Mar 30, 2007

Forest Friday

Phototropism Squeaky didn't raise her head until 9.15 this morning, and when she did, rather than the usual plaintive demand for Daddy, she cried out for "Cole! Cole!" which made us laugh.

Maybe it's a sign of the role-reversal that Nicole has been either demoted or promoted from Mummy, although it was back to that before long.

Usual breakfast of toast and ginger marmalade was followed by getting E to Nursery for 10.15 which wasn't bad going considering.

Nicole's on a late today, so rather than run around trying to get the dogs walked and her back to the house for 11.30, I went out solo on Forest Friday at Mount Coot-tha and did the long walk I found a couple of weeks ago which took me around a hill along the Maculata Track then down into the valley to a little lake (which was looking somewhat denuded, presumably due to evaporation, since the last time I was there), and up the other side of the valley on a 2.5km circuit mysteriously called the Kulgun Circuit.

This led up over a steep hill through what was once a quarry and around a track on the other side which clung to the slope and offered very pleasant views of the city through the trees, and, looking Northeast, across to Moreton Bay in the distance.

The climb back was very steep and tiring, I was dripping sweat by the time I got to the top. It was very sunny and I reckong the temperature was in the mid-30s. The dogs were exhausted and climbed straight into the car with "take me home" expressions on their faces.

It was 12.25 by this point so I thought maybe I could attempt to rendezvous with Nicole as she cycled into work. At 12.38 I parked up toward the tail end of her route, but ten minutes of hanging around in the sizzling heat was enough for me and I figured I'd missed her.

The afternoon, which should have been spent doing productive things, was instead spent pottering and cooling down... and not much else apart from a bit of weeding in the garden.

I went up to the water lookout as the sky clouded over and saw some nice god-beams marching across the city and suburbs. Then off to fetch Eloise who was very keen on showing me the toys she has there to play with, and gave me an excellent demonstration of dual pram pushing.

Bushwalking Eloise-Style

Bushwalking Yesterday, before we went for the osteopathic extravaganza, we went out to walk the dogs at Samford Forest.

We didn't have the rucksack so we just did the short circuit.

Eloise was in her usual bushwalking form, and making very little progress indeed, so Nicole and I had a little huddle and decided I would do the cicruit with the dogs and catch up with the others and see how far they had managed to get. We were just at the base of a little staircase going up a slope so we had an easy landmark to refer to.

So we trooped off around the circuit at a reasonable pace, and made it to the end in about twenty minutes. Tracking back round the circuit to catch up again we found Nicole and Eloise at.... the top of the staircase.

It was time to go home, so we repeated the exercise in reverse.

The dogs got a good walk of two or three kilometres. Eloise and Nicole probably covered around 400 metres.

Mar 29, 2007

Ligamentous Laxity

Nicole had an appointment with an osteopath this afternoon, so we went down to West End to see her getting wrenched around.

Indeed the crunching noises were most excellent, especially from her neck. And the smock was haute couture of the highest order, if the ironing left something to be desired.

The osteopath was a very nice man. He said that Nicole had ligamentous laxity. He then proceeded to explain what he meant, but I think that might detract from the humour.

We had lunch at a little coffee shop called the Three Monkeys around the corner. I had a concoction with Haloumi cheese, and an Iced Mocha. Mmmm, lovely.

Then we went for a walk up the street and dodged the students and hippies. We stopped off for a smoothie.

A very healthy afternoon.

I'll not go into the recovery that had to be staged from the the recovery which had to be staged from the recovery navigation necessary after things went horribly wrong after I'd got across the river. No, I'll not go into that.

Mar 28, 2007

Underwater World

Give Us A Kiss at Underwater World Today was another one of these days when Nicole had a day off and thought we'd just have a quiet day in. Oh no we won't.

"What shall we do today then," I said.

"Well I though we could just have quiet day," she replied.

"Oh..." I ummed, and followed on with "I thought we could go to Underwater World."

So I went off and walked the woofers on this week's habitual walk down the brook, while Nicole made a packed lunch. Just as I was about to set off, Nicole caught me to tell me that our tail-end Charlie loaf was mouldy. I said I'd get one from the convenience store on the way back.

I was picking up a Tilda-poo when my mobile went off. "Look shall we just call this Underwater World thing off and do it another day" said Nicole. "Organising this lunch is a nightmare." Intent on my poo I said "Well why don't we just grab lunch there."

So we set off, not really expecting much, to Mooloolaba, one of our regular dog-walking haunts... only without the dogs, unusually, and with Nicole in the driving seat, also unusually, and after an hour or so pitched up at UWW. 40 bucks later we were in, and ten yards in from the door Eloise was cooing at the Stingrays.

Then Eloise cooed at some lobsters and got to touch a sea cucumber, which felt less like a cucumber than a pair of nice M&S moleskin trousers, before they've got paint on.

