Another busy day

Today the children have been industrious from dawn till dark.

I have not really seen a lot of them – apart form roping them in to do their chores.
Azzan was playing with his play-dough and bought me in his ‘really good stuff to eat’.

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Somehow it didn’t look terribly appetising – maybe it was the colour
I managed to avoid having to eat very diplomatically.

Later on he sat and cracked walnuts on the hearth in front of the kitchen fire. He then bought me some to try – he had it in a container wrapped in a towel and I had to put my hand in and get a piece without looking – he called it cappuccino. The 3rd time I was offered some it was in water – he thought it was totally hilarious that I ate it cuz he had put soap in the water – what a boy-!!

Nathan has been doing his school work most of the day. Stopping to do chores when I needed something done.
I was really happy to catch up with my old school mate Jacqui, in Perth – we don’t get to chat often so we had a really good catch up this morning.

I made up a huge bin of muesli after lunch as we have nearly runout of the last batch and I knew that I wouldn’t much feel like tackling it on my return from town. It is always a good way to get my shopping list done. As I go through my pantry checking containers while I am getting out all the ingrediants. Also a good time to clean up the pantry!

Tim took the 3 children to Waterfall Bay and then up the hill mustering. They all walked back from the top of the hill.
No wonder Mahalia and Azzan were tired. They were rather fractious and were both very happy to crawl into bed tonight.

Azzan was rather distraught before dinner because no-one would play cards with him. (It was more the case that his rules were not that easy to sort out so no-one would be bothered.) He burst into tears while I was talking to Anson on the phone. Anson talked to him and he came off the phone laughing at the idea of Anson bringing home ice cream for them to eat all weekend while he baby sits – aren’t big bro’s wonderful

Tonight we watched ‘Holes’ while we ate dinner. It was quite funny and actually quite an intriguing story – just a wee bit complicated of a story-line for the little two to follow. So I had to put up with Azzan asking questions every few moments

That finished much later than their normal bedtime so I tucked them down while Tim made a phone call and then Anson arrived home.

Sorted out all the necessary things before he went off to bed.
Now I have to go pack my clothes.
We don’t have to leave at the crack of dawn now as the lawyer finally came back to us this arvo and said the hearing has been rescheduled. But we will probably be away around 7am.

I am off to Blenheim – going to see The Ten Tenors on Sat night in Blenheim – cool eh?
Tim & Nathan are meeting friends at the north end of the Heaphy track tomorrow night and then they are off on a 4 day tramp with them Sat morning.

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Noise and Mayhem

Did I mention that when I returned from my weekend away I was rather annoyed at the lack of school done by a certain couple of young lads?

Well, I put the squeeze on Nathan – told him that he had to do at least 2 lessons in Math and 2 in Reading plus some Astronomy every day or he would not be going tramping on Friday – and I mean NOT going!

Guess what? – He’s working very hard

So, I tried it again – I told Tim that if he didn’t get the installation of the fires finished so I could send in the final paper work to the Council then he wasn’t going tramping either.

Guess what? – He’s done it

And Seb – well, he has been turning out a heap of work – guess he thought the screws would be put on him too and as he wants to go visit a certain girl in Takaka he’s not risking it.

Wow! what power, it could go to my head if I let it

This morning Tim took off with Seb to do some mussel work and then this arvo all the 4 youngest went out mustering with him. Azzan never wants to go until you actually push him out the door and say YOU ARE GOING! Then he is off with a big smile, as happy as Larry. Just like lunch time. He comes into me all grizzly cuz Daddy is making him eat soup. I am busy doing book work so tell him to go rest on my bed till I can think about it. Tim comes in to find him, tells him he can have a sausage – after a small amount of soup and off he goes happily and devours a big bowl of soup and a sausage-!! Talk about fickle!

I spent a long time on the phone this morning – was great to catch up with my dear friend Emma, then managed to fit in a catch up call with Sandra too, nice to actually talk for a change – crazy to be next door neighbours and have to communicate through this blog. Where did life get so crazily busy?

Azzan was twisting the rope swing up while I chatted to Sandra and then I watched in horror as he hopped into it and untwirled very fast – I could see the swing spinning around, getting lower and lower but I just didn’t quite get out in time to prevent him belting his head on the arm of the wooden seat. Poor wee man, he’s got quite a decent size lump there now.

