Saturday morning

We relaxed and pottered about Saturday morning.
Tim caught up with Adrian and the children ran around the lawn.
It was nice not to be rushing off anywhere early.

Erica took Emma, Amy & Shanni into the city shopping.
Shanni got a couple of cami tops so she was happy.
Tim & I took the younger two and went to Riccarton to get Nathan some jeans.
The mall was insane.
So many people it was dreadful.
Everytime I came out of a shop I would get disoriented and go the wrong way.
We grabbed some lunch from the food hall and then went to the car to eat.
Couldn’t stand the throngs anymore.
Was just about to leave when I discovered Erica & girls were upstairs in the mall.
So I went to get Shanni some lunch and she came with us from there.

We drove up the Cashmere Hills to find an elderly friend whom Tim had not seen in nearly 40 years.
She and her husband were the first people to sign the visitors book here and were life long friends of his parents.

Just before her house we came upon a horrid accident.
It had just happened.
What looked like a lovely red motor bike, was all scrunched underneath a car and the bike driver was face down in the gutter.
It looked really bad.
We slowly drove past and prayed that he would be alright and that the ambulance wouldn’t take long to arrive.

Doreen was delighted to see us and meet the children.
She still lives in the same house that they would take Tim to when they would take him out from his boarding school when he was 12yrs old.

Shanni fell in love with her garden.
She and I went walking while Tim & Doreen talked.
It was a lovely cottage garden on the hillside.
She can no longer go down into it and has a gardener come in several times a week.
It is really rambling and overgrown with paths that lead through the undergrowth and around mysterious corners and floral surprises everywhere.

Seb was in Christchurch for the weekend too so he & Phoebe drove up to say hullo.
They had just had lunch at Dux de Lux.
I had bought his b’day pressies down with me so that was another reason to catch up with him
The children enjoyed seeing him and Azzan & Seb had some strong mens stuff going on!

Azzan asked very nicely if he could play one of Doreen’s pianos.
She has a grand piano and a 1903 German upright.
She said he could play the upright but not the grand as it was so out of tune she couldn’t stand to hear it!
So he played and dutifully impressed her.
He was the first person to play her piano since she stopped playing due to her arthritis 4 years ago.
So it was a special honour for him.

Tim & Doreen
She is 92 and we discovered her 93rd b’day is the day after Mahalia’s 11th!!
It is lovely that she can stay in her own home although it rather restricting for her now as she can’t get about so easily.
There are facilities set up to assist her stay there which is great.

Seb & Phoebe said their farewells and drove off into the sunshine.
It was lovely to catch up with them both

It was a really hot day.
It was also 3:15pm and we had to be at the wedding by 4pm.
So we quickly changed into our glad rags and said goodbye to Doreen and headed off down the hill and across the the Horticultural Rooms.

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When I went to bed last night Azzan was not on my bed.
I found him on the floor with his pillow and sleeping bag.
He looked quite comfortable there so I left him to it.
This morning he stayed asleep longer than any of us!
I had to wake him before 8:30 so he could come into town with us.

We met Tim & Romain at the library.
I left the kids there to choose books.
We dropped Romain off at the bus stop.
It was very sad to have to say goodbye after the fun filled 6 weeks he has been with us.
But he is planning on returning later on so it really was only au revoir

We then went to do some business at the lawyers office.
I zipped back to pick up the children.
They had a mountain of books!
Tim had to pick up his tyre which was being fixed.
He discovered last night that it had picked up a huge bolt so was rather flat!!

  We went back to the house to pack the cars.
I sorted out all the stuff we didn’t need to take to Christchurch and left it in Tim’s Safari.
We were finally all packed and left Blenheim at 11:30.
It was a glorious day.
Absolutely beautiful for traveling down the East Coast.
Although it was almost too calm.

We stopped for a picnic at Oaro before we left the coast and headed inland.
The children were straight down the beach and onto the rocks.

They were having fun leaping off them onto the sand.

A seagull came to visit while we were eating.
It was very hot,
I enjoyed the sun for the short time we were there but it was enough.
I am a rather pinkish colour now.