We worked our way round various aquaria with tropical fish in, and had an eyebrow-lifted look in a 4 Wheel Drive which had fish in it, for some reason we didn't quite arrive at.

There was a nice tableau where a crocodile basked by a waterfall which flowed into a mangrove-lined pool within which, we could see, some hulking great fish skulked. A further waterfall cascaded down to a pool on the floow below, and looking over the balcony we could see there were turtles in there.

Then we looked at some cheeky Asian Otters who were cheeky while an Underwaterperson gave a talk about how they can bite through a steel-capped boot. Across from them was a large pool in which some seals were swimming around. Eloise loved the seals, and so did I; they were gliding around very gracefully, twisting and turning and rolling, as though they were flying underwater.

Next door to them was a large auditorium called "Seal Cove" in which a show was going on. We thought we would get some lunch and come back to that later. So we noshed some potato wedges and fish and chips with milkshakes and coffee, then descended down into the bowels of the building to see what was what.

We got to look at the skulking hulks from the river scene, which were barramundi and such like things, and really very large fishies. They reminded me of the fish we saw a few years ago on our deep dive, when Nicole got nitrogen narcosis and thought they were looking at her funny, whilst simultaneously mistaking a tomato for a banana (or something like that).

Then we looked at the turtles for a bit, but there were frogs in tanks down the other side of the hall and Eloise was especially taken, for some reason, by the cane toads.

Further downstairs was a fantastic whole-floor tank with a moving walkway moving through a tunnel which meandered all the way around, with tropical fish, a coral reef, and stingrays and sharks - yes sharks - which were quite a daunting sight! We went around the circuit there three times, then it was time for the seal show.

Which was pretty standard though nevertheless very entertaining. Someone volunteered to feed the seal - they hold out their arm, the seal jumps of a rock twenty feet in the water, then jumps out again and grabs the squid from the girl#'s hand - but we figured she was a plant when the jetty she was on unexpectedly tipped her into the water and the seal stole her pants.

Then they offered us the unmissable opportunity to kiss a seal for $6 which we passed up, until a lady from Tassie whose daughter didn't want to kiss a seal gave us a ticket. So we had Eloise kiss a seal, which on balance she wasn't too happy about.

The whole thing was very intertaining and all that was in quite a small building, we thought it was cleverly put together.

Here is a happy snap of Nicole in the tunnel at the core of the depths of Underwater World.

Oh and there was a section on dinosaurs. It was crap. Eloise still got scared though by a recording of a Tyrannosaurus of all things. They had remotely controlled dinosaurs that didn't work.

Mar 27, 2007

Swimming: The Next Stage

We went to swimming today with a new group and at a new time, half an hour later.

We hoped that this would lead to a better lunchtime nap for Eloise - she's been woken up for the past few weeks to get across town for two thirty - but of course Sod's Law applies and today she didn't get to sleep until one o'clock so come twenty past two she had to be woken up again... and we were a little late. Oh well.

The main difference, and I don't know whether this is normal for this new group - was that there were no water wings this time, just a float that sat on her back, tied around her tummy.

We did some lengths with her clinging to my shoulders and me moving her arms in some sort of semblance to a front crawl, and some with her on her back, arms and legs stretched out like a starfish.

Jump In Turn Round Go To The Side was a bit different with no armbands, but she did very well, and didn't drown, but didn't exactly float either.

A round of JITRGTTS was done with no floatation devices whatsoever, as much to scare the willies out of us parents as the children I think. The teacher made the point that Easter Weekend was coming up and if there weren't any floaties then none of the kids would actually last very long if they were to fall in. Eloise wasn't unduly perturbed however.

Our homework is to do JITRGTTS floatie-free.

Onwards and downwards, then.

Mar 26, 2007


Eloise Eloise wouldn't have a nap today. She went to bed, by herself, with a bunch of books and pieces of paper and after an hour the call for Daddy went up so I got her and we played around, drawing and painting and generally getting up to no good.

We had music this morning and one of the mums admitted to having tailgated me down the road last night as I rode Nicole's bike back from our coffee rendezvous in Wilston. I was doing 40km/h at the time and quite proud to have reached the speed limit, and Jodie apologised, saying she was in a hurry... she still got called a maniac.

Eloise really enjoys the music class, though it still leaves me feeling a little bemused. There was another Dad there today, tagging along with his other half, but I didn't see him singing.

When Nicole finished work we met her down at the Park and played on the swings.

I made a slight cock-up at tea when I accidentally put cinnamon on the leeks instead of coriander. Well, the packets look the same. It tasted... unusual.

Mar 25, 2007

The Anointed One

The Anointed One Eloise holds an unbreakable sway over the dogs, with a packet of crisps.

Mar 24, 2007

Laxity Alleviated

Cave Girl Apparently I have not been posting enough pictures of Eloise lately, so here is one from Rainbow Beach the other day.

We had been walking up the beach quite a way and Eloise was tired and wanted carrying. Nicole then got tired after carrying her, and we settled down in a little cave underneath the high dunes.

