Random weekend catch up

The children have been really good about getting into the piano practise now we have a printd schedule and the timer.
Shanni left her clarinet book in town so Dave picked it up for her.
In the meantime she was wanting me to find her piece on the net.
I found ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ – but it was for saxophone.
It was in a different key to what she was learning.
I was quite impressed that she easily transposed it on the sheet music.
So was her teacher when I told him!!

I was even more impressed when I came out and found Mahalia playing it as a duet with Shanni.
And they even managed to get most of it in time with each other!!
Not bad for a couple of beginners eh?

Azzan is having major problems with his scales.
He was getting so frustrated this morning trying to play both hands together and getting the right thumb under and left finger over in the right places and still keep it all in time.
He can do each hand separately quite easily.
But boy oh boy!
You should have heard the huffing and puffing and frustration coming from him today.
I sent him off for a run around the house.
I got him to slow it right down.
I got him to play other pieces instead.
And still he got mad – with himself – and with everyone else – esp Nathan for looking at him in the wrong tone

Hopefully a good night sleep will calm him somewhat.
I am leaving Manja to assist him as she is a accomplished pianist and an outsider.
He is beginning to develop quite an attitude at times which I am not letting him get away with.
He has begun to roll his eyes and give me some very stroppy body language at times.
Darling boy!
He thinks he knows what I am going to say/ask him so gives me this look, which of course I cannot handle.
He gets sent to his room or made to change the attitude fast.
Easy & better to deal with (well somewhat easier) at 7 than 17!!

One of the pots on the verandah has grown a watermelon and a pumpkin from apparently nowhere!
They are amazingly fast growers.
Shanni was meant to transplant the pumpkin a couple of days ago but it is nearly too big now.
Lots of flowers on them both so hopefully with good watering they will produce some great fruit.

I went out this arvo to get the clothes of the line and caught a glimpse of white under the dahlia.
Marco had found a great hidey place out of the sun.

Nathan has been hammering and digging and getting his new old steps in place.
Don’t think he quite knows how to deal with the bottom part just yet.
Be interesting to see if he has a go or waits for Cat to come home to assist him.

At least he has the large hole filled in so I can get to the clothes line without breaking my neck now.

I went for a wander around the path to check out the garden this arvo.
Shanni’s ‘Poppi memorial’ daphne bush is doing well.
It is in just the right place.
Outside her window and it gets the full afternoon sun.
It is also protected by these amazing flower plants which I cannot remember the name of.

She is counting down the days now till her new bird arrives.
4 days to go.

Azzan has cracked us all up over the dinner table these past two nights.
Last night he all of a sudden announced,
Nathan would you stop behaving like a teenager and grow up!’

Tonight he said to Nathan,
Speak to the hand, the head’s not listening.’!!

Shanni has been in a rather crazy mood this arvo.
I have been trying to leave last minute instructions.
Don’t know why I bother telling her anything.
I am sure I have told her and everyone what time I am leaving several times and what my plans are.
And still she asks the same question

We all sat and watched ‘Iceage 3’ last night while waiting for the men to come in.
It is so funny.
I love how they mix old music and quotes etc with a childlike story to appeal to all ages.

I have been trying to get everything sorted for this week.
Can’t seem to get into gear.
Anson went to Nelson today and bought himself a 2nd hand freezer, a 32″ tv and I haven’t heard what else yet.
He is going to be doing the Thursday taxi run for me this week.
I thought it was going to be relatively simple as it was going to be a no piano day.
But just discovered yesterday that the kids will be having music lessons after all.
So had to get on the phone and juggle things around to fit it all in.
I have been googling maps etc for him so he know the easiest routes to take between all the lessons and how to find all the places we go to.
I am sure he will have everything sorted and they will all have a fun day.
But whatever happens Anson will still moan and groan and tell me what pains his younger siblings were/are!!
But we don’t believe him for a moment.
We know he loves them all to bits

The new wharf – pilecapping.

Work has begun on the wharf.

Our wonderful, talented builder/engineer friend Dave (I know he reads this so I have to keep him buttered up so he will return soon ) drove in Saturday morning in time for breakfast and then spent the rest of the day getting things underway.
He brought with him a special level thingee with which to make the job not only easier but straight and true.

Tim got PL3 going and they used it to work from to begin with.
It was a beautiful clear, calm, sunny day.
Perfect conditions.

As the tide was out they were able to get the pile caps done at the beach end.

Some of their antics looked rather precarious!

Glen finally arrived after lunch to give a hand too.
One of our not helpful Lodge guests had played with his outboard and it took him several hours to get it going.
Frustration to the max!

Once they had the level marks on the piles they cut a flat area into piles to fit the pile caps against.

Graham was also here so with 4 of them working together and Nathan at times things ticked away quite merrily.

Graham & Dave consulting
or is Graham telling Dave what to do??

Anson and Glen zoomed out in the dinghy to set a net and then went back out later to pull it in.
They got a few fish to add to dinner.
Anson was doing stock work most of the day so whenever I looked out the window it was a hive of activity in the yards, shed and at the beach.

They worked until quite late.
Dinner was around 8pm.
Dave was the first guest to stay in Anson’s ex room!

This morning Dave & Tim were down working before the sun hit the beach.
They were now using the children’s raft to work off.
It makes a good platform.

The tide was very, very high today.
I told Tim at lunch time about the huge earthquake in Peru and the tsunami warnings that were being broadcast.
So that explains why the tide is higher than normal for a full moon.
No tsunami here as such but tide surge which is apparently sposed to keep happening over the next few days.

Then the tide got too high to work so they hopped on board the ‘PL3’ taking Maja with them.
Transferred onto ’88 South’ and went out to gather some mussels.

