Home at last!

After being away for several weeks I had a lot of unopened mail & phone messages to deal with.
I was in the study doing this when I was presented with this wonderful arrangement of daffodils by Azzan.
The stalks were beautifully wrapped with even a wee lizard climbing amongst the flowers.

This letter written by Mahalia was attached to it

The kids got loose with my camera later and these are a few photos I found!

I cleaned out the fridge and sorted out all the leftovers.
Then Glen arrived to say goodbye.
He is off to Thailand for a month to collect his wife.
She has finally managed to jump through all the red tape hoops and is now allowed to come into NZ.
It has taken nearly a year since they got married

I made a quiche with all the left overs.
Marc is vegetarian so I thought it would be a good extra to have on hand for him.
It came in handy for afternoon smoko in the shearing shed too.

Tim had taken pumpkin out of the freezer for lunch.
He told me it was soup and was fine.
I went to taste it just before the guys came up from the shearing shed and it was yuckily bland.
So I made some fast additions to it and created a much tastier soup which they were all pretty happy about.

Mahalia was not feeling well so I tucked her into bed after she had finished the lunch dishes.
She had already cleaned the bathroom in the morning.
She was obviously overtired.
I was too, as was Azzan.
But he was not going to give in
I told him he needed to go to bed for a sleep but when I went to look for him he had disappeared so I tucked myself into bed instead.
Azzan has been int he spa as much as he possibly can.
He has really missed it.

The power went off – due to a tree on the lines causing a fire back near Rai Valley apparently.
Tim shot up to Graham’s to get the generator as they were right in the midst of shearing.
It was only off for about 45mins thankfully.

I watched ‘Patch Adams‘.
I have seen it before but enjoyed re-watching
It is a brilliant story which has now made me follow it up online to see who this guy is.
Robin Williams did a great job playing the lead character.

Nathan cooked a roast of mutton for dinner.
It was delicious.
I had a large banana cake in the freezer and had taken it out earlier in the day.
Iced it for desert.

Here is Shanni with her two possum babies.
Cyril and Ralph.

Being nocturnal they were rather lively after dinner.
She is feeding them with milk through a syringe but they are beginning to eat solids as well so it won’t be long before they can go out into the aviary.
Anson stayed for dinner so he was telling Shanni how much the pelts would be worth once they get bigger – brothers!

I am very glad to be home.
But I have high expectations of what I need done in the small amount of time I have here.
Therefore I tend to get very grumpy and bad tempered when those expectations are not met.
I have to try and get a better balance and take the pressure off

Farewell to Margaret and visiting friends….

I slept in on Monday morning.
It was such a lovely comfy bed and the room was dark and the house extremely quiet so I had the best sleep in ages.
The children were up and entertaining Sonia when I finally found my way to the kitchen.
We were packed up and away by around 9am.
Went into town to do a few jobs and go to the library before the funeral.

It was quite windy and the rain was all around but not quite in Blenheim yet.
We got blown into the church but thankfully were early enough to have time to make ourselves presentable before everyone else arrived.
It was a lovely celebration of Margaret’s 83 years of life.
She was a quietly gracious, devout, Christian lady – a fact to which all the speakers testified.
We spent an enjoyable hour over morning tea with her friends and family before they headed off to Seddon for the internment.

It was wet and stormy when we left.
We were all ready to just head home.
But as we drove through Renwick I carried on with our wee tiki tours that we had been doing over the past two weeks.
I turned the corner where I grew up, showing the kids our house.
Mahalia was only a baby when Mum sold the house and Azzan wasn’t even thought of.
So they were quite interested in seeing it – they were especially interested in the wee park and memorial stone at the old cemetery that was next to the house.
I explained to them that when we built the house there 45 years ago the cemetery was very very old and broken down and I had scrambled amongst all the graves and written down everyone’s names and information and from there the council had then officially closed it and erected the stone with all the names I had collected.

As we were about to leave Renwick I said to the kids that I just wanted to pop in and visit some old friends.
They sighed but were very good about it.
Max & Helen have been family friends for over 48 years.
They were partners in the orchard that my parents developed at Renwick.

They were absolutely delighted when we knocked on the door.
We spent a lovely time with them.
Mahalia took some photos before we left.

Azzan was getting very restless and wanting to go home so I sent him & Mahalia off to the car and said I would follow soon.
He said his goodbyes and gave them both big hugs.
They thanked him for coming to visit.
Then he announced –
Mum said..
I should have stepped in right then!!
if we don’t visit old people when we can, we will be sorry because they might die before we see them again.

