Dec 20, 2015

A Note on Privacy

I found the Ins key. Which is a relief. On with the bollocks.

I should point out that, now that Eloise is growing up, and of an age where she may become sensitive should I ever divulge to her the existence of this thing, that I am becoming aware that there are certain privacy issues surrounding my somewhat tenuous reportage of her progress as a person, and so I will be making allowances for this as we move forward.

I'm Going to Blog Like There's No Tomorrow

It's come to my attention that I have been remiss over a number of weeks, nay probably months, in my blogging activity, which has led certain individuals to become disenchanted and possibly even suspicious in my commitment to the medium, and by extension, somehow, themselves.

I will seek to redress this by transferring my evening-time wine-drinking activities away from pointless word-games on the back deck to inside where I can type away like a thing possessed until I lose the use of my fingers or decide that transferring images from my phone to the cloud then back again to transfer them to some third-party image-hosting site where I can embed them into a blog post is just too much trouble to carry out in a highly repetitive pattern while trying to hold onto this temporary zeitgeistish enthusiasm I now find myself possessed by.

I've already fallen at the second hurdle. You see after some shall we say problems installing windows 10 onto my laptop the laptop after a while carked it leading to the new computer upon which I am now typing. I can no longer find the Ins key which as you afficionados will know is critical to editing success and therefore you will have to forgive errors in spolling while I figure out what the shell is going on.

So, anywany, soarry?

Nov 15, 2015

Jazz, in the Loosest Possible Sense of the Word

Eloise is a member of the school jazz band. Watching a performance of the jazz band is a strangely surreal experience, as the various members of the ensemble, and there are many, struggle to play their instruments in time with the teacher, who plays his guitar rather than conducts. And as they are beginners, it's fair to say they struggle to play their instruments at all. In combination with this, there are several singers who struggle to stay in time with everyone else, and everyone else being out of tune with each other, they struggle to stay in tune with them.

The resulting dirges can only really be described as cacophonous. Truly, mind-bendingly, teeth-jarringly cacophonous. I have a video. I could post it. But I won't.

Generally they perform each year at the Customs House in the City apparently but this year they'd been gazumped by a fee-paying wedding so to the Brisbane Jazz Club we wended our wary way on a bright sunny day.

The performance was in an open-air area right by the river. The sun was beating down. The tide was high. When a city-cat went past its wake would lap at the feet of the performers. Some canoeists ambled by, the buzz of traffic filtered across the river from the city. All was calm and well with the world.

The calm was shattered by the Macarena, or something loosely resembling it. It struggled to recover amidst a spattering of well-intentioned applause, only to be beaten down again by a song which proclaimed that it liked to wave its hands up in the air sometime; many in the audience felt like waving the white flag, I'm sure. The Time Warp took us by the scruff of our necks, put its hands on our hips then did unspeakable things to our ears.

They're only beginners.

They are only beginners.

Nov 11, 2015

Nov 8, 2015


I may previously have alluded to Nicole's prime motivation around our children's birthdays, which is to bake cakes of stupendous complexity and art.

Due to work commitments we were unable to schedule Nicole's birthday party until a week after the actual birthday that was supposedly being celebrated but regardless we had a cake to make and more to the point to decorate.

This year's theme was the Octonauts (not Frozen, take note) and we made icing-sugar citizens of the deep to accompany Peso the Pungent Penguin, Kwazi the Cretinous Cat and Barnacles the Bollocks Polar Bear down our gullets and into the Midnight Zone of our digestive tracts.

They'll all look the same coming out, possibly not that dissimilar to how they looked going in, for works of art they were most definitely not.

Especially Kwazi, who looked like he'd had an unfortunate encounter with Salvador Dali's Sausage Making Machine.

Nov 2, 2015

Birthday Number Three

Is it wrong to put a toddler into Childcare on its birthday?

Lyra probably understood the general concept of birthdays this time around, insofar as the toddlerof logic of event = outcomes goes. For birthdays = presents and that's all that counts.

For Nicole of course birthdays = cakes, but she's so much more advanced, isn't she.

