It took a few days but we are now finally home :-)

I got a wof for the Safari and Shanni had her physio appointment on Friday morning.
Then it was – ‘Can we please go pick up Poppi now Mum?’
She had been so patient and waited for all those hours since we had arrived in Nelson the night before.
So I took her up to the Winnington’s and she and Poppi were joyfully reunited.

Poppi had been extremely well looked after and there was a lot of exclamation as to how wonderful he looked and how long his tail feathers had grown etc.
His wings had grown quite a bit so I left Shanni & Azzan there to wait for Grace to return home so she could clip them before we left.

I went off to do some grocery shopping.
Ended up a bit random really as I didnt know exactly what I was needing.
So got some basics and then met up with Estelle for a late lunch at Morrison St Cafe.
It was good to sit awhile and have a catch up chat with her – both of us have such busy lives these days that we barely touch base.

I finally got back to pick up the children.
We went down town on the way to get sushi for their dinner and to get my last frappacino of the trip.

I had also bought some new cd’s from Manna bookshop – they were great – Robin Marks – Year of Grace, Phillips, Craig & Dean Greatest Hits and two called ‘Heart of Worship Africa’. By the time we got home they had definitely all been added to our favourites list.

Graham had organised a new cd/radio for me while we were away which was fantastic – the old one had never worked so we had to use ipod speakers etc. So thanks to Graham we now have music to drive to

Mind you,  Shanni chatted all the way so we had to keep altering the volume!!

She was so funny.
At one point she was talking about birds – does she ever talk about anything else??
She was telling me all about birds, esp parrots and things that she had learnt from having Poppi etc.
She then commented that ‘It is so much easier to learn about animals when you have one.’
and a few seconds later she remarked ‘I wonder what it would be like to study elephants’!!

She also commented that she really enjoyed her holiday in Australia.
She was one who didn’t want to go, so this was quite an admission.

We got home around 8pm.
Shanni & I unloaded the Safari all by ourselves.
Tim was having a very long phone conversation and Nathan cheerfully appeared just as we had finished – helpful lad.

Graham had left the mail in numbered piles along my desk so after I had the children sorted I began the task of opening it all.
I think it was after midnight before I managed to download all my emails – had to keep going in to my web mail and moving large files to a new folder to allow the other stuff through and then I moved them all back again and left the internet running all night.
Back to dial up – Lovely – NOT!

Saturday morning I dallied about.
Didn’t get dressed or showered.
Just cruised around in my dressing gown.
Got the unpacking started.
Made a start on all the washing.
I got Nathan to clean out the spa and refill it.
Graham popped around so chatted with him and Tim.
They had installed the new hot water cylinder on Friday and there were still tool and bits everywhere.
Also the wood stove is in pieces as the wetback needs fixing/replacing.
Graham is going to tackle it again when he returns from town – whenever that may be!
Tim & Nathan had cooked up a mutton roast and the kitchen still smelt of greasy mutton, which I just couldn’t handle.
So the house was in a general mess and I just couldn’t really face much.

Then at 1:45pm I was sorta thinking that maybe I should have a shower.
I popped into the study jusin time to hear my cell phone alarm go off.
I checked it and to my horror realised that Rossi’s 60th b’day party was on and I had forgotten it.
I actually had not forgotten the b’day – I had just forgotten what day it was – duh!
I had told them we would come so felt bad about not going.
So I zoomed into the shower, grabbed kids and fast food and was out the door 40mins later, yelling upstairs to Nathan to tell Dad that I had gone and I had 3 kids with me.
It was raining really hard but the road surface was good.

When we arrived an hour or so later we found they had been working on their road.
It was quite worked up and the rain was very heavy.
However I never had any slipping or sliding so all was cool.
The kids had a good time socialisng.
Poppi was a hit – party animal that he is!!
Azzan found a streamer of flowers and struck a pose with the birthday girl.
It was a 60’s theme and a lot of folk were dressed in 60’s clothes and costumes.
It was fun.

