Tuesday, 27 February 2007

To move, or not to move

I've been meaning to write this blog post for days, but I keep getting distracted with various things. Dan and I have been talking a bit lately about the possibility of moving house. Downsizing. When we bought this place three years ago we had to increase our mortgage a bit. But we needed the extra space. With that bit extra we got an extra bedroom for Luke, an office, a classroom, a utility room and a garage. Lots of space. But now the value of the houses has risen substantially in our area. Now we could literally buy our old house back with the profit from this one and live mortgage free. So, in my head I am wondering would it be worth downsizing to be mortgage free? What is the point of having a big house if one cant afford to do anything? If we downsized we could put aside the monthly amount that we currently pay each month on our mortgage, and do something with it. We could travel, do nice things at the weekends, buy a conservatory or do a loft conversion, or deck the garden, or replace the kitchen, because we could afford to.
So what do you think? Would squashing our family into a smaller house and making the kids share bedrooms be worth it? Or do you think I would go stir crazy?

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Barnisms cont - The Uvula

9.30am this morning, Barney bounds into my bedroom and climbs into the bed beside me. He opens his mouth wide and says

"Mummy, can you see my Uvula?"

Ha ha. What a sentence for a three year old, eh? Then he made me open my mouth and explained where my uvula is and that the two holes either side it is where my food goes down to my tummy. Is this boy going to be a doctor or what?

Friday, 23 February 2007

Whats that coming over the hill? Is it a monster?

Barney - in costume. He looks just like his father sometimes.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

The pounding in my ears is terrible today. Since dinner time last night it just got really loud. Hasn't been like that for some time. It's always there, but I have no idea why it is sometimes worse. Today I can hear it all the time, whereas usually day time sounds would drown it out. I wish those MRI results would come back soon.

Last night Barney threw a glass & metal snow globe at Jimmie and hit him above his nose, between his eyes. He split his skin right open. It was nasty. Poor Jimmie was in agony, and his nose immediately swelled up, with this big open gash on it. It was so deep that it didn't even bleed for quite a few minutes. I thought we might have to take him to get stitches but it started to slowly bleed and the gash seems to have turned into a scab now. Barney just didn't realise the seriousness of what he had done. He doesn't quite understand that you can't just throw stuff at people. We sent him to his room and had a good talk with him. He apologised to Jimmie by giving him some of his precious Halloween sweets. That was a big thing for Barney. He doesn't like to give sweets away. We all felt so sorry for Jimmie, poor lad.

Annabelle told me yesterday that she only has one jumper that fits her, and it was dirty. I looked through her wardrobe and she was right enough. So we headed into town to buy some jumpers. I got her 4 jumpers, and a pair of black jeans for Jimmi. There were lots of other clothes that she liked (she's getting to that age where fashion matters) and so I told her that we could go back into the town today with some of her Christmas money.

Not much else happening here at the moment.

Monday, 19 February 2007


Here we have our lad performing. Isn't he lovable? He's put this on youtube. I think he's hoping for a talent spotter. LOL.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Should I go on Wife Swap?

Ha ha ha. Yes its true. The wife swap team have contacted me for a second time asking whether I would like to go on their show! The email is below. Its absolutely hilarious. If I had never watched the show I'd think it was a something entirely different from this letter. LOL.

Wife Swap emailed me many months ago asking me to go on their show. They were looking for a home educating family, had read my blog and liked that I also grew vegetables etc. I politely declined. The kids were not too keen to have a new Mum for two weeks, Dan wasn't keen on getting a new wife, and I was not keen on having our home life mocked, inspected and ridiculed on Channel 4.

This time they have found me on a raw food forum. I don't think they even realise that I also home educate, or that they have contacted me before. I guess they really are struggling to find different families for the show. But if they think I'd be mad enough to go on it, well they will be sorely disappointed. As Deb said in her email to me, I "don't know whether I should be flattered or offended by their attentions".

