The good, the bad and the ugly 
Pulled up a large quantity of onion weed from the garden. Apparently it's edible, but it smells very strongly and grows everywhere. Also began digging up some flax plants to transplant into the paddock. This is New Zealand flax, which has six foot leaves and ten foot flowers. It was quite a jungle in there.

Just had our regional contest with the brass band. No idea how we did, but had plenty of fun, and it went quite smoothly. We did The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which involved various people wandering around the stage dressed in ponchos and silly hats, and firing cap guns at the conductor. The front half of the stage is on hydraulics, and was wobbling quite a lot - it made it hard to concentrate. But it all went well, including the bit where the trombones and cornets have to pretend to fire at each other across the stage.

I'm told they've found a new building for the brass band. Not sure of the details. In one month, I've been volunteered for the committee, made assistant librarian. and asked to drop in on the prime minister to ask him for money. I know this is a small country, but I haven't quite had the courage for the third one yet.

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The secret tunnel has been filled in. Still no sign of the lawnmower. I started pulling up weeds by hand yesterday. Going to take a while.

The tickets are purchased, and a large hole has appeared in the credit card. Bronwyn and the girls will go to see her friends in Singapore in October. Sarah has managed to lose her swimming togs after packing and emptying her suitcase a dozen times. She wanted to put the suitcase in the car, but they're not going for another month! They're exitedly planning what they're going to do there. Guess I'm going to need to do more overtime. I'll be at home, tidying up. My turn next year.

It's warm at last. Soon, we'll be able to take off the second duvet...

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The CD, the bomb and the secret passageway 
The girls have suddenly discovered ABBA. Apparently one of the staff at kindy was playing some music, and Sarah took to singing Mumma Mia continually. Rachael joined in too, altering the words to "Diarrhoea" etc as any self respecting nine year old would. Bronwyn managed to find an ABBA CD, and they've been playing it repeatedly ever since.

Last week, there was a loud bang. It scared all the cows and sheep in the valley. It happened at the end of the road, next to a pole. The police were called to the scene. All they found was a ripped up pet food bag, some rubber gloves and other rubbish including a box of condoms. Their comment was "at least they were playing it safe". Seems like someone was playing with acetylene gas, and filling things with acetylene and oxygen, and then lighting them. No damage done, but the police got an interesting afternoon out.

Border Collies are an intelligent breed, most suited to sheep herding and other farm work. What is not also appreciated is that they're good at covert surveillance. I decided yesterday to pull all the weeds out of the concrete at the bottom of the front steps. I had almost finished when I pulled out a particularly large clump of grass, and revealed a hole. It went down about 30 cm, and appeared to run right back under the house.

The hole had been dug out by our dog, who had got under the house, dug right under the concrete steps, and then continued out under the driveway. There, she had an unparalleled view across the front lawn, with room to snooze in complete secrecy. Very clever breed...

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Poetic justice 
Warm and wet today. Guess I'll stay indoors.

Went to collect the lawnmower, but it was missing a vital metal thingy that held the cutting head off the ground. Apparently Claire had tried to use it, but had run out of petrol. She had a tiny dribble in a can, which she used to get the thing back to the garage, but the head was dragging on the concrete. Bronwyn's dad was planning to fix it. I had the feeling it was poetic justice, after all it's not their lawnmower, and they could have asked first...

Unplanned trip to Katikati on Thursday, about 200km. One of the old conductors of the band died last Sunday, and several of us went down to play at the funeral. When I got there, I met up with several people from my church - apparently Murray had been in our church about 8 years ago, before going to Katikati. It suddenly felt like a rather small world. Nice drive too - the road follows a gorge through the hills.

There was one comment that stuck in my mind. Murray had found greater passion, and more acceptance in the band than in church. There is much to be said about fellowship and dedication, and it's not necessarily found in the places it's preached!

I think I'll leave my trip to England for now; it's going to be a lot simpler (and easier on the bank balance). So Bronwyn will go to Singapore with the girls in October, and I'll plan something later...

Otherwise all quiet, apart from the usual domestic incidents. Rachael borrowed Sarah's toy phone. Sarah came to me and wanted it back. So I asked Rachael to give it back. I got a lengthy convoluted explanation as to why she was ABOUT to give it back, but that I hadn't given her a chance, and now I was telling her off, and Sarah had told on her, and and etc. Anything to delay giving it back... Ah, and Bronwyn found one of my coffee mugs in pieces hidden in a cupboard. Haven't dared sort that one out!

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Fun and games 
It's getting warmer. Still cold, but not quite frosty. But we had some thick fog last week. Yesterday, I tried to start my car. I tried the usual trick of rolling it down the hill. Unfortunately I'd left it facing the wrong way, and had to do a bump start, in reverse, in thick fog, with a very cold and wet engine. It didn't work.

I tried jump starting from Bronwyn's car. Didn't work either. So I took Bronwyn's car, Bronwyn took her mum's (Janet) car and her mum took Bronwyn's dad's (Ross) car. Bronwyn's dad took the ute (the pick up truck). Don't know why they need two cars AND the ute, but it comes in handy sometimes.

There was an accident on the motorway to the north, and all traffic was routed west to The Other Road, on the opposite coast. Unfortunately, this was the road I went home on after work. I got stuck in a huge tailback, and got home ten minutes after Rachael arrived.

Rachael had set off towards Bronwyn's parents, but there were horses in the paddock, so she took a route way up the top of the hill. Meanwhile, I checked the house, and phoned Janet. Apparently Ross had been over at the sheep shed, so I checked there, and Bronwyn's sister Claire's house. On returning, Janet rang, and decided to walk along the route towards me. I hunted round the house (and started the car, which worked first time without a jump start). Meanwhile, Rachael had reached Janet's house (from the back). Janet arrived at our house. After more searching of the nearby area, Ross arrived with Rachael, after spotting her on the road. Rach had started walking back along the road.

We're going to give her a spare key. Today, Bronwyn went off with the girls, and I had a quiet few hours. Went to see Ross building a new fence near the house. He wants to get it classified as wetland, which grants him another title. So more trees. And flax, etc. He's fenced off a good acre this time. I have quite a few little trees growing, but they're still very small.

Bronwyn returned with some petrol for the lawnmower. I went out to use it, but the lawnmower had vanished. I didn't call the police, because I found some tracks leading off towards Claire's house...

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