Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I think I like being 37...nondescript between 35 and 40, and not old enough to classify as 'late thirties'! Had a super-spoiled day all day; Nick and the boys got up at 6.30 to present me with gifts and cards...a long-awaited violin is at last mine! We all went our separate ways as usual, but I was only working in the morning as it is CGP policy to have birthdays off (oh I do like you, Rachel). Nick and I had lunch together before he went back to the church; I relished the afternoon to myself and got through all kinds of to-do list stuff. Shortly after 6 we dropped the boys off at Andreas and Danielle and went out for pizza and excellent conversation, and then rejoined the boys and Bothas for pudding. I was really blessed with pressies and texts and FB greetings - thank you to all who made the day amazing! Funniest gift by far was included with a serious present from the Kempfs...a squashed raisin buddy for my other raisin in the hopes that a little friend will encourage him to leave the safety of my nose!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends, no food, food, friends...

Have enjoyed a chillaxed and social weekend...the boys were doing the 40-hour famine yesterday although we only let them do the 20-hour option of no-food...Aaron's hang-dog expression was induced more from being deprived of the joy of food than actual hunger, and they got to have barley sugar sweets every two hours. We organized the day around a 4 pm tea of lasagne, garlic bread and salad though! I had a music practice with Bronwyn at 6 pm, then came home for pudding of peaches and ice-cream. Today was also most excellent...amazing sunshine following a cold front yesterday afternoon (actually we have been blessed with gorgeous autumn weather). I set up a slow cooker meal with the possibility of sharing it for lunch...last people to hang around at church won the prize; Graham and Liz were our guests. Brought out our second slab of Cadbury's Mousse chocolate for pudding...who needs anything else? Unfortunately they couldn't stay too long as Liz had a heap of things needing doing, so the next two hours were deliciously quiet and family-oriented in the sunny lounge. The afternoon service was superb...wish more people would attend the service to get the benefit! After church we decided that we needed to see the Camerons - it's been far too long and we've practically fallen off each other's friend radar. Had soup and bread with them (the great thing about dropping in at Matt and Rachel is that there's almost always some impromptu food option available :) ) and excellent fellowship. Thanks for the catch-up, chaps!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Leading ladies!

Thoroughly enjoyed my 'day off' today...did a bit of housework in the morning while Nick finished his sermon prep - once he was done he also had the rest of the day off (Fridays are sort of Nick's day off too if he's finished all his work). Had lunch at home then popped out to town together for coffee...awesome to have some time in the week for an impromptu date! At 2.30 I went with Liz to the Craighead Diocesan School for Girls for a concert - cleverly called "Leading Ladies" as they had brought back some of their past pupils - and as far back as 40+ years ago - to join in with present pupils who put on an excellent song and dance show of well known musical numbers. We both really enjoyed it and were impressed with the excellent talent at the school. I have to make special mention of Abby Kempf, who is sort of our niece emeritus since we've been melded into the wider Kempf/Cameron family - Abby surprised a lot of people with her mature velvety voice. Well done! Home again just long enough to collect Nick and the boys and get directions to the Graham's home...Liz put on a venison stew (deer by Graham) for tea and some excellent music and singing AND bananas-in-pyjamas for pudding! Thanks guys...'twas awesome!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good job Cadbury!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all have quite similar routines...drop the boys at school, go to work #1, eat lunch en route to work #2, collect boys, go home. Late afternoons and evenings are busy with homework, music practice and lessons, housework, family time, baking, cooking, washing and so forth. Full on but good. So, without anything specific to say, I shall tell you about the weather which was excellent on Monday and Tuesday following Sunday's magnificent sunshine. On Wednesday afternoon a southerly blew in with its rain and grey, which hung around the whole of today bringing the temperature down from a high of 20.1 on Wednesday to 9.5 today. Interestingly though with the cloud cover the lows don't reach very low, so our minimum today was 8.1 following 1s and 2s throughout the week. But Cadbury's has the solution: their new Mousse slab range. Oh oh oh...I think they release them especially for winter as a comfort food, and this year they have revised the entire look, inside and out. First, who could resist the elegant packaging with gold-foil lettering and embossed chocolate? The slab itself is delightfully surprising with extra-large pieces housing the creamy mousse inner. For nibblers like me, the chocolate covering pulls away from the mousse with ease, increasing the eating pleasure and length of time it takes to get through a piece. For dippers like Nick, hot coffee melts the outer, exposing the filling. Oh wow. They have hazelnut, caramel and chocolate flavours; thus far we have only sampled caramel which is indescribably delicious. I rank this chocolate a sturdy 9/10. A dark chocolate and orange combination would certainly achieve full marks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vacuming done