It's actually such a shame that Channel 4 have made this show into such a laughable mockery of peoples family lives. The same program, portrayed differently, could be very educational, mature, enjoyable and show different lifestyles and cultures in a positive light. Someone should start a better version of it. The idea behind it is good, but the editing process tends to show everyone very unfavourably. It would make for a good blog post though, wouldn't it? I wonder if I could charge them for our appearance on the show? Would 20K be too much to ask? LOL. That's at least what it would take for me to go through with it.

Anyway, the email is below... (If any other raw eaters would like to go on the show feel free to contact Lucia with the details below)

Hi there,

I got your contact details from Rawveg.com- hope you don’t mind me emailing you. I wonder if you could help?

I work for RDF Television and we are currently making an observational documentary series for Channel 4 that looks at family life in the UK and celebrates different lifestyles in modern Britain. The documentary, Wife Swap, is primarily about people learning from the way others lead their lives.

As part of this out-reach we are looking to speak to families (preferably with younger children) who are passionate about the way they lead their lives and who could provide an educational and inspirational insight into their life. We are very keen to take Wife Swap back its documentary roots and make it a programme that another family and of course the viewers, would find informative and valuable.

The programme also provides a great platform to show the reality and the rewards of caring for the environment and having a healthy attitude to living and eating.

I was wondering whether you could recommend any families that you may know or whether you may be interested yourselves in finding out more about the show? I can be contacted on lucia.bartolo@rdfmedia.com or 0207 0134593.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would like some more information.

I hope to speak to you again soon- any advice or contacts you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Lucia Bartolo

Lucia Bartolo Researcher
RDF MEDIA GROUP PLC The Gloucester Building Kensington Village Avonmore Road London W14 8RF
tel. 0207 013 4593

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

A day to see the owls

Yesterday we went to The World Of Owls in Randalstown. I'd never even heard of it before. Despite the bitter weather we had a good time. The owls were adorable. It was amazing to see them so close up. Jimmie and Annabelle read all the descriptions on the cages of each owl and Barney ran between them deciding on his favourites. Some of our friends joined us. I think I may have to organise a home education group trip there when the weather is a bit warmer.

The pair of owls in the 2nd photo were my favourite. Mr and Mrs Owl. They sat together looking lovingly into each others eyes. Barney liked the owl with the big orange eyes in photo number 3, which made strange noises if you got too close. I had to take that photo of Dan with Heather. Sitting at the picnic table, freezing, eating all my healthy raw foods, under a big tartan granny blanket. They looked like a pair of old pensioneers on a day out from the retirement home. Cute.

My diet is going to plan so far. I've lost just over half a stone in the 3 weeks or so that I've been at it. In general I feel more energized, less sleepy (not today!) and less bloated. We've been eating mostly raw foods and I've been making a lot of dehydrated food too. I've also started sprouting again. The sprouts always liven up salads and sandwiches.

1) sprouting alfalfa, 2) sprouting sunflower seeds (my favourite) 3) sprouted chick peas (I will make dehydrated falafels with these) 4) sprouting mustard. 5) My new tall, family size fridge! At last, after 13 years of waiting - a fridge I can fit stuff into! Wahey.

Latest Barnisms

Barney comes out with so much every day. I can't remember all the little gems to blog. I have a terrible memory. Here are a few gems from the last few days...

Barney- "Mummy, I'm in love with you"
Me - "Aww, I'm in love with you too baby"
B - "What would I do without you Mummy?"
M - "You'd be lonely without me wouldn't you. What would I do without you?"
B - "Hmmm. Play the guitar?"

Dan had flowers delivered for our anniversary. I phoned him to say thanks, and Barney wanted to talk to him too....

Barney - "Daddy why did you buy Mummy flowers?"
Daddy - "Because I love her from the bottom of my heart"
Barney - "But Daddy! You don't have a heart!"

Monday, 12 February 2007

MRI scan

Yes, today was our 13th wedding anniversary. We agreed not to get each other anything, seen as we bought the dehydrator and the dishwasher as a gift to ourselves. I kept my end of the bargain. Not even a card was bought by me. But not Dan. No. This afternoon a taxi pulled into our driveway. I thought he had got the wrong house. But he knocked on the door and delivered me a huge bouquet of flowers. So Dan didn't keep to his side of the bargain. But they were lovely flowers.

