A lovely cousinly day

We all had a busy morning getting the place tidied up.
It was a gloriously, beautiful day.

Cat, Anna & Eric left Sat night to go climbing for a few days.
Tim went mustering early.
Nathan & Alex cleaned the spa – much needed as it was getting pretty yucky.
Seb came and went from Waterfall Bay – as is his usual pattern these days.
Eva & Sabine cleaned The Croft, Alex & Anson finalised The Cottage.
We had a large group coming in to both places.
I made a large banana cake in anticipation of hungry hoards.
Bri & Sabine went sailing with Charlotte for the rest of the day.

Then around 2pm all my cousins arrived.
Sally & Tony, David & Justine, Peter & Conny and their 10 children.
We enjoyed a lovely afternoon together.

Tim took some of the crew scalloping for a couple of hours.
The ladies and I spent our time with the younger children to and fro the beach.
It was an idyllic day.

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Then around 6pm the boat returned with a good haul of scallops and mussels.
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Seb had bet Eva $10 earlier in day that she couldn’t get Anson in to the water for a swim.
It is very rare that he will go swimming here.
Not that he cannot swim, he just chooses not to inflict cold water onto his body.
Anyway, Seb lost his bet-!!
I don’t think he budgeted on Eva’s coercive nature
How’s this for a perfect swan dive??
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David & Peter rounded up their families and headed back to French Pass so they could get them settled for the night.
Sally & Tony stayed for dinner.
It was rather gourmet.
Scallop mornay, fried scallops, salad, rice, sausages (for those heathens that don’t do scallops-!!) and boiled peas.

By the time the guys had talked with the tourists, and then opened the scallops dinner was quite late when we ate.
Azzan actually asked me if he could go to bed.
Poor wee man was so tired.
It was after 9pm before Sally’s crew left for home.

I was walking back down the hill in the dusk light when I saw a long lanky figure on the house roof. I thought Tim had beaten me down the hill and must be trying to fix a chimney or something.
Then the figure stood up and began walking along the ridge of the roof and I realised it was Seb!
I guess 17 year olds will do anything for entertainment won’t they!
I told him in no uncertain terms to get down off the roof – and he did

She’s leaving…on a jet plane….

I was up bright and early Saturday morning.
Sunni Azzan and I left just after 6:30am.

We had a good trip out, Azzan was a wee bit sick once.
But all well again to enjoy a steak & cheese pie at Rai Valley.

It was a funny morning.
Mid summer and the grass was heavy with dew in Okiwi Bay and the fog was down over Rai Valley – weird weather.

We stopped at Pelorus to visit Ruth and Ruby for half an hour.
It’s been two years since Sunni came home.
She did pop down briefly to visit Granny before she left for Vancouver.

We were able to spend an hour with Granny before Azzan and I took Sunni to the airport.
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The airport was buzzing.
We have not seen Blenheim airport that busy before
We had 30mins to wait before the good-byes had to be said….
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Azzan decided he really couldn’t go with Sunni this time – Mum still needs him

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But he had to wait at the window until he saw her board and the plane taxi off.

As we drove back into town we followed the plane heading north – he followed it as it disappeared into the clouds.

So long Sunni – it has been a lovely visit and we look visit to your return later on next year

I decided to fuel up – there were queues from the pumps out onto the road. It was quite interesting watching 4WD’s & boat trailers and huge camper vans trying 2 manoeuvre and cars coming in the wrong way and getting cornered. We finally got our diesel and as Azzan chose his ice cream there were 2 checkouts operating and then one had a major problem so had to shut – talk about having a system break down at the wrong time

We popped back to see Gran briefly and then visited my friend Chris. She made us a sandwich for lunch. Azzan had fun playing with Bailey while we chatted. Then we had to do the supermarket shopping. I have not come across so many crying children in a supermarket for years. It must have been a bad day. Even Azzan was concerned about them What got me though was the inattention the parents were paying to these distraught kids. They were just totally ignoring them.

We managed to get out of town around 4ish, bought cherries on the way and munched on them. Called into visit Pam and Paul at Okaramio. Their son John and his wife Jen were home from Tanzania with their wee man Ben – just 5 months old. We had a lovely hour with them before moving on towards home.

We got to Cissy Bay at 8pm and popped down to visit our friend Alan who had not long returned home from an extended period in hosp and recovery with his daughter. While I chatted with him Azzan had fun playing a Silly Will Weasel game. I can see what is going to be on his next wish list

We left at 9pm. Azzan had been asleep when we arrived at Alan’s but he was percolating well by the time we left. He was asking if we could buy this movie and that game etc.
I said to him that they had enough movies and toys to last them for a life time and I wouldn’t be buying any for ages.
To which he replied ‘Can we sort them out and take the ones we don’t want up to Waterfall Bay?’
(I am sure there is an alterior motive here. If they get taken to WB then he still gets to play with them )
I asked him which ones he wanted to get rid of.
He said with a sigh ‘Can we discuss this in the morning?’