Been feeling just a wee bit overwhelmed lately with all the stuff that I'm not getting around to, what with the extra working hours and having been away for two Saturdays in a row...and following the whole nose thing (the nose is healing well, by the way - Caleb says it looks like a raisin on the side of my nose...apparently the scabby graft falls off when the new cells underneath are good and ready)...the house is dirty, I'm not cooking properly, the biscuit tins are empty bar two little left-over uneaten chocolate coconut cookies which everyone seems to have forgotten about. When I got home from collecting the boys this afternoon I found this note for me: and just like that, all my pep was restored, my love tank filled; biscuits got baked, a roast roasted, apples stewed, violin practiced, blogging happened - thank you my love. (And I don't want any comments about the spelling...he knew it didn't look right at the time!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First NZ baptisms!

O glorious and happy day of blessing!! We had a baptismal service this morning with four candidates obeying the Lord's directive to be baptized following repentance, though none of them is a recent convert. It was a beautiful service - I love baptisms and the public declaration and picture of dying with Christ and being raised to new life. Dannica, Kristi, Danielle and Andreas all shared a brief testimony of God's grace in their lives. We had an extended time of fellowship after the service with cakes and cookies being passed around...it seemed no one was in a hurry to get home! Eventually the hanging around shifted to Centennial Park and take-aways or picnic lunches unwrapped. The afternoon was gorgeous...warm weather, bubbly conversations, singing, coffee, soccer - thank you Lord for the gift of the blue skies today to go with the rest of the blessings You have poured out on us!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Babes and Hotties in Dunedin

7 am...not even the birds were awake in this pre-dawn darkness, but six ladies were up and ready for a girls' day in Dunedin. Danielle was the bus-driver; Adele dB, Adele S, Petru, Bronwyn and I were the passengers who made a merry and somewhat giggly and very chatty party. Danielle did a round-trip pickup and by 7.30 we were heading out of Timaru in a southerly direction. By Oamaru some ladies were in severe need of a coffee fix; stopped at an awesome little place whose name escapes me but there were some funky chickens on display. The drive to Dunedin is extremely scenic, with the road directly alongside the ocean at one point. We live in an incredibly beautiful country (have I said this before?)! Arrived in Dunedin in high spirits and hit Spotlight and Bendon running. Underwear shopping with a Lady Mob is great fun...giving opinions on the various bits of garments (some of them were VERY bitty indeed) and suggesting items for one another which we thought were either highly suitable or highly unsuitable brought fits of laughter. Bronwyn and I happened upon a free sausage stand, provided by the local radio station. We thought the vendor was joking but no, the promo was legit so we scored a barbequed sausage on bread with fried onions. Bronwyn kindly dropped bits of onion on the ground to accompany my fallen ones :) Our tiny purchases made, we jumped back in the van to venture into the city center for lunch, finding a burger place which was to our liking (it was one of several graduation days today and we were concerned that everything would be booked up, but the situation was less drastic). The burgers all have interesting names and considering you are what you eat, we changed our names accordingly: Danielle, Adele, Adele, Petru, Bronwyn and I became Babe, Hottie1, Velvet Lady, Hottie2, Wee Vegan and Chicken Little respectively. The names fitted and may well stick!! Danielle had managed to gather two more local friends so we ended up being a party of eight, but the two didn't join us for the rest of the afternoon and since I can't even take a stab at spelling the name of one, I shall simply leave them there. Lunch done and more coffee downed, it was time for the REAL shopping to happen in town and the mall. But first, we arrived in time to catch the impressive parade of drummers and pipers who led the procession of graduates - Dunedin is a university city and graduations from various schools happen throughout the year. Pretty spectacular and many moms were teary; some moms were in the parade with gowns and caps on! Split up after that and met up again at 3, tired feet and all, before the 2 1/2 hour drive home. All too much for Velvet Lady but thankfully Babe stayed awake - I don't think my operatic attempts helped as much as the java. To alleviate boredom we texted one another...oi, too many free texts on my package!

