Oct 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Bubbles Choice quote of the day today:

"Dad, you've ruined my life."

Oct 27, 2009


Study Nicole must now consign herself to her study for protracted periods of time to actually study rather than just surf the internet. She has convinced herself that it is time to panic as her assignment is due in in, oh, several weeks' time.

Isn't she good.

Oct 25, 2009

The Ungrateful Dead

The Lights Are On This guy was funny and reasonably typical of what we saw.

He kind of shuffled past, looking quizically around with his yellow eyes, but never quite looking you in the eye.

Zombie Walk

zPod Just for a laugh today, after walking around the forest this morning with a child who walks at the same speed as the living dead, we thought we would go and see the annual Zombie Shuffle in the city.

The zombies met up and walked through the centre of town and we drove down and watched them shuffle past in their hundreds.

The dead had turned out in their finest and there was grey flesh, rigor mortis and blood aplenty. Eloise didn't quite know what to make of it all, but there were some that she liked and some that she definitely didn't... generally the ones groaning loudly or yelling "Brains! Brains!"

Barbie Weather

Chance of a Shower Decided to go out for a barbie yesterday.

Spent ages getting ready. Food, shoes, clothes, all that.

Left house. Ominous clouds on horizon.

New Farm Park. Nicole cooking. Eloise and I playing. Night falls. Ominous cloud overhead. Strange orange colour. No yellow lights in city. Lightning flashes in the North.

Cooking completes. Eating commences. Spot or two of rain.

Oct 22, 2009

From Four Wheels to Three

Actions, Consequences We've been discussing going from four wheels to two for a while. That is, removing the stabilisers on the bike so a) she learns to ride bikes properly and b) I don't have to push her as soon as we leave a perfectly-levelled surface.

I've opted for the graduated approach of removing one stabiliser so she learns to balance on one side.

So the other day the stabiliser came off and we headed for the brook.

It was a bit hairy at first but by the time we were on our way back she was going at it like a trooper. Admittedly leaning radically over to one side at times.

When we went to the playground later on, she went pretty quickly down some hills which was a bit stomach-churning but she did admirably and didn't fall off. She even turned corners at speed, which was quite impressive.

She hasn't wanted to get on the bike since though. Odd.

Oct 20, 2009

Le Poisson Rouge

Rain or Shine We went for a walk the other day. The usual one around Bunya Forest which takes me about half an hour at a brisk stroll, so two miles? It's a bit hilly, maybe slightly challenging for a four-year-old.

I am now officially over the whole carrying on shoulders thing. So Eloise has to walk the whole way. It will improve her stamina and harden her mettle, I say to myself. And the dogs need the walk. And if I carry her around I get a bad back.

So the first half generally goes OK and then it all goes pear shaped. I have to cajole and persuade to get her to keep going. Especially when she has decided to un-retire the wedding shoes because she's found that with enough tenacity they can be made to fit onto the feet no matter how painfully and that therefore it is her Supreme-Being-given-right to wear the things.

Choice conversational quote of the day, when stopping for a snack at a junction.

E: "Let's go up that track."
Me: "Nah, we'll go up here."
E: "I want to go up there."
Me: "There's nothing up there really. There's a stream but it's dry."
E: "I want to have a look."
Me: "I think it's a bit of a red herring."
E: "There's a red herring up there? I really want to have a look."
Me: "There's not actually a red herring. It's a figure of speech."
E: "I want to hear the red herring speak!"
Me: "Do you know what a herring is?"
E: "No...."
Me: "It's a fish."
E: "I want to go to the beach!"

The walk took three hours.

Oct 14, 2009


Nurture After ballet yesterday where Eloise got to see for the first time her costume for the up-and-coming Christmas Concert, the ladies went to the hairdressers.

I went down to New Farm Park whilst they were there to knock an assignment on the head.

However the heavens opened as a storm blew over so I retired back to the car and after waiting for the requisite hour returned to the hairdresser where Eloise was being pampered by a terribly stylish man who was straightening her hair with those tong thingies.

