Huge bang. Rach and I sat bolt upright in bed this morning at 5.30am when we heard a huge explosion several hundred yards away. Given that our new home is within a kilometre of a military training base, and given that yesterday they sent 5 low-flying helicopters over our heads (which sent Nelson into conniptions) I was expecting to see the opening salvos of World War III outside our window this morning. But, thankfully, it was "only" an electricity power box exploding, cutting all the electricity (including traffic lights) in the neighbourhood. It's back on now, which is good.
The 16th Sertoes Rally of Brazil. Much to the delight of Nelson and his Dad, an off-road Brazilian rally finished in Natal at the end of June. Unfortunately, we didn't know about it far enough in advance to see the cars race on the dunes live (although we did catch a report on the TV) but we did see evidence of the rally around time. A trip to Camaroes restaurant to say goodbye to Aunt Amy returning to the UK suddenly became even more interesting when the car park was filled with the Mercedes rally team - lots of huge trucks with grubby, stickered exteriors was enough to inspire Nelson to a big "WWWOOOOOWWWWW". The drivers and team and some local press were in the restaurant enjoying an end of rally party. A few days later and Rachel and I went to a shopping centre and found the Mitsibushi team parked on the top floor of the car park (see pic). Cue another "WWOOOOWWWWWWWW" from Nelson. Oddly, there was also an exhibition of farm animals on the same level of the car park as well as a kid's theme park. Amazing what you can find in a shopping centre car park in Brazil.
Rachel's Granny Lali's 80th. Several weeks have passed but I feel I can't really neglect to mention the huge family knees-up that occurred in Joao Pessoa at the end of June either. Laulau or Lali is a larger than life character, mother of 6, grandmother and great grandmother to countless (see pic with her and Nelson and Gloria) and she expected, organised and warranted a huge party to celebrate a significant milestone. The focus of the weekend was a 2 hour service on Saturday evening at the 1st Presybterian Church of Joao Pessoa where Laulau is a faithful attender and member of the choir. All family were dressed for the occasion, which meant suits and ties for the men, and we were all paraded in as Laulau read out our names. The service included a 45-minute sermon from the pastor who exhorted us to shine brilliantly like Jesus and look to Laulau as an example of somebody who has lived this out. After the service it was downstairs for food and some "short" speeches by select members of the family. But, once Laulau herself took the mic there wasn't a lot of hoping of getting it back again as she regaled us with endless stories (she did the same last year it seems). It was a great night, but poor Nelson was absolutely exhausted when he finally collapsed asleep in the car at 11.30pm. At 5am he was awake and ready to play...
...unlike Gloria. Nelson's sister needs to teach him some lessons on how to sleep. She managed 22 total hours asleep last Wednesday, waking only for feeds. Last night both her and Nelson managed to sleep the whole night through without waking - Nelson woke at 5.30am, Gloria woke at 7am and went back to sleep at 8am until mid-day. We think her preference for sleep is partly inspired by being the daughter of her mother and because she's figured out being asleep is so much more relaxing than waking life when your brother is a poking, hugging, kissing, slapping, prodding, pushing, stroking, patting, picking, cuddling, pulling, shouting, screaming, talking, whispering, surprising kind of guy. She seems to take it all in her stride though and beams huge smiles at all of us now, including Nelson.