Dec 30, 2007

Sunny Ipswich

rythym Now the thing with this blog thing is that I tend to do it early evening sometimes, in front of the telly so I don't have to concentrate too hard.

With the temporary demise of my computer (the lights aren't on and nobody's home) I am having to resort to Ric and Cate's box of tricks, which is nowhere near the telly. And somehow it just isn't the same as using my lovely laptop.

Oh, and Eloise seems determined never to sleep anymore, having discovered how to switch on electrical appliances (christmas lights in this case) and amuse herself in her bedroom (by reading books and creating chaos) when she should be sleeping.

So between fatigue and reluctance I've not been much good lately have I?

Anyway notwithstanding all that, I will now attempt to recall what has been going on since X Day.

And to be honest it isn't much. The weather has been, how you say, drab, warm but wet and recently windy. Although on the day after Boxing Day Nicole had a day off and thought we'd go off to Sunny Ipswich and visit the railway museum there, as they are doing a Thomas the Tank Engine spectacular at the moment.

So we were treated to the amazing sight of some trains with dodgy grey faces hung off the front of them, deep joy! And having Thomas stories read to us by a pretend Fat Controller who was just that little bit too human to be believable, and seemed to be a Geordie to boot.

For a child I expect it was a tremendous hoot as there were lots of trainsets to play with, which Eloise took enormous care, attention, and time to play with.

And as a museum it wasn't too bad, I suppose, but I just can't help but try to measure it up against the Railway Museum at York. And I was probably only about eight when we went there, so my impressions of that Hallowed Museum of Railway Joy are a trifle skewed. Maybe.

Anyway our drive through Ipswich revealed as we crossed over the David Trumpy Bridge (no, really) that there's a very picturesque looking gorge running through it with a river at the bottom. Looked very nice.

Other than that we've been down to the brook a lot and been to lots of nice playgrounds when the weather permitted.

And listened to the bleeding Justine Clarke CD about a hundred times.

And played the xylophone, sorry glockenspiel, sorry Glock interminable.

And the dolls, yes the dolls. And the books. Musn't forget them.

So you can see that all the Christmas presents have received a very warm reception and are being used, and amazingly none has been broken yet.

But there's still time. Especially for the talking baby.

Dec 25, 2007


Opening Here they are, opening presents, and appreciating deeply each one I am sure.

Quite a cool day, I'm beginning to think these 40 degree Christmases are a bit of a myth.

Eloise slept in til 9 o'clock, but then the combination of roast dinner, Coke, cream and sweeties coupled with a small present-opening last night raised the excitement level to the point where she didn't get to sleep last night until about eleven.

We went to the Brook and had a little barbie while the dogs wandered around, then Nicole went work, whereupon her Ladyship was sent to bed, and I fell asleep on the sofa in front of the Grinch, which was unfortunately the best thing on telly.

Val came round about 4 o'clock and we had a cup of coffee then Eloise had to see the guinea pigs and I whisked her off to the playground before coming back to a lovely Christmas repast of reheated sausages and bean salad. Well we weren't really hungry anyway.

Happy Christmas.

Dec 21, 2007

Royal Rowing

Manumission Later in the day, blithely ignoring the weather forecast, we headed out to the Royal National Park for a spot of rowing action on the Hacking River.

The river was calm and slow moving, flanked by forested rocky escarpments and cliffs and was very beautiful underneath the disappointingly chilly grey sky. By chilly I mean of course that it wasn't sunny, though still shorts weather obviously.

I was first up and rowed for literally miles, well maybe a mile, or less before Nicole took over.

I only rowed us into the bank once but let's face it, Nicole Julie and Eloise were the ones facing forwards and weren't really focusing their fuill attentions on navigating until it was too late.

We stopped at a large rock by the side of the river for lunch. And then it started raining, at which point Gary the Powerhouse took over and we sped back, resting briefly beneath an overhanging cliff for shelter.

Then we went somewhere or other for coffee, and I fell asleep in the car with Eloise.

In the evening we watched videos.

And the next day we flew back home again to where the weather is warm and the sun shines, rested after our lovely little break. I can only hope that we didn't wear poor Julie out too much as she took Monday morning off having only had a couple of hours sleep for the previous couple of nights and was utterly knackered.

5.30am Aargh!

