Back again 
I was ill for two full weeks, and had to go back for more shots on Monday and Tuesday. But I'm feeling better than I have been for at least three weeks, so hopefully it's past. I've still got 2 weeks of antibiotics to go!

Claire's house is appearing fast; they now have the frame up for the walls, and it's beginning to look like a house rather than a muddy mess. They're right next door to the winery, so I hope they can cope with the occasional engagement parties. We had one last week that went thumping on into the night, and we're quite a bit further away!

Rachael has made her debut as an author. She wrote a poem for armistice day, and the school thought it was so good that they got her to read it at the church service on the 11th. We sent it out to quite a few people, and they all though it was great:

Peace on Armistice Day

Peace is a soft feather,
Floating with twinkling white
snowflakes in the breeze,
Flying quietly by.

When peace happens, resting begins,
Like you are lying on the soft clouds of heaven,
You are resting with warm softness,
While you are sleeping in peace.

War is a horrible time of no peace,
When bad things happen;
Miserable feelings spread across the eyes of peace

She also wrote a story, and won a $150 prize from a local radio station. She's been recorded reading it out, and it's going to be played one Sunday morning. Not sure which!

Bronwyn's been busy. She was out at work all Saturday helping them tidy up the childcare centre. Then she got called in to cover an extra day, and there was a staff meeting she had to go to on Thursday. She was about to head in this morning, but I persuaded her to have a day in. They had a 'white' day yesterday, as part of some campaign against domestic violence. Everything had to be white. After spending all day fishing out white playdough from the sandpit and white paint from everywhere else, she was pretty worn out.

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Not well 
Managed to put all the panelling back together on the bay window seat, but didn't get much else done. I was feeling a bit peculiar all week, and on Friday I went home early. By Saturday my eyes were bulgy, and I went to the doctor. He said it was just as well, because otherwise I'd have been in hospital by Sunday! By Saturday night, my face had swollen up and I had difficulty opening my eyes. After three shots of antibiotics, plus 4 other sets of tablets and eye drops, I'm just about feeling normal again. Didn't do anything all weekend, or indeed Monday and Tuesday morning. Doctor Harry wants me to take off the rest of the week!

Bronwyn's been busy colouring in various drawings, and washing puppets. She's taken the nail boards into work, and I gather she's making play dough as well. But she was asked to come in too often last week, and decided she really had to limit it to three days a week. They've just had someone resign, and she's just about the only qualified person there, let alone registered.

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DIY 
Construction has started on Bronwyn's sister Claire's house. They've begun to put in the main studs (it's a wooden house, so there's not much of a foundation). Haven't been over there recently, but a frame is now visible from the road. It's Claire's birthday so we've got her some DIY vouchers!

Having succeeded to fix on the mailbox (the steel was only 1/2mm thick), I spent a lot of yesterday cutting up bits of panelling to finish off a bay window seat that's been in bits for about 3 years now. Did some painting and varnishing today, and once the second coat's on, I can tack on all the panelling. It's looking quite good already. Bronwyn's planning to make some cushions to fit on top.

Bronwyn's dad has been talking of replacing our front deck, which has a couple of nasty holes in it (currently covered up by assorted bits of plywood), so I think I've goaded him into action!

Meanwhile, one of the church youth home groups offered to come round last week, do jobs for us and look after the children, so we could have a night off. In the end, we both stayed at home, and had a great time tidying and cleaning, and finding out what colour Rachael's floor is. Bronwyn brought some pizza for everyone, and they were really pleased they could eat with the whole family. The youth group is trying to do more things for other people this year, instead of spending all the time in their own little private club.

Bronwyn's been busy too. She's nailed 256 nails into 4 squares of MDF board, to make an exercise for the childcare centre. The children have rubber bands to make shapes on the nails. I suggested doing one using a triangular layout, so they can make hexagons and so on, but she's going to try them on the basic square layout first!

And the cat got into a fight, and got a couple of deep cuts on one ear, so he's currently in stitches. It certainly hasn't been a dull couple of weeks...

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Falling to bits 
Our mailbox has finally fallen to bits. It has sat on top of a fencepost at the bottom of our drive for many years, and survived more than one assault from a teenager with a baseball bat. But it wasn't that which got it in the end. The door simply fell off - the hinges had rusted right through.

I managed to remove the top and sides, since it was only attached by a few small screws. But the base has been fixed on by four enormous coach bolts, which have rusted up and are impossible to undo. So I considered fixing the new one onto the base of the old one. This involves drilling holes through two layers of sheet steel. I don't have a 200m long mains cable, and I'm not sure if my battery operated drill will do it.

Meanwhile, I've sanded down an old bookshelf that got removed 5 years ago when we painted the hall. The landlord had meant to paint the bookshelf and put it back, but obviously hasn't remembered, so I decided to have a go. Unfortunately it's warped quite a bit so we might have some fun fitting it back in.

There's also the front steps which have big holes in them, the seat in the bay window which is still partly in bits, and the outside of the house hasn't been painted for years.

They're currently concentrating on building a house for Bronwyn's sister Claire and husband, which is currently progressing well. They've recently put in the water tanks, which are two big grey concrete structured half buried in the ground. Each has a serial number stencilled on the top. They look just like military bunkers.

Big jobs. Our landlord (Bronwyn's Dad) likes the big jobs with machinery and diggers. Same with Bronwyn's brothers. Not so hot on the fiddly bits to finish off!

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Happy Birthday Mum! 
Bronwyn survived three days in a row working at the leisure centre childcare centre. She also survived a day taking Sarah in for an operation on Monday. And she survived one of Rachael's friends coming round for a sleepover. She was tired, but seemed pleased with her achievement, and appears to have lost weight. She was out rounding up cows this afternoon, so I think she's recovered. I've been tired and achy today, and my nose hasn't stopped running, so I think it's me that hasn't coped this week!

Sent out 113 envelopes for the brass band Christmas mailout. Prepared an article for the brass band magazine with photos of all our bands. Sent out a flyer for the concert to half a dozen different newspapers and radio stations. They wanted evberyone to distribute at least two flyers. I think I've done my bit.

Sarah had an operation to unblock her tear duct. It never completely joined up at birth, so they joined it up with a metal probe. Her tears had blood in them for 24 hours afterwards, but now she can cry with both eyes, especially when we try to put the eye drops in. We have to do it three times a day for 30 days. She can tell it's about to happen now, and screws up her eyes and puts up her hands. Takes two of us to pin her down, poor thing.

She can talk quite well now, and makes herself clear with a combination of words and actions. Rachael still ignores the words she doesn't like to hear though!

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