Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Prosperity Gospel

So, look....we need to get Jason and Krista rich, ok?

Pray it in with me people...

You see Jason is slightly more clever than the cleverest person who did the most clever thing that a clever person ever could. It's so clever that the rest of us wouldn't even understand it. Except Shannon. (But that's only if you sing it to her.)

AND so naturally he wants to go to Harvard to get some MORE qualifications in something jolly, jolly, clever. Cos that's what very clever people do. (Or do the REALLY clever ones figure out the best thing to do is give up on exams and sit on the couch watching TV and eating chocolate? If so, I could very well be a genius).

Yep so I know I'm a bit low on details, that's why you need to go to their website... and troll through the comments to the latest posts.

But the basic premise is that Jason has applied for some totally spankingly fantastic grant, which would pay all his fees for Clever School and give them money to live on. Also a little money to burn.

That's where I come in. The money burning.

Yes, lest you think I am being totally altruistic (ha! ha! excuse me while I choke on my chocolate)...the incentive for this post is that IF they get this almightykickass grant...they will blow some of it on coming to New Zealand.


That is enough to make me an intercessor.

So won't you bow your heads and join with me as we pray.....

Stuart, I can tell you've still got your eyes open! TSK

Now come on, if ever there was a man who SHOULD come to NZ, it's Jason....he's the running, jumping, leaping, canoeing, bivouacking clever clogs of the universe!

I should mention here that Krista is of course a genius in her own right and also fully deserves suitcase-loads of cash, which I can most definitely help her spend while Jason and Dave are hanging off a mountain somewhere.

So that is your mission.

And I expect results.

Friday, January 27, 2006

You know you're over 25 when...

Ok, sorry this one is a total cheat. My brother's girlfriend Christa sent this to me and I sniggered with so much self-recognition that I couldn't help sharing it with you. Of course, being 32 I hardly remember being any other way than this. I do re-call one moment of self awareness in my early twenties when I got ridiculously excited about getting a brand new fridge. I realised at that time, "you know you're getting older when you get excited about a new fridge with a salad crisper." Anyway this list is much wittier than that - Thanks Christa!

So, You know you're over 25 when....

1. You leave clubs before the end to "beat the rush".

2. You get more excited about having a roast on a Sunday than going clubbing.

3. You stop dreaming of becoming a professional footballer and start dreaming of having a son who might instead.

4. Before throwing the local paper away, you look through the property section.

5. You prefer Later with Jools Holland to Top of the Pops.

6. All of a sudden, Tony Blair is not 46, he's only 46.

7. Before going out anywhere, you ask what the parking is like.

8. Rather than throw a knackered pair of trainers out, you keep them because they'll be all right for the garden.

9. You buy your first ever T-shirt without anything written on it.

10. Instead of laughing at the innovations catalogue that falls out of the newspaper, you suddenly see both the benefit and money saving properties of a plastic winter cover for your garden bench and an electronic mole repellent for the lawn. Not to mention the plastic man for the car
to deter would-be thieves.

11. You start to worry about your parents' health.

12. You complain that ecstasy's "not as pure as it used to be coz you know that if you have some it will take about 48 hours to recover and anyway, you might look a bit of an idiot.

13. Sure, you have more disposable income, but everything you want to buy costs between 200 and 500 quid.

14. You don't get funny looks when you buy a Disney video or a Wallace and Gromit bubble bath, as the sales assistant assumes they are for your child.

15. All Pop music starts to sound crap.

16. You opt for Pizza Express over Pizza Hut because they don't have any pictures on the menus and anyway, they do a really nice half-bottle of house white.

17. You become powerless to resist the lure of self-assembly furniture.

18. You always have enough milk in.

19. To compensate for the fact that you have little desire to go clubbing, you instead frequent really loud tapas restaurants and franchise pubs with wacky names in the mistaken belief that you have not turned into your parents.

20. While flicking through the TV channels, you happen upon C4's Time Team with Tony Robinson. You get drawn in.

21. The benefits of a pension scheme become clear.

22. You go out of your way to pick up a colour chart from B&Q.

23. You wish you had a shed.

24. You have a shed.

25. You actually find yourself saying "They don't make 'em like that anymore" and "I remember when there were only 3 TV channels" and "Of courseSSin my day...."

26. Radio 2 play more songs you know than Radio 1 -and Jimmy Young has some really interesting guests on.

27. Instead of tutting at old people who take ages to get off the bus, you tut at schoolchildren whose diction is poor.

28. When sitting outside a pub you become envious of their hanging baskets.

29. You make an effort to be in and out of the curry house by 11.

30. You come face to face with your own mortality for the first time, and the indestructibility of the 20s gives way to a realisation that you are but passing through this life and if you don't settle down soon and have kids you'll have no-one to look after you when you're old and frail and incontinent and you can't go on p**sing your life up against a wall forever and think of how many brain cells you're destroying every time a swift half turns into 10 pints, and look at that, a full set of stainless steel saucepans for 99 quid, they cost as much as 35 each if you buy them separately, and you get a milk pan thrown in, ...