This evening I had my MRI scan. Mum came to babysit the kids so that Dan could come with me. I wanted him in with me because I know I can be a little claustrophobic at times. Although, I've never been in a situation where I've been confined, so its hard to be sure if I am claustrophobic or not. So he came with me. I wasn't at all nervous. When I went to the reception the nurse said that Dan would have to wait in the waiting area. I asked if he could come and she said 'no'. Then I said that I was a little claustrophobic and would feel happier if he was there. So she agreed, but he would have to fill out forms and take any metals items off of him etc. She seemed a little annoyed at the extra paper work. I felt a bit of a con for asking for him to be there as I'm not really that claustrophobic.

I had to remove all my jewelry, my glasses, my metal under-wired bra! (I never even thought about it!) and answer lots of questions concerning metal and operations. Then she took us into this room. At this point I had no glasses on so I couldn't really see a thing. She said "pop up onto that bed there". Steve sat at the side of the room. I had said to Steve before hand "I will be OK as long as a) they don't strap my head in, b) I have at least an arms length of room or c) they only put my head into the machine and not my whole body. If they did 2 of the 3, but not all 3, I would be fine. So I lay on the bed. The nurse said "I'm just putting this aerial on your head". No problem. But this aerial was not an aerial, it was a metal head cage, like something off of Silence of the Lambs! It was strapped across my head and locked into position. My eyes peered out from the gaps. "I'm OK" I thought "I can cope with that". The nurse had already put some headphones on me with my favourite CD playing. Over the sound of music I just about heard her say "if you're claustrophobic you may want to close your eyes". This was the only information I was offered. I wasn't told what would happen, or anything more than this. No my mind, I should have been shown the machine, told how far I would go in and talked through the process.

I felt her put something in my hand. "This is the alarm. You can press this if you are in any distress". OK, lying very calmly in my head cage. Then I closed my eyes and felt the bed moving. I was fine. Eyes closed. Listening to my music. Been there for about 12 seconds, give or take. So I thought, "Hmm, I wonder what's happening. I'll take a look around". I opened my eyes. BIG MISTAKE. To my horror my entire body was caged in what I could only describe as a sterile white plastic coffin! The top of the tube/machine was only inches from my nose. My heart almost exploded with terror. At this point I realise I really am claustrophobic and all sense or reason disappeared. I tried to move my arms but couldn't stretch them. A, B and C had all happened to me and I lost the ability to stay calm. It was very unlike 'me'. I pressed the panic button. The nurse thought I'd pressed it my mistake. They I started shouting "get me out of here, please let me out" and as the panic raced through my body I was about to start kicking and breaking their equipment when I felt the bed moving out. Oh thank god. I was out. They took the brace off my head, I sat up and have never felt so utterly horrendous in my entire life! And my sensible head was telling me how daft I was being, but my body was having a panic attack.

I sat bolt upright. My mouth had gone completely dry, just instantly dry, it was so weird. My lips were tingling and my heart was pounding through my chest wall. I could hear the nurse saying "you opened your eyes didn't you". She started telling me that I had to go back in because the scan was important. She said that if I did it again once the machine was switched on (I hadn't yet got to that stage) that she would lose all the magnetic power and they wouldn't be able to do the scan. I really wanted to get the scan done so I lay back down quickly because if I'd had time to think about it I'd have run out of the building. She said Dan could stand at the machine and hold my feet to comfort me. They strapped my head in again, put the music on, and I shut my eyes as tight as I could. I clenched my fists round that alarm and tried to breath slowly. I really needed a paper bag. I felt the machine moving again and my heart was just pounding so hard. I couldn't breath normally. My lips were shaking. I've seen peoples lips and hands shake from fear but never experienced it. But now my lips were shaking uncontrollably, as were my hands. My eye lids were shaking up and down whilst my eyeballs were shaking from left to right! Honestly. It was so hard to keep them closed as they were flickering everywhere. And the whole time I was trying to tell myself how silly I was being.

