Last 4 days of June!


Dave, Tim and guys were working on woolshed.
Michele played cards with kids and folded mountains of washing.
I was busy catching up with office work most of the day.
Dave & Michele left later in the afternoon.
It was lovely to catch up with them after so long – come back soon you two!!
I decided it was time to put flannelette sheets on our bed.
Hasn’t really been cold enough to warrant it till now.
Trouble is – they make it hard to get out of in the mornings!!

Just a normal sorta day at home.
Guys working on woolshed again.
Shanni is reading her way through a series of books and is trying to get them finished before leaving so she was curled up on the sofa by the fire in between getting some of her outside things done.
She was getting the avairies and garden up to scratch.
Shanni gave me a delightful foot and shoulder massage before bed.
Really lovely.

Cold wet south easterly.
I stayed in bed till about 10am and read my book till it was finished.
Tim and guys were working on woolshed.
Nuana walked around track and spent day with us.
Shanni & Nuana made sushi for Thursday lunch.
We finally packed Shanni’s & my bags.
I really couldn’t get into the packing mode so ended up just chucking in stuff and hoping it was enough and the right sorta city clothes.
Probably ended up packing far too much!
We had to fit in some of Anson’s heavy shearing gear so we spent time weighing the bags to get them under the 24 kgs.
Anson flies into Melbourne in a couple of months and it was easier for the girls to take his gear than for him to tote it around UK & Europe.


Up at 5am and out the door at 6am.
I took Nathan & Nuana with me.
Tim followed with the younger 3.

When we got to Nelson I got a call telling me that our 3:30pm flight had been cancelled due to mechanical failure so opted for a later flight rather than earlier.
I dropped Nuana home and then took Nathan shopping.
Got him a lovely warm goose down jacket at Kathmandu.
Now he won’t make me feel cold looking at him, and he is smiling because he is warm & happy
We had a 21c off fuel voucher so we lined up the two vehicles and filled them both!!
Then Tim left to do his thing and I took Nathan to The Wood and then ran around the main street doing a few chores.
Then at 11:15am I disappeared into Nelson Beauty Therapy for a couple of hours of deliciousness
Tim got Anson’s new logo put on his truck – it looks fantastic.
I will get a pic soon – forgot to take one when I saw it.
Tim was wondering why people kept turning heads to look!!

I gathered up a large bag of baked potatoes from the barrow in Trafalgar st and met the whanau at gymnastics.
They were all very glad to get the spuds as they were hungry after expelling all that energy.
Last gym session for the term so they had heaps of fun.
Nathan went home with the Harris’s.
I took Mahalia & Azzan to dancing and said goodbye to them.
Tim rushed off to get a few of his jobs done while he had a window of opportunity.
We picked up Nuana and she dropped us at the airport.
She is picking up Mahalia and then meeting Tim & Azzan after his jazz lesson.
They will head home tonight.

Shanni and I were rescheduled to fly to Auckland at 5:30pm.
We were meeting Jesika who was flying in from Melbourne and then picking up our rental car and will then try and find our way to Sunni’s.
Trouble was – when we were due to board it was announced that our plane had a minor mechanical fault they had to fix.
That fault kept us in Nelson until after 6:30
Once we took off I all of a sudden felt very tired.
I slept on the plane when we finally got into the air.
We got to Akld and managed to drag our very heavy bags onto the free transfer bus and got over to International and found Jesika.
Got the keys to our rental car and I drove into the city.
It is a peppy wee Nissan.
Took a bit to get used to but I am really enjoying driving it now.
As it was late we dropped Jesika off with Sunni & Mat and then headed out to Kohimarama where we are staying with Tim & Lee.
Had a quick drink and chat before hitting the pillows.
It was a l-o-n-g day.

Thursday 23 – Sunday 26th June

So much has happened since I last wrote here.
I always say I will not leave it so long but then days go by and I’ve done it again


We all headed out to town as normal.
But abnormally, Tim went too – in his Safari – ahead of us as he was towing a trailer out to Motueka.
Usually I would catch up to him and he would have to eat my dust.
But this time he was on a mission and despite catching glimpses of his lights way up ahead several times I never caught him!

The weather packed a total wobbly and by the time we arrived in Nelson it was pouring down – absolutely torrential stuff!
It would have to be the worst weather I have ever experienced in Nelson in all the times I have been there.
I shot straight out to Stoke to pick up the iMac and drop off a laptop someone left here by mistake.
We came back through Tahunanui and drove around Rocks Road the wind had gotten into gear and was driving the torrents of rain – it was unbelievably heavy.

Thankfully it eased somewhat by the time we got back into the city.
Nathan was driving.
I shot into The Warehouse to get a cd for Nathan.
We then dropped Shanni off at Nelson Beauty Therapy.
I am so full of admiration and thanks to Bedelia there for all the help she has given us in the skin care realms.
She really cares and she really knows her stuff.
She is brilliant.
Thoroughly recommend her to anyone in any stage of life!

I left Nathan listening to his new cd and the younger two in the back seat reading while I ran around the block to get money from one bank and deliver it by bank cheque to another and then back to the car.
When I got there the kids were complaining about Nathan’s choice in music!
The cd was ‘Dino – The Essential Dean Martin
Then it was Nathan’s turn to have a facial steam clean so I left him in Bedelia’s tender care and zipped the kids to piano and Shanni to speech.

Azzan was early for his violin lesson so I had a chance to talk to Fleur while he was warming up.
I asked he if she would be able to give him a private lesson next term in front of the group lesson because he has around an hour there inbetween his piano and violin lessons.
She said that would be great and asked Azzan what he though of having a lesson with just him and her.
He exclaimed with a big smile, ‘A private lesson? – Yes!’
She laughed and commented ‘Look, he has gone all giggly!’
Nothing like a pretty young lady for a tutor to get the motivation going
So it looks like he will begin that next term.

