Dec 31, 2013

New Year Visitation

Nicole's brother, young (though not so young as he used to be) Chris and his family - Nicole (who stole my wife's name), and the children Isla and Olly - came to visit us on New Year's Eve.

Eloise had been looking forward to meeting the cousins, never having met baby Olly before, and after some trepidation and pussy-footing she and Isla meshed their gears and got on with the serious business of establishing who was Boss.

This was mixed in with some equally serious copy-catting (did I mention that Isla is only four years old?) which was quite funny to watch.

My Nicole went into hostess mode and on went the barbie and New Year's Eve festivities saw Isla, over-tired, having an episode of defiance followed by melt-down and bed, then Eloise determinedly watching the Avengers to see her through til midnight falling asleep on the sofa at ten o'clock for the night. The frown-ups made it til midnight and that was that for us old codgers (speaking for my Nicole and myself).

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's six forty-nine of the clock, in the morning, and here I am listening to Christmas Carols from King's College while the rest of the house hums in various states of somnolescence.

Ding dong ding. Ding-a-ding ding.

While I listen to the refrains of "In the Bleak Midwinter" the subtropical sun is shining in. I went out with Lyra to let out the chickens and walked beneath the huge lilly pilly tree, looking up to see if I could spot any of the raucous rainbow lorikeets which were raiding the flowers and raining the little petals down amidst the fecund buzz of insects unnameable that permeated the air.

No presents for the chickens other than freedom of the garden for the day, but their time will come when we sit down to our breakfast of croissants and toss the scraps from the deck into the garden for them to scavenge.

Lyra and I toddled around for a bit already, while Nicole slumbered on a little, but L has now returned to the folds of feeding flesh for some mouthfuls of mummy milk. Eloise's foot is poking from her top bunk, insensate.

Beneath the tree lies a gyre of presents. They appeared mysteriously as Eloise was at a play with her little chum. She had previously complained, as we shopped for cousins who are visiting for the new year, that - to paraphrase - she was being neglected and it seemed obvious to her how unfair life in general was when all this shopping was happening for other people and she wasn't allowed any of the legion knick-knacks and pieces of crap that she just happened to walk past or see out of the corner of her eye when it was as clear as day that no-one had done any shopping for her other than the overseas presents which were already forming a small archipelago around the base of the genuine, natural, if slightly wonky tree.

Well the sudden tectonic increase in the size of that tree's donative footprint certainly would have wiped the smile off her self-righteously indignant face if only she'd actually noticed it in her rush to get to her next parent-facilitated social engagement!

And the smile would have fallen dangerously without so much as a safety rope if she could have seen her little sister furtively waddle up to the tree, cast her speculative eye over the brightly bunted reefs of wrapping paper, pick an Eloise present, look around her, and make off with it to some distant secret recess of the house to investigate this wonderful object in intimate detail. Repeatedly.

However, qualities such as appreciation from the entitled youth are in short supply, as I suspect is and always has been the norm in this, the festival of receiving.

Oh hello, Eloise just got up, better go...

Dec 13, 2013

An Episode of Culture

We had long-booked tickets, along with Hannah and Mia and associated Mums, to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a title so ludicrous and convoluted that I will henceforth abbreviate it to just CCBB.

We were due to meet up in the afternoon but Eloise was staying over at Hannah's after a night at the drive-in movies, so Nicole and I went down with a pram and a baby to the Gallery of Modern Art where we saw an exhibition by a Chinese bloke called Cai Guo-Quiang which filled several large rooms with huge installations of stuffed replica animals and trees. I don't think the trees were stuffed though. It was quite impressive, in a sort of lots of people moving slowly around taking photos with their mobile phones kind of way.

CCBB was good too, well sung and all that, nice for the kids, at least until Lyra vomited all over the seat in front of her. Luckily the little girl who had been sat there had moved to sit on her Dad's lap... a lucky escape indeed.