Dave had to head back home after a quick lunch.
Thanks for all your help Dave.
Appreciate it, and your smiling countenance
(just thought I would throw in that new word that the kids discoverd today!!)

Tim & Graham carried on throughout the rest of the afternoon.

When they were manoeuvring the 8m long pile cap Nathan went down and gave them a hand.

They will have 10 x 8m caps to attach at the large end of the wharf.
Quite a major as they are so heavy and unwieldy.

Love the steps and the floating jetty

In the late afternoon sun today.
The tide is out again.
Things are progressing well.

A week gone by already!

I had a couple of days at home to recover and prepare for our Thursday trek to Nelson.
Azzan came to me on Tuesday morning and plaintively, pleadingly asked if he could ‘please do some school work?
The poor neglected wee man
So we went and dug through the pile of books he had been working in last year.
He found a heap of his ‘busy books’ and happily brought them out to the kitchen.
He decided that if he finished several of the small books then he could amalgamate the small prizes he would earn and get one bigger more worth while prize!!

I got side tracked but thankfully Johanna filled the gap and guided him through to the end of three books.

And at the end he happily received the Persian Cat Sylvanian family

Despite being with us for 2 weeks Johanna had never heard of Sylvania so had to be escorted down the hall to the school room for an introductory visit.
She was speechless when she saw it all,
and that says a lot if you know her
She then helped Azzan to arrange the whole Sylvanian population back into family groups.

There has been a lot of swimming happening over the week.
It is a continual procession between the house and sea and spa.
It has been a good week weatherwise so lots of outside activity.
Shanni continually comes to tell me about her new baby birds – there’s always an update on a budgie or cockatiel or chicken!! She is also busy in her garden.
She is getting the hang of picking the veges when they are ready and not just when I suggest we need something.
We have had a few overdone beans and peas!!
She is treasuring a large marrow along in the hopes of entering it into the Rai Valley A&P show next week.

I totally blobbed out Tuesday arvo/evening.
I watched ALL of Cranford.
It was so good.
I just loved it.
Such propriety and wonderful useage of the English language.

I have also been doing a lot of reading when I can.
I finished reading ‘Walking Taylor Home‘ today while soaking in the spa this morning.
An inspiring story of a Dad walking with his son through a particularly nasty cancer till the Lord called him home.

Johanna has been brilliant with the kids.
I have been very spoilt having her here to keep things ticking along while I have been busy.
She is such fun and has an effervescent contagious laugh.
A real energy giver
She did great French plaits and the girls hair was always being done in very interesting designs.
Nice to have Mahalia’s hair tidy for once

Azzan is getting really great at keeping his room tidy.
He asked me the other day if getting a prize for a tidy room meant that it HAD to be tidy ALL the time everyday or could he still have small play messes throughout the day?
I love the way he ponders on things and works them all out in his wee head.

He came to me and asked if he could move into Sebastian’s old room.
I told him he had to sleep in the high bunk for a night to make sure he really wanted to.
So he did.
Happily telling me the next morning that he loved it up there because he had his very own private light switch.
I also overheard some sibling rivalry to do with the fact that he was braver than Mahalia cuz she couldn’t cope with sleeping up in the high bunk – ‘and what’s so wrong with sleeping up high anyway?‘!
So Wednesday he decided he was going to move.
The girls helped him.
There was rather a large mess left behind in his old room and in the hallway.
We are still working through all of that

Tim has been spending a LOT of time in the study.
On the phone and nutting out materials etc for the new wharf.
I’ll be very glad when he gets it all sussed and underway so I can have my study back!
He and Anson have also been helping Graham with some sawmilling and gathering up firewood form the off cuts.

Anson is home now.
Shearing season has finished for now.
He has moved around to The Croft and set up residence there.
Johanna spent quite a lot of time helping him move furniture etc and when she wasn’t doing that she was helping Azzan.
Anson’s going to be taking a much greater role in the farm now which Tim & I are very happy about.

Thursday I woke to rain.
By the time we left at 6am it had thankfully eased considerably.
The road was not at all slippery or dusty but it was VERY foggy for the first part of the trip.
We stopped for the kids to get their breakfast at The Brick Oven in Rai Valley.
Can’t break tradition.
Johanna couldn’t handle the kids eating sausage rolls and meat pies for breakfast.
We were ribbing her about not being a true German.
She replied that she was French for breakfast and German for the other meals.
Our older children are fans of Danny Bhoy and he has a very funny skit about breakfasts for various nationalities.
French eating light and flakey croissants and then retiring back to bed in exhaustion and Germans with their eyes barely open demanding a vital organ!!!

By the time we got to Nelson the skies were clear and it was already 20’C warning us of a hot day ahead.
We dropped Johanna off at the backpackers where Glen was staying as he was taking her out to Kaitereteri where she and her friend were going to walk the Able Tasman track.
I took some goodbye pics.
Azzan wasn’t very thrilled at being told to get out of the Safari.
Shanni was apparently tired

Whereas Mahalia was very bubbly and cuddly and wouldn’t let Johanna go.

Then we zipped out to music.
Mahalia was delighted cuz Kashana had come to the lessons with Nick so the two girls disappeared off into the back playroom and played happily while the others had their lessons.
I was able to do a few jobs before going back to pick up the 3 youngest.
We kidnapped Kashana as her Mum was busy preparing for a funeral.
Got them lunch and left them at Marianne’s so Shanni could do some more cycle mechanics.
The younger children played with Aryal and James.
I went off to Cafe on Oxford and had lunch with Ainsley.
It was nice to get an hour to myself in amongst the busyness of childrens activities.