We met Tim and Anson at our gate mustering sheep in the dusk light.
When we got to the house only Nathan was awake watching a movie.
Anson made Azzan some dinner and then Tim tucked him into bed.
It was a long day but fun.
He is a chatterbox and delightful travelling companion.

A shearing lesson.

Eric helped Cat change the oil in her yacht today.
It was a rather messy job
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Anson mustered down some more lambs this morning.
He shore them all before lunch.

Cat decided to have a go to see how much she remembered.
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Anna was shed handing for Anson.
We decided she needed to have a lesson.
Here is a blow by blow account….
for those of you who are not interested then you have a delete button

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All finished.
She then spent the next 5 minutes apologising to the sheep for cutting it!!!

I am most impressed with Anson’s ability to instruct. He is so good. He never gets in a state, he is calm and helpful.
I think he will do well as a shearing instructor in the future.

Sunni’s home :-)

We have had a lovely laid back couple of days with Sunni.
We all thought Ryan was coming too but she arrived alone.
He had stayed up in Auckland with his folks.

Life has just ticked on as per normal.
Yesterday Tim decided to take a crew out scalloping. So they all loaded up and left around 11am.
Sunni and the 3 youngest stayed back with me.
Seb went up and manned Waterfall Bay so Mike could go.

We had a blissful day.
Just chilled.
Sunni and the kids did some cooking and dinner prep.
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We did a bit of school work.
Mahalia got to the very last lesson in her reading book but would not do it with me.
She had to wait for Anna to come home to do it with her.

We watched a movie ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’
They still weren’t home.

Finally they arrived at 6pm.
A very long scalloping session and they only caught 3 scallops.
They caught 8 blue cod and fried them up for lunch as they had not gone prepared to stay out so long and no one had any food.
So they were frantically trying to catch some fish for dinner.
They turned up with enough kahawai and a few cod to feed us all.

Today Mahalia got to read her final lesson in the book.
Great excitement
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‘Now I get my prize’
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Mahalia was so delighted with her Sylvanian horse and caravan. Anna was like a little kid squealing with delight over all the wee pots and pans etc.

Azzan has so enjoyed having Sunni home.
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He is also very thrilled to have her as his first guest in his bunk tonight.

Shannie said to me tonight –
‘I love Sunni. It is good to have her home.
She doesn’t come home very often and I so enjoy having her home’

We grabbed a quick window in time tonight and took some very random family pics.
Jesika is not home but as it is so hard to get everyone together these days so I am thankful to get as many together in one place as I can. They all moan and groan about having family photos done –
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tonight it was all a bit hypo – the younger ones were buzzing so it was quite hard to get any real good ones.
Here are the best of them –

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the girls are a bit more co-operative and photogenic
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the blokes were a bit….well…. a bit…..
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more difficult to capture.
Azzan was not too happy by this stage.

Seb took some lovely ones of Tim and I –
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I am normally behind the camera so thanks Seb

Tomorrow morning I am taking Sunni out to catch her plane back to Auckland to meet up with Ryan and then they both wing it back to Vancouver.

Brianna left early this morning to go to Blenheim.
Sunni was flying in from Vancouver and is coming to visit us for just 3 days.
She took Tim’s Safari and towed the trailer to pick up mussel floats.
There is never a wasted journey in or out of here – gotta make each kilometer pay

Eva, Sabine and I got industrious this morning.
Had a good clean up around the outside areas.
I went up to see Tim about a couple of things – that was after I had sent up two messengers who never returned.
And found 7 men standing around jawing!
Men!
And they say women talk.
Well, we were actually working and trying to instigate some from their camp.
But it was very slow progress today.

While we waited upon their assistance in a few matters….

Azzan found a recipe in my book for an egg dish that he wanted to cook for lunch.
So Eva assisted him.
He peeled the potatoes – took ages to do just 3, had to stop in the middle to find a plaster for his finger that he peeled by mistake!!
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Sabine tackled the washing while they were busy.
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Mahalia did a superb job of vacuuming the living room too.
Then she did a bit of interesting cooking too. The two of them kept Eva on her toes
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Then the omelete was ready and they took it out into the sunshine to enjoy – direct from the pan.
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Azzan was so proud of his lunch – great effort matey boy

We had been given a set of dark blue tubular bunks a while back and they have been up in the shed waiting for somewhere to live.
I asked Azzan if he would like them in his room and he did.
He got it all sussed that he could have a spare bed for a visitor or if one of the girls had a visitor then the other could come sleep in his top bunk

But to get the guys to actually get the bunks down and then find the bolts to hold it together, well, it did take a while. They seemed to be in slow motion today.
Finally Anson delivered them to the door – there was no way they were coming inside covered in mud so I got Alex to give them a good clean.

