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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy Birthday Lisa

Looks like I'm not the only slack one in this family. :-)

Sorry I'm a couple of days late, Lis - but better late than never!

Hope you had a beautiful day and that Adam and everyone pampered you for the day! If not, then you're owed two days of pampering and relaxing to make up with it! ;-)

I've got your present - it'll be coming with Carolynn's one. After the crazy weather that we've been having, I've decided to wait until after the Christmas rush to pop them in the post (apparently the sorting offices are backed up already!). I'll let you know when they're on the way!

I really hope you had a fabulous day. I'll catch you online soon!


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Beginning to feel a little like Christmas

It's hard to believe that Christmas is next week. It doesn't feel particularly like it just yet - certainly my flat doesn't feel Christmasy and I have to go to work on Monday, so it's not even holidays for me yet. However, we did have the work Christmas party last night, so today feels a bit closer to the festive season (and no, it's not because I had too much to drink).

The work Christmas party always has some kind of "entertainment" and this year they got a silhouette artist to come along. It's quite a weird thing - this guy cuts your silhouette out of paper while you stand there. Most people got a traditional style portrait (head and shoulders only) but he asked me if I wanted head and shoulders or full length. I gave him the choice and less than two minutes later, he gave me my caricature silhouette. I love it - reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and you know that's a look I quite fancy. :-) Bruce just got head & shoulders (but didn't get an option - I think after mine he started doing more full-length ones). It was a good night out and a lovely beginning to the festive season.

It started snowing here yesterday. It's been fairly cold for the last few weeks but it's now looking like I might actually get a white Christmas (it's been fairly white up north for weeks now). We had a terrible time trying to get to a shopping centre for some not-quite-last-minute shopping - it took us one and a half hours to drive there (usually it's about 20 minutes) and when we arrived we were told that the whole centre was shut! What kind of crazy management closes a shopping centre on a Saturday just before Christmas?! At least we got out of the flat for a little bit. I quite like the snow, I just hope it doesn't stop us getting to Cardiff on Monday night!

Any updates on Christmas plans from Australia?


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Happy birthday Carolynn!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Carolynn,
Happy birthday to you!!!

I'm a little late with this post but not as late as your pressie will be - I bought it more than a month ago and it's still sitting on my floor - oops. Sorry! It will be in the post this week, so keep an eye out for it.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday with lots of sunshine. The snow has come back over here again - in fact, it's snowing even as I write this.

*big hugz* from the cold side of the world.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Friday, 26 November 2010

Tramboat trip

On Wednesday Nana, Denise and I went on a bus trip to Melbourne for a trip on the tram boat. It's not an actual tram as theowners were advised that would sink so they had a boat made to look like a tram. Our tour was to the pub. We had coffee and a slice for morning tea, then fish and chips or chicken snitzel served at the pub. The weather was warm but perfect for travelling on water. The aircon on the bus was working hard especially on the way home. As it was Denise's birthday we all sang to her and she got a slice/cake with the only candle they had ( a 50th) She was happy with that.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Autumn in the UK

ColoursI keep promising a Bandwagon update.. and here it is. It's been a busy few months - apart from work bring non-ideal we've had a few trips away - York for the August bank holiday weekend, Paris in early September, Manchester at the end of October for the Science Festival. I've got photos from each trip but haven't uploaded them yet - I'm not as quick as Glenn and Dee were.. but they didn't have the distraction of work either. :)

As you're all enjoying longer and warmer days, my days are becoming decidedly colder and darker. Daylight savings ended a couple of weeks ago so it's often dark before I get home. Many of the leaves don't  like the cold and have been getting their own back by jumping off the trees and making footpaths slippery. I didn't manage to catch a falling Autumn leaf so I'll just have to hope I don't get the flu. Mum, did your Easter catch work?


I carved my first pumpkin this year - a tiny little thing no bigger than my fist. Bruce made a regular-sized one and we watched Nightmare Before Christmas while we carved. It was good fun.

Oooh, pretty

To continue the Autumnal celebrations, last week was Guy Fawkes day so I headed up to Wednesbury for the weekend. We thought about looking for fireworks displays on Friday (Guy Fawkes Day) but it was fairly dismal weather - lots of drizzly rain. It didn't stop us burning a sparkler or two outside.  Bruce's folks also found some indoor fireworks in the loft. They were pretty funny - little pellets stuck on cardboard that fizzed, sparked or produced weird fluffy ash. Saturday was a completely different story - it was cold but clear and perfect fireworks weather. We joined several thousand others at Himley Hall for a giant bonfire (the stack of pallets looked as tall as a house and probably the width of the carport!) and firework display. The fireworks were set to music and made it easy to forget the chill. The hot chocolate with flake also helped us keep warm. :) It was definitely a good evening and well worth the entry fee and the wait to get out (we arrived early enough to miss the wait on the way in).

Pumpkin King

It's a bit worrying to think that the next public holiday will be Christmas - where did the year go?! Between now an then I've got quite a few projects to finish at work and some more jobs to apply for - it's certainly a busy time of year. Ooh and make sure you update kaboodle or send me wish-lists - I need to do my Christmas shopping soon!


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Happy Birthday Glenn!

You there. You up the back, with the t-shirt on. No, not you, next to you. Yes, you. Glenn, is it?


