Saturday, 17 November 2007

How do the pennies come in?

I am a Graphic Designer by trade and have been doing this since I qualified (with a 1 year full-time stint at mum's nursery-school, working as a teacher). I worked part-time at the school during afternoons and school holidays for 4-5 years previous to that too.

So, when I was 21, I packed up, moved back to my birthplace, Cape Town (settled in Fish Hoek), and started my business, a design company, making recycled paper products. There is more about this in my a touch of natural link.

After 5 years of this, I closed it and we emigrated to London. Here I freelanced for a bit, working at places like HSBC, Goldman Sachs etc. and then landed a freelance job at F (publishing co). Was there a few months and then went to McDonald's HQ, where I was offered a 6 month contract. When this ended a full-time position was offered to me (was actually created for me) at F, so back I went.. and stayed there for 3 and a half years, till my post (along with others) was made redundant in April 2007. The company closed it's doors on 22 June 2007.

Such things happen in life, and the redundancy didnt phase me, but what was upsetting was the way in which it was done. And here I'll have my little whinge... Working with a confrontational, bullying person was not easy and only in retrospect have I realised what utter nonsense I put up with there. Anyway, bridge under the water, we live and learn! And, because I wanted to go back to my first love, children, plus it was advisable as I had tennis elbow (due to being overworked at said company!), I registered to become a Childminder!

Within 2 weeks of being registered all my vacancies (3 per day) were full. God certainly answers prayers! There has been so much to do, get a playroom and all equipment etc. arranged, insurances, registering with various bodies etc. I do this 4 days a week and on Fridays I keep free for freelance work. I have an ongoing freelance relationship with a fabulous company outside Windsor. What a pleasure to work with a manager that isnt in a bad mood most of the time and who actually cares about the staff! He is a light hearted, warm and hard working boss. What a pleasure to work with!

I always treated my staff well when I had my own company, and was shocked how staff were treated at said company. Not even caring how everyone was on 7 July 2005, when the bombs went off. I was 3 tubes behind the Piccadilly one actually, and some staff were visibly upset... and there was no care forthcoming at all. Money, money, money, that's all that mattered. But I am a firm believer that if you are a good boss and care about your staff, they will care about you and be more loyal to the company, and work even harder... the wheel turns! I was far too loyal to a company that didn't deserve it. I was so very silly and wonder still why I didn't get out earlier.

So, all in all, the work situation has changed for the better in every way. Better working environment, doing different things (both which I love), earning more money (and being paid for overtime!), and working from home too for most of the week. This will be super for when I have my own child to look after.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Always treat people with respect.
Life is GOOD.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Newsy post for friends

Last Christmas was lovely, spent with Lance's family and my own. This Christmas will be a tad different as all our family will be in South Africa. Unfortunately I couldn’t get leave over this period as it’s our busiest time of the year. London is lovely this time of year (albeit chilly), the windows are spectacularly dressed and the Salvation Army play on the corners. It is quite magical!

We finished (after 2 years!) renovating our Wimbledon home, sold it in May, and moved into a lovely (and bigger!) place across the road from Wimbledon Common. We are very happy there and thank God for His continued provision in our lives. We bought a car too (after 4 years of commuting everywhere), and this has made all the difference in the world. We still commute every day to work on the bus, but use the car in the evenings and weekends. With winter and the chill upon us, timing is great! Job-wise, we are still in the same jobs.

Les, Clara and Cayla went back to Johannesburg in March of this year and all is well with them. Les has a great job as a business consultant (a big change from global risk banking that he did at JP Morgan in London!) and Clara is doing wedding co-ordinating. Little Cayla is as gorgeous as ever and we can’t wait to see her again. She is learning to talk and says the cutest things.

My mum left Fish Hoek after a year (which she thoroughly enjoyed. She was quite involved in St Peters), and is in Johannesburg. She is principal of a nursery school (250 kids), is teaching, and loving it. Her and Judy have recently bought a home in Randburg. Judy is coming out on holiday to Jhb in December. Shaun and Becky are well, looking forward to their time in SA in December, and the arrival of their little baby in May. Exciting times as Lance and I become uncle and aunty for the second time!

Our time in SA last month was very brief and hard-pressed for time. We bought a townhouse in Johannesburg on a buy-to-let basis, and the sale is progressing smoothly. We hope to get tenants in as soon as it goes through. Who know, when we come in January again we might get to crack open a bottle of bubbly there if there aren’t any tenants in it yet! We also had quite a few business things to get sorted. There is only so much one can do with online banking. We had four days in Cape Town and in that time we went through all our storage of three years ago and got rid of a lot of things (given to Masiphumilele). We also moved furniture out of Ithaca as mum has had a full-time tenant move in. We had our 5th year wedding anniversary on the weekend we were in Cape Town too, and were spoilt with a lunch at The Nellie. What a treat! We spent whatever free time we had with family and did bump into a couple of pals, which was great!

We are so looking forward to seeing everyone and meeting the babies we have yet to meet, although, having seen pictures and heard stories of most of the kiddies, we feel like we have already met them. Thanks so much for this continued contact, it is wonderful and means SO much to us stuck on the other side of the globe! Even though we had a lot to do in SA, there was another main reason for coming. It has upset my family tremendously, and we pray that God has His hand on the situation. We need your prayers friends. We (siblings) are being sued and are involved in a could-get-ugly court case.