I seem to have spent most of the day packing up parcels to post. Seb is off to Nelson in the morning so he will post them for me. Watch out for yours Brianna – it is on it’s way. Am trying to get my study tidy again – man! it doesn’t take 2 minutes for it to turn into a junk heap again. Drives me insane.

Shoshannah and Azzan decided they wanted to cook after they got back from the muster. I was told I wasn’t allowed to see or know what they were doing. Azzan came into the study several times to make sure I knew that fact!

Well, I am finding the male/female balance in this house at present is weighing way too heavy on the noisy, crazy, loud, masculine side. I so miss my big girls Seb & Nathan tend to monopolise the airwaves and room space. It makes dinner time rather loud and crazy.

At dinner tonight they were percolating very well. Especially Sebastian! Shannie brought out her desert. They had turned it into a birthday cake and wrapped up presents for everyone. So it was a very happy unbirthday to everyone Apparently the cake tasted better than it looked. (I never said that!!)

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No Mum. I have no idea where he’s gone!
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This is the drama that unfolded at that time. You will note that Nathan seems to come out on the bottom most times. Seb stirs, Nate stirs back and then gets on the receiving end of Seb’s brute strength – mind you Tim is just as bad at stirring Natey up! I could hear some stirring going on yesterday and called Seb in to tell him off – only to find that it was Tim – so, that’s where they inherit it from-!!

Tonight was spent on the net and phone getting Cat & Jen’s tickets booked on the bus and ferry from Nelson to Wellington and trying to organise them to meet up with Seb in Nelson along the way etc etc. Seb finally got on the phone and told her sister that she was a total womble because she just wasn’t getting it and was not sorting her time frames out in her head properly! I, on her instructions had booked her bus to leave Nelson at 3:05 – arriving in Picton at 5:20pm to catch the ferry at 7pm – boarding at 6pm, so all fitted together well. She decided then to leave Takaka at 2:30pm as she really needed to fit in yet another rock climbing trip before leaving. This being a two hour drive to Nelson. She had gotten it into her head that she was leaving Nelson at 5:20pm – Talk about blondes! I do luv you Cat and am really looking forward to your return home next week to hopefully help me balance the odds around here

Anyway, got her sorted and packed up all the stuff Seb is posting for me and now I am off to bed.
Tomorrow it is my turn to pack. Only we now don’t know if we have to go to Blenheim for the meeting or not. Have to wait for confirmation from our lawyer in the morning. Just when I think it is all sorted.

Oh, yes…just an addenda from yesterday
I reckon my pics of the eclipse were not too bad after seeing the ones on the news today – check them out
Stuff and NZHerald had this to say….
Also discovered how very blessed we were to have such a brilliantly clear sky. Others I know were waiting to see it only to have the sky cloud over just before it happened

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalms 19:1)

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”

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“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalms 8:3–4)

Tonight we witnessed the first Lunar Eclipse seen from NZ in 7 years.
Only a few hours before, we had thunder, lightening and some rain.
But…
when the time came….
it was magnificent.
The skies were clear.
The stars were amazingly clear.
It really was incredible to see.

There will not be another seen from here until 21 Dec 2010. That will be quite an unusual one too as the moon rises at start of total eclipse.

I woke Shoshannah to see it at 10pm. She was suitably impressed – I think.
I asked if she would like to stay up for half an hour to see the full eclipse but no thanks, she wanted to go back to bed and think about the seals she had seen recently with something around their necks!!! Far more important

I took the photos with my camera set on a tripod – I still wasn’t able to keep it still enough but never mind – I am sure there will be more better ones taken by experts

Wow! after waiting for this to happen for several weeks, holding our breath for good clear skies.
I can now go to bed – happy

Praise the Lord for His wonderful Creation.

A Girl’s Weekend – fun fun fun :-)

After hitting the hay at 1am I woke abruptly at 4:39am and was up, showered and on the road to Nelson by just after 6am Friday morning.

