Nebulous days

Sunday – an early muster for some of the crew.
The children watch ‘Dr Doolittle’.
I stayed in bed a while longer as I was nearly at the end of the book I had been reading since before I went to Australia. It was extremely gripping and inspirational.
‘Evidence not Seen’ by Darlene Deibler Rose.
It took me a whle to get into it but then I couldn’t put it down.
An amazing story about her survival in a Japanese POW camp.
She was only 28 when released – the faith of one so young was amazing.
I just had to find out what happened to her since the end of the book so I spent a bit of time surfing the web and reading about her life from then on.

As with anytime I decide not to get up and moving and showered before daylight I get caught out!
I was called to the door in my pre-shower, dressing-gowned state by one of the guys who were renting The Cottage for weekend.
He was wanting to pay his dues.
I must have looked pretty scarey – he messed up the cheque he was writing and he didn’t stick around too long

I got to the cooking in preparation for our dinner party.
I love my Moosewood Cookbook – it has great salads – I made the potato salad and the Indonesian rice salad.
Shanni started some bread rising for foccacia bread.

Then around 11am we started getting everyone together for fellowship.
Just about to start and Leon walked in with Simesi.
They had come to say good-bye.
They had been staying over at the Lodge but we didn’t know Simesi had been there too so hadn’t caught up with him earlier.
It was lovely to see him.

Jesika worked with him on the market garden in Riwaka back in 2000/2001 and hadn’t seen him since.
He is from Fiji and normally just comes to work the season but is now waiting for an operation and then he will retire back to his island where we are all invited to visit him – sounds like a great place for a holiday methinks

The day got wetter and wetter.
Tim & Anson managed to get the sheep in the shed.
Anson’s mate Shane arrived to help with the shearing.
Ros walked over from Waterfall for a visit and stayed for the bbq.
Tim barbequed up sausages, steak, paua, and beef patties.
Sandra & Phil and Peter arrived and we loaded the table up with food…..

  
….and proceeded to eat way too much – but it was all good

Then the younger members played some games with Herbie and Anna

Cat washed the dishes with assistance and much joviality from Phil & Peter

While Tim & Ros had a deep and meaningful discussion about who knows what……

It was a great evening and lovely to catch up with everyone.

Monday – Anson & Shane got into the shearing and I got stuck into food preparation.
It was great though as there was a LOT left over from the night before to add to the menu.
When the shearers are working the kitchen staff (me-!!) have to be on the ball and have plentiful and nourishing food ready at the right times.
Breakfast @ 6:45am
Start work at 7:30am
Morning Smoko @ 9:30am
Lunch @ 12 noon
Afternoon Smoko @ 3pm
Finish work at 5:30pm
Dinner around 6:30pm
It really is all go and organisation is totally necessary to make it all flow and keep everyone happy.

Seb helped me with Cottage cleaning, hanging washing and other necessary household stuff, Jesika, Alex & Herb rousied and Nathan helped Tim with the stock work.
Tim got rammed in the back of his thigh by a sheep which slowed him down considerably so Cat gave him a hand for the rest of the day.
There was quite a major scattering from the lunch table as it began to rain and they had to tear off up the hill to get the rest of the sheep back into the shed.

The Tasman Challenger came steaming in and dropped off the mast for Cat’s yacht.
It has only taken 18-months for it to be delivered so there was great celebrations to finally see it here.

It’s majorly long so it had to come up on the right transport, but it is here now so all is good and Cat can now start preparing the final finishings before getting it into the water.

Jesika and Alex went over to Waterfall for the night so she could sort her gear out and get some of her stuff to take back to Melbourne.

Anna was on the phone mid-morning organising her plans for work and travel etc. to Chch when the phone went dead.
I called Faults on my cell phone and was told it was a huge fault due to lightening and the crew were on to it.
Calls were then redirected via my cell phone.
I called Faults again later in the afternoon as was told it would be fixed by Tuesday morning.
I called Faults at 10ish today and was told it would be fixed by midday.
Jesika arrived back and told me that Waterfall had not lost their power at all – so I was rather confused as I had been told it was a huge fault.

