Thursday 13 December 2012

Ruthin here we come

Can't wait to get back to our beautiful warm house on park road

Now it's already Wednesday, 19th Dec. Ooops, I'm getting behind with posts. We arrived last Friday in time to join our second practice in the Ruthin Christian Fellowship carol singing group. Saturday we sang in the market, and Sunday in the worship service and then again in local sheltered accommodation.

How can I describe it? It's difficult to find words that express the amazing sense of worship and praise, fun and laughter that lifted my spirit. There's nothing like it! I kept on thinking "Soon I'll wake up to reality" but I'm still living this wonderful dream!

I sang mostly in English (it was optional), but when we sang one carol all in Welsh the whole atmosphere changed to a different level, and we were almost gasping with amazement at the sense of harmony and beauty in the singing.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Visit to Dad

In Tavistock at last! It's been a long time since we visited him. The Olympics have been and gone, and now Dad is thinking of moving into something smaller and with more support. He was offered a room in Abbeyfields on Plymouth Road opposite the park. He's very positive about this momentous decision, and looking forward to more company. Brave man.

I'm going to write more later - this is just for the record!

14th Dec OK now in Haddenham with some dear friends, Hugh and Tricia who have given us massive support on our arrival. They met us in Tilbury Docks, drove us to their home and let us mellow for two nights before driving to our house in Ruthin, North Wales. This past week we have stayed mainly with them as we visit our mission office in Oxford and have health checks.

The de-brief at CMS went well, and we feel positive about our future. Very thankful to God for His care all through these times.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

water everywhere

Water surrounding us is the story of our lives in the last few weeks. Last Tuesday we woke up to the sound of fire engine sirens going past our window on Park Road (in the back of this photo).

We arrived in Britain on Wednesday 28th November, with gale force winds off the coast of Sheppy, but as we docked at Tilbury the weather seemed calmer. For our first few days the rain held off, but after allowing us to get settled into our little house, it came back.

I poked a sleepy head out of the door later on, when I heard lots of talking and activity outside, and our neighbours were putting sand bags against their doors, front and back. The floods came to within a few meters of our house, but thankfully didn't get through the defences which were put up after the year 2000 floods here in Ruthin. About one hundred houses were affected though, and the residents are still living in temporary accommodation while their homes are being de-contaminated. It will take a few months before they can get back, so Christmas will be a different story for them.

Kalahari at sea

Lifeboat practice kept us occupied on our first Saturday. The crew do this every week, and we saw the life-boat almost launched. It was swinging over the side of the boat, then they reeled it in again. The Captain gave us leave to take photos, and go everywhere, so I have quite a collection. One day I'll get organised and have a few more up on the blog.

We had freedom to go on the Bridge and look at all the dials, maps, gauges and charts. It was enormous, with lots of window space front and back, side to side. As well as keeping the radar on all the time, a crew member with a pair of binoculars was looking to see if any boats or objects were around. Most of the journey we spent with nothing but ocean in view. Then when we arrived in the English Channel, and sailed from Northern France past Plymouth, Dover, Calais and in to the Thames Estuary, as well as land closing in on both sides, we could also see around eight other boats a lot of the time. Some were going in the same direction, some in the opposite one, and some sailing directly towards us. Those mostly ended up going behind us, across our wake.

During the journey we could do email from the crew's address, when we weren't feeling nauseous, as the Bridge was at the top of the boat's swing! There was also a satellite phone, so I talked to my Dad when we were 1000 miles east of Ascension Island, and 1500 miles west of Africa.

wave-print on the ocean

A long time since I've posted - a whole month in fact!

Here's the boat, at least as much as I could get in one picture on board. Our foot-print on the earth's surface was even more distinct; I'm sure the wake of the boat could be seen from a satellite in space. We learnt that the boat could carry up to 4,000 containers of 20 foot each. On our journey most of them were 40 foot, and we were not fully loaded.

The sea calmed down for us, and it was like sailing through a mirror off the West coast of Africa. Flying fish flew out of our way, and I could even see the splash of their tails in the water as they picked up speed. Some flew only a few feet, and some flew around 30 meters before landing again in the 'mill-pond' sea. They have fins either side which helps them to glide, and the speed is quite incredible.

In the tropics we had good weather, so the swimming pool was filled each day from the sea. It was 4x4 meters, and I just swam round and round and back again to reverse the dizziness. There was a gymn as well, so our fitness kept getting better! Until the Bay of Biscay where the waves really started. The ship rolled so much that Kevin had to lie down after taking sea sickness tablets.

Sunday 4 November 2012

DAL Kalahari

This is the website for our ship, which is where we'll be now for the next three weeks until we arrive in Tilbury Docks, London, UK. The berthing of the ship in Cape Town was due today, but we've been told it will be at midnight, so asked to come at 7am tomorrow morning. That is when we'll do passports and immigration as well. Now I'm looking forward to it even more.

While we were travelling on the train, it was difficult to get to grips with the boat part, but now we're thinking about how much sea-sickness we'll have, and what to do all the time. Lots of plans! Maybe write a novel, read some books on my kindle, and study the Welsh language. Maybe. Watch this space!

Saturday 3 November 2012

Table Mountain

Our new friends, Tracy and Peter have welcomed us like family. Yesterday we set out to climb Table Mountain, but the table cloth cloud was too thick in the morning when we arrived. It was sad, because the day before had been sunny and clear.

Instead we decided to go to Robben Island, just off the coast, where Nelson Mandela was in prison for many years, so we drove around town to the habour and stood in the queue. But when we arrived at the front, the boat was full, so we couldn't go there either :^(

Instead of that, we took a boat round the harbour, "To get our sea legs in" as Peter said.

Then to cheer us up even more, we had an amazing game lunch there in the Harbour. As we were eating it, looking up at the mountain, we saw the cloth was lifting off!

Such a welcome from the maker of the Table! We drove back to the foot of the mountain and went up to the top, in the cable car! There we found, as well as the stunning view all around, it was warm, calm and peaceful. Normally there is a cold wind blowing.

At the end of the day, sleepy heads couldn't keep our eyes open, and later today, Sunday is the day we are set to board the VERY big ship in the container habour. That ship, the DAL Kalahari will be our home for the next three weeks.