Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alyn's wonderful and here's why...


What an auspicious day. June 28th.

Tis the truly astounding Alyn Jones's's's birthday (or at least it still is in the UK and Canada, here it is yesterday...or was yesterday...or forever will be tomorrow. Er, the time thing is slipping away from me).

So here is my official HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALYN JONES. Woohooo!

Now I am hesitating to start this post because those of you who don't know Alyn (you poor beleaguered, deprived creatures)...will think that I have swallowed the hyperbole pill and wandered off in a metaphor-packed haze up to Exaggeration Hill.

But that would be where you were wrong. Remember his wife, AJ and her many talents? Well..this is her husband and a more intimidating pair it is hard to think off when you just list their many perfections and attributes. But Alyn is a big cuddly monkey (though not hairy) and so not really intimidating at all. (ditto AJ, except that she is not in the least like a monkey...hairless or not).

Ok, to clarify. Neither of them is like a monkey.

(It could be a bit early in the morning for me to be attempting to be lucid...I knew I should have written this yesterday.)

So here we go then - and just remember that this is SCANT and DEVOID of hyperbole, and in fact could be a little understated.

Things you should know about Alyn:

1) Alyn is the most enthusiastic person in the entire world. After extensive interviews in many different lands (some of which I could only reach by Yak), I have ascertained this to be a FACT.

2) Alyn could start a party in a small, dark, damp room with just one cheese and pineapple cocktail on a stick, a flat bottle of Diet Coke, at a gathering of "Party Haters Anonymous". Then he would invite in the "Depressed since we can't remember when Group" from next door - and within minutes everyone would be having a grand old time. Yep, he's THAT much fun.

3)Alyn is the most encouraging monkey on the face of the earth. You cannot come into Alyn's orbit (yes he has his own field of gravity..or should that be levity?) without smiling. Within milliseconds of spotting you across the room he will have leapt into the air with glee; proclaiming something like "Blooming Nora it's only the totally fantastic Dave and Adele Richards...how are you two gorgeous, lovely, wonderful creatures? Oooh I've missed you so much....mumble, mumble, mumble..."

(You can't hear the end of the speech cos the enormous hug he is enveloping you in is muffling everything else. But you get the drift.)

4) All this happens in a SCOTTISH accent. Yes, SCOTTISH. I know, it shouldn't be allowed. It's almost too totally good to be true. A bit like having extra whip on top of the whip on top of the extra caramel on top of the white hot chocolate Venti...
(this could actually be Alyn's favourite drink)

5) Not content with giving you the warmest greeting since they crossed a Labrador with a long-lost Italian relative....Alyn will suddenly inject all conversations with further spontaneous exclamations to the effect of "Do you know how completely gobsmackingly wonderful you two are...and how amazing. Oh and have I mentioned that I love you too. And that it's totally amazing to be here?"

Dang, Alyn makes you feel good about yourself. Now if only we could find a way to distill the Essence of Alyn into a bottle...we could make a fortune.

6) Alyn is totally nuts about God and telling others about him in a fun, prophetic way. Yep, you're at Starbucks minding your own business - grunting out your order to the girl behind the till. But Alyn? Oh by jiminy no! Firstly he's inquiring if she has any pain in her body - if yes then he will heal her. Then he'll give her some totally mind blowing word from God like "You only have $4.59 left in your bank account. But God says a pay rise is coming by the end of the week."
Then he'll grin impishly. (The girl will be crying by now - you know, in a good way). And he'll probably tell her how wonderful she is and how much God loves her. Then the girl will fall to her knees in a pool of Caramel Macchiato and ask 'How can I be saved?'
This would be a totally typical interaction in the life of Mr Jones...

7) Should I go on...or are you already weeping that you've never met this guy?

8) Alyn is the man with the plan. But not the itty bitty, "I'll get out of bed and have a coffee today" kind of plan. No. The "I'll prophesy over the entire student body taking up my every lunchtime...just so I can practise and bless them" kind of plan. Committed? Maybe he should be.
No, I mean....he is a dedicated man. He puts his money and his time where his mouth is.
Integrity? Oh yes - 18 bucketloads at my last count.

9)A right old clever clogs he is. I mean like SERIOUSLY. He is the techno, techno, techno, techno THERE'S NO LIMITS ultimate technophile's technophile. Maybe a little more technical than that. IT teacher and all round Mac Genius. He is the guy the Mac Genius's phone up when they get stuck. He should have a Tshirt that reads "Mac Genius....since kindergarten".