I picked Shanni up from clarinet and then dropped the kids at gymnastics.
It was pouring down again
Zipped into town to meet my sister.
We spent an hour or more chatting upstairs in Cafe Affair.
I had some quite personal stuff to talk about and was very nervous as to how it was all going to go.
But the afternoon went well and we conquered a lot of mountains and parted company feeling much better about a lot of stuff.
I then went and spent an hour with my counselor.
That went well too.
I am making positive inroads.

Tim had gotten back into town so had down the last part of the running around with the kids.
I picked Mahalia up and we went to get pizza for the hungry hoards.
While it was cooking I shot up the hill and collected Shanni – she had gone home with Katherine after gym.
We then met Tim, Nathan & Azzan and loaded Mahalia and the pizza on board and they headed home.
Shanni and I went to the supermarket and got some food.
Went back to Atawhai and heated it up and dossed down for the night with Frances & John.
It was doubly lovely to be there because they had some other guests, Linda and her daughter Melissa, who I had known years ago when they owned the camera shop in Nelson.
Sunni also worked for them during her last year at school there.


I had to meet Seb & Phoebe at the lawyers at 10am.
Shanni made the most of her time and went shopping.
She rather enjoys that occupation – watch out Jesika, Melbourne will be like paradise to her!!
We spent the morning at the lawyers and then the bank.
I had a quick trip to see my hairdresser – I was getting a tad wool blind and she gives free fridge trims.
Shanni and I had a baked kumara for lunch and then it was time to take her to her mystery appointment.

I took her to Enriching Day Spa.
I handed the receptionist the GrabOne voucher and said that I had brought Shanni in to use it.
I then added that she had no idea of what she was there for and maybe the lady might like to tel her.
She told Shanni that she was going to be having a 45min 3/4 body massage.
Well! Did Shanni’s face light up with the biggest smile and I got an immediate Thanks-Mum-hug!
I left her to enjoy herself and went off for a drive.
When I returned I chatted with the receptionist for a few minutes.
When Shanni appeared I asked her if it had been a nice experience.
She replied with a big smile – ‘It was an experience I would love to experience again!’
I then took her up to Katherine’s.
She was spending the weekend with her as it was K’s b’day party.

Seb & I had to make the call about the house we have been looking at.
It was a very definite positive so I spent the following hour or so running between the lawyer and bank getting thing finalised.
By the end of the day we had gone unconditional.
Terribly exciting
It is a great first house for Seb & Phoebe. Very sound and lots of scope for them to make it their own.

What made it all the more imperative was that Seb had gotten a call to say he was possibly leaving NZ on the 29th June instead of the 8th July.
So that put the speed on!
He is joining the ‘San Aspiring’, a deep sea fishing boat and will be spending the next 3 months fishing for Antarctic Toothfish near the South Georgia Islands.

I went to meet Seb & Phoebe at the venue they have chosen for their wedding reception.
We had a lovely time chatting with the lady there and organising everything.

By the time we had finished talking things over it was getting dark and cold.
So I said bye to them and headed into town to meet Phillipa.
On the way I called into the supermarket to get something and found pumpkins there on a very good special.
We love pumpkins and they are our main winter vegetable so I loaded up my trolly much to the amusement of other shoppers

Phillipa was also on her own and we hadn’t had a chance to hang out in ages so it was supper cool
We were starving but not too wealthy so decided to eat at The Falafel cafe.
You get a great feed there for a good price.
When we got there we found Jo & Andrew, who were having dinner there too.
We had a lovely time chatting.
I know Jo and Phillipa knew Andrew!!
It really is a small world.

Then it was time to go find some delectable dessert.
Cafe Affair was just around the corner, was cosy and has delicious food.
We chilled out upstairs on the comfy couches and enjoyed the yummiest chocolate brownie.
Finally it was after 9pm and we had to go our separate ways.


I puddled around & just did my own thing.
It was really nice having no kids to have to chase around.
Went into the market mid morning.
Everyone was reveling in the fact that it was the first Saturday Market for weeks if not months that there was no rain.
I found a couple of lovely items there, (won’t divulge what they were as one is for my darling daughter’s 30th b’day pressie ) bought my favourite lunch from The Wrap Shack – a Smoked Salmon and Avocado wrap – they are to die for!

I went out to visit a friend in Lud Valley but she wasn’t home so I came back through town and tracked another friend down.
Nelson was going a bit crazy cuz they were getting ready for the Crusaders vs Sharks rugby match that night.
I was very glad to get out of it.
I spent several hours with Estelle & her Dad.
That was really lovely.
We haven’t caught up in far too long.
In fact it is so long I was quite shocked to find her Mum had died suddenly back in April and I didn’t know.

It was getting dark when I left them and I zipped around the road to go visit some other friends.
Fumio & Sayuri run the Sakura B&B.
Fumio does the most beautiful bone carvings and we often meet up at the market.
It was the first time I had found time to visit them at home.
We had a wonderful few hours.
I really enjoyed chatting with Sayuri and learning how to make Okonomiyaki.
She was making some Dorayaki – small sweet pancakes while I was there and filling them with Azuki bean paste.
They were delicious.
I came away with a small bag full which my children enjoyed when I got home.

It was a really cold evening but sitting at their low traditional table with the heater under it and lots of blankets around it we were very cosy.
Until I had to leave to go home!
I left Shanni another night with Katherine as she was enjoying the party so much.


I picked Shanni up just after 9am.
We went and had breakfast at Melrose House cafe.
It was the last day of the season.
The food was delicious.
We had a little time to pop into a couple of shops and find her a new belt before going to the School of Music for the speech and drama scholarships.
She had never been on stage before so I was quite surprised at how calm she was.
There would have been around 50-70 people in the audience.
There were no apparent nerves.
I sat through about 6-8 other children before she had her turn.
She did a poem called ‘The Mockingbird’ and then a drama piece where she was playing Lisa and talking about being alone in her room.
I had to laugh – it was such a well chosen piece and sounded just like her in the real!
She did really really well.
I was so proud of her.
She got a Very Highly Commended certificate and a voucher for an ice cream which she immediately went over the road and cashed in on a huge Cookies & Cream Ice Cream!