After a five-minute power rest, Eloise was up and running again.

Mar 23, 2007

Tin Can Bay

House Boat Beached at Tin Can Bay Tin Can Bay: not much going on.

We had some sandwiches, and some coffee and played on the playground.

At the café where I got the coffee, there was evidence that dolphins were regular visitors, but no crowds, no dolphins.

Oh well.

I took Eloise to the toilet with me, as she was showing an interest. Whilst I was in the cubicle the little minx slipped away under the door. When I was in a position to, I ligged it after her, to find her running towards a council swimming pool! I nabbed her just as she got to the ladder. She is observant, and clearly a highly motivated individual.

Awakening Au Naturel

Stone Washed The night was a little fitful... Eloise had a room to herself (posh eh) and we brought in the camp chairs so the dogs could sleep on them rather than our air mattress.

Somehow some mozzies had managed to get into the tent with us so we tried to hunt them down, which wasn't that easy, though I managed one definite confirmed kill. However mysterious buzzings continued.

Sleep came eventually, despite the threatening buzzings, and I remember waking up, hot and sticky, to slight rain. And again, with no covers and a dog shaped lump next to me. And again, with another dog shaped lump next to my feet. Eloise called for her dad in the still watches of the night but subsided.

We woke at around 9am and rather than go out and have to return to disassemble the palace, we took the tent down and packed up in 40 minutes then went to the camp kitchen to get breakfast together. We were noticing our bites somewhat, and wondering how long they would take to come up. The Mozzie-free clearly hadn't worked as we had hoped.

We made it down to the beach at around 11 and climbed down the stairs and I was concerned to see that the botom of the staircase was consumed by roiling surf. The surf retreated to reveal sand before swishing back up a few seconds later. The others didn't seem bothered though and we got down onto the beach and walked up it, reckoning the tide to be going out.

There is a large outcrop of rocks there and we had fun climbing over them whilst avoiding the sea. Tiny had an unfortunate incident where a wave got her in between two rocks, and she wasn't very happy after that, but she recovered and was soon rock hopping again.

After the rocks had been surmounted, the beach stretched out for miles before us. We hoped to get to see the Coloured Sands, but didn't make it that far; Eloise for tired and Nicole was worn out too with carrying Squeaky, they found a little cave under the cliff and sat in there resting before we decided, as the heat continued to build, to head back and call in at Tin Can Bay to see what was going on there.

Mar 22, 2007

Carry On Camping Again

Sunset at Carlo Point So we got this tent last week and since then we've been building up to using it. Nicole had a couple of days off so we thought what the hell, let's go back to Rainbow Beach and see if we can't get rained off again.

So we repeated the journey detail by detail, oh except that getting petrol was a bit of a problem... we wanted to go to a Coles Express as we've got some discount vouchers, but the Coles Express was closed for some reason, so half way up the Bruce we pulled in at a BP to find out their computers had crashed.... then we took a detour along Bribie Island Road because I thought I saw a sign, only there wasn't one, and the next one we say was a distributor... and the next one we saw was having computer problems... still we got some eventually. I was half expecting the card now to work!

Still we got there heventuallee at around 4pm and got cracking with building the tent. It was up within half an hour and all things considered not too stressful. Tiny was locked in the car after trying to chase some bush turkeys... only I left the window open... and of course it's always difficult putting up a tent for the first time.

By the time the tent was up dusk was fast approaching so we walked the dogs down on the beach and took note of the insects which were biting us. Nicole had brought some concoction called Mozzie Free which we drink in the morning which is supposed to make us repellent to insects. We topped up with roll-on repellent.

The sunset was very pleasant and as it got dark we went to the restaurant around the corner to repeat our unruly meal of last time.

After Eloise was in bed we sat outside and saw the brightest sky we've seen since the Great Barrier Reef. The sky was absolutely thick with stars.

Mar 19, 2007

Guards! Guards!

Guards! Guards! This is how Matilda spends most of her evenings these days. She's laid out there in the garden, keeping an intent eye on a big tree, waiting for a bat or, better a cat or something unidentified or unidentifiable to come along and give her some amusement.

Then, she will leap up, and get a bit excited. This will prompt Tiny to vacate wherever she happens to be a toute vitesse, hoof it at high speed into the garden and begin barking in a most irritating way.

Still I suppose it keeps the dogs happy.

Mar 18, 2007


Keep Still! Here's a photo I took last night with the timer function on the camera. Passers-by were having a right old laugh at me pressing the button on the camera, grabbing the sprog, placing us both in front of it, checking the picture on the camera, then running after Eloise who was generally miles away by now.

Anyway today we were up bright and early - eight o'clock - but it took ages for actual consciousness to arrive. It was the Australian Grand Prix today and they have an all-day TV spectacular on. With Murray Walker! So we watched that for a bit, then went to the beach about half ten, and frolicked up there for a while.

