Thursday, December 04, 2014


Katy tagged me for questionnaire thingy and usually I just ignore such requests, but as she said... I have a little time on my hands, so just this once, I'll answer for you Katy!  Sorry, but I'm not going to bother nominating anyone else....

As a background for anyone who happens to stumble on this blog... 7 weeks ago tomorrow I was admitted to a Japanese hospital with some form of auto-immune disease and am currently reducing the medication to a level where I will hopefully be released sometime next week.... it has been a long road, but a good chance for contemplation, relaxation and learning time-wasting management skills! 

Questions from Katy..... 
1. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Right now... a morning person.  I get up at 6am and start wandering the empty halls of the hospital on my 25 minute morning exercise route.  I was told there were no cameras operating, and I'm hoping that is the case.... otherwise there will be a lot of entertainment in the observation room as they watch the foreigner striding out around all the different departments, waving her arms in every direction, going round and round in circles, doing a few squats here and there and even a few laps of sideways star jumps and some skipping.... I go for an afternoon walk too, but it is much more restrained as there often a few people around.

2. What is your favorite season and why?
I would normally say spring, because I love all the new growth etc., but this year I'm going to say winter.  I am so looking forward to going home and spending this winter quietly getting back into real life, sorting out what I want to do from here on in, and generally taking it easy in front of our wonderful warm fire.  The perfect season to not feel the need to be out in the garden or rushing around doing things.  And of course winter brings Christmas... in Japan anyway! 

3. If you can chose between time and money, which would you chose?
Time.  If there is one thing that these 7 weeks have taught me it is the importance of slowing down and appreciating the small things in life.  Drinking your coffee while it is still HOT, brushing your teeth while not doing 20 other things, not feeling guilty about taking a nap when you feel the need, but most of all... making time for friends and family. 
Since being in here I have had visits from so many friends and family that I haven't been able to talk with slowly for many months or even years.  It has been great to catch up with everyone and has reinforced the importance of keeping in touch with friends, not just over a rushed coffee, but actually MAKING the time to sit down and talk.    I'm always looking for positive things from this experience and this is one of the major ones.

4. What do you think is the greatest thing about yourself?
Apart from the fact that I have managed to survive 7 weeks in a Japanese hospital without going completely crazy?  Probably my people-watching skills.  I love to observe people and I think it then makes it easy for me to make connections with people reasonably quickly.  This has been a huge benefit here - my mobile phone is loaded with people that I have met here in the hospital, that I have plodded up the stairs with, reassuring each other regarding our situations, and generally enjoying each other's company.

5. What is your favorite country and where would you like to go to next?
Japan.  Of course I love New Zealand too, but things have changed so much in the 18 years I have been away that I often feel more of a foreigner when I am back in New Zealand.
I have always dreamed of going to Turkey, but right now a holiday on a tropical island somewhere sounds rather appealing...

6. Cat person or dog person?
Cat - especially if it will snuggle on my knee.  As much as the kids would love a dog, I am just too lazy to look after it properly. 

7. What makes you most happy in life?
Support from my family and friends.  And chocolate!  I have always been a bit of a stubborn person, always trying to be completely independent, not wanting to rely on anyone for anything.  Asking for help has never been my strength.  This experience has shown me that there are times when it is important to ask for help and most importantly to accept the help without feeling guilty about it.  During this whole ordeal the support I have had from family and friends has almost been overwhelming.  I'm looking forward to being able to repay this support whenever the need arises.

8. If you could change your past, what would you like to change?
Nothing.  Bad times mean you appreciate the good times more so changing them wouldn't make my current life any better. 

9. What is your favorite color and why?
Burgundy.  Because... I like it.... can't think of any other reason!

10. Would you want to be famous?
I guess it depends on your definition of famous.  I wouldn't want to be famous in the sense of celebrity status, but I would like to be famous in the eyes of my children..... not quite there yet, but working on it!