....but Life Goes On

Dec 12, 2013

Dog Days are Done

We carried her to the car, and we drove to the vet, and we carried her into the vet. The vet looked her over, and X-rays were taken. The X-rays were normal but other tests showed that there were problems with the nerves going to her legs, and though she could move them she couldn't tell where they were.

So steroids were dispensed in the hope that it was some swelling somewhere that was pinching the nerves and she was carried back to the car and driven back home and carried back to the sofa under the house.

She laid on the sofa and we looked in on her from time to time. She took herself into the garden again and laid under the trampoline.

In the night it started raining, waking us up, and we went out and found her at the bottom of the garden. We carried her up into the dry back onto the sofa.

To cut the story short, by Thursday she was off her food and lying in the garden with little stream-bed draining behind her, no improvement to her mobility, so we decided it was time to say our goodbyes and bring it, and her, to an end.

Eloise decided that she wanted to be there at the end and we were all stroking her as the needle went in, and crying as she slipped away.

Dec 10, 2013

Dog Days

All is not happy in Matilda's world. As you'll know, she is a dog of senior years and has many miles trodden beneath her soft paws.

She has been slowing down for a while but still the spark was there until last week, when on the way home from dropping Eloise off at school, she took herself down into a creek for a drink and a paddle. Lyra and I pushed on for a while but then had to turn back when Matilda hadn't caught up, to find her still in the creek, unable to climb the steep sides and in need of help.

So I climbed down into the creek and had to lift the poor girl bodily out.

And for a next few days she hobbled about, a little shorter every time, til she could barely make it round the block.

So, to the vets and we talk about arthritis and ticks and so on and put her on anti-inflammatory tablets.

And on Saturday night she fell down the stairs and hasn't been upstairs since, she's taken herself to the bottom of the garden, and she's just lying there, with a wag of the tail if we go down to see her, and a drink of water if it's put in front of her.

So we don't know if she's hurt her back or been bitten by something nasty or whether she's just ready to die.

In about an hour we'll carry her to the car to go to the vet again for some x-rays and we'll hopefully find out what's going on, but in the meantime it feels a lot like some sort of crunch-time is impending, and that's not a nice feeling at all.

Dec 4, 2013


Here is Little Lyra, puckering up for her first kiss with Mum. How sweet. She just sort of decided to do it, and then she wouldn't stop. I don't get kisses of course, that just wouldn't be right, would it? It's not some sort of egalitarian utopia that we live in, after all.

On Monday, Little Lyra took herself for her first little walk. How exciting. She was messing about with a toy, Nicole had her stood up, and off she went. Now, if properly launched, she will go for four or five paces before realising what is occurring and then falling over or lowering herself gently into a more feasible position. Still, now everywhere she has to be accompanied. If she wants to go to anywhere - for instance the shops - she'll crawl up to you and hold out her hand, into which you'll be obliged to insert your finger, before setting off at a humungous pace, climbing stairs two at a time, before seeing something, stopping, and returning the average walking pace to something considerably more glacial.

Nov 26, 2013

What a Potentially Musical Family We Have the Potential To Be

Eloise is learning the violin, and apparently is in need of a half-size fiddle now, according to her reports of what her teacher has said. She is also getting to be quite good at the recorder, she picks up a ukelele from time to time, and has a tinkle on the old plastic ivories too.

Lyra is following suit and is partial to banging - literally - out a tune on the keyboard, especially when she is upset set. She is very fond of the pitch-bend wheel. Also she can get a note out of the recorder; just the one, though. She isn't allowed near the violin, but she adores the harmonica being played for her.

Nov 16, 2013

Early Morning School-Run Blues

I will now attempt to explain to you, dear reader, the challenges of getting a child to school when another child who does not attend school has needs that must be balanced against those of the first.