Then it was back to pick them up, get Nathan from Kip McGrath.
Into town for gymnastics.
We were early as usual so the children got half an hour extra to rampage around the hall.

I dropped the children off at dancing and clarinet then Nathan & I went shopping for a timer.
I found one in Briscoes.
I got it so the children would know how long they were doing their piano practise for.
I have also made them a daily practising schedule as incentive to get some diligence and regularity from them.
I had had a wee whisper in Nicks ear before piano and gave him permission to roast any of the children who had apparently not been practising enough.
Which he did – thanks Nick!!
So now we are being proactive about encouraging self motivation.

I had an appoinment with a new massage therapist who has rooms in the same place as the chiropractor I have been seeing.
I had a half hour session with him.
He does integrated massage therapy and boyworks.
He was fantastic.
I came out of there feeling so good.
He worked hard on my shoulder and arm.
As they often work together I am going to now go to both him and the chiro to see if between them they can get me free of this pain.

Nathan met the  children after their lessons, got them bbq sausages as they walked past Countdown and then walked them to the Info centre to meet me where we were also meeting our next wwoofer,
Manja from Germany.
We loaded her bags on board.
Grabbed some food from the supermarket to eat as we travelled.
We were outa town before 6pm which was fantastic.
Don’t think we have left that early in a long while.

We stopped at Okiwi Bay so the children could run around the playground for a while but the sandflies were so bad we were soon in a hurry to leave.
We had lots of photo stops for Manja.
Chatted with Syth on the side of the road.
Popped into visit Anson briefly and give him some sales pamphlets I had picked up.
He is planning a trip to town on Sunday to stock up his new home with bits and pieces he is lacking.
Got home just on dark.

Today has been pretty cruisy.
Anson, Tim and Manja went cattle mustering so they could get the calves in for marking.
The Sky guy arrived at 10am to get Anson’s Sky connection up and running.
Manja helped the children clean away more of the bedroom clutter.
Then after lunch they all went swimming and I went to bed.
I slet till 5pm.
Woke very groggily and was pleased to have Nathan take over cooking the dinner for me.

Tonight I watched ‘The Secret Life of Bees.’
Tim went around to watch the rugby with Anson.
He reckoned Anson was all lonely up there by himself




Monday 22nd February, 2010

Duncan & I flew over to Wellington on an early Sounds Air flight from Koromiko.
We left a clear sky with promise of a very hot day and flew into a thick cloud bank covering all the lower part of the North Island.
It was rather dramatic to witness and also made for a much cooler and windy day.
But what else do you expect from Wellington?We picked up our wee Holden Barina and zipped off into the city.
We were planning on going to the hospital first but as the rental agency didn’t have any maps we missed the turn off and ended up in the city.
We decided to drive around a bit to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the city centre and locate the cathedral for later.
We got caught in the one way street system which didn’t seem to have much rhyme nor reason to it.
We were so close to the cathedral but couldn’t quite get to it cuz the streets were all going the wrong way!!
We missed one turn and so made the next which led us out onto the motorway north.
Oh well, sight seeing time I guess
We headed up through the gorge and made the first turn off the motorway we could and then circled around and got back onto the southern motorway.Got back into the city and renegotiated the one way streets again.
Went round a time or two, located Starbucks and circled that block again, found a park and went and chilled out for half an hour over a coffee.
Just as well we had landed with plenty of time 

Then it was time to go to the Wellington St Paul’s Cathedral for the 11am service.
I thought we would have problems finding a park but they had marked off several right outside just for family members, so we parked in one of those.
I have always thought Blenheim was expensive to street park but Wellington would have to take the cake.
$4 for an hour!!

Owen, Hanne and the girls were all at the entrance.
It was a very emotional time as we met and greeted each other.
Soon we were all directed up to the front.

We had time to quietly talk and read the service sheet as we waited.
I really love this photo of Olivia.

The service was conducted by Fr Seph Pijfers the parish priest from  St Teresa’s Catholic Parish in Karori where Olivia had chosen to attend in recent years.
And also Rev Sharon Ensor, the Minister of Wadestown Presbyterian Church where Olivia and her mother Biddy have attended for many years.
The flowers on the coffin were absolutely gorgeous.
The cathedral easily seats 840 with a capacity of 1000 if needed.
It was full!

There were Bible readings from two of Olivia’s cousins.
Romans 8:35, 37-39
John 14:1-6

And tributes from a friend, two teachers and her uncle.
All giving credence to a very bright, vivacious, friendly, highly motivated young girl.
Kate Marshall, her music teacher, was particularly moving as she was also a very close friend.
She included this quote by Anne Lamott in her homage.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
She finished her tribute by calling a friend to sing on her behalf as she was unable to.
Rosa, a beautiful Maori woman, came, stood with her by the coffin, and sang very moving rendition of Amazing Grace.
At that point I don’t think there was a dry eye in the whole cathedral.

A poem Olivia wrote was also included in the service sheet which we all took a few quiet moments to reflect upon.

An Injured Bird

To My dear that I talk to,
To you and all,
Remember this is when you’re frightened
Of the talkers behind your wall.

A complex mind we can’t reach
Behind a wall of deep sympathy
We act like we know you
But you’re really a mystery.

Some hide you,
Other’s hide from what they know.
People try to hide from
What they loathe.

People cry at the sight
Don’t fear.
You are blessed!
Will all Gods Might!

The heavens sing
With huge liberty
For something that never grows
Out of naivety.

People say
A handicap.
I say an injured bird.
A mind to soar
A body left to roar.

To my dear that I talk to,
To you and all,
Remember this when you’re frightened
Of the talkers behind your wall.
– by Olivia Rutherford

After the service we greeted and hugged friends and family.
We were thrilled to find Miriam and Tim had also come.
Once the hearse left Tamara rounded us all up and we disappeared off across the street to The BackBencher for a some private whanau time.