I had a good drive out and managed to get breaky, pass the Safari through it’s WoF before 9am. I made the most of my time waiting there to get some cards written. For some crazy reason, I make the cards but then never get time to write and post them. I whizzed up to drop some school books off for Estelle then onto Motupiko to wait for Ella at Phillipa’s.

We had a lovely leisurely chat – most of the family were sick with colds – hopefully I have managed to evade them all! Grant & Ella finally arrived. They had taken the scenic route We had a delicious lunch – kumara soup and foccaccia bread that Mandy had made, Grant then bundled all the little poppets into their van and headed home and Ella and I headed south. We had a good drive. Didn’t have to stop anywhere – it took 3hours so I was a bit stiff on arrival.

Ella’s friends were already at our holiday house so we unpacked and then spent the evening chilling out over nibbles and drinks. The other 4 were into make up and foot massages. I was quite weary after a short night and a long drive so I headed off to bed before 10pm. It was a very comfortable house – I was most fortunate to get a room with a big bed
all to myself. It was right above the lounge area though so the noise did travel up but I read by book and then couldn’t stay awake any longer.

Next morning 3 of the girls went walking. Ella cooked a yummy breaky for us and then I took her and Jules up to the horse trekking place. The rest of us went down the street to explore the shops. Then I went with Clare to check out the oldQueen Mary Hospital. It is such a shame to see it just left derelict. There is talk that it may be pulled down – such a shame as it is a beautiful building with a lovely sunny vantage. I had bought some books so started reading them while Clare took photos. By then it was time to head back and go get Ella and Jules. They had had a brilliant time – wished they had taken cameras!

Kerry & Clare had to leave to go back to their families. So after a quick snack the rest of us cruised back to the shops and spent a long time trying on swim suits. I had seen one in the morning but wasn’t in the mood to try any on. I found it again and a few others and after a try on of them all ended up with the first one I had chosen – how cool is that!

Cat & Jen arrived and off loaded a lot of her stuff into the Safari – her poor wee car was going to cave in under the weight! They didn’t stop long cuz they had to get to Takaka that night.

Two more friends – Rachel and Cathy, arrived with their SingStar thingee. So they stayed back and set it all up while the rest of us went to the hot pools to go try out our new togs, we spent a few hours wallowing in the heat – such a lovely way to pass the afternoon. The day had turned rather chilly by this stage so it was extra good to have only our heads out of water We had to head back and get changed as we were booked for dinner at 7:30pm. Got down to The Garden House Cafe to find the party before us hadn’t yet left. So we waited over drinks for about 30mins before being seated.
This is Ella on right with her Mum, Jill & sister, Amanda. They were staying in a motel but joined us for our daytime activities.
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We had a fun evening – lots of very yummy food and a hilarious time.
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This is Ella – not bad for 40 is she
I had to take a pic to show the family the necklace I bought for her from us all.
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She also got a pretty cool pressie from her dh – a Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc classic bike. Her 14yr old son thinks she is now a lot more interesting

We have a very special mother/daughter/sister/friend relationship which began when she arrived on our doorstep 24 years ago.
We are both wondering where the years have gone since.
Life has had some interesting twists and turns – I am so enjoying having her back close again.

The girls had the SingStar cranked up full volume so they were in great form for the evening. I ended up going off to bed soon after 10pm as I had a headache.
Went to bed with them singing me off to sleep with Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry’ – interesting lullaby
Jesika text me at midnight – but I soon got back to sleep again.

Sunday morning we had to pack up but we didn’t have to clean – how cool was that?
The girls had decided they would pay a bit extra for cleaners to do the job. Best part of the weekend I reckon

Here are Jules, Lisa and Ella in front of our holiday home.
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Ella and I went down to the shops and shopped up large while we waited for Jill & Mandy to arrive. Then we sat in the sun and enjoyed a very delicious breakfast at Mumbles cafe. We did a bit more shopping and then decided we really should head north again.

It was a beautiful day and we had a good run through the Lewis. Stopped briefly at Murchison and then found our way up the Owen River to where Anson was shearing. It was good to see him and the gang for a few minutes.

