Tuesday 21st August

Considering how tired I was I still woke early.
I was able to fit in a quick spa between people coming and going.
It was a very tumultuous day.
Shoshannah went out mustering cattle with Anson & YC.
Sebastian was out on the water making the most of the calmer day.
Shan is kept busy in the garden.
Spent the morning searching for the agitator from the washing machine.
Was extremely frustrated as there were several loads piled up to do and dirty washing is my one fetish.
While looking I occupied myself with unpacking groceries, tidying up, and moving the Regulus etc.
Graham arrived round just before 11am and we sat and talked over a cuppa then cased the joint to see what needed to be done to finish the bathroom.
My emotions were pretty shaky and I was only holding them together through sheer intent.
The musterers arrived back and I announced that I was still looking for the agitator.
YC then went on a hunt – and found it!
It was lying in the bottom of the washing machine covered in dirty clothes – duh!
I had actually looked in there but obviously not far enough down.
I was then very thankfully able to begin the washing.
YC & Shan carried on with gardening for the rest of the day.
Azzan made pizzas.
The looked pretty good.
He had gotten some bacon out of the freezer and used whole uncut slices on them 🙂
Anson & Graham were still sitting talking over another cuppa so they had lunch with us.
Then Anson went up the hill to kill a beast.
He needed help cuz Seb was still out working on the boat.
So Shoshannah went and I volunteered Azzan to go to as he needed to get outside and do some physical.
He was totally unimpressed with the idea.
What followed was extremely dramatic.
He told me that there was no point in him going because it was all totally repulsive!
So I enlightened him on the fact that we are family, and we have to work together, and he likes to eat meat so he has to do his part in the supplying of it etc.
The others were waiting up at the top sheds for him and he proceeded to reduce me to a total emotional mess by arguing over what to wear on his feet.
There were two pairs of gumboots, both fitted him, but neither were his.
One was a tad small and the other a tad big – according to him.
Stalling tactics!
In amongst all of that we also ‘agreed’ that we were both angry that Tim wasn’t here!
I completely lost it.
Every time I shut the door on him and said just to go, he would come back and argue some more.
I finally just collapsed in a heap in the living room and cried and cried, and just refused to talk to him.
He finally put on some boots and left.
Anson gave him a very abrupt tune up when he arrived and they went off quite happily.

I was in the kitchen and I looked up and saw the photo of Tim sitting holding me on the boat and I just cried some more, asking him ‘Why? Why did you leave me? I can’t do this on my own. I haven’t the excess energy to deal with a prepubescent boy who’s also hurting inside and is missing his Daddy so much.’
We both said stuff to each other that was hurtful, that we didn’t mean, but in amongst it we both were saying that we hated being here without Tim.
I was sitting in the study crying bucket loads more when Graham arrived.
I managed to pull myself together and went out to talk with him and Seb when he came ashore.
I asked them to help me with Azzan.
It is going to take our village to raise my younger ones.
They are my kids and they are still very much my responsibility, I am not ready to let them leave the nest or pass my responsibility as a parent over, but I do need help.

I finally managed to make my way through a list of phone calls I had been trying to do all day.
The septic tank at Waterfall Bay is seriously needing to be emptied.
But the company that normally does it has changed hands and they don’t know the road etc.
So there were many calls and much debating as to when and how they could come down.
Then I had to deal with the fireplace & insurance companies to sort out how and when they were going to fix the chimney at Waterfall.
There was debate as to who was paying for what and when they were actually going to do the job.
The fireplace cannot be used until the chimney is fixed and it is winter still so we need to get the job done asap as the electric heater I lent them in the meantime is costing heaps to use.
Seb had kick started off the process but we have been waiting for weeks for both things to get sorted and I was really over the mucking around so decided to boot them along to get some action.
Why is it never simple to get something done?

Graham went off and found some sandpaper and paint and the guys moved the new vanity into my bedroom.
Laid some old sheets down and it is now all ready for me to paint it.
He thinks it will be a therapeutic task for me to do 😉

I decided I had better make a real dinner so cut & skinned two pumpkins.
Boiled and mashed them.
Then put some baked potatoes and sausages in the oven.
Sliced up some coleslaw, then thought about dessert.
I have a container of Panacotta mix which I have not made yet.
Read the instructions which called for cream and milk.
I had no cream so thought I would experiment with using a can of coconut cream instead.
It was all very simple to make, I poured it into small bowls and left it on the bench expecting to be ready for tomorrow night.

We enjoyed our dinner – the baked potatoes I used were Nadine’s and were delicious.
Potato types really do matter I am finding!
Shoshannah found the panacotta was set already so we ate them.
The coconut cream mix was a great idea – worked well and tasted good.
I took mine off to the study and ate it while skyping with Jacqui in Perth.
She got the time difference a bit muddled so we didn’t get as long to talk as we had planned.
But it was really lovely to talk with my special friend – love you Jac – thanks for your support and love xxxx
Azzan came into say goodnight to me and apologized for his behavior.
He said he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t misbehave again but he would try really hard not to.
At least he was being honest and I appreciated his ability to recognize his behavior and apologize for it.
I was so tired, wrung out emotionally that I literally fell into bed and was asleep by 9:30pm.


Monday 19th August

Woke early so there was not many hours between shutting the eyelids and reopening them.
I had gone to sleep late after watching some TED videos of Aimee Mullins.
A very encouraging, thought-inspiring young woman.
My favorite would have to be this one.

I woke early and tried to go back to sleep.
Gave up around 6am.
Pottered about for a while and then had breakfast and a shower before packing up.
While I was still trying to submerge John whisked my Regulus down to the garage and got the rattley  thing seen to for me.
It was an exhaust pipe cover ad part of it had rusted through so they just removed it as it is apparently not essential to the health and wellbeing of the vehicle!

