The birthday zone 
Sarah is now 16, and Rachael is 21 today! So far we've had a couple of family get-togethers (and far too much cake). I've switched the photo frame to show Rachael's pictures instead. Celebrations will continue. And Sarah has passed her theory test and has a learner's license! Now she just needs some real driving lessons...

Bronwyn was out last week for two nights at a block course, sleeping in a spare room at the college. The week before, she was down in the south island at the Baptist Leader's retreat. And she'll shortly be off to Rotorua for the Baptist Youth Leaders conference. They're now opening it up to intermediates teachers. But then I'll get the chance to escape to another youth work conference in Wellington for the trust I'm involved in, and we'll all be going to Dunedin and Invercargill on holiday in July. At the same time as the national brass band contest in Christchurch unfortunately! I did look at travel options, but it's still a 4.5 hour drive on Google maps. Fortunately we've brought in another trombone, so I'm off the hook for now. We're all hoping the Covid alert levels stay at 1!

I played my first solo at the regional contest yesterday. I played Cavatina, which has a very high note. Last time I tried it, I couldn't quite manage it, but this time it was fine. And loud. So I'm happy even if I didn't get a placing. Not sure what I'll try next year. Nobody entered the not-slow contest for two years running, so I'm tempted to give it a try.

Having made jams, jellies and far too much chutney, I still had lots of feijoas left. So I tried making feijoa wine. Thanks to Rachel for the fermenter, I now have about 9 litres of rather sweet alcoholic fruit juice. Might try a bit less sugar next time! Still, it doesn't taste too bad, and works well with the ginger beer. There's another ice cream tub of feijoa pulp in the freezer, and a tub of cherry guavas. I'll leave them for later!

We've had a fair amount of rain. That's good, because a few weeks ago one of the pipes came loose and we lost most of the tank. Apparently Sarah complained about being kept awake by the water squirting out by her window. Pity she didn't tell us! But it's now full again, and the hills are green.

Should get a film crew up this week. They wanted some rolling hills to film an advert. They're going to bring in some cows, too. Apparently, they wanted to clear out the murky water from the cattle trough and put some fresh stuff in. We suspect they'll also have to give the trough a good scrub too, otherwise it won't look any different!

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