While he did that the girls began to clean out Azzan’s room.
Then Azzan decided that it would be a great idea to paint his room.
Mainly because in his past he had been an artist and had decorated the walls with black felt pen-!!
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Mind you he was pretty proud of his artistry – can you see his name in there?

We found the paint and the girls got underway.
Azzan was in fine fettle and had the roller in the paint and paint on the wall before they could turn around.
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Thankfully he burned out before too long and left them to finish the job.
The paint was a slightly darker shade than previous so I got them to only paint to half way up thewalls because it is a small room and I didn’t want it too dark.

While they were busy painting Alex waterblasted the deck – looks lovely and clean now.
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We got a phone call from Brianna. They had gotten to Okiwi Bay and the Safari refused to start. They were stranded. So Tim hopped into my Safari and went to their rescue. He left around 3pm.

Anson recruited Alex, Cat & Anna to go mustering. He wanted to get the sheep in before the rain hit.
They were a tad late. The rain came and it was freezing. So they left the sheep up in the airstrip to hopefully dry off tonight for tomorrow.

Seb spent most of the day around at Waterfall Bay helping Mike. That was after he did vege prep for me. He ran home in the rain around the track.

I cut out some stencils using the pictures in Azzan’s curtains so the girls could paint pictures around the join in the paint. They did a brilliant job.
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When we took Azzan in at dinner time to see his room he was totally delighted.
I said ‘isn’t it good’
To which he promptly replied ‘It’s GREAT!!!’

The black felt pen which he wanted to cover just would not be covered no matter how many coats were applied – it shone gaily through every layer of paint. So I guess Azzan’s artistry will be there for posterity

I suggested that he could sleep somewhere else tonight to give the paint time to dry properly before moving his bunks in. But no way! He was sleeping in his own room.
So Anson dragged a mattress in for him and he is sleeping on the floor.

When Brianna finally made it home around 9pm she popped in to see his room and he was lying there just gazing at all the pictures.

Tim just couldn’t manage to tow his Safari up the last wee hill. The rain we had had this evening had made the road way to wet and greasy. So he left it there and Sunni walked. Said it was too scary to ride. Don’t blame her – I would’ve walked too. It had been a very slow trip as he was towing the other Safari and the trailer. The had two hail storms at Okiwi while waiting the 2 hours for Tim to arrive. They also had a bad experience at the Cafe/Bar there. Terrible abusive service – or non-service would be more to the point. Certainly will not be recommending anyone to go there. It is not the first complaint I had heard. Don’t honestly know how they stay in business.

Nathan, Anna, Eric and Alex all went swimming after dinner. It was freezing cold, a southerly has just blown through – they are all mad!
They then came and spent ages in the spa.
So long in fact that it had cooled down considerably by the time Tim and I hopped in. So we got out feeling rather chilled tonight – brrrr.

The children watched ‘My Fair Lady’ before dinner. It is such a classic movie. They love the songs. Azzan is going around now singing his own rendition of ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain’
or is that ‘The rain on Spain usually falls on the plain’

A lovely day :-)

I was up bright and early today.
It was raining, stormy and muggy and I just couldn’t sleep any longer. I snuck out and met Shannie at the door.
She had been up already and out to see her chickens.
So we kept ourselves busily quiet for a while in the kitchen.
She did some school work -the three children are trying so hard to get their math and reading books completed so they can get their prizes – great incentive. And I so hate starting a new year by finishing old books so I am encouraging them to persevere on to the end real soon.
I folded a mountain of washing and by then Anna appeared too. Azzan came out and had a snuggle time with Anna.

Once Tim and Hali woke I decided I might just go have a spa and read my book. It was blowing and raining still so really nice out in the hot water with the cool air blowing about my face. Only problem with reading in the spa is that my glasses keep fogging up

Then it was out, shower and dress for the day and into the kitchen.
Made several salads, finished the desserts and loaded everyone into various vehicles and headed over to Waterfall Bay.
By this time the rain had stopped and it was beginning to clear.
Tim reckoned the rain was the best present he could’ve received today

We spent a lovely afternoon with Mike and his mum Wendy.
Mike was a great host – thanks Mike

Charlotte rowed ashore from her yacht and cousin Philip & Verena, and the 4 Tylers came around too.
Quite a good number – head count for lunch was 24 I think.

I caught up with the Lodge guests – they are regulars – it takes a bit to catch up on the past 12 months and they were wanting to know how Jesika was doing in Melbourne and also were raving over the improvements we had done in the Lodge kitchen.