10) Also ABLE TO EXPLAIN technology to the techno-idiot. Also WILLING to explain technology to the techno-fool. I mean, he's good with words people, and good with computers. I mean what are the odds against that???
Yes so Alyn is the guy we email/call/cling to in floods of tears when something weird happens with a computer/phone/TV/satellite dish/nuclear test reactor.

And he's so dang nice that he really cares and really helps.

11) Alyn, AJ and Dave may actually be the only 3 people in the entire world to understand air points. I mean you get that the airlines arrange these systems to purposefully be as complicated and full of sub-clauses, addendums and 'ooh we changed our minds" as possible? Yeah well they need to get out of bed in a different time zone to trick Alyn. He knows the points, bonuses, flight paths, seat systems etc better than the people who designed the flipping planes. It would fill many, many blogs to give you examples of all the neat ways he has played the system (legally of course) and proved himself to be very. very. very. clever.

12) Did I mention already that he is an internationally acclaimed public speaker, entertainer and all round amazing communicator?

13) And that he does magic tricks? GOOD ones.

14) And that he gets the best service out of a restaurant that I've ever seen through his own personal charm. Often the meals end up being free.

15) And that he's generous to a fault?

16) And that he lavishes love and attention on his gorgeous wife?

17) Uh and that he won some swanky award and was invited to the Queen's Tea Party at Buck Palace?

18) And that he makes me smile?

Well, phewy...I could go on and on...but I think you've got the gist.

Yep, he's quite the outstanding guy...and so dang likeable. AND he has a Scottish accent.

So, here's to you Alyn (I'm toasting you with a glass of water)....Happy Birthday!

I'm so glad that we got to meet you and know you and that we get to call you friend, Friend.

Have a great rest of your day!

Love,

Adele
xxx

Sunday, June 25, 2006

On Becoming a Behemoth...

Yo yo yo, all my sistas in the house say yo, cos, word up, dudes - I am down with the Baby Phat.

(Strange that I've never considered a career in rap....)

Or for those of you who prefer a slightly more logical introduction to today's subject matter - the word on the street is I have increased in size.

Well I am 26 weeks and 2 days preggers; which is officially 2 days into...THE THIRD TRIMESTER.

Dah. Dah. Daaaaah.

Ok and in normal, non-pregnancy speak that means I am 6 months preggers and in the home straight.

The third trimester is supposed to be the one where things get a bit lively again (first trimester can be yuck...second trimester supposed to be fun, energetic....er, really?...ok it was fun but...).

Yes this is where all your internal organs get squished up under your armpits as the baby fills in the spaces they normally abide minding their own business. You know, just processing food, whoosing bile around and cleansing stuff. Yep your everyday organ activity.

By the way did you know that the placenta counts as an extra organ? I've flipping grown a new organ in the last 6 months! This is what I remind Dave if he queries why I look exhausted after mooching round the house all day writing things. "I've grown a new organ...it's very tiring!"

I mean imagine your sense of accomplishment if you'd grown a new kidney...or liver or something. It's not to be sniffed at.

Meanwhile in the third trimester my blood flow increases again till there's almost 25% extra blood in my body than normal. This apparently accounts for general puffiness. (And not the 3 bars of chocolate I am eating a day? Excellent.)

Also everything has gone soft in preparation for child birth. Including my brain. Yes all these lovely pregnancy hormones are softening my ligaments and just about anything they darn well like. Perhaps my teeth are now made of rubber. ( Should I test them out on another chocolate bar...?)

Ooh and my skin is stretching - it'll be by an extra 1-2 square feet by the end. Mmmm...such nice images...all this extra skin and blood...and nowhere to put them. I should really buy myself a nice new bag.

They say that in the TT (third trimester) you might have trouble breathing, eating and not weeing every 15 minutes. (Cos your lungs and stomach are all squished up, and your baby is bouncing on your bladder).

That's something to look forward to then! Of course not every woman feels all these side effects.

(Are these the ones who drink a bottle of vodka for breakfast and sleep under the table for the rest of the day?)

Anyway...I'm feeling fine so far (TWO days into it)...apart from some indigestion and the odd leg cramp during the night.