We left at 6pm as I didn’t want to be too late home.
Met a car coming down the hill.
The road is very narrow, so the car backed up about 100m so I could squeeze past.
It was very very foggy all the way home.

The kids were not very hungry so we popped them straight into bed.
I ended up having a l-o-n-g talk on the phone to Joy.
I had rung to see if I could get my sewing desk back which I lent to her a million years ago cuz Azzan is wanting one for an art table and it is just the perfect size for him.
She wanted to hear all about our holiday so an hour or so later………..

Today was wet.
We have had a wonderful lot of rain.
Tim is pleased

I hopped in the spa – first spa in 7 weeks.
I took my book and lay back and read for ages.
It was delicious.

Graham headed off to town this morning as he has physio, dr and dentist appointments.
Tim went up the hill to help him load his trailer.
I got more unpacking and washing done.
Thank God for my dryer.
I now just have about 6 baskets of dry washing to fold and put away – tomorrow methinks!

Just a general chill day really.
The girls have been playing hard out in Sylvania.
Azzan has been making pot pouri – he found one of his craft books and decided to use our newly blossoming spring bulbs – I have suggested some alternatives

Can’t seem to get too enthusiastic about kitchen duties yet.
So tonight I have chucked rice in the rice cooker – will figure out later what else to have with it.

My body has become so accustomed to waking in a different bed nearly every day for the past 6-7 weeks.
The last two mornings I have woken in my own bed but for a few moments have been quite disoriented and dont know where I am.

The children are now watching ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ so I am going to go join them cuz I never got to see the end on the plane – we landed too soon!

Flying home


I was up at 6am.
Tim decided that if we weren’t having breakfast at the hotel we could let the children sleep an extra half hour.
So I ran myself a bath and wallowed for a while.
I had been hanging out to have a soak for weeks but it is something you do not do in Australia because everywhere has water restrictions.
But I figured I needed one.
It was just lovely.

Then we woke them one at a time and got them all up and ready.
Tim and one last bible reading time with the wee ones while we waited to take the bags to the main door.

Then it was all go.
We loaded into the shuttle van.
He left just before 7:30am.
We had to be at check in by 7:45am.

It was like a cattle herding there.
We queued up for ages and then all our major luggage was taken and we had to lug the rest of it.
Tim was all for hanging around a while and drinking all his bottles of water at his leisure but I hurried him along and said we had to go.
Thankfully we did.
Once we got through the security door the cattle herding was worse. The queue was miles long.
We moved along at a snails pace, the kids were getting really weatry of it all and the heavy back packs they all had to carry.
Finally we were through customs and then through security and we only had 30 mins before boarding.
Sp much for some leisurely time to duty free shop.
I quickly bought a couple of things and then we ordered some food to take away.
Not realising that they would fiddle faddle with it and it wouldn’t be ready immediately.
Tim was still waiting for it when they were calling us to board.

With the children we got to board fairly quickly and we were all down the back end of the plane so we had room to spread out a bit.
Tim ended up with a whole three seat row to stretch out in.
I watched ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ with Azzan & Shanni.
Didn’t get to finish it though which was a pain as I was quite getting into it!!

Azzan was very taken with watching the clouds and the mountains as we came into land so he bumped Mahalia out of her window seat..

As we were disembarking the hostess asked Azzan if he would like to see the cockpit.
Of course he would
So the others went ahead and we followed.

We cuaght up at customs, went through there fairly quickly and then at bio security we had to unpack all of Nathan’s stuff to get Tim’s two pairs of boots out.
They had to clean one pair.
Then they asked if there was anything else so we told them about Nathan’s cuttlefish.
It was checked and found to be okay.
They let us through with all the other food – including some birthday cake.

