Been way too long

So it has been exceptionally too long since writing here. I wish i could say it was due to some huge amazing adventure, and not having time etc. However, in all honesty it has been purely down to laziness. My aim as with every time i re-invigorate myself to start posting again, is that i post on a more consistent basis. Life is busy so i won’t make it a promise but i will make better efforts!

So a LOT has happened since my previous post here. My last post was announcing to the world the birth of our First born son, Ronnie. Well if you’ve not been keeping up via other means like facebook, you won’t know that approx 20 months after bring Ronnie into the world, Marie and I had our second child, Rosie.

In the time between then and now we’ve had a number of major life changes. Changes of Houses, Churches, Countries, and even Jobs, in some cases more than once. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice to say we are now settled happily in South Africa, proud owners of a house, 2 healthy and flourishing children, 2 cats, a happy wife (remember, a happy wife = happy life 😀 ) and in a fairly stable job working for Liquid Telecom

The work commute is a bit on the long side from what i was used to, in that it is now approx 45-60 mins each way. This is when compared to the previous 15 minutes or even 0 minutes when still freelancing. In contrast now, the school run is less than 10 minutes and the kids love their school and have made lots of friends so far.

We are plugged into City Hill Church in Bryanston and enjoying it and the “small church” vibe despite not being that small! In short, a lot of changes in the last few years I have to continue to be humble and acknowledge that God has played a massive part in various events. I am sure Marie (and hopefully myself too) will have further updates in due course

Life is as always, very busy, so I will keep this update this brief and will sign off with a slightly more current family picture. from an organisational perspective the observant among you will note that we have split our various blogs apart. Marie’s updates will now happen from her own dedicated site – My non-tech updates will remain here and my various technical mutterings are now found at I do trust that we will update more frequently going forwards.

Belatedly Introducing Ronald “Ronnie” Edward Somerset

I can’t believe this is 2 and a half months late already, I wish I could come up with some elaborate reason for that but honestly its just been that hectic that I haven’t had time or just plain forgot. So a big welcome to the world to Ronald “Ronnie” Edward Somerset, Born 11:45 AM on 22nd January 2013 at a perfectly average 2.95KG or 6 lbs 8oz in English money. It’s hard to believe that at 10 and a half weeks he is already well over 5KG’s and totally healthy, the paediatrician even commented on his strength for such a young baby.


I have to confess, being a dad is the hardest job in the world, but its absolutely 100% without a doubt totally worth it. I’m only about 3 months in and probably making mistakes but learning all the time. Smelly Diapers (Nappies for the English) are definitely my weakness, but thankfully I have an amazing wife that does most of the nappy changing for me.

I do have to say that after watching Marie in action, I don’t know how single parents do it, and despite their circumstances I have a whole new respect for them doing what really is a 2 person job on their own. Marie is such a faithful wife and doesn’t complain that it’s hard and tiring, even though it is and most days she is in bed by 8PM and out for the count. She so amazingly releases me by doing the night time feeds so that I get a reasonably good nights rest so that I can work the next day without being tired myself. She is the absolutely biblical model of a wife!

So I’ve got at least the next 18+ years to look forward to, sure its going to have its ups and downs but right now I get to quote God from Mathew 3:17  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 🙂

Despite the Credit Crunch and all that, the Bank of Dad is now open, will likely need bailing out in about 18 or so years!


Zimbabwe Life – 4 Months In

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, it’s a testament to how busy its been for me with work, church and life.

I thought I’d give an update on African life 4 months in as it’s the new year, its been interesting to look back on the last few months and compare the differences to life in the UK.

I’ll try and not rehash too many of the details that Marie shared in her last post.

So we have been in Zim a little over 4 months now, I have to say all the negative stories you hear about Zim are probably a little over blown by western media, sure there are some problems but I wouldn’t say they are as bad as western media makes out.

We’ve been blessed enough that we live in an area with very few power cuts and I mean perhaps 2 mins every other week or so compared to 12 hours a day that some areas get. I think this is because we probably are on the same power feed as the local hospital in our area.

Water hasn’t really been an issue for us with the exception that you cannot safely drink straight from the tap, we have a borehole (2 actually) which supplies drinking water for the complex, but its not enough to run the general water supply for the whole complex, which means the main water pipes are fed from a tank which is kept full with a mixture of Borehole water, Municipally supplied water and even the Swimming Pool when the municipal supplies are not working (which is fairly regularly at least in the winter months which are June through September). As you can guess chlorine isn’t good for you and it’s commonly known that the municipal water is not to the same standards compared to the UK. This is mostly down to the infrastructure not being as reliable (burst pipes, no power at treatment facilities etc). The water situation hasn’t been too much of an issue for us, we have our containers with which we go to the main borehole tap and fill for drinking water and for the puppies, which is luckily by the side of our house which is convenient. The only real challenge has been remembering that I must spit the water out when rinsing my mouth out after brushing my teeth (I used to have a quick drink after rinsing my mouth in the UK).

As I mentioned, work has been pretty hectic the last few months. I’ve made some changes as well in recent months too, I was previously spending a lot of my time working with Frederick Townes, Willie Jackson and the gang at W3 EDGE who are the main go-to guys to go to when you want WordPress to scale. It was a blast but unfortunately it was ultimately taking way too much time away from spending it with my wife and doing some of my own project based work (not directly in the WordPress/Internet sphere).

