Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tom lost his first tooth...

...while we were out on Friday. It has been wobbly for weeks and finally came out when eating chocolate. He didn't notice that it had come out so we can only assume he swallowed it with the chocolate so we didn't have to decide anything about the tooth fairy yet!!
 Nanny -here is the evidence!

tidal pool bath

Last week after church we headed to the beach in Ballito where there is a paddling pool. It is one of the nearest towns to us, about an hour away by car. We put our feet in the Indian Ocean for the first time and played in the rock pools - Josh seemed to enjoy it as much as the bath.
 This is the beach - when we arrived the sand shark was there, then the man made the dolphin and then later a snake appeared as well!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Grade One Blog

Toms class have started a blog, check it out here!

Tom's picture is the one of the boy riding a scooter down the ramp near C block, complete with cape!

I'll add it to our links should you wish to follow the Grade One Class adventures. 

crocodiles and Zulu village life

The one thing Tom wanted to do in South Africa was to see crocodiles and to eat crocodile meat. Josh wants to see lions which might be more tricky (or at least significantly more expensive). Around here there are a few crocodile farms so we choose one that had crocodile on the menu and went for a visit. It was in the area of the Valley of 1000 Hills, about 90 minutes from where we are living, a beautiful area as long as you don't get car sick. And Josh confirmed that he really does. Anyway, we finally made it to a place called Phe-Zulu, a place that combines a crocodile and snake park with a zulu village experience. Despite being a little touristy we were suprised how good the Zulu village was, the first hut we were taken into was very dark and they made the men and women sit on different sides as they talked about the mens role in protecting the women! The boys loved seeing all the weapons!
Then they did a display of dancing, taking us through different dances and traditions that were part of an engagement and then a wedding. We got most of the ideas I think, despite it being in Zulu, that the woman gives the man her necklace as a sign that she will marry him, and then instead of a wedding ring he gives her a beaded belt that goes around the headpiece she was wearing!
The scenery was spectacular too! We went into another hut where they showed us how they would cook and make beer.
 And then the boys got to meet some of the dancers and try a bit of dancing.
They certainly had a lot of sleeping crocodiles and snakes which weren't all that interesting in comparison with the dancing, even when they were fed they didn't seem overly bothered about getting the food. Oh and they didn't have any crocodile on the menu that day so we'll have an excuse to try one of the other crocodile places another day!

Tick count

So for the first three weeks of living are our tick counts...

Tommy - 1 (leg)
Josh - 1 (back)
Tom - 2 (shoulder, neck/hairline)
Sarah - 3 (leg, arm, stomach) times...or maybe not...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

fun times

Our girls trip to the supermarket yesterday started with us having to change a landrover tyre almost as soon as we left the campus. We had a good few people stop and offer help, but I am proud to say that it was actually some of the girls from our car that sorted it out once we found where to put the jack! But to make up for it as we drove past a field of cows we realised there were zebra there too. Further along zebras and buffalo were hanging out together and we managed to see the occasional monkey too which was quite exciting.

Then later Josh locked himself in the toilet cubicle and Tommy has to climb over to rescue him resulting in more filthy clothes just when we had actually managed to catch up with the washing (we haven't had any water a couple of days this week so the laundry had been waiting for water and sunshine!). That was not so much fun although he was obviously very confident we would get him out quickly as he wasn't at all bothered! At least squeak the mouse seems to have been frightened away for the time being.

Today we learnt that Joshua gets travel sick, although he blamed Uncle Sam for not driving nicely - that obviously being the cause rather than the winding roads!

the gym... one of the places we spend lots of time. It is here we can use the internet, we can let the kids run about when chilly outside, play badminton, basketball or table tennis.
 The outside of the gym, across from our dorm block
The inside of the gym - the day we arrived here and were about to start unloading the trucks
 The scootering hill outside the gym (a very mild hill compared to the one the big kids tried for their rip-sticks and resulted in an array of minor injuries and a fractured wrist, but enough to have some fun!)

Saturday, 18 September 2010


Sunset is early here as it is still Spring so you can miss it while eating your dinner, but on a clear day if you catch it you are in for a treat:

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Academy at Appelsbosch

I know lots of people back home said that having photos of the Ship helped them imagine where we are living. And now it has all changed, so I am trying to give you an idea of where we live now through photos. The Academy is up and running in its new location:
 The classroom blocks
All the classrooms are basically the same. They are a decent size compared to what we are used to. They have not been used for a good few years so they were all in need of a really good clean. The elementary classrooms are now looking a bit more bright and cheerful. This is Tommy's classroom.
 This is the pre-school adopting their new routines - all walking to the toilet together in one of the dorm blocks as there is no working toilets in the Academy!
 Break-time is now enjoyed in a much bigger outside space

a lovely day for a wedding

On Tuesday we witnessed the marriage of our friends Alex Williams and Sharon Ruggles. They got married outside in the sunshine in the ampitheatre here on the college campus. Then we shared their wedding reception - a BBQ and dancing outside. Congratulations Alex and Sharon!!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

our new place

Here is where we live, we have three rooms in a three floor building. We share the ground floor with three families as well as Sam and Amy. The rooms are all the same:
 This is the boys bedroom - their beds are at the far end, there are small tables where Josh is standing where they can draw pictures etc. On the other side to the tables is space for storing car seats and scooters!
Our room is very similar to the boys, this one is our third room which is our play area. It has a bed in the corner so that we can sit and read the boys stories. We have moved the curtains to double up the curtains in the boys room to try and stop them waking up as soon as it gets light. The blanket is on the floor so we don't get too cold playing as the floors are quite cold!