Alvin was waiting for us.
The plane had been delayed and we took ages to get through so he was running late for work.
We had so much stuff I didn’t think it would all fit in.
But Tim was determined it would and it did.
Mind you, you couldn’t see ano of us beneath it all!

We dropped Alvin off at the hospital where he was on guard duty. Then made our way to John & Lyn’s at Burnside to pick up Tim’s Safarai.
We had to wait there till 5:30pm for a hot water cylinder to be delivered.
I took the opportunity to zip over to Riccarton and get a frappacino.
Hadn’t had one Starbucks in Australia so I was hanging out for it.
Man it was good

By this time it was 6pm.
It was late and cold and we were all very tired.
So we drove to Loburn and spent the night with Brianna’s other family.
Thanks Nicky & Dave for putting us up again.

Today we have driven up the coast.
Stopped off in Blenheim to see Granny and give her a peice of the birthday cake.
I broke my glasses before we left Loburn so had to visit my optomotrist to order a new pair.
Then Tim, Nate & hali headed off to get the trailer and go home.
I drove to Nelson with Shanni & Assa.
We popped into Ruth’s to give her a piece of b’day cake too.

Got to Nelson in the rain.
Bought Chinese takeaways, ate them at John & Sally’s new house while we caught up with their news.
Then came back to the motel to spend the night.

Tomorrow we have to get the Safari warranted, Shanni to the physio to get her tailbone checked out, pick up Poppi from the Winnington’s and stock up the pantry as it is totally bare.
Then it is home sweet home

I am now totally blogged out

Good night from Kiwiland

Jesika’s 30th birthday & our last day in Australia


Tuesday was Jesika’s 30th birthday.

We were moving out of our cabin so I was up early and got several loads of washing done so I could leave clean linen for Jesika. We got to her place soon after 10am.
Unloaded all the stuff we were leaving behind.
Cat & Seb arrived and they took a lot of the food as they were heading of camping with Sasha.

We then all piled in to the cars and drove to Warrandyte.
It is one of Jesika’s favourite paces when she needs to get out of the city.
There is a lovely walk along the river.
We headed off to walk but the rain came in.
So we made a hurried trip up the hill to the cafe and had lunch while we waited for the rain to blow over.
As usual we arrived enmasse  and in good voice and humour and within moments 2 tables vacated.
I commented to the waitress that we are pretty good at emptying restaurants!!
She assured me that they had finished and it wasn’t our wonderful company that had driven them away

So we moved tables and got ourselves comfortable and placed our orders.
The food was wonderful.

Seb & Jesika shared this delectable cake.

Happy Happy Birthday Jesika

Then after we had filled our tummies Cat was anxious to head off on their adventures.
So Jesika gave them last minute directions on how to get to their destination.
They had about 4 hours of driving to get there.

Seb was wearing the hoodie I bought for him in Brisbane.
I was rapt as it was just the perfect size for him and the sleeves are plenty long enough

After Cat, Sasha & Seb left we all headed off on our walk along the river.
I had to go back for something so when I finally caught up they were way along the bank waiting for Nathan.

It was a beautiful spot – I can see why Jesika loves going there.

We dropped the kids off at the Stolk’s for a final play and time to say goodbye.
We went back to Jesika’s.
Tim & Nathan cleaned the car and repacked the bags.
I did some interneting and Herbie & Jesika went for a bike ride.
When they got back at 4pm we got instructions on how to get to the airport.
Jesika rode her bike ahead of us so she could say goodbye to the kids.
We picked them up after saying goodbye to Marion and headed off to the airport.

I stopped to buy some food and fuel.
Dropped the rental car off.
Had to lug ALL our gear over to the airport to wait for the shuttle bus.
It took us to our hotel.
We had a lovely dinner there.
It was realy funny.
The little ones haven’t exerienced 5 star dining before so were very fascinated by the cloth napkins etc.
They managed to keep their manners fairly tidy for once.

We were all in the one room so we were all tucked into bed well before 10pm.


