Apr 30, 2007

More Rainforest Fun

At the Feet of the Rainforest A bit of a panic this morning; we were due at Music for 9.45am and didn't wake up until 9.15am. Nicole has the week off, and Eloise the Alarm Clock seems to be taking this into account.

So Nicole was bundled off to music with urchin, and I walked the dogs down at the brook so we could do something in the afternoon.

I got back home to find that Nicole has only bought the racously expensive companion CD to the music course. Curse her. Now I have to put up with another variant of "Row Your Boat" on the stereo, unless somehow something were to happen to it....

In the afternoon we went up to Mount Mee, a place which was new to all of us at the North end of the D'Aguilar Mountains.

There was a very nice picnic area there with an enormous Gantry left from timber logging days. The kookaburras were a bit keen though. They sat in trees looking down on us, our sandwiches and our crisps, hungrily, but patient... so patient....

Then we went on a little circuit walk through the rainforest, which, my birthday book reliably informs me, is a drier kind of rainforest than that wot we went to yesterday. And indeed the gum trees were more prevalent, letting more light through to the piccabeen palms below. See, I almost sound like I know wot I is typin about.

We spent a couple of hours doing that, and very nice it was too, before driving down to a different car park and going to a lookout over Bulls Falls and the Neerum Creek valley, which was only a little walk, thankfully, because needless to say there was precious little falling going on. We did see some pademelons on the way down. They are little kangaroos, as no doubt you already know.

We got back for about six o'clock, picking up some clothes for Eloise from a workmate of Nicole's who doesn't need them any more. For her daughter that is.

Apr 29, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

The Roots Spread Wide, Like Fingers The alarm clock went off at eight this morning... oh, except it was the telephone... I grunted, half-aware (actually that's a bit ambitious) through what can't really be called a conversation with Dad and received his birthday greeting with a groan. Sorry...

The house was then awake and we went about my present opening. Yippee. From Nicole, some cookies, some coffee, some chocolate, a hat, and a great book about wild places to visit around Brisbane. The coffee woke me up.

A leasurely dog-ride down the brook ended with Matilda on the lead after ignoring SWMBO one too many times, then a shower and off to the rainforest at Mt Glorious, one of my favourite places, for a little walk round a 2km circuit diving down into a sub-tropical forest glade. The sunshine was very warm as we got out of the car, and the temperature dropped radically as we entered the gloomy rainforest.

I love rainforests. They are so very old. They are apparently relics of what life was like back when the continent was part of Gondwana. Made me feel quite young. On my birthday. A good thing.

We then toddled up the road a little way to a little café we'd spotted last time we drove through on the way back from Lake Somerset and quite liked the look of.

We ordered cream teas only to be told that they were short staffed and cream teas were far too time-consuming. There were two ladies serving, the rest of their little posse at Olley's Rainforest Honeypot Retreat had gone into Brisbane for a flower show. We heard them arguing out back about whether cream teas were on the menu or not. We couldn't really work out what the panic was as there were only four other customers there.

We settled for sandwiches (vegetarian for me, toasted ham cheese and tomato for Nicole) and coffees, which were very nice and a babychino for Eloise. The babychino, as the name suggests, is a sort of cappucino with no coffee in it, just foamed milk. The ladies there didn't know that (though it was on the menu), couldn't decide whether it was hot chocolate or coffee that went in, thought they'd seen us with a baby, so to be on the safe side made it with coffee, which was nice for me. The food was very nice actually and we finished off with pancakes with honey, butter and cream.

The café was in the rainforest as well, with plants poking up through the decking. It was quite cold. We broke out our hoodies.

For supper we had leftover soup, then bathed Eloise in the sink. She has lost the plug for the shower, and we can't find one anywhere that fits. Although we have actually only looked in Bunnings (B&Q to you).

We spoke to James. I'm expecting his present in the post. I may be waiting quite some time.

Apr 28, 2007

The Relentless March of Time

Enough Rope I hates birthdays. I bloody hates them. Why anybody would want to celebrate another year less of life is totally beyond me.