31. You find yourself saying "is it cold in here or is it just me?"

I now have (at a conservative estimate)..

...about 43,592 more freckles than I did an hour ago.

Ahh the smouldering NZ sun has done it's work and in 5 years time I may be as wrinked as a prune. But it was worth it.

I've just had the perfect end to a fairly average day (spent cranking out radio commercials....ahem I mean carefully crafting commercials persuading the UK public to buy more beer and have a bikini wax. Not necessarily at the same time. Although...)

Anyway. It's been hot. I've been staring at a computer screen so much this week that I have burst blood vessels in my eye. And I couldn't be bothered to go to the gym or on a bike ride as I did yesterday. (The hill back up to our house leaves me dizzy and panting....not a good look in a cul de sac).

Still I wanted to get out of the house....so I decided to pop on my swimming cossie and go for my first swim in the lake.

There's something very Kiwi about driving around in nowt but your swimming cossie and a pair of (yes, flirty) flip flops.

So I pull up and park at the lake. Now as I am on a solo trip/mission to the lake I have to hide the car keys unaccompanied in the towel on the lakeshore. This makes my paranoia wake up and scratch it's head. You know the same paranoia that kicks in when you switch off the iron, unplug it, put it in a cupboard, leave the house and lock the door. Then start to worry that you've left the iron on. Or is that just me?

Anyway, paranoia dictates that there may be some evil thief casing the lakeshore, looking for an unsuspecting solo swimmer who is about to leave the keys to her husband's BMW unattended in a towel. (My parents have borrowed my car to visit an old friend in Tauranga)

But I haven't been watching Alias for nothing. I pull up 100 yards away from the area I intend to swim so that anyone surveilling the area (perhaps K Directorate) won't see that I am driving the Beemer.

I look around to see if anyone is watching me. Sadly several groups have noted my arrival. But they are mostly under 8 years of age...

So I quickly slide away from the Beemer (my exit somewhat slowed by the fact that I have to check that all doors are locked by pulling at the handles. Yes the paranoia is strong with this one....)

Anyway, I make it to the beach, surreptiously hide the keys in the towel and put my flip flops ON THE TOP! Ha! That'll outsmart any potential thieves!

Then I stride into the icy waters of the lake.


Breathe. Breathe.

Ahhh. Ok.

It's quite nice once you get used to it.

And then all of a sudden it's TOTALLY fabulous.

OHMYGOSH I'm swimming in a lake surrounded by mountains, rolling green hills...and it is divine.

I could have swum and swum and swum. But of course I had to keep my eye on the towel AT ALL TIMES.

Just in case you understand.

Although what exactly I would have done if I'd spotted a criminal with a black stocking on his head riffling through my towel....while I was about 200 yards out in the lake....

Ok. So this post was just to brag that I've finally got around to swimming in the lake.

By the way I have noticed of late that there have been VERY few comments on my blog. This is very demoralising for the blogger...so I plead with you dear friends. If you have been here, just leave me a little hello. Even if you can't think of anything to say except. "Huh, Freckles. Weird".

Seven years ago...

..I was recruited by SD-6 a secret branch of the CIA. I was sworn to secrecy, but I couldn't keep it from my fiance. When Arvin Sloane, head of SD-6 found out about my fiance - he had him killed. That's when I discovered that SD-6 was not a branch of the CIA but I was in fact working for the very people against whom I thought I had been working. So I went to the only place that could help me - the CIA. Now I am a double agent working for the CIA inside SD-6. And the only other double agent inside SD- is a man I hardly know.....my father.

These are the words that start every episode to the first series of Alias. I know them off by heart because I have watched 19 episodes so far this week.

Yes I have been sucked into the Alias maelstrom that many years ago swept Stuart, Lynley, Jenni, and AJ off their feet.

For years I have watched them exchange 'intel' about when the next episode is on. I have surveilled them whipping up into a frenzy about the season finales.

And yet with no fear for my own safety I asked Dave for the DVD set for Christmas.

That was my first mistake.

Since then I have entered a world where Jennifer Garner and her chiselled cheekbones routinely slip into some lycra-type costume, pops on a wig and high kicks her way through a barrage of machine gun fire. Only to escape unscathed. Miraculous.

They are on the hunt for some Garibaldi artifacts. No wait. Isn't that a type of biscuit? I think I mean Gumbaldi...no, Rumbaldi...or some such improbable 15th century prophet who foresaw a whole bunch of groovy things that the baddies hope mean they can kill more people faster and make more money doing so. It's terribly simple being a baddie. Everything comes down to cash.