The first challenge is of course how to maximise one's rest in order to have the greatest mental fortitude to bring to bear upon the challenges of the morning. This is achieved through partnership of course. If there is an infant that is prone to rising with the sun (and there is) then this child, if unmollified by the mammary, can become habituated to rolling around on the bed and attempting to mount the bed-side table in search of trinkets, drinks, or worse. This situation can be ameliorated by the contingency of lifting the child onto the floor and managing it through the Limited Sense Strategy. Perhaps use only your sense of Hearing, as I do.

In time, the child may experience signs of upset. This could be boredom or hunger. At this point it may become necessary to open eyes, perhaps even leave the warmth of the bed. Playing at this time in the morning (do not forget that at this time of the year the sun rises at five am) would obviously run the risk of something or other, so perhaps confinement to the high-chair might be in order whilst breakfast is considered. Probably in the abstract.

Breakfast, when eventually delivered, may well consist of cereals, breads, perhaps something egg-based. Berries are popular.

At some point the older, wiser, daughter may choose to awaken. This however is a rare occurence.

Much more likely is the scenario in which the older, wiser daughter must be awakened. This will usually occur over an hour before school time. The daughter will complain bitterly about almost everything and the previous good humour afforded by interactions with a human being yet to develop the capacity for speech will evaporate like screen-cleaner on a clean screen.

Breakfast for the grumpy child will have to be negotiated and will be dithered over. Time will begin to run short. Tasks such as napplication, dressing, and ablution (including sunscreen) can be accomplished for Speechless while Grumpy dithers. Tooth-brushing will be the high-point. Napplication the low.

Time will run seriously low and will need regular announcement. Announcement will be resented and the resentment will be communicated. Shrilly. The shrill communication will need to be picked up on, obviously, and objected to. It's all downhill from here really. After a crescendo, someone will need to get themselves bloody well dressed and ready, and their bag packed, or else there will be real trouble.

At some point someone may realise that provisions for luncheon and break-foods have been neglected and this will need to be attended to. This will probably result in an argument, I mean negotiation, too.

Number Two Daughter is now bike-capable so we have transportation options of available to us, depending on the day and our after-school commitments. Maybe we'll ride a bike, maybe we'll walk. On certain days - shock, horror - we might even drive. But only as a last resort. Or if the weather's bad. Transportation dictates our departure time.

Transportation Mind-changing is not to be encouraged. Last time a mind was changed we ended up with me on a bike with the babe on the back and the dog on the end of a lead, sniffing the proverbial roses, and Eloise on a bike halfway up the street with a procession of three cars following her uncertain progress. Not to be repeated soon.

Still, after all that, we haven't really been late yet. Yet.

Nov 2, 2013

Lyra's Birthday Number One

A year has passed in the life of Lyra, twelve months since our excitement-stricken drive to the hospital and contraction-punctuated hobble to the Birthing Centre where I gazed slack-jawed upon the cowled alien-face of my offspring emerge from my lovely wife's unmentionables at a pace that can only be said to have been indiscreet bordering on downright pushy.

A year in which Daughter Number One has progressed from being a caring elder sister into something a little more nuanced as the spotlight of public attention has slid away and the shadows of sharinghood have spread their dark wings in a depressing embrace, gesturing at the existence that the rest of us must endure and unimaginatively naming it Reality.

A year in which Daughter Number Two has progressed from being a dribbling lump of inertia, admittedly a cute one, but dribbling and reasonably inert nevertheless, into a bouncing squealing lump of energy, in love with nananas and constantly wanting to be bup.

We started the day by delegating the present-opening activities to Eloise and a suite of charming things were revealed, for which I am sure Lyra would thank you all if only she understood birthdays, presents, the societal rules of etiquette, and the English language.

We invited a few friends to the park for a play and a barbecue at the park. We stayed for a few hours eating and drinking. Lyra was managed and chaperoned communally. It may be that she was not fed or watered as much as she should be. If only he had managed to grasp the English language by now she would have been able to explain in her later upset whether this was the cause.