In years gone by when life could be snatched away at any moment, or in a life where the consumption of alcohol at any opportunity were an appealing prospect, perhaps I might feel differently. And to all you who say "Cheer up you miserable sod" I say "On your bike."

Even the world agrees with me. Gone is the sunshine and the beautiful warm weather, replaced by a dull overcast and temperatures which might almost persuade me to put on a pair of long trousers. But does it offer parched Australia the compensation of a little rain? Nah.

I will do my best to be dignified in my non-acknowledgement of my birthday. Nicole is out shopping for me. She is so kind. I expect we will do something nice. I will try to be well-behaved. But my track record on birthdays isn't good.

Still for any of you who feel the need to celebrate on my behalf, feel free. Have a pint for me, or a gin and tonic, if you like. You're more than welcome.

We went to the beach today. Nicole (who is feeling much better after her recent illness) and Eloise went behind the mangroves to see a horse and got burrs and thorns in their feet.

Apr 26, 2007

Funny Little Trees

Xanthorrhoea in the Valley I saw these funny little trees when I was walking up at Samford Forest the other day, then again this morning, when I went exploring.

Their proper name is Xanthorrhoea, which is quite difficult to spell, like diarrhoea, which is topical. Easier to spell, though much less politically correct, is Black Boy, which is apparently an Aboriginal name for them.

They are extremely hardy, according to my sources, capable of withstanding bushfires - in fact positively encouraged by them - and of living for up to 600 years.


Sea Warm as a Bath Over the past couple of days Mick the Sparky has been in doing mysterious things to the fuse box. We now have a shiny box with trip switches, all the mod cons.

We were a little worried when the trip switch kept tripping after he left today, and it turned out that the fridge was causing it... but he came back and fixed the problem and now all seems to be well.

Nicole hasn't been well over the last couple of days. She had a funny turn of the tum yesterday and came over all unwell, so she took the night off work. Seems that a couple of others on the ward have the same thing, it looks like they caught it off a patient.

So it's been a quiet couple of days. Yesterday was Anzac Day. We went to the beach to honour Australia's servicemen and women by walking the dogs. It was a beautiful day. Eloise swam in the shallow water, which was as warm as a bath.

Apr 24, 2007

Sing With Mother, Swim with Father

A World of Her Own Um... Monday, Nicole covered music as she enjoys it and I took the dogs out for walk down at the Brook. Matilda was quite well behaved outbound but there were a couple of episodes of wandering with selective hearing on the way back. I think those big flappy ears of hers make her deaf. Nicole disagrees.

This strategy was on the basis that when Nicole was at work in the afternoon we, the remaining, left behind, might be able to do something nice. As it was I was knacked and so was Squeaky. She went to sleep quite readily and I pootled round for a bit, then decided to have a lie down. Needless to say at that point Eloise woke up.

The afternoon was a blow out in the end. We went shopping and I got a new SIM card. I had to wait until today for a really cheap phone. I spent a whole $55 on it.

Today we went up to Samford Forest - it is Tuesday after all and Nicole says she's noticed that we go up there every Tuesday (not that we do) so I feel a strange need to prove her right... without a phone or a watch (which I forgot to wear) I kind of lost track of time, and we got back to the car after two and half hours. The dogs were exhausted, and so were we. Steep climbing to be done there.

So lunchtime naps were again curtailed, which is becoming a pattern, before we had to set off for swimming.

Developmental advances of note are the construction of sentences ("Cows eating grass!") which may also cover elementary conjugation of verbs, and discovery of pockets and use of them to store, for instance, dog treats. Also combing of hair, games in the mirror, ordering around of dogs and parents.

Apr 22, 2007

Two Year Olds and Rivers Don't Mix

Bench Under Fig Tree After walking the dogs at the brook this morning we had lunch (pasta and pesto with a salad dressed with mayonnaise, manuka honey, mustard seeds, and roasted cashew nuts). The RCPA phoned during cook time, annihilating the nuts. Bugger.

After Nicole left for work I put Eloise to bed, in the unlikely event that she might sleep. After an hour of non-sleep I went in and read her a couple of books and put her back down. I had to have a lie down because I was absolutely cream-crackered. This afternoon I had a photographic field trip to go on with the guys from the course I did a little while ago, and I wanted to be vaguely rested up for it.