11. The last compliment you got?
"Your face hasn't reached the full moon stage yet"..... and then I took off my mask, and was informed that perhaps it had, so I'm not sure if it makes it a compliment or not!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Taking a forced break

I apologize to those of you who have been checking this blog in the hope of a little glimpse into our lives here in rural Japan.... the lives are going on, just with a slightly different twist to them!
Unfortunately life has dealt me a few hard blows over the last month and I have been in hospital for the last few weeks.  Don't worry, nothing life threatening, but the need to slowly reduce medication means it is going to take more than another month before I will be able to be get back home.
This blog will therefore be on hold until then.  I do have a private blog where I am writing about my hospital life here so that my family and friends can get all the information they need in one place.  I'm guessing that I may eventually make it a public one (it is becoming less and less medical and more and more general Japan hospital life stuff!), but if there is anyone that would really be interested in reading it please send me a message and I can add you to the list.

Thank you for all the positive comments regarding this blog in the past - being part of a cyber community has been an interesting and supportive experience.  It will return, but for now I am just dreaming of getting back into rural life....!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Adults English Conversation

My adult conversation classes basically consist of one and a half hours of free talk in English accompanied by good coffee and even better homemade cakes.  There are always some words or phrases that people have trouble with so I use a small white board to explain and confirm things.   During the lessons I only wipe out only sections of the white board to make room for new words etc. so it is always interesting to see how the board will look at the end of the lesson.  On Monday it looked like the photo above...... art was never my strong point....10 points to those who can work out what we were actually talking about!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Trading up

No, I haven't dropped off the end of the world...... things just always seem to get a bit out of control over the long Japanese school summer holidays.  Hopefully I'll get some mojo back soon and at least attempt to keep up with happenings here and maybe even get around to catching up on some of the things that have happened in the last month or more.  Maybe!

If you have been following this blog you may remember an entry I did on the number of kilometers I travel every day ferrying my children here, there, and everywhere.  My car is reasonably fuel efficient, but still the monthly fuel costs were getting higher and higher.  After a little convincing we decided that in an attempt to cut down on some of these costs my husband would part with his beloved Nissan Safari - a big, diesel guzzling machine that really isn't necessary in our narrow-roaded countryside!  With only a few tears it was traded in for a hybrid Toyota Aqua... which has now been passed onto me and my husband has inherited my old car.  Getting used to not having to take a key out of my bag to get into it and get it started is taking a little bit to get used to, but I'm sure by next week it will all be second nature.  For now it is fun to try and see exactly how fuel efficient I can make it.  It has to be better than the 9km/litre the Safari used to use!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Off on a big boat

This morning I left home at 5am to take my son to board a rather large boat with 600 other children.  The boat is bound for Okinawa and in total he will be away for 5 days and 4 nights.  Having a son who is literally head and shoulders above all the other participants (including the staff) proved to be very useful when trying to find him among all the other white and blue uniforms!  I even had another mother from the same group come up to me and thank me for having such a tall son as it meant she could also find their group very quickly.
In true Japanese form the boat was due to leave at 8:30am and despite having to get through lots of speeches and get all 600 kids on board it left at exactly 8:30am.  If anyone is interested in seeing what they are doing there is an excellent blog that is updated regularly.  Unfortunately it is all in Japanese, but the pictures are great.   Shonen no fune   If you look very carefully in the third picture above you may be able to spot Masaki.... I could find him immediately!  Here's hoping he is still standing upright when they arrive back on Tuesday.

And yes, this is the same journey Emily took 3 years ago... only on a slightly different boat!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What to do when you've done everything