So present-opening wasn't undertaken until the evening, and many presents there were to be opened, thanks to Lyra's generous grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Oh, and immediate family.

Three glorious years. Here's to three more. At least!

Oct 31, 2015

Hallowe apostraphe en

Hallowe'en's always good for a laugh, isn't it?

Around the corner from us they literally foam at the mouth for it, with legions of kids swarming the streets, ram-raiding everything in sight in the hope of collecting armfuls of sugary treats, marching around in post-apocalyptic peripatetic posses of potential paranoia, escorted by parents exhibiting varying to degrees of bemusement.

Houses are bedecked with cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns and various accoutrements from Bargain Shitty and the locals really throw themselves into it.

Just before sunset.

So at sunset we set out with our gory group of grotesque girls, to find that the fun was over really, and the sullen teenagers were hauling themselves from their tomb-like boudoirs to shuffle around being surly to all and sundry.

And once again, Nicole and I were in toddler-control mode as Eloise made off with Marion and the others, and we were left behind to tour the streets before we had had enough and headed home.

I suppose I should pay lip-service to the preparation part, which afforded us a well-intentioned but ultimately painful retail experience followed by a time-consuming, fraught and counterproductive dressing and make-up session.


Oct 29, 2015

Choral Fanfare

You may remember that previously Eloise's school choir won their competition to decide on the best choir in Brisbane and their surrounds with a rabble-rousing performance of closely-harmonied ditties that were impressive and catchy.

The time came around for the Choral Fanfare Grand Finale at the end of October. The Wilston Warblers were not just disappointed but dare I say mildly disgusted to learn that the Grand Finale would not in fact be a Grand Finale in the sense of a winner-takes-all slugfest of singing skill, choral cohones or indeed musical mastery, but a Showcase instead where the choirs would perform for the sheer enjoyment of singing itself, with no prizes and no endless compromises to shatter the illusions of integrity.

It was a post-school evening affair and so for us poor parents took on the pallor of a toddler-control event. Eloise travelled down on a chartered bus while we poor plebs were forced to transport ourselves and join the queue outside the Old Museum, uncertain even as to the sufficiency of the auditorium to accommodate all the parents and family members who had travelled from far and wide (and in Queensland, far and wide means Far and Wide).

Nevertheless, after the assembled choirs had had some time to practise some sort of massed ensemble thingy, we did indeed file in and we did get seats, and before long the choirs began.

The first half of the evening was devoted to the primary schools, and quite impressive they were, as would befit a performance of the winners of the local Fanfare competitions.

Then a short break before the high schools came on.

If only!

"A short break," the bloke said "during which everybody can get to know each other" or words to that effect.

Forty minutes later everyone knew each other intimately, and we were all looking at each other askance and wondering when the bloody singing would start again so we could get ourselves home. We all have homes to go to, you know!

Lyra was by this stage running around like a fly with a teal tush and we knew that whatever writing there was was in fact on the wall. We waited agog with anticipation while the interval went on and on and on and on.

And then, finally, perhaps even funereally, the wait was over and without a hint of explanation, as though a forty-minute interval is a totally normal thing, the proceedings proceeded once more to proceed.

I have skipped over a detailed deconstruction of the performance of the primary schools because the high school performers just blew them away, completely out of the park. There were six-part harmonic reconstructions of Gotye, street-acapella renditions of Rachel Platten, performances ranging in complexity from the sublime to the ridiculous. It was very good indeed.

Of course much as we were enjoying it the toddler was playing up and after Mum and Lyra retired to the sidelines to give her some space to express her tiredness and restlessness through the medium of dance, bringing her until full view and altogether over-closeness with the supposedly sitting-down massed primary choirs who were supposedly spectating the choirs but actually spectating the terrifying toddler, things went south.

When Eloise decided to jump up and intervene I decided to jump up and intervene as things threatened to get out of hand and escorted young Lyra from the scene of potential crime, leaving a sonic trail of wailing behind that I hoped would be less disruptive than whatever unpleasantness might result if the trajectory of events were to take its natural course.

