May 29, 2008

Normalisation Begins

Urban Sunset So the Slimms they have departed.

I can't remember what we did on Sunday... it may have involved Anne buying some shoes for Eloise, an activity from which I excused myself; then a quiet afternoon tending our aching bones, which weren't actually aching too badly.

Nicole had a day with the Slimms while I was at college and Eloise at Nursery and they spent it around the house, sleeping, would you believe. Shocking.

On Tuesday, after music, we did the Airport Run and dropped them off there after the obligatory cup of coffee, a parting at which emotions didn't run as high as they might have done potentially. Still it was sad, in a way, to see them go; they were good house guests.

Then the process of normalisation began as we returned to a very quiet house, and fell asleep.

I went into the city to do an assignment, which was to photograph the changing light as the sun set behind me and I looked at the city. When I left Eloise was still asleep.

I started at 4.30 and around 4.35 a splash in the river caught me by surprise. It sounded somewhat like a stone and when I turned around Will - one of my fellow students - was waving at me from the spot he'd chosen about fifty feet above me.

We had a shouted conversation in which I berated myself for choosing to shoot from the boardwalk, which wobbled every time someone jogged or cycled by.

But I was vindicated when Will was ejected by a security guard,

I finished when darkness was complete and returned home about 7 o'clock to find that Eloise had slept until 5 and wasn't even remotely tired.

In fact it took until 10 o'clock to get her to go to sleep.

May 27, 2008

Elabana Falls

Elimbana Falls At the end of a little track off the main path was Elabana Falls.

When we got to the end of the track we could hear a promising roar from around the corner, but we had to climb over some big rocks to get to the point where we could actually see them.

But the scramble was worth it.

Of course the critical timescales for the Project Daylight had to be maintained so we didn't hang around.

Take a Hike

Gwongural Falls After a reasonably early breakfast we phoned home to see how the Gramps were getting on - waking them up in the process, at 9 o'clock no less.

And so we set off on our selected hike around the headwaters of the Albert River. We expected the 20km hike to take all day. We started out on the Border Track and made our way at a pretty good pace through rapidly thickening rainforest with the sun filtering through the canopy on our left.

After 5km or so we were starting to lose our bottle as our expected turn off to the track we were after didn't turn up, but after a while we saw the sign and started to head uphill, only after a kilometer or so to reach a barrier declaring the track closed.

We thought about it - the previos sign seemed to have said that the track was a lot longer than we thought - and decided to head back. And would you believe it we got lost at a junction we hadn't seen before, turned around and took the other track only to have the sinking feeling that that one wasn't the one we'd walked up either... and went down the first one again, sticking with it and getting back to our start point eventually, chaste with the knowledge that things don't look the same from the other direction.

We'd decided to press on to the NSW border and walked around Mount Bithongabel and up the rim. At high altitudes the most ancient remnants of the jurassic rainforests cling on, adapted to conditions when Australia was a cooler, wetter place. These Antartic Beeches are mighty things, massive trees some 2000 years old with huge convoluted roots, naturally coppiced with imperious trunks overgrown with bright green moss.

As we climbed the temperature dropped with a cool breeze spilling over the mountain, and we stopped for lunch at Wanungara Lookout with views over the NSW border to the massive volcanic crater with Mt Warning at its centre.

The Toolona Gorge was where we were now headed and we stomped off downhill again alongside a creek which collected waters as we went down, waters which gathered speed and cascaded over waterfall after waterfall. In all I think there were ten waterfalls, which is more than I would want to shake a stick at.

As time marched on, we started to worry that we might not make it back in time, and the light was starting to fail as we took in the magnificent Elabana Falls and began the climb back up.

But we made it back for about five o'clock as the sun was going down, after what we worked out based on the highly dubious distances quoted on signs to be a 25km hike, and after a cup of coffee drove down the mountain again to be back in Brisbane for 7.15 and a well deserved mashed potato concoction and a detailed breakdown of Eloise's couple of days, which I don't really feel the need to go into here, other than to say they weren't traumatic. You'll be relieved to hear.

Lamington National Park

Pat's Bluff Anne and Mick decided that they would treat us to a night off as a birthday present, and we elected to go to the Lamington National Park and stay at the O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat.

So we set off on Friday and pitched up there about two o'clock before embarking on a stroll down to a cliff face above the Albert River called Pat's Bluff, probably after some bloke called Pat.

