Mar 31, 2010

The New Clem7 Tunnel

The New Clem7 Tunnel The new Clem7 Tunnel opened the other day.

Catchy name, right? It's named after a bloke called Clem Jones who was a Lord Mayor of Brisbane. He died while they were trying to think of a name for the tunnel (the Aussies have to name everything after somebody) and hey presto, it's the Clem Jones Tunnel. It's also part of the M7 motorway - apparently - so Clem7.

It runs from just opposite the hospital where Nicole works southwards all the way under the city and the river and pops out on the southside. It's around 7km long. maybe that's secretly why it's Clem 7 too.

It'll be a toll tunnel but it's been toll-free for its first few weeks of operation. I drove through it one day and got from Bowen Hills (the North end) to the Princess Alexandra hospital (the South end) in about ten minutes flat. And back again. When we went through it, hur hur, "as a family," hur hur, it took longer, it being a Saturday and there being a traffic jam.

So it's all part of the huge infrastructure build that's going on in Brisbane at the moment to try to do something about the ever-increasing traffic problem, the by-product of the fact that it seems that everybody and his dog wants to live here.


Impatience Don't you just love it when you need to be somewhere and someone isn't really interested in being there with any sort of urgency whatsoever, and then, after what seems like an eternity of gently cajoling and silent counting to ten, you finally get to the front door to find someone there looking like this and saying "for goodness' sake hurry up or we'll never get there."


Easter Parade

Easter Parade With the bike out of action and Nicole at work, yesterday we walked into school.

It seems so close on the bike. It may only be a fifteen minute walk, but distractions are distractions and distance is distance... when we arrived at school things were getting underway in the classroom.

I've volunteered to go in a couple of times to help out in the classroom. Last time we were making Easter hats for the Easter Parade.

And it transpired that the Easter Parade was yesterday.

So we arrived at school to find it an anthill of activity with parents and sibling waiting for the great parade. The kids in the classroom were all getting ready to go, so we were just in time.

Hats on, the procession got underway and the children walked the perimeter of the school - hundreds of them - dressed up in their regalia before assembling in the assembly area.

Then each class got up on the stage to show off their hats to everyone.

A sharp exit was made when Eloise had finished. It looked like it was going to go on for hours.


Articulated Nicole rode Eloise into school on Monday morning, owing to my bike having to visit the Bicycle Hospital.

First the gear-shift went on Thursday evening then on Friday morning we ran over something and got a flat, necessitating a walk to the bicycle doctors, where the vehicle resides waiting for spare parts to this day.

You may, or may not perceive the rain advancing in the background of this shot. Some seconds later it arrived, prompting a hasty exit.

Mar 23, 2010

Buderim Falls

Buderim Falls One Monday Nicole and I decided that as she had the day off we should try and do something a little exciting. I was vaguely aware of a nice waterfall up at Buderim, near Mooloolaba, which was accessibly and quite pretty.

So we dropped the Munchkin off at school and off we went up there. As we arrived - guess what - it started to rain.

But we didn't let that put us off, oh no! We were soon tramping down the rainforest valley, over a little bridge under which a creek cascaded promisingly and up around some eucalypt forest around the other side before seeing a great big bridge before us spanning the waterhole at the bottom of a quite impressive waterfall.

So we dawdled there for a while, took a walk down the side of the creek and so on, but the path crossed the water and was unfordable in its swollen gravid condition.

We elected to return and drive around to the other side where there was apparently a restaurant - closed as it happens - and we took a walk upstream from there along a terribly civilised boardwalk, eating our lunch before it really started to rain.

A lot.

Face Paint

Face Paint And look, here is the face paint.

Bloody Birthday Bonanza

Scribe Eloise and Olivia's birthday were the firsts.

The next weekend we had Claudia's. Roller skating. I roller skated, badly and dangerously. It was fun.

The next one after that was Harriette's. Here's Eloise writing her card: intense concentration. Harriette's was a Kalinga Park thing, so playground.

Also a professional face-painter dressed as a fairy. You can imagine how she went down.

Flooding Rain

Flooding Rain I should probably mention that it's been raining here. A lot.

It's the wet season, but frankly I don't really consider that to be an excuse. This is supposed to be the Sunshine State, after all.

Still I suppose the plants needed it; but it's been going on a month now, at least up until fairly recently, and it's raining outside right now. Enough.

There have been major floods in Central Queensland. Reportedly an area the size of the state of Victoria has been submerged. All the water is now working its way down into the Murray-Darling Basin (that'll be the main river complex in Australia for the unaware) and down through NSW and VIC and into SA. It will be the first time for a while that that much water has made it down the river without being pumped out along the way by the thirsty irrigators..

For us, no floods to speak of, apart from the occasional flash-flood in the city (the severity of which may have been exaggerated in reports). The brook has been high, bursting its banks one day we were there, but for us the main thing is that the creeks have been flowing in the forests, even in Samford Forest which is usually bone-dry.

In a change of plan, on none of the raining days have we decided to go to the beach.

Early Morning

Early Morning The initial problem with early mornings and getting to school on time was the dreaded television, in front of which everything grinds to a halt, regardless of the quality of the entertainment.

When Nicole was ill recently, towards the tail end she was well enough to go to work but not really well enough to cycle to work, so for a week or so we got up extra-early and gave Nicole a life to work before dropping Eloise off at school.

Rushing around in the morning got us out of the TV habit, and now instead we sit upstairs to eat our breakfast: and we don't rush around nearly so much in the morning.

Crazy Hair Day

Crazy Hair Day There's a little girl at Eloise's school who has leukaemia. Consequently, owing to things like chemotherapy, she hadn't been yet.

School, maybe worried about how kids would react to her being unwell, and not having hair etc, were keen to do something and they organised a crazy hair day to coincide with the equivalent leukemia trust thingy.

Eloise was very excited about this and we bought various dyes which she put on at school in the morning with the assistance of her Big Buddy Jerome.

As you can see, green won out.

The really rather sweet thing that Eloise did as regards Haleena, the child with the leukaemia, was that she decided on her own initiative at home at the weekend to write her a Welcome to Wilston School card, which she wrote herself with not very much help, and duly delivered to school on the Monday.

Mar 7, 2010

Two Wheels

Two Wheels So we were having a scoot around the block today, me walking, Eloise scooting.

As we were about to get home I suggested that Eloise have a go on her little bike. She hasn't had it out for ages and with all the back of the bike stuff she might have more of a feel for it.

Paul was out so I chatted to him whilst Eloise rode around in little circles for a while. She then pointed out that her knees were touching the handlebars, and that she therefore needed a new bike.

I suggested instead that I get a spanner and we raise the handlebars, which we duly did, and Eloise started riding round in circles again, before again sidling up, this time to ask for the training wheel to be taken off.

With some surreptitious trepidation this too was done, then she was given a little push off and bugger me if she didn't just ride up the road on two wheels for about twenty metres before turning around with a look of surprised exultation and disbelief. Probably matched by mine.

She spent the rest of the afternoon riding up and down, and within half and hour turning corners.

It was amazing.