Oct 24, 2015

Saturday Afternoon at the Playground

I'm not quite sure why we would do such a thing, but Eloise on this Saturday afternoon steered us in the direction of Frew Park, which we have sampled as part of the Playground Census but Eloise had only briefly sampled while Nicole was having her allergies assessed.

The Slide of Doom was once again in operation and we scaled its dizzy heights before ejaculating ourselves from its curly tube. The Silly Stick game was banged away at, and the swings were swung.

Oct 22, 2015

Storming Up Nicely

This one missed us by a mile, as they seem to, but in the distance, lots of lightning.

Oct 21, 2015

Pat to the Rafters

The ongoing search for the perfect playground continues, taking us this time Southside again to the Pat Rafter Tennis Emporium, opposite which is a modern well-appointed playground built on the site of an old power station and so themed, like that makes any difference to toddlers whatsoever, on power, electricity, and even more thrillingly, the architecture of the local electricity supply infrastructure.

Parking is abominable (in terms of its availability rather than practitioner skills, I hasten to clarify) and a walk is required through a modern precinct of well-defined design lines and clearly delineated activity zones - cars go here, people go here - with features such as an apparently pointless and yet strangely pleasing step-based amphitheatre dedicated to an old tennis player whose name currently escapes me but which offered plenty of opportunity for innuendo.

The playground is pretty good as it happens, offering plenty of shade on this sun-soaked day and we spend some happy hours with Lyra and Georgia actually playing together companionably which makes a nice change. There are all the things you would expect of a playground, with the addition of a large cubist climbing frame and a strange thing which defies easy description but involves a freely-moving plastic ramp which, when a toddler is attempting to climb, can be violently agitated from beneath by an irresponsibly adult with predictably hilarious if mildly dangerous results.

There are plenty of different things to do until Georgia urinates voluminably and ostentatiously in a sand-related piece of playground equipment. I am the Good Samaritan who uses a discarded coffee cup to bail the puddle to a less offensive elsewhere before it becomes necessary, in view of the mysteriously besocked onlookers, to call it an armpit and hoof it once more for the safety of the Northside.

Oct 13, 2015

First Bushwalk for Bloody Yonks

I went to Mount Coot-tha for the first time in ages and did the walk that goes down a bit then up, over and around before it comes down again and then around and along a bit then back.

Someone has been stone-balancing.

Oct 10, 2015

String Them Up

I would be the first to congratulate Eloise on her violin skills, if she practiced consistently and managed to move gracefully on from the Strangled Cat phase of bowing skill, but try as I might in my inimitably irascible way to encourage stroke discourage her to stroke from fingering properly, intoning correctly, and correcting the jittering bow, she is taking her sweet goddamn time in making the transition to being a sweet fiddler.

Thinking back, it probably took me many years, and I suppose I must thank my parents for their patience and indulgence, unable as I am to recall their exhibition of these qualities.

Eloise does play in an "Orchestra" by which we have previously been awestruck in their rendition of varying little-known ditties of dubious provenance. Frankly they were pretty dire, but time and plenty of early-morning practice have improved them immeasurable to the point where they have entered a competition.

And on this day, a Sunday no less, Eloise did don her music shirt, and she did pack her musical instrument, and we did journey South into the Badlands of the Southside to Calamvale, that most distant of distant suburbs, where on the way we did become lost and wander in the wilderness before finding said school which was to all intents a wilderness in its own right, titanic and sprawling with schools within schools. And we did eventually find ourselves, near a sausage sizzle, where more Wilston Parents did appear, and thence did the assembled students depart for to practice and we did stand around chatting while the time of our proud discomfortable viewing did approach.

And we filed into the Auditorium and the children did ascend onto the stage and we did watch mistily as they played their music. And it did please us.

They did all right in the end, though they were gutted to get only a silver award, but I thought it reasonable as the Judge delivered his fair assessment that they needed to work on their intonation (i.e. they couldn't really play in tune).

The Plastic Trophy was held aloft and we did hoof it away, a tout vitesse, back to the Sunny Northside, where the living is easy, the traffic light, and the women so much more comely.

Oct 6, 2015


Beauty in this case is apparently on the face of the beholder.