The views were very long; about 40 miles over mountains stretching west and southwest and the weather was beautiful if chilly at the 1000m or so elevation we were at as we munched on our pre-prepared packed lunches and thermos coffee.

When we got back we went for a dip in the hot pool as the sun went down, which was reminiscent of the Roman Pools we visited in Italy one time - warm from the neck down, taters from the neck up.

Then a meal which didn't really live up to the O'Reilly's reputation (first day of new menu, Nicole's meat overcooked by her standards, her apple crumble very very crunchy and hard - mine very tasty thank you very much) and off to bed.

May 22, 2008


Sea Eagle After lunch we went to see the Birds of Prey demonstration where raptors (birds wot have big claws) such as the Barking Owl, the Wedge-Tailed Eagle and the Sea Eagle flew around for our pleasure.

Anne Meets Snake

Anne Meets Snake Anne did well for a professed snake-o-phobic and she bravely touched the snake.

Having said that much was made of the fact that the snake was only a year old, was still a baby and wasn't even remotely poisonous.

Still full marks to Anne.

Eloise Meets Snake

Eloise Meets Snake Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary today, in a pick of the tourist destinations tour continuation strategy.

It's close to swimming so quite handy,

Eloise did well at swimming today, though she's decided that she doesn't like her new teacher, but she did "good listening" today and did most of what was asked of her, so she's doing well.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary went pretty much according to plan.

Anne had bought Eloise a rubber snake and when we went to the Real Snake presentation she enthusiastically waved it around, much to the delight of the Sanctuary Lady, and indeed such was her rapport that when Eloise asked to have it round her neck at the petting session which concluded the presentation we were taken to one side and exclusive snake petting and neck-wearing was done.

May 21, 2008

Breakfast then Back Again

Breakfast Another morning, another chaotic breakfast.

We set off around 11 o'clock for home. The general plan was to go to a winery at Mount Mee on the way home but the weather had turned decidedly chilly with westerlies blowing cold air from the interior so instead we went to Montville.

We'd thought Anne might appreciate it, but she pronounced it "tacky" which is fair comment really. But we found a restaurant which would tolerate the dogs and sat down for some pasta whilst freezing our appendages off in the cooler-than-cool mountain air then set off home, holiday-within-a-holiday over.

Dogs' Life

Dog's Life While we were out having our fun the dogs were confined to the deck surrounding the house like a post-colonial battlement.

Which they didn't seem too unhappy about, considering amongst there many tribulations was a lack of dog beds (car space issues) and a ban from the furniture. Still there were rugs to lie on and they had the opportunity to back in the sun all day.

After the sun went down it got decidedly chilly which was when we retired indoors and the Slimm pyro-mania took over what with the wood-burning stove and all.

Nicole at Hell's Gate

Nicole at Hell's Gate We don't often get a picture of Nicole, let alone one of her perched on the edge of a jaw-dropping precipice after having nonchalantly eaten a peanut butter sandwich.

Did I say a little cove? Maybe I undersold it.

Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park In the name of independent adulthood Nicole and I strike out the next day on our own for what we hope will be an epic bushwalk round Noosa Heads and the forests up there, but which due to a mapreading error turns out to be a mildly taxing stroll.

We head off from the best organised NP I've seen so far down a trail which soon takes us into rainforest with some pretty nice grass trees and paperbarks and quite a variety of forest types which eventually gives out onto the East shore overlooking the Coral Sea where the waves are lashing in against a Cornwall-a-like cove called the Hell's Gates (a slight exaggeration methinks) where we have a spot to eat while looking down at the sea turtles braving the surge and Alexandria Beach nestled behind the headlands.

We walk back along the coast road and stop a while at various places before meeting up with the others back in town and going for a cruise on the river as the sun goes down.

Cooroy Botanical Gardens

Amphitheatre at Cooroy Botanical Gardens After a certain amount of discussion we elect to visit Cooroy Botanical Gardens during the day, which looks nice from the leaflet.

Nicole gets us there with no emergency recovery navigation required excepting a small crisis over handedness.

It's a lovely warm day and we wander down to an Amphitheatre where drama may or may not occur. There's clearly no water crisis here as sprinklers are srinkling away all over the place. Judging by the fascination that Eloise seems to be experiencing, sprinkling and sprinklers are a whole new class of experience.