She was ever so pleased with her straight hair. When Nicole asked her why she wanted straight hair she said "I want to copy your hair Mum."

Oct 11, 2009


Time and the Tide It hasn't rained here for a long long time.

We worked it out the other day, and erroneously made it the time we got rained on at the Ekka though actually it rained on the way up to Noosa for that weekend. That rain may not have come to Brisbane.

It rained a bit last Wednesday, just enough for me to wangle a lift home with the bike in the back of Nat's Ute. But that didn't amount to much.

Today though the rain arrived in a more committed fashion.

So our lightbulb moment was to go to the Sunshine Coast.

It was raining at Mooloolaba too. We sat in the car and ate our sandwiches.

We wandered over the rocks for a bit. It was a high tide and a little hairy.

The girls went up to the lookout for a toilet trip. I heard some sort of vague shout from up there and turned around to have a look from my well-back-from-the-action boulder.

A large wave enveloped me from behind, almost pushing me from my now-submerged-and-well-and-truly-part-of-the-action boulder into the tumult which now coursed around my poor jeans.

Lucky we brought a change of clothes.

Let's Back a Cake

Let's Back a Cake It was Nicole's birthday a little while ago, and I'm not going to pull the usual gag about 21 again, or the one about which base are we counting in (I'm not even sure I can work it out... well 19 or so).

Eloise and I had literally gutloads of fun shopping for clothes for her. Eloise pulled things of racks and I put them back. Eloise looked at shiny things and I attempted to discourage this. Eloise insisted on the pink iPod. I humoured her.

So on the zeitgeist acquisition front young Nicole didn't do too badly.

On the birthday cake front the day was a disappointment really, but was made up for by an evening out at Citron, the local high-class Asian eatery of choice for the classy gourmet punter. Burp.

Eloise wouldn't let it lie though and for several weeks has been occasionally mentioning the need to bake a cake. This morning Nicole relented and cakes were baked.

As you can see Matilda's shiny black food magnet is still operating at full capacity.

Let's Off-Road

The Ageing Bucolic Structure of Eternal Solitude Now according to The Fast Show, which some of you, or less, may not remember, or not, "Off-Road" is in fact a verb. As in "Let's Off-Road" rather than "Let's Drive Our Four By Four [or potentially Four-Be-Four for those amongst us who insist on talking like carpenters] In A Wilderness Setting."

Will has a four by four. At college each year they hold an exhibition for which needless to say there are deadlines. And one of them approacheth. Will did not have anything that he wished to exhibit, but wished to have something that he would.

As a consequence of this and his general lack of solo success he suggested we drive his four-by-four (not four-be-four) in a wilderness setting so as to get some landscapes for to show off.

As the Rim's my thing at the moment, I suggested some RImming, and he knew of a couple of roads-less-travelled that we could travel winding up in a Gorge whose name neither of us could remember.

We toddled off in the afternoon, diverting as we saw fit to hunt craggy peaks down with mixed success.

The first inviting crag we attempted to corner was protected by a Conference Centre of all things, with a security hut and all, but the conservation park at the end of that road was replete with a different crag, in fact a whole rampart of them, and could serve as a future location for surreptitious dog-walking.

As we drove past Maroon Dam, we discovered that it was absolutely dead-tree-tastic. Now remember the funny Aussie thing with the word Dam? There's another funny Aussie thing with the word Maroon. Now you and I (unless you're an Aussie) would pronounce it as though it rhymed with Goon. The Aussies, would you Adam and Eve it, pronounce it as though it rhymes with Bone.

Amazing to have two such little-known Australianisms wrapped up in one body of water, with all those dead trees too.

Anyhow as we "On-Roaded" down the road it turned into a gravel road which wended its way down a rather nice valley with craggy peaks on one side and uncraggy ones on the other.

An entertaining tree presented itself amongst the intermittent cattle for which we stopped a while, and then further up the side of the valley some entertaining but Aged bucolic structure of eternal and intractable loneliness.