So I went toi bed and read a book for a bit, half-listening to the noises coming from next door.

I woke up at 2.30 with 30 minutes left to my appointment... and went in to Eloise's room to discover that she had emptied her clothes drawers and moved her space-age cocoon into the middle of the room, as well as driving her pram around a lot. So that's what the noises were. Her room looked like a bomb had hit it. She had also undressed herself and I found her nappy buried somewhere amongst the carnage.

So anyway we set off about ten past three and winged it into town to try to find a parking space which I did fairly easily. The walk to the botanical gardens should have taken five minutes but actually took twenty, for all the usual reasons.

After a couple of phone calls we hunted the gardens for our fellow snappers. Eloise had her little camera with her as well. I gave Eloise my mobile phone to play with so she would sit down in the pram... that's the last I saw of that.

We tracked the posse down eventually, and snapped around for a bit, then went down to a path that runs by the side of the Brisbane River to take some happy snaps of the yachts moored there, as well as some sculptures and the Story Bridge.

I got up onto a bench to take a picture of the Story Bridge and the next thing I knew, my lovely daughter had taken it into her head to roll the pram down a little hill. Little did she appreciate that the hill ended at the edge of the river and that there are certain immutable forces of nature that would result in certain immutable consequences to her actions... or did she? Because when I turned around to the sound of rolling wheels, I saw Eloise looking up at me proudly and the pram rolling into the river.

Geoff the snapper helped me climb down into the river but some friendly people in a yacht got their inflatable out and motored across and retrieved the pram for me, and the baby changing bag. The tripod, however, is history, or very wet toast, if you prefer.

King - and Queen - of the Hill

King - and Queen - of the Hill Here we are at the top of Mount Beerburrum yesterday. I was still panting when this was taken by a fellow climber called Ossia.

Fire in the Mountains

Fire in the Mountains Nicole was on a long day today, and I vaguely registered her leaving this morning.

When Eloise woke at 7 (aargh) I soon registered that a nappy bucket had been filled to soak, so after some fiddling around and watching Rage (Aussie equivalent of the old Chart Show) I put the nappies on.

We breakfasted, or is it broke our fast on yoghourt and muesli. I thought I would leave it a while for Eloise to build up an appetite as generally she doesn't seem to feel like eating much if breakfast is rifled in straight after waking up. She gobbled it.

Around 10 we set off for the beach and sang jolly songs whilst paddling around. Eloise then took off all her clothes. The dogs wandered around, Tiny dispensing discipline to Matilda for no really apparent reason, Matilda chasing little flat fish around the mangrove roots.

Eloise has begun to distinguish between singular and plural ("dog" and "dogs," for instance) and spends car journeys busily pointing things out ("car!" "truck" "lady" "bikes") - oh the fun we have... then we have a sing song. "Row row!" she'll cry out then scream at, or near, the appropriate time (that being, to the unititiated, the verse of row row row your boat where you see a crocodile).

The past couple of days Eloise hasn't napped at lunchtime which has been quite wearing but today after a Tim Tam and some milk she went down no worries and slept for two and a half hours.

While she was asleep I resolved to do something a bit different today and though why not go up to the Glass House Mountains for a nice sunset.

So she woke up, and after lunch off we toddled. I needed to fill up the car with petrol and had the unique experience in my life of the petrol station actually running out of petrol before the car was full... which was odd.

I wanted to go to a different place to last time because Wild Horse Mountain had a long steep path to climb which was quite exhausting, though very rewarding. I thought we could go to Mount Beerburrum Lookout which I'd seen signposted when we driven down that way with Sarah a while back.

So we got there for about 4.30 and drove up a dirt track to the lookout.... oh except it was just the car park. We got out of the car to see a sign pointing to a path marked "Lookout 720m Steep Path."

Oh great.

When they thought to say Steep Path they were having a laugh. It was a killer. I'm not the fittest person in the world but I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Blimey. Although I did have Eloise in the back pack, and she does weigh a bit. Oh, and when she got bored in the back pack, I'd put her down, she'd try to take five paces up the hill then say "Carry!" and I'd have to lug her up the winding path again before "Down" and another five paces... you get the picture.