She was present for the cake cutting and so on. The cake of course was the real purpose of the party and I am sure (I think I am sure) that Nicole will be reasonably content that I should report that the Rainbow Spectrum Cake was an ambitious project to attempt, and whilst perhaps not realised to its maximum potential it was nevertheless rainbowy and very large, being made up of six normal-sized cakes with the icing challenges that the physics of that particular scenario present.

The Australians, as ever, were bemused by the bumps. As there was only one, and one for luck, their bemusement only really had a chance to germinate before the event (or ceremony if we're being ambitious) passed by like a balloon on the breeze.

Sep 22, 2013

Gardens of Integrated Delights

The first garden that we visited was a cosy place free of tiresome lawn with little paths wandering around a wonderful little plot with native plants bursting from the red soil of every bank at every opportunity. The owners were clearly very proud of their prizewinning garden and it wasn't long before Eloise was working her way into their affections, bit by bit, with Lyra incoherently working her way up the other flank, and caught between the pincers we were sent away with cuddles and a children's book of Oliver Twist that we are still reading.

In all we visited five gardens, yabbering away at each one: one beautifully manicured by an unlikely-looking muscle car enthusiastic; another by his father with an extraordinary garden with not a wasted centimetre; a child-friendly kitchen/cottage garden where we probably outstayed our welcome borrowing mulberries and bothering chickens; and another sculpted effort with bowers and avenues overflowing with blooking cliveas.

And at the end we visited a park for a rest where we drank coffee and ate ice cream in the Garden City of gardens.


On a day such as this very one - only a Sunday - and Nicole's Birthday - we decided in our infinite wisdom to tip our hand towards the Toowoomba Festival of Flowers, which was competing in Nicole's Birthday Proirities with O'Reilly's Rainforest Thingummybob at Lamington National Park and any secret things she hadn't told us about.

Anyhow we decided that Toowoomba was the Place to Be and off we set down the Warrego Highway towards it, not really having much of an idea what to expect as we headed out across the Lockyer Valley along the Darren Lockyer Way, a road that strives in competition with only Steve Irwin Way for a name so inspirational and yet at the same time, or indeed simultaneously, so very original. See, the Steve Irwin Way goes past Australia Zoo, right? Whereas Darren Lockyer Way goes up the Lockyer Valley.

The valley that the road wends its wendy way across... well, you wouldn't call it a valley as you wended your way across it, in the sense that there aren't mountains that you can see on either side of it, but we're told it's a valley so a valley it is; and at the end of it, the road does ascend into what are some quite impressively steep and dare I say looming hills. At just the point where a child in the back - let's call her Eloise for the sake of illustration - might say "How much further is it, for flip's sake," just atop the retaining wall of hills in the distance you might spy a smattering of roofs glinting in the sunlight, and say "See those mountains up ahead, that's where we're headed."

And as the car laboured up the hill, with fuel economy obviously at the forefront of your thoughts, we exchanged a glance that says "Well we're here now, now what the hell do we do." And the obvious answer was to visit the Tourist Information Centre, an answer so obvious and obviously so often arrived at, that the police had been called in to manage traffic and the place was mobbed and maps sold out.

So we ended up marking up our own map from the Festival leaflet with random people's gardens that they had inexplicably opened up to the public.

Sep 14, 2013


To get Lyra to think something is a really good idea, all you really have to do is laugh at her after she's done it, at which point her eyes light up and somewhere behind them cogs turn, very obviously.

Today the unlikely and potentially counterproductive behaviour that we have probably already ingrained into her is the act of sitting up quite straight, then falling over backwards.

So far she's only tried this on a nice soft bed.

Sep 13, 2013


Shall I paint you a picture of well-adjustment, of peaceful evenings spent over the Scrabble board, light and pleasant conversation over the dinner-table in the warm spring air, laughter exchanged around the piano, singing and dancing around the house, giggling play-fights, monosyllabic baby-conversation, prancing in the countryside beside a gamboling dog, never a cross word, but always a kind one?