Meanwhile poor old Jennifer (aka Sydney Bristow) has to walk a moral tightrope the entire time. This results in lots of pained expressions from her and the perpetually pained CIA 'handler' who so clearly wants to snog her face off.

Anyway, despite the fact that it is the most ludicrously conceived plot ever, she would definitely have died 83 times by now if this were real life...and no one can explain to me how she has managed to learn at least 10 languages fluently by the age of 23....it is absolutely addictive.

Just ask AJ or Lynley. Although they are probably running for the DVD selection right now.....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Introducing Samuel Leath....

Wooo-hoo Elizabeth has given birth to a bouncing baby boy....here is the offical email annoucement from Jason!

News from Jason Leath:

"hey everyone, if you haven't heard Elizabeth gave birth to our son Samuel David Leath on the 18th of Jan. at 1:05am and he was 9lbs. and 23 in. Eli's was a trooper doing it all natuaral, she is recovering well from soreness and getting stitches. Samuel is going well, still trying to figure out his days and nights, and mom and dad are hoping that'll be soon. so yeah keep us and him in prayer for these first couple of weeks, that we can get some real sleep , well samuel is sleeping just mom and dad need some good sleep. he did have some jaundice, but doing well to get it out of the system, so if you could keep that in prayer too, that would be great."

Dave & I would like to take a little credit for all of this. It was our idea to send Elizabeth (one of our best friends from School of Ministry - we were on the same outreach team to Germany) to Blandford for a year as an intern...when Jenni had already fixed it up for Jason (small group leader and all round hottie) to go there.....and the rest is history!

Of course maybe somebody a little higher in the stratosphere had the idea before us....dang it, he has all the best ideas!

Congratulations to Elizabeth, Jason & Samuel - what a gorgeous family!

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Birds

If you've ever seen The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, you will understand.

If you've ever had your uncle's parrot swoop at you from across the very small lounge, aiming - you feel sure- directly for your succulent eyeballs....you will understand.

Allow yourself a preparatory shudder.

Yesterday we set off at 7am to drive to Auckland to pick up my parents from the airport. (Takes about 3 hours) So far so good.
We parked in car park space (shocking I know). We tried to remember which car parking space we were in.

It was car park space K5.

Dave said, "Aha! that's 4 less than you."

Think about it. Think about it.

5 plus 4 is.....9

K9....is a ....

Ok. So after a few milliseconds with my mouth hanging open trying to figure out what he was saying...I got the joke.

I laughed. Now that is the reason I married the man.

Not because he compares me to a canine, nor because he used to smash prawn crackers on my head while we were dating. But because he is funny. It's not right, but it is funny.

Anyway all this is a massive digression.

Plane was late. Shopped at the airport - hurrah! Stood at the arrivals gate waiting for parents to come through.

This gave me a new idea for Trinny and Susannah. My goodness what sartorial nightmares you witness when you stand around in a milling, international crowd. Now I know it's not fair because they've just got off long haul flights...but there is no way that some of these outfits even started off looking ok.

My favourite was a shapely old chap, SURELY for pities' sake an Austrian or German....because he was wearing a 'Sound of Music' little peaked hat and grey flannel trousers that ended about mid calf, with red braces on. Wait for it. The braces were pulling the trousers up into the middle of tomorrow. It made my eyes water just to look at him. Obviously he was feeling the burn too as right in front of me, he extracted his trousers from you know where.

He was adorable.

Another highlight were the married couple, about 50, who came off the plane with identical cut off trousers, again at about the mid calf. And sandals. BUT they were both wearing long BLACK socks. I gasped in horror.

I think Trinny & Susannah should do a show at an airport and pull over poor jet lagged Austrians. Open their suitcase in public. Ridicule the contents. And then do a makeover.

Anyway, thinking about all this passed the time till my parents came through, sans braces or knee length black socks, thank goodness.

Picked up parents. YEY! Drove back to Taupo, stopped for some surly service in Tirau - the town which was going downhill till some bright spark created a 30 foot tall Dog out of corrugated metal as the outside of his shop. The next door business was so inspired he changed the outside of his shop into a massive corrugated metal sheep. And so a legend was born. The corrugated metal shop animals are really very good....it's a fun place!

Anyway, managed to get poor jet lagged parents to Taupo....and eventually to bed.

Then I had to write 3 radio commercials...while Dave went for his 12km run. (Did I mention he is doing a 100km race around the lake in February?)

And EVENTUALLY the very long day tumbled into blackness. So we sat in the darkness, all lights extinguished except for the shiny glow of Allie McBeal on the TV (we've just started into the second series on DVD).