At the top of the path, three quarters of an hour later, was a steel tower with two viewing galleries which we had to climb a ladder to get to. The top one was closed, probably thankfully, as Eloise had to be set free from the backpack before she climbed out of her own accord and I had to have some way of keeping an eye on her.

But the view was marvelous, on the one side the Glass House Mountains, ahead the sun, on the other a Glass House Outrider and a bushfire sending smoke drifting up into the clouds, and the Blackall Mountains behind.

On the way down it was so steep it was all I could do not to run, so I assumed a kind of Ministry of Silly Walks foot-slapping duck walk which took us down the path very fast, with Eloise screeching in my ear or copying my grunts to disquieting effect.

As we drove off, my legs were like jelly.

Apr 21, 2007


Asterix in Australia A week ago I contacted the Brisbane College of Photography with a view to doing a year-long photography course. They are running one part-time which starts on April 27th, and were at the tail end of their interviewing process. They offered me an interview yesterday, so I went along.

I met up with their course director who was a very nice chap and we got on very well. The course sounds very intensive and excellent. I got a tour of the facilities, with studios, darkrooms, enlarging rooms and a Photoshoppery room.

He said that I came up to the standard to be admitted to the course, but that they had just filled the last place for the part-time course. There's no new intake until January.

So I need to think what to do!

Disappointed, we went to pick up Eloise then for coffee at the Kelvin Grove Urban Village. Which was nice. Or would have been, if I'd been in a better mood.

Apr 18, 2007

She's So Helpful

Taken to the Cleaners ... when doing the washing. I've tried to explain "Wet things go on the line, where they turn into dry things, then we take them off the line," but it's about as effective as "We only put things in the bin, we never take them out."

So all's well and good when the washing's going out; she takes things out of the basket and holds them up for hanging out. When the washing's coming down, though, she takes things out of the basket and holds them up for hanging out. Or just throws them on the floor. It depends how she's feeling really.

Apr 17, 2007

Monkeying Around

Eloise's new skill for today in the pool is monkeying, that being the ability to move one's self along the edge of the pool hand over hand. She's always been reluctant to do it up until now but today she was monkeying around very well.

She still causes raised eyebrows from the teacher though... when we got in the pool I left her on the side while I climbed in. She took one look and jumped straight in, no floaties, no nothing, and sank straight to the bottom! Much flailing got her most of the way up to the top and she got back to the side with a little assistance.

They all need to have this experience, Valerie the teacher says.

This morning we found a new walk at Samford Forest which leads up a valley from a different car park, then climbs up a steep hill. It was very hot and dry there. We saw a few people up there. "Isn't it dry," they said.

Apr 16, 2007


Flying Out of the Sun From 3 o'clock on Saturday til 9 o'clock this morning I was in bed with a stinking headache, joint pains, etc. etc.

I ceased to function around 1 o'clock and went downhill rapidly.

Poor Nicole had to hold the fort on her days off, though I think she might have secretly enjoyed it... a bit... apart from the washing that I forgot to take out of the washing machine... and the nappy that I left in the nappy bag in the car... sorry.... won't happen again miss....

They went to the brook on Saturday and to the beach on Sunday. I was on the mend today, but still feeling a bit wobbly, but we went to the beach again, and had a nice time.

On the way home we got some different flea stuff. They're mostly dealt with but there are pockets of stubborn resistance on Tiny's soft underbelly. Apparently the flea pupae are immune to everything so it takes two treatments to break the cycle properly. We're switching from Frontline as they have changed their formula, and the pet shop have received lots of complaints that the effectiveness is reduced. Also, becuase it's been hot and dry the fleas love it. Apparently.

As you can see Eloise rather enjoys being twirled around by her arms. It brings back memories of Mill Lane, Royston for me when I twirled Daniel round in much the same way when he was about two and I was about six. I think I went on to bang his head in a door that day. Accidentally!!

Apr 13, 2007

Absolutely Immune

Rain on my Parrrty Yesterday Eloise had her Hep-B topup jab. I covered her eyes while Nursey put the needle in and bless her, brave little Eloise didn't even shed one little tear. She got a little plaster with Snow White on it, and has been pointed proudly to it ever since saying "Lady! Leg!"

