Caravan, thanks, and afternoon.

1) We had a lovely afternoon visiting friends at their caravan.  The kids had a fab time exploring all the nooks and crannies and cool features of the caravan – come to think of it, it was probably the first time they’ve been in one, so very exciting!

2) K and I gave the children’s talk at church this morning. When preparing, we’d done our best to keep it short and simple. So many people came up to us afterwards to express their appreciation of it :-).  At least we know the adults got the point… and we can relax for another year!

3) To spend a rainy Sunday afternoon, curled up on the sofa, drinking tea, knitting, and watching the BBC2 documentary Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball – it was fascinating stuff!

Relaxing after a busy weekend.

1) To sit down at the end of an insanely busy weekend, safe in the knowledge that (practically) everything was achieved.

2)  Our school Christmas Fayre seems to have been a resounding success once again 🙂 .  I’ve heard so many comments since then about how much people have enjoyed it.

3) Today was our church youth group Christmas lunch – it was so lovely to spend a few hours chilling out with them… and then to spend a couple more hours relaxing with our fellow leaders after all the kids had gone!

Happy Easter, rolling eggs, and awake.

1) It was good to celebrate this special day, Easter Sunday, with our church family – first on top of Cockleroy, and then later at church. Happy Easter to you all!

2) The kids loved rolling their eggs down Cockleroy after the service.

3) I go up to bed, to be greeted by a small voice saying “I can’t get to sleep”. A glass of warm milk and a cuddle, and sleep was found. If only all problems were so easily solved!

Sleep, Sunday lunch, and Christingle

1) Sleeping through the whole night – after a week of disturbed nights (thanks to both A & M), this was bliss.

2) Sunday lunch – homemade pizza, followed by homemade ice-ceam, shared with friends.

3) We went to the Christingle Service, organised by the Girl’s Brigade this evening. It was a lovely start to this season of Advent. I especially enjoyed singing “Silent Night”, in the darkened church, lit only by candles.

Communion, naughty, and bed,

From yesterday:

1) Communion, in a tent, shared with several hundred others – a special experience.

2) He stands in the middle of a muddy puddle, with a cheeky grin on his face – he knows he’s being naughty!

3) Home, clean, warm, snug in bed.

Crazy days

I’m not quite sure where to begin this post! It’s been a crazy few days – and not really in a good way either 🙁 .

For the most part, life has continued on its merry way – Aidan’s been at school, and has been moved up a reading group at last 🙂 . Megan’s had ballet, and gymnastics, and kindy and was moved up a level in her swimming class last week 🙂 . We had the next-door neighbour’s children round to play after school yesterday – they have a boy and a girl ages with our two, and the four of them had a wonderful time playing in the back garden!

We attended the Deconsecration of the old St Chad’s church building on Sunday morning. It was built 80 years ago, and after plans about 10 years in the making, they are finally ready to start knocking the sanctuary, church hall and vicarage to the ground, and build new ones on the same site.

We’ve found their attitude to be refreshing – not clinging to the past, yet at the same time not devaluing it. They want to build on the work done in the past, and build a new physical building which will allow them to serve the community in a new way. Sadly, while we will be here to witness the destruction of the old, and all going well, the beginning of the construction of the new, we will not be here to celebrate the opening the new building – scheduled for Christmas time. But it is exciting times for the church – and an exciting time to be part of the church.

Our own personal lives have been tinged by the stress of having our borrowed car taken away from us permanently at almost no notice. It’s too far into our stay here to make buying a car a feasible option, and although there is a possibility of a replacement from elsewhere, there are a number of obstacles in the way.

The long and the short of all of it is that it is looking increasingly likely that we will be unable to do both a long weekend away with the Auckland part of the family, and our tour of the North Island – something we must do to catch up with family and friends who we will not see otherwise on this trip 🙁 🙁 . There are only two timeslots available to us to do the long trip – one which includes the holiday weekend, and the other – for which now, short of a miracle, we will not have a car…

Earlier this evening I was seriously wondering if being here was worth all the stress… A glass of wine has restored my calm, but a good night’s sleep would help even more. Anyone like to try to convince M that night is for sleeping, and waking Mummy up for between one and three hours each night isn’t really the best long-term game plan?