Oct 5, 2015

An End to Swimming for Eloise

I'm a bit of a sucker for a free lunch and, against all objective research evidence, adopt a utilitarian approach to after-school activities to the extent that I feel that they should be useful.

Having said that, Eloise has been whining for apparent aeons that she doesn't like swimming, that it's boring, that it's hard work, on and on and on.

I keep telling her how proud I am of her swimming, how she swims like a fish (in the sense that she swims well, rather than that she spends protracted periods of time underwater playfully and yet aimlessly adjusted her bouyancy through fine-tuned bladder control while opening and closing her mouth gormlessly), and how I get a free swim when she does her thing and it's pretty much my only avenue to fitness other than riding bikes, and taking long walks in the countryside and going to the pub with my friends.

I have finally relented however and allowed her to drop swimming, partially just to relieve my chronic earache, and partly to free up some time for her to do some homework as her other outside-school-activities, those being dancing in its many and varied forms, and so given it up she has.

Oct 4, 2015

Rescue Us From the Animals

One of Eloise's dancing chums invited her to her birthday party. It was located out at Brookfield, a distant Western semi-bush suburb at an Animal Rescue Farm type thing, so we all went along.

Another one of those damned sunny Queensland days; while Eloise attended her party and did her thing the rest of us wandered around shade-seeking, cavorting with the goats and the sheep and the horses.

Some pretty sad cases; it's a charity that takes in and looks after unwanted pets and animals that people could't cope with, but there must have been more to it than that because there was a poor horse, nervous as anything, a hole in its forehead from a gunshot wound, but happy to be stroked. Various farmyard beasts; goats. alpacas, sheep, a pig or two.

Even a camel who came out at the end for photos and ended up raiding the party table for crisps and cupcakes.

Lyra got into the goat enclosure by hook or by crook. Some social faux pas or other got her on the receiving end of a butt or two, which was a bit of a twist at the end of the day. But she was OK and shook it off, because, you know, she's a trooper.

Oct 2, 2015

Medieval Misanthropy

Let's be honest, the main attraction of the Abbey Museum's holiday funtimes is shooting arrows at Damien.

Nicole came this time - what, another day off?! - and was perhaps underwhelmed by the scale of things after the size and gravitas of the monumental festival some months ago. But I think she was won over by the homely unpretentious intimacy of the holiday stuff which is just good fun really. And the kids get to shoot arrows at Damien.

Eloise was chuffed to win a prize for being archer of the day. Cloud-shooting is her thing. That's artillery-style indirect fire for you ingénues.

Lyra had fun mixing paint where it wasn't supposed to be mixed. Nicole had fun dealing with the grown-up tosser who had a go at her about it.

I shot arrows too and hit the target a couple of times. I had a string burn on my forearm for a few days afterwards.

Oct 1, 2015

Lah-Lah's Land of Misadventure

Claire, our Cultural Convener, organised for us to go to see local Australian Kids' TV Starlet Lah-Lah in concert with her Big Live Band, an event to which I was looking forward to at best obliquely, but with toddler's enjoyment at stake I thought perhaps the sacrifice was worth making.

We pitched up early and grabbed a coffee and snack and a romp in the Otherwise Unremarkable Staircase of Enjoyment (pictured above) before heading down to the theatre.

As it turned out, rather than the lip-syncing horror that I was expecting, the band was indeed live, and very good, playing a kind of Jewish-folk pastiche style of music which was at once entertaining and engaging.

The best bit was afterwards when they all met the audience outside and let us touch their equipment.

Sep 30, 2015

Through Frew

In the afternoon of the Gruffalo's Child, Nicole had an appointment with a person of the Medical Persuasion in order to have her increasingly irritating allergies. We, the undersigned, fetched her from her University location where she was doing something or other that was no doubt important, and delivered her to the hospital.

While she was there we, via a tortuous route frustrated by the GPS's inability to deal with a temporary road closure, visited the new Playground Du Jour - Frew Park, voted by the discerning playground public that I talk to as the best park in Brisbane.

Eloise, never having been there, was very impressed. After five minutes Nicole phoned to say she was ready to go and so go we did, with slight regret and a promise to visit again soon.

