Feb 28, 2007

Abort Abort Abort

Weather We are haunted by the Rainbow Beach experience.

We were driving up to Nudgee Beach this morning, and across the bay we could see the rainclouds moving across the water.

We arrived at Nudgee Beach and the air was breezy but humid. Off to the South the sky looked imposing in a very grey way.

We decided to go for it and walked up the beach. Within five minutes ten mosquitoes had gone to meet their maker. They were swarming.

We escaped from the mangroves despite Eloise's complete lack of urgency or sense of concern over the circumstances. We got onto the beach itself. And it started raining.

So, remembering the drenching we got at Rainbow Beach, we turned tail and made our way back to the car.

It pitter-pattered a bit on the way back.

Feb 27, 2007

Swimming with Attitude

Tweak That Ear Not much going on today, other than the return of the plumber to nail that leak good and proper. Which was done, just in time to get off for swimming.

Eloise was quite bossy today. A little boy waiting for his next lesson dipped his hand in the water to check it and a voice came from the other end of the pool shouting gibberish to the effect of "Oi! You! Get your blimmin hand out my pool!" accompanied by a face like thunder. His mum was quite scared I think, but then she did at one point tell him not to go near the edge of the pool "without your floaties because you can't swim and mummy doesn't want to have to dive in and rescue you." I of course was taking notes in order to adjust my parental values to the cultural norm. Then again, hopefully that wasn't it.

Nicole went out for her Pilates lesson later on, and we went out for a walk. We got back in time to see Nicole getting back. Eloise can recognise the car at a hundred yards now.

We're feeling a bit ropey. I think a cold is on the way.

Feb 26, 2007

Sunshine Coast Sunday

The Wrong Hat On Sunday we decided to go up to the Sunshine Coast. Four adults, one child and two dogs was a tight fit in the car to say the least.

We went up to Mooloolaba to the dog beach there and wandered up onto the rocks there, playing in the rock pools and climbing across boulders, glancing askance at the models having their photographs taken there and paying no attention to their assets whatsoever.

A paraglider climbed up the cliff and jumped off, slowly circling down beneath his parachute before settling onto the rocks. "Ooooooh!" said Eloise.

We walked further, and Eloise found a lovely warm rock pool which she repeatedly jumped into.

The paraglider set off again, and slowly circled down before landing unceremoniously in a tree. A great roar of laughter went up from the beach below.

We went across to a park on the other side of the spit of land we were on, and barbequed kebabs, some of fish, some of tempe, watching catamarans and yachts sailing gently by. Eloise made friends with dogs and children and old people playing cards. She went down with Nicole and had a paddle in the calm waters of the enclosed canal, wading out until she had to be rescued by some bathers. Nicole obviously not wanting to get wet... I was getting the car at the time! Tiny slipped her collar from where she was tied to a tree when Eloise disappeared from sight down the staircase that led into the water, and went over to keep an eye on her.

We got back home about six o'clock and drank coffee and ate ice cream before dropping the visitors back at the airport.

Paddington and Housewarming

Reading in the Cafe On Saturday I woke up around 8.30 to find Nicole absent and after a little bemused searching I found her in a hammock out back reading. How she jumped when I appeared next to her!

Julie and Gary got up a little later and we were treated to a fried breakfast.

Nicole had the idea of going to Paddington and exploring the quant-yet-trendy Latrobe Terrace where we've been a couple of times. When we got there, of course, Gary and I soon discovered that this was a window shopping trip by another name. We were taken round bathroom fitting shops, knick knack shops, clothes shops, etc. though nothing was actually bought, to my knowledge.

We rounded off the Paddington leg with coffee and cakes (and toast for me) at a coffee shop sum florist at the top of the road.

Then back home so Eloise could have a nap (I might have grabbed a little shuteye too).

Then we went out to Banyo where Fiona, a friend of Gary and Julie's from their days in Belize, was having a housewarming party. There were probably twenty people there. Eloise made friends with a little girl called Amber. When they weren't arguing they were cuddling. There was a certain amount of drunkenness occurring, and so it was quite good fun. Champagne was being consumed by the cart load, mostly by Fiona, who was doing a lot of cooking. The ceiling was thick with mosquitoes casting long shadows around the light fittings. We clapped away at them; my personal score was seven.

Time passed and we didn't get away until ten. Eloise was in fine form, exploring the house, liberating Listerine and Q-tips, breaking into bedrooms and generally making a nuisance of herself in an agreeable way. When the Carribean music came on she danced along with the inept dancing that was going on.

Pitter Patter

Raindrops It appears that I must apologise for my lack of wordsmithery over the weekend, but it's been busy.

We were "entertaining" this weekend.

Julie arrived on Thursday night, and on Friday we dropped Eloise off at Nursery. Sharon was a little surprised to hear of our lack of success with the toilet training, and said that they would see how they got on.