When suddenly this strange piercing shriek entered the room. I leapt up in the pitch black to see something flying above my head. AAAAGH! A bat! I thought.

"What is it?!" i shrieked falling to the floor with my hands over my head.

Dave had noticed that the shrieking had coincided with Harley running into the room.

"Hmmm I don' know" he said calming, clearly enjoying the excitement factor.

I ran across to the kitchen keeping my head low at all times in case the bat/bird/demon got stuck in my hair. I slammed my hands on the lights....and all was revealed.

A maimed bird was flapping around our lounge....harley was making evil noises at it...dave was grinning. (well I don't know that for a fact, but it felt like it) so I ran shrieking from the room with my hands over my head...ran up the stairs and hid in the bedroom.

This was beyond my remit.

This was not in the small print of the marriage or pet owner's contract.

I tried not to shudder too much at the thought of a maimed bird dripping on my furniture which my cat -feathers encrusted around its mouth- had dragged into the house through the cat flap. In the middle of the night. Ugh.

I ventured downstairs to see if Dave had managed to catch the bird.

Harley had it in his mouth.


Quickly I shrieked some sort of shrieky ultimatum...."get that bird and that cat out of my house NOW!" in a shrieky uncompromising kind of shriek. I emphasise the shrieking merely because there was so much of it coming out of me.


Anyway, Dave put the bird out. I smacked Harley. I sulked and shuddered on the couch throughout the rest of Ally.

Harley came back in crying for his little winged toy...and freaked me out further by wanderingn around the room looking up in the air for it.


So that was yesterday.

Fortunately parents seem to have slept through all shrieking. In fact it is 11.39 on Saturday morning and they are still in bed.

(Birds. In the house. Pecking at your eyes. Shudder.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've got a sow about to farrow

Ah life in the country. It never ceases to amaze and delight.

There are so many wonderful country phrases that I am picking up, I can hardly wait to share them with you.

Of course as soon as I hear one I have to write it down, memorise it and then drop it into as many conversations as I can.

It seems that most country sayings are to do with animals having sex. Either that or giving birth.

And so I am constantly peppering my conversation with punchy little phrases like this,

"I would stay for tea with you Denise, but I've got a bitch in whelp and I must dash."

Or to Dave:

"No, we can't stay for a barbie, you know very well it's time to crutch the hoggets."

Can you believe I'm not even making this stuff up?

Tracey the horse woman has to get back to the UK in March because she has to lamb her ewes.

>>"I've got to lamb my ewes!" <<

I am simply dying to use this phrase.

I also learned about sheep TUPPING today. This is releasing a randy ram in amongst the sheep (presumably once they've had their hoggets crutched.)

Sheep tupping.

It really makes you wonder about Tupperware doesn't it?

By the way, in case you were wondering, to crutch a hogget is to remove the dags from a sheep's backside. The dags being the bits of wool encrusted with, er, well that stuff that Shannon has to deal with a lot from Bokker.

I can't tell you HOW delighted I am to be acquiring all these exciting new phrases. But perhaps they aren't new to you. Perhaps you are always chitchatting in Starbucks about your whelping bitch.

Meanwhile in even more exciting news...I have my own car! And in keeping with the theme of this post it is a 4WD RAV. I haven't had my very own wheels in over 4 years so I am very excited.

There are pics below of me and my countrified car....me and the horses that I rode the other day. (Did I mention that I can now mount and ride a bareback horse? Yessirree Bob I can). Also the view from the top of Tauhara - the 'hill' behind our house. Oh and a pic of Harley up a tree. Again, definitely showing anti-Harrison tendencies.

Got to dash, I've got a sow about to farrow....

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Krista!

YEY YEY today Krista came into the world, some XX years ago. And the world has been a much better place for it, I think we all agree on that one.

I have really enjoyed your birthday Krista - it's been a gorgeous sunny day. I went to church and James spoke so that was cool. Then we climbed up the hill behind our house (Tauhara). When I say 'hill' that is a kiwi definition. It is about 1200feet high and has fantastic views. Then we had a swim in the pool at the Eden Centre and had a bbq with FHM (Fatherheart Ministries) and a few people from church. I hope your day is even better!

So what can I say about the totally, wonderfull absolutely fabulous Krista?
It's late here and my brain isn't functioning too well so this may not do her justice but here are 5 things I LOVE about Krista:

1) She will fight your corner to her dying breath. (Krista was my outreach leader. Once I totally broke down in front of the whole team and started sobbing convulsivley at the dinner table upon arriving at our hosts' house in East Germany. The lady Dave and I were staying with only spoke Russian, insisted that I wear her pink nighty and that Dave wear her dead husband's pyjamas, communicated through graphic sign language that we were only to take a shower once a week, and put us in a room with no curtains and a see through door that led onto her hallway. All I can say is that Krista saved my life. She got us moved out of there and was totally fierce about the whole thing. It was SO great to have her on my side. It still is.