In SA there is a law where parents can sue their kids for maintenance.
My father (from now on referred to as H Snr) is suing us.He is 61 years old firstly. Hardly old. He has rubbished his life away with women, drink and partying and looks 20 years older than he is. He is a fraudster and a bad egg basically.

He had 4 kids with my mum and then when they divorced 24 years ago, he divorced us too. We have never known him. He never paid maintenance, acknowledged Christmases, birthdays etc. We grew up in a single parent family, and mum worked very hard to ensure we had food in our mouths (albeit with church food vouchers often) and clothes (albeit second hand) on our backs. Not surprising I guess, seeing as we aren’t dependent anymore, that H Snr should come to us asking us for money for medical, dental etc. plus a monthly maintenance cost. Totally out of the blue - not wanting to say he’s sorry and he wants to get to know us now or anything. Nope, he just wants our money. We said no, we would give him groceries only if he was in need of it (which we have done on several occasions in the past), as he is an alcoholic and we don’t trust he’ll spend the money on food, plus we honestly don’t feel we owe him anything because he deserted us as kids and we have NO relationship with him. He is a total stranger to us. This is a HUGE slap in the face for my mum who sacrificed so much to raise four kids on her own (we were 4, 6, 8 and
10 when they divorced).

To say we are furious and angry and upset and feeling all upside down re this is an understatement. The fact that two of us are in the UK, and one is in the States, means
that my brother in SA got the court letter only, and he’s having to deal with this on our
behalf. There’s enormous pressure and strain on him and his own little family. This was the chief reason we went to SA, to support him and put the case together. We have an advocate working on it for us. She is doing it for us at a lesser cost she would normally charge due to the notoriety of the case. She wants to take it on. This case is setting a precedent in the country apparently as there have been a couple of cases where parents have sued for maintenance before, but never before has a parent sued who is a parent in name only.

The case starts on 20 November 2006 (this Monday!!!) and should it go any
further after that, I will have to go there myself for future court appearances. It’s just
such a mess and I feel like pulling my hair out in frustration and helplessness, being
so far away. Monday is a big day, when it’ll be decided whether the claim is thrown out of court,
or a court case will proceed. Please could you pray for strength and wisdom for the
family, especially my brother Les, at this time.

At the end of January we come back again, this time for a holiday and some rest!
We are going to Johannesburg, Sun City, Pilansberg, driving through the Karoo,
Cradock, doing the Garden Route (staying for a while at Wilderness Nature Reserve),
and then on to Cape Town. We cant wait! To travel in our beautiful land, plus to see
family and friends.

Save the date:

We do hope those of you in Cape Town you will be available to see us on the evening of Saturday, 10 February, when we will be having a bring-and-braai get together with pals in the valley. If you could keep this date open that would be great. We will email you closer to the time re
arrangements. Sending you all much love.Please pray for Monday’s proceedings!!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Thought provoking...

A father passing by his son's bedroom, was astonished to see that the bed was nicely made, and everything was picked up. Then, he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow. It was addressed, 'Dad.' With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and read the letter, with trembling hands.

'Dear, Dad.
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing to you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mum and you.

I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am.

But it's not only the passion, Dad. She's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a caravan in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune, for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want.

In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it!

Don't worry Dad, I'm 15, and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren.

Your son, Joshua.

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Jason's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that's on the kitchen table.

Call when it is safe for me to come home.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

2007 travels ~ 2 countries, 24 villages & cities!

- Hout Bay, Cape Town ~ 27 Oct 2006
Hout Bay, Cape Town ~ 27 Oct 2006
We had a SPLENDID trip to sunny South Africa!

We went to Johannesburg, Pilansberg Game Reserve, Lost City & Sun City (for 3 nights, and over my birthday!), the Karoo, Cradock (stayed at the renowned Die Tuishuis), did a good section of the Garden Route (3 nights at Wilderness Nature Reserve), plus the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, and then went on to Cape Town and all her wine tasting, mountain climbing and cultural beauty.

We also saw dear family and friends and all their new little kids.

March 2007

A last minute getaway to romantic and historic Stratford-upon-Avon :)

- Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage

I have always wondered about this town, and longed to visit. Shakespeare was a favourite study in English Literature, his writing is to me like poetry, and I so enjoy digging into his writing and seeking the true meaning beneath the musical words.

The weather was nippy but clear, spring time is always a good time to do some gallivanting!

It's quite easy to get caught up in the lovely character of the town, the charm of the architecture, the beauty of the River Avon... one needs to remember though what this town is about and why it is so well known.

Much of this town is dedicated to the memory of a man who had an enormous impact on English literature, and literature as a whole.

His life may have been over many years ago, but to me his memory if very much a living one, every time I read one of his poems, sonnets or plays, he comes alive! I learnt a lot about him at school, where we studied one play a year, and think it is a pity that many schools no longer do this. Here is a man with an unsurpassed talent and depth, with a gorgeous town heritage to boot.

Sitting in your bookshelf :)

May 2007

We took a delightful trip to a few towns and villages in Dorset, a beautiful green county in England. We stayed in Cerne Abbas, and visited Dorchester, Weymouth, Swanage, and Corfe Castle.