We headed on out to Mount Coot-tha. We got to the normal place and it was raining so we had a cup of coffee up at the Lookout. We could see pockets of raining moving over the city below, but eventually things dried out so we headed back down and did the Eugenia Circuit, which took us a couple of hours. Simpson Falls still had water running down it, amazingly, although it has continued to rain on and off around the area. Matilda was somewhat more careful exploring over there this time around.

We called a plumber out in the afternoon as there is a drip-drip-drip from the back of the house. We waited in in the afternoon and he arrived later on, and had a look - which involved taking planks of wood off the outside of the house - and fixed a plumbing extender on the sink in the back room which apparently wasn't tight enough. We'll see how we get on with it.

On Friday evening Gary rolled in from Perth where he's been on business and we had a nice curry for tea, although Nicole complained that it wasn't spicy enough. Cook's prerogative.

Feb 25, 2007


Sky Furniture "Take a picture of a sunset: vary the exposure for each shot"

Feb 22, 2007

Carry on Camping

Sullen Skies at Rainbow Beach On the way back to the campsite we formulated our plans. We had discarded the idea of eating al fresco on stove-prepared nibbles and decided already, subvocally, to eat out.

So Nicole and Eloise went off to shower and put our clothes into the tumble dryer. "Where are the other nappy liners" asked Nicole. "Um" I replied.

I stayed behind to inflate the new mattress using the car-powered pump. Brilliant! The new mattress was much more like it. I am getting to be quite a dab hand at this bed making business.

Now, did I remember to mention that mossies had shown their ugly faces? By this time, I recall my tally was up to fourteen. Another nail in the coffin of the alfresco eating experience option.

We drove down to the restaurant, all of a hundred yards, and the dogs relaxed in the car while we ate a really nice meal. We were gorged by the time we'd finished. The staff were very accomodating and loved Eloise who, not having actually slept yet all day, and having eaten really well for her supper on garlic bread, pasta and seafood, was now entering the hyperactivity phase and I was having to chase her around the restaurant while she chatted up young boys and fellow diners, and tried to get to the stereo with its pretty flashing lights.

We were done around half past eight and got back to the tent. Just as we were about to get back to the tent the heavens opened. Big time. We stayed in the car, the rain hammering down on the roof like a thousand dwarves with little hammers hammering away on a tin roof. "It'll be over soon" I said. "It always has been so far today."

After half and hour I suggested we drive over to the toilet block to break the monotony. I also needed to make use of the facilities, increasingly.

I switched on the headlights and the vista before us was a lot more watery than it had been. It looked as though the pools of water, which hadn't been there previously, were about to merge together into one big one. The tent was surrounded by water.

We looked at each other with a look that said "Bugger this."

"Bugger this," we said together.

We formulated our plan on the way over to the toilet block.

To cut a short story shorted, we temporarily parked under a large wooden shelter in the woods, leapt out of the car, I fed the dogs while Nicole rearranged the boot. Where are the dog bowls? Good grief. The dogs ate out of plastic bags on the beack seat of the car. Even under the shelter we were getting wet. We moved the contents of the boot into the footwells so we could sling the tent in. Eloise was strapped into her car seat and soon, miraculously, fell asleep.

We drove over to the tent. Nicole took care of the table and chairs etc whilst I deflated the mattress and took care of the bedding. We were soaked to the skin within thirty seconds of leaving the car.

Then the tent came down. Got folded. Put in the boot.

Then we drove over to the laundry and got changed into dry clothes. And away.

Back in Brisbane for 12.30am or so.

Six hours driving for ten minutes on the beach and a nice meal. Oh how we laughed.

Rainbow Beach

Climbing on the Rocks at Rainbow Beach We were packed and ready to leave by 11am. As always with leaving the house for an extended period of time (one day, hah!) there was a certain amount of stress and tension in the packing and preparedness department.

As we backed out of the drive muggins remembered that a key aspect of preparedness had been left unattended to and to Nicole's disgust went in to activate the computer and, yes, print out the directions... just to be on the safe side, you understand.

Progress up the Bruce was good but I was starting to get tired at Gympie, so we stopped off at a nice little park, which was suspiciously waterlogged, for some sandwiches and a toilet stop and leg stretching.

Then onwards for the 70km leg to Rainbow Beach up Tin Can Bay Road. Rolling green hills gave way to forested plains with the archetypal road stretching away into the distance. The drive was punctuated by short sharp showers, which were generally followed by shared glances filled with meaning and trivialised dread.

I was a proud Dad when Eloise started to recite from one of her books. "Roar roar roar! Snap snap snap!" we shouted as we cruised toward our destination, half an eye on the dark clouds rolling up from the south.

The camp site, when we arrived, was extensive and offered waterfront camping, which we took advantage of. We found ourselves a nice little spot not too close to the beach under some trees, and proceeded with a little urgency to pitch the tent as we didn't know what we were doing and it felt like it might start raining any minute.

However the tent went up without incident and, that done, Nicole put the billy on the stove and I went off to stretch the dogs' legs on the beach which Nicole inflated the double bed we'd bought the day before.

The beach was reminiscent of Nudgee in that the sands stretched away as the tide seemed to be low, with mangroves along the shoreline. The mangroves here were a little different in that the roots protruded from the trunks above ground level, then probed down into the sands a little way from the tree, giving the impression of spiders' legs.

