Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Term 1, 2013...and back at the beach!

6.00 am...alarm goes off and gets snoozed.
6.09 am...alarm goes off again and Lynn gets up.
6.45 am...into the kitchen to make sandwiches.
7.00 am...wake boys, get breakfast and drink coffee in front of FB.
7.15 the shower, getting dressed etc.
8.15 am...out the door and on our way.
That's how the schedule ought to look.  Today I would have expected everything to run late but in fact, we all ran terribly early, with Aaron being up and dressed before 6.45 and proudly parading himself in the kitchen before I'd even started making school lunches.  Only problem was, jerseys were nowhere to be found.  They still haven't turned up but with a weather forecast of 30 degrees, who needs a woolen jumper?  Left home around 8.09 am.  Like I said, ran every early.  Good thing though because it gave me at least an extra 6 minutes to tuck into the clutter on my desk.  I knew things would be fairly chaotic but surprisingly there was not a lot of panic (not from the office staff anyway; the teaching side of things looked a little more bulgy-eyed and paper-flappy).  I'm pleased to say that by 3.15 pm my desk had reappeared although I daresay by tomorrow I would have generated an even worse mess, fleshing out the one-line notes I have made of things needing doing.  Great to be back at school!  The boys fared a bit better although Caleb is disgruntled with some of his classmates of the female persuasion who seem to be overly talkative.  "Person xx is so annoying", he explains to Aaron on the way home.  "In what way?" asks little brother.  "In every possible way".  Oh dear.  Seems like tolerance and long-suffering are going to be learned this year (along with how best to insert ear-plugs?).  Home at 3.45 and Nick had been chopping and stowing wood.  He had also been thinking about taking out the kayak; we definitely weren't ready to say goodbye to summer holidays and since the boys didn't have homework and bible studies haven't yet started, why not extend the holiday mood a bit?  Besides which, that 30 degree forecast couldn't be ignored.  A quick text to Liz announcing our intentions soon had her in togs and out the door - she was at home doing more unpacking and taking photos of fly-catching plants.  Graham got in on the action too and met up with us at the beach after work...a whole five-minute walk brought him from his computer to the sand - what a luxury!
 I found the calm and warm afternoon to be more conducive to retrying the kayak and really did enjoy the paddle to the docks and back.  Liz swaded out, phone in hand, to get a shot (our new word, swaded, also describes how we got into the sea today - a cross between a swim and wade). 
 Liz went up behind the boys to push them in but had a bit of a go getting Caleb off the pier!
It was far too glorious an evening to rush home to cook, so Liz and I left the four boys at the beach and went out for fish and chips, which we ate on the sand.  Fabulous end to our first day of unholidays!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Botanical Garden shoot-up

Wanted to get a family photo today, with the bribe of Subway for a job well done (conversely, NO Subway if the boys groaned at every shot and huffed about and played the fools as they usually do on such occasions).  Came out with a few good ones, but sometimes the in-between shots are the keepers!
Subway for lunch it was!

Nick went for a bike-ride late afternoon, then we barbequed for tea.  And thus (with a sigh) our summer holidays have drawn to a close.  It's been a great holiday but also has been starting to stretch out a little; it's with mixed feelings that we anticipate school tomorrow!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ultra-Friendly Bothas (UFB)

There have been trucks and workers dotted all about Timaru lately with much work to be done in a nation-wide government roll-out of UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband); by the end of 2019 they hope to have UFB in more than 830,000 homes across NZ.  It's quite interesting, really, and you can read more here if you'd like to. This week they stationed themselves up and down MacDonald Street along with a lot of noise and muddy rivulets running down the road.  We have been parked in once or twice, but on the whole it's really quite exciting.
We took a meal to the Bothas this evening; I suggested to Nick that we ought to eat with them and then leave almost immediately following to allow an evening on unpacking but Nick thought Andreas, Danielle and Betta would prefer our company above the company of boxes and bubblewrap.  He was right!  We stayed until around 8 pm, playing Dutch Blitz in the kitchen and chatting and watching YouTube clips.  Their house is taking shape!
To keep the blog lively and entertaining without being obscene, here is a pic of Aaron's injured toe which would be healing a lot faster if he didn't keep stubbing and bumping it.  Looking good though.  He's not sure that losing a toenail will be much fun but was relieved to hear that a new one would have grown underneath!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How dare you!

