Lawnmowers. I think grass is easier. 
Our phone line was down for four days. We think it was a digger doing a trench for another cable. Knocked out about 50 houses!

Worked out what was wrong with the lawnmower. Part of the cutter deck is broken and pulling away, hence one pulley wheel was out of line and the belt fell off. Neil welded it back, but it looks like we'll need to buy a new cutter deck at some point! The problem now is that it won't start. Probably because the spark plugs have had it.

Managed to mow the front lawn last week. Part of the back lawn was done by the goats, on a clever arrangement of rope and a dog leash. Unfortunately they only liked the nice new leaves off the trees, and hardly touched the grass. Apparently Claire's lawnmower is also out of action. It refused to go in neutral, and remained stuck in gear. Nigel got so fed up he let it run over a small cliff. More welding work for Neil..

It's all on. Next year Sigrid from Norway will be staying with us. We've exchanged a few emails, and it sounds like she's really looking forward to it. We are too. Haven't done any painting for a while because we're still debating about putting in another mains socket or two, since the room currently only has one, in a rather bizarre position part way up the wall on the wrong side of the room.

Great fun at church this morning. We were wrapping up a series about the entire bible story, and we split up into groups. Our group had to do a short drama showing the Bible narrative in 2 minutes. Tricky. There were 30 of us, on a stage designed for about 7. When we did "The Fall" the stage was in chaos as we all hit the floor...

Sarah is watching a Barbie movie. Rachael is at a sleepover with her friends. No idea where Bronwyn is. We usually have Sunday lunch at Bronwyn's parents, but there's nobody there either!

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Sheep herding in a Caldina, and a return to the Dark Ages 
Our phone line went dead on Friday. We reported it on Saturday, and discovered that quite a few other people were out too. Bronwyn passed a couple of guys working on the lines, and one of them mumbled something about a 50 pair bundle being at fault. It was supposed to be back Saturday night, but now it's going to be Monday 1pm. So we've got no phone and no internet.

Meanwhile, Bronwyn wanted to move the sheep into one paddock since they've been spread out all over the place, and Claire's goats were mixed up with them as well. Ashwin can be a right mischievous character. He waits patiently near the gate, waiting for someone to open it and turn their back...

Anyway, because Bronwyn's foot was hurting after a long day at school (Agricultural Day, in which both girls had to make numerous creations out of flowers and various other bits from the garden) she decided to use the car to move the sheep instead. This plan worked fine, until she tried going round the back to head them off, and got stuck in a swamp. I attempted to pull her car out with mine. I now know that a clutch smells like. Still works, sort of.

On Sunday, we managed to pull the car out. Tried the little tractor first. No good. Then Neil arrived with the big one. That worked. Spent a while returning all the vehicles back to the right place.

Spent a while digging out more brambles on Saturday. I went to check on the trees, and found loads of new bramble shoots coming up. A long day at church on Sunday with a get-together for the musicians in the afternoon. So I'm pretty shattered now. Haven't got anything done that I was planning to do, but did quite a bit of other stuff instead. Not sure what's going to happen tomorrow. Bronwyn is working, and Rachael is not feeling well. No phone. No internet. Not sure when you'll get this message, but hopefully it'll be fairly soon...

... Tuesday. Still no phone. Posting from work...

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The spare room is 90% finished. Bronwyn wants to do the corridor too. We've been spending every spare moment doing bits this week. Bronwyn still doesn't trust her foot, so I've had to do the bits up the top.

She pointed out that there's only one power socket in the room; an ancient one that might be over 50 years old, and in a most awkward place. So we could end up getting our electrician in, plus the plasterer, and more paint...

Had a peculiar week at work. We've move into our new office in Orewa, which is just up the coast from where we were, and closer to the beach. On Wednesday the programmers had a day discussing how things are going in the future, which started in a cafe, then another cafe, then a picnic table by the beach, then a Japanese restaurant, and finally beck to the new office with chocolates, crisps, beer and coke. Must do that more often. Yesterday we did the final move, and spent ages trying to wire up the phones and computers.

It's a smaller office, and we're going to struggle to fit everything into the tiny kitchen. But it should cost less than the previous one. We're also trying to stop using a couple of huge computers that someone leased several years ago, and have been costing us thousands ever since. We can buy a pretty decent server for their monthly leasing fee now, so it's stupid not to.

It's been warm and sunny. Summer appears to have come early. But it's still pretty cold further south.

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Lawnmower broken, bank account empty... 
...but at least it's sunny.

I think I stretched the belt on the lawnmower, when it hit some sticks in the long grass. It falls off again after a couple of seconds. Perhaps I'll have a nature garden this year. Or a hay paddock.

We've made a start on painting the spare room. It's pink. But it's a *man's* pink. Well, one wall is, anyway. The rest is going to be a more girly shade once we get more paint.

We're not planning on a holiday this week, although I took a day off anyway and made a dent in the layers of debris around the house. It's getting into the silly season. Christmas parades, carolling and summer camps. Hopefully I'll survive until boxing day. It gets easier then.

We've had the lambing season, now it's the calving season. A few years ago we had a calf called Spotty. She's now had a calf herself, also with the trademark spot in the forehead. I thought of the name "Son of Spotty", but Bronwyn's dad decided to call him Dick, as in Spotted Dick. (It's an English currant pudding, which is largely unknown over here. Just don't shout the name too loudly!)

We've also identified this year's Houdini lambs, named after the great escape artist. It must be some genetic trait; we get them every year. They've found holes in just about every fence, and they use them freely. I'm not sure if there's a market for a Houdini gene...

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Back to normal 
Cleared the spare room, bagged up loads of old clothes, put quite a bit in the loft. Now we can look at decorating, but it's nice to have one room in the house that looks tidy. Meanwhile Rachael's friend Lissa stayed overnight on Friday. They decided to set up camp in the old water tank. When I was young, I would have cut up some plastic sacks to stop the leaks, and camouflaged it with branches. Rachael? No. She cleaned and dried it out with numerous towels, and then used a nice duvet as bedding and an umbrella for the hole in the roof. So we had quite a lot of washing to do on Saturday.

We're hoping to get away for a few days in the school holidays. Might get as far as the ski fields, although none of us can ski. It was raining last time. I'd forgotten what rain is like when it's a fraction of a degree above zero!

It's been very windy and wet. I attempted to mow the lawn, but ended up ploughing it instead. There were several roofs collapsed with the snow in the far south. Here, we just get cold and wet. But today is sunny at last. Rachael wants me to try the mower again, but I think I'll give it another day...

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