Thursday, 30 September 2010

Ookky ookook, ookle ookook.

Because everybody needs a monkey.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Some spring here.

Update from us

As usual, it's been a while since we posted anything on the bandwagon, so I thought I'd give a bit of an update. This week has could have best been described as Hellishly busy. After a few weeks of not much going on at work, suddenly a client came to us with a massive job and a really tight deadline.. today being said deadline, and I'm writing this over my lunchbreak while awaiting any more feedback from them. Unfortunately, this was also the week in which I've got two Iaido demos.. one on Sunday, and the other yesterday afternoon. This basically meant that the last few days I've been starting around 6 or 7am so I can get the work done and also so I could leave early Wednesday for the demo. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but the sum result is I'm pretty tired :)

So the demos. Yesterday afternoon Takeo and I were at a big park in Adelaide for a half hour or so. We did some kata together, then faced off against each other with Takeo attacking and me defending.. then we did five each alone (we were clapped at the end!) and finished with some bamboo cutting. The crowd actually built up to be pretty large. Cheryl has posted photos, and I'll chuck a couple in here.. you can see it's fairly sparse in the first one, but by the end there's people behind us watching as well. The demo Sunday should be a bit less stress.. it's just for my Dojo in Reynella, so myself and a couple of students will do about 3 kata each and that will be all.
If you want to see all the photos you can see them here.

We hung around at the Moon Lantern Festival after the demo to eat some delicious Korean food and watch a few of the shows on the main stage. Oscar also tasted his first ice-cream.. which was Cheryl's ice-cream, but he didn't want to share ;) We got it off him when we offered him a banana instead.. he loves his fruit!

Oscar is growing up so quickly and learning a lot. He's gradually adding more words, some from us (like "nan" and "up") and some from childcare (like "ta" and "more") and some he just seems to pick up himself. He started saying "nose", "mouth" and his favourite "eye" suddenly one day. He really likes to mimic us too.. sometimes you wont realise you're doing something (like scratching the top of your head) until you see Os doing it too.
He's becoming much better at feeding himself.. some foods are easier than others of course, but he loves using a spoon, fork and knife when he can. He also loves reading books.. I think that's his favourite quiet time activity. Sometimes he'll even sit down and look through the books himself. We play a lot, he loves chasing and hiding games, and really likes exploring outside. He can get a bit quiet and shy with new people, but I reckon it takes about 20 minutes for him to get used to them (and it took about 2 minutes with Sam :))

We're looking forward to seeing Mum and Nana next week, even if there is a fair bit of cleaning the house still to be done. I'm getting Wednesday and Thursday off work (which I appreciate even more after this week) and then Friday Cheryl and I will go out for a few drinks with friends to celebrate my birthday. Gotta make the most of the experienced babysitters :) Monday is a public holiday too! It's going to be a good week :)

Hmm.. I think that's it from me. Hopefully Cheryl can pop on and say how her work is going, and anything I might have forgotten. I'd better get back to work!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A busy day

Feeling very weary but pleased with what I've accomplished. I also washed and polished the kitchen floor and did a load of washing (still to put that away). The pic shows the old heater from Denise and Pete, which was in front of garage doors, moved next to the shed where there used to be lots of cut up wood to be burned. Moving it just around the corner was the best I could manage. There is still some cut up wood for Nana, Denise and Pete and the chiminea as well as some in a drum down the back. Even moved some old wheels round to the side where I can forget them. Other outside jobs done were poisoning the weeds and feeding the lemon tree and I made sure I didn't mix those up.
Cooking is on the to do list but Monday pm or Tuesday look good for that.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Work on the horizon

Just a quick note to say my contract with the place in London is all approved now, and I might be starting work for them on Monday (!!). Of course, I'm not sure if I should actually do anything before the actual contract is signed, sealed and delivered, but hey -- what else am I doing, really? (Plus it would be nice to get a little extra money now ... we're rapidly burning through our "holiday funds", even without rent to pay (thanks Mums) -- if I start on Monday I can probably put in an invoice on the 30th, and get paid for two weeks work thirty days after that. Better than nothing!)

I'm sure you're all reading The Long Way Home (you are, aren't you??) so you know we took a little trip to Albury-Wodonga this past week. Well, actually just Albury -- Wodonga isn't anywhere near as nice or clean or modern as the New South Welsh half of the pair. We had a trip to Ettamogah Pub (in Table Top) one day, and stopped in Beechworth on the way home. It's a lovely little town, full of boutique shoppes and lots of "housey" stuff ... Dee spent a couple of hours and could've spent more wandering around, checking stuff out and picking up business cards. I think we'll be visiting again once we find a house...

