Sarah's chicks are doing fine, and Bronwyn has revived the nursery box and added an extra layer of chicken wire. One layer for the chicks, the other one for the cat. Unfortunately one of Cooper's chicks died on Sunday. She was rather small, and hadn't started eating, and accidentally fell a few inches. Sarah was really upset. But Claire has found a replacement, and Cooper is now back up to two again. Apparently one has been named "Rock Star".

And Zeus, our spina bifida lamb, died on Tuesday. He wasn't feeding too well on Sunday, and just went slowly downhill. We were all quite upset about that.

There was an accident on the main road on Tuesday morning. Motorcyclist died in a head-on with a truck. Rachael's school bus got stuck in the diverted traffic and was one and a half hours late. And apparently two people died early yesterday on the back road not far from us. They used to go to Kaipara College, and some of the youth group knew them.

So it hasn't been the best of weeks. But as Ross told Sarah, Zeus is up there in heaven, with all four legs working, gamboling away somewhere. And there's plenty more of his cousins still in the paddock. It hasn't been all bad.

Erica moved out this week. She's staying with a young Chinese couple in North Shore. We took her out for a meal last night. She's become like a daughter to us (she calls us Mummy and Daddy) and I keep expecting to hear her walking down the corridor in the morning. But we haven't seen the last of her. She's hoping to bring her entire English class to see the farm next weekend. She's also planning to bring her boyfriend next month when he's over here. And as I said, we took her out for a meal last night. It happened to coincide with the Bledisloe cup match, so they had to move us out the moment we'd finished, to make room for the hordes in front of the TV!

Did plenty yesterday. Two loads of washing, plus three jumpers and a sofa. This was the sofa bed we'd shipped out from England, but one of our cats found it years ago. Bronwyn wanted to throw it out, but the mechanism is still good, so I stripped it down and washed everything I could. I think it's almost passable for the youth group, but I'm not sure I'd sleep on it!

And I have a new car. A 1994 Corolla. The engine works perfectly, which is a bit of a shock after having learnt exactly how to move the old one, and then coming into a car that nearly does wheelspins. There's a spring loose in the driving seat, right where my spine sits. I couldn't get into the seat to fix it, so I arranged some cardboard and an old pullover (thanks, Mum) under the seat cover. Almost perfect. Now I just need to fix a flapping stone guard underneath, and give the carpet in the boot a wash, and it should be perfect.

Must dash. I have a sofa to reassemble.

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Sarah has brought home another pair of chicks from school. She hasn't named them yet, but they're doing well so far and learning to peck for food. Claire's son Cooper has also got some chicks, and they're off skiing this weekend, so we're looking after them too. Bronwyn's installed them in the old laundry under the heat lamp.

And we've got a paraplegic lamb. He's got spina bifida, and his back legs barely work. But his front legs are fine, and he's otherwise healthy and very lively. We'll probably make some wheels for his back half at some point. Meanwhile, he's learning to get around by scrambling frantically with his front legs. And he's in nappies. Yes. Bronwyn decided it wasn't good for him to sit in his own wee all the time. Rachael has decided he needs a strong masculine name, so she's called him Zeus. I'm thinking more along the lines of "Wheels".

Erica did her exam again today, and she thinks it went better than last time. She had a topic "Something that made you happy". That's a lot easier than "School Rules". Next week, she's going to move out to a house in North Shore, about half an hour from here. And buying a car. Hope it all goes to plan!

Rachael's off on camp with the Guides this weekend. Hope they've got good shelter. We've had quite a bit of rain this weekend.

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Can't complain... 
Let's see... the car is still dying, I've had a stomach bug, Rachael's had a cold all week and Erica didn't make her grade in the exam. Oh, and it looks like we've lost another file store at work. Meanwhile, Bronwyn's on the hard stuff after the operation this week. She's had some teeth out, and it looks like one of the holes has got infected. It's really painful and swollen, but it's not quite as bad as it was. She's been on all sorts of medicines this week. Anti biotics, painkillers, anti-nausea and some stuff to increase her blood clotting factor. She's rattling.