Monday in Melbourne Central


I was up early.
Left cabin before 9am so I could drop off the data projector and pick up her b’day cake from the hall.
Somehow it had gotten left behind.

I got back just after 10am, screamed in to pick up Tim, Nate & Azzan. They had slept in as they were all quite tired.
Then it was a hurried drive into Jesik’as to meet up with Anson who had to be on the train to be at the airport by midday.
It was a 1.5hour trip for him and we were wanting to spend the first part on the train with him.
I grabbed the girls on the way – they were both looking a bit like stunned mullets from the hustling along.
Robyn and Jesika escorted us to Mont Albert train station so we could get to the city a bit quicker.
It was a bit of a nightmare getting the tickets as I didn’t know how to use the machine and you have to buy one ticket at a time. No place for family groups!
And the train was there and about to leave.
So Robyn got Anson through first as he had to leave, then she and I stood and fed money into the machine and pushed the buttons to get 6 tickets.
All the while yelling at the guys to jam the doors open so I wouldn’t get left behind!
What a drama.
Thanks so much Robyn – I really appreciated your help – we would never have made it without you.
Just sorry we didn’t get to catch up again before we left.

We got to Southern Cross Station and walked quickly with Anson over to the Airport Shuttle bus and waited while he got his ticket and then said our farewells.

Then it was our turn to figure out where we were going.

We got help romt he Info desk and then walked 2 blocks to the free bus.
Waited for that for 15 mins.
Shanni was so tired she collapsed on the pavement.
Nathan reckoned we should’ve put a sign up by her as she looked like a beggar and she could’ve made some money while we waited!!

We finally hopped on and did part of the tour.
Hopped off at South Bank so we could go look for food.
We ate lunch at the food hall.
Then walked over the foot bridge and along the river bank and under the road bridge.
Took the lift up to Federation Square and had a look around.

We then got the free tram and did a 3/4 circle of the CBD and got off to go see the Old Melbourne Goal.
It was a really great place.
So glad Herbie and Tania had recommended it.
We were all limed up by the Sergeant and givent he orders to stand straight, no leaning, slouching or talking.
We were then all searched for drugs and sharps.

Given our charges and told in no uncertain terms what was going to happen to us.

Azzan and the sargeant got on quite well – they both amused each other!!

Then we were taken to the cells and locked in.
Then the lights were turned off.
We really got a feeling of what it might have been like.
They were all put into solitary confinement.
23 hours a day in their cells.
No talking.
Even on Sundays, they went to church and were seated one inmate to a pew so they couldn’t talk to each other.

The padded cell.

I found these hardened crims in there – pretty sorry bunch eh!
Bet they got locked up for a long long time

Then we went and visited the rest of the prison.
This is the flogging frame.
The cat-o-nine-tails was used here.

A very stark and unforgiving environment.
It is 3 layers of cells.
Women on top floor, men in the middle and wardens below.
During the war the top floor was used for military prisioners – mostly those who went AWOL.

Ned Kelly was incarcerated here and was finally hung on the gallows on the 2nd floor.
This is his armour he wore.

We left to catch the tram back to Flinders street as it was getting late.

I really loved the architecture of the buildings in the city.
It is so solid and imposing and has a real beauty of it’s own.

Our tram arriving.

Parliament buildings

Azzan loved these lights.

Not too sure what this building was – it was across the rioad from Parliament.
But I liked the architecture of it.

We caught the tram back to Jesika’s and met up with Cat, Seb, Sasha & Herb – they had been on an exploration around Mt Dandenong and Herb had gotten them lost into some interesting places!

I hopped online and found some heated hand grips for Jesika’s bike for her b’day.
I managed to order them on the net and email the folk to ask them to call Jesika about them.
I got them from her favourite bike shop so was quite pleased with my sleuthing
Especially as I managed to do it all before she got home!!