Hanne (Owen’s wife) & Duncan enjoying Tahi’s wee Fern.
Fern was born on Olivia’s 15th birthday.

Olivia’s father Owen with Vanessa (my cousin & his neice).

Olivia’s sisters.
Nanna, Maria, Tamara & Tahi.

A sisterly hug.
Lots of those going round on the day

It was all too soon the time to leave and join the procession out to the Makara Cemetery for the private internment.
Miriam & Tim came in our car.
It is about half an hours drive out there so we were watching our clocks quite closely as we only had a short time to get back to the airport by 4pm.
But we really wanted to be there to support Owen as the family was allowing only blood relatives at the graveside.
It was cool and windy and quiet and very moving and final as we said our goodbyes.

It was very hard to leave but we had a deadline.
Tim directed us back to the city and this time we got to the hospital!
Miriam was battling her low cell phone battery while trying to get her children sorted at their respective schools and arrange to meet Terry and then her parents who were coming across the strait on the Interislander.
We found a free park right out front of the hospital’s main entrance and following Tamara’s directions we quickly found Anneke (Tahi & Tamara’s mother).
She had been hospitalised the previoius week with suspected strokes.
However, she was in fine fettle.
We had a very happy crazy 15 min visit with her as she regaled us with all the antics of her admission and following treatments and also her brother’s kidnapping her from the hospital for breakfast!!
She is indomitable!
The specialist is now saying he doesn’t think she has had strokes but has scheduled an MRI on her neck region for next week as there is definitely something not right.
He balance has been affected.
Her opinion is that she has been a potter for around 50 years so maybe she has damaged her neck by the way she has had it bent all those years.
We will wait and pray for the results.

Duncan & I had to race.
Time, nor planes, waits for no man!!
We had time to fuel up the car and quickly find something to eat at the airport.
We hadn’t eaten all day so were getting rather hungry.
But I don’t think the airport food should be called such as it is more like mass produced cardboard!

The flight back was okay.
A bit bumpy.
I was quite thankful it was only 20mins as I was beginning to feel a bit queasy.

We drove straight up to the hospice to visit Mum.
Ruth had taken her in after lunch for a week of respite care.
She was extremely tired and her eye was getting very sore and weepy.
We told her all about the day and the left her to rest.

Duncan dropped me back at Mum’s place to pick up my car.
I did a bit of housework and then headed off.
Discovered the Telecom XT network was down – again – 4th time in 2 months
So stopped off at my cousin Pam’s place to call home and let them know I was on my way.
It was 9pm by this time.
My Terrano has not got a very good radio so I opened up my computer and listened to a selection on iTunes to help keep me awake as I drove.
Got home just before midnight.
Thankfully there was no fog this time.
Did see about 12 live possums, many dead ones, a rabbit, a few weka and a large black pig on the road.
Also was surprised to pass 2 trucks and a 4WD bike so late in the night.

It was a long day but I was glad I had been able to go.

The past few days….

Thursday was our normal day in Nelson.
It was slightly up in the air to begin with as I had made plans for the girls to ride but the raincast was not very hopeful – again.
We packed togs and towels just in case riding was canceled and we could go to the pool instead.

We arrived in town at 8:50am and although the skies were still quite grey and heavy it was not raining.
So I text Callum and he said that the paddock was too slippery but they could ride int he vineyard.
The girls were very happy

I dropped Nathan off in Richmond to spend time at the library before his English tuition.
No music today so the morning was a bit freer.
Azzan and I had an hour and a half to zoom back into Nelson and get some b’day pressies for a couple of friends.
Azzan found two new VegeTales cds which looked good so I bought them.
Campfire Songs and Where Art Thou

Then it was back out to get the girls.
Shanni zipped into the Mall to pick up sushi for lunch.
I then dropped them off at Marianne’s.
She is a cycle mechanic and is taking Shanni for some cycle maintenance classes.
The other two stayed to play with Aryal and James.
I made the most of an hour of freedom and met Errilyn at Ambrosia for lunch.
The wedding date is approaching fast for her and Nathan so lots to talk about.
The time just flew though so we and ate and talked flat out to fit a lot into the short time

I then went and picked up Nathan from Kip McGrath and then zoomed up Queen st to get the others.
Back into Nelson for gym.
Had enough time to fuel up the Safari on the way – it is amazing how much I can fit in when things go to plan.

It was pouring with rain by this time.
The riding just managed to happen between rain squalls.
Thank you Lord

The children are really enjoying gym and the we group we have are working together so well.
We had to leave immediately it was finished as I was on a roll time wise.
Dropped Shanni off at singing & clarinet as we zoomed down Rutherford St,
round the corner to Hastings St.
Dropped off the other 3.
Nathan stayed to make sure Azzan got to ballet and Hali got to jazz.
He was all set to be back to pick them up if I was late.
I zipped over the hill to Tahunanui to get a warrant of fitness for the Safari.
It all went very smoothly and quickly.
The only thing they found was that my two front wheels were on the verge of falling off
With them tightened firmly I headed back over the hill and got to dancing in time to watch Azzan’s last 5mins.

Peta is so good with the children.
It was a pleasure to see her in action.

I dropped Nathan in town and aranged to meet him in half an hour at Starbucks.
However when I got to my chiroprator appointment he was running late becuase of alterations in his rooms.
Because I was aware of Nathan waiting in town, of Shanni sitting in the car reading, and the other two in the waiting room I found it very hard to relax.
He graunched my legs, my neck and heat padded my shoulder before manipulating it.
My hips are feeling heaps better but my shoulder is not.
He cheerfully told me that the shoulder is the hardest part of the body to deal with
His thoughts are that it is a build up of extreme right handedness and rsi over many years which is now causing all the pain.
So I guess I will have to carry on with his treatment and more massages and hope for relief somewhere along the way.