Nicole will be back on the allergy injections in the New Year, news that was greeted with mixed emotions.

Grufallo's Child

Claire, our Cultural Convener, organised an outing to see a performance of the Gruffalo's Child, a school holiday outing which Eloise and Lyra enjoyed immensely.

Ungrateful bastard that I am, I would like to say thank you, if I did not do so previously.

The play was pretty good even for a grown up. The seating I recall provided an opportunity for toddlers to learn about the value of sharing. An opportunity that was once again sadly spurned.

Sep 29, 2015


They were running some chemistry lessons down at the Museum, and for some reason Eloise was keen.

A note on parking down there; it's become an ongoing problem; the convenient car parks always seem to be full and it's a right pain in the arse. I blame all these people who keep moving here and then visiting places I want to go to.

So for some reason or another, I forget what exactly. probably hair or clothing choices, but maybe not, we were running late. And the convenient car parks were full.

This meant that we had to park at the other end of South Bank and leg it to get to our venue in time.

And when I say leg it, I mean like actually run.

At times like these I begin to realise I might not be totally unfit after all. I jogged gently along with Eloise in the distance behind me completely unable to match me for pace or distance. Zola Budd-like, in the respect of going barefoot rather than being a top endurance athlete or elbowing fellow runners out of the way, I cruised along, occasionally stopping to let the laggard catch up.

And, like the stadium-based final leg, we jogged into the museum and down to the science centre where some bleeding functionary admonished us the name of Health and Safety for jogging in a public place before telling us that we were in entirely the wrong place anyway.

So the Chemistry stuff was good and fine and Eloise made proteins out of balls and springs and investigated the vagaries of the hydrogen bond and all that.

And then a text message came through from the Early Warning people that a huge storm was coming - and we had to run all the way back to the car again.

Sep 24, 2015

Some Lone Pine

A trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary with Claire and Georgia which passed uneventfully if entertainingly. Eloise fed the lorikeets, always the high point of her day.  On this occasion the cirds had the unexpected bonus of an Indian boy's head. Nice, hey?

The memorable thing for us grown-ups I'm sure will be Eloise's end-of-day disappearance with Georgia leading to me calling out the Search Detail as they vanished like a puff of logic into the ether of gullibility. One minute they were behind us as we exited the establishment, next they were nowhere.

Claire minded Lyra next to the Unconvincing Koala of Photographic Opportunity while I strolled purposefully performing my Whistle of Summoning to no avail. I purloined a Young Functionary who put out an APB as we roamed the establishment. I returned to the front door, but no signs of the miscreants.

Had they been kidnapped?! Had they fallen off the bridge into the Grassy Crevasse?!! Never to be seen again?!!!

After another fruitless tour, I returned to the front door to find them, contrite, having buggered off back to the car super quick owing to some vague commitment I'd made at the start of the day about some hanging chair swing thingies. They'd gone back to swing on the thingies.

Eloise told me that Claire had words with her. She denied it.

Sep 23, 2015


Here's Lyra attentively receiving the ministrations of a ladies' hairdresser at our posh hair-care provider down in Fashionably New Farm.

Sep 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Nicole

Nicole's Birthday today. I don't know if there's a number base in which she's 21 any more... hang on... nope/

Lyra in childcare means fun for everyone else, and it's school holidays so Nicole, Eloise and I go down to the South Bank to see the Luck Child by the bloke out of the Umbilical Brothers who Isn't Bald in the Spiegeltent.

First though we visit Paddington for a slap-up breakfast. I just hope I'm not the one who's due the slapping.

Our first breakfast venue appears promising but unfortunately suffers a kitchen fire in their rangehood, necessitating a cancellation and evacuation.

The second venue is far superior in that they actually serve us food. Which is nice.

Then to South Bank and the Spiegel Tent and very entertaining it is too, if life-threateningly hot.

Weirdly, on the way out Eloise and I are collared on the way out by a camera crew. Weirdly also I agree to talk to them, which turns out to be a life-shattering experience as I attempt to be an erudite smartarse about things I'm unable to pretentiously riff on and consequently make a complete arse of myself.

