A busy day 
The world's financial markets are in meltdown, Iceland has gone "down the googler" (as they say here), and the real estate market is looking, um, a little unreal. But life goes on in the farm.

I spent yesterday morning up in the bush working hard. Some signposts had been provided, and several of us had volunteered to carry the posts through the woods, drill holes in the earth, and put up the signposts. Took about three hours. Then in the afternoon I dismantled the trampoline. One of the joints has torn in the wind. It's fixable, but I had to take it all to pieces to get at the part. The net is still in perfect order, but the pads around the edge are in a sorry state. However, I have a plan involving the rain cover (which wasn't very useful because it was continually full of water) and a pair of scissors. Might keep it useable for another year or two.

After that, I sanded down part of a bunk bed that we had bought during the week. It was second hand, and I had to drive the ute into the city and back to pick it up. It's bright red, and has quite a bit of flaking paint and rust so we're going to sand it down and paint it purple, on Rachael's request.

In the evening, we went to see a concert by the Auckland Youth Orchestra. They were really good, and it was well worth it (Bronwyn's sister had bought us the tickets) but it was half past eleven by the time we got home to relieve the tired babysitters.

So I'm a bit tired today. Had to get up early too; I was running the computer at church, and doing a couple of items on trombone. It's also the regional contest for the brass band next week, so we've had extra rehearsals. Our finale is the Radetsky March. It's an entertainment contest, so we've altered things a bit. The band ignores the conductor for the first half and plays either too fast or too slow. Then suddenly we go into a swing beat, and I lurch in with a loud solo of "Down By The Riverside". We then switch to kazoos for the next section, before playing the ending perfectly after the conductor has stormed off stage. If we can pull that off, it should go down well.

On top of all that, Bronwyn's had some major issues at work, and there's a Big Meeting on Tuesday. I'll explain more after the event, but we'd appreciate your prayers this week!

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An eventful week 
I passed a policeman's hat. It was shortly after I passed a police car. I stopped. So did another car. We both walked towards it cautiously and stared at it. Then the other man announced himself as a retired police officer, so I let him pick it up. He was about to chase after the police car when it returned. I flagged it down, and the policeman set the lights flashing and pulled over. "Have you lost your hat?" I said. "Ah, thank you sir", he said, collected it and drove off.

Not sure how he managed to lose it. His driver's window was shut, and the hat had been on the far side of the road.

Managed to run into the clothes line this week. We have a length of fencing wire strung up on posts, and propped higher with some long sticks. Kiwi ingenuity; much better than the normal plastic variety. But I had taken down the props to let me mow underneath, and forgotten to put them back. Hence I ran into the wire. It hit the bridge of my nose, and I spun around and landed flat on my back. Pity nobody was there to watch; it must have looked quite spectacular. Now I have a slight red mark on my nose, but fortunately nothing else.

No planks or trees at all this weekend, although I did a bit more mowing and weeding. I'm trying to weed out the grass from the front steps, but it's too well rooted. So I've been pouring boiling water on it. Seems to work well - after a couple of days it shrivels up and comes out quite easily. Will take a few more kettle fulls to do it properly.

Bronwyn's birthday was this week, so I set up The Chocolate Fountain. You pour melted chocolate in the base, mixed with oil to thin it, and then turn it on so it gets pumped up the middle and runs down the outside. Very wasteful of chocolate, but a great hit with Rachael.

Bronwyn's also got her ears pierced, so she's recieved quite a few earrings. It's been a big step for her - for a very long time she was terrified (and that's not an excessive word) of needles and had to wear clip-on earrings at the wedding. But she went for it on her own accord, and now has some studs to wear until the holes settle down.

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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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