So this leads me to the photos. Yes by popular demand...the bump is back....I even tried on 2 different outfits to show you the full effect. (I look bigger in some things than others).






Oh and I've been snooping about on the web this week garnering top tips for baby equipment. So yesterday Dave and I took a 2 hour drive to Tauranga to the Baby Factory there. We spent a very decisive 4 hours there picking out various items of a highly technical nature. I knew enough to ask "Does it have a five point harness?" And "is it fully reclining?"
To which the lady replied, "Madam, it's a baby bath...."

So we picked out a cot...stroller...bassinette (goes in stroller)...car seat (capsule type one)...bottles & steriliser...fun playmat thing and a cute bed cover. Cute bed cover is turquoise and lime green...with large turquoise donkey on it, saying "yeeehaa". Note the turquoise theme and 'going againt type casting' lack of pink. How radical am I?

After this frankly exhausting experience (but fun too)...we drove down the road to Mount Manganui. At every point I mentioned to Dave if Sarah (Dalley) and I had been there. Or sat there. Or eaten there. As we spent a couple of days there during her visit in February. Sarah I particularly pointed out to Dave the gas station in Putaruru where we stopped on the way back...and you came face to face with your extreme sunburn. He also wanted to see the spot on the beach where you received the sunburn.

Another fabulous thing about Mount M (other than that it is THE SEA and I went there with SARAH)...is that it has a Starbucks. And probably the cleanest Starbucks I've ever been in. So I was absolutely forced to have a 1 shot decaff Grande latte and some carrot cake. I am glad to report that my daughter has excellent taste. She woke up and kicked me repeatedly throughout my stay in Starbucks. I took this as a sign of her approval.

Anyway, after we got all the stuff home we laid it all around the lounge while we tackled the 83 different adjustments you can make to the snazzy all terrain tri-mode stroller we bought. Turning around we discovered that the bassinette already had an inhabitant. Three guesses. And don't freak out - we won't be letting the cat in the baby's stuff again. (Although we were quite tempted to try out a 5 point harness on him.....)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dusting off

Well I've left the book now for about 18 months. That's long enough to lie fallow don't you think?

When I refer to the book. I mean THE book. The one I've been wanting to write/talking about writing since the year dot. The one that I did actually write in a flurry of activity during a couple of months....18 months ago.

It's a children's book...well, for the Tweens category...sort of 9-13 year olds type of deal. And it's a mystery. And it's not "Christian" per se.

Anyway it was very fun to write - after the initial hour it took me to sit down and start writing EVERY time. (Q. How many cups of tea can you make while procrastinating? I don't know, let me put the kettle on and I'll get back to you).

And I kept meaning to get around to editing it so that it's fit for human consumption. (Some chapters are still rambling, stream of consciousness outpourings rather than anything that makes sense to a sentient being).

Of course once you've left it for a while you don't want to pick it up again in case it is the biggest load of drivel ever known to mankind. And scarier still, what if you finish it and then you send it to publishers and they think it is the biggest load of drivel ever known to mankind?

I guess you just write another one. Or post it on the internet or something.

Anyway, I've finally done it. I've got it out of the cupboard where its 88 pages and 60,000 words were gathering dust. I've just read the first 3 chapters....and hmmm....not bad. I can see some things I need to do differently. But there are some sentences that I even like.

So here's my plan: finish book before baby is born. That gives me 3 months. Do-able don't you think?

In the meantime I'm trying to crank up the old creativity levels by writing some more short stories n stuff. So hopefully The Fabulist won't be a barren wasteland as it has been for the last 5 months.

I'm toying with the idea of sending off a few of the stories as well....just to see what kind of response I get. They're kind of weird though don't you think? Are they children's stories? Or what are they exactly? Should I send them to a Children's publisher? You guys aren't children and yet you seem to quite like some of them. Huh. Your thoughts on a postcard please.

Ummm yes, so if any of you are related to a publisher/literary agent/JK Rowling....or have any ideas about how I should proceed from here - let me know!

I guess I'm trying to face up to the fact that if I admitted to myself what I really love doing, and what I really would love to do in life..and what my wildest dreams would be....they would all come down to writing books. Wild, weird and hugely popular books, of course. I think I can manage the first 2 elements of that.

Um yeah. So that's where I'm at. Scared. Excited. Terrified of failure. Enjoying the ride. And needing some ideas on what to do with what I write.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keep praying for Kristen

Hi guys! Thanks for praying for baby Kristen.