I drove all the way.
We arrived at Rangiora at 4:30pm.
I dumped off Tim & the children and went into town to do a little retail therapy.
I found a couple of lovely dresses in Farmers sale.
The children played a board game with Emma.

Shanni went off to youth group with the girls.
Adrian & Erica had a dinner to go to so Tim and I went over the road with the Azzan & Mahalia and spent the evening with Nicky & Dave.
Dave cooked up a delicious bbq for dinner and taught Azzan some basic ballet rudiments.
It’s really good for Azzan to get tips from experienced male dancers.
I now know how he should be doing a plié and which mussels he should be using training to do it correctly!

We finally dragged ourselves away after 10pm.
The girls had just gotten home.
Shanni really enjoyed herself.
She has only been to one other youth group and was much happier at this one.
He comment was that it was much quieter and Bible based.
They still had fun and played water bombing games

Everyone is now in bed and I am about to follow.
It has been a good day – just hot and long.

A semi relaxed day in Nelson

We had a leisurely leaving this morning.
Left home at 7am – after Tim pumped up the back tyres.
He noticed they were a tad on the flat side so he check the pressure – it was down to 10!
He pumped the up to 36 and gave instructions for us to keep checking them.
We listened to ‘Magic Spirit the Dream Horse‘  by Pippa Funnell on the way out.
It was a really good story and I am keen to hear the next installment

I left Nathan at the library while Shanni & I had our chiro appointments.
Thankfully he went gentle on me today.
Due to the intense pain we are going to wait until we get the results from my unltrasound next week to decide the course of treatment.

We had a fairly relaxed morning as only had piano & speech lessons to juggle.
Then I dropped Shanni off at clarinet and took the other 3 to gymnastics.
I zipped into town and got myself a frappacino and then went back to wait for her.
I sat in the car listening to the radio for about 15-20 mins before she came out.
Then I went to start the Terrano and the blasted battery was flat
So I called Chrissy and she came to take Shanni for gymnastics.

I then called the AA and sat and waited for about 30mins for them to come help me.
Two guys rolled up, checked the battery and pronounced it totally stuffed.
So I asked them to put in a new one.
I tried not to think about the cost of it as I quickly added it to my visa card and thankfully got back on the road again.
Got to gymnastics in time to meet the 2 young’uns and take them to ballet.
Chrissy dropped Nathan off at a personal trainer we have found who teaches boxing.
Shanni walked home with the Winnington girls.
After dancing the kids and I whizzed around the supermarket then joined the slow line of 5pm traffic heading south.
Got to Stoke and picked up Nathan.
He had had a great time with Murray who has given him ‘homework’ to do, and is booked to go back next week.
I dropped Nathan off at Alan’s along with all the groceries to go home.
They are heading in to PL tomorrow arvo.

We then went to pick up Shanni.
Spent half an hour chatting with Margaret and watching  bit of the news about Pike River.
I thought the analogy one reporter mentioned of the 29 guys in a place the size of Greymouth being similar in ratio to around 3000 dying in Auckland.
Really puts in into perspective.

We left Nelson around 6:30 and headed to Blenheim.
The kids munched on chips and fruit bars to keep the worms at bay.
When we got to Blenheim I deviated from our course to take the kids to the riverbank and show them this.
 

Mahalia & Azzan reading the plaque.

They were both sombered and happy to see the memory seat and be some of the first to sit in it and remember their Granny.

The view from the seat looking towards the Wither Hills where Mum’s family farm was.

The council has plans to plant trees around this area which will make it a lovely spot to sit on a hot summer Blenheim day.
A lot of folk walk these river banks.
Mum used to spend a lot of time walking too and fro her house to Beaver Park and the Museum.
It was her wish to have a seat placed on the riverbank for folk to rest on.
I think she would be very happy with where it is and the enjoyment it is already giving her friends.

We finally got to Lindsay & Sonia’s.
They were out so I fed the kids quickly and got them into bed soon after 9pm.
L&S arrived home at 9:30 and we chatted a while before we hit the sack too.