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This is the view from the shed window – such hardship to work in places like this-!!
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We met up with Grant in Hope and off loaded Ella back to her family. I was feeling pretty good so decided to zip around do the necessary things and head home. Picked up some B12 which Tim had gotten on the mailboat and then sent out with friends – visited my midwife and she gladly gave me the shot. I have to have a regime of them to see if they can get my levels up considerably. Am only just managing to keep my iron levels steady on the base line – they are not climbing very high so need some encouragement.

I grabbed some takeaway fish and left town at 7pm. By this time I was feeling rather tired and I had to stop half way home to rest my eyes. But managed to get back ok by around 10pm. I thought I would get home a day earlier than planned and surprise Tim but he had done some ringing around and sorta tracked me down. He was in bed but had left all the lights on so I guessed he had it figured.

Today, they children have been cleaning up amongst their playing. Did a few loads of washing, sorted mail, etc. I got the stock whip out and cracked Seb & Nathan into action with their school work. Also made a few more cards. So all in all it has been a good day.

I have been putting more books on TradeMe and have sold a few more so have to get them parceled up tomorrow for Seb to post.

That’s enough from me tonight – I’m off to try and find some zzzzz’z before midnight

A weeks roundup.

Can’t believe I haven’t updated for nearly a week!
I have been busy but not busy busy – been doing stuff but not chaotic.

We got home Sat….
unpacked etc.

Sunday I got up late and then wallowed in the bath for some time. It is the best place to go hide with my book and ‘they’ can’t annoy me One of those tricks that mothers learn along the way Rest of the day was fairly cruisy.

Spent the rest of the week doing some school work. Just enough to say we had been doing it.
The children have spent a lot of time outdoors. The sunny deck is very inviting. They have the huge box from the wood fire out there now.

I made them spend Monday cleaning up their rooms and the box was taking up too much room. So it is now outside and being used for all sorts of things. Even Nathan has used it for a hidey hole to curl up and read in.

Shannie has been digging her garden over. She is wanting to plant seeds – I will have to get some soon. The ground is still a bit cold s she can do some more preparation digging.
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Got Nathan started on his Astronomy. He is using an Apologia book which looks really interesting. Just a good balance of reading and things to do. Because we are due for a Lunar Eclipse on the 28th August he is starting with the chapter about the moon. It will be the last lunar eclipse we see from NZ for 7 years so we must make sure we go up the hill to see it. Nathan is threatening to take his sleeping bag up so he can watch the whole thing. I think it is at full eclipse around 10:30pm. Seb bought home a Solar system kit for Nathan to construct – it is really great. He has to paint it and then it is strung up as a mobile.

Everytime we go outside Skye the puppy jumps all over us. She is a real pain. She is just very playful and excitable. Mum found her a bit daunting so started checking which doorway she was at so she could go out the other. One day Mum was going out the back door when the children called out ‘Watch out Granny – enemy approaching’! She is still chuckling over that one.

Seb went out to Nelson for his weekly basketball coaching. Sounds like he may get into a game next week. He managed to get himself a speeding ticket this trip. His trips are beginning to get rather expensive! 3 trips have cost him around $1000. He tells me he is a quick learner so hopefully he is and he doesn’t make those same mistakes again. I guess there are plenty more things on their books though that the cops can pull him up for!

Tim and Granny left for Blenheim at 5:30am Wednesday. She said her farewells to the children on Tues night as they would hopefully be asleep when she left.
PICT2776 Tim had yet another mussel mediation hearing. They are beginning to get rather tedious now. Hopefully the opposition will start to see reason soon – however I doubt they will so I guess we will have more to look forward to.

Shannie succumbed to ‘the bug’ last night but is fine today. Just heard Granny got it too which is a bummer.

Had a visit from Wayne from Accounts Online. He arrived Wed night and we spent several hours last night and then many hours this morning getting my computer and accounts sorted. He was fantastic. So glad he came in. We could never have gotten all we did sorted if I had met him in town. Tim was laughing cuz I was getting excited about being able to file my gst online and pay online too. Hadn’t got that sussed before. He reckoned he had never seen anyone get excited about the IRD before! I was just thrilled to learn something new and also to know that I don’t have to rely on snail mail any more to get my returns in on time.