Eventually we realised that Will was lost and retraced our tracks to find himself once more and a little more eventually we found ourselves "Off-Roading" in the failing evening light down Cambanoora Gorge, which would have been lovely I'm sure if only we could have seen it.

Dead Trees

Four Oh look! - there's a dead tree.


A Curl of Cloud and a Kiss from the Sun In another evening diversion I decided to visit Moogerah Dam. It's another one of those Scenic Rim places, and I seem to have rediscovered the Scenic Rim. So off I toddled.

No dramas this time punctuality-wise as I set of at three or so, didn't get lost or take any bizarre routes. It probably took a little over an hour to get there.

Dam is an interesting Australian word, in that it doesn't refer so much to the blocking structure containing the body of water as to the combination of the two elements. So the Lake is kind of part of the Dam as well as the dam, if you see where I'm going.

I walked onto the dam (note the little d) and looked out onto the Dam with Mount Greville off on the other side as the sun got lower in the sky.

I great spray of water was greatly spraying down on the dry side, feeding into a creek which meandered away into a gorge of some description.

But I tarried not as I was after dead trees, and I wandered around the edge of the Dam (note the big d) until I found some likely looking candidates.

Now it turns out that during the drought of 1995 Moogerah Dam sunk to a mere 1% capacity and has been falteringly deepening from that nadir of wateriness. This might explain the fact of trees of some size sitting not too far from the water's edge in a state of, well, death.

I spent a quiet couple of hours as the sun sank. The buzz of threatening sounding insects rose in direct un-proportion to the brightness of the day. But they did not bite.

Oct 5, 2009

First Light

First Light The other night young Eloise crawled into our bed in the pitch blackness of the timeless stretches of nether worldly darkness, whereupon she fidgeted relentlessly before falling asleep again, upside down, with her feet in our faces.

Unsurprisingly sleep did not come that easily after that and when I surfaced to a level of consciousness sufficient to allow me to appreciate the dawn chorus I got out of bed and drove to the beach.

By the time I got home an hour later, Nicole was getting ready to go to work and I went back to bed for a couple fo hours before, rather appropriately, the Upside Down Show came on.

Oct 3, 2009

The Scenic Rim is Dark

The Scenic Rim is Dark When we went over the mountains with Will and Janelle, or rather behind them, I was struck by the cragginess and general impressiveness of the whole thing.

It so happens that Nicole had bought a book for me for Father's Day not long ago about walks in South-East Queensland and I've been having a look through it on the odd occasion and seeing places to go around where we crossed the mountains that looked like they might be interesting.

One of which looks to be a nightmare walk of about four hours so not really one for the good light when the sun is low in the sky but has potentially mind-buggering scenery (to quote Douglas Adams).

Another of which looked to be a doddle walk of about five minutes so definitely one for the good light.

So off I went through Beaudesert and down through Boonah and out to the Moogerah Peaks National Park and Mount French.

The traffic in Brisbane was murder and I thought I was doomed but I made it to the lookout a little while after the sun set and the views were pretty far- and wide-reaching with the Scenic Rim of volcanic remnants drifting off into the darkening haze in the distance.

Picture of Health

Training Day I wanted to do some action-type shots of boxing'n'stuff and Paul over the road has Tommo come and visit nearly every day to do training. T used to be a rugby player but retired last year but he makes the effort to carry on with his fitness regime and really puts his back into it.

So I asked him if I could take some snaps, and he said yes, and so I did.

In the Wilderness

Dust on the Clarence River So I suppose I should overcome my ennui and embark upon an account of our night away camping a week ago.

We had arranged to go with young Guillaume, or Will to you and me, and his young wife Janelle. Oh, and their dogs - details....

Pre-arrangement wise Nicole took a bit of a back seat and little old I had the job of packing and provisioning. So with innovation and ingenuity I single-handedly mounted the roof-rack-box-thingy. Packed the mats and tent which Valerie had lent us. Didn't check it first though - details....

