Exploding car and smoking table. 
The car got us all the way home from Tutukaka. Then Bronwyn took Rachael in to school. While driving through Swanson, the car suddenly disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Bronwyn and Rachael leap out and run away. Five blokes leap out of the truck behind with fire extinguishers. Bronwyn phones the fire brigade. But it was only steam. One of the pipes on the radiator had perished and blown, and the pressurised system had dropped several gallons of very hot water on the road.

Fortunately nothing else had been damaged, so our mechanic fitted a new pipe. Same thing happened on Tuesday. A different pipe. So this time the car stayed at the mechanics overnight while they checked all the other pipes and replaced a few more. All good now, touch wood (or maybe rubber?)

Finally got round to incorporating Nick's trombone illuminations into my table. That may seem an odd sentence to some. Nick has a history of decorating trombones for carnival parades. It started with a few simple flashes. Now it's micro controllers and multi colour LEDs. He sent me an old version to play with. Some years ago, I took an old server from work, removed all the covers and then built it into a table with a glass top. It now has three 12 watt green LEDs underneath, plus my own lights on top and Nick's lights as well. Seems to draw a lot of power, but quite impressive. Just don't leave it on too long or it might start smoking...

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Dave and Sarah's wedding 
Dave is my old boss, now a business partner, joint shareholder, fellow self employed, something like that. Anyway, yesterday, he got married to Sarah, who started off as a lodger several years ago and obviously had some effect on him!

Saturday morning went like clockwork. Google told us it would take 2 hours 16 minutes to get to Tutukaka for the wedding. We had to drop off the cat to the cattery. We also had to get a warrant for Bronwyn's car, because it expired yesterday! The cattery opened at 8:30. The mechanic opened at 9. He did all the checks in record time and Bronwyn had enough time to get some lunch for later, before returning to bundle us in the car for 9:30. All went well until Whangarei, when the GPS decided to take us on the scenic route. It also became obvious that 2 hours 45 minutes was more accurate for the trip! After a few phone calls, everything was sorted, and we had enough time to settle in the motel at Ngunguru (officially pronounced ŋu ŋu ru which our Australian GPS pronounced n-gun-geree) before getting picked up to go to the wedding.

There was quite a sizeable band of rain heading for the site, but somehow it got delayed until late in the evening and everything went off smoothly. I spent a while playing Braddock Bingo. Dave has three brothers and two sisters, all married with children. I got all the brothers and sisters, the parents, and a couple of children. Need to try harder next time...

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A packed programme 
It's been a busy weekend. On Friday Sarah had her group agricultural day, then Rachael had a swimming lesson up in Silverdale at 5pm, Sarah had a dress rehearsal at 5:45pm in Auckland Girls, and I had brass band in Kumeu at 7:30. We ditched the rehearsal. On Saturday, Sarah had swimming at 10am, a drama performance at 12:45 and we all had a barbecue and fireworks from 5pm onwards. Today, I had to turn up early to do trombone in church, and Rachael was apparently down to girl the computer. Turns out she wasn't needed, so she went home to finish her English revision. We're all a bit tired.

The group agricultural day was for all the students who got first, second or third in the school days for calf, goat and lamb. Which was just about everybody, due to the number of different prizes. Sarah came home with a couple more ribbons for wool quality and a team one for best group of lambs. Tom did well, but so did all the others! Now he's out in the paddock, minus the collar. We only have a small amount of milk powder left, so he's going to be weaned soon!

Christmas has already started. We've been practising the Christmas items for three weeks at the band now...

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Melissa. And a rabbit. 
Oswald the little black rabbit ended up staying in Paihia. Meanwhile, Bronwyn had already bought a brand new hutch and all the accessories. So after a few posts on Facebook, we're now the proud owners of Oswald the Mostly White rabbit. He seems rather scared of humans though, since he runs and hides when we get too close. And he's not easy to catch. Hopefully he'll get used to the place (and the cat).

Melissa has been a week with us, and she'll be off north on Thursday. She's doing a gap year in New Zealand before going to Austria for university. Took her out to see the fireworks on Friday, and she's had a stomach bug since then! But at least she's still talking to us...

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Proud moments 
Sarah came home with flying colours after Ag Day. Four of them. She got ribbons for Tom the lamb, two for second place and one for first. Plus a big one for coming second overall (for lambs) in the school! (Apparently the girl who came first has entered a lamb eight years running.) Tom did really well, and the first place was for the plank test, where they have to walk up a plank up to about 3 feet off the ground and jump off the end. Tom did it no problems, even though our practice plank barely went up 18 inches. There's a group day later where all the champions across the district compete. I'm not sure if Sarah gets to compete in that.

Looks like we're going to have another German shortly. And a rabbit. There seem to be a lot of Germans around at the moment; it's presumably because school has finished and they're all off for a Big OE (overseas experience), just like the Kiwis, but in reverse. We're due to welcome Melissa shortly. And when Yanick reached Kaitaia, the house was occupied by a small black rabbit. Nobody knows where he came from, but Rachael's eye's lit up when we mentioned him, so they're bringing it here on their way south. We're calling him Oswald.

Erica came to visit her Mummy and Daddy today. She also came to our church; on the last Sunday of the month we have a sharing time, and I wanted to give her a chance to tell everyone about all that's been happening in her life since she arrived. She took it back even further, to a dream that began when she was 13 on seeing a New Zealand farmyard in a book. The moment she stepped through our door she became part of the family. Now, we refer to her as a daughter! It's been clear to me that she was meant to come here, and that the dream has been coming to reality like clockwork. God's got a big plan for you, our dear little daughter!

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