Tragic news :-(

Tuesday

The weather is very summery here now.
Even Shanni has stripped off her warm pants and sweatshirts!!
She has dug out her shorts and suntops so summer must be here already
The children are enjoying getting outside.
The girls are doing lots of bike riding.
Shanni has her trap line set again.
Azzan has been doing lots of dancing.
Sometimes I manage to get him to actually follow the Ballet 101 dvd I bought him but most of the time he is free dancing to a variety of classical music he loves.
He has such a great sense of rhythm that his movements really work with the music.

Tim & Julian went up the hill fencing.
They never got back for lunch until nearly 5pm.
I have just discovered that Tim put the truck off the road.
They had to spend ages digging it out so they could get home.
Tim has a very naughty sense of humour.
He said when the outside wheels went off the road Julien seemed extremely anxious to get out of the truck

Anson & Romain spent most of the morning sorting & drenching sheep.
After lunch they did a bit of fencing then Romain went fishing.
Mahalia & Azzan kayaked out to the raft to go fishing.
They catch spotties for the cats.

I took my lunch to bed and heat packed my shoulder and neck while watching ‘Bright Star’.
It was really good.
I have always enjoyed Keats poems but never knew about his tragic love life.
Very sad.
One thing about following medical advice.
While I am heatpacking I get to physically rest and catch up on lots of movies & books!!

Anson stayed for lunch and dinner.
He and Nathan have been sparing a lot and it got rather physical last night.
Nathan spent most of his time on the floor giggling
Anson had the upper hand some of the time!
Then there was quite a collision between his head and Nathan’s knee and the table corner.
He went home rather quickly with a very sore head

After dinner I made a card for our friends who are getting married this weekend.

Wednesday

This morning I made macaroni & vegetable cheese for lunch and made date scones for morning smoko.
Nathan prepared the vegetables for dinner.
Tim put a mutton roast in the oven.
Julien dug out some ditches and drains while Romain cleaned the gutterings on the house and swept off all the spiderwebs.
At 10:30am a couple of guys arrived for a business meeting.
The girls and the wwoofers went to The Cottage and played Risk and then went fishing.
Azzan played on the computer and then watched a movie.
Tim, Anson & I had several hours talking with the men and discussing the future of our mussel farming venture.
It was very interesting and has given us a lot of thinking to do.

They left and then we all had lunch.
I was very glad I was preorganised and just had to heat it through.
I took my lunch to bed and heatpacked while watching the first chapter of ‘Dr Quinn Medicine Woman‘.
I have had it on loan from the library for ages but hadn’t quite gotten to watch it yet.
I really enjoyed it so can see I will have to have lots of heat pack time in the near future

We got the tragic news this afternoon that there had been another explosion in the mine at 2:37pm and all 29 men are presumed dead as they don’t see how anyone could have survived it.
Such a tragic waste of lives.
I was glued to the live streaming of the news tonight via the internet and was in tears for most of it.
My heart goes out to all the families and friends of the men.
Especially to our good friends Julian & Jonathon who have lost their nephew and cousin.

The children have been packing their bags tonight.
I still haven’t packed mine.
Guess it will be a fast last minute as usual.
We are off tomorrow for out normal Thursday in Nelson and then we head to Christchurch for a wedding.
Shanni is not at all happy about coming with us but as she is going to be a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding in January she has to come and be fitted for her dress.

Myriads of happenings

Sunday was a chillin’ sorta day.
Azzan came into our room well before 6am and woke me to ask if he could have a spa
Because I was then awake I turned on the radio.
I don’t normally enjoy listening to the ZB Talkback’s Sunday Buy Sell Swap but just after I turned it on a guy called in selling a camera for his sister who had gone overseas.
It was a 2 year old Canon Powershot A2000S and he only wanted $60 for it.
So I memorized his number and zipped into the study and called him up.
I was the first caller so got it!!
Shanni is rapt.
She has been trapping possums and selling the fur to save for a new camera.
This model new would sell around $350-400.
It is a newer better model that her first camera which she broke.
He is sending it down from Auckland tomorrow.
I told her she had Azzan to thank for it

Tim went around to Anson’s just after 6am to watch the rugby – 3rd grand slam match – Ireland vs All Blacks – we won again, 38-18.
Shanni went around and cooked them breakfast.

