Thursday, February 28, 2013

A beau on oboe

The boys have started their music lessons now - Caleb was back into violin last week already, but has also taken on orchestra (although when I say 'taken on', that makes it sound like he has willingly volunteered to join the music ensemble - I should rather say 'we have forced Caleb to join the orchestra, under duress').  Secretly I suspect he is enjoying it although he would rather eat the hairs on his bow than admit to it, but apparently they do all the cool music in orchestra.  Aaron has just started the oboe today, and this magnificent looking instrument is ours on hire.  He had his first lesson on the assembly of the oboe and where not to touch and press on it, and how to carefully take it apart.  He also had his first attempt at making a sound come out of it, which is quite a feat in and of itself.  His teacher praised him roundly, congratulating him when he blew on the reed and made it sound like a dying duck.  A great start though and he is totally sold on it.  Hope the novelty doesn't wear off!
And...February 28th...last day of summer.  It was a magnificent summer's afternoon (after another foggy and cold morning), perfect for the last summer BBQ.  Goodbye summer, we have loved you and shall miss you - see you in December!
At 7.30 pm we were ready for our next set of swing dancing lessons - having graduated from beginner and begintermediate, we are now learning the double-Charleston - fun although it's a little awkward having your dance partner stare at the back of your head while you ponder your feet and the co-ordination of your arms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tea on Tuesday (not Monday)

Enjoyed having Pam, Mark, Kim, Paul and Hannah around to tea tonight - we were especially pleased to meet little Hannah who is a darling!!
Aaron asserted his natural affinity for clowning around and entertained Hannah at the dinner table, while Caleb caught these great shots!
Had some great discussions on church and God and music, and introduced our guests to some of our favourite worship songs and groups (Sovereign Grace, Red Mountain Music, Indelible Grace, the much great stuff out there). 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bring your funny face

Nick arrived home safely last night from his Auckland meetings.  A pity that we have to travel two hours to the airport and back any time we want to go anywhere - flying out of Timaru is way too expensive.  Nick loves the drive though as it's two hours of uninterrupted silence; ideal for listening to sermons!  Another fabulous message from Romans - 'let not sin reign'.  Caught up with Andreas and Danielle and Graham and Liz between services, in an attempt to see how far a little corned beef roast could stretch.  Just far enough, apparently! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chicken to face a worm

Other than a walk to Harvey Norman to get the next batch of photos printed, the boys and I spent the day at home by ourselves, rather missing Nick!  Aaron asked one too many times about lunch, so was sent off to the kitchen to make it himself.  Although put that way it sounds somewhat mean - he was really very happy to set about making fried eggs and toast!  Caleb pitched in and helped, and I made my own scrambled eggs (three frying pans a lot of mess resulted).  Aaron's first egg had a double yolk, which is not that uncommon with free-range chickens, I'm told.
In the afternoon I gathered a few weeds for some macro fun.  I'm not even kidding - little weeds with their tiny, delicate flowers, make very good subjects!
 Not pleased to find this inhabitant of an otherwise lovely rose-bud.  At first his head popped out to inspect my lens which must have seemed awfully large at its 5cm proximity.  I used two pairs of pliers to gently pry away the leaves to see what it was that kept looking at me, hoping it was an exciting spider or very large aphid which I could get close to, but being a worm it was quickly photographed before being discarded.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Madness, but not to Midnight

Directly after dancing last night Nick left for Christchurch, to sleep over before catching a flight to Auckland this morning, to spend two days there for a Roving Classroom meeting and the regular FRBCNZ meeting.  The boys and I caught a lift to and from school, and then another lift to Artfull Crafts for a crafty evening with Liz and some local crafters.  Had a super evening working on a photo album project (every year I print a selection of my favourite photos, but then struggle to know how to present them - this year I went the easy route of a scrapbook album with some specially-designed sleeves for inserting photos, along with the odd 12x12 display with just one or two photos on a page - very minimalistic scrapping).  Danielle, Viv and Liz were the only gals I knew at our table but it was great chatting with Tina who goes to Wilson Street Baptist. Didn't stay to the end of Midnight Madness, but got a lift back home around 9.30 pm. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


First social swing dance of the year tonight - and a themed dress-up of 'Flappers and Gangsters'. I asked Nick if he would be okay dressing up if I made it easy by buying all the stuff and keeping it subtle. He said fine.  So a couple of days later I went shopping, keeping it as modest and underplayed as possible for Nick. Told him I'd gotten suspenders and a bowtie, thought I might be pushing it a bit though.  His response?  "Where's my hat?"!
After an hour of swing-outs and twirls and charlestons we concluded that (a) we are out of practice and a little unfit after the summer break of no dancing and (b) a tight 1920s-style headband will cause quite a painful headache.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lekker by die See

