Was it it Wednesday today??

There has been great consternation today from our Israeli guests as to what day it actually is. Of course we haven’t been helping their severe case of ‘Sounds-itis’ at all. No one will give them a straight answer – mean aren’t we! Truth be it, we are actually enjoying their company and don’t want them to leave

Cat arrived home at midnight so when she came down for breakfast she had 4 young folk all over her with questions and stories of what they had all been doing while she was away. It must be very annoying after a while but she is remarkably patient with them. They were just so excited to see her again.

I have been trying to get dinner prepared first thing in the morning so I don’t have to exert my brain cells in the afternoon. So today I made Malayan Fish Dish – one of our all time favourite meals. Took me to 10am to get it done, sort out several business calls plus deal with Anson’s bookings to the USA. So we were rather short on scholarly time today. After the children had done all their chores I let them watch the end of the dvd series about NZ’s Lion Man. They have really been enjoying it. He has got a collection of Barbary Coast Lions, now extinct in Africa, white tigers and a white lion. The way he handles them and obviously loves them is amazing. Must try to get the children to visit his park. http://www.zionwildlifegardens.co.nz/

We finally got into the school room and after finishing the boring stuff we had fun because where we are in our Before Writing project meant that it lent itself to some practical fun. We were talking about the different areas of early civilisation and the tools they used to make the types of writing they did. Today it was Mesopotamia – they wrote in cuneiform using clay tablets and papyrus stalks. So while I was trying to get Mahalia’s reading lesson finished – man! some days it’s like pulling teeth with her! – Shoshannah got some clay and rolled it out into three small tablets and Nathan found some suitable small branches and trimmed them appropriately. They then had heaps of fun making patterns representing cuneiform. By the way, do you know why it is called that? Because cuneiform means wedge shaped and that is the shapes they based their written communications on.

The children were playing outside most of the afternoon. At one stage later on I was on the phone sorting Anson’s tickets. Hung up and walked through to the living room to connect to the internet. Heard my cell phone going crazy, got to it too late, then went back to the study to write down the number of whoever it was that had called, as I was trying to do that there was very loud crying coming in the back door, Mahalia appeared with blood streaming down her face, then the phone started ringing again, so I got her into the bathroom, sent Shannie for a cup so she could rinse out her mouth, ran and grabbed the phone – a business call Tim had been expecting, sorted that out and got back to the bathroom to find Mahalia swilling and spitting. I managed to get out of her that she had tripped as she was running down the steps towards the back door and fell and hit her mouth. She had successfully knocked her front tooth out. It had been loose for a while so no great loss except it was rather traumatic and painful loosing it like that. He other front one is now loose too.

After she had recovered from that the decided they wanted to go swimming despite the southerly blowing in here today. A warm bath and then they cuddled up in my study and watch an Australian dvd about Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. I am really enjoying introducing the children to all these ‘old’ tv programmes that I used to watch. There is something really lovely and wholesome about them and they so enjoy them.

Anson had a chat with Josiah tonight – nice to catch up on how he is doing down in the big smoke of Christchurch. Doing well working for a roofing contractor so that is great.

Dinner was a bit late but it didn’t matter tonight because everyone was busy. We made some inventive salads – carrot and red onion, stir fried shredded cabbage with sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and turmeric. Also managed to produce a brilliant edition of Pear Ginger Sponge for dessert. It was a total hit. Dinner was just as noisy and crazy as usual. There was some discussion about whether we milk cows and that we use powdered milk, make or buy the ice cream etc. Anson had Asaf choking in laughter at one stage when in reply to Chen’s question as to what ginger I used he replied quick as lightening that we get it from the ginger cow. It was very locational so don’t get too hung up about it

Pears & mussels & work….

I had a bit of a rough night last night.
Woken twice by Shannie’s alarm and then by Tim getting up at 5am and then again at 7am by the phone. Didn’t feel that great for a while. But we got through the normal chores plus all the dinner vege preparation. Had one trauma when Shannie found that one of her roosters had been killed in Nathan’s possum trap. As Seb said ‘Poor ole Nate strikes out again’! She actually had 4 roosters so it wasn’t really too great a loss apart from the fact that it was hers and she found it dead. Nathan buried it in her allotted spot and she was ok then. Told me later that she now had 6 birds buried up there! She’s been so delighted lately because she has been getting some bantam eggs from her pullets. The eggs are so tiny.