The sky was dark overhead. Gravid clouds moved in from the trees behind and darkness spread over to Tin Can Bay. Pretty soon a breeze built up, and, sure enough the first spots of rain began. I hastened back to the yurt, sorry, tent, to find a vexed Nicole.

The double mattress we'd bought was obviously designed for supermodels or people who were tremendously thin. As far as we could tell it was a single mattress in all but name. We had a giggle about it before sitting down indoors to wait for the rain to pass while we sipped our drinks.

Then, as we obviously had a potential nocturnal crisis on our hands, we went to Rainbow Beach to locate a camping shop where we could upgrade our sleeping arrangements to the status of vaguely acceptable.

This was easily achieved at a little shopping centre where a camping shop sold Nicole a genu-wine double mattress.

Thence to the actual beach. Down a wooden staircase from the parking space and onto another one of those damned beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see with perfect sand, roaring surf, et cetera. This one was a little different, though, as a short walk south there was a massive sand dune, probably oh a hundred feet high rising up behind the beach.

I remembered we were literally just a few minutes south of Fraser Island, a famous tourist trap which is an island made of sand, and ah-ha this is the Great Sandy National Park. Actually come to think of it the camp site was pretty sandy and by the side of the road the landscape seemed predominantly composed of, not wishing to be predicable, sand.

The sand at the beach though was multi-coloured, some of it was as you might expect sandy-coloured, some of it was darker. Rocks poked through and sat on the beach, and they too were two-tone. There were little caves of dark rock with lighter streaks over them, apparently made by running water by the looks of them. We wondered what could be in the water to cause this.

We picked our way over the rocks and through the deep pools. Eloise sat down in the pools. One set of clothes down. And a nappy liner. "Have you packed more than one nappy liner" Nicole asked. "Oh probably" I said.

Over the water we could see rain moving.

Some four wheel drives made their way up the beach, at the end of a day of hardcore off-roading no doubt. The beach led up to Double Island Point, where there is a lighthouse, then round the corner from that a the wreck of a ship called the Cherry Venture, then beach south of that called the 40-Mile Beach. Promising!

At the south of the beach, the cliffs were obscured my a mist. "Is that rain" Nicole asked. "Oh probably" I replied. "Maybe we should think about going" Nicole suggested. "I am doing that already" I ventured.

I climbed up on some rocks to get a picture of a rock formation. The dogs climbed up with me. "Daddy! Daddy!" I could hear from the beneath.

The first spots of rain came down. I jumped down from the rocks. Eloise squeaked delightedly. We legged it. And were pretty comprehensively drenched by the time we got back to the car.

Feb 20, 2007

A Trail of Treats

A Trail of Treats Eloise insisted on carrying the dog treats around when we went for our walk this morning. As you can see they are an extremely effective method of encouraging canine obedience. In fact for a while Eloise was the dogs' absolute best buddy. Then Matilda ran away into the woods and I had to retrieve her. Thongs are not the best hilly-woods negotiating footwear, I can now reveal.

Feb 19, 2007

Nearly a disaster

We had a nice lunch out to celebrate Eloise's birthday. On our return we popped over to see Val who is kindly loaning us some camping equipment as we are off to Rainbow Beach on Wednesday night. As we were carting stuff over the road we left Eloise looking at the two guinea pigs in their day hutch. When Neil returned neither was where they should be. Neil recaptured one but the other disappeared into "safety". There was a tense 10 minutes searching for the lost animal. Luckily, the next door neighbour's dog found it. Tiny was over the road or it would have been another story. By some strange turn of fate there was a post for guinea pigs on freecycle this evening!

Terrible Two Years Old

Racerback Well she's two years old. Although if you take timezones into account we think that maybe her birthday shouldn't start til tomorrow.

We did a little present opening this morning and the haul so far is mostly books, and a little dress which she cracked open previously. She certainly likes her books. The Little Princess is learning how to use her potty and how to say please, and appreciating the results of these behaviours. The Little Princess in the books, that is.

We walked the dogs up and down the brook, stopping off at the Quiescent Cataract of Slowly Flowing Water and the Beatiful Playground Where Every Swing is Subtly Different.

Nicole was keen to get going at 11.30 and get E off to bed. She climbed a tree to grab Squeaky's attention as there was slide action going on. Eloise thought it terribly amusing that Mum was somehow up a tree, but not so terribly amusing that it should interfere with her slide time.

When Eloise wakes up, any minute now, we will go out for lunch at an as yet undecided venue on Kedron Brook Road. I am under orders to take more photos of the Birthday Girl as apparently the University of Queensland just doesn't cut it on the interest front.


Little Miss Possessive

When Eloise woke from her nap yesterday afternoon we went off to get some new library books from Chermside Library. Eloise was telling the other children there off for touching the books. She seems to think that they belong to her. She shouted "no no no" at them and wagged her finger at them menacingly. I questioned my own behaviour wondering whether she had picked up from me but I am sure I don't wag. Over a cup of coffee I recounted this to Neil who admitted that he is the culprit of finger wagging. Too much of the Wiggles?

