Robin flew back 
Bronwyn's sounding a lot better, and I've managed to clear most of the slime from my throat. Rachael's managed to get a nasty cramp in her neck after trying the 'who can do the hula hoop longest round the neck' competition at youth group. Sarah's fine. Nothing seems to bother her!

Meanwhile, Robin was with us for just the weekend, and then left for the city armed with nothing but a backpack. She spent the whole week looking for accommodation for when she starts university next month. She finally found a rather expensive flat right next to the university. She's back with us until Thursday. I took her around the forest again yesterday, armed with the tree and bird books. Bronwyn took her to Alberton House this afternoon. I think she's really enjoyed staying here.

I'm off to my third youthwork conference next week, which this time is in Auckland. I'm looking forward to meeting up with the friends I've made around the country from the first two conferences, and getting the chance to ask a few questions and generally have a fantastic time. But I've also got three accountability reports for last year's funding applications to hand in, and then three more to write for this year. And we still haven't got last year's accounts sorted yet. "How much did you spend on the project" - "Dunno - nobody's told me yet...".

It's our 15th wedding anniversary next week. So we're planning to head up the Sky Tower to the restaurant at the top. Not sure if it's going to be feasible next week though! But looking forward to it all the same.

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Coughs, colds, and a queue outside the door 
I've been off sick with a cold this week. Sarah's had a bit of a cough, and Rachael's been rather tired. It's been quite cold this week too. Last night, Bronwyn had trouble with asthma, and rang up the doctors, who told her to call for an ambulance, and they took her into hospital. She still had her pink fluffy slippersm which caused quite a stir with the paramedics, and enabled me to identify her room when I arrived because her feet were sticking out... We were there for about four hours until everyone got bored and they let us go home. Bronwyn's back on steroids and extra ventolin.

Robyn from Shanghai arrived on Friday, and got thrown in at the deep end when Bronwyn went into hospital! She's going to be joining Auckland University in July, so she's off into town tomorrow to look for student accomodation. We had three others wanting to stay too, and three more emails came in today. Not sure why everyone wants to see New Zealand at this time of year!

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Erica, sideburns and Colonel Bogie 
Had a really good week with Erica from Taizhou near Shanghai in China. She settled in really well, and although she was only with us for six days, we all became quite close friends. Tidied up the house, cleaned the kitchen, did the washing up and made us dinner once as well! She's working her way towards Tauranga at the moment, and hopes to make it to the south island as soon as she can. We'll miss her. She misses us too! We took her round the farm (once by tractor, once through the bush on foot), to the zoo, two beaches, and several other places as well. Another Chinese girl arrives in a week...

Spent the whole day at a film shoot in Thames (Coromandel) today. I had to get up at 4am. We arrived early, but they were already well under way, and we got sent straight in for costume and make up. I got a new moustache and a couple of very furry sideburns. They had wanted 6 musicians as a brass band, although they weren't going to record our sound. However, they wanted us to play something so that the crowd had something to move to. Good thing I raided the library (sorry Martin) and arrived with Colonel Bogie (Hitler, has only got one ...) which went down well until we'd played it forty times... I'm not allowed to release details, but some highlights were getting nearly hit by flying hats, watching horses poop and attempting to find a quiet toilet. The dressing room was only accessible through the gents for some reason, so everybody was walking through it!



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Girls 
Rachael's book party went really well; we had quite a houseful. She also did a presentation at her old school which she was really nervous about, but it all went well. She's had a delayed birthday sleepover and trip to the ice skating today, with a couple of friends. Sarah came along too and managed to skate without any help. Bronwyn managed to survive fourscreaming girls for several hours and hasn't cracked yet.

So we've had quite a houseful this weekend. Erica arrived from China to stay here for a week or two, and she's settled in really well. She made us dinner tonight, and we got out the chopsticks. Really nice!

Off to the zoo tomorrow.We're also short of firewood, so we're going to raid a few dead trees and fill the shed back up again.

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Too much cake... 
Car has a new shock absorber and brake hoses. Washing machine has a new drum brake solenoid (which the chinese manufacturers labelled as a drain pump motor, even though it's none of those three) and doesn't make a racket during the spin cycle. Had to drive to south Auckland to buy that thing.

Tomorrow is Rachael's book party. The books have arrived, and Rachael's really proud. She's also rather tired, having had a sleepover at the church, and a day at ActionWorld (involving lots of acrobatics and inflatables). She had her birthday last Thursday, and we're still working through the cake...

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