Wayne also insisted on giving Tim a run through – a laugh really as he is not at all computer literate. But when Wayne showed him how he could access the various ledgers etc. and he could see how things were progressing or not, he was rapt. He actually got quite excited about it all

I have managed to get a few cards made the past few days. Been making a heap from one stamp. Had lots of fun playing with different backgrounds I have made in the past.

I have also finally got some of my books on to TradeMe to sell. I was rapt cuz I sold three in the first couple of days. Makes up for the many I have already bought. Cat just picked up 14 Bobbsey Twins books tonight for me in Chch – I got them all for $15.50 – pretty good eh? Shannie was very thrilled when I told her. She loves them.

She was still a bit peaky today and was getting bored so I gave her a Klutz book that I had bought a while back and had been saving for the right day. Well, did she have a great time. It is called ‘Paper fashions’. It has pages of stencils and ideas to create with. She had so much fun making cards with her models.

Had a chat with Jesika tonight – she is looking forward to a trip to Philip Island in a weeks time. Should be a good trip and nice to get a break from the city. Brianna called on Sunday – she keeps pretty busy at Camp Somerset so it is nice to catch up when she is back on base. Sunni emailed to let us know she has work now. She seems to be enjoying Vancouver more now she has work and they have plans to explore and travel during their time over there. Vancouver is a good hub for seeing a lot of the world from economically. Cat is making her way up the island after her time helping Jon with building his and Megan’s new house in Wanaka. She has been working for friends in north Canterbury for a few days this week and is soon moving north with Jen. They are travelling overland to Auckland as Jen is flying back to Belgium in a few weeks. Anson is back into shearing again – they had a bit of a lull with weather. He is always happier when he is working. Cell phones are surely wonderful things – all the children keep in touch so it really doesn’t feel like they are too far away.

I am off to town again – never home am I?
Well, this time it is for a girls weekend at Hanmer. Our good friend Ella has just turned 40 so we are having a luscious weekend soaking in the hot pools, eating good food, and anything else we might fancy once we get there. I have to leave around 5am as I have a warrant of fitness booked for the Safari before we leave.

Be back Sunday or Monday – See ya

It’s great to be back home – part 2 day 3

Thursday

Well, this was the day we had come especially for.
So we were up early to be on the road to pick up Estela and be over in St Albans by 9:30am.
We had booked with other home educating families to spend an hour being entertained by Jim Weiss.
He is a story teller from the USA and he is brilliant. He began by telling Aesop’s fable of ‘The hare and the tortoise’. He became the hare and the tortoise and had the whole audience totally engrossed – the wee ones were giggling very loudly at his antics.
He then branched into a longer tale set in the Renaissance beginning with Cosimo de Medici and how he began banking and lending libraries through to Lorenzo de Medici and Michelangelo. It was great. He finished with a quick funny story. We were all sad when it finished. We bought a couple of his cd’s which he signed for the girls. I also ordered a heap more as I was sop impressed with the educational value of them.

We then headed into the city, found a park and boarded the tram again. Our ticket lasted for two days so we thought we would make the most of it. We had decided to get off in New Regent St for lunch. It was the first street mall in NZ back in 1936, it also had memories for me as Tim’s father’s cousin owned a restaurant there for many years called The Coffee Pot. Sadly only one shop in the whole street is originally owned and that is the optometrist. It is a beautiful street, mirror imaged and decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles.
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We found a wee place and enjoyed a plate of nachos. We then boarded the tram again and got off in Cathedral Square. The children had lots of fun running about. It was absolutely freezing so they needed to to keep warm!
They met up with the Town Cryer and had a chat with him.
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We had a quick look in the Cathedral, watched the giant chess game, found the bathrooms which were up two stories so the children once again had to fight over who was going to push the buttons on the lift. I mean to say – what a big thrill it is to push lift buttons-!! You would think my children were totally deprived the way they go on about who is to push what button and when

After a sit down at Starbucks, yes, there is yet another in the Square we hopped back on the tram and made our way back to the car. Went to visit some prospective Japanese wwoofers but they were not home so called into see Christine and Les. Then it was time to zip back to Alvin & Vonnie’s. Popping into the supermarket briefly to grab food for dinner. I gave Estela a fast run down of the proceedings and then she took the children to a nearby playground while I freshened myself up and headed off to the afternoon session with Jim Weiss.