I blobbed a bit and then did a clean up of the kitchen and house – it is amazing just what a mess things get into when I am away.
The guys are busy outdoors so just pass through to graze I think!
There were several loads of washing to get done too.
It was a great morning so I hung the first load out.
By the time I got the other loads through it had come into rain.
I got Nathan to light the fires and dried the rest inside.
The rain was great.
We must have had around 16mm.
Haven’t had any for a while so much appreciated.

Heftzibah from Israel arrived on the mailboat while I was away.
She was great to have here.
She works as a tour guide in Jerusalem and was extremely knowledgeable about things Biblical.
We had a great discussion at fellowship with her.

Alan & Matt came down for the weekend to work on the campsite.
They stayed with Anson.
Alan brought down Shanni’s new 2ndhand clarinet.
I had bought it from a place in Auckland that services and resells ex-hire clarinets.
I hadn’t told Shanni I was getting it.
I sent her around to Anson’s after the fishing trip so she could get the parcel for me.
When she came back I unpacked it and gave it to her.
She was thrilled and proceeded to give it a trial run.
It sounds so much nicer than her old one.

Heftzibah was really wanting to see dolphins.
There were a few out in the bay but a long way away.
Anson & Tim loaded everyone on board the ’88 South’ at 4pm and went out for a few hours fishing before dinner.
They caught fish and saw dolphins.
Heftzibah was very happy
She was also happy to have fish to eat.
She has not been able to find any kosher meat while in NZ so had pretty much gone vegetarian and was hanging out for some meat.
Fish was a close 2nd best!

I think things are getting too much for Romain.
He is getting very tired.
Last night he nodded off while waiting for dinner.
He was totally out to it much to everyone’s amusement

I woke feeling very aching and tired today.
I am so looking forward to having the ultrasound on my shoulder to see if we can get to the bottom of all this pain.
I am finding it so draining.
After breakfast Tim & Julian went off to do some fencing and Anson & Romain went mustering sheep.
After she had packed up her gear, Heftzibah helped me and then she played games with the children.
Azzan beat her at ‘Guess Who’.

She was in the midst of a game of ‘Risk’ with the girls when I served lunch and then Alan arrived to take her out to Nelson.
So we had to say our goodbyes.
She only has a few more days in NZ so we plan to meet in Israel

I went to bed after lunch with a heat pack.
Watched the ‘Page Turner’.
Or should I say I dozed my way through it!
It was in French with English subtitles so not one to watch with closed eyelids

When I got out of bed at 5pm the house was totally quiet apart from one squawking bird!
I made a tomato vegetable goulash for dinner and served it with pasta & salad.
Cooked up some scallops and sausages to appease the various tastebuds.

The girls eventually turned up.
They had been out biking.
Azzan was entertaining Tik.
She is borrowing his reading books so she can learn English.

The men finally arrived in for dinner around 6:30.
Anson & Romain came in later as they were out mustering.
Apparently their morning muster had gone haywire with all ages and stages of sheep coming and going in all directions so they had to do some drafting and re mustering.

Not too sure what is going on at the mo.
Maybe it is the full moon.
Or someone has put hypo juice in the water.
The kids are crazy tonight.
Especially Azzan.

The past few days have been totally absorbed by the mine disaster on the West Coast.
There was an explosion at the Pike River mine near Greymouth and 29 men are caught in the mine.
No one knows if they are alive or not.
The mine is too gaseous to allow rescue workers in yet.
It is a terrible situation and we are all on tenterhooks waiting and watching while they try and find out where the men are and how to get them out.
Mining experts have flown in from Australia and Chile to help.
Please pray for these guys and their families and friends who desperately waiting for news.

Meeting the dancers before driving all the way home.