I've just had an update. It seems like she did in fact have bacterial meningitis. But the treatment seems to have got it! The consultants gave her a lumbar puncture (poor thing!) and the test was clear so no more antibiotics are needed.

There are still other results and tests to come which are more concerned with ongoing development. Please continue to pray that these will also be positive and that she won't have any long-term effects.

Next up is a visit to Southampton Hospital on Wednesday to deal with Kristen’s tongue-tie which restricts the tongue a bit and makes feeding more difficult.

Thank you for praying for baby Kristen and her parents Andy & Debs.

xx

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If only I had a brain...

...I'd be dangerous.

So the man in the van (different man, different van....no tortoise-like behaviour)...just came to fit the cat door.

Thus ensued this profound conversation:

Man: Which door do you want the cat flap in?

Me: Ooh it's in the room straight ahead.

Man: Ok.

Me: (indicating only external door in room) It's that door.

Man: U-huh

Me: Can we have the cat flap in the lower pane?

Man: (silence)

Me: (realising what I just said) Cos, uh, it's be a bit tricky for him to use one in the upper half of the door.....
Me: (laughing lamely) heh....he....

Man: (just gets on with his work) (silently)

Is this also the moment to admit that yesterday while attempting (yes attempting) to wash my hair...I poured a great big globule of shampoo into my hands?

Then rubbed it all over my face.

(Please could someone put all the knives in a place I can't reach...just in case I mistake them for a toothbrush)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Self-indulgence

Gosh there's nothing I love doing quite so much as talking about myself.

What do you mean you'd noticed?

Well this week I was asked to complete a profile for the church newsletter so that people can have a clue who the sleepy girl on the back row is.

So this will be printed in the newsheet for Northshore Apostolic Church next week:

(Unless the pastor vetoes it first)

Where were you born?
In Bingley, Yorkshire in England. I believe my mother was there, if you need witnesses.

Family?
I'm the eldest (can't you tell?). One younger brother. One gorgeous babe on way (due end of September).

Qualifications?
007. Licensed to....no, no, that's not right.
Degree in English Literature (I kan reed and right)
Copywriter and general lover of words. (I said, words not worms...)

Ministry?
Yes please - I need some.
Uh, that's not what you meant?
Prev: General dogsbody at School of Ministry at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Canada (for 4 years)
Currently: Overlord and She Who Must Be Obeyed of Fatherheart Ministries, NZ. (self-appointed)

Passions?
(in no particular order) Books. Worms. Words. Writing. Husband. Babe. Friends. Starbucks. Creative shenanigans. Fun. Hearing God's voice. Water (imbibing, gazing upon and lolling about in)

Current passions due to pregnancy: potatoes & cocoa pops - but not together.

Greatest challenge.
In the past - being a loving wife. Now - starting life over in a new country...in a galaxy far, far, far away....

Your vision for the future
Skycars by 2050, everyone wearing silver lycra outfits and having massive heads to house their oversized brains.

Christians so full of Father's love we only have to walk past someone or look at them for that person to have an encounter with Father himself. AKA ministry Jesus-style.

Aw go on....ask me another....

Let's all link arms and sway gently...

Just call me Adele McGeek.

For I have been having a technological afternoon.

I have FINALLY updated my memory on my beloved G4...so I now have 1.25 GB. And guess what...things seem to be moving along a little bit faster.

Also I have wrangled with blogger and (a little fist-shaking and hair-tugging notwithstanding) I have FINALLY updated my blog with links. And let me tell you this involved some very nifty cutting and pasting of html on my part....and some very obscure instructions on Blogger's behalf. Still, we made it!

Yes my dear friends I have added your blogs to this blog so that we can all happily blog around on each other's blogs. (Too much use of the word 'blog' you think?)

You'll see the links listed to the left hand side of the screen underneath Previous Posts.

Phew!

And just so you know. I am watching you.

Yes thanks to some insider intell from Shannon...I am now tracking who reads this blog, when and what colour undies they are wearing.

(if they are wearing any at all.....)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

You give tortoises a bad name

Good morning/evening campers....your mad, bad and sad correspondant from Taupo, New Zealand reporting in for duty. Ok not so much with the mad or bad but mostly just sad.