We also stopped at Wangaratta to see some family friends of Tricia's, and got scones with jam and cream! Diet starts (again) tomorrow.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Bathroom Makeover

On Thursday Cameron's came to measure Nana's bathroom. They suggested a large shower and no bath rather than squeezing in a shower and bath. Nana never uses the bath so she decided a large (1200cm) shower with glass on two sides would be nice. Today I took her to choose her vanity and taps. She's having a mixer tap on the vanity. Out of two, she picked one she'd fancied on the competition day. It has a narrower cupboard but Nana felt would be good to get close to if washing her hair. She is also having a cupboard in the corner, to store towels . They'll also provide towel rails. I mentioned an IXL light/heater and fan. We may have to pay the electrician to fit it. The girl helping us there showed Nana some taps that she loved for the shower.
We then went to National tiles to choose wall and floor tiles. Not a very big range to choose from. Nana found one she liked for the walls and we brought home four samples of floor tiles so we could see them in situ. They are a fawn colour with the floor ones slightly darker than the walls. Leaving them for Auntie Denise to have a say over the weekend. They are also replacing her toilet. Now I need paint samples to check against the tiles.
It's very exciting and everyone so far has been very enthusiastic. Work is to start on 11th October.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The tidy patio

Spring must be coming. Sitting out for a BBQ by the chiminea.Now I've cleaned the blinds. We're ready for summer.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Jeep

Glenn backed out of the drive and they headed for Cohuna to show the car to Trish. They'll stay up there a couple of days. Glenn's former boss has contacted him, so job prospects look good.
House hunting or holidays next.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

matching reality to graphic design.

The UK flag t shirt is great. Now do we all need to match our icons on the Blog?
What an interesting pic that would make.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Happy Birthday to Cheryl

Happy birthday Cheryl
Have a great day.
Lots of love from

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Happy birthday to Trinity

******Happy birthday to Trinity*****
Have a great day. I'll see you tonight.
Love from Nanny.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Happy Birthday Mum

It may seem like I'm going back in time, but it's just because I'm on the other side of the globe. ;-)

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Mum
Happy birthday to you

*big hugz and kisses* from London.

(Email) From Bangkok, with love

Hi all, Dee's brother just informed me that there was an explosion (or a series of) in Bangkok -- but I thought you'd be happy to hear that we left the capital for Koh Samui that day, and had no idea it had even happened!!

So yeah, a quick note to say we're fine and relaxing on the beach far away from any "civil unrest". If you don't hear from us for a little while it's because the internet terminal is way up on a hill, and I'm lazy.

But of course feel free to drop us an email saying how relieved you are to hear that we are alive and well. :-) Oh, and tell anyone else who might want to know, in case I've forgotten.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Trinity's kinder party.

Hi all.
Lisa made the cute fish shaped cup cakes for Trinity's kinder party. She said cutting the spearmint leaves was difficult and took way longer than she had hoped. Still she got them done and they were a great hit. I'm going to try for a photo.

Friday, 23 July 2010

My Busy Life!

It's been too long since i last updated the bandwagon. So here it goes...Will and I have been going out for over a year now Yay! School is going well I'm doing the best in english and math, I have the cisco exam next week, finally after i failed it. I had to wait about 6 weeks before i could do it again. Next weekend is my Calisthenics concert, It's trinity' first concert. The weekend after that is Will's 18th birthday. I don't know what to get him for his birthday, any ideas?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Happy birthday to Dayna

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Dayna
Happy birthday to you.

Lots of hugs and kisses from me to you and from Nana too.

We'll celebrate your birthday here on Sunday, when we go out for lunch.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I wanna cupcake!

Hehe - Lazy Glenn is sleeping so I thought I'd take the opportunity to use the lappy, we have decided to stay another 3 nights in Vientiane - the hotel is cheap and nice plus has the added bonus of a functioning air conditioner, its so fantastic in the afternoon I turn it down to 20 degrees,throw a blanket over myself and read, its amazingly luxurious, Glenn laughs at me.

We are planning what to do with the remainder of our time here, I think we will travel to bangkok then skip across to Siem Reap, see some temples then head back, then make our way down towards Singapore, hopefully having enough time to stay a week at one of the islands, I need to check out prices though, Ko Samui seems well placed but I'm uncertain if I will be comfortable on a beach resort with 19 year old females swanning around in skimpy bikini's, don't get me wrong, I'm not prudish, in fact if I had the body I too would be swanning around is something akin to dental floss, but given I don't, the idea intimidates me.

Oh and in other very exciting news I have finally caved and joined Facebook, I'm still not convinced... watch this space....

Not much longer now I hope till we are home, both Glenn and I cant wait, travelling has been fun, but we are both desperate now to be on home soil. An email from our travel agent advised that the boat has been delayed another 4 days due to bad weather, however he believes this time will be made up when it arrives in Singapore, so fingers crossed.

Love to you all!
hugs dexo

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cake day

Last year I made myself a black and purple black forest cake for my birthday. I selflessly took it to work and shared it with my workmates. This year I won't be making myself a birthday cake - I've made summer cupcakes for tomorrow.

Cake day cupcakes

Our office has a roster for cake. Every Tuesday, someone brings in a (usually home-made) cake. Fortuitously my cake day is this week - so I'm starting my celebrations early. It took me about 3 hours tonight to make and ice these cakes. I don't have a real oven in my flat - just a microwave convection, so I can only cook 6 cakes at a time. The icing also took a long time - washing out the piping thingy between every colour gets to be a drag, but I think the results are worth it. Now I just have to hope I get them all to work without damaging them.

Wish me luck!

Now can someone else post something please?!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Happy Birthday Daria

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Daria
Happy birthday to you!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

...and rest!

I've had a busy couple of weeks working hard taking physics to the public. You can see a great photo of me engaging with some policemen on the IOP blog. The days haven't been especially long (we were out on the South Bank from noon until 5pm) but they were very tiring. The weather was great for us - sunshine and around 28 degrees every day - but it made it difficult to sleep at night. Especially when it was still 27 degrees in my flat when I got home at 8pm!