2) She is incredibly thoughtful and selfless. She always has some scheme going on to bless someone's socks off. She single handedly masterminded the re-homing of Harrison (which was driving me to distraction). And she and Jason landscaped our front garden in an afternoon off from a very intense leaders school, when she could just as well have had a nap. She is usually raising money for someone who needs it, buying them things, praying for them lots, and generally being a totally wonderful friend.

3) She is the most emotionally honest person I know. I learned from Krista what it means to be in touch with your heart and to respond in the moment rather than bottling things up. She laughs with all her heart. Hurts with all her heart. Feels everything deeply and is a person very much ALIVE. Her compassionate energy and emotional honesty is really outstanding.

4)Krista is wonderfully herself. Quirky, arty, she always has a fun and creative way of doing something. Even her writing (the actual lettering) is just inspiringly arty and HER. I love her creativity and she has encouraged me to be myself and write the way that I want to write. I think she is a real role model in that. Isn't that the most important thing to be at the end of the day - uniquely yourself?

5) Krista is daring and persevering. She's a keeper. She's been through more tough stuff in her life so far than most people get in a lifetime. But she keeps on going. She is passionate about God and that's what takes her through. Her passion is contagious.

Ohh you see, even though I am tired and the right side of my head is throbbing I can't help but think of so many more than 5 things that I LOVE about her. Here are a few more in brief:

The way she loves Jason....her grin....her fabulous hair....her hilarious way of telling stories....her dancing...her facial expressions...her eyebrows they definitely deserve a mention....the way she loves her parents....her fierce loyalty....her prophetic nature....her kindness....the way she 'got' Harrison's complex psyche...

Ahhhh Krista you are a one off and I am so glad I get to be your friend. I feel very privileged.

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, January 13, 2006

Draw back the velvet curtain...

Smash the champagne over the prow of your PC....

I'm unveiling another blog.

I feel a bit bashful about it. It's, er, a story blog.

With, um, stories.

Anyway, it's called The Fabulist.

I've bashed off a little story every day this week.

Take a look if you like weird.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Strange Times

So after I've declared that Harley is the anti-Harrison, I mean, moments after I've pressed the "Publish post" button...Harley shows that he does in fact have 1 thing in common with Harrison.


Harry as you may or may not know had a urinary tract issue. In fact in the letter that the Toronto vet wrote to Harrison (yes addressed it TO Harrison Richards), she said and I quote "Dear Harry, you are a handsome kitty. Your inappropriate urination is due to crystals in your urethra."

Inappropriate urination = peeing on the bed. Once, while Dave was in it. Yes you can now all be glad that you didn't buy a bed from us.

OK, back to Harley.

I finish my post. Turn around and notice that he is squatting next to the desk in a suspicious manner. He has that look on his face that cats have when they are about to pee. It looks something like this:

Ok you can't see my impression...but try one yourself in the mirror - it's quite fun. Could even become a new parlour game.

So I swoop over and employing my most stern voice I say, "You better not be doing what I think you are doing young man". (Mysteriously turning into a 1950's housewife). But of course it is too late. He has done the W thing.

The redeeming feature of the scenario was that as I shooed him away to clean up the mess, I noticed what he had peed on.

It was a document from one of Dave's construction clients. In particular, a brochure on Waterproofing.

So we may have another cat with inappropriate urination. But at least it has a sense of humour.

In other news...we have now both received our suitcases back - a mere 5 days late. I had the deep joy of being on hold for 93 minutes one day while trying to get through to the Air NZ lost luggage desk. Good thing I can still read Shannon's blog with one ear out of action.

But now as to the 2 things that prompted me to entitle this post Strange Times.

First thing.

I went to the chemists today. Not that odd in itself I admit. But it was part of my continuing quest to find some nail polish remover in the sprawling metropolis that is Taupo.

Ok so previously I had only checked the supermarket and one other chemist. But neither places had ANY nail polish remover. And my toes are in a woeful state.

So here I am in the third shop, trying to find the NPR. I hunt high and low. Aha! exhibit A - they have nail polish. Ergo (I always think in Latin when trying to find toiletries...I find it helps) they MUST surely for the love of all that's embellished with coloured chemicals have the remover too. But no, I cannot find a bally bottle of the stuff.

Am I condemned to wander the streets of Taupo, with manky paws half smeared in chipped orangey nail polish? I was starting to think so.