We went and fed the ducks later on down at the brook, without the dogs. Eloise tried to give some of her bread to a little boy, which was nice. She spent more time chasing the ducks that actually feeding them.

Mar 17, 2007

Brisbane and Bridge at Dusk

Brisbane and Bridge at Dusk Annoyed that my night photos didn't work last night, I went back today to repeat the exercise. The results were a bit better.

Eloise enjoyed it too, running along the footpath whilst I was fiddling around. I think she was taking a hint from the joggers.

Mar 16, 2007

The River and the Bridges

Goodwill and Captain Cook Bridges This picture shows the Godwill Bridge on the left, a pedestrian bridge, and the Captain Cook Bridge on the right, across which runs the Riverside Expressway, which turns into the Pacific Highway on the way to the Gold Coast.

A City Ferry is just pulling in there. These are being phased out as the CityCats take over.

Don't ask me about the robot pelicans. I think they call it "Art."

In the City

Reaching Up I went to the city this afternoon and walked up from the South Bank up the river to the cliffs under Kangaroo Point. The hi-rises rise resplendent over the river, yachts and pleasure boats moored beneath with the ferries and citycats cruising the waters. Bridges cross the river carrying pedestrians and motorways.

I picked up Eloise from Nursery. It is St Patrick's Day tomorrow and - any excuse for a party - they were having a Green Day. All the staff were dressed in green, the kids all had shamrocks stamped on their faces. They told me not to be alarmed if there was green urine or green poo, as much green food had been consumed!

I took Eloise up to the river again to look at the city with the lights on and took some photos. Not very many turned out, which I am not very happy about!

Oh, and I got my hair cut.

Mar 15, 2007

Roma Street

The Effect of Gravity Upon Water We nipped down to Roma Street Parklands this afternoon and had a very nice time.

Eloise was very jolly even though she'd point-blank refused her nap. After we parked and walked into the park, we were immediately in an area called Fern Gully, down the middle of which flows a little stream. A family of ducks was swimming there and Eloise found them very absorbing.

Then we came across a Water Dragon which was fascinating. It was about 70cm long and just kind of looked at us lazily even though we were only a foot away from it.

The stream flowed down a succession of waterfalls into a large lake in the centre of the park around which ibises preened. A path ran around and on the far side were well-tended lawns in contrast to the dense foliage of palms and ferns and suchlike in our neck of the woods.

We wandered around and were very impressed with the architectural qualities, for instance there was a waterfall around most corners you cared to turn and nice shaded resting areas dotted around the place. Little paths wound their ways around colourful flowerbeds and a variety of trees and shrubs, none of which I recognised.

We played in a nice little playground for a while, after dissuading Eloise from trying to go in the disabled playground which had a swing adapted for wheelchair use, would you believe. You probably would.

Mar 14, 2007

A Quiet Day

Running As we've been fighting off some illness and are tired at the moment, Nicole especially, we decided to have a quiet day today.

I thought we could let Nicole have a lie in whilst I took the others out for a walk, and had in mind a little exploration at Samford Forest, but E had other ideas and got her Mum out of bed.

Off we went then to Samford Forest, and climbed the steep track to the top of the circuit then took a side track off to who knows where. Eloise was on good form, especially charming. Her new word for today is "Hey" which she insisted on practicing repeatedly.

We found our way back to the car after a couple of hours, after a good length walk. The track curved down the hill and around, winding up at another car park from which we took a track running parallel to the road back to the start.

After lunch Eloise went to sleep for three whole hours during which we relaxed in hammocks and did some housework. Nicole did some gardening.

Then we went to the Chermside Shopping Mecca and visited KMart to get a cheap tent as they are running a sale on camping stuff. When we got there, to my horror, the Sale signs had come down... the sale seemed to be over! But Nicole talked to a lady and it turned out the sale was finishing today so we just made it in the nick of time. So now we are the owners of an 8-person Extendable Dome which should do the trick nicely, although of course this means we are from hereonin camping at every opportunity.

Mar 13, 2007


The Lagoon As the drought continues - despite the rain which seems to fall as much if not more here than in Ipswich - the level of water restriction here is to rise again to Level 5.

As far as we can tell this means that we aren't allowed to wash the exterior of the house anymore, and we aren't allowed to wash the car, unless it's at a car wash.

Nicole had heard a rumour that houses will be limited to 120 litres usage per day, but we can't find evidence of that, and it doesn't sound achievable anyway.

Today's activities were predominantly water based by coincidence.

Nicole took Eloise and the dogs down to the brook for a morning walk. I woke up with a headache and lolled around in bed for a while, waiting for painkillers to work. After a while enough was enough so I walked down and joined the rest of the gang.

When Nicole went to work, I laid down and had a kip while Eloise was sleeping and felt much better after that.