Shopping was a breeze. I just bought everything that I could see, within reason. It all fitted into the multiple cool-bags which seem to appear when we - well I - forget to put a cool-bag out for the milkman.

So mostly packed on Friday night, we got up bright and early Saturday for our appointment at the Calamvale Hotel where we were rendez-vousing.

I should point out at this juncture that wilderness camping had been suggested but poo-pooed by Nicole as a bit frightening so we had located a campsite at Woodenbong which was dog-friendly and not too far from our intended destination and had the facilitiies Nicole coveted such as toilets and... toilets.

So we met up with Will and Janelle, a little late, and proceeded down the Mt Lindsey Highway through Beaudesert and on through Rathdowney where we stopped a while to "stretch the dogs' legs."

Then on over the rather spectacular mountains and into New South Wales.

On arriving at Woodenbong campsite, Nicole took a look and said "Let's move on shall we." As campsites go, nestled in a field not far from the centre of town, it lacked promise.

Will's eyes lit up at that point and with a "your car's good for gravel roads, isn't it" we were off into the wilderness.

Through Urbenville and onto a side-road which soon turned to gravel and wound through the countryside for an absolute bleeding eternity. Around an hour's worth of eternity, through Upper Tooloom where the road inexplicably sealed for a hundred yards or so. The 4x4 Ute which Will was sporting left us in fairly short order and we just kind of toddled along at our own speed. When we came to a junction we'd see him in the distance and then he'd disappear again in a cloud of dust.

Eventually we arrived at Paddy's Flat, almost grounded the car driving down a little dip before stopping at our final destination, a little camping spot right next to the Clarence River.

Whilst Will and Nicole went off to collect supplies of local resource, I made some sandwiches and put up the tent. The wind blew down the river valley, bouncing off the crags in the cliffs opposite our spot, and blew the tent away. Owing to there being neither pegs nor guy-ropes in the tent bag. I suppose to look on the bright side there was no mallet either.

We tied the tent using Ute Rope to the Ute and to a tree. Boulders went inside the tent as surrogate pegs. All was good.

The dust storm arrived pretty soon after and visibility became decidedly murky and the air not quite thick with it but kind of smelly in a dry throat-irritating way.

Then we got to feeding the dogs and needless to say food was a flashpoint for conflict as the two packs failed conspicuously to integrate and an open power struggle broke out between Matilda (9 years old, 21kg) and Gipsy (3 years old, less than 21kg).

After pulling them apart I inspected my wounds - scratches to the foot and thumb, bruise underneath thumb nail where I had prised Matilda's jaw from the neck and ear of her adversary - and secretly gloated that our dog had won.

So we, well they, set to cooking and we were shown how to cook on an open Complete Fire Ban. The food, which I take full credit for procuring was not too bad, just a little burnt.

Will and Janelle laugh in the face of tent-users and after a while got out their swags. A swag for you uninitiated is a glamourised sleeping bag which should keep the elements out.

So we were woken up at various points as they had to stoke up the Total Fire Ban in order to avoid hypothermia. It's cold up there in the highlands of NSW. I say cold, but only apparently so as we were dare I say it snug as bugs in rugs or lugs in hugs in our nice zip-together double sleeping bag. Very snug indeed.

The next day we didn't do much, just went for a little walk. Matilda had another fight after pulling the shamelessly provocational trick of sitting underneath the Ute in what I imagine would be Gipsy's spot.

The dogs had fun with some cows, but it could have been a lot worse.

And other than that, it was homeward bound after our little adventure.

Oct 2, 2009

Wedding Shoes

Wedding Shoes The shoes Eloise wore as a flower girl have been treasured at Nursery, walking in the bush, stomping around the house, to the playground and almost everywhere that Eloise's feet have been.

Even when they were getting too small Eloise would shoe-horn - without the horn - her feet into them until the straps left marks like garottes upon her feet.

But no more. Her feet will no longer fit inside. And so it is with great regret that the shoes have been pronounced retired.