So I of course fell greedily upon a shop assistant. (I adhere to the policy, 'why look yourself when someone else can do it?' whereas I find most men adhere to the policy, 'why ask someone who knows when you can blunder around for 4 hours, get lost, forget what you're looking for, suffer from serious dehydration and still refuse to ask anyone for help')

She looked at me apologetically. "I'm very sorry," she said, "we only have these 3 bottles left. And we're completely out at the warehouse. We always sell out after Christmas..."

Where to begin with that statement?

Firstly, how many bottles does she think I need?
Secondly and more importantly...what is it about NZ women that there is a mad rush on NPR after Christmas? Is it because EVERYONE paints their nails for the Yuletide season but then desperately HAS to remove it before they turn into pumpkins?
Also, how does a warehouse run out of NPR? Am I to assume that the previous 2 shops I checked NORMALLY stock it but have both fallen fowl to the usual NPR surge in the New Year? Is she trying to tell me that she has the last 3 bottles of nail polish remover in the entire town?

I am baffled.

In even more news (can you take the pace of this post?) I met with 2 journos from Taupo Times today. Yesterday we spent some part of the evening tracking down a friend of James & Denise's (we also met her in Plymouth) who has been riding from Wanaka in the South Island cross country and was just about to reach Taupo.Tracey Elliot Reep is her name - Reepicheep for short. She had been riding since 8am to make it to Taupo and she has 2 huge Palomino horses (Dude and Favour). She rides one at a time (she's not a circus act after all...although that would create quite a stir....two horses side by side, Tracey balanced with a foot on each.....hmmm must suggest that to her for her next ride) and leads the other by a long rope. It's pretty cool looking.

Anyway, it took her longer than she thought to get to Taupo and it got dark, which makes it pretty tricky for the horses as they don't have headlights and there aren't too many streetlights in these here parts. Also she didn't know the way. So we had to keep curb crawling her, check she was ok, hold the horses for a bit while she fiddled with the saddle, then drive ahead. We stopped ahead of her and I waited by the side of the road in the dark for her to arrive with the 2 horses and then point in her the right direction again. It was all quite surreal. Then in the pitch black we had to lead her and the 2 huge horses through the bushes at the Eden Centre, oops into a dead end, then nearly garroted the horses on the washing line to eventually find the paddock at the back. It was 11pm by this stage.

Believe me, it was quite a weird way to spend an evening.

So, the Taupo Times (think Headline, "Currant Bun is stolen from Tea Shop. Owner broken-hearted")...wanted to interview her with the horses. (But they are just neighsayers...ha ha). Enter Adele 'I know nothing about horses but I want to look like I do' Richards. First we go careering around town trying to find a 40 kilo bag of feed. Then I try to get bag of feed out of car. I can't even twist it round. Tracey finds a wheelbarrow and lugs bag single handedly into barrow. By the way you should know that I am dressed in my little shiny bronze knee length skirt, t shirt and flirty flip flops. At this point I feel a bit of a girl and not in a good way. Anyway, the journalists turn up and their combined age must have been about 13. One is extremely allergic to horses. So being the wannabe horse girl that I am, I offer to hold the horses reins while Tracey is interviewed. So far so good. Except that Dude, the male horse, has my number as soon as I take the rope. He knows I have no control. I know I have no control. And shortly everyone knows that I have no control and the horse leads ME round the garden as he attempts to a) push me in a tree b) push me in a bush c) tread on my flirty flip flops. In the end I have to give the reins back to Tracey.

Chagrinned. The wannabe horse girl in the shiny skirt retires from public duty and leaves the horsey stuff to Tracey. Except that I did take the saddle out of the car boot for her.

And nearly gave myself a hernia. She had to take it off me before I collapsed. And she must be all of a size 6.

So there we go Taupo Times, Strange Times. It certainly hasn't been dull.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

We've got a Harley

So, er, yesterday we went into town to pay a few bills. First stop the Office Supplies store. So while Dave goes in there he suggests to me that I pop into the Vets two doors down as there is a cute cat in there.

I knew it was a trap.

Still, I couldn't resist the opportunity to see a cute cat. Of course as soon as I saw him I wanted him.

Dave came in and said. "Oh that's not the cat I meant"

Apparently the cat Dave had been eyeing up (unbeknownst to me) had been re-homed before Christmas.

Instead there was a 1 year old ginger tom called Harley, sitting there looking for a new home. As soon as he was loosed from his cage he came up and headbutted my hand....so I knew he was a good cat.

He had to be re-homed after he kept beating up the other cat in the household. Yes, he's a bit of a hard case. The anti-Harrison if you like.

So we took him home with us.

Whereas Harrison spent his first week hiding in nooks and crannies - so much so we feared he was dead several times...Harley wandered around excitedly and then came to sit on my knee. He is one of the friendliest cats I've ever come across.

So despite the fact that I have been carefully nurturing my heart of stone in the areas of cats (having given 2 up in the past was just too much to contemplate starting over again)....I weakened.