We popped in to visit her first speech teacher Adele to tell her all about it.
She was delighted to see us and hear Shanni had done so well.

Then we went to Alan’s.
Tim had bought a 2nd hand fridge and wanted me to try and bring it home.
It was a tight fit but we got it in along with 15 large pumpkins and all our gear.
We had a major problem with the back door.
The latch jammed and wouldn’t shut properly.
We ended up holding it closed with the spare wheel holder and jamming a piece of firewood in to make sure it stayed closed.
We did a couple of things in town, picked up the chilled things from Frances & John’s and headed home.
Got here just after 6.
The sun was setting as we came around Okuri Hill – it was beautiful.

We have a full house again.
Dave & Michelle had arrived on Sat bringing with them Manuel & Steffan from Germany.
They 2 guys are going to wwoof here for a few weeks.
They seem really nice.

A normal sorta few days

We have been home these past three days.
Not really anything too major happening.

Tim has been busy conditioning mussel ropes – often in the rain.
Shanni helped a bit with that.

Seb came in on his mussel boat to get the ropes yesterday.
They did all the reseeding.
Tim has spent quite a lot of time organising various companies and boats for harvesting.
With the rain though there has been a harvest closure and also the change in weather has probably caused some spawning :-/

Shanni has not been feeling terribly well so she has spent a lot of time curled up on the sofa with her book.
She does take interludes to walk the puppy or go up the hill with her Dad so she can get a driving lesson!

Mahalia & Azzan have been helping with the cooking.
Mahalia made a delicious fish pie yesterday which lasted us two nights.
She and Azzan got their heads together and decided to make dessert on Monday.
I left them to it.
But when they came asking for things like cooking chocolate I just hoped they weren’t planning to wipe out my whole supply!!!
They produced a small dish from the freezer which I almost needed a crowbar to prise out the very decadent filling.
They had melted the dark chocolate and put marshmellows and apricots in it and then topped it with 100’s & 1000’s!
It was extremely sweet and excessively delicious

Things have been rather fractious around the house.
Not too sure what is going on but there seems to have been a few clashes of attitudes and personalities over the past few days.
Not good

Mahalia & Azzan asked if they could have a midnight feast.
I said yes, but not midnight.
Tim said to just let them do it.
So I went off to bed and left them to organise themselves.
Apparently they couldn’t stay awake that long so they had their feast sometime after 10pm and played with the Sylvanians for a while.
Could be the reason Azzan was so titchy today!

Shanni hasn’t been sleeping well either.
And I woke up at 2am today to hear news on the radio of another big quake in Christchurch.
It was felt way down in Invercargill and up to Picton.
Even though it wasn’t as damaging as the others it apparently was as violent and scary.
They continued to have shakes for the rest of the night

I have been doing office work, sorting out some more dress making patterns.
I have culled out another big box full.
Next will be all the sewing accessories!

Have also been trying to get my head around the new science books I bought the children.
The way I am going I will be ready to begin during the school holidays

Shanni and I sorted her clothes today.
She is getting ready to pack for her time in Australia.
Most exciting – we are on countdown now!!

I have been doing some journaling tonight.
It feels good to get some ink and glue on my fingers.
Trouble is I have to go to town again tomorrow – just when I was really getting in to the swing of it.

So, it is off to bed now.
Tim is going to town also so he can get some of his farm stuff done and then bring home three of the children because Shanni and I are staying over for a few days.

Friday – Sunday this week

Shanni & Nathan had 10am dentist appointments so I dropped them off there and went to meet Seb & Phoebe at Starbucks.
We had lots to discuss.
Mahalia & Azzan spent the time downstairs checking out Crackerjacks.
We then mosied on up the street to the bank and then spent the next hour & a half with the bank manager sorting out finances.
The kids were all very good.
Shanni spent the time checking out ‘Farmers’ and ‘No1 Shoe Warehouse’.
Mahalia sat and drew pictures.
Azzan did that for a while but then he heard a lady busking outside the bank with a piano accordion.
I gave him permission to go and listen.
He had a long conversation with her and told me later that he had suggested some songs she might like to add to her repetoire

I had him in clear view through the bank windows so was happy for him to be entertained while we were busy.

Nathan went and moved the Terrano for me – returning a dvd at the same time.
Good to let him have a bit of practise around town.

We just had time for me to fly into the supermarket and get some salads for my lunch as Nathan drove us out to Stoke where we were meeting with other home educators.
Two men from the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind were there to speak to us.
One guy was the mobility coordinator and the other was blind with a guide dog.
It was a very interesting afternoon.
Gordon talked to us about how he became blind and how he lives his life.
He showed us all the various aids to make things easier and more manageable.
Such as a wee float that sits on your coffee cup and when the hot water touches it a sensor sets of a loud noise to alert you that your cup is full enough.

He showed us how he uses the white cane.

Then he talked about his dog and how he works and how he was trained etc.
It was really great.

We had to leave soon after they finished speaking.
Took this lovely photo of the BFF’s – Katherine & Shoshannah.

Nathan hitched a ride to Richmond with Emma so he could meet Phillipa there.
He was going to Motupiko for Nick’s 16th b’day weekend.

We had time however to have another look for some boots for Shanni.
Went to Dowsons Shoes and found some really cool ones for her and while she was dallying about making a decision I found myself a pair of comfortable funky town shoes.
Also got the kids some sushi as they were getting pretty hungry.