I lay there, paralysed for about 20 minutes. I daren't move a muscle for fear that I would panic again. I could feel Dan rubbing my legs and feet, and tapping in time to the music on me. I tried to concentrate on the words to the songs. I took the Serene and Pearl CD 'Peace All Over Me' because the words are inspiring and create great images in my mind. I tried so hard to listen to the words and block out what was happening. But the machine was so noisy that I could barely hear the music. I did not open my eyes once. If I had opened them, I would have lost it completely. I just lay there, trying to breath. The noises were very loud. Metal clanking noises, bashing and crashing, and robotic noises too. After what seemed like an eternity I felt the bed moving. I didn't open my eyes till I felt the head cage go, just in case I'd got it wrong, and the bed wasn't moving at all, LOL.

The nurse said nothing but "you're free to go now". Whilst I tried to compose myself after the most horrific half an hour of my life. It took me about 2 hours to calm down. Even typing this I'm getting palpitations. Dan had to stop at a cafe on the way home and buy me a cup of tea and a lemon meringue pie.

I have learnt from this that I am extremely claustrophobic. I am sure measures should be taken for people like that having MRI scans. If I'd have been given a blindfold, or something over my eyes I would have been fine. Also, if I'd have been talked through the process I may have been more prepared. Surely this must happen a lot? Judging my the nurses complacent reaction, it probably does. Apparently I should have been sedated before hand. But who wants to feel groggy for two days just to go through a scan? Since coming home I just feel so silly about the whole thing. I mean, my common sense tells me I was in no danger whatsoever, but my phobia took over and I had no control over myself. It's scary. Now I just have to wait on the results.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

All about Saturday

I spent most of Saturday cleaning, playing with Barney and un-cooking. Jimmie and Annabelle decided they were having a lazy day, and seen as they never really do, I decided to leave them to it. Jimmie didn't get dressed until 5.30pm, and that was only when I told him that Daddy was taking them to see Charlotte's Web at the cinema. I guess he wasn't too keen to go in his PJ's. Since Annabelle and Jimmie were keeping to themselves, and Dan was at work, it meant that I was Barney's only companion. And it was one of those days when he wanted a constant friend. So I spent most of the day with him. I answered a million deep questions, mostly about him becoming a Daddy one day - ie, when would it happen, how would it happen, who would be the mummy?, would he have to move out of our house, why couldn't he grow a baby in his tummy?, where was the baby now then if it hadn't been born yet?, and lots more besides. His brain is just soaking up everything that we tell him. He is craving information and understanding. I just love them at that age, when the whole world is just full of excitement, possibilities and adventures.

In the afternoon Barney and I made a little house under the kitchen table. We covered the table with duvets and blankets which draped down as our walls. Then we put a rug in to sit on, and some cushions, and Barney brought in some plastic food items from his kitchen. The pair of us spent an hour in there. At one point he was a dog with puppies (teddies) and I was a nice lady. Then I was a friendly giant (I think this came from my inability to sit upright inside the house). He cooked me dinner and proved that giants don't need to eat teddies to survive. At the end of the hour I was crippled from constant slouching and crawling, but I had a happy 3 year old who was content to watch TV whilst I did a bit of un-cooking.

So what did I make? Well, I'm still experimenting at the moment. The oat and buckwheat granola that I prepared a few days ago was finally dehydrated and we had a bowl this morning for breakfast. Steve really liked it. I thought it was a bit plain and I will add more fruit and more honey next time. When I looked at the packet of shop bought granola the second highest ingredient was sugar, which probably explains why mine tasted more plain.

For last nights dinner Dan and I tried out the Onion crackers with some avocado and raw parsnip & lemon dip. It was ok. Dan seemed more enthused with it than I was. I found the pumpkin seeds made the onion crackers too strong, and so I made some more with sunflower seeds instead. The raw parsnip dip (parsnips from our garden) was ok, but it was too lemony, in my opinion. However, Dan woofed the whole thing down and said he loved it. Who has taken my real husband and what have they done with him?

