Chickens, dolphins and politicians 
It's not easy running a farm in your back yard. I have to do it in strict sequence. There was an incident a couple of weeks ago. I let out the chickens. Four eggs, good going. I came out with the milk for the lambs. I fed Jerry first because he's a total nutcase and needs both hands to control him. Meanwhile, the wind blows the door open. The chickens run inside. I finish feeding Tom and then chase three chickens away from the cat food, and out of the house. As well as Jerry, who wants more.

Several hours later, I hear a strange noise. I then spend the next five minutes chasing the fourth chicken round the lounge and cleaning up the accumulated poop. It pays to count your chickens.

Bronwyn's been taking the lambs to work once or twice a week, and letting the children feed and measure them. They're growing fast, and fortunately Jerry isn't quite as violent as he used to be, otherwise he'd be causing us injury now when we try to feed him!

The brass band AGM went more smoothly. We adopted a new set of rules, plus a president and secretary, and since then I've already updated the Incorporated Societies register, the Charities register and the bank. I'm getting into the swing of this...

This Monday was supposed to be a quiet "Meet the candidates" evening in our church. But it turned out to be the only public event that the Prime Minister John Key was going to attend (he just happens to be our local MP), so a number of other heavyweights lined up to attend, and it got widely publicised. We put TV linkups in the hall and the lobby, and borrowed some chairs from the community centre next door. We were catering for up to 230.

I wasn't sure if I could turn up to help out, but things changed so I arrived at 5:25pm and got given a fluoro jacket. There were already cars parked right along the road. We had permission to use the community centre car park, so I waved people in there to start with. But there was also several netball games and an indoor bowling club running, plus badminton over the road, and dog training nearby (wh never worked out where). So after a while the netballers began to protest. We left them a few spaces, and started waving people into the showgrounds. Oodles of space in there. But not in the church. I got the message that the police had started refusing entry. This was at 6:30pm, and the actual debate didn't start until 7.

But still they came. Car after car, and I just had to tell them that they wouldn't get in. Eventually at 7:30 it quietened down a bit, and I joined the crowd outside the church. A line of Maori party supporters. They could sing well, but weren't doing a lot else. A woman waving a cardboard dolphin. A guy in a black shirt with John 3:16 all over it, who appeared to be with Internet/Mana. (A strange alliance; a breakaway from the Maori party, and a bunch of anarchistic nerds. Might get a few votes.) And a small gaggle of John Key supporters in blue, who were keeping rather quiet.

We were kept going by coffees smuggled out of the kitchen window and the dolphin woman, whose friends had made it inside but had a big flask of hot chocolate. Plus a couple of big plates of cheap pizza, chips and various edibles.

It all went remarkably smoothly. The only incident was an old guy in the bowling club who was most incensed that we'd borrowed their car park and deliberately blocked a few people in. However, I suspect it was actually the netballers that he blocked! He must have relented a bit later, because the van was moved when people started to come out.

It was interesting to see the press at work. Two vans were outside with satellite dishes on top. One guy stood outside bravely holding a microphone to a closed window. He would have done better poking it through the kitchen window. Afterwards, when they let us back in to clear up, there was a group of people sitting in the corner furiously typing on laptops. When I got home, Bronwyn said she'd been following it all on the NZ Herald website. Curious to think I'd probably been standing next to the person who typed it!

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