It's an amphitheatre, there's no doubt about it, but possible in name only, for although the shape is correct and sonic projection seems to occur, it's made of brick and any pretence at old age is rather shattered by the ghastly metal railings that are in place all over it.

Still never mind, we have some lunch, slightly disappointed that the Gardens seem so small and feature only a few grass trees.

After lunch and a hugely entertaining conversation about how well Eloise is doing with her toilet training, we discover the gardens are actually far larger than we thought, and Eloise craps herself.

We try to get a close-up look at some geese without being murdered by them, and wander around a fern-house and the woods before I get sidetracked and mope about solo for a while.

Dancing, Dare I Say It, On the Ceiling

Dancing A frantic drive to the house....

Frantic because Nicole has lost the keys to the palatial abode, though part way there they appear between the linings of her bag. How they got there is still a mystery.

But when we arrive the rumours of the house's magnificence prove not entirely unfounded, what with the 2 acre garden and manicured borders of palm and gum surrounding the single-storey sub-mansion which sits on a hill, level on one side, on stilts some thirty feet high on the other.

A deck runs around the main room which is a huge open-plan affair with a kitchen in one corner, a dining table in another, a living room in another. Off to one side is the master bedroom with en-suite and dressing room, off to the other a little complex of bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

A hammock hangs lazily on the deck outside our room, and in the corner of the deck is a little faux-castle-tower wot you eat yer breakfast on.

Having carried out an inspection, we adjourn to the beach, and after a brief sojourn at a golf club about which I choose to go into no detail whatsoever we return for tea and dancing.

It turns out that the CD player has trouble with our CDs leaving a cassette which was in the house, I am told, which contains Lionel Richie. Anne seems delighted with the intolerability of it all.

A Train Ride to Noosa

Bullet From a Gun $12.70 one way, Brisbane - Noosa, two hour trip. A clean train. Clean stations. Well behaved clientele.

I was concerned for most of the journey that I was actually on the wrong train, but that's the case whenever I travel by rail.

May 18, 2008


Noosa River Sunset Cruise We've been in Noosa for a while. And now we're back, so you know.

I expect we'll tell you about it over the next few days.

May 13, 2008

Brisvegas Sunset

Brisvegas Sunset And here is the sunset I watched as I sat on the cliffs; and I hope I got the exposures right on the Rollei this time...


The Choir at St Johns Cathedral At College yesterday we developed our first Black and White films.

I was buddied up with Justin so he mixed the chemistry and did the icky chemical bits while I went into the deep dark of the film loading room.

Once the door was closed it was absolutely pitch black and even though the room was only about four feet by four feet I was soon lost, and if you think that that isn't possible I assure you that you are wrong.

I had two films to load onto reels which are then immersed in a little tank of developer.

You have to use a can-opener type thing to pop the top off the film canister, then unravel the film and by touch alone feed the film into the loading mechanism of the reel then using a twisting motion of the wrist wind the film onto the reel. The reel holds the film in a spiral so that the surfaces don't touch each other.

Before I even started rolling in the film I realised that my watch was glowing in the dark and this had to be removed and put in a pocket.

The first reel I fumbled with in the dark jammed two thirds of the way through loading so I had to pull the film out of that one and start again; doing that in the dark kinked the film (unlucky, Justin). Second time round was successful, but the second reel jammed before it even got the film in, so a spare reel had to be used.

Unbeknownst to me I had been shuffling around on my feet and was no longer facing in the direction of the shelf where the bits and bobs were - it must have taken five minutes of subjective sensory-deprivation time to find it again.

Then film-plonking-in-developer time arrived and when the film was duly plonked I pressed the wrong button on the timer (in the dark) and reset it... ooops.

After college I went on a little sightseeing tour and visited a Cathedral not too far away, which was rather splendid in a post-Gothic kind of way, before cycling back over the Story Bridge to watch another city sunset.

I can think of worse routines to get into.

May 12, 2008

On My Bike

Blood on the Skyline With everybody away and me home alone, on my lonesome, the world is my oyster as they say.

With just the minor detail that they've taken the car with them leaving me with only my legs as a means of transport.

So yesterday I used my legs to get me into the city in the afternoon using my bike to boost my speed to a giddy 40 km/h or so (estimated), at least downhill.

I toddled down into the Valley, down Creek Street and down to the footbridge across the river then back up the other side and onto the cliffs where I sat down with my cameras and took pictures of the sun going down.