I packed up and then talked with Sally for a wee while.
It was technically their day off but there was some hiccups with staff so they were working.
I went off to Hirepool to organize some stuff for the wedding.
The headed into the bcd to meet Estelle at Cafe Olive for brunch.
John & Sally managed to extract themselves and joined us there.
We had a most enjoyable time.
I am now far more politically enlightened than before – thanks John 🙂
It was close on midday so we adjourned the meeting.
S&J headed off to shop and Estelle & I met up at Starbucks for some post brunch drinks and some more chat time.
Finally had to say goodbye and go do stuff.
I had a dvd to post so walked up to the Post Office only to find it al closed up waiting for an earthquake inspection clearance.
Found that Paper Plus could send it for me by a different company – a bit more expensive but I needed to post it and couldn’t be bothered trying to find another postal outlet.
Then I whizzed up to the Winnington’s to collect the courier parcels.
Eden’s cot had arrived sooner than I anticipated and it was in 3 quite large flat packs so I lay the back seats down and we stacked them in and then I packed groceries around them to hold them in place.
I had other shopping I was planning to do but couldn’t be bothered.
Too tired.
So shelved that plan, fueled up and then went off to see Nathan.
I called up Paula to see if she was free to meet me at Hangar 58 too.
She was so I drove straight there for a late lunch.
I was standing tracking to Nathan’s too bosses when I glimpsed him walking straight past me.
When Paula arrived we ordered from the cafe and everyone was trying to find Nathan so he could make my drink cuz I couldn’t remember what was int he last one he made me.
He is pretty inventive and I enjoy his drinks.
Found out a bit later that he had left on his break and hadn’t even seen me there!
I made do with orange juice with the vege stack I had for lunch.
I was really tired and just couldn’t be bothered moving let alone think about driving home so I lazed back and enjoyed talking with Paula.
Nathan was off trying on suits for the wedding.
He was going to take a photo and email it to me so I could see the one he liked.
But when he arrived back at work a bit later he was wearing it.
It was a maroon colour and on sale.
It looked great on him.
Not all guys could get away with wearing it but he certainly can 🙂


Finally around 5pm I decided I really should make a move so I gave Natey a big hug goodbye and then zipped around to Starbucks to get a Rocky Road Frappaccino for the road.
It is a new flavor in and quite delicious 🙂
I had Leonard Cohen keeping me company all the way home.
Had a good run, roads were fine, no fog and nor rain.
I stopped at Tim’s cairn, and with our special song echoing around the hillsides through the open door I danced with him on the road in the dark.
No one there to look sideways at the crazy woman so I enjoyed my moment remembering.

I had a quick chat with Graham on the way downy he hill.
He had only just arrived a couple of hours before me.
Arranged for him to come down in the morning and do some finishing work in the bathroom that Pat ran out of time to do.
Then I stopped off at Anson & Marah’s.
I was met by the sounds of Anson out on the back deck ‘singing’ to Eden.
He was outside stripped off enjoying the cool as it was so roasting hot inside!
Their fire is rather uncontrollable at times.
I took Eden and told him to go unpack her surprise.
We took some selflies while her dad was busy.IMG_3407
Marah took this one.
She was also stripped off to very little because of the heat.
She took off to the car to help Anson bring up the rest of the cot.
Couldn’t resist this photo 🙂
They were very excited to get the cot sooner than they were expecting but Anson has banned Marah from trying to put it together until he gets back from mustering tomorrow!
I had another wee parcel for Eden.
These are to decorate her bedroom wall with.
We talked for a while and then I realized it was way after 9pm so I scampered off home.
The place was in darkness, kids asleep.
I unloaded the vehicle.
Got some snacks to much on while I opened the mail.
It sure was a nice stress free break away but am now instantly back in the fray.
I had a quick spa to refresh myself before falling into bed.

Sunday 18th August

Six months ago tonight I lost the love of my life.
Tim was my strength, my reason for living.
I know I have so much to live for, my children, my grandkids, myself.
But whoever said that time will heal is wrong.
Time will never take away the pain in my soul, the break in my heart.
I know that over time I will grow stronger and bigger than the grief.
But right now it is totally absorbing and at times completely overwhelming.

I found this photo recently and even though I can’t see Tim’s face completely it actually means so much to me.
It is showing him as he always was.
Holding me, covering my back, protecting me, loving me.
Always there for me.
It is not only his beautiful life-etched face that I remember.
It is the feeling of his protective, steadying arms around me.
The feeling of his rough, work worn hands in mine, the hands that did everything for me and our kids.
The sound of his voice in my ear, encouraging me, joshing’ with me, whispering endearing words to me.

This weekend I have had time to be alone with my thoughts and to rest and just to be.
My unit has a spa bath so I decided to spend some time soaking this morning.
The girls at Nelson Beauty had recently sold me a gorgeous recovery masque.
I have not had the chance to use it because you are supposed to leave it on for as long as you can and of course when have I had the chance to do anything for longer than 2 minutes?
So today I applied it and laid back in the bath and wallowed.
My tears were soon mixing with the masque so I’m figuring that those parts of my face will still look unrecovered 😉

I finished writing a piece I was working on while getting dressed.
Saved that to a private place to review later when I am brave enough to share it.