Then to swimming, for which we were five minutes late. I sat Eloise on the side of the pool while I climbed in down the ladder. By the time I was in, she had jumped in, and proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes in a state of high manic excitement, shouting and roaring and splashing and juming. "She sounds like she's possessed" said a Mum. "Good job she's getting her exorcise then" I said. I don't think she understood.

Then into the city to the South Bank for a photography field trip by the river. I expect to find out over the next few days how many photos were taken of Squeaky. I expect it was quite a few. She was on top form, sitting on the edge of pools dangling her legs and generally being quite charming.

We all hung around the rainforest walk for quite a while photogtaphing waterfalls. Then a group went to practice their panning technique on passing joggers on the waterfront path. "Jogger!" would go up the cry and a bevy of cameras would point at the unsuspecting runner.

Eloise ran into a bunch of Japanese tourists and we had to do another of our photo calls. Coos of delight went up as I gave Eloise my camera and she pointed it at the papparazzi.

We went up to the playground and Eloise played on a big see saw with some more Japanses children.

We saw them on the artificial beach later as we drank our strawberry milk, and E went down to play with them for a while.

The light was fading pretty fast, so we met up with the rest of the group and headed back. For me it was pretty disappointing from the photographic point of view, as I forgot my tripod, but with the little interloper running around like a maniac I think I had my work cut out for me anyway.

Mar 12, 2007

It was a hot day today

Canis Quietus ... and a lot of lying around was done in the garden.

Mar 11, 2007

Up WIth the Larks

Nudgee Beach We were indeed up with the larks this morning. Although the particular larks we happened to get up with were very very lazy larks who dragged themselves out of their nests at about seven o'clock. But still that's not too bad for a Sunday.

After breakfasting we were out of the house by nine o'clock or so. Someone had had a madcap idea to go to Northey Street City Farm Organic Market, so that is what we did.

We haven't been there for a while, and it was very much the same as the last time, only hotter. We wandered around the stalls, keeping in the shade, and maintaining our highly honed financial prudence. We sat down for coffee amongst the hippies and students with their bum fluff beards and big floppy hats. Eloise and Nicole wandered off to go and play on a rope swing and bang some drums, and I minded the drinks and got in with the hippies by meditating... well sitting still, and they didn't even notice.

After a while there we came back home and had a spot of leftover lasagne for lunch. Apparently I have to retract the description of yesterday's lasagne as "microwave" as this caused Nicole to have histrionics. So let's say "pre-prepared" instead.

Eloise had a nap for a couple of hours, during which she probably slept for an hour.

Nicole tended to her mysterious realm, the compost heap. It was pretty hot! She was bright pink with exertion by the time she'd finished.

We decided it was too hot to take the dogs out just yet, so we went to the library and tent-hunting at Kmart. Air-conditioning. Yum.

About five thirty it was starting to cool down, so we went to Nudgee Beach and walked around with the dogs up there. The tide was out so we could just walk straight out and not need to brave the mozzy-swarming mangroves.

Mar 10, 2007

Warm Like a Bath

Nicole and Eloise Swimming at Mooloolaba Well there they are, bobbing away.

With her floaties on Eloise can kick-kick-kick around very effectively thank you. However Tiny felt it was her duty to grab her by the floaties (as it were) and pull her into shore, which is quite touching.

Eloise was as happy as larry until a boat went by and the wake washed over her, but a short bout of coughing later, she was as happy as larry once more.

I let Tiny off the lead to join in the fun, but for some mysterious reason, possibly something to do with there being people eating food in the vicinity, and being unconscionably untrusting, I thought it best to keep Matilda constrained.

We let Eloise hold Matilda's lead for a bit, and I ran up the beach a bit then called Matilda, who jogged towards me pulling Squeaky in her wake. This was the cause of much hilarity.

There was another family there who Eloise made friends with. They jumped in with Dad paddling on a surfboard, towing the rest of them in a rubber dinghy. Then they got out their snorkelling goggles and flippers. We need to be better equipped I think.

Chilling Out

Living Dangerously After Nicole's week from hell, up at 5.30am on early shifts four days out of five, we decided to go up to the Sunshine Coast to day to do some chilling out.

It took about an hour to get there, during which Eloise whinged a lot, partially because she had sores eyes from suncream and wouldn't stop rubbing them, partially because she was a little tired. She's always tired at the moment - we think she's having another growth spurt.

We went to the dog beach at Mooloolaba and spent a pleasant hour or two wandering up the beach and over the rocks. The tide was in and the surf seemed high (what would I know). Eloise was accident prone, with a superficial cut on her foot and a grazed elbow from overenthusiastic rock hopping.

We adjourned to the park across on the other side of the spit where there's an enclosed waterway and the water is very calm. We ate a picnic of peanut butter sandwiches, crisps and brunch bars with some fruit, then the ladies went for a little swim. Eloise made friends with some other kids there. It was a nice day out.

We were quite tired when we got back and couldn't really be bothered to cook so Nicole did the unthinkable and went and bought a microwave lasagne. While she was out E and I went for a little walk to the park and played on the swings a little.