Afterwards we visit the City Hall and the Museum of Brisbane where Eloise is bored and unafraid to show it before we ascent the dizzy heights of the clock tower to gaze out over the vista of towers that are much taller than we are.

After picking Lyra up we head back to Paddington where we visit an Italian place where we gorge on oily pasta and fondle finely sculpted statuesque ladies' breasticles.

Sep 20, 2015

Frank, My Dear

Max the Potato Guy has some puppies. It seems he has chosen to retain one, and bring him to market, probably to attract nubile ladies to surreptitiously ogle. Who knows.

Any Frank the Dog is a big hit with Eloise and Lyra, unsurprisingly, being a dog and all.

Sep 18, 2015

Building Blocks

Lyra proving that wholesale building blocks destruction isn't the only game in town.

Sep 10, 2015

College's Crossing

Another introductory visit to a playground of our past, after a visit to a ho-hum Ipswich Art Gallery toddler fun-time activity thing which proved, as I think I said, a bit ho-hum.

College's Crossing is an expansive area by the Brisbane River (I think) where Recreation is Officially Sanctioned by the Powers That Be.

Our initial parking space led us to a playground that was reasonably shite but a shortish walk led us to another playground that was quite nice and where literally quite a lot of minutes of gently playful fun was indulged in, until the bark throwing started and toilets needed to be visited.

For some strange reason I had a Sisters of Mercy song going through my head that day.

Sep 9, 2015

Anzac Park

So here we are on a post-swimming Wednesday outing with C&G at a previously unvisited by them and only vaguely remembered by me park on a what I recall to be a suspiciously sunny day where the sun beat down, as it does on days such as this, on my neck in a vaguely threatening way.

The park, well-appointed once upon a time no doubt, appears jaded and past its best to the adult eye, but provides a possibly entertaining venue for the ongoing personal space issue that appears to characterise the Lyra-Georgia dynamic. Duo.

Sep 7, 2015

Nicole in Day Off Shocker

I'll not attempt to provide a running commentary upon Nicole's progress on her Ph.D. as I am barely qualified to do so given the patchy and rambling reports that I am privy to, plus the fact that try as I might to understand what's she's doing I can shelter under the pretence that it's all just too much for my pretty little head to worry about.

Anyway, on this particular day, the photographic evidence suggests that Nicole took a rare day off from her jobs and to celebrate this we undertook an outing to your favourite up-and-coming bohemian beatnik suburb and mine, West End, to wander around and invariably purchase ladies' self-betterment products from Perfect Potions.

And after indulging in this retail relaxation we visited a coffee caravan to imbibe their caffeinated comestibles along with some fine veggie cuisine which left me at least feeling portly and mildly faint.

Sep 6, 2015

What Is Known As Parklands

It seems according to the photographic evidence that we visited the Roma Street Parklands the next day.

My increasing memory lapses suggest early-onset dementia though perhaps not being able to remember what I was up to three months ago is just plain normal for a man of my advanced years.

It's my suspect recollection that a new playground had just opened which we attended with high - and perhaps unreasonable - hopes which were gently deflated after a pleasant walk through the gardens, thankfully involving Lyra's remaining clothed and failing to swim naked upon the Many Steps of Inappropriate Nudity.

The playground was OK and has in fact improved upon further visitation, but we moved on on that occasion to the trusty playground just up the way where Eloise demonstrated her athleticism as shown above.

And a good time, I'm sure, was had by all.

Sep 5, 2015

Grange May Fair in September

The Grange May Fair normally happens in May, around May Day, as you might expect but this year was disrupted by inclement weather probably to do with climate change and all that - lots of rain, general unpleasantness - and so was rescheduled for whatever day this is in September,

We pitched up and before long met up with the Bs who were as usual bullish on entertainment, not to mention pizza, and we watched tap dancers who tickled Eloise's fancy and were in fact very good even according to my exacting dance-dad standards before sampling the delights of the petting zoo and pony rides around which banter was had with the Lucks.

Did you know about the etymology behind the naming of animal meats, for example? For behind that lies an intriguing story of those who write history, they being the rich french-speakers who were able to write; hence pig and pork and cow and beef and so on. Anyway, I digress.