I hurriedly ate my breakfast as it was fast heading towards our communal morning tea time.
Goodness! There is not enough time to fit all this eating in to my day!
When I finally made it over to the Writers Lounge the others were all there talking over things.
We decided to move a post lunch workshop to a pre-lunch time so the afternoon would be clear to do whatever we wanted to do.
Louise recapped the weekend and we were given opportunity to talk about what we had learned, gained, etc.
What have I learnt?
To just write, anything, not necessarily in any chronological order, just to write my thoughts and ponderings.
That I can write for my own pleasure, that what I write can and may help others but the main purpose is for me.
And that if I want to write for any future publication that there is no particular right or wrong way to do it, once again, just to write.
It can all be edited for a particular audience later.
Then we were all given a card to write to encouragement and goals to ourselves which will be posted to us in November.
So hopefully when we receive them we will have achieved something or it will motivate us to do more.
We sat and talked a while longer and then after the clean up I took Louise, Sally & Fiona into Hangar 58 to meet up with Nathan during his break.
Mira & Thomas were already there so we found a table and enjoyed some good conversation about many random topics – as you do when you have a journalist, a writer, a German male nurse, a student, and several other very interesting women (Sally & me 😉 )around the table together.
Nathan was run off his feet and took ages to be able to have a break, so we only got to enjoy his seated company long enough for him to scoff down his meal.
Hangar 58 was booked to the max for the evening so we were informed in no uncertain terms that we better no be thinking of coming in for dinner!!
We weren’t so Nate was safe 😉
But we did have their cabinet food from the cafe.
Some of us enjoyed the custard square.
I must say, it was probably one of the best I have ever eaten.
The custard was incredibly smooth.
The only thing wrong was that they were all served with cream on the side and they definitely did not need it as it was sweet enough on it’s own.

I had been feeling really flat all day.
But the conversation soon turned to gales of laughter.
Thomas told some jokes which began the fun but then what really set me off was when we asked Nathan why the restaurant was so busy on a Sunday night.
He said that ever since they introduced their $15 lamb shanks meals on Sunday nights they were a major hit with their clientele.
My perverse mind couldn’t help wondering where on earth they got so many lamb shanks from and the thoughts of them taking just the shanks set me off hysterically laughing into my scarf and the others made it all worse by talking about poor little lambs stumbling about the paddocks minus their shanks.
It was all very locational and you really needed to be there, but I go on record to say that it was indeed hilariously funny at the time.
Mira had to go study so she and Thomas went home.
We eventually headed off and left Nathan to his busy night.

Got back to the motel and decided to order in Thai to share.
Nice way to finish the weekend.
The evening sky was all pink and fluffy, such a delightful change from the grey wet skies we have had for past days.

We gathered around the table at 6:30pm to share our Thai meals.
Lots of fun.
I got a FB message on my phone from Jason re my blog transition.
We have a problem with the photos that were imported over from Xanga to WordPress.
Jason has been trying to figure out what went wrong.
He came back to me tonight and said he had a theory.
I asked him what his theory was.
His reply, ‘I f****d up!’
Well that’s a pretty straight forward theory 🙂
I dissolved into giggles so of course had to share the story which then in turn created round the table laughter.
Thanks Jason for entertaining us 🙂

John retired to his chair after dinner and we were entertained by the cat’s antics for the rest of the evening.
It certainly rules the roost – and it is not even their cat!
He just moves in, stretches out and makes himself comfortable.IMG_3398 IMG_3399 IMG_3401

We chatted over after dinner drinks and knitting and then I wandered off to enjoy the last night in my lovely peaceful unit.

It has been hard today missing Tim.
And also difficult to see my kids missing their Dad and not being able to take away their pain.
I can only share in it with them.
Six months ago right now I had only just heard the news.
I was in a state of shocked hysteria.
Now I am in a state of numb resignation.

Saturday 17th August

I woke at 7am.
Great sleep.
Nearly 8 hours!!

I was planning to update my blog and then get into some writing.
But instead what happened was,
I got a text from Sunni – rejoicing that she also had slept extremely well.
So cool 🙂
Magnesium is a wonderful thing!
Then we began a text conversation which resulted in me checking out a website for the product she is using.

From there I caught up on mail and the news.
Had to check out the earthquake updates, and finally began updating my blog.
I knew there was no hurry for me to be anywhere until 10:45am.
So just chilled.
Then a text came through asking how my writing was going?
C’mon John – you told me this was a much needed break away 😉
I realized the morning was disappearing quickly and I hadn’t even eaten my breakfast which had been lovingly prepared and delivered by Sally last night.
I wasn’t actually hungry so went and had a shower.
I was beginning to feel somewhat overwhelmed with an expectancy that I had to hurry up and eat and be places and do stuff.
Everything just toppled within me and I just leaned on the shower wall with the water pouring over me mixing with my tears as I sobbed and sobbed.
Finally surfaced, dressed and had some food.
Then inspiration hit so I sat and typed and ended up with some very heartrending very personal prose.

I gathered up myself and headed over to the Writers Lounge for morning tea just before 11am.
This is the first retreat so we are just a small number, but it is good.
Actually it is better than good, small is non threatening, easier to share…..
After morning tea Fiona led the first workshop.
‘Creating characters people want to read about.’
It was really interesting and we had a few little exercises to do following her introduction.
The first was to make a descriptive list of a real or fictitious person and then to use actions to allow the reader to ‘see’ the person.

My list of adjectives was very short,  I found it easier to just write the description!
But afterwards when we read aloud and discussed each piece the others actually picked up what I was trying to portray.
“The dingy cruised into the shore. He unfolded his lengthy frame, put one white gumbooted leg over the side into the wake lapping the beach, steadying himself as he slowly climbed out. In no particular hurry he took hold of the rope and pulled the small boat still complete with motor, effortlessly up the beach. Time was of no importance to the lean, craggy, old man as he carried out the necessary tasks completing his days work with practiced thoughtfulness.”