Feb 18, 2007

Face Painting

Paint Face Is this a deliberate attempt to emulate Mel Gibson in Braveheart, or did someone give Eloise some finger paints and a marker pen and say words to the effect of "Go on, be creative?"

Snapping a Snapper Snapping the University

Photographing the University
Here is a snap I snapped of a fellow snapper snapping a snap of the Law school. The Great Court is built of the same brown stone as this, of which I have decided I am quite fond.

University of Queensland Field Trip

Vanishing Points Shock awakening yesterday at 7.45am by of all people Nicole getting back from her night shift, and me having to be at the University of Queensland at 8.30 for the field trip for my little Pich Course.

Bolted down a cup of coffee and some cereal and legged it. Slightly concerned that Friday's camera drenching would leave the whole exercise futile and pointless, but to some relief only the displays seem to be knackered, the actual pich-taking mechanics appear to be in order and several hours of fan-assisted ventilation appear to have cleaned the fog from the lens.

Got to UQ on time (shockingly), and pitched up along with probably sixteen other folks all of whom are laden down with cameras, tripods, monopods, bags of lenses, filters and other accoutrements. I am feeling underequipped with my camera, although I do have a couple of crafty filters stuck on the front of it. My feet are probably the most bizarre; as my trainers are still damp from yesterday I have on my enormous walking boots, in which I cut quite a figure with my scruffy shorts and t-shirt.

Dr Nicole led us off first of all to a big lake where we milled around taking pictures of birds, trees, reflections, de-activated fountains, buildings, each other, rubbish bins, sewage outlets etc for an hour or so. The weather is a litte grey and bleak. In some ways this is welcome as I forgot my sunscreen. Naughty boy.

Then we toddled up the road, somewhat strung out as a group, with Jeff wandering along 100yds behind the rest of us.

The lake is lined on one side by colleges which, it was theorised, are demarcated along religious lines, with all the Catholics together presumably, all the Protestants likewise. Don't know how they cater for Jainists though.

The buildings seem quite old by Aussie standards, and there are nice little touches like dwarf bell towers. On the other side of the lake is the campus proper which I assume has evolved over time which the "Great Court" at the centre, a large green area surrounded by collonaded Victorian buildings made of very appealing brown stone, and around that ghastly concrete buildings from the 60s and 70s by he look of them, which in turn give way to more modern buildings then the ultra-modern Nanotechnology building, which we wander around taking pictures of.

We then descend on a little courtyard nestled in the arms of a tall building. There are tables and chairs shaded by trees and ferns. The breeze is pleasant and punctuated by click-click-clicking. And not a fat person in sight.

Coffee is most welcome. We share tips on how you actually work all these posh cameras we've all bought.

The Great Court is then toured which is very pleasant. The sun has come out and things are very green (the trees and grass) and brown (the buildings).

Then we amble out to the far side and observe the Victorian edifice of the Law School reflected in the expansive glass of the Art Gallery, snap snap snapping away at trees, flowers, water features, glass, buildings, each other, the sky, etc.

And that wraps it up; for hours, ninety photos, and eight of us remaining at the end.

I get home at 1.30 to find all quiet in the house. Everyone is asleep.

Feb 17, 2007

Hurray for holidays

I have just finished my nights and am annual leave for a week. How lovely.

Neil has gone off to his photography field trip with his damp camera and left a sleep deprived muumy in charge of his daughter. Eloise has just woken. Let the fun begin...

Feb 16, 2007

The Side Effects of Rain

Rain in the Forest "Showers in Brisbane," the forecast said. A slight overcast first thing didn't lead one to believe that they would be arriving too soon.

As ever on Nursery Day, the dogs and I carried on to Mount Coot-tha and wandered down the path... the dry path. The going down this path is quite tough at the best of times, it is punctuated by rocky staircases and steep inclines. As we picked our way down carefully to Simpson Falls, I began to hear quite an unexpected sound. I couldn't quite believe it, but it was definitely, unequivocally, running water.

I've seen water trickling over the so-called Falls once in the time we've been here. I was quite intrigued to see what vista would greet me. As we got down there, I was a little disappointed to see that whilst it was more than a trickle it was hardly a flood. There are two levels to the falls where we were, where a stream feeds a pool which drains over some rocks a couple of feet tall into a large pool which at this time was sending a stream down a small section of a large rock face which slopes about fifty feet I suppose to the bottom.

We wandered around over it for a while, drank the water, cooled down and all that.

I was walking around over the top section looking at a dragonfly dipping into the water when I heard a scrabbling from where the rock face is. I turned around to see Matilda looking at me as her head disappeared over the edge.... then the sound of claws scrabbling on rock, receding... then a large splash, reminiscent of a large rock falling into a well.

I rushed over to the edge to see the rock pool at the bottom of the falls filled with large ripples and Matilda wading to the edge as casually as she could. She climbed back up to the top, a little tentatively, and looked at me as if to say "Did you see that? I meant to do that actually."