- Renowned for it's *giant* chalk figure!
Renowned for it's *giant* chalk figure

We briefly saw Studland, Lulworth Castle and Poole too.

This was the little village we stayed at when we visited Dorset.

We fell in love with it!

From its winding roads to its impressive church and abbey, from a very interesting cemetary (I love cemeteries!) to its renowned Royal Oak pub with its own Master Chef of England - with it's huge collection of teapots and tea cups hanging from the ceilings, which is also a couple of hundred years old!

The cream teas we had here were so delicious - we couldnt watch the calories for fear of passing out... - they were so good we had them twice! Tons of history and a pretty, neat little village.

Definately a thumbs up for Cerne Abbas :)

June 2007
Explored Dover in Kent, and it's fortified castle with Kristi (VTer Dabs)!


Had another super day trip to Portsmouth.

- HMS Victory ~ fought in the Battle of Trafalgar!
HMS Victory ~ fought in the Battle of Trafalgar!

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will go again in a few weekends time with my sister and a friend, to go up the Spinnaker Tower, go on a boat trip, do some shopping in their MANY shopping outlets, go and explore the historic ships some more and basically enjoy a day out! Having lived near Simon's Town (South Africa's naval town) so long, we both really appreciate and enjoy anything naval... me adding in the naval officers too ;)

The photo is of the HMS Victory, which is permanently docked at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. What a magnificent ship!!! There are a couple other historic boats, some war-time boats, a ferry, some sailing boats and even a giant carrier! All very exciting and fun to see :)

July 2007

Red Bull Air Race in Central London

- Red Bull Air Race
Red Bull Air Race

An exciting air race... used to be held at Longleat, England, but this year was held in Central London... good move!!!!

We would love to go to one of the air races overseas, especially the one at the Grand Canyon! :)

Aug 2007

Wkend away to Somerset ~ staying at a 17th Century B&B and exploring Cheddar, Burnham-on-Sea and Wells!

Wells is the smallest city in England!

- Bishops Palace, half ruin, half palace in Wells.
Bishops Palace, half ruin, half palace in Wells.

It is absolutely charming.. has all the charm of a village still though. It has various churches, a palace, and a cathedral.. the latter being it's claim to being called a city!

- Mr and Mrs Flower at the wedding
Mr and Mrs Flower at the wedding

We then had a week long trip to Cape Town for brother-in-law's wedding! (and a surprise flight to Jhb to see my fam)

Gosh, 3 trips to South Africa in under a year :))

Oct 2007

Visit to Arundel Castle and Brighton for our wedding anniversary!

We were spoilt by the B&B owners, who had a cold bottle of champagne on ice for us when we arrived :)

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting both places... Brighton for it's sea charm... excellent architecture and flavour... and Arundel for it's village charm with the smoky castle overlooking it.

- The Hollyhock flower, plenty at Brighton!
The Hollyhock flower, plenty at Brighton!

Monday, 24 September 2007

A difficult one

This past week hasnt been easy. No, the kids were great, even my most challenging little one is changing... behaving more, listening and responding. Amazing what consistency and firm love do :)

No, the frustrating thing was someone whom I know... a long standing friend.

He has always been a difficult person to get along with, is arrogant (thinks he's god's gift to woman, thinks he's the best artist/cook etc. in the world), selfish (lives in his own little bubble.. and is only concerned it seems, with whatever affects him... not those around him)... and complains so much! I even mentioned this to him (after the umpteenth complaint re something in my home - which I find rude being the host - and his response was 'it isnt a complaint, merely an observation'.

Grrr... he always feels the need to make negative observations/complaints. Always at others' expense too. and gets so defensive when anyone has any compaint against him!

But there's a lot more than this. He went out Friday night, knowing we would have to wait up for him to let him in as he didnt have keys. You would have thought he'd be mindful of this and come home at 11pm or so, at the VERY latest 12... but no, it ended up being a 2amer... and then he wanted to help a hysterical girl, which was in itself nice, but there's not much thought re his hosts!!! 3am bed for us that night.

He goes to some sushi course and we drop him off (getting his hints... plus aware he isnt pleased we wont be fetching him), he walks back the long way... and complains re his hurting feet etc. He always needs to let others know around him when he is put out in any way. He expects everyone to JUMP for him!

The next night we went to my sisters. She's been planning this for weeks, has about 40 people there. We get there early to help set up etc.. what is family for? By 8:30pm he starts complaining re the time... he's tired, when are we thinking of going home. I am not planning on going home any time soon!!! I am also tired (due to him!!!) but am making extra effort to enjoy the evening my sister has worked hard to put together. There are also loads of pals there who I want to speak to etc.

He says 'If I drive your car back I am not sure where to go'... ummm.. excuse me??? Where does he get the idea we would let him drive the car??? We certainly never offered... Plus he's not on our insurance... plus how would we get home!!!??? SELFISH man. I actually had to get up and away from him I was so mad.