Then we had to put three characters into the same situation.
It was a really cool exercise and we all interpreted it differently which was great – shows diversity 🙂
Mine read like this,
He sauntered down the wharf carrying 6 tubes of stocking on his shoulder and effortlessly stepped down onto the boat.
She cautiously ventured out onto he wharf fearfully keeping far from the edges and then waited timidly for someone to help her clamber down onto the boat.
The children dashed out the door with carefree anticipation, ran along the wharf jumping fearlessly down onto the boat.”

As you can see from my brief exerts above I am not really good at fictional writing, I glean from my life!
I do real way better 🙂

We broke for lunch.
Fiona had provided some delicious quiches and breads.
There wasn’t a lot left afterwards – it’s a hungry job being a writer 😉
The others went off to have their own time elsewhere.
Fiona and I sat and worked on our laptops and talked.
It was pouring with rain so wasn’t terribly conducive to outdoor activities.
And even though I was really tired I didn’t feel inclined to brave the wet to get to my room.IMG_3394

We rejoined for afternoon tea and then Louise led a workshop on ‘Spreading the Word’.
Reaching our audience, why, who, how and where.
The Karl was available to help with any IT issues that we might have in the publishing area etc.

Then it was after 5pm so we headed off into the wet cold evening and got ready for dinner.
We all loaded into the motel van and drove to Smugglers.
I convinced John & Sally to come join us so they shut up shop and followed us there.
The place was busy and our waiter was a bit lackadaisical so there was a few cockups with the meals but all in all we had a great night and really good food.
Lucy & Tristan enjoyed their bubbly sugar enriched energy buzzing Spiders 🙂
P1080274 P1080277
I had the Cocky Chicken – to be precise for those who need all the details – Oven roasted chicken breast wrapped in bacon & stuffed with apple & smoked cheese topped with an apple cider herb cream sauce served with oven roasted potatoes & a medley of seasonal vegetables.
It was absolutely delectable

Then finished with the Lemon Posset dessert.
It was so delicious – an explosion of citrus!

I was so glad to find the rain had stopped when we left.
Drove back to the motel and then we all chilled out at John & Sally’s for a while over after dinner drinks.
Sally & I did some knitting while everyone chatted.
We eventually all succumbed to weariness from the days excessively strenuous activities 😉
Wandered back to our units and crashed out for the night.

Friday 16th August

I woke at 5am and in my sleep addled brain I thought to myself, cool, I have an hour more to wallow in my pillows as the alarm is set for 6am.
I realised, what an idiot!
I set the alarm for 6am but I actually want to leave the house by 6am.
What was I thinking last night?
Obviously not a lot :-/
So I was instantly feet on the floor and quietly grabbing my clothes etc and tiptoeing out with everything to the living room.
As the bathroom is out of commission I was able to get myself all ready in the kitchen and outside shower room and therefore didn’t disturb anyone with lights and doors.
Got everything into the car, filled up my travel mug with a caramel latte, scoffed down a left over plate of banana caramel and was away.
Wow! with all that sugar hitting the system so early in the morning I was live!
There appeared to have been some rain over night but the roads were all good.
I cruised off with the company of Leonard Cohen.
So good to be able to have him on board and as loud as I wanted without competing with the kids music.
Got a few minutes around the road and all of a sudden was hit with a blaze of lights.
I knew the oil rig was parked up there but it still took me by surprise.
It was quite an impressive display of lights in the jet blackness of before dawn darkness.
This was the view of it from near Tim’s cairn.
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The rest of the trip was pretty non eventful.
I was in town by 8am so decided to get a few things done while I have an hour up my sleeve.
Whizzed round to Tahunanui and dropped my contribution for the evenings soup off to Sally & John.
Chatted for a few minutes and then went off to do another drop off.
Back into town, sussed out some technical stuff at Creations re sewing on buttons to the carry I knitted and then took my necklace over to the Bead Gallery to have it converted into a brooch.
They were doing some major renovations and the boss was holding down the fort alone as none of his staff had turned up for work.
Seems that there is a lot of sickness around town at present.
Just hope I keep clear of any bugs!

Met up with Phillipa at 9:30 for breakfast at Cafe Olive.
Had a really nice time chatting over delicious food.
The guys there are charming.
IMG_3389 IMG_3391
We had time afterwards to zip over to Spotlight to check out some colors so Phillipa can get her part of the wedding co-ordinated.
It was beginning to drizzle quite heavily so we said our goodbyes and headed off on our respective ways.
I had an 11:30am counseling session to go to.
For once I was actually earlier than just on time!
As I have been an emotional mess all week it was a good time of sorting out a lot of stuff that was churning in my brain.
From there I had some appointments.
Had time to unload all our castoff stuff at the Hospice shop, grab a frappacino and then zip up to have a meeting with the accountant.
It was good to sit and talk with Ben and see where things are at and talk about where things are going.
Then I had to get to the bank for another meeting.
Got there and did some small jobs while waiting for my advisor to be free.
She was caught up so I headed upstairs to find our business advisor, only to find there was a full scale business party going on.
I freaked out.
Couldn’t locate her so took off.
I realized that my stress bucket was way too full as I was brimming over just with the small spanners that were being thrown at my schedule.
I decided to walk over to see Leeanne and have my dress fitting.
We were talking for a few minutes and then all of a sudden an earthquake hit.
We looked at each other and I raced to the doorway and then it just didn’t stop.
I said, ‘What do we do?’ and Leeanne was like ‘we’re outa here!’
So we grabbed our phones and bags and ran downstairs.
We stood out in the street with heaps of other people and watched as the buildings kept swaying for ages.
It was really freaky.
We eventually headed back upstairs.
I was trying on my dress when the next one hit!
Thankfully it was not as strong nor lasted for so long so we were okay.
It was so unnerving.
Got the dress sorted and then I went back to the bank and got all the stuff down I needed to do.
Sasha met me there and we went off for a wander to find some fresh juices.
Sat and talked at Sweet As cafe for a wee while.
Then she headed home to lift carpet and I went over the street to meet up with Thomas & Caroline at Cafe Affair.
We had a lovely hour chatting over coffee.
At 5pm we all head to leave.
I drove round to Arrow and got sorted for the weekend.
I am having a weekend away at a Writers Retreat.
We enjoyed dinner together – delicious soups plus wonderful breads made by Karl.
Then Becky arrived to speak to us about her journey into authordom – hows that for a cool word I just made up 😉
I was really tired so was happy to hit the sack soon after 10pm.
We had been having earthquakes throughout the afternoon and evening.
Not feeling as many as Seddon over in the east.
Really thinking of them all over them.
Horrid to be enduring as there is really nothing you can do.
The really put you on edge and raise the stress levels intensely.

