I've been to Hamilton and back via Tauranga. We took both cars down to the campsite at Omokoroa, near Tauranga. It's got a mineral hot pool (and it's actually quite warm). Bronwyn took the girls out to visit a friend, as well as a huge (and very deep) open cast gold mine at Waihi, the Katikati Bird Park, and of course, the beach. On the way out, we stopped in the Karangahake Gorge, where there used to be a substantial underground gold mine. There's still a few tunnels there it you've got a torch.

On day 2, I drove to Hamilton for the Parachute festival. Night shift at the cafe as usual. First night was cold and a bit windy, and hardly anyone stayed awake. I went home early. Second night was a bit more lively, but at 3am it was pretty quiet, so one of us brought out some pouches on strings and started swinging them around. She got an instant audience, and we spent a couple of hours learning how to swing them. I think we made a few sales just by bringing people near the cafe! She also brought out some black ones that you can soak in kerosene...

Last night was, as they say, absolutely cranking. I lost count of how many hot chocolates we sold. Hundreds. For several hours straight. And moccachinos. Very few straight coffees. I brought in my usual marshmallows and sprinkles. One girl asked for "extra chocolatey" so I doubled the sprinkles, squirted on a huge amount of chocolate syrup and then a bit of chocolate powder on top. Made her day, apparently.

I was about to set off for Omokoroa, and decided to check the car. Oil no problem. Water a bit low so I poured in some that I'd taken with me. Now, I'd been staying with my friend Chelle and her boyfriend Joel. Joel works at Repco and knows a few things about cars. He spotted a leak. So we spent the next half hour trying to plug it, and eventually lashed it up with duct tape. Good old duct tape. Joel loaded me up with five litres of water and I set off.

Then I went back. Chelle texted me because I'd forgotten my pillow.

Made it to Omokoroa an hour and a half late. Had one more night there, and we all set off home. Stopped in the Karangahake Gorge again, and this time Bronwyn had kept the best torches handy, so we set off and explored the tunnels properly. Well, not immediately. I carefully locked my keys in the car, so Bronwyn found a random stranger who knew about breaking into cars "that was some years ago". Between Bronwyn's car aerial, Rachael with a torch, and some luck with a lose window, we managed to get back in.

Please don't tell Chelle. You know how she worries about me.

Just about made it home. The car started overheating in the traffic going out of Auckland, but cooled down quickly once we got going. I've spent the day catching up on all the problems that happened at work while I was away. I got phoned up five times. Once when I'd just emerged from the tunnel in the gorge. Amazed that there was cellphone coverage out there!

Bronwyn's got a job! It's only six weeks, but it's for the census, going door to door and collecting the forms, and making sure they've been filled out correctly. Should be fun. Hopefully there won't be too many dogs...

Allan's sweetcorn is growing fast. It's been really hot and dry for weeks, but the sprinklers obviously have been doing their job. Harvest won't be far away. My kale is also turning into a jungle. Got quite a bucketful of potatoes too, last week. I spent ages weeding the onion patch, but everywhere else now needs weeding instead!

Should get rain next week. And the girls will be back at school.

Anna, with her "extra chocolatey" hot chocolate. Must check out her dentist.

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