Oct 30, 2011


Vampire As Hallowe'en falls on a schoolnight we did our duty this weekend.

We went to the costume shop yesterday. Eloise has oscillated between wanting to be a vampire and a skeleton. She didn't like the skeleton suit at the shop so we were back to vampires, and bought some teeth and fake blood. Eloise scented the chance of some clothes and decided she wanted to be a fairy princess vampire in the hope of securing a pink dress, but that was vetoed at the prices they were charging and unfortunately the op-shops were closed by that time.

A good thing really since as it turned out Eloise and Hallowe'en aren't yet fully on terms intellectually.

She tried her teeth but then decided she didn't like them, and opted for regularly dressed with fake blood. I thought she looked pretty good in her vampire teeth, but she wasn't having it.

I had stick-on vampire incisors but the putty didn't work, and they didn't stick on. So I too was regularly dressed but liberally spattered with fake blood.

We visited a few friends who had been pre-warned. Not for us cold-calling trick or treat rejection.

In other news, Nicole is off to Sydney this weekend for a conference. Having flown with Qantas, she's now stranded, treated with the same casual contempt shown to every other customer as they psychotically took their entire fleet offline in response to some one-hour stoppages and militant red-tie wearing.

So we'll see her when we see her.

Oct 27, 2011

Eloise, Eloise, Where Have You Been

We've been to South Bank, to visit the Queen.

I sort of mentioned on Monday morning to Eloise that the Queen would be in town, and would she like to see her; she seemed quite keen. I thought it might be the sort of thing that memories that really endure are made of, and an opportunity that probably shouldn't be missed, so I cleared it with Anderson the Teach and arranged to pick her up at 11 o'clock when they have "Little Lunch."

And, equipped with the tow-along bike, and a back-pack full of lunch, off we set down the road. No punctures this time! But that tow-along doesn't half make riding difficult, especially the uphill bits going down the bike track from Victoria Park to Roma Street Parklands.

There were some cool downhill bits though where we picked up quite a clip, and going across the Kurilpa Bridge was nice.

As we got near South Bank we started to encounter crowds, and decided to ditch the bike, locking it to a railing, before proceeding on foot into the heart of the human maelstrom.

The sun was quite strong on the concrete apron of the Cultural Forecourt as we ambled around the back of the crowd. We bought some flags and Eloise waved them around my face for a while, irritatingly, before settling down to munch on her food.

We were early and had time to pick a spot where we thought we might get a good view of the proceedings, and a huge TV screen had been installed carrying a feed from Channel 7 showing pictures of the boat carrying the Queen up the river on a seemingly eternal voyage to us.

We couldn't estimate how many people were awaiting her. The crowds were four or five deep around the railings. It soon became clear that Eloise would need to be shoulder-mounted in order to see anything and I would be the blind conveyer.

And so it transpired as, after much waiting, cheers arose in the distant crowd by the river and slowly made their way towards us.

Eloise was given the phone and agreed to make a video. "Can you see her?" I asked - "Yes I can see her" was the reply. "Are you getting pictures of her?" ".... Yes..."

Well according to the ladies nearby, she was wearing a lovely lime green outfit, and didn't it suit her, she wore something similar on occasion such-and-such. I didn't see a thing. I'd thought for a moment that I had a convenient dip in the landscape of headwear in front of me, but then the hands went up with cameras and phones and i-Pads(!), and the Queen is a little old lady anyway, and the potential view was obscured.

Before long the show was over and we headed back, struggling up the hill and stopping for a Mars Bar before delivering Eloise back to school for 2pm, tired out.

Later, she vomited copiously with probably heat-stroke. But she was fine the next day, so it was worth it! Probably!

Oct 19, 2011

Soldiering On

Ballet Exam So poor Eloise hasn't been too well!

She went to bed on Friday night with no apparent problems, but took herself off to the toilet about an hour later and emptied herself orally into the toilet, beginning a cycle of vomiting that lasted most of the night.

Eloise manned the brow on Saturday whilst I did dog walking and market visiting, and Eloise slept for a while but woke up later (not literally) on fire and with a stiff neck.

Apparently this is among the symptoms of meningitis so I got a call from Nicole suggesting a might finish my business at the market and head home, and not being one to second-guess the medical profession, I duly finished my business at the market and headed home.

We hot-footed it casually down to the hospital and within ten minutes we were ensconced in an emergency room with a doctor giving her the once over, noticing inconvenient things like lizard bites and early-stage ear infections before pronouncing her infected with some gastroenteritic thingummybob and proceeding with miracle treatment.

A strawberry flavoured wafer of anti-vomit stuff was placed upon her tongue by way of confirmation and a little later some Nurofen before rehydration was carried out using ice pops and fruit cordial.

The pasty girl soon had colour draining back into her cheeks and was soon exchanging cheeky faces with the nurses and a couple of hours later we were out of there, much happier.