Continuing with his holiday, Nick had the day off today with John preaching in the morning and Grant in the afternoon. Both services were a blessing! Bit of a treat for the boys to have their dad sitting next to them during church too. We laid some plans for a BBQ at the beach for the afternoon, but like a carefully constructed house of cards, our arrangements fell apart and we ended up wasting a gorgeous summer's day at home!  Not that it wasn't fun - had a rest, played mandolin, pulled my old violin out from under the guest room bed as my proper one had been left at the church for later, read a bit...all good.  The boys spotted a hedgehog in the garden; we do see hedgehogs fairly often but they are usually in the middle of the road and quite flat. 
Had better success in rustling up some friends after the pm service - the weather was still amazing with only mild sea breezes.  After fish and chips right on the sand with Liz, Graham, and Justus, and the Phillipses bringing along their plate of tuna toasties, and one person in the group taking on a double, no triple, dare to dip a chip in tomato sauce and then sand and eat it (I won't say who lest it should besmirch her reputation of refinement and omni-appropriateness), we felt about ready for a swim.  Caleb and Aaron absolutely love the sea and were first in with Justus quickly following; Liz and Graham were keen for a swim after their hard and sweaty work of house-shifting.  I waded out to knee-depth and was surprised that it wasn't all that cold, so joined Nick and the Gregories in swimming out to the wharf where the boys, Jaydon and Justus had already taken several jumps off the pier.  It looked like fun and the sort of thing that brave people do; I challenged Liz to jump the six feet into the ocean.  Our conversation was something like this:
Lynn: Hey Liz, I dare you to jump.
Liz: Oooh no, I don't want to.
Lynn: Come on, let's do it, it'll be fun.  I'll jump if you jump.
Liz: Oh I really don't want to, I [insert lame excuse]
Lynn: We'd be pretty awesome if we did it.
Liz: Well there's not even a camera for anyone to photograph us, how will they know?
Lynn: We'll tell them we did it.
Liz, in a loud voice: Okay come everyone, we're all going to jump together.... 
There followed a bit of organising and spreading into a safely-spaced line, then on the count of three, Nick and I, Liz, Graham, Justus, Jaydon, Dannica and a bunch of kids (some random, and some who were in Mr Frank's class who happened to be there at the same time) jumped.  It was epic!  Sea water up noses, salty water in mouths, and the exhilaration of having done something out of the ordinary.  Yeah!  Decided to walk back to the beach rather than swim it so we could start drying off, needed to warm up a bit so got a game of frisbee going, but there's more standing around in such a game than actual activity!  I didn't take a single photo (too busy being a participant and not a spectator this evening) so was pleased to see this one appear on Facebook courtesy of Graham soon after the event.  Finally ready to leave the beach just before 8 pm; wished one another well for school starting this week.  Arrived at the Warehouse just in time to watch the staff leaving after it closed, having missed it by minutes, so instead hired Madagascar 3 which had us lol'ing at some very funny lines.  All-time best movie quote:
Mort: "My tummy is speaking to me"...and you'll have to watch the movie to see what follows!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Move it, move it (part two)