I whipped out the Rolleiflex and enjoyed myself looking through its ground glass and took a few snaps before realising that my exposures were all rubbish because I was metering through the digital camera, with a completely wrong ISO setting.

Still never mind eh, I rode home and made myself pasta for supper.

May 11, 2008

Fireworks on Brisbane River

Fireworks on Brisbane River The fireworks started at seven o'clock so I grabbed myself a spot on the riverfront and snapped away.

They started out very disappointingly but in the end were actually very good and quite spectacular. There was a barge in the middle of the river from which they were launched so they all went off in quite a localised area, but with great frequency and intensity, while cheesy 80's music and voiceovers boomed out of loudspeakers positioned every 50m or so along the river.

After the fireworks were done we walked back across the Victoria Bridge and up Queen St to grab a bus home. We tried to get in a taxi but he wouldn't take four adults and a child if the child wasn't restrained properly so we waited for a while for a bus and got home about nine o'clock.

And this morning they have all legged it to Noosa for their little break leaving me all alone on my lonely little lonesome in an environment of slowly decreasing cleanliness....

Expo Anniversary

Ferry Saturday was the 20th Anniversary of the World Expo that was held in Brisbane in 1988, and down at the South Bank there were to be fireworks and entertainments, so in the afternoon (after a trip to Nudgee Beach in the morning) we caught the bus into town and then got a ferry across the river to the South Bank where we wandered around for a couple of hours of a really warm evening.

We strolled around the water park and the artificial beach then sat down on the grass for a little picnic and went around the rainforest walk.

The Tourist Checklist

By the River The plan that evening after Mt G was to tick off another itemette on the tourist checklist and go for a barbecue down at Kangaroo Point underneath the Story Bridge, and we got there just as it was getting dark.

Whilst we entertained Eloise on the playground Nicole and Mick made use of every available square centimetre on the barbecue for another kebab-mungous feast with steak and salad and pretty much all the trimmings I could have imagined, though it has to be said that when it comes to food I'm not that imaginitive really.

Still Nicole had the foresight to take a lantern this time so at least we weren't munching in complete darkness. It was a bit chilly though.

The Slimms They Have Arrived

Mount Glorious It seems like an awfully long time ago now but after a brief frenetic period of pointless housework undetaken by Nicole and some bed re-shuffling owing to back problems etc we went to the airport to pick up the mythical grandparents who only existing in three-year-old memory in a computer from the airport.

Apparently tears were shed (though I didn't see them) when they came through the Door To Australia to be confronted by a much-grown and reasonable lucidly-vocabularised redhead and of course there were much hugs and kisses before we headed back to our place for the obligatory guided tour.

Day One, with Nicole in attendance, followed the Brendan and Shirley pattern with lunch at Mount Coot-tha looking down at the city. Jet lag caught up though and when we got home afternoon naps were had followed by a chestnut casserole thingy and reasonbly early to bed, for me at least.

Nicole was at work the next day and I was at college, and Eloise at nursery, but we kicked them out of bed before we left. What they did all day is a mystery but I'm pretty sure it involved housework and ironing. You can't keep a good nanny down after all. It's probably more use in a single day than the iron has had in two years.

Dad had sent a Rolleiflex camera over with them (thanks Dad) and in the evening of Day One Mick and I had tried to work out how the infernal thing worked, ruining a film in the process. But try as we might we couldn't get the damned machine to recognise the first frame of the film and the exposure counter was decidedly not functional.

So I took it into the college to get an expert to have a look.

Two films later we were none the wiser but he suggested I take it to a bright Vietnamese tinkerer in town which I duly did to discover that the trick we'd been missing was to thread the film between two rollers in the feeder mechanism.

And joy of joys this did the trick and now I am gingerly playing with it as it doesn't have such a thing as a light meter on it.

So after all this plodding round town I got home at sundown to find Nicole had knocked off early, the dogs were walked and supper had been cooked and chairs were arrayed in the garden, for the genteel activity of basking in the Queensland sun.

Day Three was swimming day and Eloise and I kicked the lazy (alright , jet-lagged Slimms) out of bed in an attempt to get there on time, which was achieved by lying point-blank about when we had to leave.

Eloise had been transferred to a new teacher for her third stint in the Big Girl's Pool and she did very well, for someone who refused to do what she was asked precisely when she was asked to do it.

