Another call, late on a Sunday night, alerted us to yet another animal "in the river". Not Huckle, but his mother, Heidi, who (after a long and nettly search in the fog) turned out to be standing safely in the woods—on the other bank, in the grounds of the unfortunately-named Sandy Balls Holiday Camp. Her retrieval involved driving round the holiday camp after midnight, creeping through the woods and along miles of river-bank board-walk looking for the right track (in the dark with an east-European security guard of limited English). Thankfully Heidi was as pleased to see us as we were her, and she trotted happily back up the hill and into the trailer. It seemed quite surreal as we drove out past the sleeping happy campers, trailer clattering and cow mooing.
Richard’s brother Henry and his wife Rachel moved to New Zealand in the (northern) spring, and their daughter Sophie Anne was born in July (luckily she takes after Rachel in looks). Richard was able to go around for a whole day saying “my niece was born tomorrow”. Richard’s mum Anne will be visiting them soon—and maybe we can too one day, if we can find someone to look after the cattle... As an added incentive our friends Sandy and Robin have also recently moved to Wellington for a while.
We celebrated 10 years of Rue living in Ringwood by (at long last) decorating the hall and laying the kitchen floor. Only the study/3rd bedroom to go, then we can start all over again—but we have major repairs to the outbuildings to do first (in addition to Olly's contribution). It’s still an uphill battle against mud and straw, but at least the house is now a bit more civilised—so please do come and visit.
Photo: Kate playing the flute
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