It was raining by this point so I said my farewells and ran to the car and drove westwards towards home.
I was really tired and found myself getting very sleepy before Pelorus Bridge.
We stopped at Rai Valley and stretched our legs and got a quick bite to eat.
Great time of day to go to the tearooms – all the savouries were half price.

Azzan pleased to be allowed to play in the Okiwi Bay playground so I stopped on the proviso that it was only for 2 mins.
I sat and waited and nearly half an hour later I woke up
I really needed that break.
The rest of the trip home went quickly.
Azzan watched a movie in the back seat and Mahalia was happy to listen to her new iPod.

I stopped at the top of McLarens Hill to take this photo.
The afternoon clouds and setting sun were really pretty.

It is the season for one our most beautiful native flowers.
The clematis.
I have been seeing vines of it along the west coast road as I returned from Greymouth and then more as I got closer to home.
This vine was half way down our hill.
The photos is a bit blurry but you can see how it lightens up our bush so beautifully.

We stopped to have a chat with Anson – he was running his menagerie of dogs.
Azzan hopped out and ran from there.

It was really good to get home

A lovely last day in Nelson

After a lie in this morning we got moving around 9:30am.
Packed bags, cleaned rooms, stripped beds, got washing started and packed the car.
Had a quick breakfast and then said our thanks and farewells to Frances and John.
They had a busy day ahead and are getting ready fro their Australian holiday so I didn’t want to stay under their feet too long.

We went into the city cuz I was wanting to catch up with a friend.
She however was busy so I got my last frappacino for a while and we meandered out of town taking the back route for a change.
Because we took this route I discovered that the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival was on.
It was supposed to be on last Sunday but due to the rain was postponed until today.
I didn’t know this until I saw all the cars parked for miles and people heading into the Miyazu Gardens.
So we quickly changed out plans, found a park and headed in to see what was happening.
We could hear the drums as we approached but got there just as they were finishing.
We were quite disappointed because we knew our friend Fumio was playing them.
We found him and he showed the kids the drums.

They were going to play again at 1:30pm.

We then went for a look around.
It soon became apparent that we needed real money to buy anything from the stalls.
The children were very good and never asked for anything as they knew I only had $2 in cash on me.
So we cruised around and looked at things and talked to people.
This is the origami stand.
The origami flowers were beautiful.

I had never been to these gardens before and quickly decided that we must return another day when there are fewer people there.
The textures and water features were simply beautiful.

At 12:30 a puppeteer did a display for many sorts of puppetry and masks.

I talked to Mahalia and asked if she would like to stay a bit longer cuz if so then I would zip into town and find a money machine and get some cash out.
She did and agreed to mind Azzan and not move away from the area they were in.
I hurried as fast as safely possible and was back within 15mins.
I found them both sitting on the grass bank under the blossom.
Good kids

We the got them some sushi and I got Japanese vegetable pancakes with noodles.
It was delicious.
We went back to watch the calligrapher and then asked her to do each of the children’s names.
But instead of their precise names we asked for the meanings.
Azzan means ‘strong one’

and Mahalia means ‘gentle’

Then it was 1:30pm and the drums were about to begin again.
It was great to see and hear them in action.

Before we left we went to say thank you to Fumio and he let Azzan have another play on the drum.

Some of the water features

Outside the main gate is this really cool stone ornament.

It was 2pm when we left.
Stopped in at Gary’s and loaded up Anson’ shearing plant as he is wanting to shear the lambs this coming week.
We got to Blenheim and went straight to Sonia and Lindsay’s.
We sat and chatted.
It was nice to stop a while and not do anything.
The kids were pretty energetic so Azzan was pleased to have some lawn to do handstands etc on.

I got the children off to bed very promptly after dinner then I sat and chatted and looked at old photos with Lindsay & Sonia.
A pleasant evening

As I am beginning to fall asleep at the keys I think I should close this off for now.
Night all

The final day of the show.

Because of their late night I had told the children to sleep in and chill a bit this morning.
So they did.
They watched a movie and then sometime midmorning I had a quick shower and began kicking them along.
They were in a real go slow silly mode so after a while I began to get quite frustrated.
As I stated to them later – I let them sleep and rest late so when I ask them to move they should respect my wishes and move!
But because they didn’t the last hour before we left got very stressful for me.
I could see the morning disappearing and I had several things I had to do before their matinee.
I was near tears when we finally left the house around 10:30.
They got a good talking to in the car on the way into town
Went straight to the library to drop off and pick up books.
Then we zipped around to ‘Deville‘ cafe to meet Kathy.
As it wasn’t long before the children were dancing again I got them some lunch.
The kids baskets there are always a hit.
Full of fresh fruit, juice, popcorn, cheese & crackers etc.

The strawberries were very impressive!