Then we went up the mountain again, as is our habit, for post-swimming refreshments and in the afternoon I took the dogs out for a walk while the others rested.

Day Four was a bit more adventurous as we did the tourist thing (after bally as Anne calls it) and went up to Mount Glorious to the restaurant there with which you'll be familiar if you're related to me, and for a walk around the lovely rainforest.

May 5, 2008

Worm Torture

Worm Hunter Unfortunately I left my stylish floppy Aussie hat wot I bought at Mission Beach years ago at Pam's Cafe so we had to go back to Nudgee Beach after spending literally minutes on housework pre-parents-in-law (Nicole spent hours, literally).

The tide was out and in the little rivers of run-off our favourite green worms were wiggling around very invitingly.

So Eloise did a spot of worm hunting, not the most challenging of sports by anybody's standards. But the twist with Eloise is that, no matter how much we try to prepare her for the inevitable by explaining about death, mortality and the ultimate futility of it all, she just doesn't get it.

"That worm is going to die you know. It can't breathe in the air. It lives in water. It needs to be in water."

"Why?" etc etc etc

"Just put it back"


One more sleep

My mum and dad arrive tomorrow morning at 09:50 - just over 12 hours to go. We have been busy these past weekends getting things prepared for their arrival - buying duvets, rearranging beds, cleaning and shopping for dairy free produce. I even tried to cook a meal this evening in preparation for tomorrow but forgot to buy a couple of ingredients. So the house is tidy but not too clean. We are ready but not too over-prepared.

I last saw my parents in December 2006 when I returned to the UK for my nan's funeral with Chris. They last saw Eloise and Neil in September 2006. Miss Gavin has certainly changed in those 20 months. She is no longer a baby. They will see a big change in her. I am ready for all the comparisons to me when I was her age. In a funny kind of way I think I am quite looking forward to them as every time I look at Eloise I see Neil and wonder where I am as I have offered up 50% of my genetic material to make her but see little of it externally.

Chris is left behind with Nicky in Gamlingay to look after the fort. Chris is now out of plaster and will recommence the land of employment shortly. Lucky that Nicky is over from Brisbane on a long holiday as she is looking after Charlie whilst Chris goes off to Buckinghamshire to work.

We spoke to Matthew, Sam, Maisie and Violet this evening. Eloise and Maisie had a great chin wag on the phone. Eloise was showing Maisie the room where nanny and grandad will be sleeping and suggesting she should come a visit soon too.

It has worked out quite well with me doing this nursing research into pressure ulcer development at the moment as I am able to take all my accrued hours when it suits really. So I have the day off to meet my parents at the airport. It would have been rude not to afterall. Here's to three weeks of tourism, although mum and dad's main attraction is Eloise.

May 4, 2008

There's Life in the Old Girl Yet

Tiny Running We reckon Tiny's twelve years old now, or so, give or take, roughly approximately.

Certainly we've had her for as long as I can reliably remember. And that's a reasonably long time.

While we didn't exactly rescue her, we sort of did, and we've managed to turn her from an underfed whelp who crapped on the carpet into a dignified princess, admittedly with personal space issues.

She's the flip side of Matilda who is of course evil and possessed of a heart of darkness.

Just today at the brook Matilda stole and apple out of a baby's hand. Luckily she's pretty accurate and it's not often that fingers suffer. But nevertheless. And discipline doesn't help either. She went on the lead straight off mind (and it's actually the first time she's done it while we've been here). Nasty naughty dog.

But the strange thing about the dogs is they work as a team. So as soon as Matilda was on the lead Tiny took it upon herself to make up the naughtiness quotient by running away and refusing to come back.

Yesterday at the beach Eloise and Nicole went off to paddle near the mangroves while I went looking for nice ripples in the sand and little holes with crabs in them that were bubbling occasionally. Tiny was a bit torn between looking after Eloise and following me around.

So what she ended up doing was following me around for a bit, then looking meaningfully into the distance before leaping off and dashing at great speed across the sand to Eloise, who she would follow around for a bit before repeating the exercise in reverse,

Gardening: a Hotbed of Conflict

My features form with a change in the weather After we got back from little India's party today Eloise mysteriously failed to go to sleep, while Nicole went out to do some secret shopping.

So after a while I relented and released the tiger from her cage, and suggested that we do some gardening. Just some sweeping up in preparation for the arrival of you-know-who. We wouldn't want our garden looking like a tip now would we.