Thursday 15th August

Anson brought the tractor along the beach soon after 7am.
Shoshannah and the 3 wwoofers went down to help unload the roofing off the trailer and stack it in the woolshed.
I was feeling somewhat jaded and didn’t have breakfast pre organized.
I staggered out to the kitchen and put some stuff out on the bench and made a bread.
Left Pat eating his breakfast and went off to shower.
Am using the outside shower as our bathroom is lacking a door!
Anson went off home to feed himself and do his dogs.
Binni helped Pat.
I got YC & Shan busy in the garden.
Then they went up the hill with Anson to do some fencing.
Seb came round and helped Binni for a while.

Shoshannah got stuck into her new maths.
We are definitely ‘behind’ in this subject but I am sure with this program me the children will make progress.
Azzan got into it and thought it was great.
Spent most of the time telling me what a dummy he was as he giggled his way through the diagnostics and then he would come tell me that he had aced this grade so he must be in that grade etc etc.

Was good to talk to Mahalia and Abby and hear that she had it all sussed quite easily.
I actually had a melt down while Shoshannah was trying to get sorted and emailed them urgently for help, only to receive a call from a guy over in Australia who didn’t have a clue how to help me, apart from offering me a refund if I wasn’t happy – duh!
So I told him to forget it and I would just box on and figure it out.
We got it sussed eventually, am just aware that I have exceeded our internet usage for this month and still have 10 days to go before the next month starts.

Pat was hard at it up in the shed.
I went up to do a quality control check and all was good 🙂
He was busy cutting tiles so I stood back and observed so as not to distract his precision cutting!
P1080256He stopped for a mo to have a chat with the cats.

We all had lunch and then Binni went off for a rest.
Anson brought the other two home for a late lunch and then later came and took them all away up the hill to do some more work.
I was quite tired and was wanting to have a rest but ended up spending the afternoon helping Azzan with his maths, changing flights for Mahalia so she can stay longer and and organizing a stopover with her friend Mel etc.

I made a bacon & egg pie for dinner, Azzan did the mashed potatoes and roast pumpkin to go with it and I made a banana caramel for dessert.
Everyone declared the pie delicious and the dessert delectable!

Had another quick game of Monopoly Deal with Azzan, I won!!
But it was getting late so I ushered him along to bed so I could pack up the car.
More stuff to take out to op shop.
Then packed my bag and now am just doing a few last minute things and I am heading to bed.
Hopefully to sleep well as I want to make an early start in the morning.

Wednesday 14th August

I woke early enough that I was able to have a spa before I had to start doing breakfast.
It was still dark so I just enjoyed laying back watching the dawn quietly breaking.
So peaceful.
No rain today.

Anson came round and took the guys off to split wood for the morning.
Before he left he put a roast of mutton & pork in the oven for me.
Pat got straight to work.
A man with a hammer looking for action!
And within a very short time my bathroom went from this,
to this!
Shoshannah made some muffins for morning tea.
I organized food for lunch and dinner.
Then got stuck into the pile of mail in the study that had been sitting in the study since last Friday.
Sandra phoned up which I was very grateful for.
After she and Shoshannah had their catch up I got to unburden my heart and soul.
Nothing like a good friend.
Actually she is not a good friend, she’s a great friend xxxxxxP1080240The pile of mail was all rather overwhelming.
Just too much to deal with at present.
But unfortunately life within the business sector doesn’t stop just because one life has 😦
We had been randomly selected by the statistics dept to fill out a large booklet of information for one of our companies and I was on the verge of tears as I looked through all the pages of information they were asking for.
Trying so hard to not cry today, Sandra was very supportive and talked me through how to approach it all.
I plucked up enough courage to phone the 0800 number after I finished talking with her.
Explained my circumstances and the lady was so apologetic for upsetting me with it all and allow me to send it back incomplete this time.
Big sigh of relief!

So, Mahalia is now happily down in Christchurch with Bri, Nick & Abby for a week.
But they want to keep her longer so I did some sussing out to see if I can change flights.
I am missing her heaps already but it is lovely she is getting the opportunity to have big sis time and spend time with her friends down there.

Anson came back for lunch and brought his wee Miss with him.
P1080231Cute wee thing isn’t she?
She’s about the same age as Eden, his other baby 😉P1080235We had dinner leftovers for lunch and Shoshannah made a delicious rice stir fry.