He didnt have the courtesy to thank my sister for having him - an extra guest who came just because he happened to be staying with us... plus he didnt even bring anything and it was a bring and share. My sister has always thought him rude though and knocked heads. I think I have always been very tolerant of his ways, valuing his friendship. But this rudeness and in my home.. is enough. My husband thinks he's darn rude and he's not easily hit up. He saw how tense I was getting this wkend

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The virtual world

It can be a friendly place sometimes, and I have loved playing a part in it for the last few years... have met some wonderful people etc. But I have had enough of my travel site for the time being. I would like to still write travel pages on it for myself and to help others, will contribute to the travel forums when I get a chance, and will still enjoy the social side of it... but the miscellaneous forum they have there is a no no now. A lot of it is about trust.. and there have been SIXTEEN deletions there since 31 August. I dont see how they are deemed warranted, the people who do the deltions say they are, and the deletees say they arent.

Two VERY different tales about the same conversation/email. All very confusing, irritating and sad. Who to believe? So, for the meantime, I will take a breather from all things online.

I have plenty of things going on in my own life currently, to have to warrant worrying and stressing as I have done for the last couple of weeks. Yes, the tests came back inconclusive so off I go in a few weeks for another test. The other tests I am having done start on the 25th. Fun and games. Not.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Judy's birthday dinner!

Well, the end of another week!

The childminding went very well... am bonding well with the kiddies and getting into a good routine with them. My home is well geared for kids of this age and the garden is a godsend!

Yesterday I freelanced and this was lovely (as per usual) except for the travelling... 4 hours of it. I headed to Judy's afterwards (the birthday girl!), and we had a wonderful evening at The Tapestry, a restaurant in Mortlake. My starter was an avocado crab mix, and my main was leg of lamb, with salad, fig and potato. WOW, what deleicious food and BIG helpings!!! Which meant... no pudding grrrr and they look fabulous!

Debs had told the waiter it was Judy's birthday and they brought her a chocolate brownie with ice cream, and a sugar puff design thing with a candle on it... haha. It was delicious!!!!!!!!!

So??? I have decided we will come here for our wedding anniversary in October :)) And I will have a main and dessert this time, skipping the starter... just cannot fit it all in!

After the meal we went back to Debs place and watched the recorded rugby... where South Africa beat England 36-0!!!

We knew the score as we had been getting smses/texts all night hehe.. but Judy and others never knew... so we were knackered, full and happy. What a lovely night out! Great bunch of girls.

Friday, 7 September 2007

A new day

Well, no freelance work for me this week! A shame in a way as nice to get the £££ and I love the design team... but it's also good to have a day off! A day to get errands done (like make extra sets of keys!!!), and do a tidy at home. Need to sort out the clothes cupboards for one thing!
Judy is coming round later for tea with the girls. S started school yesterday... very chuffed re that

Mum has been really sick lately... has even taken time off work with her chest infection. I phoned her last night and she's still so raspy on the phone... a week later! I wish I was there to be able to help her. She helps us kids (especially my brother currently as they live a 2 minute drive away from her) so much... cant wait to be able to give something back. Under 100 days till we see her... yay!

Trifle annoyed with something else too... if one spent a lot of time and effort taking, editing (photoshop) and uploading wedding photos for someone, do you think they'd acknowledge it or say thanks?? I would have thought so. Not a peep from them. I think it's rude Apparently they've been emailing them to everyone too, as they really like them... and not a single thank you.

Unbelievable. I dont know why I bother to help people out as much as I do sometimes.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

What a week!

This has certainly been an interesting week!

Childcare has gone well, everyone is happy, but I do have 1 child (child a) who is quite a handful!!! Of the 6 I can see another child (child b) is going to be a bit of a handful too. But I doubt child b will be anything like child a.

A demanding and whiney child, child a seems to get their own way at home a lot. I wonder if child a's ever told 'no'? I am trying to teach child a to say 'please' too when child a wants something.. which is often! When I am finished a day with child a I am absolutely shattered. It's not fair to give one child more attention than the others, I am careful not to, so the days it is here are heavy, as child a demands so much attention. Constant reassurance and attention. All day too.

Oh well, that's what it's all about isn't it? Living and learning

Started my tests at QM hospital this week, hope they don't come back inconclusive so I have to go again!!! I am looking forward to the tests on the 25th at C&W hospital, hoping to get some answers there too.

Then onto a more sombre note.

The VT I have come to love (and respect) is no longer what I think it to be. For many it is a mere travel site, to build travel pages, get travel info etc. This is great, and I use it a lot this way.... have over 4,000 pics of ours posted and on the way to 2,000 tips!

However there have been 9 member deletions this past week, and this sucks. I have lost respect for those in charge who try to justify their actions... but I dont think they are being transparent and honest enough. They say they dont read emails and other members have proof they do... etc. Far too much to go into here, but let's just say I am truly disappointed.

Such a shame.

I didnt now everyone who has been *zapped* but I knew a couple and I will stay in touch with them of course. But sadly, I cannot make mention of them in the forums for fear of being *zapped* myself! People are saving thier travel pages like crazy, in case they get *zapped* for being associated with the dearly deleted.

Ah well. I think I'll stick to writing travel pages and meeting people as I always have done. But Misc is no longer my playground. Not where people arent playing fair.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Locked out!!!

Oh but wasn't today fun!!!???

What NOT to do when you have a hungry tired child? Get locked out!

That yale has got me twice now... first time the landlord (thank goodness!) was home, so he could let me in. He lives a 2 minute walk away so that's handy!

So I phoned him today - hoping he's home, but he isn't, he's in Kensington, at a job. Groan.