I was leasoning with Anson as he was heading through to Blenehim with a load of sheep and also to see Granny.
He was meeting me on his way home to take the children with him.
As he was running late I decided to take the kids to Slip Inn for dinner as they hadn’t eaten properly all day.
I must say, they make very good pizzas there.
I was not going to have any but after one piece I had to have another couple!!

We went for a wander around the amrina to let off some energy and then Anson arrived.
Loaded everyone on board and they headed off towards home.

I drove onto Sylvie & Duncan’s for the night.
It was quite late by the time I got there but Sylvie had dinner waiting for me.
Watched a bit of TV and then slept well on their comfy couch.
It was so dark and quiet that I never woke like I normally do.

Next morning after a lovely soak int he bath I headed of to do battle in the Blenheim shops.
With Thursday being so busy I don’t get a lot of time to do the shopping so I had a list to get through.
Music shop for reeds for Shanni’s clarinet, library books to drop off, 20kg oats to pick up, puppy milk, flour, batteries etc, etc
You know the sort of random list!!
I had hoped to get to Mum’s before lunch but it took so long to get everything that I arrived just as they were all finishing.
I had bought some hot cross buns so I munched on one for my lunch.
mmmm tasty

Just after 2pm the door bell rang and I greeted two friends for Mum.
I had to get a photo of the three of them together.
The 3 Lesley’s!
Lesley B – a old school friend who spent many many years as a missionary in Bouganville,
Lesley S – who taught me and my 4 siblings piano for many years and then taught Jesika & Bri for a while and is now a good friend of ours.
and my Mum
Lesley G.

Mum’s sister Janet and her husband George are staying with Mum this week.
So I roped Aunty Janet into a photo too.
She was protesting that she wasn’t a Lesley but as I already had one of them I wanted one of ‘the girls’

We enjoyed afternoon tea together and then I left them to carry on chatting because I had to head off home.
I stopped briefly at The Vines Village for a bite to eat at Shelly’s as I hadn’t eaten much throughout the day and had another 3 hours till I got home.
Picked up the mail in Havelock and then drove straight on.
At the top of the Ronga I saw a landcruiser parked on the side fo the road which looked very familiar.
I stopped and chatted with Glen for a while.
He had been there an hour giving his neck a rest.
So he followed me all the way back.

I had been listening to the VegeTales cds all the way since the kids left me.
Pretty sad eh!!
Actually they are fun and the songs are all ones I know from my dim dark past so it was easy to sing along.

The children had been having a great time while I was away.
Johanna had kayaked with them over to Pipi Beach.
Shanni has some great photos of the fun they had there.

Saturday we spent cleaning up.
I also spent time on the net sorting flights and rental cars.
Anson is making moves towards The Croft.
So Johanna washed all the jars Granny had given him and we filled them with food items to get his pantry started.
We were joking as to how many meals he will actually eat around there and how often he will come home to feed and do his washing

Johanna and I watched a movie after dinner.
It was very sad but beautiful in its own way.
A relatively early night after a spa

Monday was spent waiting and watching news bulletins and praying that Olivia would be found alive and well.
Nathan began his school work.
We finally have gotten a small desk which I had lent to a friend years ago and kept forgetting to pick up.
It fits nicely in the back corner of the living room.
He prefers to work in there than in the school room.
He’s taking a while to get himself into gear, but I guess we are all a bit like that at the moment.
I am still working my way through the school room mess.
Have it now down to the current school stuff we were using last year.
Just gotta convince myself of what is necessary to complete and what we can biff out and start afresh.

The children are all getting into their piano practise.
It is also nice to hear the sounds of clarinet coming from Shoshannah’s room.
She is practising many times throughout the day as her teacher has told her to only do a few minutes at a time so her mouth doesn’t get too sore.

Everyone went up the hill in the afternoon to shoot a cow.
Johanna regaled me with tales of Azzan’s blood thirstyness!!

We were in the spa early enough to enjoy this sunrise.
It was magnificent.

Tim left after breakfast with Cedric & Stephane to go help Graham on the sawmill.
They were cutting all the 8m lengths of decking for the end of the new wharf.

Johanna wanted to cook the cows tongue for her and Tim to feast on so I gladly let her do it

Just before midday we got the shattering news that Olivia’s body had been found in the Wellington marina.
All our hopes died at that point.
It was a pretty emotional day from then on

The men didn’t get back until 8:30ish so I fed the children early and Johanna read them stories as they ate.
We had some Austrian guests in The Croft.
They had come around to chat in the morning and I had invited them back to meet Tim in the evening.
So they came and chatted with Tim while he ate his dinner.
The older Austrian was farming the biggest herd of animals in southern Austria – 30 sheep of a very very old breed.
They finally left at 10pm and we sat and chatted some more.
The past two nights have been filled with hilarious laughter.
The two French guys struggle with English so I was making time to talk with them while it was quieter.
There was much laughter over some of their expressions and translations.
Johanna was nearly rolling on the floor.
They thought it was all pretty funny too.
One thing they did as was about fruit that Graham had given them to eat while they were working.
They were calling it a peach-banana.
I couldn’t for the life of me think what it was.
They were miming  what it looked like and how they broke it in half and slurped the insides out etc etc.
I was totally stumped.
Then when I managed to ask Tim he said it was a banana passionfruit.
It was all very locationaly funny – you had to have been there.
But they say laughter is the best medicine so after the past two nights we must all be very healthy

The three of them all headed off up the path in pitch darkness with no torch tolight the way for the 2nd night running.
I could hear the laughter ringing around the garden as they all stumbled up single file,  Johanna clinging to the back of Cedric’s white shirt and them all trying not find the steps and not fall into the gardens.
Totally crazy!!