Mar 9, 2007

Six Months

City from Mount Gravatt Little Miss Lazybones! I had been up for an hour, done the washing up, watched some telly and time was ticking by for Nursery, so at nine o'clock I sat outside Eloise's bedroom door whistling the theme tune for Peppa Pig (I swap "Eloise" for "Peppa Pig" - shut up).

Smiles and giggles and toast and milk and suncream and tooth-brushing and dressing later, we were on our way, armed with a family snapshot and a few light-hearted words about us. The Nursery had left a note asking us to provide these for a family scrapbook they are putting together. A certain Miss Julie Seldon had assumed that the note was a nag, so there was a certain amount of pressure brought to bear from certain quarters to complete this little taskette.

Onward from the Nursery to the usual Friday haunt up at Mount Coot-tha but again we chose a different walk to go on, which involved exploring a path which led down from the Rangeview picnic area, nestled between the TV stations up there. It was very very steep and didn't really lead anywhere. With all the climbing back up it took an hour and a half, and given the heat, it was sweaty and tiring. The dogs had a good walk anyway.

Back at base, I surfed a while in researching more for camera lenses, and decided to bite the bullet after the disastrous shopping trip the other day and go to a proper shop. The shop in question is on Brisbane's south side and I set off, confident that I knew the way.

Four wrong turns later, three times over the river, one trip up the Riverside Expressway in the wrong direction, and one painful crawl through a major building project in the City Centre, I arrived and - deep joy - they had the lens I wanted which allows me now to zoom to a focal length of 135mm with image stabilisation. Wahey!

I decided to try out the lens up a nearby lookout with views to the City. Unfortunately I had left the Refidex at home when planning the route to the shop :(

So by a process of trial and error, and there was plenty of error, I got up to the lookout. It was a bit disappointing as the city was really quite a long way off, but hey presto! with a telephoto zoom lens suddenly it's very much closer! Wahey!

Nicole finished work around three so we met up for coffee. It's our six-month anniversary of being here today and so, coupled with the fact that I'd forgotten to have any lunch we celebrating by throwing fiscal caution to the wind. Nicole had a glass of wine and a cake, and I had a latté, bruschetta and cake. We'll be paying that one back for weeks.

I picked up Eloise from the Nursery. When I got there she didn't notice me. She was absorbed in playing with four or five other kids on a climbing frame. I watched her for a little while, watching quietly the climbing that was going on and then tentatively imitating it. Though she wasn't really communicating with the other children through words, she gently touched them, and stole their hats.

A note was written on the signing-out book congratulating us on being the first to submut our family scrapbook contribution. Eat that, Seldon.

We topped off our shameless profligacy by having a takeaway pizza for supper from Tomato Brothers.

Park Life

Flower Not much going on yesterday. Didn't get round to buying a potty, did get round to signing up for music lessons.

Went at the beach with Squeaky and the dogs. Went walking to Lanham Park with Squeaky. Saw a nice flower. Met up with Nicole at the park. Played on the swings.

We reminisced over the dogs', actually Tiny's behaviour last night. We got an early night (steady on) as Nicole is very tired from being on earlies all week. Tiny scratched every half hour from midnight until 1.30am, until she was shouted at.

Neither of us got very much sleep.

Last night, shouting was the first resort, and the scratching only happened once.

Mar 7, 2007

Shall We Go Out Then

Attempted Carjack The response to "Shall we go out then?" was a rapid stomp to the car, then determined but unsuccessful attempts to open the door whilst shouting "Walk! Walk!"

Today was miserable with intermittent rain. We biked down at the brook for an hour or so and had an unsuccessful trip to the Shopping Centre to look at potties and camera lenses.

Mar 6, 2007

Sing! Sing!

Eloise at the Window Nicole is feeling a bit rough today. Actually I am too. We are fighting of a cold, so sore throats, headaches and so on are prevalent.

To give Nicole a lie-in and a rest I took Eloise and the dogs out to Samford Forest. We stomped around - well I stomped around with Squeaky in the backpack and the dogs trailed on behind up hill and down hill through the vales.

We sang songs... well I sang songs; Eloise's contribution was to shout "Sing! Sing!" as each song finished. We ran the gamut from children's classics such as "Old McDonald" and "Row Your Boat" through to eccentric 70s and 80s rock such as "Wuthering Heights" and "Games Without Frontiers." Very jolly. We saw some other people there walking their dogs, which was a relief, but called for temporary reductions in volume.

After a nap we went swimming. Eloise got a promotion! She now wears a float on her back which keeps her legs in the air to facilitate more effective kick-kick-kicking. She made lots of progress and can now pull herself out of the pool and duck underneath the water to pick up objects. Valerie the teacher was very pleased at our progress. I was a proud Dad.

We went to Coles (a supermarket) on the way home, and had to go up and down the Travelator eight, yes eight times before Eloise was satisfied.

