A quiet Christmas 

Rachael went down with chicken pox this week, and was howling and screaming for a couple of days, especially when someone was nearby to listen. Fortunately she seems to have recovered quickly. and is now bouncing around as if nothing ever happened. But we've planned a quiet Christmas just with us, to spare anybody else getting infected!

Got the element fixed in the oven. It had burnt out, and the main oven was only working on one element instead of two, which meant we couldn't do anything more than an egg pudding. After several phone calls and trips to suppliers, we found someone who could fit the right element.

The lawnmower also went. The belt came loose, and got caught in the mechanism. Bronwyn's brother Allen changed it for us, as well as giving it a service. I'm grateful. I didn't know the difference between the oil and the air filter. Learnt quite a bit about lawnmowers this week.

Bronwyn's parents are off to the UK for three weeks, so it's going to be really quiet. I wanted to get the water slide going again, but it's a fair amount of work, so first I'll see if the youth group are interested in testing it out...

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Sarah is over the chicken pox, but a couple of spots got infected, and she's now on antibiotics. She's tired and irritable, but otherwise OK. Rachael has been spared it, as has Bronwyn.

Did our last parade on Friday night. It's the longest one; about 800 metres. This is quite a lot when you're playing as well. We were right at the back, between Santa's chariot, and a trailer of Santa's helpers in miniskirts. We had to keep stopping and starting because the parade was having difficulty squeezing through the bridge halfway along. Afterwards, we had to walk back to the bridge for a carol concert, which eventually finished at about 10 to 10. We were all rather tired. Saturday was another concert, followed by a barbecue. Tomorrow, we start playing carols outside the supermarket. Every day for 8 days.

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Lost & found 
No sign of the cat, or the mobile, which has also been missing for a couple of weeks. We now have a new mobile, same number.

Went to the dentist. I don't have a fear of dentists, just the bill at the end. Fortunately I didn't detect any BMWs outside, and they didn't attempt to sign me up on a dental care programme. I have a new filling, which matches the colour of the rest of the tooth perfectly, so it's hard to tell where it is.

Sarah came down with chicken pox, and she's had it quite bad. She seems to be over the worst of it now; it's still sore, but no fresh spots anywhere. Rachael had a few days off school too, but it seems she's escaped for now at least. So has Bronwyn, although I suspect she has immunity after all her years in childcare.

There are very few people left at Dataview now. We have three leaving in January. It's going to be quiet. Very quiet. But at least we're not losing money. Whether it's sustainable remains to be seen...

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Into the swing 
Two parades yesterday. Glad I'm feeling better now. Except that there's a rough spot on an old filling, and I think I need to see the dentist. Ah well. I still have some sick leave left, and with Bronwyn's job, we're not doing too badly financially. Just as well; we put Bronwyn's car in for a service, and it needed two new HT leads, an air filter and two rear shocks. It'll be about $800 altogether!

As a special treat to Rachael for her literary efforts at school, we let her have a sleep over. She's had two friends over since yesterday. You know, having provided Rachael with a tree house, two swings, a trampoline and 100 acres of countryside, you'd have thought they might have made some use of them. No... they've been inside most of the weekend, and spent ages making things with polystyrene, lollypop sticks, glitter, balloons and rice. Now they want to decorate the Christmas tree. I suppose that's at least one less job for me and Bronwyn.

Our cat has been missing all week. He's quite independent and resourceful, so we're not too worried, but Bronwyn has been preparing notices to hand out. There was an unconfirmed sighting just over the hill, so we think he might have found a more generous human up there, or a plentiful supply of rabbits and ducks...

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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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