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Been busy...

So I've been pretty busy the last few days and, as usual, that has limited my chances to get here and post in peace! And I miss it! I am usually driving when I think of what I would like to post. I run through it in my head. But by the time I reach my destination, the opportunity is lost. I guess I'll settle into routines in the new year... famous last words!!
So a catch up, if you're wondering what adventures I have had

Just before Christmas, I was working with a friend and colleague at her house, planning our Year 13 programme for next year. We're in the same parish, and I mentioned how much I would like to get an iPad2 for one of our friends who has multiple sclerosis. I said I thought it would suit her disability (she can't use a computer for long, probably not at all now, as her right hand isn't working and she can't sit at their old PC for long, if at all, she can't read for long, she can't do any kind of craft or handwork). I guess her husband's finding it hard enough just coping with looking after her and their four nearly grown up children, one of whom still lives at home. So. Anyway, I said I thought an iPad would be good for Esther. Well, my colleague said in her usual style, get one. I said, I want to, but I don't know how. She said she'd give me $50 and so would her two sisters, so why didn't I just ask people? We knew the family would hate a public fundraiser, so I went home and thought about it and late that night, I sent out a 'secret secret email' asking our music group and a few close friends who are movers and shakers in the parish, and I just asked for a donation towards this gift. When my children and I got up in the morning, I turned on my computer and phone. The emails and texts were coming in, and by nine o'clock in the morning, I had half the money already!! It was so exciting. By the end of the day, I had the whole $950! It was such an incredible day! Christy and I went out to her where her friend works in an electrical store and he was able to give us a good deal. The next morning, having organised a time to 'pop in', we went to see Esther. I gave her a Christmas card listing all the families, and she thought that all these people were wishing her a Merry Christmas and she was overwhelmed. Hang on, I said, there's more to it than just a card, and we gave her the iPad. It was amazing. Miraculous. To see her disability and to see that all she has to do is swipe her fingers across the screen, it blew us all away, her, Christy and me, her husband, and her son when he joined us (who was delighted to have an iPad in the house!!). It felt like such a great Christmas feeling. Now my friend can access the Net while she's on the couch all day. She can read ebooks and have them read to her by the machine. She can check emails. It's so amazing, such a wonder of modern technology. I went to my colleague straight afterwards (she didn't come because she cries at everything!) and she cried anyway, saying to me 'This is true Christmas'.
And what drives us at Christmas? It's inspired by the story of giving, if that doesn't sound too preachy and holy, and this clip just happens to be as cute as a button, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWq60oyrHVQ&feature=g-hist&context=G20858c3AHTvuaswAVAA

We have also been busy putting in an offer on a house near my school, for renting to Christy or friends or whoever, as an investment. It's currently the worst house in the street!

Then I had to play the keyboard for Midnight Mass, the PowerPoint for the Children's Mass then next morning (where we had our own cute nativity play, with one little king pulling a red shopping bag on wheels up the aisle!). We had a little drama where my brother in law had a paddy and refused to come over for Christmas Day which upset my husband. Good old Christmas spirit. And then I got Finn ready for a trip to the Sounds with his friends, and I drove Asher and his girlfriend up to my mother's before subsequently driving them up to the Coromandel to stay with friends there.

Thing was, I wanted to drive this ancient road in Taranaki, called the Forgotten Highway. So while having lunch in Sanson, Asher and Annie agreed to come with me (I had planned to drive it by myself on the return journey). SO we doglegged West instead of going up the centre of the island (and that was a good idea because an hour later there was a fatal crash and the Desert Road was closed for five hours and we would have been diverted with all the other holiday traffic). The route we chose was TOTALLY deserted! We wouldn't have passed more than twenty cars in five hours.
We went off-route a couple of times to see sights, a tunnel from 1907 that had been strengthened but was spooky - we walked through it, and we diverted 16km to walk to NZ's second highest waterfall! It wasn't a big fat waterfall, just a very long one! Mt Damper Falls. And there was no signal for the five or so hours we were on this route so Annie's family was worried we'd been in the crash! Our journey pretty much took us from one side of the country to the other and more than halfway north in one day.
As for the Forgotten Highway, it was exhilarating to be in such isolated hill country. Photos can't do the isolation justice but I'll add a few:

One of the tunnels - we walked through

Total isolation ...and no signal!

The Damper Falls


Hotel in the middle of nowhere. This little area declared itself a republic! I think there might be 20 people living there. They do hold some fun functions apparently!

My friend's dad just passed away early this morning in Edinburgh so that will be very sad for him - he's over there though to see him at the end, so that is good. And who knows what tomorrow will bring. I think I shall head back down country to home. Do some house painting. Write. Relax. Bring it on!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2011 07:16 am (UTC)
Lovely pics! The Forgotten Highway sounds wonderful, it's always good to get away from the beaten track:) And fantastic work with the iPad for your friend, I hope she has many hours of joy working with it.
Dec. 31st, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! -The Forgotten Highway sounds wonderful, it's always good to get away from the beaten track:)
It sure is. We chose to take that route at 1pm, having lunch in a cafe a couple of hours after leaving home, when I put it to Asher and Annie as a challenge. If we had pursued the usual route up the centre of the island, we would have encountered a fatal accident on State Highway 1, would have been held up for hours and would have had to take an alternative route with all the other holiday traffic as the main road was closed for five hours, from 2 until 7.
We had a dream journey with no traffic at all!
Dec. 30th, 2011 07:44 am (UTC)
You've been busy - and it has all been very productive!! Especially the iPad!

The nativity is indeed cute and I love the donkey and the sheep. I assume you'll have seen the digital nativity that has taken most of the world by storm, but in case you've been too busy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZrf0PbAGSk&list=FL-_EQQzGXHuZGM59f4M6Vuw&index=8&feature=plpp_video

The pics are gorgeous - are the tunnels part of the main road or do they wander off into the hills?

Enjoy the rest of your break!!
Dec. 31st, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
That clip was hilarious!!! Thanks for sharing it! I stuck it on my facebook.

The tunnel we walked through was about 3km off the road but there was one just like it as part of the main route later on. The waterfall was 16 km off route in the other direction! So that made for a long journey! Quite a few km of the main road were unsealed too so imagine what state my car was in. DUSTY!

Happy New Year dear Moth xxxx
Jan. 1st, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
And to you!

We saw the Aukland fireworks on our news yesterday - it was still 31st for us and the BBC kicked off the celebrations with clips from around the world starting with NZ.

The London ones, at midnight GMT, were the best I've ever seen, and now they will have to come up with something even better for the Olympics!!
Dec. 30th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
The tunnel looks like an opening for a good story !
Lovely views.
Nice to see Asher and Annie. (I wont say "hasnt he grown" ;o) )
Dec. 31st, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
I hadn't thought of the tunnel for a story but you're right, it'd be great. Hmmmm, is thinking already!

Asher has grown a LOT. As has my tiny Finn, who is nearly as tall as Asher (but spindle thin). And they're both far away for New Year sniff.

Happy New Year *hugs*
Dec. 30th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
I love the iPad story, great display of the meaning of Christmas.

You said the pictures don't do the area justice, but the pics are pretty amazing! That area must be truly breath-taking!

Someday Jenny, I want to give you a hug.
Dec. 31st, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
The pics remind me of that outdoor walk calendar you sent one time! Beautiful! I kept it for ages.

-Someday Jenny, I want to give you a hug.
We WILL hug one day. I know it.
Jan. 1st, 2012 03:14 am (UTC)
We WILL hug one day. I know it.
It's on my bucket list!!

Aw, I had completely forgotten about that calendar until now! I love that you loved it!!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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