While I was working at W3 EDGE, I had the privilege to take a trip down to Cape Town in October and speak at a WordCamp Conference. I spoke on how to scale servers for maximum WordPress performance. It was quite a geeky and very tech focused talk but it went down well from feedback from others. I put the slides up on slideshare and the video has been uploaded to YouTube, unfortunately the audio quality for the first few minutes of my presentation was a bit poor but it picks up further in. Hopefully I’ll be able to do another talk at WordCamp Cape Town in 2013.

So even after wrapping up with the W3 EDGE team it turns out I was still very busy, some new hosting clients came in looking for more capacity for their magento store, as they were paying a rather hefty amount to Rackspace each month but not getting the amount of scale they desired. Scale roughly can be thought about as the amount of traffic a site can take based upon certain factors – for example when I mention scaling up a site, it could mean adding more servers into the equation or adding resources to the existing servers or just optimising the existing gear so it can do more in the same hardware, and so on. I won’t bore you with all the details, if you do want to find out more, please do take a look at my business website and contact me there 🙂

So Christmas has been and gone, perhaps the most exciting thing in the run up to Christmas this year was getting to be involved with our church’s (ONE Church) large missional event. This year it was called “Christmas Unrapped”. It was a mix of traditional carols, a 5-10 min gospel message and a play/performance combining Spoken Word, Dance, Acting and even some Bollywood, all in the Avondale car park (there’s a reasonably large Indian population within the Avondale area). I was originally only put down to do some lighting design and lighting on the day, but quite late on it was realised that a lot of the technical side of things was not arranged yet at all. So I got promoted to Technical Director and ended up arranging and organising all the technical aspects of the event from Power, Sound, Lighting and then running Sound on the night. It was definitely an eye opening experience and may have given me a few grey hairs in the process, but looking back I really did enjoy it!

Christmas itself was nice and quiet, I was able to take just over a week off which made a real change to the fast pace busyness of work and was really relaxing, spending lots of time with Marie, enjoying the quiet moments while they last, and playing with our puppies! We can’t really call our dogs “Puppies” for too much longer as they are over 6 months old now and just recently got spayed, which was a little bit traumatic for them but Salt & Pepper have both bounced back nicely.

In just a few days that quiet will be all but gone for the most part & I don’t say that as a negative point. Our baby is due on around the 28th January, so it literally could be any day now. In some respects its still a bit surreal that I’m going to be a dad in a few days time (because I haven’t really had much to do in the last 9 months), in some respects its quite scary to think another human life is going to be totally dependant on me (& Marie) for absolutely everything, and in some respects its quite exciting and I look forward to the challenge. I’m certain that as I learn stuff, I’ll share here as time allows as well as share as many photos as I can, here or via facebook.

I’m going to leave it there for now, hopefully we won’t be so tardy with updates in the future (I say that now….).

The Road to Zimbabwe – Paperwork

We haven’t posted much about how we are getting on with our preparations to move to Zimbabwe in August, so here’s a fairly brief update.

Approximately 3 weeks ago we DHL’ed the last of our paperwork to Marie’s Parents and it only arrived early last week. we had a tense week waiting while DHL tracking showed a “Customs Delay” in Harare Airport, we prayed like crazy to make sure they didn’t take a look or didn’t remove any paperwork from the package as its not easy to get some of the paperwork and after all the time it has taken to do it.

Thankfully everything made it last week, Marie’s folks took the paperwork down to the immigration office only to find out we needed to provide a copy of the passport pages showing my exit from the country. It appears this is a new requirement since we initially went to hand in the paperwork in December (when i was there handing it in). Thankfully due to the internet actually working in Zimbabwe we were able to scan and email the relevant pages to another family member in Zim (we still need to get Marie’s dad hooked up to internet and able to use his “Typewriter”!)

The forms and documentation were submitted last week and now the waiting (and praying) begins. The immigration officials say it will take up to 5 weeks (more like 2 months) for them to process it and let us know the outcome. While it should be merely a formality as i have married a Zimbabwean, its not actually guaranteed and they could still say no (why they would deny it i really don’t know). so we are praying that its favourable and we are not kept waiting any longer than absolutely necessary

We’d appreciate prayer that it goes smoothly as this is the biggest (and only real one) hurdle for our move in August

New Year, New Adventure, Same Jesus

So its 2012 already, Happy New year! 2011 has been a blast in so many ways to count. God’s done amazing things in Mine and Marie’s life this last year and He’s calling us onto new adventures this year. It’s no secret Marie and I are planning on moving to Zimbabwe this year, we have talked about it a fair bit. Well the hard deadline is now set, we just booked our tickets to go for 30th August.

So we are on a new adventure from August, we are off to Zim, i plan to continue doing my business from there, Marie is going to be doing some volunteering for a Church out there assuming she has the time to do it and we will both be getting stuck into a new church plant/evening service called One which meets at the SevenArts Cinema in the Avondale area of Harare, more info here:

Matt Ellis made a great comment at church yesterday, “It’s a New Year but its still the same Jesus!” which reminded me that although we will be going to a new country, We’ll still be following the same God that is with us in the UK. and just following on from that Andy Tilsley’s talk on Greed and Contentment, he was talking about being content with what we have and what God has blessed us with. These are going to be powerful words when times are challenging in a whole new country.

After his preach Andy got Lydia and the band to sing an old Hymn over the congregation called Give me Jesus, its actually on the end of the podcast itself over here i had the pleasure of editing the podcast this week because of the song, from our Multi-Track recording of the service so have the song on its own. It’s such a simple song that i want to make my philosophy for the year. you should have a listen to it.

Give Me Jesus

This was taken direct off one of the sound desks yesterday and has only had a little processing done to it, no re-recording or over dubbing. It’s a really beautiful track.