I have bibbled and yammered all day no matter the location. People have been looking at me strangely. I think I may be going mad.

Supper was stir-fried marinated tofu and vegetables. Eloise threw most of hers to the dogs, sending me defiant expressions with each perpetration. Her supper was cut short.

Mar 5, 2007

Jungle Tots

Vine Swinging I took Eloise along to a music group this morning, going by the name of Jungle Tots.

There was a lot of Good Verbing going on, and a considerable amount of squeaking. Eloise enjoyed it a lot.

Most of the songs revolved around fish and turtles and the like. Not what I call Jungle. I was expected sub-bass riffs and breakbeats. I commented on this to Tina the Teacher and she looked at me slightly strangely.

On balance, I have had more entertaining times in my life, but I think that Eloise enjoyed it a lot so I will probably sign up for the rest of the term and see how we go.

There was a lady there who I had met before at the playground, so at least there was a friendly face.

Eloise absolutely refused to go down for a nap today so instead we drew pictures with her new crayons (fish today) and jumped around to loud music, which was nice.

Then we cycled up to the bakery to get, well, bread, and stopped off at the playground on the way back, where Eloise ordered me around like a dog. "Come Here!" - foot stamps - "Now!"

After Nicole got back from work we walked the dogs at the Brook. Jungle Tots lady was at the duck pond. She must be following me around.

The Last Homework

See the Light Our homework for the photography course this week was to take some pictures of an object we photograph often using lighting arranged at different angles.

Here, then, is a photograph of an object I photograph regularly.

It was the last session of the course today, and I have enjoyed it a lot. I've met some nice people, and it's nice to talk to people who are enthusiastic at something I'm into as well. The tutor, another Nicole, is organising more field trips, so hopefully this will become a regular thing. I would enjoy that.

Morans Falls

Morans Gorge We got back from the Treetops walk around 4.30 and, after some nappy changing, decided to chance our arms on a walk down to Moran's Falls before the light failed.

We got into the car and set off down the road looking for the car park on the map. We hadn't seen it on the way up, but we thought if we didn't find it we'd just head home and there'd be no harm done.

Find it we did, though, and the prospect of a 4.4km round trip didn't ring any alarm bells with two hours to go before sunset. So we set off down the path, and disappeared again pretty rapidly into the rain forest, a shadowy world populated by enormous trees and ferns and the strange sounds of insects and whipbords overhead.

The path made its way tightly down a steep hill and, as we neared the final section, ran along the edge of an apparent cliff. The sounds of rushing water began to filter through the forest. Soon we came to a constructed platform, from which we could see across an expansive valley with cliffs on either side. At the top of the valley a waterfall dropped a mist into the forest blanketing the valley beneath. You can see a photo in this post.

We saw and heard some people sitting next to the waterfalling coo-ee-ing. And surmised that the path led down to the waterfall itself. Following the path down, we came to a stream and following that up came to a clearing which gave a fantastic view of the valley with the sun shining up it.

We hung around there for a while taking in the views until we realised that it was six o'clock and - oh look - the sun's getting a little low in the sky!

So we hot footed it back up the path with Eloise in the rucksack on my back and sat a pretty punishing pace on the steep climb. We made it back to the car in twenty minutes, and split pretty quickly, probably with a swarm of mozzies chasing us!

The drive back was spooky to say the least as, with only our headlights to guide us, and just the reflectors on the road side to guide us, we plummeted through the dense forest, then down the tightly winding road back to snivilisation.

We thought we'd order a pizza on the way back. But the buggers were closed. So pasta and pesto cooked by Nicole while I cycled up to the 7-11 to get milk.

No wonder I was knackered.


Lamington NP Treetops It looked as though it would be beltingly hot yesterday, so we thought why don't we get up into the mountains where it will be nice and cool. I've been wanted to go up to Lamington National Park for a while, so we thought why don't we do that; but the dogs would need to stay at home because they aren't allowed up there.

So we embarked on our little journey down to the border with New South Wales. Five minutes down the road we thought it would be nice to bring along the Explore Queensland book I got for Nicole, so we turned around and got that.

So we embarked on our little journey down to the border with New South Wales. Ten minutes down the road I realised that I'd forgotten to pack the baby rucksack, which would be an essential if we ever expected to make it more than a few hundred metres from the car in the few hours we had available to us. So we turned around and got that.

So we embarked on our little journey down to the border with New South Wales. Third time lucky, we managed to actually get outside the Brisbane City Limits, onto the Pacific Highway, onto Route 95 to Tamborine, onto Route 90 to Canunga. We missed the turning for O'Reilly's so we turned around and got that.

This road wound up into the mountains and the views up the valley were pretty spectacular. It ran over cattle grids, ran round blind corners and hairpin bends, came down to single tracks, all with a precipice to the left hand side, open air between us and the forested slopes beneath. "Pretty pretty pretty!" sang Eloise from the back seat.

