January 
A quiet month. I still haven't got used to it. Everything goes quiet. That's because everyone goes on holiday after Christmas. Or even during Christmas. We wait for Auckland to come home again, and then we set off. It's much quieter, and no traffic!

This year we were back at the same campsite just north of Coromandel town. Rach has been studying geology, and we spent a while looking through mineral guides and trying to identify rocks. We also went fossil hunting, but just found some tiny fossil seashells and a bit of quartz. There was also the visit to The Waterworks, which is full of water powered contraptions made from all sorts of things. And we had a trip out on a glass bottomed boat, spotting fish and exploring the sea caves.

It was a quiet week away. Well, mostly. On the way over the mountains, the car began to smell funny. Roasted brake pad, possibly. And the handbrake light was on, even when the handbrake wasn't. Bronwyn is skilled in the art of driving ancient tractors with dodgy brakes, so she took over and got us there and back using the gears. She managed to find the one mechanic on this side of the Coromandel that had a free slot, and he changed the brake fluid. It had got a bit low, apparently!

Meanwhile, I was walking back from the beach, when someone called my name. Didn't recognise him at first! It was a friend from church. He took me out surfcasting. This involved a 1km walk across the bay, and another bay, and oyster beds and sinking mud. In the dark. We didn't catch anything legal, but it was certainly an experience! He later tried to teach me how to throw the line myself. I nearly got the hang of it, but we lost three weights between us! Fortunately he had a metal detector, so we went out with that, found one weight plus someone else's and 70 cents. I also found a pile of bottle tops, two rusty nails and what might have been the blade from a large mower!

Bronwyn and Sarah are off to a Christian music festival for the weekend, so it's just me and Rach. Work is getting busier again, and I've also been out in the garden watering and harvesting tomatoes, blackberries and potatoes. There's plenty of potatoes this year. And the sweetcorn is looking very promising. But it's very hot and dry now, so mostly I'm just watering! As an experiment, I've also planted ginger in the little greenhouse that Bronwyn bought me...

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