Well things aren't that bad, but there isn't any singing around the piano. Mostly Eloise belts out the Les Mis favourites one-handed or Lyra bashes the notes indiscriminately; still I suppose she's only ten months old. We don't own Scrabble. Our play fights involve girls giggling and me being frankly assaulted. Eloise does sing and dance around the house, mostly when she's supposed to be doing other stuff. We don't prance in the countryside, and the dog is too old and senile to do anything approaching a gambol. Still the baby conversations are monosyllabic but fun, the cross words mixed with the kind ones, and the spring air is very, very warm.

Sep 7, 2013

Ma ma ma ma

Baby development update: Mas are in evidence, but das are not. There are las and blas, but the most important syllable is lacking. As far as the utterances go they are not words. Perhaps they will be soon, but probably not.

Four teeth are through, more on the way judging by the nocturnal inconvenience. Amber necklaces are ineffective against the pain of teething. Paracetamol is effective against the pain of teething. Tonight we may well have the opportunity to assess the efficacy of bonjela against the pain of teething.

Crawling is still going on, and getting up to standing with support. So-called chair-surfing is being done, though I don't really see it as an extreme sport.

Aug 25, 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter

It was Father's Day here and we went to the beach, which was nice, what with it being winter here and the beach being a nice place to go when it isn't too hot.

We are having something of a heat wave, and the air is warm but the sand cool and the water cooler, but it doesn't really feel wintery at all, and the beach was crowded with warm air fanatics but when we got past the people and settled down to do our usual sand-castle and tag playing we had a nice time.

Eloise made me get into the sea, but when the water got past a certain point she chose not to continue, understandably.

Jul 3, 2013

Insert Chicken-Related Pun Here

Eggcelent news - the chicken coop at the bottom of our garden is no longer an empty nest. With the arrival of three fine specimens (a complicated story the details of which are quarantined until further notice) - one Leghorn, one Isa Brown, and one Australorp hybrid - it is my pleasure and duty to inform you that we are official fowled up, and the run is coming up to speed.

Nicole has a big grin on her face and is spending not-quite-literally not-quite-every (but nearly) moment producing foodstuffs for the poultry. Now, by an amazing coincidence, we are treated to porridge every morning, which is lovely for us as well as the chickens who get our leftovers! There is an array of sprouts sprouting like clockwork to be delivered to their hungry beaks. It won't be long until they are a fully integrated part of the composting cycle and enriching every aspect of our lives from the soil in our garden to the eggs in our fridge.

Eloise is similarly delighted, and has, since the birds have been permitted to "free-range" - which has now become a verb, apparently! - become adept at catching the chickens and returning them to their quarters. I hesitate to say prison, however since they are clearly confined there, as evidenced by the clipping of their wings, I can see no other adequately descriptive word, although of course I could in a mealy-mouthed way assert that it is "protective custody" on account of their need for protection from our other, potentially murderous, animal resident, whose needs and freedoms now need to be delicately balanced against those of our newest arrivals. Anyway, to return briefly to the point, Eloise is not too bad, and much better than either of us, at grabbing the damned birds and putting them where they ought to be.

Matilda is disadvantaged and a little put out, as she must remain upstairs whilst the "chooks" (as they are quaintly refered to here in Australia) free-range (which has now become a verb, apparently!). Additionally, she has now for a significant proportion of her dietary spectrum, been demoted on the leftover ladder - which would, if only she had the intellect and awareness to have noticed, be a far graver issue for her I suspect.

Still, Clara, our two-year old adoptee, is still laying eggs, and lording (or ladying, if you prefer) it over Amy and Isabelle, our two-chick team of point-of-lay purebreds who are settling in and preparing themselves, no doubt, to keep us in eggs for the rest of their little lives.

Jun 24, 2013


So a couple of millstones just recently. Lyra has begun to crawl properly is number one. Lyra has a tooth poking its way through her gum (left foremost bottom incisor). Number one spells trouble because now she can quite easily crawl from on the bed to off the bed quite quickly, but with unfortunate results. Number two problematical because pain is involved, and crying.

