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.