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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Chickens, geese and the theatre. 
Went out to see The Sound Of Music in Auckland on Wednesday evening, followed by a chat in Starbucks, which meant I didn't get to bed until 11:30. Yanick left us on Thursday morning, to go up to Kaitaia, and then on around New Zealand. He was catching the 8:20am coach. From Orewa. And we had to be there 15 minutes early. Which meant we had to leave the house at 7:30. I've just about recovered...

The Sound Of Music was done really well. The theatre had some sophisticated machinery and effects, which meant that they could change the whole stage, staircase included, in about five seconds without having to lower the curtain each time. (Although the actors did occasionally have to wheel in a sofa!) They changed the ending subtly, and made use of the theatre a couple of times. Pity we were right at the back, but fortunately I knew the plot so I could tell who was who!

Had some fun with the chickens. They all got out one morning while Bronwyn was away. So I put them back, and two immediately got out. OK, time for the scissors. If you trim the tip of one wing, apparently it makes them unstable in flight. So I trimmed them and put them back. One immediately ran out. Ah. The fence has come loose. So I get a hammer and bash it back in. Then a few days later another got out. Odd. So I trimmed the branches of a small tree that had fallen over inside the run and might have offered an escape route. Then another got out. Urr... I seem to be breeding some very crafty chickens! We've had to go round hunting for eggs everywhere. However, the main problem was probably a big rats nest underneath the coop. Bronwyn put down some bait, and now the chickens seem a bit more settled, and eggs have started appearing in the coop again.

We do get some odd events on the farm. This morning, Ross, Bronwyn and Rachael went out to investigate a goose. It was nesting on the dam, but had its head draped down almost on the water, not moving. Ross crept up close. Suddenly it woke up and honked loudly, and then the male heard and came roaring across the water like a Lancaster bomber, heading straight for Ross. He got out quick. They do look big when they're close up!

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