Well, apparently the new car is still available, but it's not quite ready yet. It's owned by some guy who works at a car parts shop. This explains why it's taking so long. My mate Dave lives next door to a builder, and his house is never finished.

Erica's going to retake the exam, and hopefully in just a week's time. So it's back on the speaking practise. They gave her a rather tricky subject - School Rules. It's not easy pronouncing that, let alone describing it in a foreign language!

Plenty of fun at work. All the servers went down. It took us five hours to trace it to a rogue network cable. This was after some hasty phone calls to set up a support contract, because I don't actually work for them any more! Now it looks as if we've lost a backup file store too. It fell over on Friday, and I restarted it. Gone again. I think that means it's terminal...

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Prince George 
We've had some wild weather this week. And about ten new born lambs. Tell me, which other species chooses to bring its offspring into the world in these conditions? Plus one calf. He was born on the same day as a certain other baby, so we've named him Prince George.

Erica did her English exam. She won't know the results until next week, but it sounds like it went better than the ones she did in China. Apparently she didn't speak to her boyfriend for a week before the exam, in order to keep her brain in English mode! Poor guy. We'll see him next month when he comes to visit. Now Erica's a lot happier! She's still attending the language school, just in case she misses the grade and because of her visa conditions. But she's been given a voluntary place at a local kindy, which she'll need for when she starts her university course.

Bronwyn and Rachael were supposed to go south to the mountains for the weekend; it was a present for Rachael to see the snow. But the weather has been rather wet and mild, and windy this weekend, and neither of them were really feeling up to it. So they've managed to get that postponed until September. Instead, they've gone to Kelly Tarlton's instead. Sounds like it's had a face lift recently. It's got all sorts of aquariums from urchins to sharks and full sized stingrays. Plus the penguins (complete with snow) and the replica of Scott's Antarctic cabin.

Rach and Sarah started at school this week. It's gone smoothly so far, although Sarah's missed the bus quite a few times this week! Rach is now doing drama. I think she's had plenty of practise.

Celia came back for an afternoon, and she's currently on a rapid tour of Australia, or at least Melbourne and Sydney. She's spent almost a whole year in New Zealand, and is looking forward to getting back home. It's just taken two months extra to say goodbye to everybody!

As of last Thursday, I am officially self employed. I did my first GST return yesterday. It was rather easy - only one transaction. But it might get more complicated once I work out which expenses I can claim on. I'll still be doing work for the old company. There's basically only two people left in the country that know how the system works, and that's me and my old boss that I'll be working with. So we're sorting out a support contract for them.

My poor car is dying. The radiator fan went years ago, so it overheats in heavy traffic. One window doesn't wind up too well. The parcel shelf is slowly turning to compost. The engine is wearing out; if it wasn't for the short downhill run on our driveway, I'd never be able to start it. I have to park at the top of a hill, or carry jump leads everywhere. And the clutch slips when going up hill. Our mechanic says he's found a couple of suitable cars I can purchase, and another guy who does scrap. I must reimburse him for his brokership services...

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We've had one week of the school holidays so far. Claire's five year old son Cooper (or is that Mini Cooper?) has been round for the day so Claire can go to work. He doesn't ever do things by halves. So far, he's broken the toilet seat and lost a few bits off one of my puzzles. We've got off reasonably lightly. So far.

Rachael somehow managed to finish all her homework for the end of term. Now she's had a whole week on Minecraft, and she's bored. Erica's been working Very Hard studying for her English exams. Haven't seen a lot of her, to be honest. So yesterday, we all went out to the hotpools. There's two pools, the warmish one for recreation and the hot one for recovering afterwards. And there's slides. The high slide was continually occupied by a large group of boys, so we went on the slightly lower slide. No queues on that one. All rather tired last night, and Rach wasn't feeling too good this morning. But at least she's not quite as bored.

We both forgot our anniversary, so we're going out for a dinner tonight, almost a month late. Then next week Bronwyn's planning movie trips, Sky Tower, and quite a few other things. Celia is planning to visit next weekend before she leaves the country, and Erica's got her exam. It's going to be a busy week!

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