It was a 2 hour session for educators so there were teachers, librarians and home school parents. It was brilliant. Made my trip down there so worth while. He is a great teacher and an inspiration. From there I took my dear friend Erena (she had come down from Auckland as she was the one responsible for bringing Jim out to NZ and was organising the tour) out to dinner at the Crown Plaza. We had a lovely couple of hours chatting and chilling in a delightfully comfortable atmosphere with a live pianist gently playing in the background. Just what she needed after such a stressful day.

I was back home by 10:30. All in bed but Mahalia was still awake cuz she was missing me I snuggled her down and then zipped Estela back home. She was staying only 5 mins away so very convenient. I was very grateful for her help in baby-sitting – just made my time that much easier and enjoyable.

Friday
I was up at 5am because I couldn’t sleep. So I was able to say good-bye to Alvin & Vonnie as they both left for work at 7am. The children and I packed up the car. It was a wet and dull day. I had been rather nervous about going into a carpark building because the Safari is such a high vehicle. But I braved it and we were fine. So we wound our way to the top floor and once again fought over lift buttons. Made it through to Hereford St and into Drexel’s Breakfast restaurant at exactly 9:30am. Christine was waiting for us and was pleasantly surprised that we had arrived right on our booked time. We spent a lovely couple of hours there. The children enjoyed their breakfast and then were given pencils and pictures to colour so Christine and I were able to chat and enjoy our food. What a brilliant place it was too. Thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting Chch. You gotta book though as it is so popular.

We finally moved ourselves as the morning was nearly gone and we had to head north. We did a spot of shopping and then loaded ourselves back into the Safari. On the way out of the city I stopped and loaded up with veges at our favourite vege stall in Northwoods, then a last fuel stop and we were out there. It was a long road north. I was feeling quite sleepy again. Had to stop a couple of times to rest my eyes. Stopped for 10mins in Kaikoura to visit a friend. We got to Ward at around 6pm. We were staying with Jan & Talbot on their new farm.

It was lovely to see them and see where they are now living. The children were very happy to be eating ‘normal’ home cooked food again. Jan had hired ‘Happy Feet’ for them so we all watched that after dinner. We all slept very well. I heard the children up bright and early entertaining Talbot I took a little longer to pull myself out of bed. After a leisurely breakfast we went for an explore of the property. It is just lovely. They are getting ready to plant an organic vineyard so there is earthworks and mud everywhere but it is still a lovely vantage with a view of Mount Tapuaenuku

After we had packed up the car Jan took us to Ward to a new cafe for morning tea. It was a great place for the children to play. They have an old cray boat there which of course my three spent ages on.
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They also had funny mirrors which caused much hilarity.
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There were stocks
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plus a room with a movie about crayfish and fishing, live crayfish, etc.

We dropped Jan back at her gate and headed to Blenheim. I was going to do a few jobs but I decided to flag them and just go home. We picked up Granny, some groceries and fuel and left town around 12:30pm. Unusual for me to be travelling home at that time of day. It was great to get home early and unpack at a decent hour of the day though.

Shannie was so pleased to get home that as soon as we crossed our boundary cattle stop she gave a rousing cheer She manged to help me unpack the car for a few minutes and then she was up to her chickens and sussing out her two new baby pigeons.

I was glad that I had thought to buy a cooked chook at the supermarket so we had a very yummy dinner after the children watched ‘Charlotte’s Web’

There’s no place like home

It’s great to be back home…..

We arrived back home tonight around 3:30pm.
Everyone was really pleased to be here.
Shannie set up a cheer as soon as we crossed our boundary cattle-stop.

We have had a busy few days.

Tuesday.
We left here at 6:30am. Had a good trip out apart from Mahalia throwing up twice.
We were coming down the hill into Okiwi Bay and Shannie yelled out, ‘Look at the frost on the hills!’
Well, it wasn’t frost, it was snow. Unbelievable. I have never seen snow there before.
Then as we came down the Ronga hill and were driving along the valley there was more snow and more snow and with the morning sun it was just beautiful.
Here’s the snow along the hills behind the Pelorus River.
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There was snow all the way. The air temperature was bitterly cold.
We stopped for breakfast at the Springlands cafe. Did a few chores in Blenheim, quickly chose library books then we were on our way. Azzan was asleep when we got to Kaikoura so I just dashed into a bakery for some lunch food and kept going.

