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.

Aug 5, 2015

Octonauts Anonymous

My name is Lyra and I am addicted to the Octonauts,

Eloise Off to Camp

Eloise was very excited to be going to Camp with school, up to Currumundi on the Sunshine Coast for surfing adventures with minimal supervision (she hoped). She'd even (under duress) packed her stuff up the night before, actually going to the trouble to pack chocolates and lollies (that's sweets to your English) to sneak in surreptitiously.

So a slightly frenetic morning as we were to pick little Piper up on the way and deliver her into the hands of the waiting teachers. Honestly they were only going away for a few days but they had enough bags to sink a troop transport, thanks to the ridiculous ready-for-any-eventuality checklist that was helpfully delivered to us, including such items as lip balm (in case the poor dears get overchapped).

We arrived to find a melee of parents and children milling around windily, anxious about the unprecedented multi-night separation. I just got on with things and got the girls' bags near the relevant transport.

Only then it turned out that Piper had some medication that needed to be registered with the authorities so we had to join the medication queue and answer some silly questions, me masquerading as her mother until the teacher met my eye, I owned up and we decided that bugger it, it was just some aspirin.

Oh, and Eloise decided that she'd left her sunglasses at home, so I had to hotfoot it back with Lyra to find the blimming things, which were nowhere to be found, of course. And she forgot to take her secret sweeties too.

Later it transpired that the sunglasses were in her bags. Maybe just one of them.

Aug 4, 2015

Wattle Flower

The one that goes parallel to the road for a bit, then up a hill that really knackered out Nicole's Mum once, then winds sinuously up through a forest, round the side of a hill, and back along the ridge before plunging back down to a small rocky creek crossing.

Aug 2, 2015

A Spot of Polo

We got invited to a fund-raising Polo match out there in the countryside where they pursue such pursuits. We were invited by a colleague of Nicole's who's a bit of a dashing Arabian type bloke, you know the type: successful, good-looking, probably rich, spending his time performing science for the good of Humanity, etc, etc, while having his photo taken for University of Queensland adverts and such like so you get off the train at Roma St and there he is looking all scientific and intelligent and handsome and purposeful and all that. You know the type.

And of course being an Arabian type bloke or at least from that part of the world, he can ride a horse, probably brought up with horses, who knows? He can probably survive in the desert for weeks on end, drilling for oil just for fun whilst taking breaks to gaze moodily over the infinite dunes while his Arabian stallion grazes at some tuft of grass he's dowsed for.

We toddled down to Beaudesert to watch him play Polo and generally feel invertedly snobby towards the polo-playing and -spectating types.

We had the type of arrangement that you could only get at a polo fixture where you have a space for your car next the field, you drive up, open up your car and either deploy a massive picnicking infrastructure with hampers full of provendered goodness, fine wines, honeyed almonds and the like with trestle tables and sun-tracking sun-shade equipment; or open up your boot and sit on the boot lid or on the ground in front, and watch some horses.

I'm sure you can imagine the option we took.

Due to some clerical oversight our name wasn't up on a sign the way that other parties' were, so we drove up and down the side of the field like numpties until we just chose a spot for ourselves and staked our claim.

The field itself, ringed by a short fence presumably there to prevent ball-related accidents (for the benefit of the naive, polo is a sport that involves balls) and to perform natural selection on horses' shin bones, was a hugely massive area with a couple of goals at either end, over which trampled an odd number of horses (between six and twelve), their hooves beating out a reasonable imitation of a stampede of horses, their riders barking distant and inscrutable one-liners, long mallets swinging like scythes (only vertically), a loudspoken commentary wafting across from the far pavilion on the other side.

At one end a coterie of trucks in which a herd of horses hung around, trying to get out of the sun. Every now and then some fresh blood would be extracted and a rider would get a new horse, his old one being led off in another direction for watering and cooling.

The beasts ran back and forth, mostly in the far distance. The ball rolled back and forth, mostly in the distance. The commentary rolled on and on, we walked around the pitch, visited the stables, met some horses, met some people. In the immortal words of Mr Colin Cliche, we had quite a nice time. It was "an experience."