I made some pear & chocolate muffins. Then Chen turned up at 9am so I asked if she would help Azzan cook teddy bear cakes. He loves to use the teddy bear moulds and is not fussy about which recipe. I gave him the choice this morning and he chose chocolate ‘because it is richer’ – man! has that boy got it sussed
The cakes were great despite Chen getting confuse with tablespoons and teaspoons – when you put in the wrong measure of baking soda it usually can be disastrous. I tried to help get the large cake out of the so-called nonstick pan and found that it wasn’t non-stick PICT0001 PICT0003
They iced them and had them for dessert tonight and everyone loved it.

I managed to steer the other 3 into the school room and got Seb into his room and we managed to get through a reasonable amount. Had an interruption by a man from a boat needing to borrow a drill to fix his freezer – he donated us a packet of biscuits in exchange, nice change from wine, which we don’t drink!

The children only had one swim today. This afternoon Anson took Shannie with him to help with chain-sawing up some firewood, Nathan went out on the boat with Tim, Asaf and Chen to do some mussel work. Not too sure what I did but the afternoon disappeared somewhere.

After dinner we got a team to peel pears and open mussels – good jobs out of the way. Only 6 more cases of pears to go!

Jesika arrived home just as we finished – she bought Miles, a wwoofer from California, with her. As the guys are all heading out to grub weeds again at 6:30am his introduction to work here will be baptism by fire-!!

They all had a good laugh over a couple of Black Book episodes and then everyone was off to bed before 9:30pm and I think I will be close behind and hopefully my night won’t be so broken.

School and stuff

Asaph was up early to go to work with the guys. I got up too thinking I would get lots done before the children woke but no such luck! They were good though, they disappeared into the attic and we had to drag them down for breakfast and chores. When I asked Azzan why he was up so early he told me that ‘my eyes opened so I got up’. Figures I spose!

We had a good morning in the school room today. Azzan entertained Chen so it was a lot more peaceful for us. They went walking on the beach and saw ‘a big blue shark and lots of crabs’ – Azzan was really tickled to find Chen had an agreeable imagination tonight when he was telling me about the shark

I had made muffins before school so when I came out to get some for morning tea I found Azzan, Chen and the kittens looking most comfortable.
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We are doing a project on the beginnings of writing. Today the children really enjoyed making pictograph shopping lists but when it came to doing rebus’ of their names we ended up putting it in the too hard basket. If any of you can come up with rebus for the three – Mahalia, Shoshannah & Nathan – then please let me know, we were totally stuck.

The children went swimming twice today – no wonder we were low on hot water. They swim for 30 mins and then shower for an hour – well it seems that way-!! After the 2nd swim Azzan was all dressed up in a pink floral dress ready to party. I found him not long afterwards sound asleep in the lounge chair. He slept for hours. I had to wake him for dinner. He told me this afternoon that he had been ‘running round as fast as I could, faster than a cheeter’ – so I guess that is why he was so tired

Anson mustered in and crutched some sheep this arvo. I sorted out all Seb’s maths so he is ready to get into it tomorrow, not that it thrills him all that much Tim read stories to his darlings and then they all went to pick pears. We have a good crop this year but the wind has been blowing them off for the pigs to eat, so he is now making noises about bottling them – all 6 banana boxes of them

Asaph was relegated to bbq-ing the venison for dinner – the kitten was ever so hopeful. Missed out on that but Nathan caught them some fish so kept their wee tummies happy.

The weekend’s gone already…

The guys have been concentrating on getting the weeds grubbed out. So any day that nothing else is happening they are gone by around 6:30am and get back in around lunch time. They are making good progress. I think giving Tim Fri morning off has helped him, he was up and rearing to go Sat morning despite the children – ( I actually hesitate to call them children despite the fact that they are our children even at the old ages of 21 & 27 – young adults sounds better) telling him they would be fine on their own. His attitude is that many hands make light work.

Asaph & Chen from Israel arrived later in the afternoon. He is the brother of Ariel who was here 3 years ago. They have slotted into the craziness of the place really quickly. Asaph has a droll sense of humour and is coping well with my boys – when Anson gets going there is no stopping him, his humour is fast and cutting and our meal times tend to dissolve into a lot of noise and craziness – to which he then stands back and announces it is all the little ones creating the noise and orders them off to bed!!!