Still not quite right, she was a little distressed when she remembered that she'd missed her practice for her ballet exam on Tuesday and resolved to be better in time for her lesson on Monday. Which was impressive commitment, I thought.

Alas this was not to be as she started soon to complain about a sore ear, so the Paracetamol and Ibu-stuff dosage continued and on Monday morning an appointment with the GP made.

She insisted on going to her ballet class and given how important it obviously was we let her go to ballet but she had to miss Acro so she could visit the nice doctor.

The doctor diagnosed something complicated like Bullisotitis Media - which translates as tons of pus in her middle ear, so we added antibiotics on to the meds list.

She still made her ballet exam on Tuesday.

Hopefully back to school tomorrow. Mum's doing Tuck Shop.

Storm Season

Storm Season With the read on the Southern Oscillation Index showing another La Nina year, and record rainfall in the North (500+mm so far this week), we had a few days of storms last week.

They rolled in from the West in the afternoon. Last Thursday we went to Yoga and the clouds were rolling in as we set off. The heavens opened a minute or so before we arrived and we made it the ten metres from the car door to the front door of the Uniting Church getting only slightly drenched.

It absolutely hammered down for about an hour and there was water lapping at the door for a little while.

We had another on Saturday (Friday's didn't arrive where we were) which was more of a damp squib but it rained pretty heavily for a little while and there was hail mixed in with it as well.

When the hail started I decided to bring the car in and made it the ten metres or so from the front door to the car door getting only thoroughly drenched before bringing the car in, and the rain stopped.

Oct 14, 2011

Drumming for Africa

Drummer We settled down for lunch in the African Zone near a large safari tent. The chaotic rumble of twenty random rhythms from the palms of babes rolled out across the grassland.

We ate then ambled over to have a look, and settled down to bash out some beats. Before long it was apparent that a "workshop" was about to occur as some African Gentlemen came out and started everyone doing some drumming in something approaching a semblance of coordination.

Eventually Jessica and her folks pitched up and soon we set off on the train back to Zoo Central before visiting the Kangaroos, Koalas, Elephants, Tigers, and so on.

We avoided the Crocoseum, thankfully.


We had Eloise's friend Hannah over for a sleepover at the weekend. Like Eloise, Hannah is... spirited.

There was fun and games, especially around bedtime when they got out a huge stuffed toy snake and proceeded to tie me up with it and assault me. I had a bit of a Tom Jones moment when they started throwing underpants at me, but the less said about that the better.

Anyway they were in bed by nine o'clock or so and things were quiet for a while and I thought that the amazing had happened and they had actually gone to sleep.

But my complacency soon found me out and it seemed that Eloise was not for sleeping, but rather for craft-related secret activity, and general frolicking.

I removed her from the room around 11 o'clock and posted her into the "guest" bedroom but she came and looked at me and said "Sleepovers are about spending time with your friends, you know."

"Well you can go back in there but it's time for sleeping now. Sleepovers are after all for sleeping."

At 12.30am I removed Eloise forcibly once more.

Within 30 seconds both were asleep.


Leaves in the wind School Holidays are behind us now.

Week one was punctuated by daily swimming classes, at the end of which Eloise was pronounced to have achieved a level of competence commensurate with elevation from Fish to Little Dolphin, or something.

Which means she's not doing too badly for a little nipper; she needs to work on keeping her body straight whilst doing freestyle and the arms could be less windmilly. Sometimes it all comes together and she swims like a fish - erm, little dolphin - but mostly it doesn't, quite.

We went to see Justine Clarke in concert, which was chaotic. The little girl sitting on my left kept prodding me. Eloise was a bit non-plussed I think. The performance was very far away.

Eloise has spent a lot of time with her friend Jessica. She went over there for a sleepover whilst Nicole and I ate ourselves silly for her birthday. We were going to see a film too but Nicole contrived some flimsy excuse to go home so she could burn stuff in the chimenea that Josie (et al) got for her.

In the second week, we didn't do much, or did we... bike riding, science museum, other stuff... the zoo...

We went to the Zoo with the intention of meeting up with Jessica and her folks. Eloise was very keen, I not so much so. Australia Zoo is a bit ghastly if you go to the wrong places. It's a bit un-Australian to say it probably but last time we went the whole Steve Irwin thing was a bit ghoulish, the exortations to shout "Crikey!" in the "Crocoseum" embarrassing.

To be confronted at the entrance by a life-size bronze of the whole Irwin family was a little disheartening then, but trading messages to found out where Jessica's folks were soon led us away, thankfully, from the heart of darkness and towards the Elephants.

I was flummoxed by the map and came to the conclusion that we should catch a train to the Elephant Area on the far side of the zoo. I became mentally discombobulated! And confused the Elephant Zone with the African Zone! And we got on the wrong train! Without hope of return!

The extremely distant African Zone was quite entertaining, if not for the animals then for the drums.