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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?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

On our way..

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted any updates.. I've had fabulous intentions but never actually followed it up. :-\ oops! O well, we'll see you all soon so we can fill you in in person. :-)

We're at the Travelodge in Feltham, enjoying a quiet drink while we wait for check-in time - it would have cost £10 to check in early, so we spent the money on drinks instead. :-D

Tomorrow morning we catch a bus to the airport and hope that our luggage is under the weight limit.. It's going to be close. :-)

I'm happy to have some holidays - I've had a very busy couple of months with lots of driving, lots of meetings and lots of Christmas celebrations! I'm bringing our Wii exercise DVD to work off all the extra after the "break". :-) 

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone! It's only just sunk in that we'll all be in Bendigo in a couple of days. So excited! Yay!! We'll see you all very very soon! !

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Birthday wishes for Lisa

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Lisa
Happy birthday to you

Love from Mum XXX

Monday, 17 December 2012

Happy birthday Carolynn

Happy birthday Carolynn,

Have a wonderful day.

Love and hugs from Nanny. See you tomorrow for tea.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Face painting in Eaglehawk this morning. I saw a couple of adults and loved the result so I had my face painted. I told her I was going to a dance tonight and I think she got a bit carried away. be interesting to see the reaction at Spring Gully.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It's getting scary..

Another quick update from us.

We met with a property agent from Elders. Their percentage was slightly higher (and by slightly I mean a difference of $4 a month) but they have -no fees- apart from that. So we're going with them. They're keen to get the house on the market ASAP, so on Tuesday they'll be dropping around to take photos. Lots of cleaning up and hiding to do before then.. especially the yard. Our hope is to get $320 per week, which would give us around the $285 a week (minus maintenance). $310 would give us $275 so still okay.

Shaun has awesomely agreed to rent us his place for $280 instead of $300, so that works well.

We've also locked in our moving date - the removalist is arriving on Monday 4th Feb. We'll load them up, and probably stay another day at home to clean up and everything before heading to Bendigo.  We'll organise family to meet the truck in Bendigo for us. Yay for family :)

My goal is to have the maintenance-y type things sorted by the end of November, which lets us focus on packing and cleaning. Some of that is stuff I can do (painting, mowing) and others we'll need to get someone in for (the dishwasher, power box, shutters). I'm not sure we'll get there, but it's the goal.

So that's 13 weeks left. Minus the week we take off over Christmas.

Yeah. Getting scary.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

More housey stuff

Cheryl and I met with a property agent this week. It was really good.. she gave us an estimate of what rent we could ask for, and then a break-down of all the various fees as well. It was better news than I was expecting to be honest. The ongoing costs aren't too bad, although every new tenant will bring with it about $1000 in fees, which kind of sucks. Hopefully we can get a nice family in who are happy to stay for a few years :)

We've still got a lot of work to do around the house.. more cracks to fix (in Ossie's room), painting, and the expensive stuff like updating the electrical box and fixing another broken roller shutter. If I could work out how to open up the metal container on the roller shutter I'd have a shot at fixing it myself to be honest. Oh and we'll replace the front door too - I've got a friend who's a carpenter who has offered to help us out with that.

We did a big clean-up in preparation for the agent's visit, although no doubt we'll have to do another before we leave. We've done a bit of packing here and there as well. Cheryl's family might be visiting after Christmas to help out around the house - I suspect by then we'll be in full panic mode and very thankful for the assistance.

Oh, and when Oscar found out we were selling stuff on eBay he picked a few of his (broken) toys to sell as well! What a team-player :) I think we'll chuck them in the bin and then say we sold them and give him some money. He can use it to buy more Lego :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Happy Birthday, Damien!

Happy Birthday, Damien! Hope you enjoy your long weekend! (plenty of time to put together the Lego! :)

Lots of love from Os, Lil & me 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Home maintenance

Decided to use the Family Bandwagon to fill everyone in on some house maintenance plans. I hadn't checked it for ages. Thank you for the birthday wishes Dayna and Bruce.

I've booked to get my roof cleaned and the tiles rebedded and pointed. Also decided to get new guttering. Probably not much dearer than getting someone to paint the old one  and that had some suspicious bumps (maybe rust). I will need to paint the fascia boards after the old guttering is removed and before the new lot is fitted. Working bee, you boys are lucky you are both so far away. That will be a benefit my way when Damien, Cheryl, Oscar and Lily move back. Extra help for my projects. I'm looking forward to having you closer. Trip to Canberra instead of Adelaide. That is going to depend on the roof man but if he is finished, I'm thinking the week after Glenn's birthday and maybe flying at least one way.