Jun 19, 2013

Don't Feed the Animals

The weather being interesting in the morning at the moment - you know, warm in the day, down to a freezing 12 degrees or so at night - we have taken to eating our breakfast on the back deck where it is warmer in the sun that it is indoors.

Lyra is making an effort to retain food in her mouth and then actually swallow it, rather than dribble it pointlessly across herself. Not much of an effort; Matilda still gets the majority of it one way or another.

Lyra has these double-breasted all-in-ones which actually catch any misplaced food, so the dog is always on hand when Lyra is dismounted from the high chair and the costume opened up for removal, allowing a cascade of uneaten food to escape.

Jun 13, 2013

Dancing Fever

Eloise was struck down by a scorching fever the other night. She came through into our bed in the dark, burning up.

So it seems that Mr L was on the money when he said that she was actually under the weather at school and not herself.

And she spent the whole day on the sofa, watching telly and sleeping, which isn't like her at all. The sleeping part. She'd watch telly til the cows came home. When she's dosed up on the paracetamol, TV becomes achievable. Otherwise, sleeping.

Anyway, clearly not a well girl at all. So no dancing competitions for her this weekend... or so we thought.

For two competitions are scheduled, one for Friday when some style of dancing is to be performed, one on Saturday when some other style of performance is to be showcased.

Except when we get in touch with the dance teacher it seems to that Eloise is indispensible and if she can't make it, then the whole team must be pulled! Which leaves Nicole and I feeling quite outraged to be put in such a position - after all, to be honest, this is not the Bolshoi, they are not going to win the competition, and to have this pressure placed upon us is not really on.

However Eloise is determined now to go and so we dispense drugs and apply makeup and reluctantly drag ourselves down to Logan where the performance is performed, the competition is not won, and we retire home early.

After the competition it becomes apparent that Eloise is far from better and has probably been set back as further days off school become necessary, and an ear infection is contracted.

Jun 2, 2013

A to B via C (and D) with a brief visit to E and a repetition of A (and D)

We toddled off to the beach with Hannah and Marion; the dog hadn't had a decent walk in days what with having moved house and being a bit busy and all that and we thought that Bribie might be nice.

Of course, the weather's always awful when we go there, or at least it is on a reasonable regular basis, but not to be deterred (on the basis that we didn't think about it) we headed off up the Coast as they say.

We did have Mia with us too, and what with there not really being room enough in the car, we took the obvious course of action and took too cars, arranging to meet at the Caltex on Gympie Road. Yes, Gympie Road.

The first slight change of plan occurred halfway to the petrol station, when we rather shame-facedly realised that we had forgotten to pack the dog. Which was kind of the whole point of the excursion. So we headed back and fetched the dog, a little non-plussed also that we hadn't seen Marion's car on the way to our common destination.

As it turned out, when we spoke to Marion, she had been home for a wardrobe change or something, because the weather was so lovely, or something, and she would shortly meet us at the Caltex on Gympie Road, as we'd agreed previously. Yes, Gympie Road.

So we arrived at the Caltex on Gympie Road, and filled up with petrol, and started to wait for Marion's car, with Marion, Hannah, and Eloise inside it. We had Mia with us, a very energetic and bouncy specimen, who clearly required chocolate, which we supplied whilst waiting for our travelling companions.

A while later, after eating the chocolate, and waiting for our travelling companions, and not seeing them, we contacted them to establish their whereabouts, only to find that they were waiting for us at the Caltex on Gympie Road, and wondering where we were. When they discovered that we were at the Caltex on the part of Gympie Road that's called Gympie Road, and not that part of Gympie Road that's called Lutwyche Road, and that's therefore (technically speaking) not Gympie Road at all, but Lutwyche Road, they set off to meet us at the Caltex on Gympie Road.

I am sniggering a little bit because as you'll have gathered, in Australia roads work a little strangely, and sometimes change names half way along. Lutwyche Road and Gympie Road are sort of really the same road, although not really, and the Caltex at Lutwiche Road is much closer to our house and so would probably have been a far more sensible place to meet as Marion lives only a short way from us, but hey! there you go.

