Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In memorium

Harry has gone to the big house, along with Thomas the cat. We nearly did find a home for Harry, but a bit late. Have to cry again; this has been 2 wet days for me, and I am tired as all hell.

People tell us that animals go to heaven, well to be honest; I am not sure. Nothing in the bible points directly to that kind of thing. One day I will research this topic I suppose. I just know, God is not frivolous, in fact very serious about His love for us, so livestock cannot get in the way.

Either way, Harry is playing catch with a billtong frizbee, and Thomas is living on tuna!

The ugly bits of moving

Today is the last day in the house, after almost 6 years (June 2000) we are pulling out. A task not made any easier byt the memories that come to the fore.
I see the places on the doors, walls and yard where the boys have made their mark, and holding back the tears yesterday was just not possible. The teddy-bear shelf, the plastic motorbike still haunting me from the top of the yard, almost daring me to put it onto the street.
Some child will no doubt be made a little happier with second-hand toys. my boys never had to deal with that; and I feel sorry for those that have to all of the time. but right now, we try look after number one.

The ugliest
Have to put down a cat and dog today, good thing electronic media does not hold salt-water well. Sally is lucky, she will go to the SPCA, and hopefully find a home.
Rowan and the boys are probably having fun in East London with gran. The farm is always fun, and they have a little friend from up road about the same age; Aimee actually lives where my grandparents used to live many years before (on Bramble Hill they called it) then Mom&Barry co-incidentally baught a small-holding.
It's still a 10 minute walk, but close by compared to everything else. lots of work to do today, I just want to get the gritty bits out of the way asap.

Must pick up the visas this afternoon if possible, that will make me feel better. the sooner we are gone, the less my bank-account bleeds out. Living mobile is very expensive; but the boys are holding out well.
Rhys has his moments, which is a good thing. Things like where are all of my teddies, when are we going to aunt Claire's house. I can't wait to get out of here and onto the little island. The happy times will realy only start for me once I go through the boarding gate;


Saturday, May 27, 2006


This is one of a series taken after the beard was removed.

Friday, May 26, 2006

VISAs approved

At least we have a welcome, and it only took about 10 days (2-week). Now comes more work and more waiting. Sitting at the mug and bean in Clearwater Mall, Roodepoort; wireless. I need to find the batteries for my mouse, but for now I have only 3 hours before the battery on the machine dies, because I did not bring an adapter. I intend spending as much time here as needed to take advantage of my online hours, Mweb give us 5 hours wireless a month, pitty I could never utilize that before.

Setting up to pull the last of Rowan's e-mails. The coffee in the upper sitting-room at M&B is a little slower, no matter. I just need a snack to keep me going, and I can spend all day up here, the background noise is good, can audio-stream and the resident boffin is very friendly an knows how to get you connected. Visit .

Posted my CV on the internet. Making business-cards, and so I can promote myself, I decided the simplest way to get a CV to fit onto a buziness card is to say google "Conrad Braam", and hopefully get a hit close to my CV. this means I have to hyperlink a few times from various places. But the end result will be better if I can get other people to point to my spaces.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

To all New Harvest

The number of people we really need to say good bye to at New Harwast are numerous, and most importantly the invisible people or those who think they are. Some are sad, some happy. I say goodbye To Dennis Puttergill (sorry Babs), when he passed, I had seen it comming but could not believe it. He was a gentle power that reminded me with simple words, of what it really takes to serve. Babs, your strength at this time reminded me that crying must have a smile in it someplace.

Jeff with the rugby banter; I was embararrased, then tried to ignore, and finally understand it all. Little knowing that the humour Jeff brought was a key to much of life. I also realize now, that it was all in preperation for living in a football crazy country.

We decided to make the shift in October on our 9th aniversary dinner. I'd just paid for an electric fence, something I had been against, and never wanted to do. I never wanted to believe that crime or fear could sway me, But principals are broken without your knowledge every time. Now it was too late. In January 2006 we first told the family, and then friends, that the plan was already in motion.

I want to say thank you to Rodney Barron, Merle, and even to the daughters who we no longer see too often for their strength. It showed me that I was weak in comparison to most. I battled to listen to Rodney's sermons, but at around the same time my father-in law had a stroke, leaving him with a similar speech problem. It was really my job to hear them speak, and MY OWN loss if I did not make the needed effort from my side to learn how to listen to Rodney.

I met Rowan in the Methodist church on sunday afternoon service. Her car broke down about a week or so latter, and I offered to help out. Maybe I just had too much time on my hands or wanted to be the good samaritain, I do not remember, but we were married just over a year latter. When my boys were born I did not stop teaching sunday school. I enjoyed the challenge the young minds impose, they forced me to find many things hidden in the bible, as adults our reference frame within the word allows us to find stories that explain God's view on every situation. Children will always have questions that parents cannot really be made to answer. A thank you for inspiration goes to all of the teachers I have worked with.