I had a quick look at her. She wasn't limping and didn't seem to have much wrong with her. She had a cut on her... reverse... so I assume that the scrabbling noises were her orientating herself to slide down the stream sitting down, toboggan style.

So, given her apparent lack of real injury, we pressed on up the other side of the valley which was steep climbing. After a while it began to drizzle. I'll be all right I thought, it's only a spot of rain. Besides it would take me half an hour to get back to the car. Then the drizzle became rain. Then the rain became, erm, worse rain.

I trudged on but soon was dripping wet. I couldn't see where I was going because my glasses were dripping with water. I couldn't dry my glasses because my T-shirt was saturated. My shorts were wet through. My boxer shirts were wet through. My trainers were squeaking. My socks were drenched. There was no article of clothing or square inch of my body that wasn't wet.

When I got back to the car I had to take my clothes off to prevent consdensation in the car, and I had to use a hat of Eloise's that I found in the boot to dry my glasses.

So the side effects of rain are a) slippery rocks and b) drenched Neil.

Which only leaves c) knackered camera. Oh No!

Feb 15, 2007

Early to Rise

Ladies Walking "Daddy! Daddy" the call went up at 7.30 this morning, which was a bit of a shock. We took advantage though and, instead of sloping in front of the TV for an extra hour and a half, we got ourselves showered and fed and out of the house to Caterpillar Kids where the kids looked a little older... we hadn't been there since before Christmas when Eloise's sleeping patterns extended.

Eloise obviously remembered it and leapt in with great enthusiasm, clapping bubbles, lawnmowing balls with hoops, tossing toys onto the parachutes and all that stuff. She had the cheek to demand two stamps on her tummy.

On the way home we shopped at a baby place and bought a baby toilet seat adapter thing and a step, then went to the Big W and got ten pairs of pants. Toilet training to begin soon.

Nicole had a lie down as she's on nights so I purloined her bike and cruised down the brook just after Eloise went to bed and was down there for an hour with the dogs experimenting with depth of field. What fun.

When I got back Eloise was up and about again, to my slight consternation, so we had lunch (it's a pasta day), then out for a walk to the park to play on the swings and wind up other toddlers ("My stuff! My stuff") and back so Nicole could get showered and off to her Clinical Masochism aka Pilates then work. Why oh why. Oh why.

Eloise in bed by seven. Could this be the end of charmed mornings.

Feb 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Bench Time Belgian chocolates are lovely aren't they, and half a kilo came by special delivery this lunchtime. How galling it must be for Nicole to have paid for her own present, but UK credit cards don't work here over the internet!

We went out for a romantic walk over to the brook. The baby bike is out of order due to a puncture, which may or may not be related to the pressure to which the tyre had been pumped...

After beans on toast Nicole went to work and Eloise and I went for a walk as Squeaky was most insistent. We wandered over in the direction of the library, Eloise nappy-free. I decided to take a chance and get a book and hope that there weren't any sanitary accidents; book-browsing under pressure! It sounds hairy but it was only half an hour since her last excretion... OK, it sounds hairy.

Thankfully Eloise held herself well and we went to the playground and swung a bit before toddling home. It was 2 o'clock by the time she went reluctantly to bed (protected).

Puncture was repaired. Washing was done. Watched some parliament TV. They're just the same as in the UK, except they only get half a sentence of berating the opposition out over the interruptions and shouts of "order order" before being told by the speaker to sit down so that he can sling someone out of the chamber.

Tea was Vegetable Dahl. I feel fat.

I was starting to fret a little by ten o'clock when Nicole still hadn't phoned home so I occupied myself emptying bins for bin day and then relented and phoned the hospital - would you believe they aren't in the Yellow Pages - at ten thirty when N was an hour overdue. She was over at intensive care, and things had taken considerably longer than they should have - but I was relieved she is safe!

Feb 13, 2007


Nothing much going on today. The weather has been pretty grim, it rained all night, and has rained some today as well.

We walked the dogs down at the brook this morning. Met a bloke who it turns out has done some electrical work on the house... spooky!

Nicole suspects it's pancake day today, so she made some pancakes which we had at lunch with peanut butter, jam and nutella. These went down very well. There were two left over so Eloise and I had them for tea with a filling made of - wait for it - red cabbage, apple, raisin and yoghourt. There was much much much too much. And yes, it was quite nice. And yes, Eloise thought so too.

Good job Matilda likes cabbage though.

Feb 12, 2007


White Tree Across Lake, Landscape "Find an object, e.g. a building, statue, tree, etc and see in how many ways you can vary your viewpoint and make the object the centre of interest."

Well, here's one.,,

Nicole wanted to do a forest walk this morning so we went to Bunyaville State Forest where we haven't been for a while. "We can go there," Nicole said, "it isn't as hilly as Samford."