Azzan peeled all the veges for dinner.
He got fresh rosemary to flavor the potatoes.
He loves to be inventive and interesting in his cooking.
I had to laugh, he has his iPod connected to his ears most of the time which frustrates me cuz he can’t hear what I am saying – maybe that’s the reason 😉
But at one point he was in the kitchen with his back to me unable to hear what I was asking him to do so I gave him a boot in the butt and his ear plug flew out of his ear 🙂
The guys arrived back and helped to move out the old grotty vanity.
And then the new one headed up to the workshop for its makeover.
I was joshing with Pat that when he smashed up the wall with all the mirrors on it he had an accumulation of about 70 years of bad luck!
He reckoned that life had to improve from here on in then 🙂
Peggy, our good friend & district, nurse told me years ago when I was despairing of the mess the men & bulldozer were making at my back door, that you cannot make improvements without making a mess, so this mess must be the beginning of great improvements 🙂
Azzan & YC got busy with the apple peeler and got so carried away they did the whole box.
Shoshannah turned it all into desserts.
She added kiwifruit and rhubarb and made 5 dishes of fruit crumble.
We cooked two for tonight and the rest went in to the freezer.
It is such a great thing to have in the freezer for a backstop.

Binni & YC got busy cleaning  off the old flooring in the bathroom.
It was a bit of a squeeze in there when Pat hopped in to do some measuring!

Seb came over later in the arvo.
Once Anson had done some weed spraying and helped Binni & YC get their cars up to the top of the hill he joined us for a business meeting.
We had a good chat about what is happening and where we are going.
I am very much a details person and need to have information in front of me.
I can’t have it all swirling in my brain – does my head in!
So it was good to sit down and talk it all through and write down a plan.
There is a heap of work coming up in the mussels which is great.
Just got to wait for the weather to settle, the spat to come available, factories to reopen, and then it is all go.
In the meantime Seb is doing all the preparation work, laying blocks, floating lines, cutting ties and splicing sink ropes, etc.
Anson is getting lots of firewood split while he has help and other farm jobs, mustering, fencing, etc, and then he crews for Seb.
It is all working well.
Tim would very proud of you guys.

We kept the fire roaring all day and the roasts cooked deliciously.
It was so good to enjoy a decent mutton roast, haven’t had one in so long.
I cooked up some leeks and Shoshannah made a cheese sauce for them so along with the roast veges it was a delicious dinner.
The woofers enjoyed the roast pork too.
There is something sad about eating a roast meal now cuz they were synonymous with Tim, but I enjoyed it tonight for him.
The fruit crumbles went down well too.
Shoshannah made a small one especially for Binni as he can’t handle rhubarb so his only had apple and kiwifruit.
The others were all apple, kiwifruit & rhubarb – and very yummy 🙂P1080255Enough left over for tomorrow – that is happiness in the kitchen 🙂

I was really tired so headed off to bed around 9pm.
Pat was in the groove so kept working until around 10:30pm.
He had to rebuild the bench top to make it strong enough for the basin and tiles to sit on.
Looking good Pat!!
I read my kindle book for a while and then crashed out.

Tuesday 13th August

I woke several times during the night, didn’t sleep at all well, so woke at 6am feeling totally unrested.
Got up at 7am and got the porridge on and the breakfast table set.
Jan & Talbot were up soon after and I woke Mahalia so she would have time to get ready.
I went off to get dressed and left Talbot lighting the fire.
Mahalia was fluffing about.
I was not doing too well already.
And when Jan asked me if I was alright I burst into tears.
She prayed for me and we talked a while.
It is so hard doing this alone.
I am missing Tim.

Anson arrived around to take J&T and M up the hill to their car.
They had to be gone by 8:30am so they could get Mahalia to the bus in time.
He left Binni & YC cleaning up the back path.
It has gotten incredibly slippery over the winter so they hosed and swept it to clear the moss.
Shan did the breakfast dishes and then head out to weed the garden some more.

Anson arrived back and took the woofers and Shoshannah up the hill to cut firewood.
It is a beautiful sunny day for a change.
Clear blue skies and a light breeze so hopefully it will dry the roads a bit.
Azzan got up and spent the morning sorting his room.
He now has his new set of drawers so is happily rearranging his clothes.
He also remade his bed so Pat could sleep there and even vacuumed his room!
He was quite happy to sleep in the sewing room for a few more days.

I added to the soup and then fossicked in the freezer and decided to make crayfish mornay for dinner.
Seb had to get a new thermostat for the Tardis so he was fitting that in this morning.
Just another fixit job to get done to get the barge up to speed.
It is a very quiet time work wise so he is concentrating on getting maintenance on the Tardis done and our own mussel lines tidy and ready to seed.
He is getting some contract work lined up so that as soon as there is spat available he can get lines seeded.
It has been a difficult season for the mussels and nothing has been happening through the whole industry.
Most factories have closed for weeks over the winter.

I made a tomato, onion & marrow stir fry and popped it in the fridge for another day.
Then put another vegetable stir fry together for dinner tonight.
I had to go make a phone call so went to the study and came out a while later to find I had left the mornay cooking too high and it was burning.
Managed to salvage most of it.
But it set me back emotionally again.
I had been doing okay but that wee spanner just threw me.
I guess my stress bucket is just way too full at the moment :-/
Azzan folded up all the washing and set the table for lunch.
He also got a wheelbarrow of smaller pieces of wood for the wood stove as the woodbine was full of quite big pieces.
He was being very helpful and cheerful which was lovely.
I got called to the phone again and was faced with having to make a business decision.
Trying to think it through and make the decision was too much, I just couldn’t do it and ended up in tears.
Told the guy that I would have to call back later after talking it through with the boys.
Jan called just after 2pm to say Mahalia was safely on the bus.