This morning Tim was not too keen on heading off to do too much.
Stephane & Cedric packed up to leave.
They had another wwoofing place to go on the other side of Nelson.
They really didn’t want to leave so it took a while.
Stephane and Nathan were trying to outdo each other doing pullups on the verandah.

Finally at midday I suggested that if they didn’t leave they couldn’t come back!!
So we took some final photos

Nathan & Tim waiting to say goodbye

and then trying to work out some hand signals for the photo

and they were on their way.
It was very quiet after they left.

Shanni made sushi for lunch.
I think it got eaten as fast as she made it!
The children played board games with Johanna.
They are also having a lot of fun making secret notes and hiding them around the garden.
Azzan & Mahalia went swimming tonight – they only were down there for a few minutes and then back up into the spa,

I sorted the many boxes of books etc that I had biffed out of the school room.
Some I am selling and some I am giving away.
They are now boxed up and in the Safari ready for town.

I had a bit of organising to do for tomorrow.
Shanni is going to have her first cycle mechanics lesson tomorrow and it took me ages to track down the lady cuz she had been away.
As there is no piano tomorrow I have rescheduled a riding lesson into the equation.
But once again the forecast is not looking good.
So we have packed our swimming togs just in case we have a few free hours.

Talked to Mum tonight.
Like us she is not enjoying this overcast gloomy weather.
Aunty Janet & Uncle George are staying with her staying this week.
Sylvia made a rich chocolate cake for their afternoon tea so that will help to fatten Mum up!!

We had roast chicken for dinner tonight.
While I was getting it all dished up Azzan & Mahalia took the opportunity to dress up.
They were so funny.
Azzan really is a total act on his own!

He was priceless with his ladi-dah American accent.
Sort of a cross between Hannah Montana and Eva Gabor in Green Acres!!

Enough of all that.
Time for bed now.
Early morning again.
It has been raining this evening.
Let’s hope it blows over by tomorrow.

Sunday – a day of fun, rest and pain

Sunday was a bright sunny calm day here.
The morning was full of bustle and busyness as our French family packed up to move on.
It was Valentines day so there was a lot of joshing’ about romantic French men!
That is a total misnomer I am told!
Nico says he is not romantic – he dislikes Abba and is a total clown
I gathered all the French folk together for a photo and squeezed our sole German girl in too.
She holds her own very well among the cultural bantering going on.

Introducing –
Stephane & Cedric on the left.
Nicolas, Valerie and Teiva & Noa all from France
and the only blonde in the group, Johanna from Germany!!

After they left the morning seemed very quiet.
Cedric & Stephane went out kayaking with their books.
They are both life guards so are very au fait on the water and just wanted to go laze back and read as it was so beautiful and calm.
Johanna went for a walk but met our llamas and was not too sure about them so came home again and relaxed on the beach with the boys.

Graham eventually came down before midday.
The kids all grabbed a snack and we had fellowship.
We were reading the story of Deborah, Sisera and Jael in Judges 4.
Nathan was questioning how come Jael was all alone out there in the desert.
He reckoned it was a bit random that she was able to hide Sisera and then kill him like that.
He was going on about where was all the rest of her family and that she must have had a husband & kids around etc.
To which Azzan said
Nathan, you just used assumptive language’!
There was total silence as we digested that and Azzan looked at me and asked if I knew what assumptive language was?
I replied I did, but did he?
He said ‘Of course. It is something that may or may not be true.’
That boy leaves me speechless at times!!

Matthew Henry had, as always, a great commentary about the whole story.
I really liked this quote he finished the chapter with.
better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience, than never wise.

After lunch Anson took the 3 wwoofers and Glen out fishing.
Tim went to bed for a Sunday sleep and I lay down and read my book for a while.
Azzan wanted to watch a movie.
He was very proud that his room was tidy and that he had done it all by himself
Usually when he wants to watch a movie the prerequiste is to go clean up his room!
So I filled 2 hotties and sat back in the aimchair with my shoulder sandwiched between them while we watched more episodes of ‘Emily of New Moon – 2nd series’.
It was getting quite gripping so we watched lots.
Then we stopped to make dinner.
Eggs on toast – yummy.
Ate that while we watched another episode.
Then it was time for the children to go to bed.

Anson and crew were back home.
They cooked up fresh cod for their tea.
Anson had to go up the hill to find Peg – she keeps abandoning her puppies and going walk about
When he got home again they all went off possum hunting.
I filled the hotties again and watched another episode of Emily before bed.
The heat sure feels good on my shoulder.

I got a call from my bro to tell me that my uncle’s youngest daughter was missing.
I have never met Olivia but she is my cousin.
I can feel the pain & anguish that the family are going through right now.
I just hope and pray that she is found alive.
The police are upping their search this morning.
Please Lord – in times like this words fail but you know the anguish of their hearts.
Please bring her home safely.

Hot and busy days

We spent all of Friday with Mum.
The blood transfusion appeared to be kicking in.
Mum was quite bright and not so sleepy.

After breakfast the girls cleaned out the bottom of the pantry where Sylvia hadn’t been able to get down to.
Nathan gave the garage a good sweep out.
Ruby had been in the day before and cleaned all the windows.
Mum is enjoying all the tlc her house is getting – nothing like a good spring clean in summer

She had a huge pile of clothes for me to sort through so I got the kids to have a look and see what they wanted.
I should never have done that!!
Out of the whole lot only 2 bags have been taken to the op shop.
The rest is waiting to come home here when I have room in the vehicle.
The dressing up box is being added to big time!
They especially loved all Granny’s pretty hankies and scarves.