So a while later on we were once again on our way to Bribie Island and we toddled up the beach and it was nice, although there was that pesky bank of cloud on the horizon that was drawing closer and closer and oh dear there's a band of rain on the rain radar but maybe it'll go around us? but no, the heavens opened, everyone is soaking wet except me who has a dry patch in the shape of a baby sling.

Apr 20, 2013

"Happy Days are Here Again" Reports Matilda the Dog

Dog Days Lyra has been showing a keen interest in the degustational delights of the non-lactic world, having dipped her tongue into various ice-creams, chocolates and assorted breads, but today saw her attermpting food, at the table, with us, in the shape of poached pear.

Needless to say, as with Eloise, dinner ended up in the dog.

Apr 9, 2013

Precrawling Checks Underway

Precrawling Place Lyra upon the ground and she will wallow, hovercraft-like, before lifting herself up on her arms.

Sometimes, if she is in the mood, she will try to get her bottom up in the air, but usually she will just wave her legs around ineffectually.

But she's definitely thinking about it.

Apr 2, 2013


Poise In the last week of term it is customary for parents to be allowed to view their beloved offspring in the, as it were, learning context.

In our case, this meant getting the opportunity to see Eloise dance quite nicely, and give her fill-in teacher a lot of lip.

Mar 28, 2013

Dance Yourself to Death

Acro Handstand
Eloise's new regime for Term One, and I don't have all the details stored away in my tiny brain, involve only two weekdays and one weekend. However each of those weekdays, being Tuesday and Thursday, involves around two-and-a-half hours of dancing tuition in varying styles from this and that to the other, but particularly acrobatics, that being Eloise's favourite.

And witness the gay abandon with which she pulls her body, with a certain amount of poise and grace, into unlikely positions that would make my eyes water, and probably yours too.

Mar 13, 2013

Strings and Bows

Young Eloise is a keen little music person whose enthusiasm is considerable if not entirely unparalleled and whose adeptitude is potential and eminently hone-able. For those of you clinically unable to read between lines, what I mean to say is that she's keen but tone-deaf.

Damn though, we had to fight like cats in bags waiting to drown to have that child unwittingly negotiate the serpentine bureaucracy of the Infernal School. Our first application went missing, our second application filed directly into the pigeonhole went missing, then the teacher went missing, then the replacement teacher had to be contacted through the auspices of a well-placed third party before finally getting that child a place in the apparently legendary (though potentially mythical) Strings Programme.

A contract had to be signed by the child and countersigned by a responsible adult before being witness in triplicate guaranteeing that practice would be carried out and excitement maintained and all lessons, ensembles and activities attended upon pain of excommunication.

And Eloise duly began her lessons and ensembles and has practiced, if not religiously then at least enthusiastically, waning toward dutifully, edging towards sometimes. But then what can you expect when all they give her are tunes you have to play with open strings.

Anyway she went on a Strings Camp at Windsor School for a day and we were invited to attend the performance of a concert in the afternoon. To be honest we were expecting the worst, and while we couldn't actually source gumshields, we were certainly expecting to have to grit our teeth whilst the sixty-odd violins, violas, cellos and double-basses attempted to play together.

But as it turned out it wasn't actually too bad! Of course with open strings tuning wasn't exactly awful and though timing could have been better, it wasn't quite shocking. We were velly preased!

Mar 10, 2013

I believe I can crawl

I believe I can crawl But she can't yet. It's oh so very frustrating.

Mar 8, 2013

Foot in Mouth

Foot in Mouth Might get back to the blog in a bit, in the meantime, look! Lyra can put her foot in her mouth. Now that's what I call progress.

Mar 7, 2013


The Lilac Bumbo allows Lyra to sit pensively eating grass while Nicole and I tend to the weeds, rampant from the chronic alternation of rain and heat we have had in recent months.

