Thought it was about time we updated the blog seen as people have begun to comment! We hit the ground running in February with the start of the new academic year; special children's events (The Love Night), a parish camp (which ended up only being one day) and the church started the '40 Days of Purpose' campaign. We've started meeting with a small group of people from church during the week and it's good to be making deeper friendships. Also spending quite a lot of time in coffee shops with our youth as they're so busy that getting them all together at the same time is nearly impossible.
We made the very most we could of the summer when we were very blessed to house sit for friends while they were on holiday. They live further out in the countryside with a very nice, large house (recently extended & renovated with plush new bathrooms), a vegetable garden with an abundance of food just ripe for picking, a swimming pool and a tennis court! Our very taxing job for two weeks was to water the plants (though only those in the pots & in the vegetable garden) and feed two cats. Nothing died - which you'll realise is nearly miraculous giving Natalie's track record with house plants - and the cats were fine. But it wasn't until the end of the fortnight when we realised that the cats weren't as greedy as we thought and we'd actually been supplying a local hedgehog with his/her nightly feed too! Very cheeky considering we'd rescued him/her or one of it's fellow hedgehog kind from drowning in the pool earlier on in our stay. We checked the pool one morning to find an exhausted hedgehog stuggling to stay above water having gone for a swim and then been unable to get out. It began to sink just as we fished it out, a task made all the more difficult as it rolled into a ball to protect itself. Anyway, we moved it to a flower bed and left it to recover which it clearly did considering the cat food it managed to consume!
The youth also enjoyed our stay at the Worsp's house as it meant they could come & use the pool as well. Surprisingly enough they nearly all managed to make it to Pancake Night (something they don't usually mark here in NZ - why not?!). They were very creative with the pancake toppings they brought, though it took a while to get round to eating as Jenni decided to jump into the pool fully clothed;of course, the others had to follow and those who didn't want to were soon 'persuaded'!
The weather has been fantastic for weeks now, to the point where we were beginning to take it for granted! For those of you hampered by the snow & cold in the UK at this time, we would like to say that the hardships of summer do include a prevalance of flies which drive you to distraction (as fly spray gives you an intense headache) if that is any consolation. And we think autumn is on its way as the leaves have begun to change colour and the nights did begin to be slightly cooler. Last Monday we decided to walk to the top of Mount Gray which is about half an hour from Rangiora and apparantly has amazing views over the North Canterbury region. We did attempt this a few months back but couldn't quite find the path. Our attempt was thwarted again but this time by a hailstorm, the line of which we watched move steadily towards us, unprepared for quite how wet it would make us. Drenched does not describe it! We decided to head back to the car (by his time there were rivers flowing down the mountain side!) and we were literally wringing our clothes out as we walked! However, the story does not end there because the weekend brought sunshine and high temperatures with it so we set off again and finally reached the top - the views (and obviously the exhilaration of the climb) were well worth the wait.