I had to meet Seb & Phoebe at 4pm at the Real Estate office.
We thought it would be a quick appointment but we ended up there for 2 hours.
Shanni went shopping at Cotton On.
Mahalia shot down the street to get me a frappacino before Starbucks shut at 6pm.
She came back with the change in her pocket.
But, the $10 note had slipped out of her pocket and all I got back were a few coins.
She traced her steps back to no avail.
So some person is now $10 richer

We finally were able to sign the necessary papers and leave.
We dithered as to whether we would go home or stay another night in town as it was so late.
Decided with the heavy rain forecast we should make a run for it.
We did a rush through New World and got a few groceries.
I was starving by the time we left town so I got myself a Burger King.
I really am not into fast food – but at nearly 8pm when you have eaten not a lot during the day they go down very well!

Got home at 10:30pm.
Tim had not long been home.
He had gone over the hill to get more firewood and the truck got a flat tyre.
The nuts were on so tight he couldn’t undo them.
It took him and Graham ages to finally get them undone and changed.


The rain began in the early hours and it rained fairly constantly for most of 2 days.
It was quite heavy at times.

I wallowed in the spa with my book for a while.
It is really lovely lying there in the hot water with the cold wind and rain blowing about.

Tim & the kids played cards when Tim was indoors.
We got things unpacked and washing on and then I plonked myself down by the fire to watch ‘The House of Eliott’ series 3.
It got very gripping and the day passed quickly.
Mahalia joined me for most of it.
We did interrupt the dvds a few times to eat etc.
I finished the series just before midnight!!
I am so sad that the BBC didn’t see fit to continue the series.
It surely had a ways to go with the story.
Maybe one day someone might take up the baton again.
It was a great way to spend a wet dismal grey day.

Anson phoned in the evening and had a chat with all the kids and Tim.
He is getting very sick of the rain over there.
When he can’t work he is like a bear with a sore head


It was raining quite heavily so we didn’t think about getting out of bed till around 9:30am.
First time Tim has slept in so late in ages.
We had a quiet day.
I was very happy.
I did my weigh in for the week.
I have lost 2.8kgs in the 3 weeks I have been back on Weight Watchers

Shanni took the pup for a run.
Mahalia went to find dry foliage for his kennel – not that easy at present.
Glen & Tik came down to Waterfall Bay for the weekend so they popped around with Nuana to say g’day.
Nuana arrived on Thursday and is now in residence at Waterfall.
She is looking forward to spending time there.

Glen & Tik chatted a while and then headed off back to Nelson and we had fellowship.
Lunch was very late – like around 3-4pm!
Then Tim, Graham, Shanni, Nathan & Nuana went fishing for an hour or so before dark.
I shot up the hill to pick up Nathan.
He had taken the bus from Nelson to Rai Valley and gotten a ride in with Sandra from there.
It all worked like clockwork which was brilliant.
Dinner was basic – I was still too full from lunch so haven’t bothered to eat yet.
Azzan, however, came in at 8:30pm to tell me he was hungry.
So he is now out in the kitchen cooking himself some cheese toasties to drive away the worms!!

The rain has just come in again – very heavy!!

Busy days, visitors and eclipses

The mornings have been a tad cold so I have had a warm up wallow in the spa before breakfast the past couple of days.
Helps to have a good book to read whilst in there

Tim & David worked on the woolshed in the morning and shucked oysters and then went over the hill after lunch to get another load of firewood.
Eilidh hugged the fire for some of the morning then sorted the caravan bedding for me.

Mid morning I had a very pleasant surprise.
Sandra & Phil came over for morning tea, bringing Jeanette and g’daughter Emma with them.
I made some yummy muffins and we had a great old chinwag.
They headed off home around midday and then I tried to get the kids to pack for town.
Mahalia helped Azzan tidy his room but he still couldn’t find stuff.
I ended up having a further tidy session in there and managed to find most of his missing clothes except for one ballet shoe – which we then tracked down to the Harris house where Azzan had left it last weekend.
I decided by late afternoon that I had done enough so sat down to watch some more House of Eliott.
Then it was dinner time.
Another steak & oyster pie made by Nathan.
Very tasty.

David & Eilidh did the last diner dishes for their visits.
David was trying to lessen the height gap so shrunk at the knees when I took the photo – I guess he never realised that in so doing he would have a broom sprouting from his head

After dinner Nathan played a game of chess with David, Tim read to the children, and Eilidh & I watched the last two episodes of Series 2 from ‘House of Eliott’.


I woke at 4:30am so zipped through the shower and woke Nathan & Shanni at 5am.
Then the others soon after.
We were packed and gone by 5:50am.

As I got to the top of the hill I remembered there was going to be a Lunar Eclipse
so as we drove I stopped along the way to record it.
The moon was brilliant with just a little cloud wisping around it – the children were fascinated by it.
We were also wondering how much of the early morning sky cloud was from the Chilean volcanic ash.
As we drove we were listening to the news saying that all the South Island airports were closed this morning because the ash was now much lower in the atmosphere.




Unfortunately as we drove down into Okiwi Bay we lost sight of the rest of the eclipse due to the hills.
But what we did see was pretty darned marvelous.

I was really struggling to stay awake for the last half an hour or so of the trip.
I realised when I got to Nelson that I had been awake for 4 hours already

I dropped Nathan off at The Wood and then took the kids out with me for my first appointment.
I had booked last minute for a luxury facial because I had a discount voucher which needed using before it outdated.

Tina was great and took the kids upstairs and let them make them selves at home with their dvd player and books.
I lay back and relaxed for an hour.
It was bliss.
She not only does a facial but also shoulders and neck massage AND feet massage are included in the package.
It helped rejuvenate me and allowed me to deal with the rest of the day without too much stress.
Shanni couldn’t seem to understand why she couldn’t have one too – I tried to explain to her that at my age and stage of life I had sorta earned a bit of pampering, but I don’t think she really got it

We had time to drop the computer off for a spot of TLC at my geeks place and then allowing Azzan 5 minutes to sort some books out at the library before dropping Shanni at speech and Mahalia & Azzan at piano.
I then went and got my lunch before picking up Shanni again and meeting Phillipa & Lydia.
We chatted for half an hour and then I had to whiz Shanni to piano.
Nathan met us there.
I left them and took Mahalia to do a couple of jobs.
Had to see lawyer, accountant and then WINZ.
I was really good this time.
I used the stairs each time and not the lift and got my cardio workout for the day!!