I phone Lance and tell him the situ.... he (bless him) tells his boss he has to go home to let me in, and he does. Had to wait a while as he works at Oxford Street (and the tubes were down!!!! GREAT timing Jen!!!).

Thankfully though the sun was shining and I had brought plenty of sncks, a sandwich, crackers, raisins etc. with me for our common walk, so the child didn't go hungry. Little Finlay and Melanie (neighbours children) were sitting in the garden with their Slovakian nanny, Lanka, too... so they had some fun together.

So I need to get more keys made, and give one set to Judy! PRONTO

Monday, 3 September 2007

Started Christmas shopping!

This weekend didnt really turn out as expected... had a lovely day with sister, did some shopping (started Christmas shopping!), saw a movie.. Bourne Ultimatum.. it was realy very good, if not a tad unbelievable at times! But this is usually how these action movies are.

Sunday went topsy turvy and we ended up not going to church. Spent the rest of the day relaxing. Lance worked on Saturday so enjoyed the time to ourselves.

Mum hasnt been well (has a chest infection)... she amazes me, doesnt complain at all.. I have to hear about this from my sister!

Well the kids start tomorrow. All so different with their personalities, some far more challenging than others. Some content, some whingey. I guess we as adults also are so different and have good days and bad.

The playroom is really looking great, Lance and I reshuffled things around... look spacious and fun!

Friday, 31 August 2007

Stranded in the pub!

A VT pal Diana organised a meeting at The White Cross pub in Richmond on the day the tide is the highest in a year! We have been together for this once before, when Joy (from Kaapstad!) visited too :)

There were quite a few VTers and the water came in... luckily we were up on the balcony so could watch below what happened as people realised the waters were lapping at their feet! haha

Kids were swimming in it (brrr)... and people had fun.

The kids settling in went well this week and one child officially started on Thursday. From Monday it is all systems go for all kids starting now!!! Judy and I are going out now to get another travel cot (I have reserved a Winnie the Pooh one), and going to see a movie too. Should be fun!

I freelanced one day this week too, was lovely to see the design team... they are such a lovely bunch of people!!! Atmosphere and ethos is SO different to Freeman's... so much healthier and more pleasant. I do love it there, and am so glad to have the opportunity to be working form home with kiddies four days a week, and then with the design team on one day :)

Last night (afer the afternoon meet), I babysat for a couple in Putney, she is a doctor, not sure what he does, but what a lovely couple! They are hoping to make this an ongoing arrangement. Wont be easy for me, working a long day (from 7am to 7pm), then off to them by 8pm to babysit, but will be good for the pocket.

Lance is at work poor thing. I'll be thinking of him as I munch on my popcorn ;)

Oh, it's officially the first day of spring in South Africa today!!! The blossoms must be lovely :)

Thursday, 23 August 2007


It was started by the church we used to attend in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, pastored by John Thomas.

They have done and continue to do a wonderful work for the community near them, which has a huge HIV Aids problem.

Have a look at this utube video! :)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

What a pain in the ankle!

Went to the doc today... wasnt feeling very good at all. My ankle is markedly worse than it was a week ago. I think all the running around and dancing (yes, I danced a bit!) didit NO good!!!

I am busy with kids at home now, but whenever I can I am putting my ankle up, with cold ice (when the kids arent here of course)! Doc says I must just be patient and wait... it has only been 3 and a half weeks... I am only half way through the recovery process. Mmmm. I am not happy about that.

I realised today that I have not had one pain-free day this year. Not one.

My wrist and arm hurt from December (with tennis elbow being diagnosed in the first week). I still have a lot of pain with it and have physio for it. And then the ankle. What is really frustrtaing is that I am so eager to start exercising again but havent been able to with these two injuries. Grrrr...

Tomorrow I have children start 'easing in' at my home, with their mums away for a few hours... next week I officially start my childcare. Gulp. Very excited!

As is our way, always look to the positive and look forward... tomorrow is a new day

Precious time with family in Joburg & Cape Town

Family in Cape Town & Jo’burg - August 2007

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

1 wedding, 2 destinations, 4 airports, 6 flights and 7 days later...

Well, we are back from our whirlwind week away in SA!

1 wedding, 2 destinations, 4 airports, 6 flights and 7 days later...
we have returned home to Ole Blighty, sans sleep but so happy we saw our families once again. Living apart from them just doesn't get easier as time goes by...

It was a good week, manic but good to spend time with much-loved family, and even a couple of friends. The wedding went very well.. all Garth and Monique's hard work and planning paid off in the end we think!

It felt like Inkangala Paper days for me again, as I got involved with wedding wine labels, menus, order of services, table numbers, videoing and photographing!

I also found out - the DAY before the wedding! - that I had left the top half of my wedding outfit back home in London... so I had to find something new to wear PRONTO. Luckily I dont stress easily and soretd somehting out quickly at the mall.

It felt weird to be back in the same chapel where Lance and I got married 6 years ago.. very special. They had their reception at The Range too, whereas we had ours at the Hout Bay Manor. They had dancing, 3 course buffet meal and carrot cake.. of which we never got to eat unfortunately as we were too busy running around taking videos, photos, getting suits etc.

