Turning around 
We've had quite a lot happen lately, and I didn't get to add an entry last week. Bronwyn has been really struggling, and we've had her case workers over several times to look after her. But we've had a lot of help from the church. A friend is trying to organise another home group, and wanted Bronwyn to come along. Bronwyn isn't up to going to the main church meetings, because she can't handle all the people. But she misses the old ladies group we used to have. So she was interested in another one starting.

So our friend organised another couple to come in and look after the children for the evening. They also did a lot of cleaning, which really helps me since I've struggled to keep the floor clear let alone clean. I guess there was a bit of spiritual opposition, if you understand the phrase, in terms of Bronwyn's mental state as all of this was being planned.

Wednesday went really smoothly. The house is considerably cleaner and tidier, and I've been able to get a lot more useful things done. This weekend, Rachael has been down the road at a childrens' camp - her first time. She had a whale of a time, and we had 40 hours of peace!

The deck still isn't finished. The wall still has holes. I guess I need to use my extra free time to do some carpentry, as long as I can find timber to match our 90 year old weather boards.

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More stormy weather 
It's been a very wet and windy week. We've now had three storms pass across the north island in 7 days. A number of roads were flooded, although I haven't seen too many trees down. The trampoline hasn't moved since I anchored it to buried logs, but the legs are now pointing in a slightly unusual direction. The driveway by the house is looking like a cart track.

Fortunately Bronwyn's dad managed to finish the front deck last week, but there's still a bit of woodwork to do, and some holes in the walls. They don't make the same weather boards any more (and haven't for about 30 years) so I'm not sure how he's going to fix it. But it needed doing. There was a board by the front steps covering the worst part. It had been there for ten years, and was beginning to collapse as well. At least we don't risk falling through the hole every time we leave by the front door any more.

Sarah has been ill with tonsillitis this week, and had to go to the doctor's twice. She had a fever, and headaches, and a blocked up nose. Still not quite right, but a lot more lively now. Rachael looks tired, but now she's able to read, she tends to stay up late reading the Famous Five books. Bronwyn bought her Anne of Green Gables, and I got her The Hobbit. Reading is one of her strengths. Teamwork and co-operation isn't!

I tidied Rachael's room. It's the first time since she was two, i.e. since we moved to New Zealand. For once, the floor is clear from wall to wall, and everything is in its place. I removed masses of junk, and transferred a lot of stuff to Sarah's room, and the spare room. Looks quite empty now. I preserved everything appropriate for an eight year old. She's left the fairy wings stage, and has moved onto Disney Channel and trendy pre-teen mannerisms. Unfortunately for her, the smart comments don't work round here!

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Stormy weather 
We had a major storm sweep over the North Island this week, and apparently there's another one on its way later in the week. The river is rather full, and all the low lying paddocks are flooded. I was tempted to take a canoe down, but I don't think it would fit in the car. There were some quite high winds, and two trees are down on the road nearby. We nearly lost power a couple of times, but the phones are fine. I think they've been repaired enough in the last couple of years to last a while.

Rachael took a mini-surfboard down the drive, and attempted to surf a large puddle. She came back rather cold and wet!

I've begun to tidy Rachael's room. It'll be a long term project. I've decided that if I can do a little bit each day, it might get there eventually. Rachael's main problem is that she's got far too much stuff in there, so it's largely a matter of sorting out what to throw away, give to Sarah or put in a box in the spare room. Sarah now has quite a pile of stuff in her room, but at least it's still tidy...

Took the car for a warrant (an MOT) last weekend. It failed due to a headlamp. I wiggled the wires, and the light came back on, so they took the thing back through and passed it. Still considering when to buy a new one. The old one still goes well, once it's moving...

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A busy weekend 
Had quite a busy weekend last week, and didn't get to add and entry here. Spent most of Saturday tidying Sarah's room, and sorting out all the baby stuff. Now I just need a few more boxes to store all the bags of old clothes. I promised I'd help Rachael tidy her room this weekend. That's assuming she wants to actually do something about it...

Got to play French horn in church on Sunday. It was the first time in years. Two valves were seized up, but I managed to free and oil them. It went really well, and I had about 20 people compliment me on it afterwards. And Bronwyn made it in to hear me play, despite the cough and all the people.

Her cough has gone now, but a tooth has been hurting of late...

Took my car in for a service. The first comment when I picked it up was "Were you thinking of upgrading?". I've been combing the websites looking for fuel efficient cars, but mine is reasonably efficient already. Just needs a bit of gravity-assist on a damp morning. Apparently the engine is wearing out, and a few other things need fixing too. But the rest of the car appears to be fine, so it's a matter of how much it might cost, and how much a newer one might be.

Bronwyn brought home a swing set, provided by a gift from Grandma in England. Rachael loves it. Sarah is a bit more cautious, but that's just the way they are...

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Colour has returned 
I had carefully searched all the second hand televisions available throughout Auckland. I was on the verge of buying one, when Bronwyn walked home lugging a new one. Apparently it was on special. So now we have colour back in our lives again. It has one issue; the TV starts in normal mode from the aerial. You have to switch to the AV input manually. But the sound from the aerial is about four times louder than the AV input, so if you're switching on when the children are asleep, you have to switch the mode quickly otherwise you wake everyone on the farm!

Went to Hamilton Zoo on the way back. It's a nice zoo; quite quiet and plenty of gardens as well as the animals. But avoid the Kakas. They're the parrots in the free-flight aviary. They've been trained to eat food from the keeper's shoulder.

There were two of them. One landed on my shoulder, the other on Bronwyn. We stood still for a few seconds, then I reached out my hand to the bird. It gave my finger a gentle peck. But it had quite a large beak, and I pulled my hand away. It gave a hideous squawk (my ears were ringing for an hour) and flew off. The other one did the same, and both of them flew around squawking with quite deafening volume. Sarah was cringing under Bronwyn's legs. Fortunately we were only a few feet from the exit...

Had a barbecue on Saturday for Bronwyn's workmates. It was a howling gale outside and close to freezing, so it was an indoor barbecue. I got the house as warm as I could with our remaining firewood. We're running low, so I went out to the old pine tree (which is lying in pieces in the paddock) and sawed off a few bits. Fortunately Bronwyn's dad has finally cut us some firewood, so we're OK for the next few days. I've put a sheet over the mandarin tree to stop it freezing.

Bronwyn's on antibiotics with a nasty cough, and propped up on as many pillows as she can find. This is after she went out herding cows on Sunday. Not sure why they didn't ask me to do it!

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