Thanks to all the people who unwittingly have shared their lives with the church, in just being there week after week, I saw you. The people who play church, greet at the door; teaching; preaching; coffee; counting and finance; meals and outreaches; stacking chairs; washing up; musicians all have their place. But they all serve no purpose if the purpose of the body is not to serve. And the purpose of the church is only clear to everyone on monday morning when we all step out into the world again. The fellowship groups that provided us with a top-up are an anchor at times. And it is here that I really had my heart and motives tested by fire. I want to mention everyone, who invisibly played a part, because it is a real hope of mine to return someday succesfull, not in material but in the spiritual journey that New Harvest Christian Fellowship has been a large part of.

I have not yet found work in the UK, and only have good leads to go on right now, but the IT job-market is good there, and I have a lot of encouragement.
I had to learn that NETWORKING, a word I hated and only ever thought of as something people did on golf-courses. God had to show me why it is that I must treat every person with respect and friendliness. I only wish I had earnestly begun treating every person as a possible contact I may need in the future a long time ago already. Just like the way we have had to get rid of so many 'possesions' in the move, it has been a fun learning time.

Rowan has been a solid support for me thought this time, and as we jet off as a family I know I can rely on her judgement to get us there in one piece. As an organiser in this big move she has been invaluable. So when I lastly say, thank you to my Lord whom has made this road clear and sunny every step, from instantly finding us a house-buyer to His opening many doors. God has turned this move into a humbling and learning experience.

Regards, Conrad, Rowan, Rhys and Gregory Braam.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cops and robbers

Work cut out
Standing in the queue at the 'traffis' department trying to get the car I have been driving for the last 8 years into my name propper. Do these poeple not understand that to simple people (as live in africa) the people do not know the difference between title-holder and owner. I won the car, but the title is to a bank, because the bank does not bother to transfer title to me when the car is paid-up. I have to pay for that again, well I did not do so for 5 whole years. So what! Ask any Zimbabwean, title-holder means nothing. LOL.

Spare a thought for the workers
THis is the second time I have seen this (I hate going to nay officail places) but while I was in the Q, I witnessed abuse more than once by members of the public towards officers of the law behind the counter. This is not cool, I regain most of my cool just before I open my mouth, but the tense people in the traffic dept and police station queues is a bit too much for me. If it where me I would quit!

OK so I do need counselling, but who will pay, definitely not the reciever of revenue, they apparently got my transfer-duty cheque 11 April, but have taken a month to issue a reciept. I think not, the reciever of revenue (I used to call them reverser of revenue) are bloody efficient. And I have no complaint. I just hope we can all get a system working where we know what is happening.

Selling a home is not for pansies!
Linux Rocks
But the man-pages stink. Man-pages are a programmers manual started in 1991 when the system started, but it looks like everyone is scarred to update them for some reason. Full of vauge statements and airy 'if's they abound with things that should not appear in a technical reference, and even border on flaming at times.
RESOLVE:!!!! I hereby resolve to contribute to the linux documentation project in some way. After just 3 weeks I have a working socket implementation wrapper it may not be bulletproof, but I bet I can use what I learned to improve the man-pages. Once I get some holiday time I will have to re-write the relevant bits into english.
It's just plain plagerism copying the man-pages and not actually improving them at all.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Well the sale of the house is pretty much underway now with the banks doing their bit, it means we are still here for about 10 days more at least, but there will be snags. At least I am relaxed about it all at this stage, so if it does take forever, than it is at least God's will.
Still reading the 7 habits of highly effective people, started the 1st real chapter this week, I must say it makes sense to try kick the reactive habit, and be more pro-active, but it is a very long way from where I am right now; I sense that this is going to take lots of time.

Enjoying Linux
I am still totally noob at Linux (SUSE), but it is so awesome to download a O/S patch, and then re-compile and run your own core all for "free". Getting used to so much, and the prime thing is to get the actual paying work done without too much attention to 'learning'. Pity, because the best way to learn (IMHO) is through finding it yourself. OK so I do think that formal higher education is overrated. But it would not be if we had all been taught how to "learn" instead of being taught how to 'cram' when we were in school.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The home stretch

The home stretch, well should we call it home. We are nearly ready to go now, say good-bye to relatives, submit visa application, sell cars, get homes for dogs. And a good few tiny details like who will empty the mailbox? Oh well no-body is perfect. The biggies are the house money and visa, thanks to Jenny for helping with the house side.

We should be in the UK this time next month, God willing. It is hard to really relax fully at this point, but everything has run so smoothly to here, with no major obstacles. The fact that I have found some contract work to keep me busy does put a squeeze on things in terms of time to just relax and chill. But I am happy because I will get 2 things out of the contract work. I was wanting to buy a laptop and take it over with me, (so we can still e-mail once we get there) and now I have a good reason to. Second the contract involves Linux work, which is good experience for my CV. Rowan and the boys are going down to Petermaritzburg after next week, and I should be able to say hi and bye to my mom, my boet, and dad; by flying in the opposite direction. It is very exciting, and I just can't wait for the week to get underway.
Great-Grandma is a bit sick, we were going to have lunch together; must say I do worry about her more and more lately. Aargh, and the lawn needs a good mow, at least that has slowed down a bit.