(Not that it did, mind you)

So yesterday it was mowed - hasn't grown much in the last few weeks actually since I can't really remember the last time we had any rain. Things are rather drying out and the grass out front is starting to turn yellow... still three mowers full went onto the compost heap.

So today's task anyhoo was to sweep up leaves and Eloise embarked on this with great enthusiasm and aplomb.

There wasn't really any conflict. Eloise in the picture is yelling at me to stop messing around with the camera for goodness' sake and pay more attention to the valuable contribution that she's making. Approximately. I think the expression may convey slight hostility because I was ignoring her.


May 2, 2008

Tree Climbing 'Tilda

Up a Tree So we were walking down at the brook today, and between Eloise's totally unfocussed pram-pushing and the dogs' inattention to direction, I was doing a lot of counting to ten.

Just to set the scene, as it were, the sun was out, a few clouds dotted the sky and it was rather pleasantly warm with perhaps a hint of a sea breeze channeling up the little valley the floodway makes.

After a while, Matilda, who was sniffing around up at the top of the bank, obviously saw something up a tree, because she started rearing up on her back legs to see what it was.

Then some sort of epiphany happened for her, and she actually jumped up in the tree and had a look around up there.

Jumping down again, she must have thought this was a pretty brilliant wheeze because before you knew it she was up there again but climbing ever higher until she was gingerly walking along boughs that were more than ten feet in the air and jumping from one to another.

Until she went a step to far, fell out, and ended up rolling down the hill.

Only her pride was injured though.... if that.

Serial Fashion Crime

I Want to Live Forever We were over at Paul and Carol's yesterday when this visor thing mysteriously appeared on Eloise's head.

It's the only hat she will willingly wear, and she won't willingly take it off.

Hats are a struggle as they are quite important in the strong sunlight to keep the sun out of her eyes and off her face, and her ongoing reluctance to wear them is an ongoing thorn in my side.

So it's a relief, in a way, to have one she'll wear, though vaguely embarrassing as she looks like a wannabe golfer.

In Uniform

I Feel It Coming Together Back to ballet again.

As I was the sole guardian this time I hung around and watched through the window as the girls pranced around in their uniforms and hair in buns having a whale of a time doing whatever it was they were doing, which was, well, prancing around.

I let Eloise keep her dress on so that when we got home I could take some snaps of her, though I had to prevent her from getting into the painting with it on, which didn't go down well.

May 1, 2008

Matilda's Paradise

Matilda With all this photographic acquisition going on at college, and what with it being my birthday and all, I decided to upgrade my five-year-old digital camera to a slightly more upmarket version with 13 megapixels and a full-frame sensor (I'll not go into the technicalities).

I elected to pick it up from the Gold Coast and save the $40-odd delivery charge. Even with the scandalous petrol prices here, it costs a mere $60 to fill up the tank (that's thirty pounds to you Limeys, which will no doubt make you grimace... it costs the same per litre here in dollars as it does in pounds for you).

So after swimming we went home, picked up the dogs, and headed off to Surfer's Paradise, got the camera, then went to the beach. Hurrah!

There's a great dog beach at Surfer's which lovely smooth sand and crashing waves with probably wicked rip currents, but none of us was really interested in getting more than our ankles wet.

It was all going dare I say swimmingly until Matilda went on a raid and stole some fat bloke's KFC and chips. At which point we beat a hasty retreat.

Well honestly what sort of idiot takes a KFC to a dog beach, then lies down for a sleep with it half-finished next to him.

Which isn't to exonerate the behaviour of the Evil One, but she is just a primitive tube with a one-track mind.


Swimming Swimming again today and the second adventure in the Big Pool for Eloise.

Only one other in the class today, a little girl called India whose Mum may or may not have tested my eyes once in Ipswich.

Eloise was looking forward very much to swimming, going through what she'd do, more in terms of waiting patiently on the chairs by the side of the pool and not running around anywhere, and she was terribly excited as her swimming hat and goggles went on.

The lesson itself went very well, and she and India had a lovely time together.

I scored us an invitation to India's birthday party on Sunday, which I'm sure will be nice if we can make it there by 9.30am...

But I don't think India will be back for a while as her namby pamby Mum thinks it's getting too cold now that winter is arriving (Just 24 degrees today). Ha!