We got to see Shell and Taine, Carol and her new baby, Jaryd... and Jan and Graeme, and Sias and Mandy. This was great. We have such fond memories of all we used to get up to in this group. People have gone their own ways to a certain extent.. different churches specifically, even if still living in the same valley. We definately would've made a move away had we still lived in the valley too.

Here is the link:
The first album has some family pics (Cape Town and Jo'burg).
The second album is of Garth and Monique's wedding.
If you click on the photo it will enlarge and you can do a slideshow with it if you like.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Racism stinks

It's sad to say, but racism is still alive and well within the hearts of some people. Fortunately I have had very little contact with people who have racist views, but some people we know have changed in the last couple of years and their new attitudes are rather worrying! How anyone can have such prejudice against another human being simply because of the colour of their skin, I don't know! Doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I put up with a few chirps, and then had to say what I felt... I think they know I wasn't happy with the racist chatter... and then turned it round saying they were only joking... Mmmm... out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks I believe, and it happens far too often and far too seriously to be taken as anything but serious.

I think a part of making things better is that everyone needs to realise that they have a certain responsibility towards their community and should therefore be actively involved in the community. Do volunteer work, sponsor volunteer work if you have money but no time, actively participate, neigbourhood watches, become a police reservist. I hear too many people that are bitching and moaning about the country but not doing their little bit. If we don't all work together, we will not be able to save the country! There should be a collective sense of ‘ownership’ regardless of colour, age or sex!

Yes, there is affirmative action and a certain amount of reverse racism in South Africa.. but that doesn't give one the right to tar the ENTIRE racial group with the same brush. Goodness knows what God thinks of us shallow human beings :(

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Wedding shoes

Today I had such a successful shop

Having rubbish shoes I decided to go and look for some for bil's upcoming wedding on the 18th. I went to trusty Clarks, and got two pairs!!! I was well chuffed. What made it a good day too was that it was the first day I have been out and about walking since I sprained my ankle. It's getting better, yay! Needs to be in tiptop shape for the wedding dancing!

A brown leather girly shoe with a heel and a thin strap across the front, with a nice antique button detail on the side. The other shoe I got is black leather, quite a funky pair, for everyday use.

Chatted to my brother again today and it seems as if our family reunion plans have gone up in smoke, because of other brother's leave situation. What they are doing makes sense for them, but we cant change our plans, so the reunion is not happening. Sad but understandable I guess.

Other than that, it was a productive day, and I must get into packing and making sure we have everything for both trips... as they are so close together. Somerset this weekend and South Africa on Tuesday. Yay!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The hobblers

Today we went to church, fetching a lady on the way who'd had knee surgery... so we were kidding about that Lance was taking two hobblers to church

I had creche and it all went well, even with the silly ankle. I just had to be careful when carrying the babies, and sat in a chair rather than the floor.

The sun was shining really brightly, the temperature was 30 degrees celcius! The hottest day this summer apparently!

Sis is off to Switzerland this coming week... she is staying in Spiez, which is near Interlaken, where we stayed for my 30th birthday weekend. That was a holiday we will never forget. With ma, sis, brother, brother's wife, and us.

Just splendid

Have a wonderful time sis!!!

Organising VT meetings

I belong to - have done so since December 2004!

Prior to the big London 2006 meet I had only arranged one other meeting - 18 people came to that. So I thought that the Jan one would be those kinda numbers too... but 115 people signed up! I was gob smacked, and actually had to change venue three times as numbers rose as time drew nearer. I ended up having to hire out an entire restaurant in Central London (NOT an easy feat I assure you!) only when I gave them a HUGE £ deposit. 88.5 people came in the end.

Most people I have to say did cancel with me properly, only about 15 just didn't pitch on the main event on the Saturday night, which I thought was rather good. We had a wonderful time over those 3 days but NEVER AGAIN. I have arranged other things before (used to be in the wedding industry), and I actually do enjoy organising things, but arranging a meeting with people literally coming from all over the world was very stressful, replying to VT emails every day, catering for different food tastes, trying to please everyone (impossible), thinking of restaurants every day that weren't expensive (in London!???) - plus catered for a variety of tastes, giving hotel advice, travel advice, and the huge expense for one person on their own (putting £1000 in deposits down etc.). I would do it again if I were in a team of 2 or 3, but never again on my own.

Big meets are lovely if over a few days too... where people have the option to join in arranged excursions or do their own thing for a morning etc. Big meets can be a lot of fun (even if a blur at the end of it!).

Since then I have not advertised ONE meeting I have held haha. You live and learn!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

'sun, where art though?'

Yesterday there was loads of sun and today it has disappeared... *groan*...

'sun, where art though?'

Anyway, just had a good natter with Les on Skype... we have been having trouble hearing eachother so we just type to eachother. Both looking forward to me being in Joburg in 2 weeks... 2 weeks!!!!!

Lance is due home any minute, having gone to the dentist... something we both hate! Shame, poor lad. Hope his mouth isnt too bad x

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Answered prayer!


I have heard back from the two mums this week and they are keen for me to childmind their kids! Exciting stuff indeed... I have only been registered for 2 weeks and now I am practically full up already!

I am keeping Fridays open for freelance work, and then only have 1 space available on 2 days a week. This is really good news, we are thrilled. The kids are lovely, and the mums will be great to work alongside.

Childminding is a partnership with parents I feel, and I think things will go very well.