Not much went on yesterday apart from that. Nicole worked hard on the cordon sanitaire within the house and laundered all the cushions. So much for water efficiency. She was thoroughly fed up by the end of it. She laid down for a nap before going to work, and I took Eloise out to the Adventure Playground to keep things quiet for Nicole.

Needless to say Eloise wasn't really interested in the slides and climbing and walkways etc. She just wanted to go on the swings.

This morning Eloise was back at Nursery after Good Friday for which the Nursery was closed. I left her sat down to morning tea with her little chums. The plaster, miraculously, still on.

The dogs and I went for a walk at Mount Coot-tha - well it is Friday - and wandered down to Bardon Reservoir, and looked at the graffiti there, which is actually quite high-class stuff, as graffiti goes. I think I detected the influences of Manga heavily featured though.

Apr 11, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere

Lake Somerset Yesterday, April 10th, saw the introduction of Level 5 Water Restrictions in Brisbane, which I suppose indicates the level of anxiety corporate government feels about water consumption and supply.

What it means in practical terms for us is that we can only water the garden from a bucket three evenings a week. In practice we recycle washing-up water for this so we don't waste any water there anyway. It also means that we can't wash the car... unless it's at a car wash. And we can't wash the house... unless we want to paint it. Also "high water users" are to be targetted and fined. I strongly doubt that we would fall into this category with our 40-litre baths and infrequent flushing.

Decidedly not to mark the occasion, but bizarrely topically in a coincidental kind of way, we decided to go for a drive today to the Brisbane Valley where the lakes that supply Brisbane with its drinking water, Wivenhoe and Somerset, are slowly emptying.

We drove across the D'Aguilar Mountains up the Mount Glorious Tourist Drive, and stopped briefly at a the Wivenhoe Lookout, which, as its name suggests, looks out across the mountains to Lake Wivenhoe. Then down into the Valley and a right turn onto the road to Kilcoy.

The landscape on this side of the mountains was quite different. Occasionally we would coo at some cows or horses - it was clearly much more agriculturally orientated. Rolling hills covered in dry grass receded away to mountains, sparsely populated by trees alive and dead. Best described really as "beige."

Not much water. Dried up creeks. The odd little pool. Windmills standing forlorn next to them. No lakes.

We got to the top of the road and drove through Lake Somerset township, we blinked and missed it, then drove down to an area called the Spit which was clearly a spot for watersport. Yes, there was a lake there! And quite a considerable one at that. We could see across to the dam, but really it wasn't very interesting. Eloise had fallen asleep by this point so we didn't loiter. We took note of the line where the trees finished and the line where the water started, and how the latter seemed quite some way below the former.

Further up the road we stopped for a couple of minutes at the top of a hill to take the photo above.

Then we drove further East on the D'Aguilar Highway and back round the other side of the lakes to a town called Esk which our little guide book described as the "Jewel of the Brisbane Valley."

We blinked and missed it.

We lunched on peanut butter sandwiches in a little park and thought it would be rude not to go back and have a look. Our book mentioned a Historical Homestead which served Devonshire Cream Tea so we thought that would be nice. We got there to find it was closed for renovations. Pfff.

We drove back to Brisbane stopping at a couple of places for coffee on the way back. They were closed too. Pfff.

Well you've got to try everything once, haven't you.

Down by the River

Story Bridge OK, a bit of catching up, as I've been a bit busy... and tired.

Um... well after the Wetlands experience I regretted not having worn long trousers as my poor little legs have been itching like crazy with sandfly bites. Ouch.

Yesterday was brook-tastic as Nicole had the day off. We walked the dogs down the brook in the morning then decided to bike a little further up (I say a little, actually it was about another 2km) to Kalinga Park about which I had heard good things... ahem from "my hairdresser."

And when we got there there was a kiddie's playgound of the "kick-ass" variety (that being a term which can loosely be translated into Middle-English as "jolly good"). Nicole guided Eloise around the edges of this wooden edifice with climbing frames, slides of the straight and curly variety, walkways, battlements, a little rock-climbing wall, and Eloise turned her nose up at it all and wanted to play on the swing.