This is the second, milder batch of onion bread that was ready this morning. We haven't tried it yet.

Something Dan is not so fussed on trying are these stuffed mushrooms. They smell lovely, but they're not his sort of thing. They are mushrooms stuffed with an olive and pine nut tapenade. I got the recipe from this website.

Today Dan has gone to Curry's to purchase a new dishwasher. We really can't afford one and will have to dip into our emergency savings. But I am literally spending hours every day washing up. I do so much in the kitchen and the time a dishwasher saves is invaluable, in my opinion. Our fridge and freezer are also dying and so he is going to look at them while he is there.

Jimmie will be off school all week for half term (already!) Here are some photos of the boys playing together this week. They are both such little characters, and completely lovable.

Jimmie made them both fishing rods from bamboo sticks and string, and they spent a fun hour in the front garden fishing in the grass for imaginary fish!

They looked so adorable swinging in the hammock together that I just had to grab the camera. They look so happy.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Flowers Are Red by Harry Chapin

Click play on the little music box in the right hand side column to hear the song that goes with these lyrics below.

Flowers are Red
by Harry Chapin

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said..
What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said... It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one
And she said...Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said.. You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me.....
And she said...Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

The teacher put him in a corner
She said.. It's for your own good..
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And are responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said.. and he said
Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said...Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one
But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.


Barney is fascinated by the workings of the human body at the moment, as I have mentioned before. This week he was drawing a portrait of me on his doodle-pad. He called out to me...

"Mummy, I've almost finished drawing my picture of you. I've just got to draw the bladder and then you can see it".

Friday, 9 February 2007

New dehydrator, new food!

For our wedding anniversary (13 years - on the 12th Feb) we have bought each other a dehydrator. I've wanted one for over a year but they are so expensive here, and so we had to buy one from the US and get it shipped over (under half the price of buying one here - even with customs!) I bought this one. It arrived this week and I've been reading all my raw food 'un-cook' books to work out what to make in it. The idea behind dehydrating food is that it is slowly 'sun-dried' at a slow speed and a low temperature, therefore keeping all the nutrients in it alive, and raw. We have been eating raw for about a month now, about 80% of the time. But it is nice to have something hearty with our salads and fruits. This is where the dehydrator comes in.

Here are some photos of my first dehydration attempts. I will post more about it on my food blog at a later time.

Raw chocolate cookies.

Raw coconut, almond and oats cereal bars. (These were really yummy!)
This is the granola breakfast cereal which is in the dehydrator at the moment. This is a photo of it before it went in. It contains oats, sprouted buckwheat, raisins, honey, and almonds (amongst other things).
This was my first attempt at the raw onion bread. I had to substitute sunflower seeds with pumpkin seeds and I didn't grind them up as much as I should have. I will cut this slab into crackers to eat with salad. I have some more dehydrating now, which is smoother and has sunflower seeds in. This is made from onion, flax seeds, sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Oil Painting - Evacuation Train - By Annabelle

Annabelle painting this oil on canvas painting last year for the local library World War II art competition. She didn't win but we recently entered it on a site for kids and she has received two comments from real artists. The site is to promote creativity in children through artwork of writing. They have authors and artists who comment on the childrens work. You can read her comments by clicking here. Annabelle says "The Evacuation Train during World War II which took the children out of London to the safety of the countryside. The children are saying goodbye to their parents on the platform. I painted this for a competition but I didn’t win."

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Belfast Giants v Hull Stingrays

On Saturday we went to see the Belfast Giants Ice Hockey match for the first time! It was Dans birthday treat. He really did enjoy it. So did the kids, and so did I actually. We didn't take Barney, he's just too little for that sort of thing. Here are some of the photos we took. You can watch a 1 minute video as well by clicking here.
Dan with his program and tickets!

And with the Michelin Man - the mascot of the match. He was a good sport - dancing and carrying on.

The kids had their faces painted with the team colours and the captains number, 41.

And here they all are scoffing burgers just before the match started.