I had a lovely long chat with a friend in Australia – she is having major eye problems and is having to have a major operation so it was good to catch up and brighten her day somewhat.

Anson took Tim & I up to Waterfall Bay after dinner in the dinghy to inspect the tiling job in the upstairs bathroom which had been redone due to fast and sloppy workmanship. It is still not right, not too sure what we can do about it but Tim is certainly not happy and not accepting that it has been corrected satisfactorily. Anson set a net while we were there. He and Nathan pulled it up Sun morning but the catch wasn’t brilliant. The weather was great over the weekend and the water was incredibly clear. Absolutely beautiful, could see right down to the depths. We were watching a sting ray and 2 eagle rays cruising the shallows as we walked along to Jesika’s. They were beautiful.

Sunday morning flew past. With washing, phone calls and other stuff it was near on midday when we had fellowship. Jesika was all packed up to go to town so she left as soon as we were finished. I got a call from Orlando USA early in the morning from the company which I had won the holiday package from 18-months ago. They were wanting to extend my time frame by another 3 years – for another cost of course. Because I had passed on the package to friends in the States she needed contact phone numbers that I didn’t have so she patched through to Jesika and we had a 3 way conversation while Jesika found the phone numbers. I had to laugh though as the travel agent commented in her very broad Florida accent that I spoke in good English!!! We were wondering what language she thought we spoke down here in the Antipodes

The children are making good use of the hammocks we brought back from Mexico – the kittens enjoy them too
Shannie is deep into The Bobbsey Twins books at the moment – she gets totally engrossed as you can see here…
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We watched ‘White Squall’ Sat night – a good movie, rather traumatic, tragic true story. Worth watching. Then when it finished and we were all heading off to bed Anson decided he needed some humour after such intensity so he put on ‘Hoodwinked’ – I managed to stay awake for most of it, but as I was falling asleep, decided to watch it another day. It is a crazy animation about Little Red Riding Hood with a twist!

I have been having many calls over the past few weeks with a local friend who is applying for an exemption from state education. Because her son is a special needs case the authorities are making it as hard as possible for her. It is really distressing, as she has put her heart and soul into the application and making it all work and she has so much backing and grounding as to why she should home educate him. In fact over the past weeks since school officially began she has done far more work with him than he ever would have done if he was in a school. He is also way happier and settled. I am positive she will win the battle but it is just traumatic having to spend so much time doing battle when all she wants is to be spending time with her young lad. Please pray for her, that this week will go smoothly and that the exemption will go through without any more hassles.

I also had a great catch up with two of my brothers and my s-i-l last night. Unfortunately my little bro was out so never got to catch up with him – another time. He was at a concert so hopefully he was having an enjoyable evening.

No movies last night – everyone was too tired so we ended up crashing by 10pm.
This morning the men were up before 6am, Asaph & Chen got really brave and got up in the dark to hang out their washing and go see what all this grubbing is about. Hope they last the distance. The little ones are up and making noises so I guess I should go feed them and drag Nathan outa bed – he’s not an early bird, but as he has a net to pull in before school………..

Fish for Friday

Jesika, Seb & Anson went out at 6:30am to grub weeds. Tim was able to chill out a bit this morning which was good.
Slept in a bit later. I got the young ones into the school room at a good time and managed to accomplish a reasonable amount. Azzan proved to be a bit trying so Tim read him lots of stories and side tracked him.

The work crew arrived back and decided we were all going out for a family fishing trip. Jesika shot home to pack some food and Anson brought the boat in. We left just before 1pm, leaving Seb behind as he wasn’t feeling great.

We basically just steamed around the back of the farm – fishing as we went. It wasn’t great fishing – they lost so much gear, Tim reckons around $40-50 worth of sinkers and traces! Heaps of barracuda around taking it all. Azzan went to sleep against me so I wasn’t able to do much except read my book. Not really too much of a hardship as I am not really a fisherman and the book was very intriguing – ‘Double Helix’ by Sigmund Brouwer. It is fiction but as with a lot of fiction there is a lot of truth in it and ultimately quite scarey in the consequences of DNA and fetal experimentiation.

