I'm learning mandarin 
Golly, it's been a while since the last update. Robin (Chinese girl number 2) came back and stayed another week. She's off in Auckland Uni now, doing postgrad statistics. Next week, Erica (Chinese girl number 1) is back after her amazing tour of New Zealand to stay for another six days. After her, Weiming (number 3) arrives, closely followed by Tracy (number 4). Alas, we couldn't have Phoebe and friend (numbers 5 and 6) as well, because we didn't have enough beds! Happy Birthday to Coralie (French girl number 1), and congratulations to Martin and Bina (English couple number one) on their first baby.

The conference went really well, and since it was in Auckland we managed to stay for the whole duration and get back home the same day. We got a trip up the sky tower, and a fancy meal in town (it's not often I get taxi drivers apologising to me. Must wear that suit more often.) The day after, it was our 15th wedding anniversary, so we went to the restaurant in the village for once, and had the whole place to ourselves!

I've been frantically preparing the brass band accounts for the audit, as well as trying to get three accountability reports and funding applications out on time for the youth work. I now know all about audits. Not sure if I wanted to, but at least I can look a balance sheet in the face and not get nervous.

Our boss has resigned. It's a long story, and not all a happy one, but I hope he can find a place where he can feel at home and useful. It was ten years ago that I joined the company as employee number one, and he had started the company 18 months before that. So it really is the end of an era. Now, I get the impression that I'm having to attend all the meetings that he used to attend, as well as everything else!

Rach and Sarah are back at school. Sarah's been to the opticians again, and they're getting her new lenses because her eyes have got a lot more short sighted. Rachael's off on camp tomorrow night, and then Bronwyn will pick her up to go to swimming lessons. We've found an instructor that specializes in difficult cases, and he reckons that he can get Rachael swimming properly despite her phobia of water in the ears. New Zealand life tends to revolve round water, so it's important to learn how to swim.

Some very cold nights recently. Well, cold anyway. Alright, just below zero. But pretty cold for these parts. We ran out of firewood. Bronwyn dragged some branches back to the house, and hired a chainsaw to chop them up. But she couldn't start it, and ended up with an asthma attack. A friend leant us an electric circular saw, and I managed to chop most of the branches. Bronwyn's parents have returned from holiday now, so once the weather clears hopefully we'll get the shed full again.

My car's in for welding tomorrow. There's a couple of holes on one side, and a suspicious lump on the other. Nothing too major. Already fixed the brake hose, shock absorber and headlamp. Brakes are squealing a little. Small chip in the windscreen probably needs fixing. Other than that it's fine...

Think that's about the lot. Apart from the Android tablet we bought six weeks ago. It arrived yesterday. The wireless didn't work. But Bronwyn found Angry Birds on it, so we spent an hour playing that until the screen broke. They're refunding us. Apparently we're not the only ones...



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