How it started….
Stephen and I met Neil and Marg Schirmer when our oldest son Daniel, went to boarding school with their daughter, Sophie. We didn’t meet Peter and his wife Irene until much later but their daughter Beth was also a boarder at Scotts. The kids all knew each other beforehand.
Soph and Daniel ended up partnering each other for Sophies deb ball. I went to the ball with Daniels girlfriend at the time (who was a friend of Sophies) and her mother as Stephen wasn’t home. We were running a bit late and entrée had been served. I happened to be seated next to Neil. No sooner had I sat down I knocked the fork off my creamy pasta entrée and it landed right in the lap of Neil, wearing his best clobber. Me? Embarrassed? Yep! Didn’t matter in the end. Neil spent a fair time dancing that night since there were 3 women at the table without their men. A few wines, lots of laughs and a friendship forged that will stay with us till the end of our days. He was a good sport and so was Marg. I now realise that Neil kind of attracts mini-disasters and this was just the beginning.
Many shared dinners and bottles of wine later – both at ours and on the farm, feel pretty blessed to have met them. Whenever it’s been the farm there’s always been a bed. Have had some great weekends where Marg has fed us like royalty and Neil is always ready and willing to show visitors around the farm. I’ve had a blast being exposed to farming again and when Neil had sheep, even did a bit of sheep work when I had Holly and Jamie living with. (Another blog, me thinks!) We all headed out to the farm one day to help draft sheep so that Neil could take them to the sale yards. (Sheep are still stupid Dad!) He no longer has sheep but Peter does. No holiday like a holiday on a farm!
Neil has also embraced our boys as the sons he didn’t have. Marg and Neil have three gorgeous daughters – Ilona, Sophie and Lucy. They all get on famously and there are stories of farm visits when Stephen and I have been in Singapore that have a sub-heading…. “what happens on the farm, stays on the farm”… poor Marg picks up the bodies the next day and feeds them well and sends them home when they are able! God bless her!
Both Daniel and John along with a kiwi friend of the Church family, Holly O’Brien, cycled across Canada and the US in 2010 to raise money for research into Cystic Fybrosis and Diabetes. Dave Deiness is a paramedic with the Canadian Paramedic Association and he was their support driver. Neil and Marg were a great support of this venture and showed up at all the fund raisers we had in Wagga. Neil came on board with advertising and “air seeded” the website into one of his paddocks! Amazingly… I was wearing my Velocure t-shirt the day we harvested this paddock this year!