Eloise was procrastinating and prevaricating to start off with as we let her walk. She was playing with a bottle of water and not walking. Nicole offered to take her in the backpack; she wouldn't go into the backpack with me. No sooner had Nicole got her into the backpack and settled her down than we descended into a gully, with a very tough track going up the hill on the other side. "What did I say about this forest?" said Nicole.

Eloise and Nicole are both very tired. Nicole thinks she's anaemic as she is craving eggs. They are both asleep. I am being pestered by flies. Or, as Eloise would say, "Fies."

Feb 11, 2007


Yesterday morning Eloise demanded "bix" at breakfast time. I assumed that she wanted a biscuit and allowed her to drag me along to the kitchen cupboard. When I lifted her up to my surprise she wanted a weetabix! I came back and relayed to Neil and told him that I thought Eloise had really wanted a tim tam... "tam" she added. Just goes to show you, they don't miss a trick.

Distressingly, I have been as bright as a button since 06:30 and cannot get back to sleep. I was researching toilet seats when Eloise woke up. Neil is still asleep so I have closed the door so he can have a lie in. Eloise keeps demanding "daddy". Luckily, this time when she asked for "bix" I knew exactly what she wanted.

Feb 10, 2007

Jellyfish Tidemarks

Jellyfish and People We went up to Nudgee Beach this morning and wandered around in the shallows for a while debating whether the tide was going in or coming out. Eloise headed out to a sandbar and got up to her armpits in the water en route. She is developing a rewarding if probably unhealthy disdain for the dangerous properties of water in all its forms.

We meandered through some mangroves and wandered on to the dog beach part. It soon became apparent that the tide was coming in as sand pools filled and shoals of washed up jellyfish came back to life as the water washed over them, surrounding Nicole and Eloise at one point, a desperate situation they only narrowly managed to escape by casually walking in between the jellyfish as though they were in some way slow, stupid, or impotent. Which, of course, they are.

Later Nicole and Eloise made sandcastles under a mangrove tree. The sand at Nudgee Beach is not of a very good quality for sandcastles, unlike the Sunshine Coast.

Don't hold your breath, but we're going to start potty training soon. We've got Eloise some knickers and she is showing a lot of interest in the toilet.



Feb 8, 2007


Waiting We went up to Samford Forest today to do the long walk and let Nicole have some sleep after her night shift.

It was the first time in the backpack for while for E and she is getting quite heavy! The path is pretty steep in places and I had to stop to catch my breath a few times.

Of course when Eloise wanted to get down and climb the hill progress slowed to a complete standstill, and the dogs would cast about and then we would end up waiting for them.

We saw two interesting wildlife events: firstly a dragonfly being taken by an ant colony and slowly being dismembered which you can see here, secondly a snake (aaagh! a snake) which slithered remarkably rapidly through my peripheral vision within a metre of my feet, and straight past Matilda, who thankfully couldn't find it. It was green in colour and I reckon about three feet long. The internet reckons it was probably a Green Tree Snake. It certainly brightened up my day.


On Tueasday evening Mr Peacock popped in for a barbeque and a verre de vin rouge. Gary was in Brisbane on business with his new job. It wasn't until I was bathing Eloise that I realised how wierd it is to have someone you went to university with all those many moons ago popping in for a couple of hours. I spoke to Julie briefly to berate her for having blown out our pre-arranged phone call on Monday evening for Little Britain thinking she was watching it on television but they were actually at the live show - very good too apparantly.

Julie and Gary are coming up in a couple of weekends time as they have a house warming party to attend. Julie and I are thinking about going to see Boy George dj at the Met but now it is getting closer we are both getting cold feet as neither of us have had a night out clubbing in a very long time. The boys are very unkeen about joining us so at least the problem of baby sitting is non-existant. What does one wear clubbing in Brisbane? Could I manage a late night?

Feb 7, 2007

Under Pressure

Hooliganism I tapped Biker Nicole's expert knowledge of biking and excellent array of equipment to pump the tyres on the E-mobile up to the correct pressure of 40-65PSI per tyre. Nicole's spiffy bicycle pump has a pressure gauge and the back tyre showed a measly 10PSI and the front tyre just 20. No wonder I have been encountering significant "rolling resistance." And there was I thinking that was a military term.

Nicole did the first tyre as a demonstration and whacked it up to 65PSI whilst I tried to stop the dogs from tearing the shed apart chasing some imaginary intruder. I followed suit with the other tyre.

We took the bikes out for a brook experiment and it was much easier to ride. Then we got onto the rough ground and the bike has been transformed into a bone shaker. Eloise, when she said anything, said "Uuuuuuurgh" in the style of Bobby McFerrin on Bolivian Marching Powder.

The brook is lined by various parks and playing fields. We saw the empty sign frame above and the football, sorry soccer match being played opposite this morning.

Feb 6, 2007


Neil and Eloise At swimming today it became increasingly clear that E is short on caution to the point where you could reasonably assert either that she has a deathwish, or an excessive trust in her fellow man (i.e. me) or that she doesn't understand the biology of respiration. Perhaps all three.

Enthusiasm ruled as ever with the water wings on, paddling about, blowing bubbles, reaching and holding and doing all the things she should do.

