Jun 30, 2008


Auckland from Mount Victoria And Eloise who had the casting vote between Skytower and Ferry opted for ferry, and we duly hopped on a boat over the harbour to Devonport where we met an ex-pat and her dog on the beach, had some lunch, and climbed a mountain.

Mount Victoria had a fortress dug in to it, the ventliation for which was a bunch of chimneys inexplicably capped with red metal toadstools. Eloise insisted on climbing on each and every one of them, balancing on it then jumping off, What fun.

And then she delighted in rolling down the mountain, which was thankfully coated in long lush green grass to break her fall.

Devonport itself was a kind of pseodu-English-seaside-town facsimile affair, tasteful as you like and brimming with cafes and art and craft type outlets. Not an atom of litter in sight, polite citizens, nice views over the harbour. I expect they're all stinking rich.


Nicole and Eloise So this morning we hotfooted it down to the Consulate about eleven o'clock after toast and yoghurt and juice, to be confronted by a room full of people, fifty of whom were in the queue ahead of us.

Luckily after about half an hour or so, a general call for Permanent Residency Evidencers went out and we found out that our papers hadn't arrived from Australia yet, which saved us several hours of pointless waiting.

So we went downstairs and drank coffee by the ferry terminals while deciding what to do wth ourselves.

Sick Day

Post-Modern Apartment Living Nicole and I weren't too well yesterday, call it post-travel fatigue or whatever; we had headaches and snotty noses and weren't really very happy bunnies.

This created considerable conflict as Eloise was not feeling unhappy or in any way listless and was not feeling sympathetic towards our plight.

So the day was a bit of a write-off. We caught a bus around town but failed to notice any sights beneath the rain and grey skies.

Then in the afternoon we languished around the flat, watching the docks and the telly.

The sun broke out this morning though.

Jun 28, 2008

New Zealand

Salubrious Auckland Harbour After a day of reasonable uneventful travelling involving a lot of queueing at Brisbane airport we have arrived in New Zealand and here we are in Auckland ensconced in our apartment with Splendid Harbour Views (see above).

It's cold, it's raining, it's damp.

The apartment itself is a quite nice, if a little pokey affair on the 13th floor of a block overlooking the large natural harbour, which we've only seen in the dark so far.

I'm sure it will look different in the morning.

No plans for tomorrow yet. Maybe a wander round to get our bearings.

Jun 26, 2008

A Dog's Life

Dog's Life It hasn't been much fun for the dogs with Eloise feeling crook, as they say here, for the last few days. When they have managed to get out it's been to the brook and then not for long as Mrs Miserable Pants has generally cut things short.

But yesterday I cajoled her into Nursery and the dogs and I went to Mount Coot-tha for a jaunt that lasted a couple of hours before I rode into town to do some photo assignment stuff, and today they got a good two hours at the beach as Eloise is much improved and getting back to being quite jolly.

Jun 24, 2008

Chilly Weather.

Night Boat to Brisbane No sooner has the solstice passed that the early morning air has become quite frigid, until about 11am when the sun warms things up and it gets warm.

We've been sleeping in, but that's as much to do with Eloise having got a cold as anything.

We went to see Leesa and Lewis and Lexie for a barbie on Sunday and Eloise flagged badly mid-afternoon and got a temperature, so my Day Off yesterday was cancelled and we've had slow days this week. Slow, fractious days.

But she's on the mend now and she'll be going to Nursery tomorrow barring disasters so the dogs can actually get out of the grounds for more than twenty minutes, which'll be nice.

Reports of bitter cold and snow in New Zealand! Brrrr!!

Jun 21, 2008

Winter Solstice Festival

FusionMotion It was Val's birthday today - happy birthday Val - and she invited us down to a Winter Solstice festival at Northey Street City Farm.

We went down there about four o'clock or so and followed Eloise around the kiddies' attractions such as face painting and wand-making with some story-telling involved and a bit of lantern painting.

After some soup, sausage sandwiches and - according to Nicole - the best ginger beer ever, we met up with Val and traded caustic comments about the "Creative Dance" that was going on on the "big stage" which was probably intended to symbolise the solstice and fertility and that sort of thing but as far as I could tell was some strange chanting with Eurovision drumming and general writhing around. Still it was, erm, interesting....