Yep I've hired out a job lot of violinists to accompany this post (they gave me a discount after I gave them so much work in my recent posting about the auction).

Oh sigh. NEXT time I move (in about 6-12 months time) I'll remember. Remind me won't you?

Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself. Yesterday was the day that the men with the van came. Over the weekend we'd taken car loads of everything portable to the new place...so all that was left were the shells of the large pieces of furniture. Sofas sans cushions. Chests of drawers without the drawers. We'd even taken the lawnmower and dining room chairs.

Dave estimated that it would take the men with the van about an hour to load up what was remaining. I have to say I was dubious. Maybe a couple of hours, I thought.

Well six and a half hours later....

SIX and a HALF hours.

It took them 40 minutes to load 3 tables and a microwave. I kid you not.

Very nice men.

Slow?

So slow you'd compare them to tortoises. But that would be to disparage tortoises.

Well here's the thing. They were being paid by the hour.

Yep. Say no more.

Paid by the hour my friends.

Anyway, having said all that, they were careful and got the job done. Plus their hourly rate was peanuts.

I actually tried to pay them in peanuts. But they said they only eat lettuce. And then their heads kind of retracted into their collars. I guess you have to have a tough shell to be a removal man.

Meanwhile Dave had plumbed in the washing machine, pulled up the carpet and laid the speaker cables in the lounge, set up the TV and DVD, and got the wireless internet working. In this scenario - he was definitely the hare.

So by the end of a very long day the house was pretty much sorted. I'll get some photos some time. It's a new house so the finish is really good. Lots of spotlights and nice tiles. Also has a fab view of the lake.

Was very sad to say goodbye to my lovely idyll with the river view though.....I went through and said goodbye to every room. Closure is important you know.

So that brings us today. The first day in the new house. And I didn't see it coming. Despite the last first day in the last new house, being just 6 months ago. Guess in the learning stakes... I am the tortoise.

The work was mostly done. The moving of the furniture had happened mostly without incident. I'd finished all the packing up. The place was even set up pretty much. Looks like home, even. We'd arranged the furniture so there are nice little places to sit and have coffee....nice places to sit and watch a movie together...nice places to perch and talk to the person who's making dinner.

So I sat here. I sat here with Harley. We sat here we two. And how we wished there was something to do.....to make you appear.

It was definitely time for friends to call in. Pop round to see the new pad. Have a snoop.

So I sat here and waited for you. But you didn't come. So I did some work. And waited for you to come. And emptied some more boxes. And waited. And turned the lights on and off. And put the heating on. And still you didn't come.

I know, I know...if you'd been passing...

I missed you today.

It's only fun having a nice place when you can share it.

You'd like it. We'd have fun. We'd have coffee. We'd admire the view.

But it was just me and the violinists.

Not even a tortoise in sight.

But tomorrow will be a better day.

Mwah. Love you guys.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stating the flipping obvious

1) So turns out moving from house to house within the same town....is easier than moving from one hemisphere to another.

Who knew?

Yep the man with the van comes tomorrow but the house is basically an empty shell....its insides have been scooped out and re-located by the personal brawn of Dave, with overall direction, light handling and driving back and forth provided by yours truly.

2) Shock news in the celebrity magazines. Brad and Angelina have declared that their baby is (wait for it) beautiful.

Who knew?

Parents who think that their baby is beautiful. Whatever next.
The child of Brangelina (those two strikingly plain actors) actually being beautiful. Shocker.

3) Rumours abound in celebrity circles as celeb couples posture themselves to grab the next big baby name, after Shiloh Pitt Jolie has been snaffled.

Tom & Katie are rumoured to be vying for their next child's name already.

Will it be Fatherheart Ministries Cruise?
Or TACF Cruise?

Who knows?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Urgent prayer needed!

Guys please send some up for sweet baby Kristen Green. She is the newborn daughter of our friends Andy & Debs Green and has this morning been re-admitted to hospital. She is diagnosed with meningitis.

Please pray for this special little girl, her parents and family.

Thank you!
xxx

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Cathy!

Today is the birthday of the ever so amazing Cathy Harris!

A woman of such amazing capabilities, wisdom and compassion...I hardly know where to start in itemising her excellencies.

Firstly let us all say HAPPY BIRTHDAY CATHY and may this year prove to be one in which loose ends are tied and in which peace comes in like a flood. MWAH.