100 Aargh! I woke up mind-buggeringly early on Sunday morning, and lay awake for a while before thinking that this was actually a bit of a waste of time and that I could maybe go for walk, get lost, find a railway station, go to the Opera House and the Harbour, get lost again, find another railway station, get back home and climb back into bed jus as everyone else woke up and pretend that nothing had really happened.

It would be a little like Little Britain except I'm not wheelchair bound.

Unfortunately, I did get maybe a little lost, though not very, but started to have doubts firstly when a couldn't remember having closed the bedroom door and had awful visions of what Eloise might accomplish with a goldfish were she to awaken and be unsupervised, and secondly when all the walking I was doing began to encourage gastro-intestinal movement, then distress.

So I legged it back to find that I had indeed left the bedroom door open although all were stil blissfully asleep.

So I settled down in front of the television, and spent the next hour trying to work out how to work it.


Trumpety Trump Ho Hum. The computer is shafted. Though I and the technician who I was on the phone with assisting me with my LCD Inverter surgery agree that it couldn't have been anything I did. Still a bit of a coincidence eh? So in the New Year it'll be sent off to Adelaide to see if someone who allegedly knows what he (or she) is doing can sort it out.

Never mind.

So anyway, yeah, Sydney was good fun, Paul gave us a lift to the airport and though Eloise I don't think really got her head round the whole high-altitude flight concept thoughtscape, she didn't find it remotely frightening, but then she had loads of sweeties, so why on earth would she?

We had a nice barbie on Friday night though the low temperatures of the southern climes had Nicole shivering. It might have been the two hours sleep she'd had in the last twenty four, what do you think?

On Saturday we went to Taronga Zoo, where Gary as one of Sydney's socialite movers and shakers (ahem) had got us some free tickets. Cool hey?

As you'd expect in a zoo there was lots of animals but not that many humans,as it happens, which was nice. The giraffes conveniently munched from their munch brazier basket thing in front of the Coat Hanger (that'd be the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and the elephants obligingly went for a swim in their plunge pool for us. And shat in it. Lovely.

Other than that we marvelled at the duck-billed platypus - did you know that in the DBP genome their are five X chromosomes and 5 Y chromosomes? Imagine.

And we saw a lot of lizards, and snakes, and kangaroos and lions and tigers and bears.

We all had a nice time, and that Julie, she's got stamina, for a pregnant bird.

Dec 18, 2007

The Information Age

Well we're back from Sydney and it was fun...

But my computer is broken and undergoing unprofessional surgery, by me, which may actually make it worse, and so we're a tad incommunicado at the moment... unless you know our phone number.

Dec 12, 2007

Wet Warm Humid

Sun Sets Behind Grey Skies The temperature has been building a bit this week, getting into the thirties a couple of days, and it's been raining pretty regularly. This makes for a bit of humidity, which, whilst not actually uncomfortable, has led to a little sweating and some complaints from the locals.

Eloise has unilaterally moved into her big bed, which is nice. She has used this as a basis for exploration, and has worked out how to switch on her fairy lights (non-Christmas). She has a toy-bin which she is using as a bedside table to put jewelery and watches on.

Schools are getting towards breaking up and the classes we go to had their final week this week. At music yesterday there was a little party afterwards and in conversation I foolishly mentioned that Eloise had slept in til 9.

This morning Eloise woke up at 4.30am. And didn't go back to sleep. I had her in with me - Nicole is on nights - and tried to get her to go to sleep again. And to be fair she was lying quite quietly, but unmistakeably awake.

Around 6 o'clock it must have been, I was just steeling myself to get up and face the world as it was getting quite light. The next thing I knew it was seven o'clock and Eloise was out of bed. And Nicole's make-up drawer was open.

The floor was covered with some sort if skin-coloured stuff, Eloise was covered in some sort of red stuff. I found a bottle of makeup in the washing machine. So she'd been busy...

She fell asleep for five minutes in the car on the way to swimming and consequently wasn't really in top for it. Hmmmm.

Dec 9, 2007

Carols on South Bank

The Arbour on Brisbane's South Bank Nicole had spotted that there was a Carols concert on at the South Bank and they were showing off their decorated fig tree.

That'll be nice, we thought, and Eloise would probably appreciate it.

So off we set after we got back from the beach, to find ourselves suddenly embroiled in deeply stationary traffic.