Feb 12, 2013


Rollerblading on the boardwalk on Noosa Main Beach, surrounded by Pandanus palms on the verge of the littoral rainforest. Can't complain really.

Noosa Main Beach

Mum, Eloise and I took a stroll along the boulevard along the beach behind Hastings Street. Mum and I strolled, Eloise rolled along on her rollerblades. Very stylish, dodging the silver surfers, the French scufflers and the knackered packers.

Some parts of the boardwalk were in good nick, some less so, which presented some problems for the wheeled cohort. However these were stolidly worked through and only small blisters developed.

Feb 10, 2013

Sunshine Beach

In with the New
Dogs can be restrictive, and walking a dog around Noosa for us involved visiting the beach. A different one each day, to be sure, but in the end isn't a beach a beach, with the nuances just that; the height of the tide, the size of the surf, the feel of the sand under your feet?

This day was the one where Mum fell over in the surf, Eloise fell over in the surf, and Eloise was stung by a jellyfish, a dramatic event which involved trips to the chemist and therapeutic television viewing in the grandparently palace. It was a painful sting to be sure, but not such an emergency that anybody felt a need to wee on her.

Jan 16, 2013

Lyra's First Encounter With Illness

Little Lyra continues to do all the things that she is supposed to do, beaming merrily while she does many of them. "Mim," she opines, some mysterious request for what is most probably milk. And, if that is not understood, of course there is the Four Fold Way of Outrageous Demand that ends in desperation and strained eardrums on the behalf of her subservient parents.

All has not however been plain sailing. For the last couple of weeks, she has been beset by a vicious, racking cough, productive from time to time with a thick mucus. As often as not, it will trigger a bout of vomiting the projectile range of which would from time to time challenge even the most committed of teenage hedonists.

She was sitting in her Electronic Rocking Chair of Immediate Quiessence the other day after a bit of a feed when she had a bit of a turn, coughing then producing a fountain of chunder that left her with a pool in her mouth to deal with, which could have ended badly.

As so, parents on alert, in the still watches of the night we fret that an unfortunate accident will occur and we wake at the slightest sound, anxiously turning her onto her side or front for fear of a choking catastrophe. Lyra sleeps through it all, remarkably. We do not.

We took her to the doctor the other day, more as a derriere-covering exercise than anything, and she agreed with us that it's just a cold, but a sticky one and it's unfortunate that mini-immune systems can't shift sickness more quickly.

So, c'est la vie, but we're looking forward to this being over and getting back to a decent night's sleep.

Eloise's Holidays

I Will Follow Eloise has been on school holidays, and there have been rendezvouses with various of her little friends.

We have had days out to the beach, trips to the Railway Museum, Boxing Day meals, sleep-overs, both home and away.

The new tablet is a source of amusement and angst as extended sessions of Angry Birds, Where's My Water and Subway Surfers have caused her priorities sometimes to be called into question.

But all that notwithstanding, in general she's had a pretty good time in the hot weather with lots of swimming and a general reprieve from dog walking which for the last week or so has been occurring early in the morning to avoid the heat.


Albert River So, no doubt you'll have been reading all over the news about bushfires and record temperatures in sunny Australia.

And indeed, over the New Year period and into January, it's been pretty damn hot.

We were invited by one of Nicole's chums down to a farm down near Beaudesert for a day of camping/relaxation and had a lovely time messing about on the Albert River in some inflatables.

We rode a couple of cascades, modest little waterfalls between swimming holes, which was immensely enjoyable until of course we went that one step too far and tried to go over that last waterfall that had a dog-leg in it, and that all ended in fear and tears, but no harm done!

Matilda came down with us and made friends with the other dogs that were there - Nicole's friend Lis was camping with her extended family, and in true Aussie style this meant a canvas city, twenty people and several dogs. Matilda had a pretty good time nosing around, sniffing dogs' bottoms, and paddling around with us,

In fact, for reasons which remain murky, she point-blank refused to get into the car at the end of the day for the journey home.