Feb 28, 2014


The experience of being undogged has been strange, and of course we miss them terribly. Even Matilda. Nicole and Eloise both profess to wanting new dogs as soon as humanly possible though I don't think it will fall to them to keep any new companions exercised.

For me, I have wished to remain exercised myself, and this has meant going out from time to time on undog walks, where I have basically done the walks that we used to do with the dogs, only without them, what with them having shuffled off this mortal coil, and all.

It occurred to me the other day that I wasn't really taking advantage of my state of grace by still visiting places where dogs were at least tolerated, so the other day I thought we would go up into the mountains on a hot day and chill in the rainforest for our exercise.

Lyra does object these days to the sling and so we walked with her alternately in my arms and walking for herself, feeling the bark of the trees and the damp red earth, looking at the berries and the birds, jumping down the stone steps and climbing up the mossy banks.

When we finished we went to the Maiala cafe where they lent me some band-aids for her leech bite and we ate eggs on toast and drank babyccinos. Or is that babyccini.

Feb 26, 2014

A Diminuendo of Birthday Festivities

Eloise got a birthday party - of sorts - this year, unlike last, although she was only allowed to invite a friend. Although some other friends did sort of invite themselves, and as they were independently transport-capable, they were welcome.

The party was not one with balloons or tooting thingies nor indeed was Happy Birthday even sung, which now that I think of it was an omission. But it did involve a great deal of swimming and sliding, and a certain amount of adrenalin (is that with or without an e?) and some gentle floating around a gently flowing artificial river.

For now that Eloise is nine years old, and in stature in excess of 110 centimetres of the realm, the Gold Coast is our oyster and annual tickets to Wet'n'Wild the shells in which we will grind our thrilling pearls.

I won't bore you with endless recitation of the rides we rode or the slides we slode or the pools we weed in, but Mr Tony, father of Jessica and Penny, took Eloise and Hannah along with his own daughters while I looked after the sleeping Lyra - Nicole having gone off for some "adult time" with Dave (who's Dave? he's Harlow's dad of course) - and let them go, no practically forced them to go on rides that would make my toes curl. They would have made my toes curl, that is, until I went on the Aquaslide, which again I won't bore you with the details of, except to say that it's no ride for children.

We had Hannah for a sleepover after all that was done with and an unusual amount of sleeping was done, then Sunday was quiet and the actual actual birthday was on a school day so early morning present opening, school, then an Italian meal in the evening.

Feb 9, 2014

Pineapple Harvest Time

A couple of years ago for Christmas we bought Eloise a wicking garden in a barrel. There is a reservoir of water in the bottom, beneath the soil of the flower bed, which is drawn up into the soil by capillary action, keeping the plants fed from beneath.

As an exercise in organisation, focus and tenacity, Eloise was charged with keeping the flower bed watered and she planted some pineapple heads in it along with various herbs and spices and endless compromises.

The carrot with which she was encouraged to perform these tasks was that, if she were able to maintain a regime which fostered a successful garden, then she would be allowed a pet fish.

She still does not have a fish, having to my knowledge never having watered the garden at all without having been asked several times, but it has been watered by grownups - admittedly very infrequently - and has produced for us capsicum peppers, spring onions, tomatoes, and pineapples.

Having picked the pineapples, it would be nice if Eloise could follow through and actually try to eat them rather than just leaving them lying in the middle of the table, but I'm not holding my breath.