It should have taken us twenty minutes on the outside to get there; it took an hour. And then there were no parking spaces.

So we had to park a little way away and, Eloise having developed a proclivity for diving headlong into flower beds, it took a little while longer to get to the Suncorp Plaza where the concert was.

Still we assumed our seats in time for the final song, got out our sandwiches and listened to the Police Commissioner gushing about how well everything had gone.

Then the youth orchestra piped up into a Bing Crosby number. Bum a bum bum.

Eloise then got up and legged it down and forced young girls to dance with her.

And froze in astonishment and fright as the bagpipes began a ruthless sonic onslaught.

Later, we found the legendary fig tree, standing alone with no-one adulating at it. Probably because the decorations on it were a bit rubbish.

Dec 8, 2007

Nothing Much Doing

Pacific 101 We were feeling a bit lazy today.

Nicole did some housework. I did some housework. The dogs stalked around in a "for god's sake give us a walk" kind of way. We thought about going to the beach. We checked the tides. We fiddled around. We thought we'd have lunch. We had lunch. We put Eloise to bed. "Beach?" she said. "Later" we said.

And later on we did indeed go to the beach. And Eloise jumped in and got all her clothes wet, then looked miserable for a while.

She perked up though when she took all her clothes off then jumped into the water again, and started swimming/crawling around in the lovely warm water.

Christmas Party

Meet Monty We had the Nursery Christmas Party yesterday.

Which was reasonable entertaining... Eloise and I danced - I semi-Cossack style - to a Belgian Newbeat Techno version of Jingle Bells. Which pretty much sums up the musical ambience of the affair.

There was a children's entertainer (well he entertained the children anyway) called Johnny the Jester. Eloise wasn't really remotely interested until he produced a dove, when she became quite interested. Then he produced some snakes.

She became very interested indeed.

Dec 7, 2007

Obligatory Riverside Barbecue

Holman Street As you can the view is quite nice from our little barbecue spot by the Ferry Stop at Kangaroo Point down by Brisbane River.

You can almost hear Eloise's giggles of delight as she is twirled to within an inch of her centripetal tolerance over the static hiss of traffic across the river and bridge and the gentle slap of the water against the shore.

Can't you.

Gone in a Flash

Use the Force Mum's last day was last Friday, during which we went for a walk at Bunyaville Forest, got lost, and found ourselves again.

We went down to Paddington and ate lunch and drank coffee at a café cum flower shop then went to a bookshop, where a Winnie the Pooh book was purchased.

We had realised that the poor old dear hadn't experienced the obligatory river-side barbie underneath the Story Bridge, so that's what we did in the afternoon stroke evening after picking up Eloise from the Nursery. Nicole produced her usual fantastic tofu kebabs and chicken kebabs with various ready-made salads and so on. We ate hungrily as the sun set over the city.

Her flight wasn't until around midnight so Eloise was read W the P and after a while the waiting just became too much and I took her to the airport where we sat down to coffee in a gallery overlooking a duty free shopping centre of all things.

So it was with a twinge of emotion that I pumped up the car stereo to 5 and high-tailed it home with ABC local radio blaring.

Since then it's been another crashing return to normality, so nothing much really to report. Tiny's leg is healing up acceptably, though it still looks pretty ugly. She's been on light duties all week really but is starting to regain some enthusiasm.

Eloise's catchphrases for the week have been "I Think Not" and "You're Making Me Cry" interspersed with "Where's Granny" and "I Want a Jelly Baby."

Dec 3, 2007

Number twos

We went off to Dickie Beach at Caloundra today. Eloise was a little wary of the surf and on our way back to the car we passed a salt water river and took a dip. We were bobbing about as happy as larries when Eloise pointed to something floating past us and asked what is was. I said I didn't know and she informed me it was a poo! Five minutes later a group of about 20 school kids got in with their surf boards lucky there was a current and it had floated away under the bridge by then.

Later in the bath she was making splendid efforts at recreating a jacuzzi. I ran to get the potty from the livingroom and we had a major success. Eloise has been complaining of a tummy ache since yesterday evening and I can see why now. After much delight, praise and coloured stars she managed to talk Neil into a jelly baby aswell. Now if that doesn't re-inforce good behaviour I am not too sure what will.

