All change 
Summer at last! I was beginning to think my patent tank measuing device was stuck. It's been showing 98% full for two weeks. But it's just all the rain we've been having. Some years we'd already be in the full swing of haymayking. They're only just starting now.

The van is sold! It's still in the garden, but some guy in Taupo is significantly poorer, so it's just a matter of time before he comes to tow it away. Martin and Bina are off in Fiji today for ten days, and then back home. Meanwhile, I've been clearing and tidying the spare room. We've got a couple of vet students doing sheep work in early February (although they won't be staying here) and two more couples are wanting to come in late Feb and in early March. Must sort out a bookings calendar. Haven't heard back from the two Spanish birds from the Canaries yet.

Rachael is off at the Jamboree, and it's noticeably quieter. For now. Bronwyn and Sarah will be off to fetch her on Wednesday/Thursday (it's a 4 hour journey so they're staying overnight) and then Neil and Rachel will be married on Friday.

Friday is also when the brass band starts up again. It's been nice having all my evenings free for several weeks. Got loads of jobs done. It's going to be odd next week having Fridays off, although I've got several possibles for part time work and I might end up with too much!

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Wet wet wet... 
The tank has been full for 9 days now. I've dragged out two paddling pools and patched them up. The better one is now full of clear sparkling drinkable water. And the tank's still full. More rain to follow.

Got a number of things done over Christmas. Decided to dig the vegetable garden again for once. Not sure what I can plant this time of year, but it'll give me something to do. Meanwhile, Rachael's off to the Jamboree at the end of the week, then Bronwyn's taking Sarah down for a day, and taking Rachael home in time for Neil's wedding (to a different Rachel). Meanwhile, we've had an enquiry from two young Spanish women who wanted to stay with us, but no idea when or if they're turning up.

Meanwhile, Martin and Bina are down in Christchurch, and their van is back in the garden. It got a window broken, but nothing stolen. Hopefully we can shift it soon, though not necessarily for the price that M&B wanted.

Off to work tomorrow. Back to normality. Our manager is planning all sorts of things for us to do independently now that our hours have been cut. Not sure how much of it is feasible though!

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Summing up 
Christmas was a day early; we had a big party at Claire's house "The Arkell Events Centre" with plenty to eat, followed by some leftovers on Christmas day. On Christmas Eve I took home the takings for the last days carolling. About 6kg of coins. Fortunately the bank has a rather nifty coin counting machine; you pour them in at the top, and it gives you a receipt. Found a few Australian and Vanuatan coins as well, so I think we might start up a holiday fund for overworked conductors.

A lot of rain since then. The tank is nearly full. Should have enough to last until winter now. The farm is green and muddy. Can't see the road at all now because of the trees. We're very much influenced by the Pacific here, and it it decides to give us a miss for the year, everything turns yellow. They were warning about that this year too, but got it completely wrong. Should be more sun next month, but I think the New Year celebrations might be a bit of a drip.

Martin tells me that as a postman, he never believes the forecast. In fact, he always beleives the opposite. I've taken to watching the Rain Radar, because at least you can see exactly where the rain is going!

Martin and Bina left early yesterday. They're spending the New Year in Christchurch (which should be a lot drier than here), then they're heading off to Fiji for a couple of weeks, and then home. The van still isn't sold. It's been left outside the mechanics place, so we've got about a week or so before it really needs to disappear. Pity; it looks quite a cosy little van, but if it's only good for 9km, it's not much good for touring...

It's been quite a full year, with some highs and lows. I can honestly say it's been worth it, although I think if I went through it again there's a few things I'd do differently. But I've learnt a lot, and I feel a lot stronger now and ready to build on it for next year!

Have a dry New Year...

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Happy Christmas... 
Treble booked as usual. I had the normal carols at Swanson with the band, the works party (that was supposed to be Saturday but somebody else couldn't make it) and a spit roast round at Bronwyn's parents. I missed the works do last year to go to Swanson, so this year I did the works do instead. Rather nice meal, and interesting conversation... Following this, I managed to squeeze in a small dessert back at the in-laws before rolling into bed.

Gloomy mood at work. We're having our hours cut. At least that saves us from redundancies for now. Pity. It now means we won't have the time to finish all the stuff they want us to do by the start of next term. I wonder if they'll realise.

Our manager (the original owner) is equally miffed, and wants to start up some private projects in the team in our own time. Might organise a collective. Meanwhile, I've been asking around for any programming work. We'll do anything from Java to jQuery with most of the alphabet as well.

Just had a food hamper from the church. Thanks guys!

At least we've had some rain. The tank is 60% full. I've put marks down the side in addition to my siphon tube, and I've been keeping a graph...

Meanmeanwhile, it's still Christmas. Carolling tonight. I'm tresurer, so I'm going to be the one that has to sort out all the collection. Just as long as nobody thinks we're the Salvation Army and writes out a cheque.

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Weekend in Waiheke 
We had a voucher for the ferry to Waiheke, so we spent a couple of days there. It's a large island near Auckland, with lots of volcanic rock and some interesting countryside. There's also some tunnels left over from the second world war to service the guns on the east of the island. We spent a happy hour getting lost down there. Fortunately the torches didn't run out. The girls had a great time exploring the beaches, and also having a serious splash in the motel pool. They're still tired.

Took a while to get home again. Our ferry had broken down, and we managed to get on the ferry an hour later. I suspect some of the people who were booked for that next ferry had to wait as well. But we made it home eventually, rather tired. Got a lot of clothes to wash, but it's going to be wet all week, so it's a matter of how much I can fit in the bay window to dry. Pity it's only drizzle. We're still rather low on the tank.

The Christmas parades are over. Just the carolling to go now. Lost count of how many times we've played Jingle Bells.

Martin and Bina are still here, and so is the van. They've been a great help, so I'm not complaining. They're planning to spend the last couple of weeks visiting friends down south before heading off to Fiji. Then they're briefly in the USA, and then back to 'uddersfield. Meanwhile, we've had a request from a couple of vet students who needed a couple of weeks experience on a sheep farm. They had to do it during February. There's not a lot of sheep work during February, but we've talked to a larger farm down the road that they can spend a few days at.



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