Friday, 30 May 2014

A moan and a mountain


I am sorry I haven't been about for a while. Things have gone a little crazy round here. As usual I have taken on too much, but in my defense, that is not the only problem. You see in their infinite wisdom, the roads people have decided to resurface the road out of the village where we live. Now, this is the ONLY road out of the village where we live. So in order for the chaps to be able to get on with the job in hand, they have decided to close the road completely from 9.30-12.00 and 1.00-3.00. This means that if I want or need to spend some of the day in town, I have to spend a lot of the day in town. No longer can I nip home after taking the kids to school, potter about straightening things up, write a blog post and then go to town, oh no, it is all or nothing. The upshot is that I have wasted many hours over the last few weeks waiting for the road to open, or waiting for the thing I am hours too early for. Hours that I could have spent productively doing many many other things.

Five weeks down and one to go... I have been trying not to be scowly-cross about it. I have been very restrained and haven't stormed into the office of the head of the roads department to explain the concept of traffic lights to him, but my patience is rapidly running out...

Anyway, rant over. I want to tell you about one of the things I have been doing whilst stuck in town, something very worthwhile, fun and productive.

Jamestown, indeed, St Helena has one charity shop. Just the one, run by the Salvation Army. It is very popular and much needed. The aim is not to raise money, but to provide good quality clothing for very little money. Everything in it is 50p and if you can't afford that then they will give you whatever you need for nothing. They also do a great line in cups of tea, slices of cake, smiles, hugs and friendly chat. If you can give a donation in return then great, if not then have another cuppa.

Unfortunately the shop has been closed for the last six months. The building needed a new roof and the only option was to empty everything out and get the roofers in. With some new electrics too and a coat of paint into the bargain, the building is now looking tip top. Unfortunately the stock is not.

Lots and lots of donations wing their way here from the UK thanks to the generosity of one of the shipping companies who will fill empty spaces in their shipping containers with boxes of clothes. Unfortunately not every one is as generous as they might be. About 1/4 of the contents of every box is only fit for rags. It is stained, torn or so outdated that no one wants it. Another 1/2 is functional - just. The shop gives these clothes away at 'sales' every few months. The remaining 1/4 is good quality, good condition and fit to sell.  In order to re-stock the shop from scratch we are having to sort through mountains of clothes.

This pile is as tall as me.

So, a small team of us have been popping in when ever we can spare an hour or two, and our weekly craft group have spent two evenings at it. It took ten of us about four hours to sort through this lot.

There are a few surprises in there.

It's ok, it is plastic and we put
it in the box for the drama group.

Of course when you are sorting clothes, it is hard to resist the temptation to try on the choicest items...

Yes, that would be matching jump suits. There was a third one in blue, but unfortunately none of the rest of us were slim enough to get into it!

I think another giggle-filled evening of sorting should just about get through it, then we'll have a massive 'sale' before getting on with the really fun part: stocking the rails for the Grand Reopening.

Back soon to show you some other bits an bobs that I have been up to.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Small Achievement

One of the sights of Jamestown is Jacob's Ladder - 699 steps, each about 11 inches high rising 600 feet straight up the side of the valley. 

Last year we witnessed the new world record climb.

Yesterday a similarly huge achievement was made.  

Tall Girl and Big Trouble took part in the Ladder Challenge as part of the St Helena Day celebrations.

Tall Girl (who is 8) made it up in 11m 14s. Big Trouble (who is 3) took 18m 2s. They each got a medal and were quite rightly pleased as punch with their efforts.

I was very proud of them, and also proud of Tiny Boy who knows that competition makes him stressed and decided to join me as part of the support crew. He will do the ladder in his own time another day.

What are you proud of today?


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Flax Facinator

So, a few weeks ago, J and I were invited to the Governor's residence for the Queen's Birthday Party. It was more fun than I was expecting and dressing up was lovely. One of the things I dressed up in was this: A flax facinator which I made specially. I have had one floating around in my head since I first learned to weave flax and now was the moment. We didn't get round to taking any pics at the time so I popped it on again for a little photo shoot at the weekend so I could show and tell.

Ta Da!


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sew along with Daisy

Ta Da! 

I finished my skirt for Daisy Jones' sew along and I love it. Actually, I LOVE it!

I love the jolly colour.

I love that I was brave enough to sew it with contrasting thread.

I love that under Daisy's instructions, putting in the zip was easy peasy and not at all scary!

I love that I finally found something special enough to use the one length of rickrack that I brought with me.

I love that I took inspiration from Lisa at Mrs Bobo Bun and used pretty facing.

I love that tucking in the ends of the rickrack into the back seam worked out so neatly.

I love it!

I am going to wear it tomorrow. 


Sunday, 11 May 2014


So, there are sugar loaves in Brazil, the USA and Wales but also in St Helena. With visiting Granny happy to be on Small duty, J took a day off work last week so we could do the Sugar Loaf walk - one that is really not Small friendly. Too far, too steep and too precipitous!

It is a one way walk, starting up on Flagstaff. The views from up there are fab, although the sky was doing it's best to look menacing and dramatic...

Here we are, all ready for the off!

The path begins in some scrubby woodland,

but soon opens out into the 'crown wastes'. (Semi or actual deserts around the crown, or edge of the island, nothing to do with Her Maj.)

That is where we are headed first: Sugarloaf. Now the one in Brazil looks like a torpedo (and like an actual sugar loaf - google it) and the ones in the USA and Wales look like pointy hills, but ours looks like a pyramid I think.

The path does go fairly close to the edge at times...

This is the view back along the back of the Barn.

As we get closer the path is made of very slippery grit and I am very glad J brought his walking poles. I have stolen one.

Ta Da! The post box. 

Book stamped, view admired and we're off again. Rather than heading back the way we came, we are going to follow the coast round to Ruperts Bay and then Jamestown. At this point I was doubly glad J brought his walking poles because one of my knees packed in and decided that going down hill was overrated.

Along the way we passed some of the old fortifications. This is Banks' Battery.

If only the pavements of Jamestown were laid to this standard!

Banks' bay looks very inviting, but sadly when we get down there the water is a bit rough and there is no safe place to get in and out of the water.

There were some very good rock pools though, and this chap spat at us repeatedly. It is a little octopus.

Time and tide have taken their toll and the defences are quietly crumbling into the sea.

Further on and we get our fist view of Ruperts. This is the industrial centre of the island where materials for building the airport arrive, and were there is a power station and a fish processing plant.

Who said industry has to be grey?

Looking back to where we have been. The pointy one is Sugarloaf.

Round the last headland and we get to James Bay. At this point my knee gave way entirely and J had to help me down the path into town so the photos dried up. But you already know what Jamestown looks like!

Despite the knee is was a lovely walk. Thanks for coming too.