When Mum’s personal carer arrived I zipped down and picked up Johanna’s very very heavy pack from the backpackers, then dropped Nathan & Azzan to the library and whizzed over to Dick Smiths to buy an external hard drive for Mum.
A fast trip into the supermarket to get stuff for lunch and back to the house.
Town was crazy.
There was a big street market and also the library was having a big sale of books.
So parking was at a premium.
I was glad to get out of it all fast.

After the hospice nurse come and dressed Mum’s wounds I took Shanni to pick up her love birds.
Left Nathan to start the backing up Mum’s computer onto the external hard drive.

Then back to have lunch.
It was such a hot windy day that we didn’t feel like doing a lot.
Sylvia arrived in after lunch.
Johanna came and took the 3 children to the park to run off some energy for an hour or so.
Mum, Sylvia & I crashed out and just sat and chatted.
It was too hot to do anything else.
Nathan finished the back up and then he and Gran spent some time deleting stuff she didn’t want anymore.
After consulting with Mum’s computer techie it appears that the reason her computer is running so slow is that it has not got a lot of RAM so it may have to make a wee visit into the shop to get some added.
Hopefully they will get it sorted for her.

The kids all arrived back hot and thirsty.
Ruby and Vincent both popped into visit Granny after school so we had quite a party going there for a while
I loaded up the Safari – it was a bit of a mission as I had to fit Johanna and her gear in plus the mountain bike I had bought from Sam for Shanni and the love birds.
Finally got it in and the back door slammed shut.
We headed off around 4:30pm.
Stopped in Havelock to get the mail and then home.
The kids were pretty hyped but after Rai Valley we found the dvd player and they all got engrossed in the Peter Pan movie
The weather changed dramatically as we got closer to home.
It had been raining all day.
We drove through heavy fog.
But at least the roads weren’t dusty dry anymore.

Two new wwoofers had arrived while we were away.
Cedric & Stephane from France.
Tim was a bit outnumbered with 6 French folk here!!
I was SO tired when I got home.
We got the Safari unpacked, the kids into bed and I collapsed with a herb tea and fresh hot bread straight out of the breadmaker and fresh home made plum jam – delicious

This morning I woke feeling like I had been hit by a truck.
I got Johanna to help Mahalia move all her bedroom stuff back into her old bedroom.
She only lasted one night in Seb’s room and decided she didn’t like sleeping in the high bed 
But it was a good excuse to clean out her accumulation of junk!!

Valerie helped me in the kitchen.
We made 3 big casseroles, a fish pie, muffins and lunch.

Shanni got the paints out so Azzan, Teiva & Noa got stuck in too.

Graham arrived down before lunch with a heap of veges.
Valerie did the green beans for dinner tonight.
After lunch it was time to process the corn.
Johanna kept it moving through the oven.
20 minutes for each oven full.

A baby corn cob attached to the main one!!

It was all hands on deck.
The little kids enjoyed shucking the cobs too.

Nathan did most of the slicing and packed away a few whole cobs for us to enjoy over the next few days.

I went to bed at lunch time for a rest cuz I was so tired.
Got up an hour later feeling worse.
Fulled two hotties and went back to bed with my shoulder sandwiched between them.

When I got up after 4pm I found Anson had arrived home.
He was really tired too.
He had had a few big days shearing and lots of travelling between sheds.

All the children and wwoofers went down for a swim around 6pm.
There had been a very windy storm blowing all day and it had finally blown itself out and the sun was shining and the evening was beautiful.

Anson was sleeping relaxing in the spa until all the little folk came up from swimming and disturbed his peace!!

  Dinner was quite a noisy busy occasion.
6 French, 1 German and 7 of us!!
The girls were in particularly playful moods.
They love having their biggest bro home so there was lots of hugs and cuddles and joshing going on.

I have been hearing strange noises coming from down the hallway today.
Shanni is practising her clarinet

Anson took Johanna for a drive over to Waterfall Bay after dinner and did a grocery delivery for me.
Another catered party next week.
I am so appreciative of Jenny being there to do the cooking this year.
Tim put the kids to bed while I had some quiet time to chat with the French guys.
They are finding Kiwi English a bit tricky to understand.
And when it is en masse noise at the dinning table it makes it even harder!

Now it is quiet and I am off to bed for an early night

Our town day

I had my alarm set for 4:45am.
But once again my body clock woke me soon after 4am so I got uip and had a leisurely shower.
Actually it took way longer than necessary cuz every shampoo bottle that was lying in the shower was either empty or full of cold water – kids
So by the time I had gone through half a dozen of them I managed to find enough shampoo and conditioner to actually do something positive with my hair!!

I got the crew up as late as I possibly could and then it was a bit of a mad scurry to get them all into the Safari.
I had told them I wanted to be gone by 5:45am.
We managed to leave at 5:50!!

I was glad to have left early as we hit really heavy fog at the top of our hill.
It was seriously blinding and I had to creep really slowly for the first part of the trip.
Thankfully it lifted a bit as we got further along.

Everyone traveled well this time.
We had a fast stop for breakfast food in Rai and then zoomed over the hills to Nelson while the children munched on their pies and sausage rolls. Azzan who likes variety and change of course opted for a salad sandwich this time

We dropped Audrey & Oskar off at the Info Centre.
Said good bye to Audrey as she was flying to Wellington tonight to meet her mother who was flying in from Switzerland.
We have really enjoyed having her stay with us – she is delightful.