Ponies were ridden and stalls were visited and dancing was witnessed and singing was heard and before long Tony and I headed up to the Pizza Shop of Gourmet Perfection to procure pizzas to be wolfed watching the fillum.

And as night fell we hunkered down for Paddington, and lo there was wine and there was pizza and there was a picnic blanket and the sort of middle-aged discomfort that come with being over-reclined for too long.

And then back to ours on the back deck where an unscheduled extra festivity occurred involving more wine and a certain amount of jollity.

If I remember correctly.

Sep 4, 2015

Uke Harries Notes

Power chords on the Ukelele. Played with great enthusiasm but surprisingly little skill. I wasn't even cleaning the windows at the time.

Aug 30, 2015

Kite Festival Highlights Recreational Impetus of Retail

lyra kite festival

The Redcliffe Kite Festival was somewhat disappointing this year; nice that we got parked relatively close, nice weather, a few nice moments, but basically a field with a few kites being flown flanked by an absolute legion of market stalls selling all manner of crap.

Apparently these mark the ingredients of a successful day out these days; wandering around from stall to stall being hassled by children to by rubbish they don't need and in fact don't even really want.

I queued up for hours - well, many minutes - for a coffee, stupidly, before watching a pointless demonstration of water-skiing prowess which nobody was very impressed by despite the commentators exhortations to enthusiasm, before more market stalls. It was all a bit meh. Apparently a word.

The indisputable highlight of course was the Risen Madonna with the Big Boobies.

risen madonna with the big boobies

Aug 27, 2015

Book Week Cosplay Clothes-swap Shenanigans

eloise book week
To cut a short story shorter, Eloise was planning to "leverage" the enormous expense of dance costume outlay by attending Book Week dress-up day as Jasmine from Aladdin (is that even a book?) or 1001 Nights (does Princess Jasmine even appear in that?) but then she and her real-life friend Jasmine, who appears in occasional playtime fun and regularly at school, decided to swap costumes and Eloise ended up going as a Japanese Bear (in which book he or she appears is anybody's guess) re-branded as Winnie the Pooh (disregarding the Disney t-shirt, I don't believe dear Winnie had a white breast, not to mention the crocs).

Aug 14, 2015

Chook Back in Anger

It was clear that Clara the chicken was not feeling too fresh as she gaspily permitted Lyra to pick her up and cuddle her and languished in the garden feeling sorry for herself.

It was only a couple of days later that I was digging the hardened backyard soil in preparation for a touching yet somewhat perfunctory ceremony whereby the dead chicken, after a long and dignified life, was interred, leaving Elizabeth as the last chook standing, besides the brush turkey who thinks she's a chicken.

Now a male bush turkey has moved in and Lacey the turkey (apparently that's her name) is about to be disabused of her misconceptions. In fact another lady turkey has moved in too, and they have constructed a large nest at the bottom of the garden, and nature is probably going to take its course.

Elizabeth the chicken is now being hounded by these pesky interlopers, unfortunately. It's all gone horribly wring for her.

Aug 10, 2015


After Lyra snagged her Octonauts Show Bag, she has been delighted to carry her new backpack around at least two or three times.

Aug 9, 2015

Ekka, Again, again.


Backstage Broodiness at Dog Show

All credit to Nicole for avoiding any talk of dog acquisition after seeing this dead ringer for dear departed Tiny backstage at the dog show. Eloise and Lyra were very fond of the greyhounds but I remain unswayed.

Attempts to Lose Child at Ekka Fail Again

Another year, another Ekka.

Slightly poignant this time as this year I was also celebrating my anniversary, that of my horrendous cycling accident and subsequent hospitalisation and somewhat lengthy recovery.

You don't need me, I'm sure, to go over the fine details of the day which were much the same as many previous years.

The main deviation from the norm was that Lyra, being a motile organism this time, took the agricultural theme of the day to heart, and made like a horse by hoofing it.