Things you should know about Cathy:

1) She can find a fabulous pair of shoes, blindfolded in a fog, with one arm tied behind her back. Oh and they'll be half price or less. (This is one of the most desirable superpowers; sadly neglected in the latest X Man movie)

2) Ditto fabulous purses (handbags). Oh and she can find the perfect purse for anyone else as well.

3) She can take seemingly random colours, combine them and produce a snazzy outfit. Again, blindfolded in a fog. (Just so you know, she doesn't actually spend her life blindfolded or in a fog. But she so could.)

4) If you spend time with her these superpowers will transfer to you by osmosis.

5) She can whip up a gastronomic miracle in 8 minutes using only a cup of flour, a fig and a small, ripe kumquat.

6) She can feed 16 hungry small group leaders. In 8 minutes. With or without the kumquat.

7) She can talk to Megan on her cell phone, drive her car, counsel someone, buy the perfect purse as a birthday gift and shop for a small, ripe kumquat. All at the same time.

8) She will respond without hesitation when someone is having a crisis, totally go the extra mile (or 4,000) for them, lose sleep for them, share her living space with them, give up her last kumquat to them. She IS the 4th emergency service in Canada.

9)She is exceptional with babies, children, teens, young adults, twenty somethings, thirty somethings, 40 somethings etc up to 90 somethings. I can't answer anyone over 99 years of age.

10) Proof - put a crying baby or octogenarian in her arms and they will stop crying instantly.

11) Oh yeah and by the way she is a breathtakingly good mom/mum.

12) Patient? You better believe it.

13) But don't forget the purses.

14) And the fact that she can only go to Starbucks after 12. Which for most people would be verging on a fault. But not with Cathy. And she doesn't drink tea or coffee. Just Chocolate Nut Brownie Frappucinos....or whatever those things are!

15) She holds the award for SoM staff member whom I met least in the toilets, during my 3 years on staff. (This includes Stuart) (see number 14)

16) She is athletic and toned...and sporty. If she weren't busy holding the rest of us together right now, she would be out doing Ironmen competitions and climbing mountains.

17) She cycled around New Zealand. (Have you SEEN how many mountains there are here?)

18) She pretty much knows how you are going to feel, before you realise that is how you are going to feel, and she shows insight, wisdom and compassion about it. But you say, "Nah, I'll be fine" and then 10 minutes later when you are sobbing, you realise. "Huh, she was right"

19) She is a true Mom to the students at SoM

20) She laughs all the time.

21) She doesn't sweat the small stuff.

22) She can accomplish more in 5 minutes than most of us do in a day. (With or without blindfold and kumquat).

23) She really, really loves people. Like, REALLY.

24) She is very classy, educated and posh...but doesn't feel the need to brag about it. Which is actually the first indicator of being genuinely posh.

25) She doesn't hold back, but gets stuck in.

26) She keeps her heart pure and her attitude great even when all around her are losing it.

27) She sees the bigger picture.

28) She goes out of her way to promote others and loves to see them succeed. Even when this causes her extra work.

29) She is truly selfless.

30) She is naughty and hilarious.

Well, I could go on and on. Clearly she is beautiful - check out those gorgeous eyes!

But suffice to say:

Cathy, I love you. I admire you. You inspire me.

Happy Birthday beautiful!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Upside Down World

Hello dear friends, long time, no speak.

It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster here lately so I was waiting till things levelled off in order to bring you witty banter of a jolly nature. Rather than me dripping on you from your computer screen.

Not sure the level ground has appeared....but I must...on this blog anyway.

SO.

You'll remember we decided (reluctantly) to put our lovely house on the market due to the council's strong desire to ruin the view with a wacking great road across the river in front of the house. Bless their cotton socks.

Well despite our best efforts to render the house immaculate 24 7 (succeeded)...there were not many fishies nibbling at the bait. (Alyn & AJ - think 'prawn fishing'). Indeed 2 days before the Big Auction (shudder) we had 2 people vaguely interested for all our efforts...and one of those definitely couldn't afford it. Ahuh. So the estate agents start talking about the Big Auction as 'just part of our marketing strategy'. And 'it's not about a one-off event'. Which is code for 'we don't think there's a snow ball in Antigua's chance of flogging it on the day'.