I went to Ireland for the weekend, we took Physics in the Field to Spraoi in the Park. It was a great event - in a sunny park in the middle of Waterford. Unfortunately our kit didn't turn up, the courier who assured us overnight delivery just didn't deliver. I'm glad that we use common house-hold object for our tricks, it meant that Alex and I could just head to the Tesco supermarket and buy everything for the weekend. We didn't have any logos or giveaways and our stand looked a bit haphazard but people still enjoyed learning about our tricks and often came back to our table again and again. :-)

Today I'm at home, waiting for a parcel delivery. I've realised that I have been writing my address wrong - Willesden Green in the tube station and the suburb is Willesden. But it's easier to write the address as follows (and I've updated the Contacts page too):

The Annex
24 Aylestone Avenue

Please update your address books and tell Nana too.

Time for someone else to update the Bandwagon. :-)
p.s. Glenn, when you're back can you update the buddy icons?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Early mornings

Technically I've been in my flat for two weeks now.. admittedly it doesn't really feel like it - but that's probably because I've been too busy to just hang around.

You may have read on FB that I was working last weekend - three long but fun days. Friday I drove four of us to Wales, after hassles getting the hire car that we'd ordered.. apparently the previous rentee had been in a bingle (you guys know what I mean here, right? everyone I've spoken to has no idea what I'm talking about and I'm beginning to think I'm making up words..). Anyway, apparently they didn't have any car for us (and it was not their problem?!) but eventually it was sorted out and we  headed off, two hours late, in a 9-seater VW shuttle. Not the easiest thing to drive through peak hour traffic, but I managed!

We spent the weekend showing people physics tricks, like how to stick a kebab stick through a balloon, making straw oboes (like I did for Manchester Science Festival Speedy Science), growing marshmallows (and shrinking them again) and tipping cups of water over people's heads without them getting wet.

Drove back to London on Sunday night (more used to driving the van by then).. and got home around midnight. I didn't have to go to work on Monday (that's the rules - work the weekend, have Monday off) and I'm having this Monday off too. :-)

I'm slowly settling in to the flat. The full window makes it difficult to sleep later than 7.30am.. which is good and bad. A few days I've got up early, started putting things away / organising stuff and was late for work because I wasn't watching the time. Oops.

What's everyone else been up to?

Friday, 7 May 2010

Moving moving

I didn't take much of a lunch-break, so I've got time to write an update here. :-)  You all know that Glenn and Dee are moving back to Australia at the end of the month (via a long and interesting travel route). So, I have to move out on my own (again *grin*). I was a bit worried about finding a place that I can afford, is easy transport from work and has all of life's little luxuries (like non-shared toilets, your own kitchen and maybe even a washing machine). I'm happy to say that after spending hours looking at potential places on the internet and viewing one in real life, I've got a place to move in to!

Unfortunately, the photos were taken down before I could steal them to put up here, so you'll have to wait for me to take my own to see what it's like. It's a self-contained studio with a grown-up bunk bed (ie. my bed is above the bathroom and there's a ladder to get to it..hehe). It's got a kitchen area (with two gas hotplates, a convection microwave, a small fridge/freezer and a table and chairs!), a lounge area (with sofa bed - in case of visitors) and my very own outside courtyard (probably less than 2m squared). It's compact, but good. Although it's all one big room, the raised bed makes it feel more like a multi-room flat. :-)

Anyway, I pick up the keys tomorrow and then have two and a bit weeks to move everything! How exciting.


Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Does anyone know where you can download the android software for nokia??

Saturday, 1 May 2010

more photos?

the photos worked here so I'll try for a couple more. They do take a while to upload. This time it let me upload three at once. I've included me in a working hat.

Here was what I did for the afternoon.

Trying for more photos.

Backyard blitz and a silver lining

Hi all. Since the volcano meant Dayna and Bruce stayed an extra ten days, we got the artificial turf laid and that inspired me to tidy the edges with pavers. Lisa helped there as well as help while the turf was laid and sand swept in.
Today I got more pavers and replaced the old ones under the pots and also did the walk into the vege garden. Also trimmed the edge of the path and sprayed to discourage the ants. Maybe rain is coming.
I'll try for photos yet again.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

What we've been doing

Time for an update from the Adelaide family :)
Firstly Oscar. Poor little thing has been trying to get over tonsillitis this week. It started with a fever last Wednesday that kept on coming and going. By Monday he was quite miserable so we took him to a GP and got some antibiotics. He's been enjoying his special little drinks of medicine. He sucks it out of the syringe! :) Yesterday his fever went down and he slept for about 6 hours and was feeling much better. Today we went to our GP and she has also prescribed some drops for his eye which is a bit infected (probably due to him spreading his infection when he rubs his face). Os and I stayed home yesterday and will be home tomorrow again instead of our usual work & childcare routine. The doctor thinks that he should be better by the end of this weekend.
As well as childcare & work, Os and I have been busy with a few other things. We attend a nutrition class every second Monday as part of a study on childhood obesity through one of the universities. I've learnt a lot from the classes, plus they provide free childcare during the class and a fruit platter to share ;) We also usually attend playgroup on a Thursday morning and catch up with Os' little friends and do some craft activities.
Damien will be teaching his second class tonight. He got another call last night from someone interested in joining, so the class is steadily growing. When Oscar is well enough we'll come along to a class and take some photos :)
And finally, it was our 6-year anniversary last weekend. We didn't end up doing too much because Oscar was unwell, but we did have a nice dinner at home.
Oh yeah, I've also put some photos and a video of Oscar walking up onto Facebook!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Update on Life