Still I'm jolly glad as it is very nice to have a small ginger cat following me around the house.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


We made it.

Here's the fastforward version....

Singapore Air.(***) Pork and rice(****). 6 hours intermittent sleep(****). The Constant Gardener. (****)Spicy noodles for breakfast.(*)

Singapore Airport (***)Foxes Fruit Sweets (**)Lounge (**) Waiting for 5 hours for next flight (-*). The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (***** and then some). Chocky by John Wyndham (***not as good as childhood memories). Bookshop to get new fodder. (**)

Singapore Air Flight to Sydney (* very cramped, screaming children, almost no food) Sky High (** good, fun movie) The Office (***I'm sure I know these people) The Proof (**interesting movie with Gwyneth). Read half of "Sushi for beginners" (***very sim to her other book but a good read). Breakfast of eggs etc (*yuck airlines should never abuse the egg in such a way)

Sydney. Need to pick up bags to connect to Air NZ flight. 4 separate officials tell us we don't need to clear customs to pick them up. Air NZ will key in 'the number' and 'someone' will pick them up for us and put them on the right flight. Yeah right. Decide to believe Immigration Officials, Air NZ and Transfer Desk that all will be well. Mistake.

Sydney Airport (****) Sydney Airport while jetlagged (* - no energy to shop). Transfer Desk. (* queue up behind 20 people to reach the front and discover that we can't check in for another hour. Lurk. Queue up again. Oh by the way the plane is delayed. ) Air NZ Lounge (****fab but cold). Flight to Auckland delayed by 2 hours. Finish "Sushi for beginners" (that's 600 pages all gone). Wait in Sydney from 10.30am till take-off at 6pm.

Air NZ(***) Pie (***) Film - some pukey thing about a racehorse (-*) Dave's nodding dog impression (***).The sheer relief of arriving in NZ(*****). Wait to pick up our bags. Wait. Wait some more. Bags not there. Fall about in amazement. (not).
Go and sign up with "Findyersuitcase.com" (if only). Hotel room (*****there's a bed). Good thing about losing suitcases - not having to drag them up stairs. Bed at 1am.

Saturday (****I slept all night!) Auckland airport(***)Short hop to Taupo (***) No books left to read(*) Read every single word in Air New Zealand mag. Even articles about fish and native art. Study route maps in back of Air New Zealand mag. Study facts about differing plane models.(***don't care cos we're nearly there now).

Arriving at Taupo (*****James, Denise, Jan & Sandra cheer as we get off the plane)
Being home (***we haven't been burgled - yey. Internet not working - boo). No suitcase to unpack. Wander aimlessly. Watch TV. Call helpline re suitcases - no answer. Dave checks website to discover they have the number of the house wrong. Also bags have not been located. They are M.I.A.
Consider implications of losing half my wardrobe, christmas presents, address book and all jewellery. (-**).
Decide that bags will be found. (*)

Dave gives me Christmas presents (*****)All of first series of Alias and The Office, plus fab book "How to do just about everything". Read sections in book on 'How to thaw a frozen pipe' 'How to rid your home of cockroaches' 'How to prepare siblings for a new baby' and 'How to encourage responsible dating'. Glutted on information.

Write blog.(*not compus mentis enough to be witty)
Wonder if people will know what MIA stands for.
Decide to finish writing.(*****good decision)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So long and thanks for all the fish...

Mince pies, turkey, chocolates, ham, sandwiches, stir fries, chocolate, Christmas pudding, chips, chocolate, roast dinners, pub lunches....oh and the chocolate!

(Frightening how easy it is to mis-type mince pies.....mice pies just conjure up a whole different image)

Yes it's a travel day once again. We are leaving this isle's fair shores to return to NZ. For those who are interested in flight details etc (so...Alyn). We leave Heathrow at 10.30pm tonight with Singapore Air. Fly to...wait for it...Singapore, hop off the plane for a few hours. (Plan - eat all purple Fox's Fruit Sweets which they have in bowls all around the airport). Hop back on plane (now with purple mouth)fly to Sydney. Change planes, fly to Auckland. Arrive late at night. Stay in hotel overnight. Fly to Taupo.

The slightly scary aspect is that we leave today on Wednesday, and we arrive back in Taupo on Saturday. How does that work???

(Ok, I know so please don't explain it to me)

Feelings on leaving.
1) Very sad to think we probably won't be back for 12 months and hence won't see a lot of lovely people
2) Bit overwhelmed to leave constant socialising schedule of food and frolics madness....to go back to, er, knowing about 4 people in Taupo. Five if you include the girl who works in the coffee shop.
3)Happy to go back to beautiful NZ and see my river again.
4)Happy to go back into summer
5)Relieved to think of being settled in one place for months...and not having to jump on planes every other week.
6)Looking forward to seeing James & Denise, Jan & Sandra.