My sister and brother-in-law have just been for a 10 day visit.  They lived in this area for a year about 4 years ago so they have seen most of the general things as well as some of the not so general things.  In an attempt to find a few new experiences we decided to go on a tour of a toilet factory - something that is not usually on the tourist itinerary!
Japan produces fantastic toilets - in fact I think they are one of the most photographed things in Japan, perhaps coming a close second to vending machines.  We were on a private tour and it turned out to be fascinating.  It was the Toto factory in Nakatsu and I would have to say we were treated like royalty.
We turned up at the gate and were immediately shown to the parking lot by a kind man on a bicycle.  We were then greeted by two people who took our photo (and later presented it to us at the end of the tour) and then gave us an interesting PowerPoint presentation about the history of the company and the basic products that they make at the factory.  We then headed in through the factory to see how they make toilet bowls and wash basins.  I think what struck me the most was how much people are involved in the process rather than machines.  Of course they use machines for some things and some of their robots used for drilling holes and painting were pretty impressive.  But so much of the work seemed to be done by people in teams.  
Their quality checks were also very thorough.  As well as checking for cracks, visible imperfections and whether every part was level or not they had a great way of checking for if the toilet would flush properly or not.  They paint some coloured water on the bowl (the pee) and then put a piece of cloth (the toilet paper), and 5 sausage shaped weights (the poo) into the bowl and then put in the average volume of water needed for a flush.  If anything is left in the bowl after this exercise then the bowl is put in the defect line.
Another thing that I was impressed with was the fact there is basically no waste produced at the factory and their focus is very much on looking after the environment.  All products which are rejected before they get to the firing stage are made back into clay and made into new products.  All products which are rejected after they have been fired are broken up and used as gravel at schools etc.
Their focus is very much on preserving water and their current toilets only use 4.8 litres of water for an average flush, compared to 20 litres when they first started producing toilets.
We weren't able to take any photos inside the factory, but if you click here it gives a bit of an idea of the process. 
Today I received a hand written letter from them thanking us for coming and welcoming us back any time.  Fantastic service from a fantastic company!  I recommend their tour to anyone who is looking for something different to do in this area.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

More athletics videos

A couple more videos of the latest athletics competition.  It was a competition to determine who will get to go to the All Japan Championships..... .Yokohama here we come again!  Finals time (100m) 12.61 another personal best.  Sorry - I haven't had a chance to edit them.... 

Friday, July 04, 2014


This post is really for a record for myself about how things are progressing with my baking business, but if anyone is interested..... 
A while ago I wrote about "Starting small" with regards to a new baking business that I eventually hope to get off the ground properly.  I have continued to provide the new local produce shop with cookies and on days like today I think that perhaps it could eventually work out to be a good business.  
Basically at the moment I am trying different things and seeing how people in the countryside respond to them.  I've always known that the biggest problem I will always have is that if I want to sell in my immediate area I am aiming at an elderly market who is not particular good at trying new things.  At the same time I've always been confident that if they actually try some of the things I am making they will come back for more.  In the beginning I found the people in the shop a little frustrating as they would ask me to bring cookies to sell, but then I would find that they had displayed them in an area that no one sees at all.  Slowly I have been talking with them and we now have a good thing going.  They (usually) display my things in a good area and they also call me when the cookies are getting low and give me information about what people are saying about them.  Because I sell on commission I don't want to make too many and have to bring them all home again (although my children don't complain when this happens!).
Basically I aim to make cookies once a week on a Thursday and take them on Friday mornings ready for the weekend "rush".  Which brings me to today... I took some cookies this morning which would usually last most of the week and then this afternoon I got a phone call to say that they had sold half of them already so could I please make some more to sell in the weekend.  I'm not talking about hundreds of packets and millions of yen - this morning I took 24 packs, but it is promising to have them sell so fast.
What is also promising is that the majority of the cookies that were sold today were to people who had been given them by other people and liked them so much that they came back for more.  There have also been people who have walked past my house to climb the mountain and called out to me that they have my cookies in their bag to sustain them on their trip.  Others have gone into the local shop and asked when a specific kind would be back in stock.  
Another problem that I have with cookies here is the humidity... keeping cookies crisp is a huge challenge!  But interestingly enough the staff at the shop today said that one of the reasons the older people are coming back for more is that their initial image of cookies was that they were very hard, but when they tried mine they liked them because they were a little soft... I guess sometimes things that appear to be problems are actually not!

My most popular cookies at the moment are Oatmeal & Raisin, and Cinnamon Roll.  The other main ones I make are Chocolate Nut and Chocolate Chip with the odd gingerbread man thrown in when I can be bothered! 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Flowers of the day

We are due for heavy rain tonight, so chances are my 2 current favourite flowers may end up being a little worse for wear by tomorrow morning.  The first are bon bon cosmos which I grew from seed and that I'm hoping will self seed each year from now.  The second are sunflowers which self seed every year and seem to grow taller every year!  It's a bit hard to tell from the photo, but they are well over 2 metres tall and provide a nice "wall" so that I can't be seen slaving away in the garden behind them!  Here's hoping they will all still be standing when I wake up in the morning....