Today we took the opportunity to get out into the garden whilst the sun was shining. It was frosty, but lovely. Luke dug up some of the remaining carrots and parsnips for me. There are still plenty of carrots left, and a few more parsnips. We harvested 2 more cabbages aswell. Then I spent an hour dancing in compost. Well, it felt like it. I came in stinking anyway!

I ordered some more seeds and seed potatoes for this years garden. I'm hoping it will be easier this year now that everything is in place. Heres hoping. I bought some from Secret Seeds and some from the Organic Gardening Catalogue online. I was able to get everything organic this year.

Annabelle and Uncle D

A silhouette photo of Annabelle and her Uncle D at the lakeside of Castlewellan Lake. I just found this on the pc and had forgotten to post it a few weeks back. I thought they looked to cute together.

Monday, 5 February 2007

A trip to the circus!

What a busy week we had last week! Lots of trips and adventures. I haven't had to time to blog about them all, so I will do it bit by bit.
Some friends of ours phoned to say that they had 5 tickets to see the Russian Circus performing at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Unfortunately for them they were all unwell and couldn't go, so they offered us the tickets. We felt bad that they missed it, but it was great that we could use the tickets and they did not go to waste. So on Friday we headed to Belfast. Me, the kids and my sister H. Dan couldn't come as he was working so H gladly met us for the performance. It was very good. Jimmie and Annabelle really enjoyed it. Annabelle liked the clowns best, and Jimmie liked the acrobats. Barney talked the whole way through it, with a constant stream of questions... the first performance was a girl hanging from a great height on a long strip of fabric, turning, twirling, somersaulting. When there was a gap in the music and the whole theatre was quiet Barney piped up, at the top of his lungs "why can't I do that Mummy?" He's so cute. He had many questions... "how come that lady doesn't get hurt getting cut in half mummy?" etc.
Annabelle took a few videos of some of the performances on her camera, and I will load them onto youtube tomorrow. They are a bit noisy as her camera doesn't pick up such loud noises very well.
We felt bad about our friends children missing the performance so we bought them a little present from the souvenir shop. It was a lovely afternoon out. Thank you very much for thinking of us S and giving us your tickets.
To watch Video 1 click here
To watch Video 2 click here
To watch Video 3 click here

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Updates on MRI scan and T in Zambia

I received two bits of ‘news’ today. Firstly I received the appointment for my MRI scan. It is in the evening of the 12th February. Now, it’s a good job I’m not a superstitious person because that it the date of our 13th wedding anniversary! Aha. So instead of a romantic evening staring into each others eyes I will be listening to my favourite CD for an hour in a noisy claustrophobic machine. Oh fun. I am glad to have the appointment, obviously. Waiting is never fun.

Secondly I received a letter back from T in Zambia. I have heard from him since my blog post about him, but this is his first reply since I sent him a parcel and told him about my blog post and the generosity of people who donated money to him. He has told me in this letter how best to use the money from a practical point of view. He did receive the contents of the parcel I sent and nothing was missing. It was good to know that. I sent him a book, and various food items such as nuts, dried fruit, dried meats and some sweets. Anyway, rather than tell you all about it I thought I would type out some of what he says in his letter. So that those of you who gave money to help him can read what he has to say. (He sent 5 beautiful wooden hand painted pens with his letter - each with our name on them, one for each of us - I’ll post a photo of them later)

Dear Beloved sister (Bree)

It’s my sincere prayer and hope that this mail finds you all in good health, both spiritually and physically. With me here I am doing well despite the sentence itself. I always thank God when ever I am given a breath. This is the miracle which God performs in my life each day I wake up and get the beauty of this planet earth. I always maintain one day at a time. How is my friend Barney?

First and foremost I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for your wonderful nice worded mail, and very beautiful Christmas cards sent to me from Dan, yourself, Annabelle and Jimmie. Thank you one again for the fruit sticks, a book, some cashew nuts, a packet of beef jerky and some polo sweets. I enjoyed the food stuffs you sent me. I am more than happy to inform you that the parcel was received very safely and I am the one that opened the parcel in the presence of the officer. I have just started reading the book. This book has come at the right time. I needed something to read. It sounds to be a good book. Thank you very much for the prayers you and other Christians are praying for me. There is power in the prayer of faith. Be assured that your prayers and mine have been answered my our God. We just have to wait for the day God prepared for me to come out of this hell.