We woke to a much cooler day on Saturday.
It was way more pleasant.
The children were up at a reasonable hour so we were able to get the Terrano all packed up.
Gracie fitted Mahalia’s bridesmaid dress – she is racing to get the four dresses done before she heads away to Africa in 2 weeks.
Then we headed off into the city just before 9am.
We were going to meet the dancers at 10am at Whitcoulls Bookshop.
We were early so had a chat with the lady who was organising it.
We went for a walk up Cashel Mall and then got back just before 10am and found Katie had already arrived.
We had a wee chat with her.
This is her final tour.
She has been with the Royal NZ Ballet Company for 8 years and is ready to make a change of career.

Then Jaered arrived.
It was great to meet him in person.
He has been dancing since he was two.
He told us his mother begged his sister’s ballet teacher to take him because he was so energetic and she needed an hours break from him!!

But the dancer that Azzan really wanted to meet was Yang.
He is very impressed with her ability to do vertical splits.
She is very supple.
She is also very lovely.
Mahalia was very taken with her scarf with silver horses on it.

They all signed Azzan’s programme for him.

After we had talked with them we left them to talk with others and we went down the street to get a frappacino before leaving the city.
While in Starbucks a lady from Specsavers across the street came in and told us that they were having face painting for children.
They were raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
The children were keen so went over to get painted.

Azzan chose Elmo

Mahalia opted for hearts when the girl said she couldn’t paint horses.

As we left the Specsavers lady took a photo of the three of us.
It was a pleasant end to our time in the city.

We headed across town to meet Bri & Nick at Northlands.
We had a quick catch up.
The kids got some food to eat.
I bought myself an early birthday present.
When I told Nathan he asked if I was going to put it away until my birthday.
I spose I should seeing as I wouldn’t let him have his present early even though he chose it

It was getting quite cool and drizzly.
We stopped briefly in Northwoods to pick up some stuff for Anson and get some veges.
James brought Nathan to Woodend to meet us at 1pm.
The boys changed the windscreen wiper blades for me.
The rain was becoming rather persistant and I didn’t want to drive back with old scrapy, scratchy blades on.
We had a good drive north.
Stopped in Kaikoura to get some food at the bakery.
Got to Blenheim around 5pm.
We fueled up the Terrano, dropped off library books and then kept heading homewards.
Azzan was rather restless and causing ructions in the backseat.
I finally had had enough just after we left Rai Valley.
I pulled over and took him out of the car and gave him a serious talking to about children causing disturbances in the backseat which then cause mothers to be distracted which in turn cause accidents which then can cause deaths.
He got the message.
He then decided he would prefer to walk home.
We only had 2 hours left to drive
I then had to explain the laws of the land about illegality of abandoning children.
He settled down and was very quiet for the next half an hour.
Then I heard a cheer of delight as he realised we were coming down the hill into Okiwi Bay.
I stopped there for him & Mahalia to play at the playground for 10 mins.
We had done a lot of traveling so it was understandable that he was getting sick of it.
But it is his choice to travel with us so he has to learn to behave.

They watched the new movie I bought in Nelson for them.
It is called Mouse Hunt.
I had never heard of it but found it in the Post Office for only $10 so reckoned it was worth a punt.
I heard lots of laughter so figured I had bought a winner.
We got home at 8:30pm.
The movie hadn’t quite finished so the kids sat in the car and watched it till the end

We got the Terrano unpacked and the kids off to bed and then the rain began.
I was very glad it didn’t start till after we got home as the road was dusty dry and it would have been very greasy with the rain.
Tim & I fell into the spa and talked for a while before crashing into bed.

A day in the city and a night at the ballet

We were in no hurry to move this morning so just chilled until around 11:30am.
When we went to get in the car we almost cooked.
The day had heated up so much the Terrano was like an oven.
It was sposed to be a 25’C high today but at midday it was already 25’C in the shade.
Outside it was scorching hot.
The air conditioning in the vehicle couldn’t get us cool enough.

I had a couple of things to do in Rangiora which took about an hour.
I got some new wiper blades which I now have to get fitted.
I called into an auto electrician to see if he could fix my lights.
It turned out that one of them was faulty because the cable had almost burned through and a clip had fallen off among a few other things.
The guy was really helpful and fixed it all up and replaced the bulbs with stronger ones.
So hopefully my night driving will now be somewhat easier on the eyes.