Next project was to replace the patio blinds which have disintegrated with time and weather. One option was to go back to Kmart for three new ones. I just got a quote from Hi Light blinds for them to do the job. They would need to put in a post since they will only span 4.2m. These blinds would be much stronger and fitted so they didn't flap around. However the quote is $3700 against about $250 for the KMart version on sale. Even at $500 and paying Pete to fit them, I don't think I can justify the extra. The KMart ones lasted about five years.I'd been prepared for a couple of thousand dollars. Next time I head to Kangaroo Flat I'll price them and maybe the Spotlight version too.

Looking forward to a post from Glenn and Dee on how they have settled. Damien, have you asked what it cost Glenn and Dee to move their treasures to Canberra. Maybe the very expensive won't seem so bad. Not sure that saving a few boxes worth of stuff will bring the price down much.

Love to all

Friday, 7 September 2012

Moving Plans

So by now you've all heard that Cheryl and I are moving back to Bendigo. Our reasons for this are pretty simple - here in Adelaide we have each other for support, and while we're both awesome people and very helpful, it would be nice to have family around when we need them. Also as the kids get older we'd like them to have their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents nearby.  The possibility of babysitting certainly doesn't make the idea any less appealing too ;)

As such, there are some pretty major changes to be made, and I thought I'd update you all on where we were at with them.

For my work, I'll be moving over to contract at GDD, which means I need to get an ABN, set up a home office and start learning words like BAS and GST (okay, they're both acronyms, but you get the idea). I've bought a MacBook Pro which is now my main computer for work, so when we do move I'll be well and truly adjusted to using it. I'm also planning on getting a widescreen monitor, an external hard drive to store work on, and a printer. I think that'll do me. I do like the idea that the "office" is pretty portable - if I want to I could always go outside or to a park for a few hours to work. We met with an accountant last night, and he'll be helping me out and handling the tax side of things for me.

Cheryl is going to quit her job, and see what pans out in Bendigo. Right now what with the cost of parking, petrol, child care and the like we're actually losing money with Cheryl back at work.. Originally the plan was once Lily stopped breastfeeding Chez could get more hours, but now she thinks she'll just finish up around November and be done with it.

Oscar and Lily don't work, so it'll be an easy adjustment for them ;) We are planning the move to give Os time to start Kindy, hence end of Jan/early Feb as a moving date. Lisa has given us some great links to look into on that front.

We've decided to keep our house here in Adelaide and rent it out, and then rent a place in Bendigo. Realistically if we can get as much in rent from here as we're paying in Bendigo we'll be in the same situation.. although we will have to account for agent fees and the like as well. In a lightning strike of extreme luck a friend of ours has just bought a house as an investment property. He's in the process of doing it up a bit with help from Cheryl's siblings, and he's happy for us to move in there. It's about 30 seconds walk from Edith and Landon's place.

Cheryl's been contacting a few removalists to get quotes (it's EXPENSIVE) so hopefully we can just pick a date and move all our stuff, and Cheryl's fam can meet the truck at the other end for us.

That leaves us with a fair bit of work to do in the next few months - apart from packing/selling everything we own (the selling is an attempt to bring down that moving cost, which as I said is EXPENSIVE) we've also got a lot of work to do to the house to get it tenant-ready - fix the door, patch up cracks, repaint, replace the dishwasher.. and fork out the $1,800 to fix the electrical box as well. We can't claim those as deductions, apparently, but we can use them to bring down the capital gains tax when we do decide to sell.

I've also got to register for an ABN, get a licence for my swords, and probably a few other bookworky things I've forgotten. Still, The Move continues it's inevitable rumbling approach like the cleaner from the Labyrinth, and each weekend brings it a little closer.  At least we look to have locked down the two biggest worries (my work and the house) so that's good.

But yeah, looking at the help provided us by Lisa, Rach, Daz, Edith, Landon, Mum.. I think that pretty much explains why we're making the move. We really appreciate having people we can rely on who can help us out with this big life change.

And the babysitting will be nice too ;)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Happy birthday Cheryl

Dear Cheryl,

The lucky third-in-a-row birthday. 

Hope you've had a wonderful day and your family spoiled you rotten.

Have a wonderful year,


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Happy birthday Trinity

Dear Trinity,

Hope you had a SCARY birthday.
Your party looked like it was terrifyingly fun!

*big hugz*
aunty dayna & unkie bruce

Monday, 30 July 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

Dear Mum,

It doesn't seem like it was that long since you were over here with us... and it's been a month now! Time flies!!

Hope you had a lovely relaxed birthday. It was great to speak to you online the other day.

*big hugz*

Monday, 16 July 2012

Happy Birthday Daria

Happy birthday to you..
Happy birthday to you...
Happy birthday, dear Daria
Happy birthday to you!