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Anson & Jesika were hard at it and ended up catching a good quota of fish to bring home for dinner. Tim and the 2 girls went off beach combing in the dinghy. Anson was in fine fettle – commenting about the boy racer charging around with the two chicks in his boat as Tim and the girls went zipping past!!!
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It came in cold as the southerly blew through the straits. We got home around 5pm. Seb was sleeping but he had cleaned the living area up beautifully – lovely to come home to. No-one really wanted any dinner so we all just picked a bit at the fish and chocolate brownie.

We all watched a dvd – ‘Secondhand Lions’ – brilliant movie with Michael Caine. Really funny yet poignent as well. After the 3 young ones went to bed the rest of us watched ‘Happy Gilmore’ – another very funny Adam Sandler movie. I feel like we are doing a really movie cram at the moment, but we hired a heap when in town and have to send them back with Jesika on Sunday so need to get them watched.

Piles of Washing

You know that pile I mentioned that was in the hall last night? Well here it is!
The main question we were all asking is how on earth did Nathan fit all of that in his room?
I am pleased to report it is now all sorted and packed up neatly. He and Seb have swapped rooms and both are tidy at the moment and the hall is clear.

I did gasp a bit when I saw Seb’s floor this morning though. There was a mountain equitable with Mt Cook of clothes. He had basically tipped his entire pack out on the floor and it was ALL washing. I asked if maybe he could’ve done some washing while away, but his response was they didn’t have any wet days, so no time to do it!

Today I have hung 6 loads of washing out all told. Thankfully it was a great drying day. At one stage I hung out 31 socks and only one sock was not Seb’s!!!

Talking of washing….I was listening to a guy speaking on the radio whilst driving around Nelson on Tuesday. He was rather amusing. I think it may have been Nicky Cruz – not sure. Anyway, he was saying that when it comes to doing washing that is if ok for a wife to do her husbands washing. She will never get into trouble for that. However, it is a totally different scene if a man does his wife’s washing. He was giving graphic details as to how that is a huge No-No! Each item of her washing will have to be washed separately and with different things etc. etc…………

I got home at midnight Tuesday so Wednesday morning I was operating on a slower speed to normal. I didn’t get to the shower very early, let’s say it was actually quite late in the morning. Not because I was in bed though – I was actually up reasonably early, just couldn’t quite get there. So, I had sorted out my clothes and put my washing in the laundry basket in the bathroom in anticipation of taking it all out to the wash house myself to sort and wash each item of my town clothes in accordance to the instructions in each garment. When I finally got to the bathroom for my shower I found the laundry basket was empty. I screamed and tore out to the wash house and found to my horror that all of my delicate very expensive clothes had been washed in the same load with the everyday kids clothes, towels and Anson’s shearing jeans etc. I was totally horrified and in a panicked state.

Thankfully when I retrieved it all and hung them on the line there was no serious problems. However when I found out that my super diligent 21yr old son had been the culprit I tried explained to him about how men have to learn to sort washing and NOT do delicate $150 dresses in the same load as his shearing jeans – his response was – ‘Well they were my $100 shearing jeans’!! Men!

Look what came to visit last night.
You can have a closer look at it here –

Rhapsody II is 87′ and makes our 38′ boat look quite insignificant. Shannie was keen to go visit so Tim zipped her out in the dinghy after breakfast but the owner was not yet up so the crew couldn’t allow her on board.

Tim & Anson went grubbing tahinau again this morning so I cracked whip and managed to get all the children into the school room and chalk it up – we actually accomplished some academia. I decided to begin Azzan on a reading programme today too, we will see how he goes, so far so good. After teaching 8 children to read and now trying to get Mahalia reading I just couldn’t face having to do it again in a year or so’s time so thought as he is a bright wee man and clicks on really fast I would try and get him started now.

The tide was really high and it was so warm and clam the children all went swimming. Shannie is delighted to be able to jump off the wharf and get herself to shore now so I had to witness the event.
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Jesika & Anson have decided to go grubbing tomorrow and have told Tim to take some time off – he is happy and not arguing as he is really tired at the moment. Seb and Anson cooked dinner tonight. Seb made a yummy fish and coconut cream dish with instructions from Jesika, Anson made a salad and cooked rice – really hard stuff The antics in the kitchen when they are in there is rather amusing.