By way of background we had made our way around the perimeter of the show and been for a spot of food before making our way to the animal petting area. The layout had changed slightly and we had to walk around the petting area before joining the queue.xtb v vv.e
Impulsive little Lyra decided that queueing was not for her, and ran off a toute vitesse. We thought little enough of it and dispatched Eloise to retrieve the runaway. But she came back a few seconds later, Lyra having disappeared into thin air.

So Nicole kept our place in the queue (we are British after all) while Eloise and I went off in the search of the little tyke.

It so happened that the Police, bless them, had a stall nearby where they were showing off their wares, mostly themselves. So I asked one of them, assuming he had excellent observational skills honed by years if not months if not weeks of training and practical use, if he had seen a toddler in a Frozen dress wandered or running by.

Unfortunately he had not observed any diminutive pedestrians, but he offered the assistance of his team in Operation Apprehend Elsa.

They immediately sprang, one by one, into action. "Can you give me a description of the child?"

"She's a dwarf in a frozen dress."

And off we went, with a lady police officer repeatedly telling me that she knew I was panicking, even though I wasn't.

We met up with another officer: "Can you give me a description of the child?"

Another kept Nicole company in the queue, where she was also failing conspicuously to panic, keeping her calm by asking her for a description of the child, and whether she'd agreed a rendezvous location ("She's two years old. That would probably be pointless.") or if there was something that she'd really wanted to do that she hadn't been allowed to ("She's two years old...")

Anyway I was still searching purposefully with this Policewoman in tow. "Why are you looking here?" she asked. "I understand that you're panicking by the way."

"I'm not panicking. I just thought she might have run around here." I began to suspect that the police lady was sublimating or perhaps projecting onto me. "Why don't you go and look over there where the horses are."

I went back to check on Nicole who hadn't seen Lyra but had been conversing with several policemen who'd been asking for increasingly detailed descriptions, like the place was rife with runaways in Frozen dresses with a wild look in their eyes or something. She suggested that she might have gone to wash her hands, near the exit of the petting area, so I went to look there while Nicole kept her place in the queue, still failing to panic.

It was by the sinks, where Lyra wasn't, that it hit me. I should probably look in the petting area. So I went to the exit, figuratively shoulder-charging the attendant through the medium of explaining that I had a lost child, before in a matter of seconds observing a Frozen-dress-wearing dwarf with a wild look in her eyes ministering to a slightly perplexed looking goat, clearly having forced her way into the petting zoo, bypassing the queue by the most efficient means available to her.

The police were certainly relieved to have her back after the five minutes or so of asking for her description, so we calmed them down by getting a little wristband put on her with my number on it.

Aug 8, 2015

A Ride in the Winter Sun

Pleasant Saturday afternoon.

Went for a bike ride up Kedron Brook. Initial infantile reluctance expressed with loud screaming, reminiscent of torture chambers of early Renaissance era, overcome with brute force, resulting in loud screaming, reminiscent of torture chambers of late Renaissance era.

Screaming swiftly abated as we got underway as infant remembered that riding along on a bike isn't all that bad actually, especially when there's a botty-crack not many inches in front of you that causes high-pitched hoots of surprised when hands are applied.

Sunshine over Kedron Brook warms the cool air, chilly in the shadows but the Gaston suit keeps us toasty.

Parents elect to stop at modest playground where climbing and swinging is done. Some exercise equipment also experimented with, to little effect.

As the sun goes down and the warming rays withdraw, more screaming as bike-mounting reluctance reinstates itself in force.

Aug 7, 2015


We picked Eloise up after her return from Camp Adventure (or whatever it was called) and it seemed that, bless her, she had missed us all terribly, as evidenced by much cuddling and rolling around on the ground once we were out of sight of her chums.

She had been paddle-boarding, amongst other things. That was certainly the highlight of my recollections of what she did. I can't remember anything else. Maybe she didn't tell me. Now I think of it, there may have been some adventure swinging and rafting, that sort of thing.

She did tell me that the food wasn't as good as she gets at home, so it must have been appalling indeed.

And apparently some of these Aussie kids just can't help getting up at the crack of dawn and waking everybody else up.

But all that aside it seems that it was an experience that she may not forget for some time to come.