At last! Carolling is over; no more parades. No more Jingle Bells and Rudolf for another year! Now we can sit back and enjoy the actual Christmas. Although I do pity those who are out camping, and probably booked their spot a year ago. It's raining. It was raining yesterday, and it'll rain tomorrow. One campsite has been flooded after the river burst its banks, and I suspect there may be others. I haven't bothered checking the water tank. It's been like this for several years now, and it generally gets drier just at the start of February when everybody goes back to work and school.

I am grateful. I wasn't injured. the engine didn't burst into flames and I managed to pull over safely. But it did smoke a bit. I'll forgive it for that; it was probably a little stressed. And our John managed to free it up quite easily, and put in a new radiator. Seems to be running fine, but we've been told not to push our luck! Bronwyn got in touch with a friend who wanted to sell her car quick, and was willing to go half price. And it's quite a useful car for me too. The trombone fits easily in the back! So now we have rather a lot of cars outside. I'll have to sell my old one. Somehow. Darn. Now I still need to fix the rust!

Casey is still with us, but seems to be keeping to the grass and leaving the roses alone. We've given up trying to keep her out. Need to chase up the woman who was going to make Casey a movie star. I'm guessing it's been a busy time of year.

Bronwyn has done her last children's activity for the year, packaged up sixty presents for the teachers at school, finished her assignments and drenched all the sheep. Now the kitchen smells of baking and pastry. Several trays full for tomorrow! Hopefully then it'll quieten down for a few weeks.

I had a works outing to Great Barrier Island last Tuesday. OK, me, my colleague Dave, and several from a sister company that teamed up with us for the day. One of them could fly a plane, so he hired one and took three of us over. I was still rather tired, and my eyes were a bit blurry. We climbed to about 1000 feet, and he put my hand on the control and got me to fly the plane. I've been on a little turboprop in Botswana, but nothing this small. When you lean into a bend on a bicycle, your local gravity still goes through the bike. Not with a plane. And especially not when it's tipped at 45 degrees to the horizontal and I haven't had a chance to work out which dial was which!

Did a bit of snorkeling (I think I prefer free diving - I ended up with a mouth full of seawater) and a bit of a hike along a ridge. Very nice views, and vertical volcanic cliffs. On the way back he decided to try following the ridges to get some lift. It worked, but I'm not used to riding a roller coaster without any rails!

Rach is doing some extra assignments to get as many credits as possible for university. Haven't had any replies back apart from one place that offered her Chemistry. She wanted to do a quantum physics course. Would be nice if we could get some confirmation of what grades they're asking for. I remember there was a very organised system when I did it; you applied to five colleges, you go for an interview to each one, they reply with the required grades, you get your results and then receive the acceptances. Or you put your name in the clearing pool to see if anywhere has spare places. Seems to be quite chaotic here; they all operate individually.

It's been quite a year. I started off feeling frustrated and struggling to find something useful to do. Now I seem to have the opposite problem; I'm getting a bit worn out and having to learn to say no! I certainly won't be idle over Christmas. Might get a pot of paint and finish off the bits of the house that didn't get done last year.

Once it stops raining.

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