Monday, June 30, 2014

First time in many years

Every year around this time the amount of food on the dinner table that is homegrown increases to the point that it is faster to count the food that has been bought than the homegrown food.  My children tend to get a little sick of me pointing out all the vegetables that I have produced - that is until today when I pointed out that the corn was from the garden, something that hasn't happened in many years.  They were suitably impressed!  Usually the rainy season combined with the bugs, birds and other animals means that it is destroyed well before it makes it to the table.  I have noticed that there are a few cobs which are looking a little worse for wear, but tonight's were perfect!  Nothing like picking corn and having it in the pot less than 10 minutes later.

Right now the food that I could put on the table that is homegrown (fresh): asparagus, beans, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, corn, eggplant, zucchinis, small green peppers, basil, garlic, boysenberries, and many herbs. And of course eggs and rice! Melons, watermelons and pumpkins are not far away and there are plenty of broad beans, peas, bamboo, shitake mushrooms, green ginger, strawberries and raspberries in the freezer.  I'm guessing the heat of summer and general busyness is going to mean that it will all just turn into a weed patch soon, but for now not too bad for a part time farmer! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


We eat quite a lot of gherkins (aka pickles) - in sandwiches, salads etc. so every year I plant a few seeds and hope to get enough pickling cucumbers to make a decent batch of gherkins.  In general I get a reasonable number and the rainy season hits and the vines all shrivel up and die.  Usually I am grateful for this as there are only so many gherkins that can be used in one year... (Un)fortunately this year my great tunnel house is meaning that the rainy season is here, but there is no effect on the pickling cucumbers.  They are producing nicely every day.... every single day....   
I think this morning's batch of gherkins was the fourth for the year and now the outside ones have also started producing I'm thinking it may be time to accidentally slip when I am weeding them and pull the odd vine or two out!
I have tried many different recipes but my favourite one is one that Dad got from one of his friends.  Very easy and very delicious!

For 2kg (I just vary it depending on how many I have at the time)

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of salt over the pickling cucumbers and cover with cold water.  Leave for 24 hours then drain.

Boil together:
3 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons celery salt (I use seed)
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
Sprinkle of dill seeds
2 large cloves of garlic - crushed

Add the gherkins and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.  Watch carefully - I usually don't boil it very long at all as they seem to shrivel when they cool.  I tend to just wait till they have changed colour.  Bottle and store for 6 weeks before eating.  They will last for many years if you have sealed them properly...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rice planting 2014

The yearly rice planting is over.  The men finished all the machine planting the other day and I finished the last of the hand planting today.  Unfortunately (?) I had to work over the weekend so I wasn't able to help out with the main planting, but was given responsibility for filling in the gaps in the last field today.
For those who are not familiar with rice planting, basically the machines do all the hard work, but there are still areas that the machines haven't filled in properly that need to be planted by hand.  Literally back breaking work!  The amount of hand planting depends on two things - the shape of the field and the skill of the rice planter driver.  The less square the field is the more areas there are that need to be hand planted.  The less skilled the driver the more areas there are that need to be hand planted.  Unfortunately most of our fields are far from square and my husband is just taking over the reigns from his father and is therefore not as skilled as he could be.... which means many areas to fill!
The basic way of planting the fields seems to be to leave a section around the entire field and then go up and down until it is full and then do one final swoop around the entire field before hopefully arriving at the exit point.  It means that the main areas to be hand planted are where the vertical lines and the final swoop around the outside meet as well as the corners and the exit areas.  It is not difficult work -  you just pull off 3 or 4 rice plants and stick them in the mud.  The problem is that you are doing it while standing in the deep mud... which often has sharp or moving objects in it.  Basically you have to just hope that the squiggling is an air hole letting off steam and not a snake going for a swim.  And of course for straightness freaks like myself the real challenge is to make the lines as straight as you can.  I'm sure it doesn't actually make any difference to the harvest, but I get twitchy if I drive past lines that I have planted that are too crooked....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Don't look up!