Of course there was singing and dancing too, some ethnic, some folky, and it was all very well-meant and jolly in a sort of middle-class-hippy kind of way which I'm sure many of you would approve of, and we had a nice entertaining time.

Wobbly Hunt

Tingalpa Creek On Friday I thought it would be nice for Eloise to go wallaby hunting whilst I went reflection hunting, and from previous experience Venman Bushland seemed the ideal place to go.

So, after walking the dogs whilst Nicole and Eloise were at Prancing Around class, Nicole went to work to finish her student week from hell and Eloise and I hopped in the car for our little jaunt.

Not a wobbly in sight though... we walked around the creek and the waters were low and murky and not that promising either.

Still we sat down after walking 3km or so (I did the walking, Eloise did cuddle-demanding and general whinging) and ate some lunch by the creek and read some Mr Men books at which point she brightened up and when we headed back to the car there were a couple of wallabies at the car park, which Eloise chased around for half and hour or so.

So it wasn't a dead loss after all, though the wallabies weren't interested in Eloise's offerings of grass.

Jun 20, 2008

Growing Up

Eloise at the Playground I didn't want to jinx her bladder by writing about it after her downfall last time, but after ten dry nights in a row last night was Eloise's first night nappy-free, and she woke up dry this morning.

It's another one of those little milestones.

I've probably jinxed it by writing about it now, but Nicole's put a waterproof mattress cover on.....

Jun 19, 2008

The "Silky Water" Cliche

Rushing Water A long exposure of several seconds makes the water look silky, which is a nice effect if somewhat cliched.

As you can see on Wednesday what with it raining and all the rocks were a mite shiny and slippery.

Days Off

Rock Pool Now that I'm on holidays again, I have Monday and Wednesday off.

Both days this week. I have been to Cedar Creek, our local scenic waterfall spot just a hlaf hour drive away or so and hidden in the lower reaches of Mount Glorious' rainforests.

On Monday I was chasing reflections, and on Wednesday it was raining which apparently is ideal weather for taking photos of such places.

Jun 16, 2008

So This Is Winter

So This Is Winter Despite the weather warnings of strong onshore winds from Cape Moreton down to Point Danger, after looking up where Cape Moreton and Point Danger actually were we thought we'd go up to Bribie Island for the day as we haven't realy been out of Brisburbia for a while.

We wandered up and down the beach for a few hours and ate our sandwiches while the dogs wandered around and had a good time.

Eloise decided that one particular arrangement of driftwood was actually her house and started to make cakes, which as time went on became quite tiresome as the wind was cool if not biting and poor Nicole was starting to feel the chill.

In fact Nicole was feeling the chill all along and repeatedly trying to get Eloise for goodness' sake to put a jumper on but she would have none of it as she has inherited my resistance to cold rather than Nicole's - fortunately for her.

As far as I was concerned it was a lovely day in the mid-twenties with the breeze just giving me a pleasant feeling of sea air. I'm probably tempting fate by writing that.

Nicole cooked quiche for tea, which made a refreshing change from my somewhat limited, though admittedly delicious repertoire.

Jun 15, 2008

Whose Food Is It Anyway

All Your Food Are Belong To Her As you can see, despite our best efforts (OK, we don't set the bar very high) a certain Matilda The Dog still considers mealtimes a source of rich potentiality in terms of crumbs from the rich man's table.

She could sit and stare at a plate of food for hours if it was just out of reach.

Of course, as some of you may know, if it's in reach, hours become seconds.

How to Get A (Red) Head in Marketing

Dusky Now that Nicole is Mrs Nine-to-Five we have the weekends togeva (how lovely) so on Saturday we took full advantage by me having a lie in and coffee delivered to me in bed before braving the cool morning sunshine and making toast etc.

Running a little low on supplies, we went out to the new Kelvin Grove Urban VIllage Street Market which was actually pretty good... the Kelvin Grove Urban VIllage, though somewhat pretentiosly titled, is a new, modern precinct allied to the University of Queensland campus and is - to use an overused architectural buzzword - contemporary in its clean lines with nicely designed buildings, well-appointed and amenitised.