I got back to the School of Music in time to hear the end of Azzan’s violin lesson.
The 4 young folk are sounding really good.
Fleur is really getting a lot out of them.
She has been a great choice as their new teacher.

We waited for Nathan to finish piano and then picked up Shanni from clarinet on our way to gymnastics.
I chatted with Victoria & Jo while doing some cross stitch.
I started a wee picture called Picanini CanCan several years back but was struggling with my eye sight so it stayed in the packet.
I have just got it out again recently and am getting it down quite quickly now.
It will be really cute when finished.

Victoria took M&A to dancing for me, Shanni went home with Katherine, I unloaded all the patterns into Rachel’s van and after a chat with her and Chrissy I took Nathan into town.
He sat in the car and read while I went to try some clothes on.
Then we zipped through the supermarket, met up with Mahalia & Shanni and went out to get Azzan from jazz.
He finishes at Annesbrook at 5:45 and as we had everything all done Nathan was able to drive us straight back to the house.
The kids watched ‘Tangled’ while they ate their dinner.
Shanni had won a new release voucher at the Rai A&P show and had been wanting to use it for ages.
As new releases are only overnighters we had to work it into a time when we were in town.
The children are all in bed now.
It is really chilly tonight so I am going to fill m hottie and head off to bed to.
My eyes have been really sore today – they need sleep.

Seminars and friends


I got myself ready to go back to Nelson.
At the last minute I discovered that Nathan was not going to come.
So I ended up driving out with just Leonard Cohen for company.

I was able to do a few jobs in town before meeting Seb & Phoebe and having a look at a house.
We chatted for an age and then I had to leave to head out to the seminar.
I picked up a frozen dinner and quickly heated it in Elizabeth’s microwave before taking her & Eilidh to Hope with me.
We got to the seminar very early as I had misread the agenda.
But better early than late!

Chrissy arrived with Azzan.
He had been having a great time with Asher but was ready to come stay with me.

We were attending the ‘Science by Design’ seminar by Dr Jay Wile.
The Firelight Foundation had brought him to NZ.
It is run by my friend Erena so I was delighted to be able to catch up with her again.
It has been ages since we last saw each other.
Dr Jay is a nuclear chemist and he has written science curricula which a lot of home educators are using.

I must admit I found it hard to keep up with him as he was very informative and had a lot to say but was very sciencey and I am not really that way inclined.
I kept on switching off and having to pull my attention back to what he was saying.
Azzan was a bit tired and did not seem to be paying attention due to the more ‘heavy’ nature of the lecture.
However at the end when he opened up for question time Azzan’s was one of the first hands to go up.
Throughout the conference Azzan asked questions after each session and each time they were really good questions.
In fact others commended him later on for asking such good questions.
I was very proud of him.

We dropped the girls back home and then headed off to find ourselves a bed at Frances & John’s.
We were all alone there so were able to just go straight to bed.


I woke early on Monday morning so sat in bed trying to keep warm and caught up on a bit of tv online.
Watched ‘NZ’s Top Model’, ‘The World’s Strictest Parents’ and ‘Project Runway’.
By the time they had all finished it was time to get up.
I left Azzan till nearly 7:30am before prising him out of his sleeping bag.

We had time to go get some breakfast at Starbucks and then pick up Eilidh and get to the venue by 9am.
The best part of the conference for me was catching up with friends during the breaks
Several I have not seen in absolutely ages.
Azzan got a bit bored during the first session and I let him go out and look at the books on the sales table.
He had already found some books he wanted – ‘Exploring Creation with Anatomy.
I had gotten Erena to put a SOLD label on them.
Looks like we have the  rest of our years unit studies sorted now!!
I discovered later that he has rearranged all the books into order.
Erena was quite fascinated by him.
He had put all the ‘work’ books at one end of the table and all the ‘fun’ books at the other.
Then he asked her what category the Times Table book should be put into.
So she said it was a fun workbook.
That was slightly confusing for his organisation!!

We both really enjoyed the 2nd session.
‘The Earth: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made’

We had an hour and a half for lunch so decided to zip into Richmond and enjoy lunch at Cafe on Oxford.
The food was most delicious.
We still had a little time up our sleeve so popped into ‘Stamps Plus’ on our way back.
Of course I did find several things I just had to have

Azzan sat in on the last session but I was talking with Erena so didn’t get to it.
Apparently it was very good.
Eco-Hysteria: A Scientist Examines the “Environmentalist” Movement.

The notes to his sessions are here.

The seminar ended at 3pm so we had a final chat to friends and left about 3:30pm.
Just before we left we heard news that Christchurch had been hit by 2 very large earthquakes – again
They were reported as 5.5 and 6 but have since been upgraded to 6.1 and 6.3.
They sounded nasty and I was concerned for my friends and family down there.
Thankfully there have been no deaths this time but many injuries – some quite severe.

Eilidh left with David (from Ohio) to drive to Port Ligar.
Azzan & I went to town.
I left him at the library while I went to talk to the bank manager and the lawyers.
When I went back to pick him up the librarian’s were having quite a fun time with Azzan.
They are most amused at his ability to consume literature and his good manners.
They love his keenness and go out of their way to help him find the books he wants.
It is really lovely.

We grabbed our dinner at Burger King on our way out of town and traveled home listening to a ‘Secret Seven’ audio book.


