Coffee Machine arrivals (etc)

Mark’s Machine has arrived, after a long time of pondering, false starts and trial and error. It is big (they said 33 kg, in fact it was over 60)

Mark's Machine

For the coffee geeks amongst you:

Futurmat, Ariete model, two group, Solenoid E61 group head (9lb of brass each), 11 Litre boiler.

It is over 10 Amps, which means re-wiring a plug in the kitchen. 2735 Watts. Lots of fun.

Graham’s 50th

This was supposed to be a surprise. Didn’t quite make it. But it was a great night. Discovered more about his past. His background includes some serious non-conformists . .


The quite comes from “A Brief Retrospective” c1953 by Sir Ernest H. Andrews.

Jacko may supplu another photo of the evening later.

Encouragement and Running

Was out running from 6.21 to 6.50am this morning.  That extra minutes are important.  I have never seen so many runners out first thing.  In New Zealand, for some people, today will mark the first real day of the year.  Feb 6th a National Day, 60,000 people out commemorating the Treaty of Waitangi in some way, the rest just catching up with themselves.  Today a lot of kids back at school, a seriously too long a holiday this year.  So a lot of us were out today running.  If you can’t do it now (fresh from holidays, lovely day, less things on)

Encouragement is important for runners.  Uncle Greig used to run, and described how they often met up with other runners out by themselves and would draw them into clubs or running groups.  It’s the old embers principle: an ember lasts much longer with the group – take it away by itself and it soon goes out.  I’ve described elsewhere my gym/getting fit experiences.

I’ve realised what I need for the year: people around me who will support in the main battlegrounds I face: exercise, diet, my thinking  . . .  for starters . . .

We were out yesterday in Le Bons Bay.  Around 25 of us.  In respect of some of these things, it was a really good day.  I do a have some great friends.

Summer nights continue

Coffee Night last night, the final Wednesday of our Summer Programme . . . only BBQ at Gaye’s this weekend to go.
While we were sitting around watching the sun go down I found out Debbie is writing stories on a writers site, and won a prize this month. Faithwriters. Cool. She is also doing another article for the Press.
She has some great adjectives: fluid script, rancid puddles, drunkenly upwards, gracefully scripted . . . (The same adjectives we use) :-)
As usual Mark’s coffee was good, and a whole cake left over for Daniel’s birthday tonight.

New Years Resolution continued: More Chilling on the Porch.

Coffee Business

Mark now has three clients for his coffee and a second roaster. We are a regular customer of an Auckland company for the beans. I really like the basic blend (some Robusta beans added to the basic beans). Now I have a taste I know what I like. It’s still a little oasis each day, sitting down to a latte or an espresso.


There were two weeks at the start of the year when he set up shop at the College providing coffees each morning. Having $M17 to do the merger, they still shut down the real coffee supply for 4 weeks, right wne we probably needed it a lot.\

Here is a snap of the end of College windup:


This is his original roaster, with beans before they are done:


We’ve talked strategy for the business. We are looking for clients within 400m of the roaster: like Burnside or Ilam. Tomorrow night we have the last midweek gathering of the youth/YA summer programme at our house. Coffee/Hot chocolate and cake.

Campout at Rakia

The boys have wanted to to this for months. Sleep out in the wilderness, catch their own food and do men things. We ended up taking the six of them to McMaths farm, setting up camp near where the river was supposed to be (a storm had moved it about a kilometer), with a check in each night with a resupply of food. Catching own food will have to wait. Plenty of other things to do.

Day two, when Kevin and I visited . . .


No-one was on tidy up duty:


The place was a mess, even worse the next night when Alan went, with several REALLY tired. :-) While the boys were trying to have a wilderness experience, Linda had arrived from the farm to say “Hi” with tons of fresh muffins. Probably just as well. They had run out of food when Alan arrived on day three.

Today we pick them up. Two vehicles and a trailer into the rough bit, meet Kevin at Leeston, drop of some boys, and then we go on holiday at Queenstown.

Physics and NCEA

Interested in this news from [Today’s Christchurch Press]

The number of students choosing not to do National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in maths and physics reveals slips in the country’s education system, business leaders say.

The number of candidates sitting maths with calculus and sitting physics at Level 3 in this year’s NCEA exams has dropped by 24 per cent and 15% respectively, compared with the numbers taking the last Bursary exams in 2003.

Those taking calculus fell to 7766 this year from 10,280 in 2003, and those being examined in physics dropped from 7761 to 6611.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said maths and physics were important subjects.

“I have a suspicion that the way NCEA is structured is encouraging people to get easy credits,” he said.

Interesting given my thoughts about Mark from last week. The cynic in me thinks this is a school grade average matter rather than ‘what’s best for the learner’. The very coarse “average grade and number of passes” statistic does nothing to evaluate value added or support for students. Oh well!!

NCEA again

markstudying.jpg Mark is studying. Level one, his first formal external exams. NCEA. One of the teachers from his school has told me this stands for “No Chance of Educational Achievement”.

As well as his Level one stuff, he’s sitting one Level 2 standard. Physics (Mechanics). Would have been two if we hadn’t gone to Italy. The school has communicated with me over this last week:

If you still wish Mark to sit L2 Mechanics, please be aware that should Mark gain the 6 credits for Mechanics and wishes to take Physics in 2007, he will enter the L2 course and be expected to participate fully in the course all year, including the Mechanics.

This is how they support students. If they pass something, they still need to sit in class when the rest of the class works on it. I’m also interested to see John Gourley in the news. We still remain very grateful to him for his help in January this year.

Food in the house


Haven’t done a food post for a while. Lots of cakes recently. This is carrot cake, which I can give the recipe for if you like. It is now a family favourite. Provided it is warm. :-) Phillipa has made three of these recently.


This is Anna’s idea of something to take to a bring a plate party.

sandwichesblog.jpg And finally, something from Mark. Bacon and Egg sandwich plus olives.