Stormy weather 
We had a major storm sweep over the North Island this week, and apparently there's another one on its way later in the week. The river is rather full, and all the low lying paddocks are flooded. I was tempted to take a canoe down, but I don't think it would fit in the car. There were some quite high winds, and two trees are down on the road nearby. We nearly lost power a couple of times, but the phones are fine. I think they've been repaired enough in the last couple of years to last a while.

Rachael took a mini-surfboard down the drive, and attempted to surf a large puddle. She came back rather cold and wet!

I've begun to tidy Rachael's room. It'll be a long term project. I've decided that if I can do a little bit each day, it might get there eventually. Rachael's main problem is that she's got far too much stuff in there, so it's largely a matter of sorting out what to throw away, give to Sarah or put in a box in the spare room. Sarah now has quite a pile of stuff in her room, but at least it's still tidy...

Took the car for a warrant (an MOT) last weekend. It failed due to a headlamp. I wiggled the wires, and the light came back on, so they took the thing back through and passed it. Still considering when to buy a new one. The old one still goes well, once it's moving...

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A busy weekend 
Had quite a busy weekend last week, and didn't get to add and entry here. Spent most of Saturday tidying Sarah's room, and sorting out all the baby stuff. Now I just need a few more boxes to store all the bags of old clothes. I promised I'd help Rachael tidy her room this weekend. That's assuming she wants to actually do something about it...

Got to play French horn in church on Sunday. It was the first time in years. Two valves were seized up, but I managed to free and oil them. It went really well, and I had about 20 people compliment me on it afterwards. And Bronwyn made it in to hear me play, despite the cough and all the people.

Her cough has gone now, but a tooth has been hurting of late...

Took my car in for a service. The first comment when I picked it up was "Were you thinking of upgrading?". I've been combing the websites looking for fuel efficient cars, but mine is reasonably efficient already. Just needs a bit of gravity-assist on a damp morning. Apparently the engine is wearing out, and a few other things need fixing too. But the rest of the car appears to be fine, so it's a matter of how much it might cost, and how much a newer one might be.

Bronwyn brought home a swing set, provided by a gift from Grandma in England. Rachael loves it. Sarah is a bit more cautious, but that's just the way they are...

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Colour has returned 
I had carefully searched all the second hand televisions available throughout Auckland. I was on the verge of buying one, when Bronwyn walked home lugging a new one. Apparently it was on special. So now we have colour back in our lives again. It has one issue; the TV starts in normal mode from the aerial. You have to switch to the AV input manually. But the sound from the aerial is about four times louder than the AV input, so if you're switching on when the children are asleep, you have to switch the mode quickly otherwise you wake everyone on the farm!

Went to Hamilton Zoo on the way back. It's a nice zoo; quite quiet and plenty of gardens as well as the animals. But avoid the Kakas. They're the parrots in the free-flight aviary. They've been trained to eat food from the keeper's shoulder.

There were two of them. One landed on my shoulder, the other on Bronwyn. We stood still for a few seconds, then I reached out my hand to the bird. It gave my finger a gentle peck. But it had quite a large beak, and I pulled my hand away. It gave a hideous squawk (my ears were ringing for an hour) and flew off. The other one did the same, and both of them flew around squawking with quite deafening volume. Sarah was cringing under Bronwyn's legs. Fortunately we were only a few feet from the exit...

Had a barbecue on Saturday for Bronwyn's workmates. It was a howling gale outside and close to freezing, so it was an indoor barbecue. I got the house as warm as I could with our remaining firewood. We're running low, so I went out to the old pine tree (which is lying in pieces in the paddock) and sawed off a few bits. Fortunately Bronwyn's dad has finally cut us some firewood, so we're OK for the next few days. I've put a sheet over the mandarin tree to stop it freezing.

Bronwyn's on antibiotics with a nasty cough, and propped up on as many pillows as she can find. This is after she went out herding cows on Sunday. Not sure why they didn't ask me to do it!

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Meanwhile 
Apologies for not writing last week; I had quite a pile to get through. But we're off for a weekend break with Sarah now, so I've got a chance to catch up. I prepared a complex itinerary for Rachael back at home - she's being shuttled between about 4 different houses!

Gave up on the cat for the time being. He's too light to spring the trap. And he seems to be doing fine out in the woods. But if I get a chance, I'll try modifying the trap...

I wanted to tidy Sarah's room, and clear out the baby stuff. Except that this meant I needed to tidy the spare room too, in order to find somewhere to put it. I also wanted to put a lock on the spare room door, to stop Rachael and Sarah untidying it again, and mend a bean bag which had been burrowed by a colony of mice a few months back.
Meanwhile, I bought a second hand scanner because our current one uses the old style printer plug, and I needed USB. So I spent all Saturday tidying the spare room (still not finished), going shopping for bits and pieces, fetching the scanner, and buying polystyrene for the bean bag. I decided we didn't need a lock for the spare room - I simply removed the door handle! It's now impossible to get into without pliers (or the door handle).

Meanwhile, our TV broke on Saturday night, so I'm now in the market for a second hand TV. It's OK, but only for programmes broadcast entirely in bright green. These are few and far between. But you get used to it after a while.

Meanwhile, I took my car for a service, and the first thing he said when I returned was "Were you thinking of upgrading?". So it looks like I'll be in need of a new car as well. Probably a small one or a hybrid, given the price of petrol.

Meanwhile, we're still going through financial difficulties at work, and we're losing three more people. My wages got paid in three installments, but at least this time it was all in one week. However, things have been quiet this week. We're approaching the end of out major upgrading project, and it's school holidays in a week or two, so we will have a chance to catch up and get things running smoothly. I've put aside thoughts of getting a new job for the time being!

Meanwhile, Bronwyn is looking at a childcare centre in the village just down the road from us. They can only have her part time, which suits her just fine. She's yet to get to an interview, but it sounds a lot better than the current job, which is a twenty minute drive without traffic.

So we're all in need of a quiet weekend. Bronwyn is in bed, I'm on a sofa, and Sarah is downstairs entertaining the landlady. I had intended to drop in on some friends nearby, but they've all got colds! Not surprising - we've had some very wet, cold and windy weather lately. It was quite a journey down - sometimes the spray from the trucks was so much I could hardly see. The forecast was for more of the same today, but so far it's not too bad!

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Still no cat... 
The cat food is disappearing. The trap is set. Somehow Smokey utilises a zero-gravity field which prevents the trap going off. Maybe he's lost weight. But his one big weakness is food, so I shall keep persevering. We have a collar ready for him, and we'll book him in for the vet, and then let him decide what he wants to do with his life...

The contest went quite well, and there were no major mishaps, apart from a tuning slide on a euphonium that kept falling out. It was set at its maximum length due to it being so out of tune. I think it was the nerves that caused it to wobble free. Haven't heard the results yet; I understand the senior band didn't do well, but as always we were grouped in with the next grade up. The Auxiliary band collected a couple of trophies, however.

Quite mild here. Still plenty of leaves on the trees. We've only had one slight frost.

Spent 5 hours yesterday tidying the lounge. Even tipped up the sofas. Rachael is doing her best to untidy it. People have been giving me tips about how to make her tidy her room. Most involve a large rubbish bag for all the toys.

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