Happy Christmas 
Christmas started last week. Santa has already been busy in quite a few parades. He's also phoned Sarah to ask what presents she wants. Another two parades this weekend, then more the next weekend. The last posting date for England has already passed...

We're a bit low on water. I've been making a graph on the kitchen cupboard. We've never run out before, but with a full house it's been going down faster. It's going to rain tomorrow, but at some point we'll probably need a tanker load. Mind you, the sheep are enjoying all the long grass out in the paddock. Apparently the drain system ends up out there somewhere, in a sea of perrenial green. Well fertilized, too.

Bronwyn's weaning herself off the painkillers; she's been able to do a lot more this week but still has to take it easy sometimes. She's still got the disabled badge from when the cow stood on her, which has proved quite useful.

Martin still hasn't found a car, but Bronwyn still isn't able to drive, so it's not a big issue. Had quite a decent curry last night. Bina Biryani...

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TLC 
Bronwyn's been back home for a week. She's still on strong painkillers, but can float about the house with ease, given sufficient morphine. She can't lift anything or bend down. Not that she doesn't try!

Went to see Rachael's new school at the induction last week. It's a catholic school in town; the same one thst Bronwyn went to. I guess if Bronwyn wants to send here daughter there, then the experience can't have been that bad. It looked quite laid back - not a nun in sight. They have a big focus on music in the first year, and Rachael wants to learn clarinet. Must see if I can borrow one to give her a taste of what she's in for...

Martin and Bina's van is back in the garden, and it's a blown head gasket. It's good if you're only travelling 9km. Any more than that and there's a loud bang from the engine and a pipe explodes. Martin is planning to list it for sale, and is hunting around for a car to finish off their tour of New Zealand in. They were planning to move on shortly, but they'll need transport first.

Christmas starts next week. Two parades on Saturday. Two on the weekend after. I had a quiet weekend in advance...

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Good progress 
Bronwyn's still in hospital, but she's now able to walk short distances so we're hoping she'll be home very soon. There were a couple of complications after the operation, but she's recovering well. I've been over there every day this week. I know the route very well. Plus all the places to get a free car park!

Martin and Bina have been doing most of the cooking, and they've kept the house in good shape. No news about their van, and apparently it's going to be a difficult job because Nissan put the engine underneath the front seats for some odd reason, and it's very hard to get to. But if our mechanic can't fix it, nobody can. Just hope it doesn't kill him first!

Martin's been teaching Rachael piano. She's picked it up really quickly, and it's a lot easier than trying to get a note out of a cornet. At this age I'm happy she's learning any sort of instrument. Meanwhile, Sarah is no longer doing literacy support, which presumably means she's managed to catch up with her reading. It's still quite a lot of brain work for her, but she can recognise a lot of whole words and unusual letter groups now, so it's just a matter of practice. At the beginning of the year she was struggling to recognise individual letters. Rachael, of course, got top marks in spelling, and good marks for writing in the external exams she's been doing every year.

At least Marting and Bina got to see some fireworks. They went to the big display in the stadium in West Auckland. Very impressive, apparently!

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Expect the unexpected 
That All Black try was quite incredible. I had to watch the replay about three times until I worked out what had happened. I suppose it's partly because we've got an old format TV and we lose the sides of the shot. The ball went to the end of the lineout. The French dash for the end of the lineout. The camera goes to the end of the lineout. Except somehow the ball is now in the middle, and heading for the try line. Not bad.

It's all gone quiet now. Still a lot of cars with All Blacks flags flying though!

Bronwyn's operation is tomorrow. Rachael's really worried, and hasn't been sleeping well all week. Rachael and Sarah will be staying with the grandparents for a couple of days to make it a bit easier. Meanwhile, Martin and Bina's van has died, probably the head gasket, and possibly a new engine. So yesterday I cleaned and sanitized Bronwyn's car for them to use.

Strange. Most of the mess was on Rachael's side!

Pity they had to miss the fireworks because of the van - they were really impressive. We went with Bronwyn's parents and her sister's family and set up camp. Afterwards there were clouds of smoke everywhere. Obviously they'd planned this - there was a laser playing through the smoke!

Bina made a curry yesterday. It was very nice, and quite definitely authentic, but rather hot. Normally I end up finishing Bronwyn's curry when she can't take any more. Last night I didn't!

The kettle blew its element. Fortunately I still had the element I'd rescued from the old one, so I swapped them over. At least we still have gas - it's sitting in a bottle outside the kitchen. A lot of businesses had to close down when the main gas pipeline blew last week. It's quite amazing how many places rely on gas!

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This could be it 
Martin and Bina arrived last week. Bina has found a short term job, and meanwhile Martin has done a lot of work tidying the house. Indeed, I actually got as far as cleaning the windows yesterday. It's amazing how much dirt came off the front window. I do apologise to the family of spiders that have called that window home for countless generations. Still quite a few windows to go, but at least we can see out of the ones I've done.

M&B are off to the Coromandel this weekend. They've spent a few weeks touring the south island, and are now doing the north island. I believe they'll find a pub somewhere to watch the rugby final. I'm guessing the Coromandel will be quiet tonight, since most Aucklanders will be glued to a TV somewhere!

I did like that final try by the Welsh. I bet they're pleased with that, even if they didn't win. It's going to be mayhem if the All Blacks win tonight.

It's quite warm now. Took the girls out to the beach (well, a tidal stream) and it was suprisingly warm. We had a lot of rain last week, so the farm is looking very green. Bronwyn's been out on the mower. To be honest, I'd be happy with a jungle or a carefully tethered goat. But we're slowly filling the garden with trees, so we'll get there eventually!



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