Andreas and Danielle and Betta had already been hard at work during the week, getting things ready for their move. We called in at the new house on Kitchener Square last night after leaving the Gregorys and it was clear to see that a lot had been accomplished already. We had a guided tour through the expansive two-storey villa; this morning we were ready and eager to launch straight into the packing, moving and unloading of furniture and boxes.  Aaron put himself out of action pretty soon by dropping a chair on his foot and doing some damage to his toenail; Danielle took charge and nursed him magnificently while all I could manage was to set next to him in the bathroom offering sympathies from a distance.  Thank goodness I didn't have to examine it or look at the blood!  His agonized wailing drew quite a crowd.
Leane (below) boworred the camera to capture the action - jolly good of her or there would have been very few photos following!
Madre, taller than I, squeezed into a packing box.
Love this one looking up into the bougainvillea. 
Left the Bothas well after 2 pm and were glad to get home for a bit of a crash.  We felt sorry for both the Bothas and the Gregorys who still have a lot of hard work ahead, but it will be worth it all and we look forward to helping them fill the rooms with laughter and make ridiculously happy memories.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Move it, move it (part one)

Both the Gregorys and Bothas are shifting home this weekend - how unusual is that, for two sets of friends to move at the same time!  The Gregorys garnered cheap help for tonight, leaving enough energetic friends over to help the Bothas tomorrow.  They had a great collection of helpers, much needed with the many, many (many) boxes and items of furniture they needed to get to their new house in Washdyke.  We were so pleased to see the lovely home they have bought, and glad they are now well and truly settled and established in Timaru! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Young capitalist

We took advantage of the rainy morning and cooler afternoon to play a game of Monopoly. Not my favourite game as I never win, but I sacrificed my dignity for the sake of family time. Caleb ended up wiping everyone out - not usual for Nick to come out as anything other than the monopolistic magnate!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Monday and Tuesday were much the same as other holiday days - I found more cupboards and drawers to sort and tidy, played music, freaked out at everyone's mess in the house and instilled the motto my Dad drove into us of "don't put it down, put it away", did a bit of shopping, and read a bit.  The boys have spent a lot of time outdoors on their ripsticks or bikes, and have also set the small tent up in the garage again for a few nights of 'camping out'.  Nick has taken two weeks' leave and so is at home too, although he is still doing studies and research in preparation for the rest of Romans.  He also has time and liberty now to kayak, take bicycle rides around Timaru, and chop firewood!  I popped in to school yesterday morning for some new socks for the boys and would have done an hour or two of work but such a clutter of unopened and opened mail, reading journals, enrolment forms, notes from teachers and other bits were strewn about my desk that I didn't know where to begin; added to the work awaiting was the discovery that the stationery cupboard key is missing so I will have to learn how to pick locks next week.  I gave up on trying to prioritize anything and will launch into it with gusto next Wednesday.

Liz's scrapbooking shop is a finalist in the "Tell a Friend" competition to do with promoting South Canterbury as an awesome place; as a finalist she now gets to have a professionally-made promotional video which will receive votes after its release in March.  For her video, Liz decided to gather a group of ladies for a filmed crop in which real pages were produced about South Canterbury.  I was thrilled to be a part of it!  Admittedly I was nervous about producing a page as I haven't scrapped in a good two years but I had so much fun doing it under Liz and Miss Betsy's guidance and expertise.  We were filmed choosing papers and embellishments, planning the pages, shuffling elements around and engaging with one another as one would normally do at a regular scrapping event.  The funniest part was having to assemble a page in silence so the camera could capture 'scrapping sounds' - the swish of papers together, the crackle of adhesive lettering stickers being peeled off from their backing and the crisp flick of a photo getting firmly laid down.  All very interesting and heaps of fun.  Can't wait to see the end result at its unveiling early March! 