Ok...well looks like I can't do work experience through school but can do it privetly. They won't let me because I don't live on the boarder and the duty of care to me and they need to do a workplace visit. I'm still having trouble with CISCO but it's getting better and the teacher is starting to help me but i need to like be louder or else i don't get help...stupid i know. Will and I have been going out for 11 months now and everyone is surprised we're still together because he is trying to download a virus to make another virus, I don't know why but he is. If anyone knows where to download it that would be much appreciated. Well I think thats all.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Finally a Madhouse update.

Of course I mean the French-Roberts Madhouse. Where do I start?

Our youngest perhaps. Last Wednesday afternoon we decided to head to the marketplace for a look around. I was carrying Daria through a little shop and a large pottery vase with plastic leafy decorative stems fell from the top shelf as we passed. Luckily the vase missed us both (I'm not sure what brushed my wrist on the way down, but that and the noise made me step back and cuddle Daria in to me) Something lighter hit Daria, probably the stems as it would've scratched her head and made it bleed a little, and as we stood there with her crying hysterically a bump appeared on her forehead. The other side to where she had to have glued (I don't think I posted about that, hope everyone caught up with it over the Easter holidays) The guy that approached us didn't seem to know what to do, Adam joined us and asked what should be done in this situation and the guy said "What do you want me to do". So we left and went looking for Centre Management - do you think they are in the same area? No, after 2 shop owners had no idea we went to Big W and finally got some helpful advice. It was almost 5.30pm, Centre Man would be shut anyway, but it's down the road. Instead we could find a security guard and report it, if we found a cleaner first they can call security. That's what we did, headed to the food court where we knew we'd find a cleaner, and had a guard come to us. He was really helpful and took down an incident report, he tried to see the shop but it had closed.

The next day we got a call from the shop owner. She was really apologetic and said when she'd been told what had happened she asked about a report and didn't know we'd given one until security started work at 12.30pm and had called her to say we'd spoken to the guard. She told us to drop in next time we were there. We made a trip out on Saturday, especially since we hadn't made it in to Big W Wednesday night. She thought I said "Azaria" when I said "Daria", so there was a card and a bag of goodies with a misspelled name, but a nice thought all the same. Daria got a fairy outfit which Trinity fell in love with and wore all Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Daria's fine anyway. We just wanted to make sure the proper procedure had been followed with the incident report and checking that the shop was safe. They still have similar displays, but perhaps the one that fell wasn't as secure on the corner of the shelf - it didn't look very stable in my opinion.

On to Trinity - she's enjoying pre-school. They're doing dinosaurs at the moment, and she often breaks in to song "I LIKE DINOSAURS"... it's very cute. Her favourite sentence seems to be "What are we doing tomorrow?" and "What are we doing the other tomorrow?"

Jared's doing fairly well at ESC. Needs to work on his maths, but his mid year report was good. At least he's not getting in to trouble. One of his friends was suspended Friday for fighting with another student - Damien, remember the "good" kid at the pool?

Carolynn is struggling a little with Cisco lately, but doing well in her other subjects. She's trying to see if she can do work experience in SA but it looks like she needs special permission because it's interstate. The careers teacher is doing what she can but we will let Damien know more when we do. I've taken her out once to drive, it's so hard to find the time. We drove around the carpark at the Schweppes Centre for a bit then on some quiet roads near our house.

I applied for a job last week, waiting to hear if anything comes of it. Other than that there's nothing new with Adam and I. So some photos -

Carolynn was under the dragon Ping at the Easter Parade.

Had to take a photo of Dayna and Bruce waiting for the Parade to start. We sat just outside the Chinese Gardens.

Daria in the Chinese Garden with my umbrella.

Trinity in the Garden. I dressed both little girls in their Chinese outfits for the occasion - or their PJ's as Trinity called them LOL

And finally a photo of Jared. This was actually Easter Sunday in our messy backyard - Jared juggling eggs.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Happy ANZAC day, everybody: may we never go to war.

I haven't made it to the dawn service in Hyde Park, but I'm going to attempt Anzac bikkies ... then tease the London Marathon runners with them as they run over Tower Bridge. :-)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Carolynn's Deb Ball

We had a great night last night at the Ball. Carolynn looked beautiful, Will a dashing partner. All performed their dances well and could even remember them to do them again later in the evening. I've forgotten most of the dances I used to know, but with Auntie Denise, Dayna and Lisa danced the night away. I'll try to add some photos.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tees, Teeth and Tsuka

Dayna said we need to get the old bandwagon a-rolling along again, so I thought I'd give a quick update on what I've been doing for the last few weeks.

Last Saturday I had a tee up on TeeFury. My previous tee, Oh The Humanity, had sold just over 500.. of which I get a dollar for each.. so I was hoping for something similar. This time around it was my Flight of the Conchords tee, and I sold over 1100! It was quite a shock.