Anson brought everyone home around 3pm for a late lunch.
After it was all cleared away I took my mug of caramel latte and some fresh bread with delicious apricot jam (Thanks Jan) and lay on my bed and watched a dvd.
It is called ‘When love is not enough
A true story about the couple who began Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous.
I had to leave it unfinished and go get dinner finished around 6pm.
Sunni called up for an encouraging chat which was lovely.
Pat timed it perfectly and walked in the door just as I was serving up at 7pm.
Shoshannah made her smoothie and went off to bed.
We had a very friendly dinner time.
Lots of interesting conversation.
After everyone had headed off to bed Pat did a recce of what the forthcoming plans are for the next few days and then we got settled for the night.
It is blowing quite hard outside.
Threatening more rain, but nothing to speak of yet.
We had two short power cuts during dinner so hope we don;t lose it overnight.
I am feeling a tad better tonight.
Good positive company helps.

Monday 12th August

I woke up at 7am and was immediately out of bed and dressed.
Got the porridge on and the breakfast table set.
I had to be on the ball cuz I had three wwoofers coming down at 8am to eat and begin work.
I began preparing lunch and dinner too.
Feeding 9+ people is vastly different to providing for the 3 kids and myself.
Got some capsicum out of the freezer and fried it up along with some onions.
Added some of it to the soup pot I had begun yesterday.
Also cooked up some sausages and made a casserole in the slow cooker.
Jan cut up a pumpkin to add to it.
Anson was going to be a while coming around as he was doing his dogs so I had to start thinking of jobs for the wwoofers.
Shan & YC peeled potatoes, then Binni & YC fed the pig with all the food scraps.
Then I got Binni & YC to empty the spa for me.
They did a great job – it was funny to watch their synchronizing the bucket splashes.
They had it empty in no time and then YC hopped in and cleaned it.P1080212 P1080214
Anson had arrived by now and was up at the shed talking with Talbot so I suggested that he might be able to supervise the planting of the tree.
We had been given a rimu tree plus a plaque to put with it months ago by Merv Whipp and Kono Seafoods in memory of Tim.
It took us ages to figure out where to plant it and then the guys just haven’t had time to do the job.
So Anson armed the men up with shovels and crow bar and they went down to the garden and began to dig.
Anson went home to get Marah.
They had Eden’s placenta in the freezer and wanted to bury it under the tree.

While this was underway I got Shan started wedding the flower garden.
It was a very grey drizzly day but they were happy to work.
It wasn’t cold and they were busy building a sweat!

They got the hole dug and then piled in some horse & sheep manure.
Then went off to gather up a bin of forest floor mulch to add.
Marah & Anson arrived back and performed their wee ceremony before the guys finished planting the tree.
Eden was wide awake by this time, after having a sleep on Jan’s knee.
She was being well fussed over by her Aunties & Uncle.
P1080216 P1080218
Shoshannah made some pikelets so we sat and talked and had morning tea with Jan & Talbot.
I had lunch ready so called in the wwoofers and we all had soup and toast.
Seb was on his way around with the trailer to unload.
Anson had been planning to go fishing but Seb called up to say a large boar had been spotted and the next thing they were off pig hunting!
Anson took Marah  & Eden home and got his dogs.
Binni & YC went hunting too.
Phoebe came around with Seb and spent the rest of the afternoon with us.
Shan carried on weeding.
Shoshannah went for a walk.
Talbot had  gone out for a walk and found the horse who then followed him all the way back.
But just as he got close to the homestead he gave a large snort and turned back.
Then Talbot met Mahalia coming to search for Olly.
Olly is such a naughty boy – just hope she didn’t have to walk all the way to Te Kopi to get him!
She was also getting her bags packed ready for her trip to Christchurch.
She is going skiing but we have very little thermal clothes for her as she has never skied before and only ever been in snow briefly three times before so never had the need to have much in the way of thermal clothing.
Plus she has grown so much that nothing fitted so we had given away all the smaller clothes she used to wear.
Just hope she will fit some of Bri’s spare clothing!

I had made a photo book from all the photos Phoebe & Seb had taken on their trip to the Yasawa Islands, as a 21st present for her.
I had added all the birthday messages from the people who had contributed to the trip.
She was delighted with it.
A lovely memory book 🙂

I sat and talked with Phoebe & Jan and tried to do some knitting.
I was telling Phoebe about some dvd’s I had picked up in town and ended up putting one on to show her.
We sat and watched the beginning of ‘The Tail of Two Brains’.
It was Laugh your way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor.
Jan just roared with laughter through it all.
He was hilariously accurate 🙂

The guys returned with a small pig, the large one got away for another day!
Seb went up and brought the trailer down to unload at the shed.
The roads are so greasy at present that he had trouble getting back up the orchard.
Anson had to tow him, and they are both in 4WD’s!
Azzan was thrilled to get his new set of drawers I had picked up on TradeMe.
It only cost me $39 but is tidy, clean, nicely painted white with lemon drawer fronts and has 6 drawers.
So hopefully now he will have reason to keep his clothes folded and away off the floor!
After the dreary drizzly grey day it was lovely to see some evening sun on the hills.

During the day I sorted out the recipe books.
Kept the ones I really want,  and now just have to sort through the pile of scrappy papers and keep the recipes I really want.
I think I might try and type them up and save them to a file rather than have them all in a large folder, which gets all grotty and mixed up over time.