Normally bad news, when you're trying to sell a house. But of course we don't really want to sell this house. So enter (stage left) 'a whole load of mixed feelings'. Shortly followed by (enter Stage Right) ' a feeling of intense relief that we can stay put' accompanied by Vague Hope 'maybe they won't build the bridge after all'.

So cue the Big Auction day. I can't quite express to you how much I was dreading this. It may be a bizarre English thing of 'my home is my castle'...but the thought of having a whole bunch of people snooping about in your house who are mostly nosey neighbours who are just sharking about for an idea of neighbourhood prices.... and then watching the humiliation of it not selling...all while you have to BE THERE. Well, shudder. Maybe it's just me, but....pull my fingernails out with tweezers...I don't enjoy that kind of thing.

I guess it's worse when you love your house. You don't want to sell it. You have nowhere lined up to go. Oh and you're nearly 6 months pregnant in a foreign land where the only familiarity you have so far established is with your home.

(Can you hear the violins? Should I have waited for an upsurge on the rollercoaster before posting? Dang it, I knew it)

Anyway, low and behold the auction begins...the house is full of neighbours sitting on my furniture (why does this bother me? why?)...and pull my toenails out with a pair of rusty pliers - some one starts to bid.

The Estate Agents (nice one, scary one and Influencer-on-Crack Auctioneer) bundle Dave and I into the study off the lounge and start telling us to accept the offer. Which is sadly quite a way below our reserve figure.

Well there is considerable haggling back and forth...with the Estate Agents (nice, scary and I on C) rushing back and forth between the study and the lounge. They turn the music up in the lounge to mask the furtive conversations and it appears to be quite a party atmosphere in the lounge. I feel like I should be offering the neighbours cheese on sticks....

Meanwhile the 3 estate agents come back to the study where Dave and I are and look very excited. They can smell a sale - in a very flat market.

Well conveniently this is where my emotions kick in and it suddenly occurs to me (DUH) that we are about to sell our home. So I start to cry. The Auctioneer on Crack looks uncomfortable and leaves the room. My overwhelming feeling is "I DON"T WANT TO SELL" and I'm struggling not to completely sob. (Fortunately years of training in UK culture enables me to stifle powerful emotions at key moments. Hey and we have great road signs. Just 2 reasons to love the UK)

So now I have about 3 minutes to decide whether to accept the offer or not. I look out of the window at the view. I try and remind myself that the view may not last. I try to still my quivering lip. I remember that finding a buyer in 4 weeks has been tantamount to a miracle. I am churlishly ungrateful for miracle and wish miracle were not happening.

Anyway to cut a long story short, we decided to sell. The deal was struck within seconds. The buyers signed the contract with no conditions, handed over a deposit. And there that's done it. The house was sold.

I hid in the study while the neighbours left muttering about the lack of party balloons and silver skinned onions and sausage rolls.

So that was it. The Big Auction. And I know I'm supposed to be pleased that we sold the house....and part of me is very pleased. The part of me that doesn't have to worry about the road anymore - or the value of the house dropping like a stone. The part of me that straightened towels and tweaked duvet covers every time she left the house for 4 weeks. The part of me that spent dosh on marketing the house. All these parts were pleased.

But the part of me that felt homeless, displaced, disoriented in a place far from home...with no place yet to go...4 weeks in which to move...and yeah the very pregnant part of me....wanted to weep on the carpet.

It kind of took me unawares. After all I had been trying to sell the house. So surely selling the house (duh) is good?
I suppose I hadn't counted on the fact that having been trying to setlle in NZ for the past 6 months, we were about to shift ourselves again. And I really like feeling settled. And it takes a long time to achieve. And here we are throwing it up in the air again.

I dunno. You could say it's just the hormones. But I think there's more to it than that. I just want to be able to picture where I am going to be living for the next 6 months....where I am going to be bringing the baby back to.

Anyway, the violinists can put the instruments back in the case. Thanks for listening to me being maudlin. I know I should be grateful. I am grateful that we have a house in the first place. And we can get somewhere else.

So we are renting for 6 months...to keep our assets liquid while Dave develops this piece of land we've bought. And then we'll be moving again.

In the meantime, Harley chose his own method of transportation to the rental property:


Oh and here in Upside Down World - it may be June...but it's snow season.
Dang pretty though isn't it?
This is Ngarahoe (the very cone-like volcano) and Ruapehu (the ski slopes).





Not such a bad place to be moving from pillar to post in, is it?