School holidays have started, though it feels like our kids have been on holiday since November! So it is home school (The Correspondence School) for them every morning, and some old fashioned '3 R's'.
While the house isn't being a school, it is a vet clinic. There are volunteer vets on Rarotonga that come to Aitutaki a few time a year predominately to desex local domestic and wild cats. They needed somewhere to do it so we volunteered our front deck! Things happened at relatively short notice, so the usual practice of putting out humane cat traps to collect some of the wild cat population didn't happen, but we still got through 15 desexing operations and a couple of examinations.
All they needed was a table, some water and a sheltered spot. Then the cats were put in a sack and anethatised via injection. Once they had three or four boys 'asleep' they lined them up on our outside table and 10 minutes later there were two tiny testicles in the bin! It was quite briskly done and not without a little sympathy, but we had to giggle at the little boys all lined up on a towel sleeping off their anesthetic.
Our Gorgeous Georgie was first up, and spent the rest of the day staggering about drunkenly and sleeping. Unfortunately Fantastic Freddie has not come home, and has either gone wild or more likely been 'adopted' by another family as he was quite pretty and very loving. I did have a moment of hope as one local came up our steps with a cat that could have been Freddie's identical twin. Unfortunately she was quite certain that they had had the cat for quite a while and I was quite disappointed. Once the vets had left, with Georgie's bits in a bag, my young lad came home with a girl-friend. We call her 'Fraidy-Cat' or 'Scaredy-Cat' as she is happy to frollic with George on the deck and eat the food, but human contact is not permitted!
In the last week of term there is always a primary school inter-sports day at the high school. Term 1 is always volleyball. The kids love volleyball. The SDA school is not known for its sporting excellence, and not actually having a school made little difference. It was a lovely morning, much more relaxed than it often is, with everyone just happy to have a go without getting too worried by results and number of kids on teams.
Sienna filled in with the Grade (Year) 1&2 girls and was full of competitive attitude. Jamie was in the Grade 1&2 boys team (though he felt he really belonged in 'his' Grade 5&6 class) and had a great time running about the place. I 'coached' Bailey's Grade 3&4 boys and we had a great victory in one of the games - it was so cool to see how proud the boys were. It was a very hot day with barely a cloud in the sky. Lots of mama's had cooked food to sell at lunch time and workers from around the island rolled up to share lunch too.
We finished with a staff match that I was invited to join which was really good fun. I haven't done anything remotely contact since my rheumy Arthur-itis friend came to visit 4 years ago, and I had forgotten how much fun it is to be active in a team. Did I mention that it was hot? Nanny Tav played with me too and it was a jolly good time.
Speaking a sports and jolly good times, the rugby league has been a bit of a Friday night feature in the last month. The Aitutaki Sharks have had 3 home games in a row and are within sniffing distance of the semi finals. So nearly everyone on the island that isn't working can be found at the Vaepae field with a chilly bin, a mat or a chair (especially if you travel by bike) and an opinion, cheering on the Sharks. It has been great fun and certainly the easiest way to announce we are back on the island. The boy were still in Australia mode, hanging around not wanting to stray too far. Then they hooked up with their friends and we didn't see them until the game was finished.
Another item for the happy-happy-joy-joy list was finding an excellent dentist in Rarotonga. An 'Aitutaki installed' filling fell out of Sienna's mouth a few days after we arrived back in Aitutaki (isn't that just the way?!) and half of her tooth had just crumbled away. It was well beyond the local 'dentist' at the hospital so we booked into the only private dentist in Raro and Sienna and I flew across for the day. Well, it turns out he is the son of our old neighbour Mama Nicholas and he was brilliant. He excavated and rebuilt Sienna's dead tooth and ground down a high filling for me and $80 later 'bob's your uncle'. It was the best and cheapest dentist visit I have ever had, not including the $600 worth of airfares...