Saturday, November 06, 2004

What a glorious week!

Another week has passed and it has been glorious! The most consistent weather we have had since we've been here and the bonus is that it's warm and sunny! On Tuesday, we took a picnic to Mount Thomas Forest. It's great having days off in the week because places that are rammed at the weekend are deserted on week days. We were enjoying our food until we realised that we were food for sandflies - the blaggards! They draw blood and the bites itch for days. Now we know, we can go armed with repellent! However, we did have a lovely walk, more honeydew (by the way, that was what the obscure sideways picture was...), better views and found a great stream to paddle in.
On Wednesday, we were supposed to meet someone for lunch but somehow we seemed to miss each other. Conveniently we had arranged to meet at Northlands Mall, the largest shopping centre in NZ. So not one to waste a shopping opportunity (this is Natalie talking) we checked it out. The food court was great and we had the best curry, in fact only curry place we have seen, to date. We also made a couple of purchases including jeans for Natalie, which is a miracle!
Last night was our youth 'Firework Frenzy', although it was slightly hi-jacked by some parents who staged a mutiny because they didn't want to miss out! Our first BBQ, very easy - they all have gas! (don't quote us on that as we might be libel!) Rockets are banned here, so it was quite tame but very pretty and we managed to shower youth with flaming falling debris! They loved it and are fine.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New Things!

This week has seen several new things, probably the most exciting being our new car! On Tuesday , we had a picnic in the Botanical Gardens before going car shopping and Neil 'bounced' around the idea of a people carrier - inspired by our trip to South Carolina - that didn't cost very much money. Car are much cheaper here than in the UK, but a people carrier is still out of our range. Anyway, the first place we went to was a car rental company that sell their old vehicles. We talked with the manager about what we were looking for but nothing was available. She then disappeared into her office, made a phone call and returned with the offer of a van to look at, within our price range. We were hopeful, but sceptical! We saw the car on the Friday and decided to get it inspected by an independant mechanic, he said it was in an amazing condition and the engine was in strong shape. It was exactly what we had wanted, and then the added surprise/bonus was that the car was diesel! Much cheaper to run! So we are throughly enjoying the new drive.
Just a word about the Botanical Gardens which are far more amazing than any pictures could convey. Lots of different 'gardens' within the whole park and the most vibrant colours and incredible trees. It looked awesome in winter but it seems each season leaves its own distinct impression.
Saturday night was the first of our events for children - The Light Night! We've been collecting jam jars for the last month, cutting up tissue paper and cellophane, enlisting helpers (three lovely girls got so excited about it that they asked if they could dress up as fairies to welcome the children as they arrived!), giving out flyers, teaching the youth band songs etc. all to be ready for the halloween alternative. We had fantastic time! Lots of children from church came and brought their friends (between 50 and 60 kids altogether), parents stayed to help, we jumped around like lunatics getting the kids into the songs and the games and then Neil talked to them about Jesus being the light of the world. Everyone seemed to have lots of fun and went home swinging the lanterns they had made!
Yesterday saw a return of the glorious weather so we headed off for a picnic with some friends. Benn took us to a man-made lake on a reclaimed swamp! We went for a walk around the swamp hoping that the reclamation would have included a picnic site but after walking for about 15 minutes and just getting further and further from the cars and more deeply into the swamp, we decided to turn round and have our lunch with the ducks on the banks of the lake. We then went bowling (a trip that, like skiing, has been thwarted on 2 other occasions!) which was a good laugh; Neil won but Natalie lost, unable to remember a time when she played so badly! There will be a rematch...