The forest thickened around us us we climbed onto the plateau. It was like driving along a thin corridor through the dense forested wilderness around us. Eventually we arrived at O'Reilly's, an oasis of tourist tat in the middle of all this.

We ate a picnic there and Eloise attempted to feed some birds - bush turkeys and colourful budgie-like things - but mostly succeeded in scaring her off with her protean subtlety.

We headed off for a walk and made miserable progress through the cool rainforest along a boardwalk. Passersby cooed at Eloise who was her usual charming self, tree hugging and rock knocking, investigating the forest over the edge of the boardwalk, perhaps interested in the private life of leeches?

Eventually we arrived at the treetop walk where the boardwalk rises up into the forest canopy on suspended walkways. Ladders led further up into a tree where platforms gave views over the top of the forest over the plateau and mountains. Spectacular views.

Back at the O'Reilly's guesthouse cafe complex, we had a look at a sculpture of the eponymous O'Reilly who it turns out had, in 1937, rescued the survivors of an airplane crash in the rainforest wilderness.

World Heritage Sunday

Morans Gorge, Afternoon We went to Lamington National Park, a World Heritage site 2 hours drive South of Brisbane, close to the border with New South Wales.

We're exhausted... I will write about it tomorrow.

Mar 3, 2007

Family Snapshot

Us 5 You don't see this very often, a photograph of us all together that is. We have received a request from Eloise's nursery to provide a photograph and some words about ourselves for a display folder that they are doing.

So over a lunch of sandwiches this afternoon, the rigmarole of setting all this up. Needless to say we only got one shot at it; as soon as the shutter clicked Eloise got herself behind the camera and started snapping away at random things. Bless her.

Then Rose from over the road came over to borrow our outside table for her 21st birthday party, to which we went briefly before Squeaky's bedtime.

Mar 2, 2007

The Wild Side

Bush Friday again - dropped Eloise off at Nursery at 9am or so. Squeaky inexplicably upset to see me go, and was bawling her eyes out as she left, which is always a little upsetting.

Across the ValleyI drove up to Mount Coot-tha with the dogs and we stopped in the usual place, but set off in a different direction, which we've been up before but had to abandon because of time constraints. There's a transmitter mast up there which towers over the forest, and I had a look around there taking snapshots.

The paths are steep around there, and the heat was building already. It felt like it was going to be a swelter of a day. The dogs were panting away before we'd covered half a kilometre.

The transmitter is at the top of a mountain (that's Oz-speak for big hill rather than an Alpine peak) and the path we followed led down the other side into a deep valley lined with thick, dense eucalypts forming an almost sclerophyllic forest (that being one where the crowns of trees form a continuous canopy). The thickness of the canopy gave a pleasant dappled shade with took the worst out of the strength of the sun, which was a blessing as I was breaking a sweat climbing down the winding path of staircase rocks, mindful that I would have to climb up them all again on the way back.

At the bottom of the valley was an almost dried out lake which the dogs jumped into eagerly and drank from hungrily. Waterlily pads floated around the edges of what would have been a central island were there enough water to make it so.

It was a heads-or-tails choice as to whether to climb up the other side of the valley but the dogs were keen so up we went, following signs to a track called the Kundun Circuit (I think). The track was even steeper on the side, but once it found its level, it led around the hill/mountain and through the trees were nice views across to the city. It's a little displacing to be wandering around in the wilds with the sounds of the bush all around then remember that a major city is just below you.

After a while the circuit led back to the little lake and we started the heavy-duty climb back to the car. By the time we got back, I was sweating buckets and the dogs just laid down by the side of the car with a "No more walking, just give us some water" look on their faces.

Mar 1, 2007

Eloise Gavin, Body Artist

Body Artist Eloise is getting quite into her creative arts these days.

She draws mostly scribbles which I'm sure are supposed to represent something; I'm trying to teach her to draw trees as a good, familiar yet simple starting shape.

She paints magnificent turbulent chunders of colour with glitter paint.

She does not limit herself to paper. Anything will do. Walls (washable media in use I assure you, and this is discouraged), tables (likewise), herself, and other people.

Nicole doesn't especially like being one of her canvases, especially when she is due at work, but the heiroglyphics add a certain je ne sais quoi and how anyone who has a pierced belly button can complain about outlandish body adornment, even in biro, is beyond me.

Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent When I was packing to go to the beach this morning I had a brainwave. Eucalyptus insect repellent clearly ineffective at Rainbow Beach... Eloise still covered head to toe in bites which she can't help scratching even a week later... Nudgee Beach yesterday mosquito-tastic after rain... and rain last night...

I had bought some alternate insect repellent a while ago and suddenly remembered where it was, so I sneaked into the bedroom where Nicole was asleep after her night shift.

Eloise spent the entire time we were on the beach paddling around in the shallow, screwing and unscrewing the top of the roll-on bottle and smearing it on her armpits.

No mosquito bites.