Tim took David out to do some mussel work this morning.
There was a scheduled power cut which I forgot about until just a few minutes before it went off.
Thank goodness for the wood fires.
It was a really cold wind today and everywhere in the house was bitter apart from the living room.
Nathan did school work.
Eilidh did some work on some photos for me.
I sorted out all my old dress making patterns.
I now have 2 very full banana boxes to pass on.
Have just kept one box full.
Still have two boxes of Burda books to sort through tomorrow.

While I was going through the patterns I found my wedding dress pattern.
So Shanni went and found the dress and I said she could try it on.
It fitted her beautifully and she looked lovely in it.

My beautiful girl

Eilidh & Mahalia having a snuggley cuddle.

All the kids joining in with the snuggle.

After lunch Eilidh, Mahalia & David went for a walk to Waterfall Bay and back.
Tim took Shoshannah & Azzan over the hill to get firewood,
Nathan cooked dinner.
He made steak and oyster pies.
They were absolutely delicious.
I made some telephone calls that I have been wanting to do for ages.
Also did some other business while in the study.
Before & after dinner we sat and watched some more of’ The House of Eliott.’

Saturday – wet!

My intentions for Saturday were to get moving fairly quickly into the day and make a huge hole on the piles of materials, and try and get the hall and school room done.
However, before I could make the start I was showing Tim some properties on the internet when Jesika skyped us.
Shanni had been wanting to talk to her and as we and she are so busy we hardly manage to find time when we are all at home.
Then no sooner had we begun talking to Jesika when the phone went and it was Bri.
Once again, our lives are busy and we don’t get to talk often, and today was the day!
It got a bit crazy with us all having two separate conversations on skype and phone in the study so I went searching for the mobile phone and Shanni so she could talk to Bri somewhere else!

Most of the morning was taken up with the 2 calls – which was really nice.
We all rotated conversations and had time to talk to both the girls.

I then went out and read my book in the spa for 10 mins.
It was about midday before I got to have my breakfast.
Then Mahalia and I got busy in the school room.
I decided that I needed to be as ruthless as possible in the material sorting.
I have a huge stash from when I used to sew in my previous life.
The stash has been moved several times.
The last move was from Waterfall Bay into one bedroom and then into the school room while the bedrooms were being painted.
I knew that I didn’t have as much room in the new sewing room so it was a very good time to get rid of some.
We managed to cull out 4 banana boxes of fabric and 3 rubbish sacks of fabric pieces!
And I still have heaps left to play with.
And a major amount of sewing accessories to sort out yet.

Mahalia was getting very excited about making this and making that and ‘please Mummy, will you teach me to sew?’
I also found 3 lengths I had bought for specifically for myself, guess it is time to get the machines cranked up again

In amongst all of this Tim & I had another rather emotional upheaval over Nathan and his lack of motivation towards his lessons
I am just so tired of it all and do not know what to do with him anymore.
He is such a good kid and we have great times together.
But lately he has become so difficult.
It doesn’t matter what approach I take it is always wrong.
Some serious prayer needed here methinks.

It was pouring down again.
But Tim had mussel work to do so he headed out in the rain after lunch to do it.
He didn’t get back till after dark.
I don’t like him working on the boat on his own but he was insistent that the work had to be done and he wouldn’t take Nathan as he was going to do his school work.
But he didn’t – which made me mad – again!

Tim smoked up some salmon for lunch and dinner.
It was so delicious.
We devoured most of it while it was fresh and warm.

Shanni has been giving her room a huge clean out so she carried on doing that when it was too wet to be outdoors.
Mahalia and I got the material all moved and began cleaning the school room, and then put away more stuff into the attic.
The boxes going out are all loaded into the Terrano ready for their journey to town.
My friend Rachel sews so she will take it all off my hands.
It is easier to be this ruthless when I know it is going to a good home
The hall is getting clearer.
Still got a ways to go yet but progress is visable

We rewarded ourselves by watching a few more episodes of ‘House of Eliott’.
Then it was time for bed.
It was a busy day but we did get some feet up time as well.
A good balanced day

Rain and rain and more rain…….

I finally went off to bed at 2:45am.
Tim didn’t come in till 4am.
Needless to say we had quite a lie in.
It was raining – again.
There was a heavy rain warning so they were wanting to get he mussels harvested before the rain closure, hence working through the night.
I read my book in the spa with the rain falling.

Anson called again.
Shanni had a nice long talk before me.
Tim was too tired to talk so stayed in bed a while longer.
After he had his breakfast Winston went out fishing – in the rain!
You can just make out the wee spec of him in the dinghy to the left of the far left mussel line.

Tim & Nathan went back out on the harvester at 10am.
First they had to unload all the empty ropes from last nights harvest.

Then they were away again.
Tim’s bright yellow raincoat being the only colour in the day.

The girls and I watched ‘The House of Eliott’ all day.
It was really nice to have no one to run after and nobody to organise.
Just me and the girls.
I just blobbed out for the day.

I managed to get Winston in from his fishing with only an hour to spare before he left on the mailboat.
He was soaked through.
He had caught a couple of cod to take with him so he was happy.
He just had time to get his clothes dry, have lunch, write in the visitors book and then say goodbye.
He was such a lovely guy to have here – we will miss him.

Shanni made lunch.
She gave up on the eggs and decided we could all cook our own.
She will master poaching eggs one day
We had a box of hash browns in the freezer so decided they needed using.
A few cans of baked beans, some poached eggs and a delicious salad and we had a very nutritious meal.
And it was only 13 points on my Weight Watchers ProPoints scale

Tim & Nathan arrived in around 2pm.
They were drenched through.
The rain was still persisting down.
Unfortunately they had some machinery break down so never got all the mussels harvested so now they will have to wait till the rain closure lifts and with more heavy rain due tomorrow that might be a few days.

I got a few loads of washing through the dryer in between episodes of the Eliott series.
We finished series one just before dinner.
Nathan had made a beef stir fry which went well with some rice and a leeks in sauce that I had prepared a couple of days ago.
Nice and easy

All in all it was a nice restful day.
Very grey, wet and dismal outdoors but cosy inside with the fires blazing.