I had a delicious vegetarian Quesadilla.
It was absolutely delectable and had a complete half pan fried avocado beside it

It was really lovely to catch up with Kathy.
We don’t see enough of each other and now she is moving back to the North Island we will see even less.

The kids being nice to me after their rough start to the day

  I had to run to get them to the theatre by 12:30 so it was a quick bye to Kathy and we were off.
Seb had picked up Cat’s motor for me and he was following me around the city trying to pin me down long enough to give it to me!
Eventually caught up and had a chat for a few minutes.
His work has just put him through a dive course which he absolutely loved.
He is also about to go through some aquacultural training which will up skill him – at least on paper!
He’s had the skills for a while but it takes time to get to the paperwork.

I had some time to fill in before picking the children up again so sat in the car and updated my blog while I had time and peace.
From the theatre we went back tot he studio.
It was a pot luck party.
There as food for Africa!!
Peta is quite strict about having healthy food so there was a fantastic range of fruits, vege sticks, sandwiches etc.
There was water and orange juice – no fizz or lollies etc.
It was great.
Kids enjoyed chilling out together and watching a dvd of the show.
Azzan was glued to the screen for most of it.

At half time he and I walked over to Countdown.
He is very concerned about the family who have lost their house in a fire this week.
So I let him choose some groceries to put in the box as he has been putting in his muesli bars after every performance

I had talked quietly with Peta about Azzan’s concerns that he was not dancing well in one of his dances because he didn’t have a partner.
She took him aside later on and had a wee chat with him.
I am so impressed with how she handles these kids.
There are so many of them but she takes the time to make each one feel special.
She asked him how he felt about the dance and told him that she thought he danced so well and that he danced much better as a solo.
She told him that she thought he was a brilliant solo dancer.
He came away feeling much happier about it all.

We went straight back to the theatre as it was time for the evening performance.
I didn’t bother going anywhere o just sat in the car till it was time to go in through the front entrance and enjoy the show for myself.
It was great.
Everyone did so well.
The little ones got some very loud claps – they were so cute.
There are 4 older boys in the dance company.
It was wonderful to see them dance.
They have all been dancing for 10-12 years and obviously still enjoy it.
There were dancers of all ages and stages in life.
A group of ‘mature’ women brought the house down when they came on dressed in very buxom outfits and wigs brandishing wood spoons dancing to ‘Think‘ by Aretha Franklyn.

As it was the last night there were some presentations of flowers to Peta and the other teachers.
Then Peta presented the iPod to the child who had sold the most tickets.
I was completely blown away when she turned and gave it to Mahalia.
I have no idea how many friends of ours went, but it was obviously enough.
Thanks so much to you all for naming her.
She was absolutely delighted.

As Azzan and she had decided it was best for only one name to go on the tickets for the competition they were going to share the prize.
But Azzan was quite happy when I said he could have my iPod as I never use it these days.

We walked back to the car.
Put the key in the ignition and turned it and….
nobody home – again

So I called the AA again.
They were great and despite being told they would take 45mins the guy arrived in 5.
The kids had just begun watching a dvd.
Thanks goodness for AA membership and laptops

We got back home and I left the car running for ages.
Actually forgot about it.
Cooked dinner for the children and me.
Put them to bed and was about to go to bed myself when Frances reminded me the car was still running!!

I am hoping it will start in the morning so I can get into town to organise a new battery.
The one in the Terrano is the same one that was in there when we bought it and it is definitely in need of replacing.

We are coming to  to the end of a busy 2 weeks in town.
Not too sure if I really enjoy being in town all the time.
It’s exhausting.
It will be good to get home but that has been delayed by a day as I have yet another funeral to attend on Monday in Blenheim.
Margaret has been a lifelong friend of our family and was close to Mum.
I cannot not go to it so we will head over to Blenheim tomorrow.

Friday night entertainment :-)

The afternoon was disappearing quickly by the time the girls all left so we had to get moving with preparations for the evening.

I had already dished some dinner for the children so heated it and they ate it quickly.

Frances did Mahalia’s hair for the show.

And then Shoshannah was brushing hers so Frances did it too.

It looked lovely

I took off at 5:30 with the two little ones and Nathan.
Dropped the dancers at the theatre and then Nate & I went to the Nelson Club to René‘s farewell.
René has been tutoring Nathan this past term in history and is about to head to Oxford as she won a scholarship to extend her studies & qualifications.
We are all very supportive and excited for her.
We had a very pleasant evening.
It had been hosted for all of her supporters as a thank you for helping her get to Oxford in UK. 

Below is Nathan, René, myself and Mike who makes flags.
Behind us is his design for a new New Zealand flag.

While we were at this function Tim & Shanni went to the theatre to watch the show.