And through the magic of the internets, this isn't even late. ;-)
Looks like you had a fantastic party!

aunty dayna & unkie bruce

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New Bandwagon Header

Look up. Look down. Look up again. What you're seeing is that finally I've updated the Bandwagon header :)

I hope you're all happy with your illustrated avatars. As always if you want your own let me know and I'll pull it out of the fla and send you a copy. If you've got change requests please let me know, and I'll try to get to it at some point in the next 3 years ;)

I'll try to get a version sorted for tees and stickers and calendars and the like soon.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My animation

Hi all,

I'm in Bristol tonight for the Schools' Analyst Competition (Mum & Bruce are at home in Cardiff). The evening activity was a trip to At Bristol, the local science centre. They've got a Animation exhibition to play with.. Check out my 'film' (hope the link works!).
*hugz* to all

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <do_not_reply@animateit.org.uk>
Date: 25 Jun 2012 20:17
Subject: You've been sent an exciting film from Animate It!
To: <daynoir@gmail.com>

animate it logo

You've been sent an exciting film from Animate It!

Click here to watch it.

Animate It! is an interactive exhibition within Explore At-Bristol, developed in collaboration with Aardman Animations to give visitors the opportunity to create their own animations.

From creating stories and characters through 2D and 3D animating to the final edit, Animate it! gives everyone the opportunity to release their inner animator.

Find out about the exhibition here

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mum's UK adventures

I've been here six weeks now. I should be fitter after the stairs and walking but it doesn't show on the scales. Dayna and Bruce have been wonderful, taking me around the country in England as well as Wales.
We visited Cardiff castle and went back for a Welsh Banquet there. We've also been to Castle Koch, Caenarvon Castle and Warwick castle. Warwick is much more commercialised than the others and we saw a joust there and many wax figures. Too wet on the day we visited to tour the ramparts.
We've visited St Fagan's, an open air Museum of Welsh life, the Big Pit, a museum of coal, Brecon Beacon railway, Cheddar Gorge, Stonehenge and Bath. I had a trip to Swansea and to the Gower and beach areas on the Welsh coast (too cold for swimming.)
We had an interlude in Rome where I saw historical buildings, including Vatican , St Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum and Panthenon and many, many people. Our very comfortable flat was on the fifth floor and only a block from the station. The non working elevator meant more exercise. I wouldn't tackle anything like this without expert guides. We found paying for tours saved hours of queuing at several of the venues. Lovely weather for three days then some showers. After our return to Cardiff via Wednesbury, we had a fortnight of great weather. I walked to the local shops (20 minutes) and bought an extra cabin size case (from the local op shop). This one has wheels.
I went with Dayna to North Wales and to Wrexham, Caenarvon and the place with the longest Welsh name. We called at a seaside town Aberwrystwyth for fish and chips on the way home. That day it poured.
A week in the Cotswalds when we visited several of the little? townships as well as Stratford upon Avon, Oxford and Warwick. We were there for the Queen's diamond Jubilee celebrations and the street party in Chipping Norton. The Cotswald stone is a lovely yellow sandstone. I even saw a thatcher redoing a house in Chipping Camden, where we stayed. Many tasty meals out and about, coffees and the occasional wine.  Bruce's Dad John was the driver for most of the time. We returned to Wednesbury with them, via a shopping outlet in Hatton and went out to the Crooked House for a seven course taster banquet. Superb presentation of each course. Sunday lunch was at the Cider House, another drive into the country to find it. I don't know how any one finds these places.
Good to have a few days to draw breathe, catch up on the laundry and emails before we head off on Thursday for Paris, London and the Isle of Wight.
Excellent news from Glenn this morning. He has a new job based in Canberra with Palantir.
So good to have had a chat with all of you. Lisa I'm glad to hear you have a new oven I'm sure you'll be testing it out well.

Love and hugs to all from Mum.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Greetings from rainy Adelaide! Time for our update...
The kids have been going well (aside from colds). Lily is loving being mobile and has great fun trying to keep up with her brother. She follows him to the table at meal times (and will sit underneath his chair or stand behind him), watches him while he has a shower and will "annoy" him while he sits on the potty ;) She likes to pull herself up onto her feet, but a couple of times she has got herself stuck and not known how to get down. Hehe! 
Ossie is doing well. He is such a good big brother! He enjoys playing with Lil and likes to make her laugh. It's very cute! We're still toilet training him, but he's slowly getting there. He gave up his dummy when we got back from our trip to Bendigo, so that's a plus. Oh, and he'll be in kindy next year! 0_0
Damien has been busy busy busy at work. Lots of work involving the red cross. His dojo seems to be going well.. about 6 regular students each week. As well as that, Damien has been doing an exercise routine at home.
And I'm returning to work in about 2 months! I've started getting things organised... In the process of working out hours with my supervisor and then childcare. I've also bought Lily some bottles. It'll be interesting to see how she goes with being bottle fed and being in care. We're together a lot of the time, so it'll be a big change for her. And me ;) I'm determined to enjoy the freedom though :) Damien and I don't often get time together without the kids, so we'll make the most of it and organise some lunch dates :) 
Apart from that it's all just the usual kind of stuff... We've been enjoying Skyping with Nanny, Dayna & Bruce. So good to hear that everyone is having a good time.We'll start organising a party for Lily's first birthday.We'll try to time it so that Nanny will be there for it! :) . We're also thinking about where to put our veggie garden (that my mum has so kindly offered to get started for us ;) And we're getting new tyres for the care this weekend... ok, well that is scraping the bottom of the news story barrel ;)
Better end here. The oven timer has just gone off, so dinner's ready!
Hope all are well!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