Friday, May 20, 2011

All things work together...

The boys had cross-country in Christchurch today and needed to be at school early. We were preparing to make an even earlier start though to collect one of their school friends but the car wouldn't start! I prayed and kept trying; during the process I noticed that Nick's huge guitar case was still on the back seat. Uh oh, can't have that with an extra passenger. I sent Caleb into the house with it while I kept trying the car and when he came out his words were: "Well, that was God's providence that the car wouldn't start; while I was inside I realized that I didn't have my asthma pump." I was so blessed at his worldview which has God at the center...he has learned early that God is in the details! To end the story, the car started soon after and we made it to the school in good time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Come here, sheep

We had Part II of stock handling and fencing today...regular work hours at the studio once again rearranged so I could spend the whole day with Isaac (thanks Rachel for being so accommodating!). The fencing was a surprise for both Chrissy and me...who would have thought that fencing was an entirely independent industry, with careers to be had in it and its own set of jargon! Lots to be learned about posts, rails, that famous kiwi #8 wire, stays, footers, dip posts, barbed and diamond staples...our minds boggled and I'm sure my face wore an expression somewhere between confusion and despair. Thankfully, like all things in life, it passed and we could move on to the more hands-on, although way smellier, section of the course: shepherding. This entailed much traipsing through mud and other unmentionables...first step was to round up a small mob and herd them into a fenced yard. Then the boys each got to try drafting (separating them), tipping a sheep (way harder than it looks - the instructor has years of experience but I think the boys were a little scared of breaking necks or legs (not their own)), checking teeth and hoofs and private bits, and finally, drenching - administering medicine by sticking a nozzle into their mouth. It was all quite interesting and the sheep on the training farm behaved very well.
(Above: Isaac giving the sheep a drink of water as he practices drenching...he was a natural!)

Nick took the assembly at TCS today, and he tells me that Caleb and Jayden were taking the assembly...this means standing up in front of the school and giving notices, house points, introducing the speaker etc. It's excellent public speaking practice and Caleb had no problems pulling it off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I do like Chrissy's philosophy of no school on birthdays...my pupil Isaac's younger brother Jeremiah celebrated his birthday today so there was no formal schooling to be had, although I ended up supervising Isaac in the cleaning of the kitchen so I guess we could ascribe that to life skills. And wii boxing is serious excercise. Anyway, here is Jeremiah...happy birthday!
"Thanks mummy!"And a bit of swing dancing to boot!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hey buddies

Out of the clouds and back into a regular work/school week for us all. Work continues to be a joy for me at both venues...and I have a shiny new chair at the studio! The Boss Lady is looking after the staff :) The boys sorted themselves out with social arrangements for Friend Tuesday today - Aaron went home from school with Merric, and Caleb with Ben and Josiah. They don't often split up and it was interesting to hear them catching up on each other's news when I fetched them at 5.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meanwhile, back in Timaru...

...Nick and the boys had quality dad-son time together. They watched movies and ate junk food on Friday night; on Saturday morning scootered/biked/walked to Caroline Bay and the skate park. Our buddy Matt was playing rugby on Saturday afternoon and Nick went along to photograph bits of the game. Never realized before how physically intimate the game is, wedgies and all - we weren't only laughing at the facial expressions when we studied the pics up close :) Rachel and Matt kindly fed and entertained my Clevely chaps in the evening. Sunday was the usual church muster, and I'm told the services and particularly the adult bible class were excellent. I happened to phone Nick while he was considering lunch preparations and gave him some quick directions for nachos, although he pretty much had a handle on it anyway. They had a quiet afternoon before church, and then there wasn't long to wait before they came to fetch me. At the airport, after kisses and hugs, Caleb told me that Nick got a speeding fine. My heart sank. "Just kidding," he said, grinning with the success of pulling off his spontaneous prank.