The market had taken over a street running the length of the little suburb and had a selection of stalls selling everything from the obvious fruit and veggies to the probably equally obvious healthcare and hippy-cum-organic-beauty products to dresses and doughnuts.

A little duo called Cloud 9 banged away on a didgeridoo and bongos and drums in a sort of techno-thrum and were actually really good. I gave Eloise a couple of bucks to put in their pot and she crept up very hesitantly until the didgeridoo player said "Thankyou" it which point she ran away...

The Red Head as usual got lots of attention from passersby and what with all that plus the three bags of shopping (and an absolutely huge watermelon) we must have been there for about two and a half hours, including hot choc and coffee time.

After a nap in the afternoon, we got down to the beach for sunset, at which point the real winter chill set in, the temperate falling below 20 degrees. Brrrrr!

My new assignment for school is to do with reflections so mystified dog-walkers were treated to the spectacle of me farting around in the shallows with a wall mirror trying to capture that precious moment before the mirror got washed away. I fear disappointment beckons.

But you never know.

Jun 13, 2008

Creative Movement

Creative Movement A flavour of today's "ballet" for you.

Lots of prancing around in a big room with a whopping great mirror in which to look at yourself prancing around in a big room just about sums it up.

Today's theme was "Under the Sea" and featured such classics with which we were familiar as "Octopus' Garden" and "Yellow Submarine" which the Ginger One was heard singing to herself later today in her bedroom when she was supposed to be sleeping, but was instead creating a pretty good impression of a bombsite.

Jun 10, 2008

emm eye ell ee ess tee oh enn ee

Philiosophy Much to Nicole's delight, Eloise read her first word today, then spelt it.

"Moo. Emm Oh Oh. Moo."

Which was nice.

We had a nice day of music and playgrounds and not sleeping. Lanham Park has had an upgrade and now has a see-saw and a roundabout with seats. So I got to explain to Eloise what centripetal acceleration is and how centrifugal force is just a myth of physics spread around by the ignorant.

What an educational day.

Jun 7, 2008

Betrayed by the Weather

Murky Brissy Dawn My next assignment for college is to do with reflections and in order to be a keen bean I decided I'd get up early and try to get some dawn reflections in the city.

Dawn's a good time for that sort of thing because the air is very still and consequently so is the water.

Without an alarm clock I was awake at five thirty (I was as surprised as anyone else) and after getting dressed (or clunking around as Nicole put it) I poked my head out the front door only to find it was raining and very murky.

At which I was somewhat unhappy but decided to go out anyway, with a cup of strong coffee inside me.

When I got home the others were still in bed so in I hopped and didn't emerge until 10.30.

Jun 5, 2008

Weather Clearing, House Clearing

Plinkety Plonk The rain has gone and so have our short-term visitors.

The rain cleared away on Tuesday, and the sun came out on the morning for music.

Eloise, previously reportedly ebullient on the classroom floor under the grandparently wing, was out-disrupted by the boy on the left, who was quite overcome with emotion of the joyful variety at various points.

Decision time will come pretty soon as at 3 1/2 Eloise should by rights graduate to the actual piano classes, which as far as I've been told aren't quite so structured and involved plinkety-plonking on keyboards, but we're not convinced she's really ready for that kind of thing yet.

But with George and Ant around with their recreational guitar usage Eloise was showing keenness on the musical front, strumming away on the guitar and using a crayon as a fretboard slider in a passable imitation of a below-par U2 pre-teen tribute band who've had their ears removed.

Tuesday afternoon saw the "Cheeky Boys" get an offer to inspect their van which they were trying to sell. So we led them down to the Cultural Centre where a French couple met them and inspected their ware.

Afterwards they went to park up and meet us back at GoMA and I planned later to reshoot my dawn to dusk which were underexposed last time.

From the top floor of the gallery we looked out from time to time to try to see the "Cheeky Boys" and spied les Francaises meeting up with a succession of vans.

"They're pros" said the travelers, awe in their eyes, hope of dollars drifting away on a slow breeze.

The sunset was disappointing. I may have to do it again. Again. Though the photos, which I processed the next day, came out OK.

In fact they sold the van the next day, and got reasonable money for it from a bloke who'd totalled his van the day before and needed a replacement pronto. So all's well what ends well, what.