A very long Thursday

I woke very early so had plenty of time to search for some invoices for several items which had recently broken down.
I then have a spa to warm up.
It was absolutely divine lying in the 40’C water, out there under the crisp open dark sky full of glistening twinkling stars.

I cracked the whip and had everyone loaded into the Safari and we were gone by 6am.
Stopped to pick up mail from Graham and then we were on the road.
It was a very quiet trip out as the cd/radio doesn’t work and we had forgotten that fact because we don’t use the Safari very often these days 
Our trip was broken by poor Eilidh.
She was so sick.
I think we must have stopped more than 6 times for her to chuck up.
After the 3rd time I got Nathan to swap seats with her so she could be in the front.
It didn’t actually help her though.

At the top of the Ronga we were greeted by this sight.
It was glorious.
The Rai Valley fog was wisping and curling it’s way up and over the pass and down the hill side into Whangarae with the sunrise reflecting on it.
It was beautiful.

Despite our many stops we still made it to Nelson by 8:50am.
We dropped Lisa off at the Information Centre so she could carry on her NZ adventures.

After picking up Tim’s razor – now fixed, and taking Shanni’s phone in to be fixed at Warehouse Stationary and finding that I have to have ‘everything that it came with before we can send it away’ – and not having the charger etc had to bring it back home with me till next trip, I dropped Nathan off at The Wood.
I didn’t have time to zip over the hill to Stoke as I had planned so I popped into Bin Inn instead and just grabbed the oats.
I left Eilidh there to wait for Elizabeth to pick her up.
She was intending to go rest and recover from her arduous journey.

I left the 3 children at the library for an hour while I went to look at a house.
On the way there I was text by Shanni on Hali’s phone to say that A&M were being impossible and she couldn’t handle them anymore!!
So I pulled over and made a quick and very severe phone call to Azzan and laid down the law.
Once he was informed that he would not be allowed to go the library anymore and all of the 30 books on order would be canceled he was very repentant

I got back to pick them up just before 11am.
Dropped Shanni off at speech and then whizzed the other two over the hill to piano.
Liz was a tad late and I had a quick chat to her.
She seemed a wee bit distracted.

Then I went back to get Shanni.
She announced to me that she had told Gaelynne she would be stopping speech at the end of this term.
Nice that she is able to take matters into her own hands!
She had mentioned to me last week that she wanted to give up but we hadn’t actually come to a conclusion.
Well, maybe she had

We popped into The Warehouse to get a couple of things.
We were running late to get Shanni to piano.
She ran over and I was expecting the other 2 to come out but Shanni came straight back to say Liz was not well and couldn’t teach her or Nathan.
I went in to see her and she was definitely unwell.
I got her into the Safari and drove her down the street to her Dr.

Then it was time to take Shanni to clarinet and Azzan to violin.
The children are really enjoying Fleur as a teacher.
Here she is with showing Asher something.

Now she is helping Merrin.

Azzan looks very serious while she is talking with him!

Azzan told me he loves the way she teaches them all at their own rate and ability and doesn’t try to make them all be the same.

From there we picked up Shanni and went to gymnastics.
The kids had a great time.
They are enjoying the new coordinator.
I had a long chat with her about numbers etc.
We are at full capacity and may have to look at splitting the group next year.
Not bad for a wee group which I began at Nathan’s request.

This is the younger children making a tower.

Love Azzan & Mahalia’s faces in this photo below.

And Merrin is the ‘King of the Castle’ – before they all came crashing down

The older ones were making their tower at the other end of the gym.

Lots of fun to end their session.

At 3:30pm I whisked Azzan & Mahalia down the road to dancing.
They had a birthday present to give to Peta.
I dropped them and took off in search of some lunch & some vitamins for Azzan.
He is going to stay with Asher and family for the rest of the week and they are all coming down with some bug.
So I wanted him to get as much immunity build up as possible.
Then I came back to watch the end of his lesson.
Adrienne took him to jazz and Chrissy & Asher were picking him up and taking him home with them.

While Mahalia was dancing I decided I would pop up and get Shanni from Katherine’s so I would be ready to leave as soon as M’s lesson was over at 5pm.
But Shanni & Katherine had gone to town shopping – with no cellphone
I went back down the hill searching for them.
Spotted them walking back along Rutherford St.
Did a U turn in Hardy St peak traffic and tooted at them to jump in at the lights.
Was informed by Shanni that Postie had bras on sale 2 x $15.
Too good a deal to miss and still 15mins before shops shut so we whizzed across, flew into the shop.
Grabbed them and took off back to the supermarket.
The girls helped me grab the last minute groceries.
Mahalia met us there.
Took Katherine back home and Shanni grabbed her gear.
Then we headed to Burger King to meet Nathan.
Had starving kids on board so did a drive through and we were on our way.
I had so been wanting to leave town at 5pm so I could have a look at another house in daylight on our way out.
But that didn’t happen.
We still detoured to have a look anyway and checked it out in the car lights.
We were gone from Atawhai by 6pm.
That last hour had been quite a whirlwind
We had a quick uneventful trip home.
Unfortunately the dvd player didn’t have much charge in it and we couldn’t run it off the cigarette lighter as it is 24V.
I have blown up two dvd players int he past due to that small fact and didn’t want to do it again much to Mahalia’s chagrin
We arrived home at 8:30 and found Tim & Winston all ready to head out to do some middle of the night mussel harvesting at 10pm.
They are not due home till 3am.
I have relaxed with my dinner and watched some ‘House of Eliott‘ episodes by the fire.
Now it is time I went to bed.


Sunday through to Wednesday.

Our ‘shipwrecked sailors’ were up and ready to leave early Sunday morning.
They were well rested and dried out from their mishaps.
The weather was rather blustery still but they were determined to make a run for it!
I was more than glad to be able to stay on dry land.