We all headed back to the cabin to pack up our gear.
I worked until quite late sorting and packing while Tim cooked dinner.

Thankfully Herbie was able to take a bag home for us as we had way too much luggage.


Sunday night madness

We whizzed back to Jesika’s in time to load everyone into the car and go to church with Jesika.
She attends Crossways.
There werfe two women there who sang – they had amazing voices.
I really enjoyed them.
The preaching was interesting – about us and our responsibility and stewardship for the environment .
Quite thought provoking.

We were supoosed to be meeting the rest of the family in the city but they were all tired and not wanting to go back in so we all went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Robyn & Ari joined us so these was quite a crowd of us making merry.

Nathan & Nathan

Afterwards we had to part company.
We dropped Nathan & Tania at the train station as they were heading to the airport – Tania was flying out early in the morning.
Then we dropped Bri off at the tram so she could get to Carlamia’s as she was flying early too.
Jesika & Sasha walked home so Tim & I could head back to the cabin.
We stopped by to pick up Azzan.
Marion had tucked him down on the couch but when we walked in the door he came out to meet us.
We couldn’t raise anyone so we just crept out the door with him
Felt like baby snatchers!!!
I did tell one of the boys that we had him cuz he poked his head around the bed room door just as we were leaving the house, so figured Marion would work it out!!

To the top of Mt Dandenong

…..we got to the top and paid to park at the Skyhigh Mt Dandenong.
It was quite chilly up there even with our coats on.
But I soon had the kids running around the gardens looking at all the sculptures etc.

They found Mr Percy Possum’s door.

Then the Wishing Tree

And the lovely English Garden with it’s lovely curved bridges

and a pond just right for finding frogs in if I let him!!

Azzan met up with these two youngsters

They really really wanted to go into the maze.
Shanni pleaded with her daddy to come too.
‘You know Daddy when you really want to do something you shouldn’t worry about how much it costs!!’
So he headed off to find a bathroom and I watched them from the lookout as they found their way through to the 4 places they had to reach to get their cards stamped.

In the butterfly garden – the last place on the card.

They all got presented with ‘I was Amazed’ buttons to wear.

Tim sussed out his new car at the door of the hotel.

Then we found the Giants chair in the bottom garden.

By this time it was getting late and we needed to head down the mountain.
Tim had said we should go to the William Ricketts Sanctuary on the way down seeing as we were now on our own.
But I unfortunately missed the turn off and was at the bottom before I realised.
Oh well, I guess it leaves me something to do next time we visit Melbourne.

The fuel tank was reading empty so we cruised down to the nearest garage to get some petrol.

The children were all very tired.
But they really wanted to have a sleep over at the Stolk’s and it was the only night they could.
So we dropped all three off there, arranging to pick Azzan up later on.

Picnic at Mt Dandenong


Everyone slept in till nearly 9am.
I put a few loads of washing through while they were all waking.
Nathan & Tania had to vacate their cabin so they came up to ours and then came with us to meet Jesika etc at the hall.
We arrived too late to help with the fnal clean up as they had already done it.
So we piled into our cars and drove up Mt Dandenong to a lookout.
We spread out all the party left over food and had our lunch there.

There were quite a few crazy antics going on as we ate.

We were at the top of a steep slope so this precarious carrying on was a bit breathtaking when you realise there was nothing behind these two if they fell!

Robyn & Ari came too which was lovely.

Sasha & Jesika – best friends forever

or are they??

After we had had our fill we packed up.
Herbie used one of the platters as a sled on the hillside.
Made a hole in it so Jesika won’t be able to reuse that one!

We were going to the William Ricketts Sanctuary but when the others discovered they had to pay $7 to get in they were a bit antsy so we didn’t go there.
I was quite disappointed as I really wanted to go.

But majority rules.
We drove to Olinda and had pies and ice creams instead.

The others all headed off home but Tim & I decided we wanted to go to the top so we did.
We had a lovely time up there with the children……….