I called Faults just after midday and was told it would be fixed by 11am Wednesday.
I hit the roof <img src=”http://s.xanga.com/images/angry.gif&#8221; width=”15″ border=”0″ />
She suggested if I was not happy I might like to speak to her supervisor.
I said yes, I would very much like to speak to someone.
She said they would call back in 5-10 minutes.
An hour later I had had no calls so I called Transfield and talked to the head guy there.
They had not received any fault notification about our fault until 7:30am today.
AND as far as he knew there was only us and one other person with no power in this area.
He said the technician was working on the other fault and if he could he would come and look at ours this afternoon but if he ran out of time he would come back in the morning.
I was so glad to hear Rob’s voice on the phone when he called from the top of the hill  later on – he then traced the fault down the hill.
It was an old fault that he had fixed last year but it is not fixed completely as Tim has got to do some bulldozing first.
Tim had let sheep out in the morning and they had broken the exposed cable!!!!
I am still waiting for the Telecom supervisor to call me back!

So we have the phone back on again but we are expecting a thunder and lightening storm tonight so there is every chance we could loose it again – oh joy!

The sheep were still wet this morning so the guys did a spot of fishing as they waited for the breeze to dry them a bit.
They started shearing after 11am.
Shane had to leave at 1pm to get to an appointment.
He finally got away at 1:30pm, taking Anna with him.
She hitched a ride out to her car and is driving to Christchurch for her new job.
Herb left soon after as he had to get back to work tonight.
Anson carried on shearing with Jesika, and then Cat, rousieing.
Seb took Alex hunting – saw some pigs but never shot anything.

Jo arrived with her 4 children.
They are staying for the rest of the week in The Cottage so my children are delighted to have some playmates.

We have had torrential rain tonight – there was a lot of very dirty water pouring down the hill so Tim donned his rain jacket and went for a tiki tour to see if there were any blocked culverts.
Anson & Cat helped and Seb cleared some guttering that was overflowing.

I am off to bed now as I am taking Jesika & Alex out to town tomorrow to catch their ride to Christchurch as they fly back to Melbourne on Thursday.

          

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A crazy day

Anson arrived back late last night and had the crew all organised for a muster today.
So the crew was up at 6am and gone before 7am.
Tim was allowed to go as long as he stayed in the truck – the boss’s orders (aka Anson)!!
Jesika, Herb, Alex & Nathan went to do the dog work.

I made Tiramisu while Anna watched to learn.
Cat mixed up the meat patties for the bbq.

I made muffins for the workers and then I vacated the kitchen so I could work on my blog updates.

The guys arrived back just before lunch.
Jesika & Alex had gone to Waterfall Bay to get the gas bottle and found the eftpos man was on his way in to fix our machine and no-one was there to open up for him.
Richard had gone out fishing with Ros – so just as well Jesika was there at the right time to take the call.
Seb shot back up in the dinghy to open the shop for him and get it all sorted.

Anson was a bit whacked after his late night and early muster so he took 5 out on the verandah with his wee bro.
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Anson bought in a budgie for Shanni. She is totally delighted.
It is a girl and she has named it Gorgeous.
It is as yellow as a canary and sings – although not as nicely as Henry did.

Jesika & Alex & Herb went kayaking then
Anson, Nathan & Herbie went out for another muster.
Tim sent several hours smoking up kahawai.
I did a pretty good selection of veges for dinner and made a Lemon Meringue dessert.
Tim had put a corned beef on – it simmered away all day and was absolutely delicious – so nice to have our own beef and not the horrid processed supermarket stuff that I have been buying.
The guys in The Cottage gave Tim paua but as I had dinner all prepared we will eat them later.

Then it was dinner time.
And after the main course dessert was still half an hour away from being ready so Cat nominated that we should all have a game of Ligretto.
It was pretty boisterous-!!
A very noisy game plus Azzan had his music on full bore and was dancing to it quite oblivious to us trying to concentrate on our very serious game
Anson did his fair share of cheating with a smile – reckoned he has learned good from his younger siblings-!!
Our incoming Lodge manager called during the mayhem and wondered what on earth was happening – normality in the Shand household

Dessert was ready by the time Anna & Shanni had won the game – only 1 point ahead of Jesika, Alex & Anson – but as he cheated his way through most of it I figure that was just deserves

Tim put the wee ones to bed – the bigger ones hopped in the spa and I settled in to watch a movie with Herb and Nathan. We had been wanting to watch ‘Amazing Grace’ for ages. It was very good.