I meant to do a blog yesterday about the incredibly fat, hairy caterpillars and enormous beautiful moths, but never had the chance to take any pictures. Today my wildlife encounter was removing a tick from Tom's hair (the fourth tick in our family in the two weeks we have been here so we (I) are becoming quite experienced at removing them), last night it was meeting a mouse in the toilet cubicle. I decided from now on I would call him 'Squeak' in an effort to try and be less freaked out by the encounter and vowed to only visit the bathrooms in daylight (there are no working lights in our corridor so when it is dark it is really dark!) so I don't tread on him by mistake on route. I decided our wildlife encounters were fairly mild though when hearing that one of the other children had a maggot squeezed out of her leg this morning. So who wants to join us at Appelsbosch? It is fun, really.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Apparantly one of the things you should do while visiting Durban is eat Bunnychow. While the Academy were learning about South Africa they got to try some and Tom wanted to go and find some so we could all try it. It is basically a hollowed out loaf of bread, filled with curry and then eaten with the scooped out bread. We warned Tom that the real version might be more spicy than the one they tried at school but that did not put him off. So after Church we found a cafe on the beach and ordered some to share with friends (and pizza from the place next door in fear that it might be too spicy for the boys, but Tom ate it fine, along with pizza and peanut butter sandwiches!)
 The said bunnychow, being eaten by Miriam and Ben.

Sand Art

This weekend after we found a church in Durban we headed down to the beach front. These are some pictures from North Beach:
 This lion was Josh's favourite.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Local Church

The first Sunday we were here we were invited to the local Lutheran Church, here in the heart of Zulu country. Below are some pictures of the church, which is just across the road from us. We actually met in the hall next door as there were too many of us, but we were welcomed by the Church into their community during their morning service. It was a traditional, high-church service, with inscence, robes and beautiful unaccompanied singing. I don't think our boys have ever experienced anything quite like it (actually not sure if Tommy or I have either), but coped fairly well with the 2 1/2 hours we were there.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The local area

It is very remote - but pretty. I've discovered it is very tricky to take pictures in a moving car without ending up with a tree or electricity pylon blocking the view but here are a couple from down the road, the last photo was taken from the campus we live on.


We made it! And the blog site hasn't let me post since we got here so I have lots of things to post for once! We have had some internet for a few days now but it is still not working very well. We are living in a very remote area of South Africa called Appelsbosch, somewhere people have never heard of once you travel an hour away as it is so small! It is tucked away up in the hills about an hour away from the nearest town, although there is a supermarket about 30 mins away we have heard. The space outside is lovely, sometimes the Spring weather is quite warm and we can spend hours outside playing, sometimes it is still a little chilly for living with no heating and we watch movies under our duvets. We are living in communal buildings - it has the feel of being somewhere between University halls of residence and camping. Living in halls was similar with the communal bathrooms and showers, but it was a lot warmer and we had use of a kitchen there so at least had a kettle and fridge nearby. Still it makes us count our blessings living on the Ship! There are washing machines, but currently we have to fill them with buckets of water so a couple of loads took me three hours today, watching the machines for when they needed the next re-fill (and that was with a friends help as I had to do a school run partway through!)! The outside space and gym are a great blessing and make up for the other inconveniences to a large part. The boys spend hours scootering and running about with their friends, while the grown ups slowly add more and more layers of clothing while we watch them. The Academy is functioning in it's new location, there have been a few challenges but generally the move has gone well.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

moving day

We're off to Appelsbosch College of Education, our new home for about four months while the Ship has the work carried out. We hope to have internet again in about ten days so until then, have a good week, keep us in your prayers as we move house and we'll keep you posted on how it went when we can!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Docked in Durban!!

We have really made it after the mammoth sail down from West Africa. Here we are docked in the Port of Durban in South Africa. Praise God for a safe sail and a smooth docking. Now - preparations for the big move. This afternoon the Academy are moving their 200+ boxes nearer to the gangway! And the galley and other large departments are starting to do the same so it is busy around here! We are keeping the boys out of the way of the chain of people outside the door, finishing packing last bits and waiting for the announcement that we are cleared and allowed out on the dock.

Some pics of us arriving here:


Once again it seems that the person in our family who is actually good at packing has not had any time to pack so it has been left to me to shove things in bags at random ;-) In some ways it is easier than packing to fly - it doesn't matter what goes where or how much bags weigh as long as they can be moved. On the other hand it is a little tricky trying to pack as little as possible while trying to take the things you will need in the next four months. We can leave things on board but one of our cabin windows is being replaced so the things we are leaving are all having to be moved around too.

Tommy has been a little busy co-ordinating the Academy packing, well over 200 boxes or other items ready to be moved to set up school off ship. Makes my few bags seem like nothing!!

Quest TV - Mighty Ships

The showing looks like it will now be on the 14th Sept rather than the 7th at 9pm. Quest TV, freeview channel 38, Sky channel 154. It will be worth watching :-)