When we got to Chch we went to a carpark building.
It was way cooler in there.
We browsed in a huge book sale shop.
Found a few books.
Nathan zipped them back up to the car so we didn’t have to lug them around.
Then we wandered into the Square.
We got some cold drinks and food for an early dinner.
The boys had frankfurters and we girls had baked potatoes with heaps of fillings – Yum!
It was nice sitting in the shade to eat.
The temperatures were beginning to lessen thankfully.
Some girls began busking while we ate.
They were Irish dancing.

We walked back to the car.
Stopped briefly for Nathan to try on some jeans.
Left them in the shop as he is growing too fast and they were only just long enough.
We will try somewhere else that has longer leg length ones.
Then we got the car and cruised the streets looking for a cheap place to park for the evening.
But because it was Friday night there was nothing.
So we ended up parking in another building near the theatre.
We went to a public toilet and freshened up and changed clothes.
Then we walked to the Isaac Theatre Royal to watch the dancers warming up.
Azzan chose to sit right down the front.
He was almost climbing on to the stage!
He and Hali were sussing out which dancers they knew.
Azzan was quite impressed with Yang’s leg stretches.
It was also Katie’s last time dancing with the company and the last time she would be dancing in her home city of Christchurch.

I was very impressed with a couple of the male dancers legs.
They had quads worthy of rugby players!!
Jacob at front of the barre here was amazingly strong and was doing handstands and splits upside down.

We had time to go for a quick walk and get some drinks before the show began at 6:30pm.
Azzan was tired.
Thursday had been busy and long.
Friday was hot.
He had several melt downs.
Nothing too public.
Just frustrating for us cause he just gets difficult and goes dog.
I don’t put up with it at all but also realise that he is only little still and he does get tired.

When we were getting our drinks he was dancing around Starbucks and then somehow got into an altercation with Nathan over something and ended up in tears.
He then decided he wanted to go home and wasn’t going to the show
I said I was going so that was that.
He then wanted to go wait in the car.
I said he was too young.
Then he asked if Nathan could stay in the car with him!
I guess their altercation wasn’t that upsetting after all!!

We were seated up in the Circle.
It was a good viewing spot but Azzan had couldn’t see too well so I sat him on my knee.
He was a bit squirmy.
The curtain rose and ‘The Nutcracker’ began.
The first part was really funny and he laughed all through it.
Then in a particularly quiet part of the ballet he made a very loud fart
He was quieter after that but still squidged around a bit.
About half way through the first half he asked me if ‘this is the finale’?
When we got to the interval and the lights went on he announced,
Well, that was amazing.’!

We stretched out legs and chatted with Magdala & Jamin in the foyer.
Then it was back for the second half.
It was great.
The first half was certainly the best.
But the dancing doctors were really funny and all the children in the theatre were laughing.
Azzan had been leaning back against me and then when the ‘Waltz of the Flowers‘ began he straightened up, his arms went into position and he began dancing whilst sitting on my knee.

When it the ballet was over Nathan announced,
That was freakin’ awesome.’
I am very glad that both boys enjoyed it

We met Louisa in the foyer.
She was waiting for Madeline and Oliver.
They had been sitting downstairs.
Mahalia & Madeline had a quick catch up with each other.

Then we zipped up the street and caught up with Nicky Dave and some of their kids.
They had been upstairs.
Several others we knew were at the show to but we never saw them.
It was a full house.
Chatted as we walked back to our cars and then we headed back to Rangiora.
Azzan was hungry and was asking for fast food.
I saw a Burger King so pulled into the drive through.
It was incredibly slow.
I have never eaten there before (I don’t do fast junk food)  but was hungry too so bit the bullet and ordered a chicken burger along with the boys orders.
I am not too sure if it was just because I was hungry, but it was really good

We got back to Rangiora and Nathan got picked up by James.
He is staying the night just around the corner with him and his big bro Andrew.
Hopefully they will get some sleep.
I got a big goodnight hug from Nathan – nice