When the waterwings, sorry floaties came off, a little caution crept in when she was being held by me.

However when she wasn't, that is when she was standing on a submerged table and waist high in the water, then caution was thrown to the wind. She would jump up and down with excitement, edging towards the edge - well, how else would you get there - then jump off and into the pool where she wouldn't exactly sink like a stone, but she certainly didn't float... so sinking slowly, arms and legs flapping, until I picked her up and brought her to the surface, where she would emerge giggling and gurgling, simultaneously.

Feb 5, 2007

Of Course

Leaving Home After a day of dog walking, house work, washing, etc etc and the events of Nicole's blog entry I went to my little course.

As it's a camera course it seemed rude not to take a happy snap from the car as I left. See how happy Nicole is to see me go!!

I left at 5.15 to get there for 6 which I thought was ample time. Oh how wrong I was, for the "Inner City Bypass" must be the the most inappropriately named road on the planet. OK so it does sort of bypass the city... but bypasses are supposed to make traffic go faster, right? I spent half an hour at a practical standstill on that road. And was consequently late.

The lecture itself was fine, students mainly "I've got a nice camera, how do I use it?" or "I'm going on holiday and don't want to just take snapshots" types. I learned some stuff, about composition mainly. I can do Golden Mean. No worries.

Nicole was right. I didn't believe her.

Home alone

The alarm clock went off at 05:30 as I was on an early. I arrived at work still half asleep and spent the rest of the day having a very blond day. Unfortunately, the girl I was buddied with was also having a blond day so we got through in a very haphazard manner.

I returned home tired, with a headache and in a bad mood. I decided I needed comfort food and was going to nip out to buy meat sausages and veggie sausages for bangers and mash alone but Eloise had a tantrum when I tried to leave alone. We all decided to go together and she then had a tantrum about this. Sometimes you can't win but this afternoon was not the day to be testing me. By the time we returned we decided Neil would heat up pasta and pesto left over from lunch and Eloise and I would eat after Neil left. It is his first night of his photography course at the University of Queensland.

I decided that I should take some paracetamol and felt much better about an hour later. Tea was tasty with onion, garlic and red wine gravy. Really a winter supper but nevermind. Eloise turned her nose up at supper after about a quarter of it. She didn't even want the icecream I served up for afters. She spent the time I was washing up hanging around the front gate. She went next door to "help" Peter water his garden and kept bringing Alice and I flowers.

During the bath she kept saying "wee wee" so we got out and I sat her over the toilet where she produced a poo. She was very proud of herself. After her bath she kept walking around saying "Daddy". I know that Neil won't believe this. After a couple of books she went off to bed. It is her first night without Neil and she seemed to miss him being here. I'm missing him too. It seems quite strange being home alone as it occurs so rarely.


Outrun the Ocean Yesterday we went up to Noosa. We had meant to go there a couple of weeks ago with our visitor Sarah but hadn't made it due to getting sidetracked on the way. But this time we would go directly and sample the delights of Castaways Beach, a dog beach we had found out about, and Noosa itself, which is a bit of a tourist trap by all accounts and has a famously cosmopolitan high street.

For once no recovery navigation was required and we made it up there in an hour and a half on the Bruce Highway. The drive was pleasant, and Nicole to us up to a vantage point called Laguna Lookout to have sandwiches. We were hassled by a dog which like Matilda wouldn't take No for an answer let alone Sod Off, but eventually it got distracted by something and we had a little lunch in the shade of a glade overlooking a nice beach below, which curved away to the west with mountains misted in the distance behind.

Then we went down to Castaways Beach where there was a convenient car park by the side of the road. A little path led down to the beach, which stretched off as far as we could see to the North and South, with lovely soft sand and great surf washing up the shore.

Eloise played chicked with the surf as it swept up the shore and got braver and braver with each wave until, with our help, she was going armpit deep and squealing delightedly.

The dogs were less sure and were frightened by the foamier waves, but we found a little lagoon which they went and played in.

After an hour or so we went back into Noosa and up to Hastings Street. We parked the car in some car park in the Parkland at the top of the street and remembered why dogs and towns don't mix. Matilda slipped her collar and pelted off into the parkland after a Bush Turkey, and took five minutes to recover.

Anxiety was a little high as we walked up the high street. The street was very nice, the street itself was flanked by lovely trees and little sitting areas with the shops behind. There weren't any of the usual chain stores but plenty of fashion boutique type shops and art galleries. We got some nice ice cream and drinks to keep us going, but considered returning when the rain started to pitter patter a little.

Nicole and Eloise went into an Art gallery and I stayed outside with the dogs. We walked a few paces up the street and sat on a bench to wait. After a few minutes my mobile went off and I was an unpopular person it turned out as they had come out of the gallery and note spotted me and had been waiting for a couple of minutes. Oooops.

Tiny slipped her lead on the way back to the car and ran after the Bush Turkeys. Fair's fair I suppose.

Then we went in search of a chip shop, then realised we had no cash and went in search of a cash machine, then a chip shop again, which we eventually found.