Lunch at Sopheze with Graham, Liz and Miss Betsy to celebrate before hurrying home so Nick could use the car.  He loaded up the kayak and the boys for an afternoon at the Bay to enjoy another really hot summer's day - Timaru was both the hottest and coldest place in NZ with a low of 7.8°C and a high of 31.6°C.  Liz and I met up with them (Graham to follow a bit later) around 4.30 pm to enjoy some beach time but unfortunately the wind had just come up - Timaru also boasted being the second windiest place in NZ with 56 km/h winds which surely must have all been centered at Caroline Bay.  It was truly nasty and the perfectly unideal condition for trying out Nick's kayak for the first time, I discovered (along with the shocking revelation that lipgloss and nor'westers are not good beach partners).  Apart from quickly being soaked as waves washed overboard, I had almost no control of the kayak as the wind and waves held me captive.  I narrowly missed two older ladies enjoying a neck-deep paddle who just managed to hear my warning cries above the wind, and nearly ran aground into rocks before hearing Nick's instructions to paddle backwards.  Good thing he was on hand to give me a tow back to the shore.  Endured more of the heat and wind while I dried off; suddenly the wind died down and it was calm for half a minute before a southerly blew up!  Brrr!  But it was short-lived and conditions finally settled to mild and calm, rather perfect for a BBQ.  We found a suitable spot in the big grassy ring encircled by the Port Loop Road and set up the brand new portable BBQ.  Not having even opened the box yet, we were dismayed to see that it needed good old-fashioned matches or a lighter to get it started - and we hadn't thought to bring anything.  Borrowed a lighter from a group close to us and nearly burned the sausages in the resulting heat from our excellent barbeque.  Had a great meal together with Liz and Graham; took a walk to Burger King for sundaes for pudding.  A great wrap-up of a superb day! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Repented AND baptised!

We always rejoice when believers obey the Lord's command to be baptized. As baptists we hold to the clear biblical teaching of 'Believer's Baptism' - ie not infant baptism or sprinkling or some other mode, but a full immersion following the new birth wrought by the Spirit.  In some cases, baptism follows salvation after many years as it is taught and better understood - and so we praise the Lord for His work of convincing and convicting in the lives of Betta and Adele.  Cameron is a young convert who early expressed a desire to be baptised.  We are so excited!  All three shared testimony and apart from the water in the baptismal pool (which was apparently Very Warm), there were also many watery eyes.
Lunch was a congenial affair as a large contingent of church family brought picnic food to the Scenic Reserve. 
Nick used the opportunity of an eager audience to expound some points of theology (but oh dear, just look at Graham in the background).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Man, oh man

Nick was out for the morning helping Andreas and Danielle with more shifting of boxes and furniture; the boys and I pottered around at home (Aaron amused us with a stick-on moustache - he has a flair for the dramatic!)
We took lunch to the Bothas and spent a good half hour socialising while they had a break from their labours.  The men had a giggle as they sheepishly shared this snapshot - such affectionate brothers :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Around Timaru in 4 Days

We've been having some small-scale storms recently with black skies - nothing compared to the epic electrical storms we got used to growing up on the Highveld in SA, but exciting nonetheless to see distant flashes of thunder and hear the accompanying growl of thunder. 
That was your weather report, and now on to the news... Spent the mid-section of yesterday with the Rawlins having lunch together at their place. The boys have very much been enjoying Peter and William's company, and I always enjoy Nadine's friendly chats! I was banned from taking photos of Nadine under threat of never being allowed to return, so here are the permitted snaps :)
The boys and I went out today to shop for their back-to-school stationery but most of their books from last year still have enough pages for them to be usable this year. It was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be and is another job off the holiday to-do list.  For our Friday Family Fun night we started watching the 1989 version of "Around the World in 80 Days"; we hadn't realized before we started watching just how very long it actually is, so by 9.15 pm we were only halfway through!  Will enjoy the second half sometime in the next few days.  We are enjoying the old classics (courtesy of Mrs T-K who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of musicals and oldies) - last Friday we watched "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" which has intricate and brilliantly choreographed dance and fight sequences which the boys appreciated, but they tried to read their kindles during the singing and soppy love scenes!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The return

