into the local Telkom office, several frustrating calls to our useless ISP we remain without phone line or internet connection. The explanations given for this debacle are complex, varied (in that they constantly change) and very very frustrating as no-one seems to want to take responsibility for it.

Curry Night In

On Friday night we enjoyed our long anticipated 'Curry Night In' as part of Paula's ongoing birthday celebrations. we had 22 of our good friends around for a sit down meal in the lounge and were catered for by a mum of one of Joel's school friends who happens to be Indian and a very fine cook!

The evening was a lot of fun with everyone mixing well and having a relaxed but superb meal.

Internet Down

If you've emailed us recently or tried to make contact then we must apologise as we currently have no internet. I'm sat in a local coffee shop (hard life) using their wireless network to post here.

Unfortunately on Wednesday last week Telkom (like BT) cut off our DSL line as apparently we requested the service be cancelled. Then on Monday they very helpfully cut off our landline. Brilliant! Yes the phone bill had been paid.

We're now trying to get it all back but things are rarely simple so all we can do is sit and wait.

Ho hum.

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.