We ate our tea by the river as the sun set. Kids played on a little beach and a pelican meandered around on the water. In the distance flocks of birds fluttered around like strange mirages. We went a little closer to watch them, then set off for home.

Feb 3, 2007

Walking Walking Everywhere

Rainbow We woke up at 7.30 this morning. E was very jolly first thing and we breakfasted on fruit bread toast and yoghourt while watching pop videos on the telly. Jingly jangly guitar music, yuck. Monsta beat techno, jiggly.

After the usual rigmarole, plus the complication of sunscreen in the eyes ("don't rub them, you'll only make it worse) we set off for the beach, where the tide was well and truly in. Up and down the beach we strolled, and paddled in a little lagoon where Eloise decided to sit down. In her dress. And nappy. Oooops. Matilda disappeared for a suspiciously long time and is now suspiciously rotund and gurgly. What has she eaten...?

We got back via some shopping at Fresco's where Eloise met her favourite checkout lady. Snack on dried bananas and almond flakes etc, then to bed.

Washing, washing, washing... a bit of reading and the Daddy squawk comes. So off again, lunch of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, yummy for me but E not interested, she wanted to read books instead and play in the garden. Then she decided it was time for a walk and stood by the front gate shouting "Daddy! Door! Walk!" until I got the message that this was a really great idea.

So we walked up the street and round the extended block, such as it is. We met Bill and Louise when Eloise spotted her with her baby Sophie sitting in the steps of their house. We'd never met them before. They seemed to be very nice people.

Up Lanham Avenue to Lanham Park where we met a South African lady with her girl Caitlin on the swings. We'd never met them before. They seemed to be very nice people.

We swung and slid for a bit then over to the Sensory Playground where Eloise presses buttons and a blue post asks you questions like "Do you know what the Queensland flag looks like" (No) or "Do you know why we celebrate Anzac Day" (I have my suspicions). There we met an Australian lady and her boy Harry. Eloise and Harry were educated in the finer points of taking turns and co-operating with one another on the water pump and turning globe respectively.

We wung our way back down a bike path then across the football, sorry soccer pitch back home where we messed around a bit before I cooked a lovely meal of broccoli and rice with a cashew sauce. Yum!

Feb 2, 2007

Worship at the Temple of Glittering Nearly-Possessions

Agincourt Sunset It bucketed down with rain this morning for a couple of hours. On the metal roof of the house it sounded like a never ending London Marathon in jackboots playing overhead, coming and going in waves. For the first time we saw large puddles forming in the garden as the ground saturated and the water then ran off.

The gutter at the back of the house couldn't take the volume of water and overflowed. Some water came in through the back window and the carpet in the dogs' bedroom got wet. Curiously, when we looked at the roof afterwards, the upper roof (makes the place sound like a mansion, doesn't it?) drains through a down pipe directly onto the lower roof, so the gutters there need to take the run-off from a wider area than you might expect.

When the rain relented we embarked on a bike ride down to the brook. Unexpectedly there were quite a few people down there, and the brook was once again swollen and very fast moving, building speed and energy as we rode down it and the storm drains fed into it, and in the shallows or where there were rocks, turning into a roiling rapid.

The dogs ran really well today. Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare as Matilda was disrespectful of the off-leash boundary, going onto a road at one point, which, judging by the honks, was unpopular with motorists. Oh well! On the plus side we saw our erstwhile walking chum Janice there yesterday for the first time since before Nicole had to go back to England.

After a delightful midday feast of baked beans on toast, Nicole went to work, and soon after that Eloise went to sleep (where soon is equivalent to four books).

I sat down in front of the telly and watched a film with Kevin Spacey in it called the Shipping News, which was OK in a picturesque kind of a way. Just when it finished and I started to get underway with paying bills, housework, etc, Squeaky woke up. Limited rest for the wicked.

We went to the library and she cruised for dogs (two beagles and a poodle... when I said "That's a poodle" she wouldn't stop pointing to its arse and cooing "Poo!") then we spent a happy hour or so choosing and reading books. The librarians were talking about setting her up on a blind date with one of their boys, but he's three and a red head, so not only cradle snatching but the possibility of unwanted recessive gene combination problems.... not sure how he took it when I said that....

Nicole had suggested that, as we were a bit flush at the moment (everything's relative) that I could spend some money, so after library we headed off to Chermside shopping centre, Mecca of Consumerism, to spend all our money on a nifty lens for our camera.

Unfortunately we were hungry and stopped off in the food court for some chocolate cake and coffee / milk. By the time we'd finished that, and spent half an hour traipsing the hallowed collonades lined with the Shrines to Mammon, we/I realised we/I were lost, and didn't actually know where the Camera shop was, and actually all the shops seemed to be closing, and Eloise wanted down, and there were Teddy Bears in that window over there, and it was too late...

Still, we got a carton of sour cream in Woolies. And Eloise did a pretty good number on the kiddies section of an excellent bookshop I will probably never be able to find again.

So, mixed vegetable curry in a creamy sauce for supper! Yum!