As it turns out, I wont be splurging on some awesome holiday just yet.. Last week a tooth that has been going downhill for a while started really hurting. On the other side I had another tooth that had a chip out of it.. which meant for a week I was unable to eat on either side of my mouth. On Tuesday I had the bad tooth out, and having seen it I can say it's better to be gone. Then on Saturday I finally got the other one filled. Dental work is sadly quite expensive, so that was the end of my big profits.. the rest is going to stay in the bank for a while.

Today I had my Iaido grading (if you haven't seen the site, go and check it out - I built it over about 4 months). The grade was "San Dan Ho" or provisional third dan.. basically each dan grade takes two years to achieve, so next year I'll have my third dan grading. It was pretty hard, but I think I've passed.

Also on the topic of Iaido, I'm opening a dojo in Reynella. I'll be borrowing equipment from the Honbu, and the hall hire is cheap enough that I just need two ongoing students to pay the rent. It will be interesting to see how it goes, anyway, and see if there's an interest for it in the southern suburbs. It'll open at the end of April, after school holidays.

That's about it from me. Maybe if we can get updates from Lisa or Glenn I can write one about the Adelaide Mason you're all really interested in, my man Oscar :)

Monday, 8 March 2010

So much rain...

I've been here for nearly a week and we've only had a few days without some kind of precipitation. Fortunately there have been none of the giant hailstones that battered Melbourne, but there's been almost 140mm rain in the last three days! And I thought that this was a country of drought!! Good thing I know how to swim. :-)

Speaking of swimming, tomorrow Mum and I plan to start our "get fit" regime with a trip to the indoor pool for aqua-robics (or something).. luckily I'd left my swimmers here from last trip - and goggles too - so I'll be able to do some laps. It'll be good to get started doing some kind of fitness stuff.. I really need to work out a routine or something (like synchronised swimming? ..that would be funny!)

I'm afraid all of my photos are on the other computer and my phone isn't roaming well, so this post will be text only for now.

Someone else's turn to write now! Time to get this going again.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Les at home

I'm very glad to have Glenn's company and support. Les has many variations in mood and how well or otherwise he's feeling. Today I went to collect a wheelchair. If it cools down we can take him for a walk. He didn't eat much for lunch but had a couple of small bowls of icecream this afternoon.
Tomorrow afternoon I've booked a haircut and colour in the afternoon so Glenn will be in charge here. Dad enjoyed showing him how the Tom Tom works. Looking forward to Dayna and Bruce's arrival. Edith and Landon just delivered some home grown veges.
Thank you Dee for loaning Glenn to us for a while.
Lisa and Daria called in this afternoon and we saw Trinity after kinder. Glad she's enjoying it so much.
Love to all

Monday, 8 February 2010

Living in slow-time (Bendigo)

In Bendigo, and everything is running in slow-time.

Right now I sit at the dinner table, quietly digesting a roast chicken sandwich and drinking a Foster's Light Ice while I think about how to describe my time here so far, and "slow-time" is, I think, most appropriate. Whether it is due to the long daylight hours, the wide-open sky or the natural pace of country Victoria, each day has seemed to last an age: long days with little to do (and that's alright with me, Jack) and nowhere much to go in a hurry.

The contrast to working-life in London couldn't be more striking, and I'm revelling in the "late" mornings (8am) and brightly lit days, where the sun melts into pastel pinks then burnt reds at around 9 o'clock at night. The nights, too, are warm, balmy rather than the oppressive muggy heat of the northern states. I help Mum when (and how) I can, but really, walking down to the supermarket for groceries is more a pleasant stroll than an onerous chore; indeed, it gave me a chance to get a snag in bread from the sausage-sizzle outside the market in the name of supporting the Eaglehawk tennis club. Even yesterday's task -- giving Dad a nice, peaceful day at home -- resulted in a trip to the local pool with Lisa and the kids. We splashed, we played, Jared jumped off the diving boards and I got sunburnt. There are worse ways to spend your day.

I miss Dee, of course, but I can't say I miss London, nor that I miss work. We talk on Skype each morning, evening for her, but this is already the longest we've been apart in over eight years. No doubt it's good for us in some way.

I want to come back to Australia permanently now.

One long day (London to Bendigo)

We arrive at London Bridge Station to find a crowd amassing in front of the Jubilee Line gates -- closed for "crowd control" on the platforms -- and quickly decide to find another way. We struggle through the ever-growing hordes out onto the street, hail a black cab and speed our way towards Wellington tube. Next stop, the Houses of Parliment (and of course Big Ben)! From there it is a short ride to Heathrow followed by a long walk to Terminal 3. We check my bag in and say our tearful goodbyes at Security.

Once through to Heathrow's inner sanctum I check the departure board and head straight to my gate. There is already a line forming; I join it anxiously, all too aware that airlines routinely overbook flights, but soon the line is as long behind me as in front. Eventually the gate opens and we file down a long corridor, across a "sky bridge" and in to the 'plane to stow our carry-on and find our seats.

It's an uneventful flight. I watch five movies, play a little Nintendo DS and try to sleep. By the time we get to Hong Kong I've been fed three times, I'm mostly awake and halfway home. We descend, skipping across the white cloud peaks like a stone across water; as we dip below the clouds we see a calm ocean, dotted with islands and wrapped in fog. I press my face to the cold window and we zoom over small fishing boats and trawlers, lower and lower until I think we're going to ditch into the sea. At the last possible moment the coastline rushes by beneath us and our landing gear kiss tarmac.