Looking at these photos below, it's hard to imagine that we had to drive to school with full lights on, through very foggy conditions...and that people were switching on heaters during the morning.  The sun burned away every last cloud by around midday and the afternoon was magnificent.  Aaron spent the day at the School Park just down the road from the school, playing in a boys' cricket team.  He came home hugely disappointed at having been run out and not done any decent fielding, poor guy.  I sympathised with his disappointment and shared my own bunion woes.  He must have felt even sorrier for me because he offered to make me a cup of tea or coffee, which he did - and a very delicious cup of coffee too.  Bit of an ulterior motive tucked away in his generosity, as he let me know that he had filled the jug to maximum, so could he and Caleb have hot chocolate?  Well, there's one way of getting your mum to say yes to anything!

We had a BBQ planned for tea and when Nick arrived home around 5 pm, he announced that it would be at the bay.  We drove around to a different spot and set up camp near the yacht club.  Another family was in the same area in their mobile home which I should have photographed, so wonderfully had they painted the exterior with scenes from Canterbury.  The boys were quick to make friends over crabs and starfish.
Nick BBQd...
...while I spotted a shag on the rocks and crept near to photograph it.
It didn't seem phased by my presence, so I edged closer and closer...
...until I was resting an elbow on the same rock it was occupying. 
Mmmm, tea - delicious, except the PaknSave potato salad which I can heartily de-recommend.
Andreas and Danielle arrived for a hello, along with Madre and Gene - I am so glad they got to experience a taste of the beach on one of the most perfect summers' evenings - calm and mellow best describes it.
Oh dear, Aaron's togs split - good thing it happened here and now, instead of at school swimming!!


Up until a few days ago I knew very little about bunions, other than that they are ugly, painful, red bumpy things on the sides of feet and accompany skew toes; they rhyme with onions; and old ladies are prone to them and consequently wear unfashionable health shoes.  But a few days ago I started suspecting I have one, so googled them and found there isn't much more to know.  They in fact are ugly, painful, red bumpy things on the sides of feet that accompany skew toes.  Actually what happens is that the big toe starts growing towards the second toe, often as a result of wearing high heeled shoes with pointy toes, causing extra bone and sometimes a fluid-filled sac to develop at the base of the big toe.  So I went to the doctor today, actually to see about getting some more scars arranged around my neck, but also happened to mention that I thought I might be getting the b-word thing.  He said yes, I am.  Very nonchalantly.  I tried to pull off the cavalier effect but actually I am about two parts embarrassed and three parts devastated.  I'm far too young to be an old lady.  It comes down to pride and vanity though - I still have the use of both feet so should be rejoicing - it's all about perspective!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

From the Mountains

Yesterday Nick and Andreas spent the day at Anton and Liesel's place, chopping firewood and trimming hedges (arriving late to the Gregory's house-warming, such was their dedication). Today Anton and Liesel wanted to extend a thanks, so invited us all around for a BBQ (the Phillipses are often involved with baby-sitting the triplets so their invitation was legitimate too).  The weather forecast said 'light drizzle clearing morning' but although the drizzle stopped around midday, the clouds didn't part.  Not too cold to gather around under the covered patio though or to wander around the extensive garden (and particularly to admire the massive bay-leaf bush - I forgot to bring several branches home with me, but would have had me a life-time supply of bay leaves.)
The cherry-picker which had been hired for the hedge-trimming was still around and still in use, as Andreas was tasked with the trimming of some uncommonly large hedges.  When he finished the arduous and noisy task, the rest of us had a bit of fun, going for rides in the machinery.  Bit of a ferris wheel effect except that thankfully it didn't go round and round.  I was pretty nervous once we got up, for sure, as the white knuckles will affirm. 
Awesome view though from up there!  Aaron and Dinnay went up...
...followed by Caleb and Jayden, except this time Nick showed them how to control it using the four levers which operate the hydraulically powered arms.  They did well, and what better boy toy could there be!
The BBQ itself was quite a late affair, so there was still time to wander about and appreciate the effect the drizzle had had on freshening things up.
Nick did his prep at their place, and then we shot off as soon as we had finished eating - the boys were sad to miss dessert :)