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!!!!