That wasn’t a good move though as I began to get very sleepy well before we got to Cheviot. Managed to hold it together but took a much needed break there. It was so cold that we all woke up. The children love this large rock at the memorial park – they remembered it from a previous trip so were clambering all over it until I dragged them away.
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I was very glad to get to Christchurch as I was having a real hard time staying awake. We did a quick dash around a supermarket and then went to visit Tracey, Andrew and Josephine. We met their newest addition to the family – wee Jack was just 12 days old. He is absolutely gorgeous
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It was 6pm before we knew it so we high tailed it around the city – it is great to be able to circumnavigate the city now using the ring roads, vast change to when I lived there 30 years ago. Got to Alvin & Vonnie’s over Halswell way very easily with Shannie being my able map reader. It was dark by this time so she was peering at the map with her torch which went flat twice but thankfully I keep a stock of camera batteries and they were just the right size.

Mahalia was still very peaky, ate a wee bit of dinner and then gladly went to bed. At 10:30pm when I went to go to bed – she was sleeping with me – I found she had thrown up all over the bed in her sleep – gross! I guess it hadn’t been car sickness in the morning after all

Wednesday
We drove over to Prebbleton and picked up Estela and then went to find my cousin Corrine (Alvin’s baby sister). She had only just moved up from Invercargill the week before. It is all very exciting to have her so much closer. I hadn’t seen her for around 10 years so we had a great couple of hours catching up on lost time, meeting her daughter Summer and seeing her new home.
Azzan loved Summer and Corrine and I hammed it up for a pic before we left
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We then went into the city and found a park – no mean feat in my tank – ala The Safari! Had lunch at Starbucks and then zipped the children down the other end of Cashel St to see The Bridge of Remembrance. The children had fun running about – thank goodness for street malls-!!
Chch is still pretty even in the winter despite the nude trees and chilling temperatures.
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We then popped into The Last Footwear Company where I found a pair of leather boots and a leather handbag and made the choice and purchase in about 15mins flat. Most unlike me! But I am thrilled with both purchases – just gotta soften up the boots a bit now, I got a few blisters Best part was they were having a 30% off sale

After this exhilarating walk we then went and found Aunty Rona in her nursing home. She was very perky and extremely pleased to see us all. Azzan remembered her immediately and was straight in there talking to her and giving her big loves I was pleased to see her looking so good as she had a nasty fall not too long ago and a wee stroke so I wasn’t too sure how she would be.
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Estela and I then decided we had time to take the children into the city and go for a ride on the old trams. We found a park and walked down to one of the stops. While we waited the children found Queen Victoria – the square was named after her.
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Then it was onto the tram.
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I thoroughly recommend the ride. It was great. It is just a tour of the city centre and the drivers give such great commentaries that they keep you most amused at the same time as they are imparting some really interesting local historical knowledge.
Azzan was more interested in gathering up brochures than getting his photo taken with the driver
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But we finally managed to persuade him that the other passengers might just like to keep going and that he might just be holding up the proceedings slightly-!!

After this we walked across Victoria Square and around the Town Hall. Azzan was getting rather tired by now and was refusing to pose in the photo shoots. Hence the back view and the lack of him by the pools.
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He then decided he should’ve been in the photo after we had left and as I wasn’t going back just for him I managed to convince him to pose for a pic by the floral clock. When we go back in October the floral display will be beautiful so it will be a great contrast for them to see then from now. Here they are with their best faces
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After that it was obvious we needed to go home. Azzan was getting very tired. So we dropped Estela off and went back to Alvin and Vonnie’s for dinner.

It was a really fun evening. Vonnie was flying high after some celebratory drinks with a friend. We got dinner sorted and then Corrine, Summer & Cleveland came to visit.
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The children all watched Ice Age 2 while we oldies retreated to a quieter room for some talking time. Later Sue, another cuzzie called round too. It was a great catching up. Alvin got home from work so I caught us all on film – again

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I’m tired now so I am off to bed.
Will bring you up to date tomorrow.