The Salvation Army 
Spent about 7 hours at a joint concert in the central Salvation Army headquarters in Auckland. It was a joint concert between the brass band and the Salvation Army band. We had a rehearsal in the afternoon and a concert in the evening.

It was a really good concert. They had a very loud bass trombone, and I was directly in his line of fire. Quite impressive, but I think it took a while for my hearing to return afterwards. We played a few items each, and then three pieces to finish. And they were begging us for more afterwards!

One of the pieces was titled 'El Es El Senior'. I sat there trying to piece together my limited Spanish. They started playing a typical Spanish melody complete with castanets (well, woodblocks). Then they put the words up on the screen. I couldn't believe it. It was "He is the Lord (Send your power)". Really done well. I understand that band has been competing in the A grade, and they certainly deserved it.

Put more floorboards on the tree house this week. I think I've done enough for now - it's a lot more stable (and dry) in there now. Rachael and her friend have christened it the Cat Clubhouse, because her friend likes cats. Sarah isn't allowed.

Sarah got up really early, and I had to put her back in bed. Then the clocks went back an hour this weekend, so I'm rather tired at the moment!

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With a pile of old floorboards from the old front deck, I made a new floor for the treehouse. Plus another one for the top level, and a few well placed planks to strengthen the old timber. It might not meet New Zealand building standards, but it's certainly going to last a few years yet. Might make use of a few nearby branches and have a balcony, but not this weekend...

We've had five baptisms this week, all from the youth group. Three on Wednesday and two on Sunday. They make quite a thing of it at out church, and it can take about half an hour per person. So it got split over two days. On the Sunday the church was packed, even after the children had left for the sunday school. Quite an occasion. I want to get a bit more involved with the youth group, so I might turn up this Wednesday too. I mentioned it to the youth leader, and he's invited me to help out at the summer camp. Not sure I can cope with all the activities, but I'm tempted. I'm also offering to rebuild the water slide if they can promise they'll pay is a visit.

No trees this week. Too busy with floorboards.

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The youth group held an open meeting this week - the church was packed with about 150 teenagers (plus a row of token fossils). This was a follow on from a similar meeting last year, where we saw a video of a talk given in America. It was all about the greatness of God, and looking at the earth on comparison with some of the stars just inside our own galaxy. If the earth was a golf ball, the largest known star would be the height of Everest. They handed out some (toy) golf balls for us to ponder.

Planted more tree. Didn't buy these - they were ones that I had weeded from the in-laws garden nearly a year ago. Don't know if they've grown a lot, but they're quite slow growing anyway. So I've pretty much filled up the space allotted to me. Bronwyn's dad offered me another plot, except that this one's about half an acre, and will take quite a few more trees. So it could take me a while.

Looks like I'll be doing a lot of watering in summer!

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More trees 
I'm slowly becoming myself again, and learning how to cope when things get me down. Planted another ten trees yesterday. Dug 11 holes, and was somewhat confused after I had carefully filled it with compost and went looking for the tree. So I had to carefully dig the compost back out again. It's a lot of work, and physically tiring but it's mentally relaxing, which is what I need after sitting in front of a computer all week.

Fathers' day today. Got two lots of chocolates, one from Bronwyn and one from Rachael. Someone had bought a pile of chocolates, perfume and cheap gifts, and they were handing them out to fathers. Now my aim is to eat more chocolates than Rachael does.

It's been dry for a couple of weeks now, and the ground is solid again. The river has been in flood several times this winter. The old house copes well with it all, but some of the newer ones (i.e. the ones in trendy places like the top of sandy cliffs) have been having problems. But this old house has been here for 80 years. Just so long as he repairs the roof some time...

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Working hard on holiday 
I ended up taking only two days off altogether, although I left my emails set to tell everyone I was going to be out until September. Meanwhile, I ignored everything and just worked on a little project that I had wanted to do for a long time. It helped me to recover quite a bit. Bronwyn seems to be coping better this week too, although that may be due to having me more available. I did a few trips moving children around. I was discussing it with our pastor this morning too, and he made the comment that he felt under pressure too! So while he worries about us, I'll worry about him...

Planted all twenty trees. They're only tiny things barely a foot tall, but with a little care they should be fine. I think I now have the experience to raise their life expectancy somewhat. It's also quite relaxing to go off in the afternoon and check up on them.

But the major task I completed this week was to strip the grass off my driveway. Now I can clearly see the patches of concrete and the patches that are just stones and clay. I used a small bag of mortar to fill in some holes, but when I feel more energetic I'll get 50kg of concrete and try to smooth it out a bit. It probably needs a lot more than that, but it will be enough to seal off the weeds.

Two strips of roofing iron have appeared in our garden. I presume Bronwyn's dad is about to repair the roof, but hasn't mentioned it so far. Perhaps they need to be seasoned for a while. Not sure that iron needs to be seasoned, however.

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