 I usually have the policy that I put on blinkers when I am in the garden.  I look straight ahead at the area that needs the most attention and try to avoid looking even slightly sideways to prevent me being sidetracked by one of the other million areas that need weeding etc.  Sometimes I stray a little though and yesterday I was silly enough to look up - and discovered a hairy delight!  After a bit of research it appears that it is the caterpillar of the Giant Japanese Silkworm.  It is definitely giant and I guess hairy could also be interpreted as silky....whatever it is it is interesting from a distance, but I'm not keen to get too close.
I'm hoping that it just stays in the tree and doesn't have lots and lots of friends who like dropping down on unsuspecting people who happen to be wandering underneath them!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The planets aligned....

Every year I plant potatoes in spring and autumn and every year I have mixed results.  However no matter how bad the harvest is I still usually get more than enough to last until they start sprouting . This is because I have the bad habit of looking at the bags of seed potatoes in the shop and thinking that there are not really so many in a bag and therefore buying far too many.... and then of course I need more than one variety, often four or five varieties and therefore the number of potatoes I plant is always far too many.
This year I took a bit of extra care with them, thinned them out a bit, put a bit of extra fertiliser in with them and.... the ones that I have harvested so far have been the best I have ever had.  The only problem is the huge volume of them... and if you read the last sentence carefully you will have realised that I still haven't actually harvested them all yet.  There is still one more variety to harvest.... I'm kind of hoping that when I dig in I will not be rewarded with huge nuggets of deliciousness.  There only so many potatoes one rice-growing family can eat in the 4 months or so before they start to sprout beards and there is only so much room in the secret hole in the cottage floor!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Feeling far away... again!

With all the modern technology these days and the general busyness of my life there are not many days when I feel like I am a long way from "home".  My family visits a lot, we chat on skype, I often have the New Zealand radio station blaring while I am cooking, I keep up with all the New Zealand news with the online newspapers.  I can even do my shopping in New Zealand via the internet and have it delivered here to Japan.  But the one thing you can't do via the internet is give someone a huge hug.  I'm thinking of my family in New Zealand today and wishing I could be there to give them just that. 
My grandfather died early this morning after going down hill quite quickly.  I think he was probably ready to go in the end and from what I have heard it was all very fast and peaceful.  Chances of me making it back for the funeral are pretty slim.  We managed to visit him on our whirlwind tour home in March and for that I will always be grateful.  For all his strange ways he still played an important part in all our lives and I thank him for that.  My best memories of him are playing endless games of table tennis in the summer holidays (his biggest advantage over us was that when he took his shirt off his boobs would wobble so much we couldn't concentrate on the ball!) and the time he came to visit Japan when Emily was still tiny.  
Cyber hugs to all my family in New Zealand..... looking forward to some real ones in the near future.

Friday, June 06, 2014

The berry season continues

The strawberry patch seems to be almost finished for the season, which is fortunate as now my daily activity needs to move on to picking the raspberries.  At the moment they are covered in mostly green berries, with quite a few red ones starting to appear.  Unfortunately, like all other years, their production coincides with the rainy season and the combination of heavy rain followed by humid, hot weather usually means that a lot get lost to mold.  I have put a very basic roof over them in the hope that it will save at least a few of them from rotting, but only time will tell.  In the meantime I am happy to collect a few hundred grams worth every day and squirrel them into the freezer until there are enough to actually do something decent with them.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

New wave of veges

Just to prove that there is more in my garden than just flowers... the next wave of vegetables is starting in the tunnel house - just ahead of the outside veges.  The first tomatoes are turning red, the cucumbers and gherkins are growing bigger by the second and the eggplants are slowly growing too.  Of course the beans are still producing well along with the asparagus.  Hopefully the heavy rain we have had over the last few days hasn't done too much damage to the outside garden - there should be plenty of raspberries coming along with zucchinis and of course more peas and beans!  If only I had 30 hours every day to actually spend in the garden I might manage to get them all picked.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Bucket of flowers

Today's loot before putting into vases

Terrible photos, but just to show that the flowers I am picking every day are increasing... and increasing.... and increasing!  The problem is that if I don't pick them they will stop producing, so I feel the need to pick them every day.  There are many more kinds that are also flowering, but there is a limit to the number I can deal with each day.  If the typhoon like winds that we are having right now don't blow them all away I'm thinking I will be asking every one who comes to stay to bring me a new vase this year! 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Bugger Off Part 2

Most vines on the left are in tact... not so for the right hand side!