Anson bought home the dvd Cars so he and the children are giggling away over that at the moment. Late dinner and late to bed – tomorrow may not be such an early!

My comic experiment

I have finally managed to figure out how to load this comic page.
I used my bro and photos I took of him while we were visiting Perth – he is a bit of a comic himself so the word balloons contain fairly accurate wording!


Needless to say I am feeling somewhat proud of myself to have mastered so many technical accomplishments over the past 24 hours in creating this on my new computer

The weekend disappeared somewhere – can’t really remember too much of what happened.
I have been trying to sort out the study and make room for stuff. Moved the photo copier just outside the study door which has left a huge gap – of course it got filled up fast with piles of stuff. Story of my life – sort this lot and make piles to be moved here and another there……

Anson arrived home Sat night, was really good to see him. Sunday we eventually had a fellowship meeting, Graham & Leon came and joined in, then after lunch Tim & Graham went out to get mussels and much hilarity continued with Leon and the kids. We watched a neat movie called ‘Dreamer’ – true story about a girl and a race horse which severely broke its leg and then eventually went on under her ownership to win the breeders derby – $4,000,000!!!
PICT0003 The girls were playing on the beach in the late afternoon and Mahalia came up with this young oyster catcher, she was really tickled that she had been able to catch it so easily.

Monday I was up at 5am and Tim took Azzan & me around to Elaine Bay to get my Nissan Safari. It has been off the road for nearly 3 months getting a new roof put on. It looks most flash now. Half way around I realised I had left my cell phone at home on the charger – darn it – felt like my right arm had been chopped off. I borrowed Tim’s which was stone dead flat, rang Anson for phone numbers and got him to monitor my calls.

We had a good trip out, got town in good time. Dropped off the Safari to get the warrant of fitness. Seb picked us up in Cat’s car and we went into Nelson to join the crew. Seb, Cat & Jen had driven out from work the night before and met up with Megan. We met up at Lambretta’s then decided to wander down to Morrison St for brunch. Liz called so Cat ran down to bring her to join us.
PICT0008_2 PICT0005_2 Azzan ordered his own brunch – banana split was all he wanted!!

We had a most enjoyable couple of hours and then I decided I really should go do some chores so Seb dropped me back. Safari had past with flying colours so that was a relief. I always hold my breath with trepidation that they will find something wrong and stuff up my town plans. Cat & Jen picked up Anna from the airport and headed over to Golden Bay for the week. Seb stayed the night with Tylers again and Azzan & I spent the night with John & Sally. After dinner we wandered over to the Camp ground and found some of the Correspondence families and made ourselves known.

Next morning we were up and packed, managed to do one job for Tim and then crawled along in the pre 9am traffic, found Seb on the side of the road, traffic was going so slow over Bishopdale that I didn’t have to stop – he just hopped in as I crawled past. Finally got to Fairfield House. Seb took off in the Safari to do some jobs for me and Azzan and I joined the Early Childhood group for the morning. They sang songs, played a cool game with a bouncy blanket – Azzan was right into that one.
They did other activities – weaving, roller painting, playdough & sewing. Before lunch they had a lot of fun blowing bubbles of all shapes and sizes and then Deb read them stories.
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Seb came back and we swapped places. I shot down and got Anson’s RUC’s and then picked up my Japanese friend Kaori from Palmerston North who was having a few days holiday in Nelson. We had a lovely lunch together at The House of Ales, sitting at the street tables in the shade was lovely as the temps were quite high – for Nelson that is. I keep thinking ever time someone complains about the heat of 24’C that it was only a couple of weeks ago I was in Perth with temps of 41’C!! Relative isn’t it?

The boys walked down to meet us and I left the 3 of them to explore the Cathedral grounds and mosey around the shops while I shot out to get my computers sorted. I have bought a new iMac intel and my great techno MacGeek was getting them both sorted. Finally got things happening, went back and got veges, picked up the boys and then all our gear from JHohn & Sally’s. Computers were ready by then too so got them and then breezed past Estelle’s to see her bro about a speech programme that he uses on his computer. It is so cool – you just speak into a microphone and the computer types what you say. Brialliant for reluctant writers and spellers!!