Bree, let me tell you one thing. I am not precious, or anything else that uplifts me above any one (creation of God) but I am a simple cool man in the valley of death, but one special thing is that Jesus loves and cares for me very much. It’s the divine love of God that you are able to write to me. it’s the cross of Calvary which has brought us together. I would like to commend you for the good heart you have, as a child of God, to tell you the truth very few people (Christians) who can be like you. Many Christians are sympathetic, but the Lord is telling us to be compassionate. This is the heart of your Father. Since I started corresponding with you, I have seen this quality in you. Thank you once again for writing a blog post about me, and more thanks goes to your Grandad by reading out the blog post at his Sunday Prayer group and for the prayers. I have got no words to express the things you have done for me. I am a man of faith and I believe in prayer very much. I am humbled. I have nothing to give you, be assured that the reward is waiting for you from God. God will not forget the good things you are doing for me. Hebrews 6:10.

I am happy to hear of the Baptist Church Pastor who used to be a missionary here in Zambia. I will be more than glad to hear from him. Being a missionary at one time here in Zambia, he should know Zambia very well. When did he left Zambia?
Glory be to the Almighty God for the phenomenal response you are receiving from the saints of God and through the blog post. Thanks be to God for the help the Saints of God have sent me through you. My humble prayer is that may God add more blessings from where they got the money and add more days to their lives.

Beloved Bree, we prisoners have got a provision of buying food stuffs. There are good officers that buy things for prisoners with our money. We have got very honest and God fearing officers. The officer in charge is the one that appointed the two officers to be buying things for the prisoners. Us prisoners don’t handle any monies. The money is been kept by the two reception officers. So when a prisoner wants something, he just has to give the list to the two officers….

(he then goes on to talk about how best to send the money through the local chaplian etc).

… with this money I will be able to buy the needed food bit by bit. Thank you and God bless.
Coming to my cell. We are only five in a very small cell. There are only 48 cells and they are only meant to accommodate one prisoner in each cell. Now due to overcrowding each cell is now accommodating five to six people. We are 287 prisoners on death row. The cells are very small and have got no toilets and we only use chamber pots for the call of nature. It’s horrible. The people that I am with in the cell are good people. Two of us are Baptist, two are Catholics and one is a member of the new apostolic church. They can not steal anything from me. There are about seven churches in our place.

When they open for us we do all clean our chamber pots and cells. After cleaning the cells and chamber pots we do bath and go for the church services and this is every day. After church I do a bit of exercise. I do read in the word of God most of the time. I like reading very much, so books (Christian books) are welcome. Coming to the issue of the Church in England that they are keen to send something for all of us in the cell to come and share equally. Yes that’s a very good idea. They are free to send us anything that they can afford and that can be of good use to us. Things like toiletries etc. Those things here in our country are very expensive.

Bree, I received a Christmas card from Tammy, your friend in America. Please tell her thank you from me.

(He then talks about the photos and letter I sent him. He thinks H&D are a cute couple, and talks about Barney a bit)

Bree, did you see the clip of the execution of Saddam Hussein? How did you feel? The way Saddam was killed, that’s the very way it is done here where I am. That such of execution is inhumane and barbaric. No one has the right to terminate someone’s life regardless of whatever crime that man did. I felt very bad on the execution of Saddam. Thanks be to God, our current president has vowed not to sign any execution warrants for us on death row. He is a God fearing man, pray for him.

Food is still a big problem here in our prison. Food will never be enough in our prison. As am writing this mail we only eat once per day and the shares are very meagre. Yes sometimes Father B brings us some food stuffs and that’s once in a month and the food only lasts for a day and then we continue eating once per day. Life is hard for a prisoner in our country. A domestic animal is well looked after than a prisoner. Its pathetic and that’s why there is provision of writing mail and asking help from friends.