Right hand side

Left hand side

Replanted and covered with shiny tape
Do you remember in March I wrote about some meddlesome moles that were causing a slight problem in the tunnel house gardens?  They seem to have decided that there are better bugs somewhere else and I have had no problems with them lately, which is very fortunate as I am now dealing with another enemy.......
Every year I plant sweet potatoes and try to keep on top of weeding them.  This year I sense that my weeding time in the garden is going to be limited so I gave in and put down black plastic mulch and planted the vines through small holes I made in the plastic.  Every time I went to check on them I was impressed by the lack of weeds, but confused as to why the majority of the plants on one side had simply disappeared.... or at least been removed from the holes and left to dry out close by.  And then one day when I wandered down to inspect them I discovered the culprit... a CROW!  The stupid birds had decided that they would use my sweet potato patch as their play pen and were having a great time simply pulling out the vines... they don't eat them, they just pull them out... more than slightly annoying!  
Today I bought some new plants and replanted them in the original holes and got out my shiny tape which will hopefully deter the crows long enough for the plants to get established.  If not I'm thinking I might have to pitch a tent near by and use my teaching voice to scare them the way I scare the bad kids in my classes!

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I think I have mentioned before that although my father-in-law doesn't live with us he comes to our house for dinner each night.  It is a good opportunity to see how he is and for him to actually have contact with people... often for the first time each day.  Recently he has been forgetting to take his medicine after he goes home so he has been bringing it here.  I have always thought that Japanese doctors overprescribe medicine and looking at his stash my fears have been confirmed - yet again! 
He currently takes 7 different kinds of medicine - some only once a day, some twice a day and others three times a day.  It is a real act for him to go through his big bag and work out which ones need to be taken when.  I offered to get him one of the pill organising boxes but he seems to actually enjoy checking all his medicines every day.  I think it gives him something to do....
When I asked him what they were all for he said he really didn't know, but that the same doctor had prescribed them all so they must be necessary - not quite sure how that logic works!  
I always see elderly people walking out of the chemist with huge bags of medicine and think that the pharmaceutical reps must be rubbing their hands in glee....

Friday, May 30, 2014

Nice end to the week

Who wouldn't want to end the week with coffee, cake and conversation?  Actually today it was coffee, cinnamon rolls and conversation, but still a nice way to end the week!  On Fridays I have a group of three adults come to the cottage who want to use the English they know while enjoying some homemade cake.  I really enjoy having to prepare food rather than English lessons - I still teach them new English when they are struggling to explain things with the language they already know, but I don't have to prepare themes, worksheets etc.  It is really interesting to see which direction the conversations will go each week.  Today's highlight was discovering that in a town close to here they serve soft-shelled turtle blood mixed with apple juice and if you drink it you get a natural high!  Not exactly something that would come up in your general English conversation textbook!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wild animals

As less and less people live in the countryside wild animals are starting to take over more and more of the land.  This year there has been a big increase in the number of deer in the mountains and many of the rice fields are now surrounded by high fences to try and keep them out.  Recently there has been a rather large deer appear in the center of town - fortunately it is just the local timber yard playing around with an interestingly shaped piece of wood.  I'm thinking the fences might need to be made a little higher if the deer population reaches this size!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hiding Holes

In the middle of the hot summer it is not unusual to find my father-in-law's shoes outside our large rice fridge and if you are brave enough to open it you will find him napping in the cool on top of big bags of rice.  My son has his own favourite place to retreat to in summer - literally underneath the floor in the cottage.  It is the perfect place - completely concreted, very cool and very dark if you put the lid back over the hole like my son tends to do.  
Unfortunately this year he is going to have to share the space with a big crate of my onions.  Every year I grow lots of onions, but every year the humidity and heat tends to make them rotten after only a few months.  I'm hoping that this year the cool, dark space in the cottage will help solve this problem.  Otherwise there may be a rather unique odour spreading through the cottage as the year goes by..... Meg and Nathan - you will probably be safe, but Dad... you may be in for a treat!