We then went down and got pizza, called into get some of Anson’s gear and drove home. Got in at midnight, just had to set up the computers and make sure they were both functioning right. All is hunky dory so I am happy.

I have spent today playing with all the new programmes. Found a cool one called iComic and made a neat comic page of my bro Duncan. Anson got word today that his trip to the USA is all go. He will probably be leaving around 12 March so he is really excited.

Seb & Nate are changing rooms so there is a LOT of mess happening at the moment as Nathan sorts out all of his stuff. I think tomorrow I might have to help him determine what he keeps and what he biffs, he found it all rather overwhelming tonight.

Jesika had 2 lovely German house guests while I was in town. She had a great time with them, but they didn’t eat all her cooking so she bought all the left overs for dinner tonight. It was great not having to cook and it was also very delicious. We watched Liar Liar tonight. A very crazy story – but then what film starring Jim Carey isn’t crazy? But the moral of the story was good.

Friends & Family

The past two days have gone in the busyness and normalcy of life here.

Yesterday I survived without the computer – actually it wasn’t that difficult and I managed to spend some time just blobbing out making some cards. Jesika arrived back at dinner time, had a quick bite to eat, unloaded our stores and went home.

Today, the Stephens family packed up and after a shared lunch they left. Hopefully we will see them again sometime in Nelson before they fly back to Colombia in a few months. They are on the mission field there and don’t know when they will be back in NZ again next, so it was really great to have some time to spend with them. It is 5 years since they left and the children have grown heaps, as they tend to do when you are not watching-!!
Here is their lovely family
Philip, Gloria, Giovanni & Andreas at back
Katya, Miguel & Natalie in front.
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I managed to pin down the two boys today and give them both haircuts. Azzan decide he wanted a mohawk. Someone asked me how he knew what a mohawk was – well, he has big brothers doesn’t he?? When I began cutting his lovely fine white hair I commented that I didn’t think I could do a mohawk for him to which he responded ‘If you don’t do a mohawk then I won’t be good’! Blackmail? – hardly cause it doesn’t matter whether his hair is long or short he is still a wee ratbag Anyway, as you can see in the lovely photo of him and Miguel he has his mohawk.

A while later he came in most upset because his hair was ruined. I asked what the matter was and he said he had a hat on and now it is all flat. He hadn’t seemed to realise that when I cut it it was flat and hadn’t been spiked up at all. Funny wee fella.

I also cut Nathan’s. He agreed to a No5. So I cut that, after having to use scissors to lessen the load as it was too thick for the cutters. But then I found two rather large bald patches and ended up cutting down to a No1. He is totally fine with that, I am totally mystified about the patches, and I am not posting photos as he would not forgive me if I did. I have to live with him not you-!!

The mailboat came today so I spent most of the afternoon sorting mail and making phone calls.

Tim, Graham and the guys milled up another log this arvo then Tim & Leslie took the timber up the hill. After dinner Tim went out to do some more jobs and I was helping the girls untangle their cross stitch and was talking to Leslie and Crystal when the door behind me opened. It was my Uncle Lloyd. You just never know who is going to arrive here next.

He and his two friends Kingsley and Kelvin were out boating and have come to bunk down for the night. It was rather cold and stormy looking and not too conducive to camping on a beach. So they cooked up their dinner and will be off early in the morning in search of the elusive kingfish.

I never posted any photos while I was away so here are some now.
My girlfriend Jacqui and I – we met at 12 and have been mates ever since despite the physical distances between us over the years. It was so cool to see her again. Not too bad for a couple of 50 year olds eh??

Me and my 2 bro’s when we were 4WD-ing on the beaches north of Lancelin.

The four of us on top of one of the highest sand dunes near Lancelin. It is very hard to get perspective of height with white sand but it was high!

Jesika is taking my computer back to town yet again this arvo as there is still a fault so I am going to be computerless for a couple of days

Hopefully this time they will get it right. Then next week it goes back out again to get all the data transferred onto my new computer so the young folk can have this one and then the wee ones can have their games computer back – while I was away the older children nicked it from the school room because they discovered it still had a functioning internet connection. I have already sold their computer. It is a bit like playing electronic merry-go-rounds at the moment