Later we managed to engage Squeaky's interest and some chasing around, climbing and sliding was undertaken.

Then we rode further up the bikeway to check out the potential route to Nudgee Beach by bike should hte amazing day come when we are sufficiently confident in the dogs' ability and stamina to actually attempt it.

After riding back at breakneck speed (though we only averaged a measly 20km/h) we went shopping as we got paid today. Then Nicole went to Pilates, and as part of a cunning tea-time plan, we dropped her off then went up to the water-lookout and played around up there exploring paths down the side of the hill and looking at the sunset. Then we picked up a pizza, picked up Nicole and drove into the city munching on garlic bread.

We pitched up at Kangaroo Point at a little park, and wolfed the rest of the pizza across the river from the central metropolitan area with it's imposing high-rises which shone down on us in the night, and beneath the Story Bridge which is Brisbane's signature bridge, as it were, and decked out like a sodium christmas tree.

I took some photos. None of them came out, apart from one of the bridge. I suppose, as before, that I will just have to try again.

Apr 9, 2007

Boondall Wetlands

Hoodie It was quite cool yesterday afternoon when we went to the Boondall Wetlands.

We all wore hooded tops. Oh how hilarious it was when we all put our hoods up. Eloise wouldn't let us put them down again.

They certainly went up when the Wetlands lived up to their name and it started to rain!

Apr 8, 2007


Swimming Against the Tide Yesterday felt quite autumnal. A fresh wind was blowing and it was quite cool (though the ambient temperature was still in the mid to high twenties). We cycled up the brook in the morning and noticed how even the grass down there is starting to look yellowed and dry. There hasn't been significant rain for quite a while now.

Later we went up to the Pet Superstore to check out flea treatments. Yes, the dogs have fleas. Actually they are hoaching with them... which is a mystery because they've been treated regular as clockwork with Frontline which should keep them at bay. We administered a special dose the other day but no joy... perhaps we are looking at highly evolved transgenic fleas, who knows! However we have some new stuff now - hardcore Frontline spray-on stuff.

After some food shopping we headed down to the beach. The tide was out and Nicole hasn't been to the beach for ages so I thought it would be nice. Nicole put a jumper on, prophetically.

And it was windy too! It rattled across the bay and onto the beach making the patterns in the sand and squalls on the water that you can see. It was a little chilly in the wind, belied by the clear sunny skies. As usual the jellyfish were dotted around all over the place.

We walked oout onto the sand and paddled in the pools. Eloise and I ran around and twirled, again and again until we were dizzy and staggering around like drunkards.

We called it a day at sunset as Nicole was cold and Eloise had turned blue!

After Squaeky-bedtime we administered the dog-spray and my god it's obnoxious stuff. However the fleas started falling off immediately. We'll have to keep an eye on things for a couple of days... and blitz the skirting boards - and carpet - of the house.

Apr 7, 2007

My Glamourous Assistant

The Photographer's Assistant She doesn't do a bad job, though she has a tendency to drag the lens bag on the floor by the strap, move the tripod when it's in use and take the instruction manual out and stand next to me yelling "BOOK!"

Sunset over the D'Aguilar Mountains ...and here is the sunset that we saw.

Mount Glorious

Green We went for a walk with Nicole at the brook in the morning but it was a little hurried... we had lunch early and Eloise was in bed for one.

Nicole spotted something in the newspaper about "family entertainment" up at Redcliffe for Easter, and concerning a boat festival and/or race of some description which quite sounded like fun.

Eloise woke up round 3 which was too late to go to the Redcliffe thing so we drove up through Samford to Mount Glorious and the Maiala National Park to do some rainforest walking.

Eloise did very well and kept up with the walking, us well as appreciating the big trees, she hugged them and shook them and swung from creepers and such like things.

We took a route up to an area called Cypress Grove which, you might have thought, would contain cypresses, but if there cypresses there I couldn't make them out. As far as I could see it was just very dense forest like all the rest.

Inexplicably, Eloise decided she didn't want to wear her dress any more part way round so we finished the walk with her in her nappy and shoes.