We met them at the door afterwards and they had huge smiles.
They loved the show

Nathan left with them and they headed back home.
Got there after midnight.

I gathered up the two wee ones and took them back to bed.
They were tired and not interested in any food so it didn’t take long to get them all snuggled down.
I went to bed straight away too and watched a movie but realised I had seen it before and kept dozing so decided to sleep instead.

Shanni’s birthday party – more entertainment

For the last hour or so of the birthday party Grace got her camera into action and captured the kids having fun on the front lawn.
These are some of my favourite photos.
They were having so much fun.
Even the neighbours dog came and joined it.

This is the little man who was incredibly tired and obnoxious only such a short time before!


They had a great afternoon.
Thanks girls for helping to celebrate Shanni’s 13th b’day.
It was fun.

Happy Birthday Tim!!!

Friday was actually Tim’s birthday.
But Shanni stole the show with her b’day party.

So once Tim had woken up I presented him with his card.
My present to him is a mystery holiday with his wife for a week.
He just has to turn up at the airport next Saturday with his clothes in a bag ready to fly to an as yet un-named destination

He is not quite sure about it all but is not asking too many questions.
I have been planing this for months and we all knew about it so I am glad he never got an inkling.
The kids have done well!

Happy Birthday Timmy.
Love you to the max
I am looking forward to our holiday – we both sure need it!

Shanni’s birthday party – cake and pressies

Nathan had made Shanni a b’day cake.
Because he didn’t have enough eggs he had substituted golden syrup and the cake was quite fudgey.
Really good!

Then it was present time.
I have found this cool box and Mahalia had wrapped all the small things up and popped them into the drawers of this funky magnetic drawer set and then wrapped each drawer separately.

I had found a lot of small things for Shanni instead of one big present.
2 rubber stamps with owls and doves on them.
A cute shoulder bag covered in feathers, a funky ‘head’ to hold necklaces and rings, a bright tile picture with parrots on it, a blue & white stripped nautical t-shirt, ear plugs for her ipod….

Then I had found her a snuggly cuddly dressing gown with a hood on it.
Mahalia chose this bright happy one with happy faces all over it and I got her a pair of pj pants with old fashioned bicycles in them in the same colours as the dressing gown.

And all the while this was happening Tim was snoozing on the Mahalia’s bed.
I had sent him in there with Azzan and a story book as Azzan was displaying very tired behavioural attributes and seriously needed a rest/sleep.
But Azzan came out a few minute later and Tim slept on

Shanni’s birthday party – entertainment

While the pizza’s were cooking the girls all went outdoors and entertained themselves by expending some energy in the garden.
Thankfully the rain was very intermittent and the strong winds weren’t hitting us hardly at all.
We could see outside the port in Tasman Bay that it was really rough, but we were quite sheltered from it.
Because Shanni has broken her camera screen Grace used her SD card in her camera and took a lot of these photos.
They had a heap of fun.

Love this shot.

After the Doritos and dip were finished and the pizza eaten the girls made spiders.
Fizzy drink poured over ice cream in a glass.
Then they had a blob session in the lounge.
Mahalia & Sophie had been playing with Frances’ dolls.
The big girls decided that it all looked fun too so while they all watched ‘Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang’ they played with the dolls too.

Tim and I had postponed the lawyer till 2:30pm so we were able to have lunch with the kids and then eat proper food with John and Frances before heading back into town.

Shanni’s birthday party – making pizza etc

Shanni had really been wanting to have a picnic at the beach for her birthday.
But we had to make some alternative plans because the weather was not forecasting to be conducive to that at all!
Frances offered that the girls all came to her house – on the proviso that they cleaned up after themselves.

Tim and I had an early lawyers meeting so we were out of the house at 8:30.
Left Nathan in charge with instructions to all to sleep in, relax but to be dressed, breakfasted and cleaned up by 11am.
Got to our appointment and found the lawyer was not ready for us.
So Tim took off with his trailer of 8m lengths of wharf timber and headed to Motueka on the promise to be back for a rescheduled 1:30pm appointment.
I flew around the supermarket and gathered up party provisions
Then spent an hour in the dentists chair.
A nice relaxing hour to lie back and forget all the stresses of life

I then picked up Lydia, Grace, Katherine & Sophie and took them back to the house for the party.
Rosie’s mother dropped her off soon after.
I dumped all the provisions on the bench and left the girls making pizza.

The three youngest had agreed to stay away from the big girls.
They entertained themselves for quite a while sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags.

Nathan kept a safe distance from them all with computer and ear plugs as protection from the gaggle of giggling girls

The pizza was delicious – we all enjoyed the eating of it.