Joy in Auckland: there and back

This forms part two of the weekend's happenings...as I've said before, my dear cousin Joy (first cousin, I might add...not some distant relation somewhere down the line) flew me to Auckland on Friday for her birthday celebrations - she was actually the one doing the giving in blessing her friends with this retreat and for me, a whole weekend away. She and Ken very kindly flew me from Timaru which meant not doing the two-hour drive to the cheaper Christchurch option. It also meant that I flew in a very very very tiny airplane...everyone got a window seat and a clear view into the cockpit. I'm not a terribly confident flyer at the best of times so this was daunting, but all was well and the little propellers didn't stop propelling. Had about an hour ten to Wellington, ten minutes to find the correct gate and wait before boarding the next plane, another 45 minutes on a slightly larger plane, and I was there. Joy and Ken were there (isn't it so comforting to have people waiting for you...it must be a horrible feeling to arrive at the airport and your people have forgotten or are late!); it was a happy reunion. Ken dropped Joy and me off at a mall (oh dear, which one was it...Botany?) where I had toasties and coffee; he met us back there and drove us around Auckland for a good look-see. We stopped at One Tree Hill which actually has heaps and heaps of trees, and a large obelisk bizarrely erected as a memorial of Sir John's admiration of the Maori people (so who is being commemorated?). The views were amazing though - coming from Timaru and previously St Helena one is just gobsmacked at the vast expanse of city...although coming from Joburg it's simply a large city. It was getting pretty windy though and the shelter of the car was welcome as we headed back through the 'burbs and first to Eastern Beach and then to Bucklands Beach where we watched a beautiful sunset over the bay...very much looked like Jamestown! And then, to Joy and Ken's gorgeous home for a tour of the gardens and house and an introduction to the resident tui before settling in. Ken cleverly whipped up a fig salad (panfried figs, bacon, cherry tomatoes and greens) while Joy was heating the lamb shank casserole. I do confess that I simply delighted in Ken and Joy's interaction with one another...after 28 years of marriage theirs is still a love story of note and an inspiration to us juniors! Their daughter Kirsten (my first cousin once removed or second cousin?) arrived from Hamilton between courses to spend the night and join us on the retreat, and despite being old enough to have recently completed her Masters (with distinction), we'd never met!! Sadly this is the case with most of my cousins' children. Had a splendid and very relaxed evening together. Saturday morning we were up reasonably early and I had time to look at Joy's scrapbooks...she is exceptionally talented in so many directions (and did I mention that she's my cousin?). Left their place around 10 am for the airport to pick up Lynn B, and from this point on I was known as Lynnie to avoid confusion. Lynn B is just gorgeous and quite hilarious. From there we were off to His House, aided by the conscientious Daniel who directed us through Auckland's spaghetti junction and about an hour and a half of bridges, motorways, city and suburbs. So interesting to see a new part of NZ. And now I skip over to Sunday afternoon where we took leave from the retreat...the plan was to browse the Warkworth markets but all we found was the wharf and a few raindrops. Decided to rather get ourselves closer to the airport and kill the two hours on that side instead of meandering and possibly getting stuck in traffic. Once again Daniel was our friend and took us without incident (other than heavy rain but that wasn't his fault) to a bead shop where we sorted Lynn B out with a long pendant on a chain and Kirsten out with the makings of an interesting necklace. Ken met up with us at a neighbouring coffee shop for a light lunch, then we were back at the airport. What a glorious, beautiful, memorable, relaxing and inspiring weekend it was! Felt a bit sad to say goodbye but we're only a phonecall away. I had to get changed at the airport before checking my suitcase in...Auckland's weather was so wonderfully mild even with the rain (typically described as sub-tropical) - I had to retrieve woollen tights and more layers before returning to our sub-antarctic town. The flight from Aucks to Wellies was mellow...smooth, short, and with a sunset to appreciate. I was worried about the 15 minutes between landing and boarding but there was a little bit of a wait for the Timaru flight. Back on the small plane for the longest hour and ten minutes in my life - many prayers offered for the pilots as our plane was tossed through strong headwinds and nausea was fought back, but we landed safely and I could see Nick and the boys in the terminal (the Timaru airport comprises one shed and one runway). Happy to be on the ground and reunited with my beloveds! I talked nonstop on the 15 minute drive home...apparently women have a limitless supply of words, not just 5,000 per day. Nick will attest to this. And thus concludes my Auckland retreat!