Then we drove down the road to the Westridge Outlook where we watched the sunset.

Apr 5, 2007


Tiny Nicole hasn't been feeling too good for the last couple of days so we've been taking it easy, for which read spending as much time in bed as possible, resting.

I took sprog and dogs out to Bunyaville Forest for walkies. It was quite hot and we didn't really get very far. Eloise found some nice rocks in a valley, crystalline white flecked with red, and we studied them for a while before climbing the steep slope up again. Tiny looked out for us, standing guard while we amused ourselves.

Later on we went out for coffee and supper at Wilston. It was a nice, cool yet warm evening if you know what I mean, and we sat out being part of café society while the sun went down.

Nicole and Eloise have colds coming out today (which may go some way towards explaining the pool incidient on Tuesday) so we'll take it easy again, though I fancy a little trip out to the rainforst later on maybe, but we'll see.

Apr 3, 2007

Sink^H^H^H^HSick or Swim

Flotation Device I was on the sidelines for swimming today, and Nicole was on point in the pool providing the adult support for Squeaky, who once again was in fine spirits and keen, to put it mildly, to risk life if not limb in the pursuit of aquatic pleasure.

I was advised last week that Eloise in the water is overconfident because she is always expecting to be saved. We had discussed this and the consensus was to let Eloise stuggle a bit, with the intention that she might be more inclined to actually learn to swim rather than learn to lark.

So I watched from the sidelines as she did her JITAGTTS exercise with great enthusiasm and considerable success.

The arms floats came off part way through that and still she was doing well with jumping in, turning around and going back to the side.

When it came to monkeying (that is, moving around the side hand over hand) she hasn't quite got the hang of this and doesn't enjoy it.

Then it was to the tables in the middle for some swimming to Mum, the kids take it in turns to do this.

Eloise decided to go for a swim in the meantime. Nicole followed her, and encouraged her to go to the side with increasing urgency. Eloise started chasing Nicole around, Nicole still encouraging her to the side and not letting her catch up. Eloise swam for three lengths before actually going to the side.

When the mat came out, she.... threw up on it. The pool had to be evacuated. Oh dear. She was not a happy bunny. Nicole was very upset.

We left to see Valerie the teacher heading towards the pool with a fishing net.

Music and Nature

Sun Through the Trees Monday morning and back to music school. Children behaving badly. Lots of "No" going on. Lots of running around. Eloise included.

"Must be a full moon" I said, to exasperated looks.

Nicole was in bed for the day after having worked a night. We tip-toed around with lots of "Shhh"-ing going on.

In the afternoon we went out to Samford Forest and walked around the big circuit, taking a detour to the very top of the highest hill we could find. Matilda was rooting around under logs. Eloise was making little progress... until she discovered the trick of attaching the business end of Tiny's lead onto the pocket of my shorts. Whereupon we would run away giggling and I would have to keep up. After a few metres the lead would come off and we would have to stop for the lead to be re-attached and the ritual re-started. We covered several hundred metres in the fashion.

Time was pressing though, as Nicole was to be woken at five o'clock. We had been out in the woods for two hours and needed to be back soon so into the sack went Eloise and we stomped back down the steep hill a toute vitesse singing Heigh Ho Heigh Ho. What fun!

Nicole claimed that she was just waking up when we got back at 5.30. Hmmm.....
... and it's a full moon...

Apr 1, 2007

Don't Let the Weather Get You Down

Don't Let the Weather Get You Down It's been a bit drab this weekend, with sullen grey skies, admittedly punctuated by lovely sunshine...

"What shall we do today" I said on Saturday morning.

"How about a quiet morning" said Nicole.

"OK" I said.

So we did nothing! Actually we were both tired and I went back to bed for a bit, or rather went into our bedroom to do something or other and ended up in bed...

Nicole went to work in the afternoon and I checked the timetables and took the girls up to the beach. It was windy and a bit chilly but we got a nice walk in. Eloise pointed at every jellyfish on the way and yelled "Fush." I told her not to touch, so in the spirit of testing boundaries, she sat down next to them and dropped handfuls of sand onto them.