And, having sold the van, they had accomplished their Brisbane mission and were off up the coast today to Noosa again on their way to Cairns and god knows what.

So empty house again which is really nice, in the nicest possible way. We went swimming, and Eloise received rapturous praise from Fiona who said that she did everything that she was asked to do when she was asked to do it.

Unlike the other Mums (ahem) I didn't bury my noise in a crappy women's mag while my cherished offspring showed off her swimming skillz but paid rapt attention to every kick, roly-poly arm and death-defying leap into the water. Whilst nursing my flat white.

After napping, we went out to the brook for the first time in weeks. The brook was somewhat swollen after all the rain we've had and all the rock bridges were uncrossable.

Not to be defeated, and never to take the easy option (that is, using a bridge) we found a shallow section and waded across through the fast-flowing water which was quite exciting, especially when the shallow water became not quite so shallow and the fast-flowing water became a near-irresistable flume. But resist my legs did though my shorts go wet, and follow the dogs did, though poor Tiny almost got washed away.

What a lot of effort to get to a playground. We went across the bridge on the way back.

Jun 2, 2008


Rainy Days are Like Buses A bit of a troubled night last night as the rain yammering down most of the day yesterday increased in intensity overnight and we were treated to the tin-roof white-noise sensual experience.

Nicole woke me up before 7 suggesting that I might like to give her a lift into work, as the deluge was continuing and it seemed pointless, harsh even, to cycle in with Eloise out back.

So we got her dropped off at work at 8 and Eloise into Nursery shortly thereafter, then I went hunting for a parking space in Spring Hill, unsuccessfully.

I ended up in good old reliable South Bank for my $12 all-day parking and stomped across the bridge in my weatherproof thongs getting sprayed by buses, then through town and to the college. Would you believe it was 9.45 after all the traffic that I got there.

I handed my first assignment in today, 19 colour transparencies full of colour, shape, texture and patterns. We'll see how many of them are dismissed as rubbish in a couple of weeks time.

In the meantime today was black and white and we learned something about home film processing. And got given some more homework.

I may have neglected to mention that we have another Slimm in residence at the moment; Nicole's cousin George and his travelling-buddy Ant are stopping with us for a couple of days while they try to sell their van and embark upon young peoples' adventures in the tropics.

They're very well-behaved and play the guitar a lot, as that branch of the Slimms seem prone to do.

Which is nice.

Jun 1, 2008


Supermarket When you have visitors who have their own ideas about what they want to eat every day you tend not to plan too far ahead with your provisioning.

And this can in turn mean that big grocery shopping takes a back seat and certain items run short.

So in the afternoon a trip to Wooly's to stock up on essentials like butter, pasta, pesto, toothpaste and so on and so forth.

Tired Eloise is a bit snotty and probably catching a bug so a little unsteady on her feet. Possible a bad idea to have her in the main compartment of the trolley. So she rides around in the front part like whatsherface in that Titanic film. What could possibly go wrong.

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day No sooner have the visitors departed than the weather turns shabby, cold and rainy.

On Thursday we go swimming and afterwards at Mount Coot-tha Eloise falls headlong into the fountain pool.... ooooops! She falls in head first but swims back to the surface soaked head to foot and not very happy at all. But that's what you get for trying to catch bubbles I suppose.

Following ballet on Friday we have an indoor day catching up on housework (yes you read that correctly) and after much hoovering and wiping Eloise goes down for her nap.

The nap trauma continues as she is now un-used to sleeping during the day, but if she doesn't she's cream-crackered come evening. But if she does, she can't get to sleep. It's a bit of a problem; still her staying awake is meaning that she's using her potty in her room when she needs to go and consequently the dry-night count is up to eight, which means eight stars on her chart.

And, when she reaches ten stars, which I hope I'm not tempting fate by mooting, she'll have her first nappyless night which could be somewhat amusing.

On Saturday we re-introduced Nudgee Saturday and went down there in the morning to have our cobwebs blown away by a stiff bracing wind. There's been flooding up the coast with heavy rain and strong winds and they're supposed to making their way down here, but they haven't shown up yet.

So we thought we'd take advantage of the lull in the weather and trade gale force winds for merely very very bracing ones and brave the Nudgee wind tunnel.

Afterwards coffee and chips all round. Hurrah!