We had a pretty lazy day.
Enjoyed fellowship with Pat & Graham and the girls.

We have had rain off and on all week.
It hasn’t slowed down the activities at all.

Shanni has spent most of her time out fishing.
It is so good that the cod ban has lifted for a while.
The kids have gotten so used to not being allowed to fish int he bay they almost forgot how.
But now Shanni has ‘remembered’ she is out in her dinghy heaps.
Pat’s youngest, Dylan has been her shadow all week.

Pat’s older boys have been hunting and fishing the whole time.
We were amused on Tuesday – they and Shanni were all out fishing.
It began raining hard.
They stayed out there the whole day despite the rain, only coming back in for food.
Shanni brought in some lovely sized fresh cod for her dinner.

Tim & Pat have been working on the woolshed roof.
It was given a temporary repair job after the roof was blown off back in the New Years storm.
Trouble is the more they do the more they find to do

I have been working my way through all the boxes and piles of stuff in the hall.
I no sooner get close to the piles of material which are stashed in the school room and which I am trying desperately to move into the sewing room than another thing falls in my way that just has to be done first.

My camera hasn’t been terribly busy this week but I did find these few below to give a pictorial story.


I was searching for inside jobs for Lisa to do on Monday because it was raining.
The attic cupboard was suggested.
Yes, what a great idea.
I set Lisa and Mahalia alight on that job only to turn around and find everything had been taken out and dumped down in the hall
So that meant I had yet another job to do.
I sorted through piles of blankets, duvets, pillows, sleeping bags.
I managed to send out about 5 bags of excess plus 2 bags of clothes to the recycling centre with Elizabeth.
She mentioned that she would have room to take them out so that was great incentive for me to get them sorted and out the door quick smart!
Now wonder we could never find ourselves in that cupboard.
Shanni helped me to pack all the remaining things neatly into the cupboard so now I know where things are and look out the one/s who mess it up!

Elizabeth & Azzan got their violins out and Shanni joined them on her clarinet.
I didn’t want to disturb them so took the photo through the salt sprayed window.
It was rather lovely hearing and seeing them playing out on the verandah while it was raining.

Sebastian has been encouraging & helping Nathan with his school work.
It is super cool to see them with their heads together like this.


Phoebe drove Seb to work.
They left at 2:30am as he has to be in Havelock at 5am.
She then slept in the car until around 9am, did a couple of jobs for Tim & I and then drove back home.
She did some more to her painting of the horse for an exhibition she is working towards, but the early morning got the better of her in the late arvo.
She was out cold for a while!

The rain cleared for a while and revealed a beautiful rainbow in the clouds.

The weather just cannot make up it’s mind.
It alternates between rain and no rain.
Between warmish and then coldish temperatures.
Hence we can never get the house temperatures right.
We have had the fires going for several days but then in the past couple of days it has been so mild we have not lit the big fire till later in the day.
I asked Azzan to get some kindling for me but he couldn’t find any so Nathan cut some for him.
Every time Nathan whacked the axe down Azzan would scuttle for cover as the pieces of wood flew around him!

I made a big pot of corn & potato chowder for lunch.
It was absolutely delicious!
Eilidh had some time to herself and stayed up in Cat’s hut for the day.
Phoebe painted and rested.
After dinner she and I watched the first two episodes of ‘The House of Elliot‘.
I have just bought the whole 3 series.
I remember it from my much younger days and am so delighted that they have now produced it on dvd.
Nathan made 2 large delicious apple crumbles for desert.
There is so much they will feed us for several meals.


I was about to hop in the shower this morning when Anson phoned from Wales.
He has been phoning quite often now he has discover a very cheap calling plan.
He is getting sick of the very changeable weather over there.
I assured him that it sounds just like home at the present!!
It is raining one moment and then hot and sunny the next.
It is light at 3:30am and not dark again until 10pm.
Some of the sheep are like dinosaurs to shear.
The shear outside in the rain as some of the farms don’t have sheds.
He’s enjoying the guys he works with so that is great.
But it is a great experience for him – maybe one he might not be too worried about repeating

Lisa has been helping me with food prep every morning.
After today’s was done she went down and helped Pat’s boys to get the Cottage cleaned up.
They all left around 1:30pm.

He and Mahalia have been quite ‘interesting’ this week.
Azzan has been very lively and chaotic.
Mahalia has been very tired.
In amongst all of that there has been some interesting attitudes with them and Shanni.
Did I mention before how I so love hormones?

I spent quite a while this arvo getting stuff done in the study.
Paying bills and ordering more library books online for Azzan.
When he reached 30 he wasn’t allowed any more.
His reaction – ‘Only 30!’

I also spent a large portion of my day answering calls for Tim, locating him and when not being able to find him taking messages etc.
The phone was red hot for him today as he was organising some mussel harvests.
In fact the calls didn’t stop until after he had finished his dinner tonight
I was feeling really uptight today.
I have had so much to do this week and only so much that can be delegated.
It all felt like it was piling up on me today
I have been trying so hard to get on top of the mess, sort through and get rid of stuff.
But it takes so long and just when I think I am getting ahead another lot piles up in front of me.
I was ever so grateful to Phoebe this arvo for getting the vacuum cleaner out and tidying the living area.
I makes such a huge difference.

We had a most delicious dinner tonight.
Roast parsnip, pumpkin, and potatoes with garlic & rosemary.
Cauliflower in a coconut cream sauce, brussel sprouts (for those who wanted to enjoy them!) and a mince & vege stew.
Plus another dish of Nathan’s apple crumble.
Of course after a meal like that Winston had a huge pile of dishes to wade through.
But he always tackles them with a big smile

Lisa is leaving with us in the morning.
She has more adventures to seek out in NZ.

I have to take the Safari to town tomorrow as I will have 7 of us to take out.
I am so not used to driving it these days.
Nathan was trying to convince me that I will have forgotten how to drive a manual geared vehicle so he should drive for me!