The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning 27th of June.
Saturday the 27th

Today we (Jude, the three children and I) went to the War Memorial Museum in Auckland. Stella took Tupanapana the Kiwi, her class mascot which goes home with a child every night or weekend and has a diary written about her adventures. She also has lots of photographs taken, since most of the children now have access to digital cameras.

Stella at the Museum Stella at the Museum

We had a lot of fun posing Tupanapana in various places, attempting to make her look entirely part of the surroundings. I suggested to Stella that she'd get a more interesting photo from a low angle, which is why she's sprawled on the floor.

Sunday the 28th

Pip, Tony and Alex, lovely friends from Kaukapakapa, came in to Auckland today and took me out to lunch. We haven't met for a couple of years, and they are just as, possibly even more delightful than they were last time.

Monday the 29th

Roger very kindly took me out to the airport this afternoon and I went in to work out what to do with the new automatic, self-serve check-in system. There's a 25kg limit on luggage and I was greatly surprised to discover my bag exceeded that limit by a hefty three and a half kilogrammes! The airport authorities have conveniently provided areas where people like me can do a bit of surreptitious repacking to lighten their luggage, which I did. So, wearing all my thermal underwear, two coats, eight tea towels and with four large table spoons in my pockets (presents for Stephan), I put my now 25kg bag on the conveyor belt and tried not to rattle suspiciously as I walked.

Tuesday the 30th
young stock in Flat 5a

A picture to prove I'm home.

We butchered Piggly today. Stephan did the bit I find difficult while I listened to the radio up loud, then I went up and gave him a hand to dunk the pig in the bath of very hot water, then scrape all the hair off him, so our black pig turned white-ish. Stephan took him to the butcher in town to be made into bacon and ham.

Having the pigs hasn't been too bad - I didn't think I'd like them being around, but Piggly was quite sweet, based on one particular interaction I had with him on a day when he escaped. He'd trotted off across Jane's bridge and was about to make use of her garden when he was spotted by some pig hunters who had come in to ask permission to hunt here. I ran off after the pig, called him and he trotted by my side back to where he ought to have been. I liked running with a pig. (He had also given me quite a fright when Stephan was lying around in hospital, when he launched himself at me over the gate of the pig pen, but I'd forgiven him that indiscretion.)

Wednesday the 1st of July
a pig in the trap

The pig trap works! Stephan went out to check the trap this morning and came back with a big grin and a thumbs-up sign and went back with the rifle to collect the little boar.

Another bit of pork in the freezer...

Thursday the 2nd

We made arrangements with Jill's house-sitter to vacate the house for a night so we could go and stay in Whangarei, do a bit of shopping, and drive Jill's car around to give it a bit of a run.

I bought something which put a silly grin on my face every time I got back in the car: I bought a CD. When Rachel and I were in our early teens, or possibly even slightly younger, we had rather mixed musical tastes. The albums I particularly remember were those of Bob Marley, ABBA and KISS - and the Muppets, of course. I suppose we discovered them all through listening to the radio or TV. During a conversation with Rachel when I was in Auckland, she told me she'd been led astray at one point of her early adulthood and had as a result set fire to all her evil music LPs, creating an even more evil lump of vinyl. One of those LPs was our copy (she said it was hers) of KISS and it was that album I found in a shop in Whangarei, and bought. Music is rather like smell in its ability to remind one of feeling - I must have been pretty happy around the time I used to listen to that stuff. Mind you, part of my amusement was in the unlikelihood of two fairly conservative young girls liking a band of evilly painted blokes in platform shoes with hideously hairy chests!

By early evening I was feeling remarkably feverish (not related to the previous paragraph) and ill.

Friday the 3rd

Ignoring the possibility of passing on my developing lurgi to the populace of Whangarei, I went shopping. I've never owned a thesaurus, but now I do. It cost me less than I earn for writing a short paragraph, so was a very affordable investment.

The annual members' dinner for Kaitaia Vets was on tonight, but I was too sick to go and spent the evening sneezing and sniffling, huddled beside our fire back at home.