Dec 2, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mum

Ocean View Winery On Thursday 29th November is was my Dear Mother's birthday.

Of course I hadn't got her a present, but then she acknowledged that she's impossible to buy for and generally people just buy her food.

So after a walk at the creek and a very easy taking down of the tents and packing, we stopped off on the way home just past Mount Mee at the Ocean View Winery.

Where a fine meal was consumed by all, al fresco as it were, with the dogs beneath our feet. One of whom was bleeding profusely, but we'll come back to that.

Regular trips were taken down to the vineyards, a mere thirty metres or so from where we were sat, to have twirls or to spot the wallaby -sorry, wobbly - that was hopping around in there.

Occasionally we visited the toilet to perform and performance was undertaken flawlessly.

Now back to the bleeding dog. As I said we went for a quick jaunt down at the creek in the morning. The dogs were quite exciteable and Matilda got herself into a fenced off area and obviously caught a whiff of something as she let out a clarion whoop to which, needless to say, Tiny responded enthusiastically.

So enthusiastically in fact that even though she's an old lady she cleared a four-foot barbed wire fence in one of those "Oh Shit" moments that sometimes happen.

They didn't come back for a quarter of an hour or so, then Tiny trotted back with a cut eye and a gaping wound on her inside front leg.

The thing about dog skin is that it's pretty elastic so if it gets cut, by barbed wire for instance, it springs apart, leaving the flesh underneath exposed.

In her younger days we would have - and did - whisk her off to a vet to get the wound stitched but that would mean general anaesthetic, which is a bit of a risk to take for something essentially cosmetic.

But she won't stopped licking the damned thing...

Anyway, erm, Happy Birthday Mum...


Wallaby Waterhole I think I might have got mixed up with my days because I think that on Wednesday, after our little creek escapade, we went on a drive up to Maleny. Squeaky fell asleep in the car so we proceeded further up to Montville which was rather nice in a touristy kind of way, with chocolate-box houses and the like. We drove through and stopped off at the Mapleton Falls National Park where we walked fifty yards to a lookout overhanging a 120-metre drop over which a rather paltry waterfall fell.

Still it would have been magnificent if it had been in full flow I should think.

We stopped off at Montville on the way back after Eloise had woken up and partook of a walk and then coffee and fruit smoothies etc. Very nice is was too.

And all that means that Kilcoy must have been on Tuesday and Woodford on Monday. Honestly my mind is like a sieve.

Dec 1, 2007

Neurum Creek

Neurum Creek We went for a walk along the creek the next morning, which was beautiful. The dogs rooted around and explored while we made our way along the edges of the creek looking for creepy crawlies and interesting things.

I climbed over the rocks on a little waterfall and scraped my leg when a rock displaced itself.

In the afternoon we went to Kilcoy to get provisions and have some supper. I ordereded two eggs and chips. Two plates of egg and chips turned up. The misunderstanding developed further and soon two more eggs turned up. We quit while we were ahead.

View From Mount Archer

View From Mount Archer

Nicole: "The Most Difficult Walk I've Ever Done"

Grey Man So we looked at the map (not to scale) that we'd be given and thought we'd try a track that took us up to a place called Split Rock.

"Entrance to Twin Gorges" the map said. "Experienced Bushwalkers Only Past This Point" it warned ominously. "Yeah Right" I thought. I'm sure Nicole did too. Maybe I should ask her.

It took us a while to find the entrance to the track during which time the dogs legged it whooping with delight - or bloodlust - chasing after some unknown prey. When they returned we found our track leading up the bed of a creek.

The creek led up towards the mountain with a rocky bed surrounded by thick forest.

Soon the rocky bed began to climb steeply and we found ourselves scrambling, then rock climbing as we made our way up. The way was marked by ribbons tied around the occasional tree trunk or hanging from the odd branch and on several occasions we almost pronounced ourselves lost as we couldn't see the next one.

After a couple of hours of climbing up waterfalls (well they would have been if it had rained, as it was they were trickles) and directing the dogs up routes they could actually manage, we made it to the top to be hailed by views stretching many miles. And a dilemma, because we were on a crossroads of four tracks, and the map only showed three.

So we took an educated guess as to which was the way down and took it, correctly as it turned out.

Later we drove up to Woodford and stocked up on provisions, had some coffee, and brought back a distinctly average Chinese.