A much needed break 
Bronwyn's been feeling really low lately, and they booked her into respite care for a couple of days this week at short notice. It was in a place up north, on the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. It was really nice, apart from the long drive cross country on rather old roads. But it was well needed.

We're now down with our friends for the weekend, having a couple of quiet days with Sarah before going back home again. Rachael has been left with Bronwyn's parents; it's easier to cope with one child at once! We went to see the Hamilton gardens, which have been extensively built with different themed enclosures. They had a festival on this weekend, so there were quite a lot of people. So it was good to get home and sit down!

I hope this all gives Bronwyn a chance to get back on track, because otherwise she's been doing really well.

Had a problem on Friday. Our main webserver had crashed in the night, and had to be restarted manually. While we were investigating it, it crashed again, and again. Eventually we tracked it down to a high level of traffic from a certain address. We blocked that address, and all returned to normal.

On further investigation, it looks like a search engine got stuck in one of our websites, and was looping round and round and tipping it over the edge. Guess there'll be a few questions to answer on Monday morning!

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A hard working weekend 
Spent a lot of Saturday piling more sand on the water slide, and then pinned down the plastic sheet, along with a second strip to cover the outside of the bend. The wind blew part of the sheet away, so I pinned it down again with a load of bricks. It's holding for now.

On Sunday morning there was a motocross rally on the next paddock, creating clouds of dust which fortunately drifted east, thus missing any nearby habitation. We had planned to get the slide going in the afternoon, and have a barbecue later. I invited everyone from work, and Rachael invited everyone from school. Only two turned up from work, and three of Rachael's friends (plus a couple of mums), so it wasn't as busy as we'd anticipated. But the slide worked well. Still needs yet more sand on the lower section.

Took my workmates on a tour of the farm, and ended up chasing a sheep that had ended up in the wrong paddock. And then another lot that had escaped down the drive. I was just about to sit down when I noticed the back gate was open. Decided to shut it. Just as well. By the time I got my shoes on there were a dozen sheep in the garden, and more following!

We're planning to have a quiet weekend down south next week, then Sarah's getting dedicated the weekend after that. The next weekend is the local agricultural show, where the band will be playing. We've also been invited to a friend's 5th birthday on that weekend, and to see his new baby sister. I suppose it's nice to have your life planned out, so long as it doesn't get too busy...

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High summer 
I hear they had 4 inches of snow in Coventry. And it's been 4F at one of Bronwyn's friends in the USA. Here, it's 33C, and we're in need of a bit of rain. Thunder yesterday, but the downpour didn't happen.

Got the water slide going on Tuesday. Bronwyn's dad dug it out last Sunday, and on Tuesday I lined it with sand and spread out the plastic sheet. It was quite an effort, and tricky emptying a wheelbarrow half way down a hill. I cut my leg when the wheel slipped away and the wheelbarrow leg sliced me. But it was mostly just the shock; after a couple of hours it was healing nicely. Quite a clean cut for a rusty bit of metal. Yes Mum, I'm up to date with the tetanus after getting skewered on a couple of nails (the other leg) a couple of years ago.

I still can't get used to public holidays not being on a Monday. I slept in on Monday, and was about to do the water slide then, when Bronwyn asked me if I was going into work. So I was a bit late, but there was hardly anybody there. Don't ask me why they had to sign the treaty on a Tuesday...

Got the water slide working, but Dad dug it out deliberately with an interesting kink part way down. Problem is, it makes it very hard to stop people flying high up the dirt bank and getting scraped on the dry clay. It'll need more plastic and a lot of sand before we can make it a more pleasurable experience. Don't tell OSH. (Office of Safety and Health)

Been a good harvest for hay. One hay shed is jam packed - room for just two short bales at the very top. The other still has space but we've got more hay to come in. It's probably the rain we had in early summer. Helped to bulk it up a bit. We're putting salt on all the bales now. Horses love it. The owners are really suspicious about anything new, so we generally don't tell them...

Had an invite back to Hamilton (where Parachute was held) and Bronwyn's had a rough week, so I thought we'd have a quiet weekend away again some time.

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Peace once more 
Had a quiet week. Not much going on at work at the moment; we've been doing a variety of internal jobs. Could get interesting next week - all the schools start up. All our school websites sit on one server, and it's been close to the limit for a while. So we've rushed in a second server to share the load. This means a few changes in order to make the websites work from either server. If this works, it's going to make it easier to add more later. If it doesn't, we could be getting a few phone calls...

Bronwyn finished the last 50 minutes of the movie on Friday. Quite an acheivement. And Bronwyn's dad has just dug out a channel down the hill. So the water slide is at last on the cards again!

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Quite a weekend 
Bronwyn's movie night finished at midnight, with about 50 minutes of the video still to go. Not sure why they picked such a long movie! Then the next day, she was out helping to move the cows. About 7 needed eye drops, but they weren't being very cooperative. So she was a bit tired on Friday.

Parachute didn't go quite as planned. The first two nights went really well. We were in a big tent in the centre, and room for several hundred to hang out all night if they wanted to. It was very lively until about 4am, and then quietened down.

Sunday didn't go well. In the morning, a group were jumping off a bridge a few miles downstream, and one of them landed badly and didn't come up again. Not only was he well known and popular, but he was also one of the leaders in his youth group.

That night, I got in early, and went to one of the small stages. I stayed on afterwards to help clear up. The rubbish crew came in, and collected everything, including some of my stuff, which I'd left next to the stage. At this point it started raining really heavily, and I spent the next half an hour trying to find them, but couldn't. I ended up completely soaked. There were rivers of water three inches deep on all the paths.

Got to the cafe, and decided to stop worrying about what I'd lost. I had to remind myself that others had lost far more earlier that day. Someone lent me a spare couple of shirts after I began to shiver, and I kept going through the night. The tent filled with refugees. It was hard to tell the people who wanted to stay up all night from the ones who had no choice. Two girls came in wrapped in blankets, looking completely shattered. They asked for a hot chocolate. I looked at them and quickly made the order for two hot chocolates, and paid the extra myself. They said their tent was knee deep in water, after the nearby drain had flooded.

Got home in one piece, and managed to keep going at the brass band rehearsal. Feeling a lot better now that I've had a chance to get some sleep. I'm really not that bothered about the stuff I lost, even if it did include my new Rubiks cube and the little camera. I was going to cut off the Parachute wristband the moment I got home, but decided to leave it on a bit longer. I've learnt a few lessons this weekend, and I don't want to forget them in a hurry.


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