While some people were up at 6.30 am making apricot jam, we enjoyed a peaceful morning at our motel, listening to the rain pattering against the windows...rain?  Oh no!  That squelched any plans for exploring a few walks and shops in Akaroa, but we had been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts so weren't too surprised or disappointed.  After a stop at the fudge shop (and again, commenting on how much my parents would like that particular shop, which has placemats to purchase amongst a wide range of other delightful goodies), we left Akaroa and drove to Christchurch.  Stopped at the coffee shop overlooking the bay where we stopped in October for a photo - this was what we saw back then;
 this morning Nick made me take a photo of the foggy non-view :) 
I discovered that a Chai Latte, three jaffas and a piece of fudge do not help car-sickness and it was a relief to be out of the bends and turns of the mountain passes.  We stopped in Hornby for lunch and shopping although our regular bargain-hunt at Hallensteins was fruitless.  We were home before 4 pm, the boys were dropped back home after a swim and a very enjoyable day and a half with the Rawlins', and we were all back to normal.  I vacuumed the house.
Met up with a group of gals at Liz's place for some crafting but honestly, we gabbed more than glued.  Although of course, with that early-morning jam-making, at least one of us had already had a constructive day and didn't need paper productivity! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Barrocco Celticao in Akaroa

Holidays are a good time for a quick getaway for Nick and me...we delivered the boys into the safe-keeping of Willem and Nadine and their four children (how much trouble can two extra be when you already have triplets+one?) and took ourselves to Akaroa, which sparked our interest in October last year when we visited for the first time during a free afternoon at Family Camp.  It's a quaint little town with Frenchly named streets and old but well-kept buildings; our motel was on "Rue Jolie".  We arrived late afternoon on Monday, and feeling somewhat peckish hastened to find an eatery.  Settled on the "Harbar", a cute place directly on the water's edge.  Several Little Brown Jobs were eagerly fluttering around and were brave enough to eat out of our hands; they must have known we were tourists and wouldn't swat them away as surely the locals must do - presumbaly the novelty of birds sitting right on your table would quickly wear off. 
After a hearty fushnchups we wandered through town on the main road, alongside the shell-strewn beach, thinking how much my parents would love this town if/when they come to visit us again! 
Now this would definitely not be a Suitable Booking Arrangement if you were in South Africa - these people hire out kayaks and also do guided tours and dolphin swims in the bay.  You simply use their cellphone which is attached to the inside of the car, and dial a number to make a booking.  They also had an iPad set up in the back seat with signs posted on the windows saying "look here", so you could see how much fun it would be to use their services.  In SA all you would see is a smashed window and a disconnected cord with no phone!  We still marvel at the low crime rate here.
Whaling trypots (above) are dotted about the foreshore, dating back to the mid 1800s. 
We walked all the way to the lighthouse, admiring the views and scenery along the way.
At 7 pm we were seated (in the front row, mind you) and ready for our main reason in deciding on Akaroa as a good one-night destination - the International Akaroa Music Festival was taking place from 11th to 20th January and although we hadn't known anything about it before a quick google search for something cultural, this really grabbed our interest.  It's an annual event; during the days there are workshops and classes for students, and in the evenings there are concerts, varied in style and arrangement.  We picked "Barrocco Celticao" which boasted "a collection of exotic early, traditional music; 16th century dances to folk songs and modern jigs and reels followed by a ceilidh".  It was amazing!!  We sat enraptured as a group of five musicians entertained us with a variety of instruments and vocals.
Of particular interest (aside from the fiddle and mandolin) was the lute (above) and the theorbo (below) - again, something us uncultured backwoods folks had never heard of, but its additional giraffe-like neck sets it apart from a regular lute and supports and base strings.  Brilliant sound!
Had a brief sampling of some scottish dancing from a cute wee lass...
And then it was time for us to dance!  We must have jigged and reeled for a good hour at least, not counting the water breaks.  A ceilidh, as we discovered, is much like a barn-dance with a set pattern of dosey-dos and "swing yer corner gal", just in a different accent.  We are considering returning next year, armed with a group of musically inclined friends who also happen to enjoy dancing.  And...we're still not done with this remarkable evening...the musicians quickly packed up and regrouped at the Harbar (our dinner spot) for some jamming.  Wow!  We enjoyed the live music over a well-earned green apple drink but didn't stay the entire evening...left around 10 pm and could still hear the strains of violin and accordion carrying as we neared our motel.   Absolutely, absolutely wonderful experience. 
I've uploaded two videos to YouTube which you can watch here and here.