Glad it's quiet 
I've gone down with a bacterial infection again, and Bronwyn's got laryngitis. Just as well it's quiet, and there's very little to do! Rachael is over her chicken pox, but is a bit quiet and tired. This is not entirely a bad thing...

Thanks to everyone for your presents; we've got wine and a wine cooler from Bronwyn's parents, to add to the boxful sent by one of Dataview's customers after I restored their database. I was thinking of getting a wine rack, but the cardboard box will suffice for now. The lounge is littered with toys; neither of us has had much energy or inclination to tidy up, and besides, the resulting clear space only lasts a few seconds. The weather is sunny and warm, and we went for a paddle at a sandy stream yesterday.

We're off on holiday in a week, and I hope we're all well by then! It's in a very remote village reached only by ferry or a lengthy journey on a very old road, so Bronwyn's making sure we have a working stove and plenty of supplies.

I've been teaching Rachael music. If she has the patience to learn on the keyboard, I'll see if she can start in the brass band. She's now old enough, although not necessarily mature, and loses concentration very quickly!

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A quiet Christmas 

Rachael went down with chicken pox this week, and was howling and screaming for a couple of days, especially when someone was nearby to listen. Fortunately she seems to have recovered quickly. and is now bouncing around as if nothing ever happened. But we've planned a quiet Christmas just with us, to spare anybody else getting infected!

Got the element fixed in the oven. It had burnt out, and the main oven was only working on one element instead of two, which meant we couldn't do anything more than an egg pudding. After several phone calls and trips to suppliers, we found someone who could fit the right element.

The lawnmower also went. The belt came loose, and got caught in the mechanism. Bronwyn's brother Allen changed it for us, as well as giving it a service. I'm grateful. I didn't know the difference between the oil and the air filter. Learnt quite a bit about lawnmowers this week.

Bronwyn's parents are off to the UK for three weeks, so it's going to be really quiet. I wanted to get the water slide going again, but it's a fair amount of work, so first I'll see if the youth group are interested in testing it out...

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Sarah is over the chicken pox, but a couple of spots got infected, and she's now on antibiotics. She's tired and irritable, but otherwise OK. Rachael has been spared it, as has Bronwyn.

Did our last parade on Friday night. It's the longest one; about 800 metres. This is quite a lot when you're playing as well. We were right at the back, between Santa's chariot, and a trailer of Santa's helpers in miniskirts. We had to keep stopping and starting because the parade was having difficulty squeezing through the bridge halfway along. Afterwards, we had to walk back to the bridge for a carol concert, which eventually finished at about 10 to 10. We were all rather tired. Saturday was another concert, followed by a barbecue. Tomorrow, we start playing carols outside the supermarket. Every day for 8 days.

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Lost & found 
No sign of the cat, or the mobile, which has also been missing for a couple of weeks. We now have a new mobile, same number.

Went to the dentist. I don't have a fear of dentists, just the bill at the end. Fortunately I didn't detect any BMWs outside, and they didn't attempt to sign me up on a dental care programme. I have a new filling, which matches the colour of the rest of the tooth perfectly, so it's hard to tell where it is.

Sarah came down with chicken pox, and she's had it quite bad. She seems to be over the worst of it now; it's still sore, but no fresh spots anywhere. Rachael had a few days off school too, but it seems she's escaped for now at least. So has Bronwyn, although I suspect she has immunity after all her years in childcare.

There are very few people left at Dataview now. We have three leaving in January. It's going to be quiet. Very quiet. But at least we're not losing money. Whether it's sustainable remains to be seen...

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Into the swing 
Two parades yesterday. Glad I'm feeling better now. Except that there's a rough spot on an old filling, and I think I need to see the dentist. Ah well. I still have some sick leave left, and with Bronwyn's job, we're not doing too badly financially. Just as well; we put Bronwyn's car in for a service, and it needed two new HT leads, an air filter and two rear shocks. It'll be about $800 altogether!

As a special treat to Rachael for her literary efforts at school, we let her have a sleep over. She's had two friends over since yesterday. You know, having provided Rachael with a tree house, two swings, a trampoline and 100 acres of countryside, you'd have thought they might have made some use of them. No... they've been inside most of the weekend, and spent ages making things with polystyrene, lollypop sticks, glitter, balloons and rice. Now they want to decorate the Christmas tree. I suppose that's at least one less job for me and Bronwyn.

Our cat has been missing all week. He's quite independent and resourceful, so we're not too worried, but Bronwyn has been preparing notices to hand out. There was an unconfirmed sighting just over the hill, so we think he might have found a more generous human up there, or a plentiful supply of rabbits and ducks...

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