Bree, I just have to wrap up the mail. Enclosed are the worded pens. I will tell you more on these pens. You will be remembering me through those pens. Thanks you and God bless,

(He also asks me to send him a photo album and a 2007 small diary).

I meant to say that if anyone would like to write to someone in a Zambian prisoner you can view a few of their ads at this address...

There are many more than that wanting letters but its somewhere to start.
You can also find addresses of prisoners awaiting mail by visiting this site http://www.prisoncare.org/ and clicking on 'prisoners in need'.

Daddy's Birthday

Daddy opening his presents on his birthday. He's just a big kid really!

Friday, 2 February 2007

Click here to see a silly video of Daddy opening some birthday presents. He's just a big kid really. I was going to put the video on my blog properly but blogger wont let me at the moment. So if you want to see it you'll have to click to watch it on youtube.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Home Ed trip to Castle Espie

Here are a few photos from Dan's birthday yesterday. (See post below).

Today we went on a little home ed group trip to Castle Espie in Comber, to feed the ducks and take a nice walk in the fresh air. A few families turned up and there were even a couple of girls for Annabelle to play with.

Barney wasn't in great form to start with, due to his very late night last night. He didn't want to walk anywhere, complaining of a head-ache (not sure he has ever really had one of them) and so I had to push him everywhere in the buggy (another pound of fat burnt off for me! Wahey - 6 lbs so far). We fed the ducks. No one fell into the lake this time, thankfully.

After a while he started perking up and got out to play. This time he played quite a lot with the other children, rather that just on his own. He really enjoyed himself. On the way home we popped into J's house for a cuppa. Now Im off to a double belly dance class (double class, not double belly! LOL)

Happy Birthday Dan!

Today my gorgeous darling husband Dan is 35. Happy birthday baby! We actually celebrated it yesterday, for various reasons. We have bought tickets to take him to see the Belfast Giants on Saturday night. We have never been there before and we are all really looking forward to it. It should be good. Apart from that we gave him various items of clothes, chocolate and shower gels. Just what he asked for.

Last night we all took a drive to Pizza Hut, Dan's choice. There we met up with our friends H, D & C. They brought a birthday cake with them which the staff brought over and we all humiliated ourselves by having to sing Happy Birthday in a deafeningly quiet restaurant!

Today I took the kids to Castle Espie (blog post with photos to follow later) whilst Dan spent the day at home on his own (a rare treat which he relished by cleaning the bathrooms for me!)

Well, Dan is another year older, and next week it will also be our 13th wedding anniversary. I am married (theres no question about this) to the most fabulous man on the planet. I'm sorry, all you women who think you've got that man - well, you haven't. I've got him, and he's all mine. The nicest bloke anyone ever met, hard working, not scared of housework, ok he can't dance - but no one can be 100% perfect can they? Plus, he is drop dead gorgeous. I'm not complaining. I hope we have at least another 35 happy years together and look forward to the next 13 years of marriage. He's a star, and I love him.

That's all for now but I'll be back later to post about castle espie.
Just found out today that even though our Belfast fellowship has been under the care of the Dublin fellowship for many months now, and even though we left the fellowship weeks ago, the oversight of the Dublin fellowship has not even bothered to contact half the Belfast fellowship to tell them that we have left, or to even enquire as to whether they are still alive. One member of the fellowship turned up at our house last week, completely unaware that we had left, and another phoned today, also completely unaware. Bare in mind that these few Belfast members are people we have fellowshipped with, known, cared for, for 13 years now. Bare in mind also that the oversight in Dublin only has a handful of members down there to care for, and should as a matter of duty be looking out for all his members, whether they live in the north or the south. But he hasn't phoned or contacted them to ask how they are or to tell them that we have left. I think that is disgraceful. The person who called in to see us said that in the last few weeks his sister had died of cancer, and his other sister had been hit by a horse and was badly injured, so he had been taking care of her and hadn't gotten to any meetings. But did anyone contact him to ask if he was ok? No. I honestly never realised that there could be so little care for fellow brothers and sisters in a church. I am appalled and disappointed for these people.