So a mixed bag really.
Anyway chickens you know where I'll be for the next few days...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Year 2005 - Highlights and Split Ends

Happy New Year dear ones! I hope that your NYE was suitably explosive or squib-like depending on your preference. Ours was a double hit with a very entertaining Karaoke evening with Dave's fam, followed by banter chez Lorraine and Vern with some very funny and gorgeous friends.

The winner (in my opinion) of Dave's family's fancy dress competition was nephew Matthew. He carried off his Freddie Mercury impression with panache, a fake moustache and a lovely pair of skin-tight, lilac Christian LaCroix shiny slacks. Nice.

(Actually I was quite taken with the trousers and spent most of the evening wondering if they would fit me.)

Anyway I digress. This is supposed to be a reflective post on the year 2005.

I love New Year. Not the actual celebrating of it as such. Just the anticipation of what the new year will bring. It's like having a load of unopened presents and wondering what they all are. I like the fact that God knows what we have in store. What fun it must be to know everything that he knows. Of course the things may not be that nice....but there's bound to be some nice things in there....aren't there?

Ok, so 2005.

I have to say I am very glad that 2005 is over. However it did have some highlights:

Alyn & AJ's wedding - mucho fabness

Signs & Wonders School - mind blown by Patricia King. Start of journey of revelation about The Cross. Yes folks, I finally start to get to grips with what it means to be a Christian....

Prophetic Word from Ivan & Isabel 'I see you in New Zealand, I see you living there'
(raaaather helpful in the decision making process)

3 week trip to NZ - gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
SWAM WITH 700 DOLPHINS - man that was cool.
(ok I did nearly get hypothermia, but it was worth it - also to hear Dave singing through his snorkel to the dolphins)

Catching up with Karen, Steff and my god-daughter Rhionna in Auckland.
Spending a couple of days in fabulous Sydney. Also meeting Nicole there and her family, pastors etc.

Trip to Nigeria - actually that was rather hard.
Trip to South Africa - that was so fab. Pretoria is great.
Amazing God encounter on 14 April - more revelation of grace and 'God in me'

Chicago conference: connecting with Marguerite, getting blasted with Denise and Amanda, seeing the Ukrainians electrocuted by the Holy Spirit.

Lovely Laura's visit to TO. Seeing baby racoons with her, trip to the islands with her and Sarah. Dave making friends with the guy in the tight pink t-shirt (don't ask).


San Jose conference. Getting to hang out with Melissa and Danielle in California. Having Starbucks 3 times a day. Mel driving me to Sausalito. Meeting up with Becca Dyste. Pizza and shopping with Carol. >happy sigh<
Oh and the conference was good too.

James & Denise teaching at the Leaders School. Getting blasted with Father's tangible presence. Having Jan and Sandra to stay. Seeing Ruthie Green. Good times.

Ernesto performs minor miracle on my hair to create va va voom. Also free cappucino. Day out of fun with Sarah. YEY. Made our own soup at Spring Rolls on Front Street.

Lynley's 40th birthday party - a glamorous occasion with great grub (thanks Stuart). My first taste of Dim Sum. Verdict? Yum.

Siberia trip with the fabbo Dalleys, Greg Veestra, and all round great team. LOVE Russia LOVE Russians. LOVE working and being with the Dalleys. LOVE how the Russians respond to God. Amazing.
Meeting Brigitte at Heathrow for a few hours before our flight back to TO.

Don't ask.

Seeing friends and family in the UK.

Travelling with James for a few weeks. Finland was a highlight. Love the Fins. Fab to see Veikko again and meet Mimosa. Barry Adams is the bomb. More fabulous, hard, Father Heart healing stuff.
Catching up with Fi from York in Leeds. She is lovely!

Arrival in NZ. My goodness we made it!
Finding amazing house - a God-gift.
LYNLEY'S HAVING A BABY!!!!! Big grins.

Back home for friends and frivolity.
Seeing the lovely Dalleys!
Seeing Paul & Liz Lynch (friends and former pastors). Soooo good to see them!

I'm sure I've forgotten lots of things....but these are the highlights my diary helped me to remember!

As for the split ends and fluffy hair aspects......well just dial up:
emigrating again.... selling house complications... selling possessions nightmare...packing insanity... moving company incompetency... finding shipping company on 'Frauds' website... leaving friends, church, ministry, home, Starbucks...permanent jet lag....living in country a LONG way away...

So as they say in the cartoons 'That's all folks!' That was 2005....what a crazy year!

So what do you think about 2006? Just pretend this is the Elijah List.....write me your prophetic utterance....