Saturday, August 9, 2014
Paul and Susan put on a morning tea celebration for their two children, whose birthdays are close together. Matthew's birthday cake was in the shape of a train as he is a real devotee of toy trains. Via Jenny, I got him some Noddy books as a present.
Susan invited a few mothers from her playgroup so there were lots of kids running around and having a good time. The trampoline was popular but despite having a safety fence around it there were still a couple of falls and tears. Von asked Hannah if she wanted to go on the trampoline but Hannah replied: "No. Someone might hurt me". An early display of wisdom. Von had dressed Hannah in gold sandals, which suited the little lady that Hannah is
There were many good things to eat set out but the plate of sandwiches was an early casualty. Being the perfect hostess, however, Susan promptly replaced it with another plate of sandwiches.
Susan seems to be mistress of all the domestic arts. She showed a skill with a very 21st century such art by making "hats" for the kids out of long twistable balloons. Even Susan's mother ended up wearing an elaborate such "hat".
I had a chat to Paul about his business plans but he is very much in limbo at the moment. I talked quite a bit to Von and also to Jenny.
Little Elise slept for much of the time, which was a bit of a surprise to Susan as Elise is not normally a good sleeper. Elise has however taken to her grandfather Mark as she was a little lamb while Mark was holding her.
I had a little laugh with Von over the fact that Simon does all their cooking. I mentioned to her that Simon said once to me that he couldn't cook at all until he found out that Von could cook only noodles. Simon was sitting beside me at the time so that got a rare smile from him. And Von was amused too. She said that on one occasion she cooked them one of those bottled "Chicken Tonight" offerings. And it was so bad that from that point on Simon took over. Von does a lot of work in their vegetable garden, however, so she puts food on their table that way.
Despite his dour exterior, Simon is quite a bright spark, particularly in technical matters. I gather that he is well appreciated in his NZ town as he fixes all their computer problems for a small sum. Most people need someone who can do that. And when Paul and Timmy were trying to put the tent up in the backyard today, Simon stepped in and in a few deft moves made it all happen.
Von has undergone a quite surprising change since her childhood. When she was a little girl, either her (fraternal) twin sister Suz or I would usually speak for her. I would often answer a question addressed to her and she would usually indicate in some way that she liked that reply. So one would have thought that she would have married another highly verbal person. But she did the exact opposite. She married a man silent enough to be a Karellian. So she now does all the talking for both of them and does a very good job of it. You can never tell how children will end up. You can only enjoy them while you have them.
Hannah and Matthew opening presents
The birthday cake train