We got out to music lessons in Richmond by 9am.
It is certainly a lot slower trying to get through town at that time.
I left all the children there.
Nathan went to the library.
I went and sussed out Cafe on Oxford for our Mother’s Night out next month.
It is a new cafe and we are keen to support the young couple who are running it.
They in turn are keen to support us.
So it should make for a good night

I then popped into see Michelle and met her daughter and cute wee grandson.
Lexie is all of 3 months old and such a cutie with the blackest eyes ever.
Got back in time to pick up the three youngest.It was too wet for horse riding so our plans were changed.
Instead we zoomed back along the motorway to Tahunanui.
I had three things to do.
Went to Trents, picked up Cat’s crampons that she had won at The Recycling Centre auction but had forgotten to collect and then went to Sally’s to pick up a parcel for Shoshannah.
Bri had bought her a clarinet for her last and next b’days.
It finally had arrived.
Thanks heaps Bri – it is great – Shanni is delighted

We then called in briefly to see Phillipa who was busy sanding David & Ellie’s new flat.
It is all go geting it ready for them to move into after their wedding on March 6th!!
Then we zipped back out to Richmond to get some food for lunch and pick up Nathan from Kip McGrath.
Got a lovely report from his tutor

Then we drove back into Nelson.
Fueled up and went to Gym.
We were early again so chilled a while before heading into the gymnasium.
The children had a great hour there.
They all came running over several times during the session looking very hot and sweaty and needing water and more water!!

I took a few random shots during the session.

They all loved it today.
The girls were especially happy cuz Margaret had decided to bring Sophie and Katherine and trial our session.
They have been doing gym for about 3 years with a different group.
I am deliberately keeping our group small and directing it more to the older age group because Nathan is the one who wanted to do it and the reason I organised it.
It is great for him to have some older children to mix with.
He is the oldest there at present but hopefully there will be some other young guys coming along as the term gets underway.

After gym we had to head off fairly quickly to drop Mahalia at Jazz, Azzan at ballet and Shanni at singing and clarinet.
I showed Nathan the routes between the classes and he hung out at The Warehouse and then wandered over and picked up M&A at 4:15pm.
Walked with them via the hot dog stand at Countdown
and over to meet Shanni at 4:30pm.
They waited there for me.
I had a chiropractic appointment at 4:15 which went for longer than I expected so they were all very ready for me when I got back just before 5pm.
The chiropractor gave me quite a working over from feet to head.
He reckons I have RSI in my shoulder which has accumulated over the years.
Whatever you call it – it is jolly painful and he knew all the sorest places to press
Anyway, I have to go back each week now for a while for him to try and loosen the build up of the years.

We picked up Oskar and drove over the hills to Blenheim.
Dropped him off at the backpackers and met our new wwoofer Johanna from Germany who is coming home with us today.

Then we got to Granny’s.
She had not long been home from her day up at the hospital.
Unloaded the Safari while Nathan cooked dinner for us all.
Mum enjoyed his random selection of food!!
Cherrios (wee saveloys) & tomato sauce with kumara chips, asparagus, soft breadstick with finely chopped lettuce.
Then creamed rice and apricots for desert.

Everyone was stuffed full.
Shanni cleaned up the dishes while I got the others two to bed.
Mahalia was in a silly mood so Shanni refused to share a room wth her.
So tonight I get a bed and Azzan gets the trundle
Nathan has been helping Mum with her computer and we have been hearing stories of her days of old when she and Janet were little tykes like mine are now

And now it is beyond time I was in bed!!

Wednesday & Thursday around here

Life carried on around the noise of the pile driving!

Azzan and I walked on the beach and he was finding crabs and telling me how to hold them so they wouldn’t pinch me.
His favourite way was to hold them tightly in his hand so they couldn’t move – then they can’t bite eh?

Audrey was helping Mahalia clean out her room as she is moving into Sebastian’s old room.
Azzan helped!!
He came to serenade me

Our new wwoofers, Valérie, Nicolas, Teiva & Noa, arrived in the late afternoon.
A delightful French family with 2 small children.

It was such a nice calm and still reasonably warm evening so a few of the younger ones ate out dinner on the deck.
The took the opportunity to play cards and dominoes.

Today the children have been playing.
Azzan found some toys in the attic for Teiva & Noa.

Noa is 3 and loves the old pram and dolls.

The men all went out grubbing weeds this morning.
The ladies sat out on the deck and processed 2 buckets of peaches.
We have a young tree and it is laden with delicious old fashioned white flesh fruit.

After lunch they cleaned The Croft as we had an unexpected German tourist pop in for 2 nights.
Then they baked biscuits.
So the kitchen is smelling lovely tonight.
The men took Teiva & went out to do mussel work for a couple of hours.

Nathan & I have moved furniture and set up the sewing area,
I got a phone call tonight from Sandra to say some of our llama were on a stroll around the road above Waterfall and it looked like they might be planning on wandering over the hill to visit her
So as soon as Tim got home he and the guys all zoomed off to round them up and steer them back home.
This new bunch of ‘boys’ are a lot harder to contain than the first ones.

The children & Audrey are watching Mamma Mia – again!
No matter how many times they watch it – it never looses its appeal

I am trying to get organised for tomorrow.
The girls are supposed to be riding after music but the forecast is for rain so may have to change the plans a bit.
They are keen to catch up with their girlfriends or go swimming.
We will see!
Then over the hill to Blenheim to see Mum again.
She has a blood transfusion tomorrow so hopefully that will give her a much needed energy boost.

Off to find some clothes and get myself packed.
Am also taking Audrey & Oskar out as they have both to leave despite neither of them wanting to go – so the Safari will be full!