Happy New Year!

…and a much belated Merry Christmas. The Kiwi Homesteaders hope all of you had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas season, and could remember those things and people that are most important.

New Zealand is on summer holidays, after the insanity that is the month of December. The country virtually shuts down by degrees, and most businesses and Government organisations are shut by Christmas Eve, and don’t open until after New Year. Many people travel to see family at Christmas, or immediately afterwards head to the beach or preferred holiday spot.

We have spent our holiday season finally moving into our new home.

The Council held its final inspection on Friday 6 December, and our house passed with flying colours. We were blessed with a pragmatic building inspector who, while ensuring that the work was up to code, didn’t mind if it departed from the submitted plans or from the way things are conventionally done in certain respects. Some of the cosmetic work has yet to be finished – a small amount of painting (apart from wet areas) and such – but we are chipping away at that slowly.

Armed with our inspection results, we went out and got insurance right away, to remedy an unsettling gap in cover. (Contract Works insurance can be a nuisance, especially when Principal-Supplied Materials cover should have been included but wasn’t.) The little ones had to sit through a very lengthy meeting. Middle-class grown-up activities are not friendly for kids, but it had to be done.

And just as well. A mere two days later, we decided to do the first burn on our wood-burning stove, and cook some bacon and eggs on it. I had just called the children into the nursery where I was doing some cleaning, and Grace was in the living area wielding the pots and pans, when BOOM! I turned around to see the entire living room lit up with firelight. Interjections were uttered, along with shouts and screams of panicked children. Attempts were made to call emergency services while freaking out, administer First Aid to Grace, and douse the fire with a hose. Neighbours came to the rescue, followed by the local fire brigade and eventually the ambulance. It had to call for reinforcements after one of the firefighters went down with a heart attack. Fun times all round. Grace ended up being treated urgently in hospital, and our move was delayed by about two weeks while she recovered sufficiently from her injuries.

It transpired that a full, or nearly full, can of high temperature spray paint, of the sort used to touch up log burners and wood stoves, had been left in the ash tray during the manufacture and installation of the fire. The ash tray is invisible to the operator, and the operator has no reason to check it when the fire has never been used before. Or so we thought.

But God watches over his people, better than we could ever deserve or hope for. Grace’s injuries, and the damage to the house, could have been much worse than they turned out to be, and the insurance was in place in time, and the house is still habitable, and we moved in just after Christmas. The ambience out here is very peaceful and calming, and so far we don’t at all regret making the move.

Next, I hope to introduce our new “woolly” friends!

V.

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