Just heard that Graham’s boat broke down out at The Chetwode Islands and he had to get towed home late tonight. Glad they are okay and I daresay we will get an account tomorrow.

Now I am off to bed – another early muster in the morning to look forward to

A pleasant day

I emerged from my bed well rested and ready for a lovely restful, peaceful day around 7am.

Richard and Helen were up soon after and then when Graham came by in his boat he took them for a quick trip up to Waterfall Bay.
While they were gone I hung out washing and put away most of the pillowcases.
Just for fun I counted them – I have over 160.
Needless to say I am biffing a large number of them, but still have well over 100 in the cupboard.

When they returned we enjoyed a delicious breakfast together – poached eggs & hash browns with toast and vegemite.
Then they had to leave as they had a long way to go and several visits to make on their way to the ferry.
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Richard had taken such a liking to our picturesque cabbage tree I had to get a pic of them under it.

Once they had gone I decided to blob for a while.
So I sat down to watch ‘Hilary & Jackie’.
I was totally engrossed in it when I got a text from Bri asking me to call her.
So I did. She is enjoying life in Australia so it was good to hear all about it.

It started to spit with rain so I tore out and got all the washing in and finished it off in the dryer.
Then the sun came out-!!

At 1pm it was time for the mailboat so I went for a wander down to the wharf.
The water was so clear – you could easily see the bottom and the jelly fish floating amongst the odd bit of debris.
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The mailboat came steaming across the bay
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it was a beautiful day – sunny, calm and serene.
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The house looked cosy in the afternoon sunlight with the smoke from our wood fires curling up into the sky.

I headed back into the warmth of the living room to open the mail.
I sat down to finish watching the movie and Herb arrived, so he joined me to watch the end.
It was an extremely moving story – one which was very close to home as my sister-in-law died had multiple sclerosis and died only a month after Jacqueline du Pré at a similar age.

Once it had finished I got onto getting dinner ready for the troops. Herb gave me a hand which was great.
They got back from the camping trip around 6pm.
They had had a wonderful time and were all blissfully weary.
No deer this time, but lots of fish.
I will extract photos from the various cameras to share with you once the have all had a chance to rest up tonight.

Sebastian arrived back from work tonight – he has been on the boat for quite a while and has been working some very long days – yesterday he said they did 19 hours – so is needing some sleep and motherly TLC methinks.

Anson is on his way home now – he will be late but he has already text ahead requesting a gang of musterers for an early morning muster. He is wanting to get the sheep in and shorn before he leaves for Sardinia at the end of next week.

I am off to have a spa and get to bed as it looks like we are in for a few more busy days – what’s new?

A super busy busy day

Thursday – I had planned a bbq with friends around for dinner.
But!
to quote Robbie Burns
‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley’ – in otherwords they always go right out the window!!!

Especially when there is a good forecast and the crew wants to go camping/hunting/fishing around D’Urville Island.

Can’t say I blame them – but – anyway, I made a couple of calls, postponed the bbq till Sunday – so all’s good.

But – I said to Tim, we have to get The Croft and The Cottage cleaned and ready BEFORE you go because we have guests arriving.

So, everyone pitched in and stuff happened.

Jesika & Mahalia popped around to The Croft and got it ready.
Tim, Alex & Nathan did The Cottage.
Shanni cleaned up her bedroom and Jesika remade the beds cuz I had friends coming to stay while they were away camping.
Jesika packed all of the camping food and the children helped her to get all the camping gear ready.
Alex brought down several loads of wood.
Mahalia & Azzan tidied their room – well sort of
Shanni vacuumed her room and the living room and swept the kitchen and organised her birds and buried Henry. Her musical wee canary was killed by a weka a couple of days ago so she found a special spot under an orange tree).
I carried on with the linen cupboard, stripped our bed (time for winter sheets) did the washing and generally cracked the whip!
Cat & Anna sorted out issues, packed their gear and then they were on their way.
By this time it was after midday and the wee folk were getting hungry so I made muffins and pushed them all out the door.
The waiting for them to all go is a bit tedious sometimes – they always take such a long time to leave-!!