Still, only two sleeps to go and help will be on hand 🙂 🙂 🙂 (in the shape of a Grandma who hasn’t seen her wee ones for a couple of months…!)

Culture, culture shock and shopping

We went to Remuera Baptist Church this morning – Keith went there for a number of years back in the eighties, so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for him. There were several people who came up to talk to us who remembered Keith from about 25 years ago! It was a lovely welcoming church, the sermon was rather good, but I didn’t feel that I quite “clicked” with it in the way that I did St Chad’s a couple of weeks ago.

This afternoon a friend and I went shopping (clothes)… So I know have a few more items of summery clothes to round out my extremely meagre wardrobe. And no, I’m not putting on a fashion show for you!

I’ve had a few things on my list to blog about recently, and I suppose the shopping thing is a symptom of one of them. For some reason, despite my experiences of moving countries (the main one being to Kenya back in 1995), I just wasn’t thinking about the whole culture shock aspect of things. Maybe in part because I’ve been here before; because it’s K’s home country; and because it’s English-speaking (and they drive on the left!). But it was obviously fairly naive of me to discount it – it is definitely to cope with when you acknowledge that it’s there, and it is playing a significant part in my life right now.

It’s all the little things. Where do I go to buy handkerchiefs? Where do I go to buy clothes? When does summer end? It’s torrential rain with not a break in the cloud, does that mean that the weather will be like this tomorrow? And the more subtle differences, different accents, different money and so on.

I’m fine most of the time, it’s just occasionally I’m not. Good chatting to friends back home though – that’s usually enough to help me re-centre myself 🙂 .

And the other bug bear – bugs! Despite regular spraying, there are so many flies about. And mosquitos. I was thinking of entitling a blog post “27 plasters” the other day – as that was how many plasters I had to put on poor M, who had scratched mosi bites and eczema until she bled.

She’s definitely better than she was, but it’s not entirely cleared up, despite us doing everything we can treatment-wise, but I have bad memories of last year when M had several bouts of infected eczema that required antibiotic treatment. We’re not at that stage yet, but it wouldn’t take much to tip the balance. Hopefully she’ll have a good night’s sleep tonight.

She didn’t last night. But that was because we took her to the Starlight Symphony in the Auckland Domain. We went with Nan and Grandad, and had a picnic tea. The kids enjoyed the concert – Aidan seemed to enjoy a couple of operatic pieces, while Megan loved the piece from Starlight Express!

We left at the interval to get the kids home to bed. Unfortunately the second half was the part containing the fireworks and laser light show so we had to miss that, but even with leaving at 2045, it was 223o before they got to bed. The show was scheduled to finish at 2230 – so can you imagine how late they would have been in bed if we’d stayed? So, much to Nan and Grandad’s disappointment, we left early. I’m glad we did – the kids have been cranky and exhausted enough today!

I think that’s enough rambling from me for one night. I hope that wherever you are in the world today, you’re having a good one! Cx

St Chad’s

We bowled up to St Chad’s on Sunday – I think it’s our closest church, and it helpfully has a service time of 0930 -this we like – means you can stay for coffee and still get home for lunch at a sensible time!

We were welcomed as soon as we arrived at the church, and when we sat down, lots of our neighbours introduced themselves to us – great start!

There were plenty of kids around, and a special programme was run for them in a separate hall after the joint worship session at the beginning. Aidan and Megan were obviously very comfortable as they were more than happy to be left; and they didn’t want to leave when we went to pick them up at the end! Yay!

The sermon was very apt – the term “resident alien” and how that applies to us as Christians living in the world today; but obviously had deeper personal significance for me – living as I am as a resident alien (although not in the legal sense, it is what I am at present) in NZ. There will probably be more on this topic as this blog progresses, but my thoughts aren’t really at a publishable stage!

Coffee after the service was lovely – outside in the church grounds in the beautiful sunshine, and no shortage of people wanting to talk to us.


That said, we determined that we would not stay at the church we visited on our first day (which is what we did at Brightons!), but that we would take the opportunity to check out several of our local churches before deciding where to go. So don’t be surprised when my next report comes from a different place… but the bar has been set pretty high!!