Today Judy and Debs (and the 4 kids!) came round for tea and we had some cake I baked yesterday, plus some more fruit muffins haha - I so love making them! The sun was out and we had a lovely time in the garden with them.

The kids start in September and October, so need more freelance work in the meanwhile, and the usual freelance work is very quieeet... hope to get some soon! (before our trip to SA).

Must celebrate with Lance tonight!

Monday, 30 July 2007


is going well! Hobbling around a lot but at least I can put some weight on the naughty ankle! Lance bandaged it up well this morning, so it's well supported.

Saw a prospective mum and the interview went very well :)) 2 lovely kids, 2 year old boy and a 1 year old girl. Super, down-to-earth mum too! Just ironing out finer details now.

Going to make Lance a cheesey bacon pasta dish for tonight!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

It never rains, it pours!

Well today started off fine... we went for a lovely walk, wanting to do some exercise! So thought 'let's walk to Southfields, have a cup of coffee, get some wholewheat pronutro from the SA shop there, and come home'.

Well, that was was SUPPOSED to have happened!

Yours truly decides to TRIP, and I have badly sprained my right ankle. Lance dashed home for the car, and off we went to Queen Mary's A&E (Accident and Emergency).

The nurse there did an examination, but wasnt that helpful to be honest, she didnt tell us anything we didnt know. A sprain, keep off it for 72 hours, elevate it, keep cold ice on it.. etc.

The thing is, tomorrow I am seeing a potential parent with her two children, and I hope this goes okay! Not the best impression to make... a hobbling one!

I think I'll give my MBTs a rest for a while. They are curved and unsteady to stand in... and so when one goes over uneven paving (as I did), it's difficult to keep one's balance... and over you go! Literally.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Red Bull Air Race ~ London!

Today was fabulous!

We went to the air race over the Thames, in London. As my sister's boss works at Red Bull, she gets some pretty cool complimentary tickets... and gave us some :) They would've cost us £50 each otherwise! Eeek. Grandstand tickets.

We sat behind a Richard Branson lookalike... even took a photo of him! haha Felt like saying 'hey Richard, re those Virgin tickets to the USA we bought last week...?'

The weather was fine and then not, up and down. It didnt rain though which was great.

They were only doing the qualifying times today, but they were flying as if they were racing... was wonderful to watch! We took loads of photos, and a couple of videos, but you dont get the sense of SPEED they were going by looking at them! They were going over 400km an hour!

Great fun, and glad we could finally go.

Went to Longleat last year and they didnt get to fly due to terrible weather. Traffic was horrendous too... we were literaly on the road for 10 hours that day! I think this was a huge reason why they thought to bring it to London... Longleat and the winding lanes and farm fields for parking just cannot handle 100,000,000 people!

Red Bull Air Race - London, July 2007

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

New York!

Fab news!

We have booked our Virgin flights for New York (external and internal), as well as the hotel for overnight at Newark. We havent booked the hotel for our 5 days stay in New York yet, but know where we will stay. Just need to make the £££ first to pay for it... especially as New Year's Eve alone costs $424!

Cant wait to see the family in North Carolina, especially our new little nephew. Plus spend time with mum. I miss her so much. She is my mum and a friend.

What is exciting about this first trip to the States is that we will be seeing two VERY different sides of the States... where my brother lives is out in the sticks more, and then New York.. hustling, bustling city life!

Lots of planning to do. But a good start made today

Monday, 23 July 2007

Red Bull Air Race ~ London!


Some photos of the Redbull Air Race, held in London this month... and on the Thames, not at Longleat! Far better idea of course... Longleat, although a lovely farmy area... was horrific last year for traffic.







Saturday, 21 July 2007

Hubby's birthday!

It's my hubby's birthday today, the big 36!

We were going to visit Arundel Castle in West Sussex, but have had to cancel due to the adverse weather we are having, plus because I am really not well enough to travel.

He doesn't complain though, he is such an easy, unselfish husband. And I am so blessed!

Family have called and texted, and I made him a birthday cake... yes, even amidst my delirium yesterday! Not too sure how I did it as I was feeling so nauseus, but I did it. He seems happy and the cake seems edible :)

He got some Calvin Klein undies (what's a birthday without undies???), and some old war movies... like Dunkirk etc. He loves these.

Also, excitingly, I received my Ofsted Childminding Registration Certificate in the post today. I am so delighted! :)) A real answer to prayer to have received it so soon.

We also received 2 DVDs from Lance's folks re their recent holiday to Vic Falls. His father is with the camcorder what I am with the camera! :) On our travel list for sure. So much to see and do!

Going to sign off and see if the birthday boy needs anything. Another tickle no doubt ;)

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Hello from a newly registered childminder!!!

Well, this came out of the blue... as I thought I'd have to wait till the dates in September rolled up for me to register...

I got a call from the inspector from Ofsted a few days ago, saying that she had brought my case before the regional Ofsted head, and the head had decided they would make an exception in my case, and grant me an early registration!

I am amazed!!!

And what was popped through the post box today??? My registration certificate! Woohoooooooooooo

Saturday, 7 July 2007


~ It's a significant date
~ The Tour de France prologue is today in London
~ It's the woman's tennis finals at Wimbledon!

but most especially

~ It's the 2nd anniversary of the London bombings.