It's a two-hour stop-over, which turns out to be just enough time to get through the security checks, decide I don't need $500 HKD ('though I'm tempted, just to see what the currency looks like) and find my terminal. There is free wifi Internet here, so I shoot off a quick email to Dee, then one to work to let them both know I'm alright. As our departure time approaches I'm up and stretching my legs, which means I'm close to the front of the line when the gates open -- lucky, as I'm in the final row once on board. This next leg of the journey, Hong Kong to Melbourne, is much the same: movies, games, a nap or three, then it's seatbelts on for the descent into Tullamarine (now rechristened Melbourne Airport). Our Aussie pilot tells us it's 29 degrees Celsius and I wonder at the logic of keeping the internal temperature of the aeroplane at a chilly 18.

The hideously coloured (but well-appointed) red-pink shuttle-bus drops us as Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street. Nothing remains of the old Spencer Street Station except, perhaps, the tracks: the wide, clean boarding platforms now point towards soaring glass walls, escalators shuffle you mechanically towards cafes, gift-shops, restaurants, the entire commercial microcosm -- asleep, for now -- safe under the multimillion-dollar frozen-wave folly of a roof. In short, an international train station. I wonder at the homogenisation of our cultural history -- the old Spencer Street, with dirty walls, worn floors and broken roof, nevertheless had a certain quality about it, perhaps not "charm" but at least a personality which Southern Cross lacks -- but on balance I think we've gained more than we've lost.

I wander the near-empty station looking for a way to get to Bendigo tonight. The departure board lists only two outward journeys, both to Geelong but no further, but I dutifully follow the signs towards "Information" hoping for a timetable or, God-forbid, a human being to speak to, but all I find is a replica of the same departure board that greeted me upon arrival. I step through the great glass curtains which, sensing my approach, draw back and admit the heat and smells of the city's streets.

Smells: petrol, bitumen, sunscreen, the wholesome decay of vegetation, the ocean and much more, blending expertly into that unique bouquet of "place". I recognise the smell, and begin snorting huge nostril-fills of it, attempting to trigger and strengthen the latent connections between odor and memory as I walk down a likely-looking street for little more reason than it is slightly downhill. Ah yes: King Street. King, William, Queen, Elizabeth. Collins Street, Bourke Street. Little arches under the raised trainline. Flinders Lane, with restaurants and trendy bars. A bare-chested young man in tan cargo-shorts -- backpacker's uniform -- sleeps away the balmy night on a great stone plinth outside an impressive office block. Not willing to emulate him, I walk into the second backpacker's I see, not having built up enough courage by the time I see the first.

I ask for a single room, but there aren't any. I ask for a bed, anywhere, but the unshaven youth at the steel-caged reception desk tells me they are fully booked. I wonder if a balding, slightly overweight 30-year old just isn't the look they are going for. Maybe if I had more wrinkles, the prematurely-old face of an itinerant wanderer, a career traveller.

So. What to do? I could return to the scene of my earlier cowardice and hope they have beds but I'm at the steps of Flinders Street Station now, standing under the familar screens and archaic-looking clock of the main entrance. The heat makes me sweat, and the sweat makes me stink. I feed a couple of tiny gold coins into a ticket machine and its issue to Platform 3 to await the Lilydale line train to Camberwell -- Grant will put me up, he's a good chap. Provided I can remember where he lives. And that he still lives there.

Perhaps forty minutes later -- forty minutes in which I find that the trains are clean, the drunk teenagers polite (in comparison) and that having a fancy Android-based smart-phone with Google Maps does you no good at all if you don't have a 3G Internet connection -- I'm standing at the door I hope is Grant's listening intently for any sound of response to my ever-less timid door knocks and wondering if I should step up the assault to doorbell-level. I do, and Grant answers, to his credit (and my secret disappointment), with little visible surprise at my presence.

I spend a blissfully stretched-legged night on the couch, and the next day Grant drives me to Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street. The drive unveils the parts of the city that were hidden by darkness and I remember loving this little city. As we take our leave I promise myself to get him something to say thank you for answering the door at half-past midnight to a dishevelled, smelly foreigner then inwardly laugh at the prospect of picking him up a nice souvenir in Bendigo. I make it on the 7:15am train to Bendigo. I'm not sleepy at all.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Update from Adelaide in the form of an epic novel

Hey all,

I thought it's about time we did an update from us. Let me start with childcare..

Friday a week ago was to be Oscar's first day of childcare, and Cheryl's first day of work. We were totally psyched for it, I was going to take lunch off and we would both drop Os in and ease him into it. Unfortunately, best laid plans and all that, Os got a fever Thursday night which continued throughout the day. We decided it was better for Chez to have her first day, so (with big thanks to my boss) I took a half day, dropped Cheryl at work and took Os home. Unfortunately his temp continued to rise, and once it got to 39.6 I took him to emergency. 3 hours, much poking and prodding and a very unhappy Os later we were able to take him home, Cheryl having left work early to catch the bus. The doctor's final report was along the lines of "probably a virus, we can never be sure with kids, no other problems so he'll be okay in a day or two".