I enjoyed the last of the afternoon sun and folded some of the washing at the line while chatting to Graham.
Then I carried on with remaking our bed, tidying up the washhouse and kitchen etc.

My guests – Richard and Helen arrived mid-afternoon.
We had a lovely cuppa and chat. Graham came and joined us for a while.
It is nice he is back home again after nearly 8 months away.
Then Richard and Helen went for a walk and I got dinner ready.

It is such fun cooking for just a few – I made a delicious chicken casserole, with salad, rice and corn on the cob. I also made banana caramel for dessert. That is indescribably yummy!

We had a very companionable dinner and chatted our way through the evening. Richard and Helen insisted on doing the dishes – who am I to argue on that score? I continued folding and sorting the pillow cases – I have enough for Africa, so I was sorting them into piles of those that match sheets and duvets and then the random ones and then the others that I really honestly do not want – they will go in a corner for Nathan to use for his hangi’s. He needs them to put the meat and vegetables in and as he really enjoys and he does do a great hangi it will be a well used pile.

Shanni asked me to load her photos onto the computer and I found these delightful ones which really encapsulate my boy. I love it – Azzan is so into dancing and loves to wear this wee green dress over his shorts. Shanni really caught the mood here.
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Tim has been having problems with his back for the past few days.
He got up the last morning he was catering for the oil rig guys and it went out and he has been having trouble ever since.
It seems to be troubling him more when he is lying down so he is not sleeping very well at all.
This morning he was up at 5am because it was too sore to sleep.
I suggested he go hop in the spa.
That helped immensely.
So I joined him and we sat and chatted in the early morning light.
It really is great having that time to talk over things while we soak.
No interruptions – wonderful.

The rest of the day went very quietly.
Tim wasn’t really up to doing much.
He lay on the floor for a bit and pottered about doing not a lot.

Shanni wanted to learn how to play ‘Age of Empires’ so I asked Nathan if he would teach her. That went quite well – a good lesson in patience for Nate!!
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Azzan decided he needed a foot spa so he filled it – right to the top – I had to bail out a few jugs full.
Then he sat and listened to some stories on the cd player while he soaked his feet.
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Mahalia has been under going some disciplinary measures due to behavioural problems while I was away, so today she was writing letters of apology. She did well – so I hope the lessons are being learned and remembered.
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I am engrossed in a book at the moment – so have spent more than a few moments reading today.
In between that I have folded up all the sheets and duvet covers.
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I decided that I may as well have a big sort out and re arrange my linen cupboards while they were half empty.
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This was before I got to do all the double/queen/king sheets and duvets!
I have 3 linen cupboards and I have decided to streamline things a bit. Hope it works-!!
At the moment I know where everything is but others don’t so I am always re-positioning when others do the washing.

I still have a mountain of pillow cases to sort and fold up – but that will wait till tomorrow.

I asked Nathan to top up the spa as it was getting a bit low. He forgot the hose and went off to help Tim with moving the last of the beds back into the Cottage. Azzan discovered it as it was overflowing. He helped bail some water out and then decided he needed a spa.
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Shanni watched ‘The Sound of Music’ this arvo – that is one movie that I never tire of watching and singing along with.

We had a delicious roast of mutton for dinner and afterwards were chatting over the map of Australian train journeys I bought home when the big people all arrived back from their Golden Bay trip. They were all tired so ate dinner and cleaned up quickly and then all headed off early to their beds.

I am going to find my book and go meet my pillow.
The book I am reading is pretty intense – ‘Broken’ by Shy Keenan.

But I must tell you about another book that I bought at the Perth terminal before I left Australia.
It is only available in Australia at the moment although if you go to her website constanttrek you can buy it online.

It is called ‘Slow Journey South’ by Paula Constant.
I couldn’t put it down.
It is about an Australian woman who decided to walk through Africa.
She is doing it in stages.
The first stage is what the book is written about – from Trafalgar Square in London to Morocco.
Man-!! It’s a good read.
I hope that Amazon will accept it soon.
She apparently has to sell enough within Australia before Amazon will look at listing it.
I can’t wait for her 2nd book