Thoughts and prayers go to all that were affected in some way.
So glad the other 2 bombs were found and Glasgow didnt have casualties.
I hope this menace on society (terrorism) is stopped!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Spontaneity in love

We often write little notes for eachother... hubby especially. I'll walk to the bathroom mirror, and there'll be one there... then I'll walk to the fridge - one there attached to a magnet... and then I'll (of course, and he KNOWS this!) have to check out VT, and there'll be one sitting on the keyboard. Little love notes :)

I love it.

He came home with a card a couple days ago - I'm having a bit of a rough time and he knows this, and the card (with his little love essay inside) just made me cry... and laugh.. and then cry again.

He gets me flowers, and not always on Fridays... can be any day. I love his spontaneity! He also came home with Hitchcock's DVD collection the other day.. big surprise for me :)

I just got him something too (hiding next to the bed at the mo), which I wont describe in case he reads this.

It's the back tickles, the cups of tea, washing one's back with those special rough bath washes etc. that make the difference. We do this for eachother all the time - not every day, but it doesnt have to be a special day like a birthday etc.

Every day I am so grateful to have him at my side. We chatted again re this this morning too. I honestly dont know what I'd do without him, but somehow, we all cope.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

This evening, at the Flowers

I just have to laugh!!! I am so housewifey since I am at home more... and this is so typical...

So this is how it went.


Lance phones earlier on... his tooth filling has fallen out... oooh aah..

So wifey the secretary phones around (never been to dentist sice we moved so dont know local ones), to find a doc that isnt NHS (had a horrific scare once at one) but isnt too expensive... finds one... books an appt. First thing tomorrow morning.

Good wife.

Hubby comes home.
Oh dear.

His tooth is sore and his whole mouth is actually enflamed. His eyes are downcast, his shoulders slumped (he's playing the patient well..)

He asks me whats for dinner, I get it ready. He needs fruit juice. I pour it... with much love.

He eats up (good appetite for one with such a sore mouth I note)... then collapses back into the sofa.

Are there any treats he asks? No, I reply.

Oh no, he now has a tenson headache. Can I rub it please?

I rub it... then his eyes are sore. Jen massages his eyeballs (sounds lovely huh) and strokes his hair.

Did you wash my clothes earlier? Yes dear.

He's afraid of the dentist he says. I know, I soothingly say. But it'll be okay. Would you like me to come with you?
No, it's okay he says.

How will I get to work after the dentist? (shame, in his pain and delirium he has forgotten his route to work too..)

He is so shattered he needs to get to bed early, but needs help walking to the bedroom... Jen leads him there and tucks him into bed. Gently of course. Wouldnt want to distress his tooth.

Oh, please dont go he says, his hamstrings are now sore... he throws back the covers so I can massage his hamstrings. Did you know hamstrings actually go into one's back??? I learn something new every day...

Then his back needs a tickle.

Then, with a furrowed brow and a delicate (but tortured) sigh... he closes his eyes.
What a day.

Wifey kisses him goodnight and tiptoes out. Not forgetting to set his alarm clock.

Bless, he can sleep in a bit tomorrow as he's going to the dentist first at 9:00, not leaving at 6:30 for work.

What shall I make him for breakfast? Hmm... it had better be a SOFT egg.

Moral: Man-toothache is always more than mere toothache.

Kruger National Park Video!

Have you ever seen a pride of lionesses and a crocodile fighting between themselves for a baby buffalo?

Have you ever seen a herd of angry buffalo attack hungry lionesses?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The call of the wild in the Kruger Park

Kruger National Park - Flower's Kruger

This world famous National Park in South Africa was founded in 1898 and is just under 2 million hectares in size in total. It is, to me, so much more than a piece of the planet where flora, fauna and animal are preserved and protected, it speaks of a childhood spent in avid attention of the detail and attention to life that this park offers. I have been here many a time and have never been disappointed.

Were I to choose any one dream job in the world, it would be to live in this park, studying it's life - both bush and animal alike, photographing, documenting, drawing and illustrating it. If I never saw a human being it wouldnt phase me (okay, my hubby would be with me), but to spend unprecedented time in this world in the wild, would be an honour.

Kruger National Park - Keeping a watchful eye on us...
Keeping a watchful eye on us...

Natural and wild

The Park is massive and boasts large herds of animals in varying shape and form, an example being when a herd of over 500 buffalo were seen crossing in front of us when we were on our way out of the park at sunset in 2002! Click on the buffalo pic to see what I mean by 'being watched' :)

For the wild animals who live in the park, each and every day is a struggle to survive, so every sense must remain on high alert, throughout the day, and the night, when most predators actually do their hunting! As the numbers of wild animals dwindle though, due to man encroaching on their terrain, plus due to hunting, so too are the opportunities to see them in their natural state and context dwindling. Parks like this are godsends.

Kruger National Park - Self-drive in a 4x4! :)

Come on in and experience it! Experience this vast park, choc-a-block with wildlife and outstanding scenery in the comfort of your car (self drive) or with a knowledgeable, registered and friendly guide. It's your choice.

Enjoy accommodation of all types (from basic to luxury), good food and the best wildlife experience ever - an all round must-see if you are travelling in South Africa, Madiba-land :)

My Kruger National Park Travel Page