Everyone played a part in the feast today –

Nathan helped Wendy pod fresh peas
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Anson barbecued the meats
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Tim carved the magnificent ham that Wendy had bought
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Eva read stories to Azzan & Hali
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Some folk chatted out on the sunny deck
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while the young and the restless played touch
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Note a certain red head who was getting the better of the blokes

The old timers sat out and chatted
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while the women got the food organised.
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Charlotte and Eare getting the hot plates of meat out.

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Eare and Wendy in the kitchen – man! was it hard to keep the three ladies out of there-!!
Eare was in fine fettle and there was a LOT of laughing and joshing going on.

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Then around 2pm lunch was finally ready so we gathered everyone together to give Thanks and then
we ate…
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We had ham, chicken, venison steak, sausages, beetroot salad, pasta salad, potato salad, lettuce salad, hot peas, carrots, new potatoes, olives, – a real feast.

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Tim in his comfy corner enjoying a very healthy plateful.

Hali figuring out what to do with the cracker
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Philip giving Charlotte a lesson on how to actually pull a cracker!
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Anna and her mum Wendy
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After we ate our fill of the first course we cleaned up, rested a while and then it was into dessert – delicimo
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We had Pavlova, Tiramisu, Ambrosia, fresh boysenberries and raspberries, steamed fruit pudding and sauce, and lots of Austrian Christmas cookies. Can’t you just feel those kilos piling on

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Words are not needed here I feel

Wendy and Eare were having such fun on the bar stools. A couple of kids they were!! They slide up and down with the squeeze of a button. Charlotte was fascinated and had to give it a go too.
Here she is getting her thrills for the day
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Verena was very generous in allowing Azzan to take pix on her camera
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he was most delighted and very trigger happy.

The only downside to the day was that Jesika wasn’t there. We all missed her.
We know that Sunni is coming home tomorrow, but we won’t see Jesika until April

We finally all loaded up the left overs and headed home around 6pm.
I met Tim and Anson mustering sheep on our way down the hill.
No rest for the farmer, even today!

As we were driving up the hill Azzan was sitting in the front seat beside me.
He said in a concerned voice – ‘It is really very confusing?
I don’t know who I am going to marry.’
I asked why he thought that.
He replied ‘There are just so many to choose from.’
What a problem for a 5year old

No-one was particularly hungry so Bri helped me get the three small folk into bed.
I watched a brilliant movie called ‘Coach Carter’.
A real good end to a great day

Sheep work and cooking

The past few days have been occupied with moving stock in preparation for shearing and food preparation.

I am tired of food
But am pleased with what I have made and accomplished.

Tim has been taking the troops put for early morning and late evening musters as the sheep do not move well in the heat of the day. Last night they drafted up the sheep to sort out the ewes and lambs. Only the lambs we are keeping were being shorn.

I was not willingly rising from my bed, no reason to get up, it was a lovely Sunday sunny morning and I had a good book and I was really tired. But then there were people coming and going so I had to get up and get moving.
Our lovely Israeli family left in their big camper van. It was so lovely having them here and the children all played so nicely despite the language barrier.
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Cat & Anna’s friend Eric arrived with Cat’s car. They left Nelson in Charlotte’s yacht and were heading this way. Stopping a night on a mooring just south of French Pass. Eric has been helping Tim with some mechanical work. Help that Tim does not turn down!

Anson arrived home last night and this morning was up and at’em bright and early.
He started shearing at 7:30am so I was up early preparing food for the crew and also for tomorrow.
When the girls got back from cleaning The Croft I sent them down to the shed with my camera.
Here is what came back…
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Mahalia & Hercules

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Shoshannah & Jynx

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sheep waiting in the back stalls for their haircuts.

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Anson shearing

and his apprentice Nathan crackin’ out a few too
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The team – cousin Phillip Shand came around to help out too.

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Eva & Mahalia

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Alex & Sabine with Anson

At lunch time we spotted a yacht approaching.
And yes, it was – Captain Charlotte with her crew – Cat & Anna
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Anson finished the shearing before afternoon smoko.
I had crashed out on my bed with my book as I knew he didn’t want smoko in the shed.
I got up to find Azzan giving him a haircut.
I just love the intensity happening here
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and if that side of the clippers don’t work then you just tip’em over …….
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don’t you??

The weather has packed up.
It is raining and blowing and definitely cooler tonight.
Tim popped around to Elaine Bay before dinner to get fuel so we all crashed out in front of a dvd while we ate dinner.
Ever since I saw ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ on the airplane last year when I was coming back from the USA I had been wanting the family to see it. I finally managed to track a copy down in NZ last week. So we watched it. It is such a cool movie. The 2nd sitting for me was just as good as the first.