Brambles, pain and suffering 
Spent a lot of time pulling out brambles to make room for trees later in the year. I now have a huge heap ready to burn once the fire ban is lifted. Except my father-in-law doesn't want them there and wants me to bury them instead. So I'll shift them into the rubbish hole, once I've shifted all the other rubbish that his ancestors have dumped there over the years. Not sure if the hole's going to be big enough!

Bronwyn's still on crutches, but slowly improving. Her old boss wanted her to work all day on Thursday. She didn't seem to understand what had happened. Bronwyn went in for a half day on Friday, and her boss saw the huge boot and crutches. I think she gets it now!

Bronwyn had a great time in Dunedin, and came back with loads of photos. I managed to entertain the children for the weekend, although my cooking largely involved sausages, eggs, chips and beans. Jolly good sausages though. We recently bought a lamb from the farm, and an old cow with cancer was put down, so our freezer is full up.

We had half an inch of rain. It's still very dry out there, but at least the plants are largely hanging on. We've had the driest three months for fifty years. Possible rain next weekend, but no guarantees

Had a great service at church this morning. Nobody turned up to do the sound, so several of us were running round turning knobs and trying plugs. Our projector person was attempting to transfer photos from someone's laptop, and Powerpoint was falling over. But it all went well in the end. I played trombone, and we had a good set of tunes for once. And a very good sermon about suffering, from a man who had recently recovered from a brain haemorrhage and lost the ability to talk for 19 months. Very moving.

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Ouch 
Bronwyn is off in Dunedin (in the far south of the south island) seeing old friends. She nearly didn't make it. On Thursday afternoon she was out feeding apples to the cows. One of the cows pushed in for another apple, and knocked another cow, who stood on Bronwyn's foot. The doctor was surprised there were no broken bones - she should have broken at least three. But she's got a nasty bruise, and she's hobbling around in crutches and a huge boot.

She got priority treatment at the airport. They apologised for not having a wheelchair hoist.

I've been pulling out brambles this week. There's an old rubbish pit in the area where I'm planting trees. It's covered in brambles, and bits of the huge trees that used to stand there. I decided I wanted to put something more useful there, so I've been slowly clearing the area. It's dangerous work. There's quite a few wasps in there as well! No stings yet, but plenty of scratches. I worked out the safest way was to wear jeans, and put the ends around my gumboots. That way the thorns don't get into my boots as well!

Still very dry. Cyclone Tomas nipped past quick before anybody noticed. But they're predicting another low pressure right on top of us next week. This could be it. Rain at last. Unless this one wimps out as well...

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Long weekend 
Had what might be described as a few short patches of drizzle, which when put together might add up to a bit of a drip. The forecast keeps changing, but at least it's been cool and damp enough to stop everything wilting completely.

Rachael's ear is a lot better, although they want to see her next week. She's got three different bacteria in there - staph aureus (which is present everywhere), streptococcus, and pseudomonas (?). The latter one is making it green and smelly. They flushed the ear out, and changed her antibiotics. Her grommet is still there, but stuck to the side of the ear, and the hole hasn't closed up yet.

Had a fun day at the Kumeu Show. All three bands played, and I joined in for about 4 sessions so I'm pretty shattered. The prime minister came to see us, and conducted the band for one hilarious piece http://kumeubrass.org.nz/images/P1010189.MOV. Bronwyn and the girls also showed up for part of the day too.

Bronwyn finished her last week at work, and managed five days almost. Sounds like she's willing to work for them again, so it can't have been that bad! She'll be sending out more CVs to advertise her services for relieving work. Meanwhile, she's off down south next weekend to see her friends.

And I finished painting the front deck. So far the dog hasn't covered it in mud. Yet.

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Bit of a sprinkle 
Yet another low pressure wimped out when the big anti-cyclone muscled in from Oz. We had about 2mm of rain. Another cold front due on Thursday, but I doubt it'll do much either. However, at least it's getting cooler, so the ground isn't drying out as much. Not that there's much to dry out. I can hear the crunch as I walk across the dead grass.

Decided I'd do something about the outside of the house, having attacked the inside. We still have three pieces of roofing ridge waiting for my father-in-law to buy the right kind of nails. And he promised to get a new battery for the lawnmower (it's currently reading 0.007 volts). But, at last, we have progress on the front deck.

I borrowed the water blaster, and cleaned off the boards. Amazing how much dirt can accumulate. Quite fun using a water blaster (ooh - that rose looks a bit dry - BLAST - there, should be happy now) but very tiring. I feel a little old. I did one coat of paint today, and now the deck is clean and grey. Not sure why it has to be grey; apparently it's the correct colour for a 1920s villa.

Bronwyn did a full 4 days, and seems to be enjoying it at last. She's just come home with a new printer, which she's going to use to print off learning stories for work. She's also planning to invoice work for them, if they want the parents to see them, that is! Otherwise they'll go in her folder as part of her teacher registration.

Rachael's ear has been dripping smelly green stuff. She's on antibiotics, and she's got an appointment with the hospital tomorrow because they're worried it might be behind her ear drum. Otherwise she's fine. Sarah's had her Measles, Mumps and Rubella jabs this week, and was a bit off colour for a day or two, but is fine now.

I dismantled the old barbecue. It belongs to Bronwyn's parents, who brought it here to cook dinner one day, and left it. They've got a big shiny new one. I saved the hot plates, because they're the same size as ours, and I water blasted the shelf. It might look good in the shed as a rustic little potting shelf. Maybe the wheels might do for a go-cart, but the rest is a pile of rust. I'll shovel it down a hole one day.

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Quite a week 
Rachael enjoyed the school camp. They did a lot of activities including climbing, abseiling and an assault course. She got an award for the abseiling, but panicked up the climbing wall and had to come down. I don't blame her. I had difficulty climbing at that age too!

Bronwyn had Tuesday off to supervise at the camp, and Wednesday to take Sarah to the optometrist (apparently her eyes are normal for a four year old). Then she couldn't wake up on Thursday morning, nearly crashed twice, and when she finally got in, they'd found another reliever. Hope she's better next week.

Meanwhile, friends of ours had their barn burnt down, and one of the young women at Bronwyn's last job died suddenly. It was quite a week. But we had a good mini-reunion with one of the families from camp yesterday, took them out to see the cows and had a decent barbecue. It was worth tidying the house for it, and the house is still more or less tidy!

The lawnmower is dead. I think it's the battery. You can jump start it, but as soon as you put it in gear or start the blades, it dies. Still, the grass hasn't grown for a while. Had a brief shower this week but nothing else!

Got all set up this morning to get the girls off to church early so I could get to the music practice. Bronwyn was out at a first aid course, so I had to take the girls with me. We were all set, in the car, then I couldn't find the keys! Eventually found them. Got in, and the projector was dead. Eventually someone managed to find the plug at the back, and it was all working. It all came together, and we had quite a decent service.

By chance, we had a visit from the pastor of a church in the Philipines where our youth group had gone out to 7 years ago. By chance we also went out after to visit our new plot of land that we've been intending to build on for years. So this woman, having had us go to build the foundations for her church, then was able to pray with us on the (currently) dry and barren land where we want to build our church. It was rather cool.

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