It wasn't an ideal first day.

Over the weekend his temp sorted itself back out and he was looking fine for his Wednesday childcare when on Tuesday arvo he picked up a fever again. Thankfully while generally these things are 48 hours or so he was fine on Wednesday and was able to have his first day.

Once we got him there, he was fine. I suspect if you surround him with toys and girls who smile at him he'd be happy anywhere (and who wouldn't?). Apparently it took a little while to get him to sleep, but once they found out the tricks (rubbing his blue bear against his face, patting his leg) they got there and he was asleep when I arrived to pick him up.

Oh, that's the other thing. On his childcare days I leave the house before 6am, walk 4.5kms to the train station then train into the city and bus to work, to be there by 8am. Then I leave at 4pm, bus to the childcare and pick him up.. although the plan is for me to stay there with him for a while, to help him get comfortable until around 5:30 when Cheryl finishes. There's probably a bus I could catch later in the morning, but I need a couple of big walks in the week. Plus when Os is older I can say "back in my day I had to HIKE for 45 minutes through the SNOW etc etc".

On Friday he stayed home with Nanna and Granddad who by all accounts doted on him and carried him everywhere like a little prince :) So he's only had the one day.

Sunday (today!) we had his birthday party. We had something like 25 adults and 10 kids, but somehow we didn't run out of food or seats.. Certainly not something we could have done at any of the units we lived in ;) It was a really great day.. Os had a sleep from around 10:30 until 12:30, so he was in a really good mood for his party. He even got to eat some cake, although I'm sure he didn't realise it was a treat. Babies played with Os' toys, kids played the Wii and ran around outside, and adults ate, drank and generally made merry. Just as a first birthday should be. I'll post photos up to flickr later, and I'm sure Cheryl will post some to facebook too.

I might get Cheryl to jump on now and tell you how her first few days of work are going..

Cheryl here :) Work is going well. My first shift back my supervisor got me to do most of the sales to help me get back into the swing of things. Nothing like being thrown into the deep end to refresh your memory! Apart from wondering how Os was doing, it all went well. I'm enjoying being back at work, and Os & I are slowly working out our new routine. And I'm enjoying not having to worry about all the supervisor stuff I used to do! It's also great just being around my work friends and students :)

Okay, that's it from us.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Happy birthday Oscar

Imagine three voices:

Happy birthday to you ...
happppy birthday tooo yooou..
haaaappy birthdaaay deear Ozzieee...
haappy birrthdaay tooo yoou!!

Lots of love from London.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Elementary, my dear Watson!


We "Northerners" (well, temporary) had a sunny, if cold, day today, the first in weeks if not months. Perfect weather, in fact, for an early morning walk 'round Regent's Park, so I was up and out the door shortly after breakfast. I must admit, I felt bad for the birds swimming in the near-frozen lake but they didn't seem to mind.

Dee and I have put together a list of 101 things to do in London before we leave, and so yesterday (Saturday) we had a "Sherlock Holmes"-themed day out. We tubed to Baker Street from London Bridge, then walked along the street until we found number 221b - Sherlock's address, although apparently when (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the mystery stories Baker Street only went up to 100! These days it is a tiny museum (and gift shop) to the fictional detective; I even had a chance to sit with Dr. Watson himself!


Afterwards we headed to an "indy" cinema on Baker Street for the new Sherlock Holmes movie (starring the inimitable Robert Downey Jr., who I'm quite sure I saw shopping in a little specialist food market in North London last year). Not the greatest cinema, as it turned out, but appropriately located nevertheless - and they served wine and popcorn, so by the time the movie was over I was feeling rather jolly indeed. We stopped briefly at The Globe - the pub rather than the Shakespearean theatre, because I've been past it a bunch of times but never entered - before walking through Soho to meet Dayna and Bruce for dinner at Wagamama.

After some so-so Japanese food (not bad, but not something to write home about - oh, sorry, guess I shouldn't have mentioned it then) we went searching for London's last and only street lamp that is powered by burning sewer gas. We eventually found the "poppy lamp" in a little laneway off The Strand, and were disappointed to find that it had been converted to electricity after a hapless motorist knocked the original over with his car!


So disappointed by this were we that we had to retire to the local "Coal House" for commiserations over a glass of bubbly. Our spirit suitably lightened, we walked along The Strand, over Waterloo Bridge, and towards home.


We are very much looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year for 2010

Happy New Year to everyone.
We stayed up to watch the Sydney fireworks. Damien, Cheryl and Oscar left this morning to return to Adelaide. I've washed the sheets and towels and this afternoon we packed up the Christmas decorations.
We had a visit from Palliative Care on Wednesday. Ruth was very sympathetic about the run around Dad had in hospital. She will chase up the referral to Oncology but this is a difficult time of the year to be sick. Dad has a supply of pain killers and other medication. I try to get him to eat so he'll be a bit fitter to cope with any treatment. Just taking each day as it comes.It was good for Dad to have the children around for company although he does get tired.
Nana enjoyed a visit on Tuesday before she and Auntie Denise flew to Maroochydore for Dot's 70th birthday. Lisa and the family came on Wednesday for tea and to catch up.
Thinking of you northerners with freezing conditions while we melt here. Good swimming weather and last night it rained so I don't need to water today.