Jan fried up some whitebait fritters to add to dinner.
I had found a small container of them in the freezer and as Jan loves them decided it was time we ate them.
Tim & I were given them by friends and used to keep them for special times just for us, as the kids don’t like them.
Mahalia steamed up some broccoli to add to the meal and I helped Jan get a pot of custard made for dessert.
We had 11 for dinner so Shoshannah decided to lengthen the table.
But in so doing the table came to pieces and we couldn’t get it back together again.
I was really upset – it is a family heirloom from my grandparents and I didn’t like seeing it broken, but mainly because we had dinner ready and I just wanted to get the table set and people fed.
I was beside myself with tiredness and fighting tears.
Thankfully Seb came in and was able to fix it.

We did have an enjoyable meal.
Plenty of food for all.
Interesting conversations, Binni is a teacher of Maths & Chemistry from Germany and YC is a school counselor from Malaysia.

Shan, Jan & Binni cleaned up all the dishes.
I had forgotten to make bread earlier in the day so was waiting up till 9:30pm to get it out of the breadmaker.
I was so incredibly weary, been getting tireder throughout the day.
I was aching and headachy so not feeling great.
I was also over the fact that Shoshannah had spent most of her day glued to her phone.
I so needed some help and neither of the girls were there for me today.
I was completely spent, and was constantly verging on tears, holding them back until I could be alone in my room.
I am not coping emotionally with having so many people in the house.
The responsibility of being the hostess on my own and having to make sure they are all fed and have jobs to do is just too much.
Tim & I spread the load and did it well.
He always did the morning breakfast shift and I did the other end of the day.
I never have been the breakfast person, so having to be on the ball by 7am and then not getting to bed till late and then not sleeping well all adds up to a bit of a train wreck :-/
I am really only having the wwoofers at the moment because the boys need the help.
The three we have here are lovely people and very willing, it is not them, it is me.
Mahalia really wanted me to read her story with her as she will be away for the next week.
I lay down on the couch and asked her to read it to me.
I shut my eyes and rested so that by the time she had read her pages I was able to read some more to her.
There was a queue for the shower.
The kids decided they had to have some late showers so Jan & Talbot were lining up with them.
The guys were relatively quick.
All was going well until Mahalia got in, she took such a long time that Jan & I were twiddling our thumbs and banging on the door to get her to hurry up!!
By the time Mahalia finally got out it was about 9:15pm and I was falling into bed – I just couldn’t stay up any longer..
So she took out the bread for me and shut down the fires and turned off the lights.
I crashed out on my pillow, read my kindle story for a wee while and then tossed and turned till I finally went to sleep.
Despite  being so tired I did not sleep at all well.

Sunday 11th August

Woke to a very grey wet day.
Rain steadily coming down.
No complaints from me this morning though.
We seriously need some good spring rain.
Feels a bit weird saying it is Spring when we are only in early August.
But the weather has been so warm and the daffodils are blooming beautifully and very thickly.
Mahalia & Azzan picked heaps yesterday and filled the house with vases of them.
Their scent is filing the house and you can’t see where they have picked them from as there are still heaps on the hillsides.

34 years ago today I gave birth to our eldest daughter!
And now we are planning her wedding.
Where has that time gone?
I must’ve blinked on too many times 😉
Happy BIrthday Jesika.
It has been an interesting journey thus far, one which I am sure will continue to be filled with fun and laughter and exciting happenings.
Love you muchly xxxx

Binni came and ate his breakfast and then disappeared off to make the most of his day off.
I made a loaf of bread and went back to the study to carry on with the backlog.
Mahalia has been sorting through all her clothes and modeling her dresses.
Shoshannah has been battling to get the fires going.
They have been really sluggish to light today.
She was busy making a rice dish for lunch when I finally surfaced from my shower.
I had a scramble through the freezers and found some food for dinner and some pumpkin and other veges and chucked the beginnings of some soup together and left it to thaw and simmer on the wood stove.

Mahalia had a long phone conversation with Mel and also sorted out clothes.
She & Mel are making the most of their time together and have all sorts of plans happening.
Azzan spent all day doing his room.
I suggested he swept all the debris to make it easier, had to laugh later, it was swept alright – all over under the table!
Anson was having a fixit morning in the workshop, he popped down to see me before he went back home.
I was so weary that I went off to bed for a Nonna nap.
I can officially take one of those now 🙂
I finished my book and then slept until the phone went around 5pm.
Got up to talk to Jacqui and then called up John and Jesika to sort out some wedding accommodation.
Anson had gone up the hill and picked up Talbot & Jan as it was too went for them to bring their car down.
They arrived and Shoshannah had dinner all ready to serve.
But I then got a call from our new Malaysian wwoofers to say they were down at Waterfall Bay and there was no one home and they had gotten their car stuck on their way back up plus it was blocking the road.
By this time it was after 6pm, pitch black outside, and still raining heavily.
I was not at all impressed that they had not followed my instructions on how to get here :-/
I called up Sebastian, they were not leaving town until later so would not be home till way after 10pm.
I tried for ages to get hold of Anson, but for some reason there was not good reception and it took quite a while before he called me back.
He went over and retrieved them and some of their gear, moving the car out of the way so Seb could get past tonight and leaving towing it out until tomorrow.
YC and Shan arrived looking rather damp and embarrassed.
They both had showers to warm up and then I gave them dinner.
We had by this point finished ours and Jan & Talbot had cleaned up all the dishes.
The kids went off to bed and we sat and talked.
I did a few rows of my knitting.
It is sure much easier on the larger needles 🙂
The kids did a wee bed shuffle today so Jan & Talbot could have Shoshannah’s room.
So tonight Shanni is sleeping in Azzan’s bed and Azzan is sleeping in the sewing room.
I did give both of them the option of sleeping with me but they opted for the alternative selection which pleased me greatly 🙂