My first week in Wales

I can't believe a week has gone by already. This afternoon the weather looks more promising and we're planning to visit Bath and Stonehenge this weekend.
My first visit to Cardiff and the Queen just happened to be visiting on Thursday. Wonder if she ask me in for tea if we get to London?
Dayna and I had a lovely day in Cardiff on Saturday, including Cardiff Castle over the afternoon. Not sure I'm confident I can find my way around, but I'm getting better. My first purchase other than a couple of souvenirs and postcards was a pair of shoes.  (red suede look and very cheap) Dayna found the charity shops for me (but that wasn't where I found the shoes) Despite what tamara said, prices here aren't super cheap.Saturday evening we went to a workmates of Dayna's for dinner. Bruce and a couple of mates had a weekend away and we got to keep the car. I don't think they had a native English person there.
Sunday's planned visit to an open air museum was cancelled due to much rain and wind. We'll get there eventually.
Today both D & B have gone off to work leaving me to play and catch up on the Bandwagon as well as checking some accommodation ideas for Saturday night. Been wonderful to be able to chat on Skype with everyone. I check in most mornings here and Denise had Nana up on Saturday so we could see her.
I'm enjoying being part of Dayna's life here and hope they won't get tired of me. Love to all of you on the other side of the world. see you on Skype soon.
Glenn and Dee, Lisa and Adam paid a courier to get your fridge shifted to their place. Thank you for the loan.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A mountain jaunt

Hi all,
The bandwagon has been a little quiet lately, what has everyone been up to?

We're on the way to Birmingham (well, technically Wednesbury, but there's only 16 km between them - kinda like Bendigo & Eaglehawk but with more houses in between). Mum lands tomorrow. :-)

I've been keeping busy with work. Last month I spent a lot of time travelling around Wales; in the space of one week I went from Cardiff to Bangor to Llanberis to the far side of Anglesey to Caernarfon to Llandudno to Wrexham to Builth Wells to Swansea & then finally home to Cardiff again. I'll have to see if I can embed a map. It was a little insane but was National Science & Engineering Week and I had four Chemistry at Work events to attend.  :-)

It wasn't all just work, Bruce joined me for the weekend in Caernarfon and we wandered around the cute little walled town and explored the castle. However, the highlight of the weekend would have to be walking up Mount Snowdon.

We started a bit late (we had to make the most of the delicious breakfast at the B&B), so there were no carparks at the ideal starting point. Not to be deterred we drove to Llanberis & managed to find a free space. Off we headed, up the path in the direction of the summit.

We may have taken a wrong turn right near the start and had to cut across fields a couple of times to get back to the right path...  But eventually we were heading up the mountain. The walk was challenging - a constant uphill for 4 hours! - and for most of the walk we were under or in grey clouds. It was pretty amazing to come out of the top of the clouds - dazzling sunlight, peaks above us, white below us.

One of the drawbacks with climbing Mount Snowdon in the off-season is the lack of amenities. Admittedly, most mountains don't have conventional toilets - in fact you're lucky if you find a rock to hide behind. However, Snowdon has a train line with stations along the way & a cafe at the top. So when I needed to pee, I figured that there would be a loo at the top. And there was. But it was shut! If the trains aren't running, the amenities aren't available! I think that this is a big mistake on behalf of Snowdonia council - there were about 100 people at the top of the mountain and probably at least as many on the way up or down, just think of all the puddles that were created that day alone!

After admiring the view and taking photos to prove we were there, we headed along the railway line for a while, found a quiet patch away from the crowd & had some lunch. After a short relax, we set off back down into the cloud. About three hours later we were drinking hot mulled wine at the start of the trail. It was much easier coming down but you still needed to watch where you put your feet. And watch out for the sheep! They'd bleat at us and then run away. Weird!

It was an enjoyable day but I think next time we'll take the train. ;-)

*hugz* to all

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Happy Birthday Jared!

Happy Birthday! Hope you've enjoyed your day so far and glad you liked your pressie :)
What are you having for your birthday dinner?
Love, Uncle Damien, Auntie Cheryl and your little cousins Oscar & Lily

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Happy birthday Bruce

Happy 32nd birthday babe.

I know we both had to work yesterday but hopefully you still had a good day. It certainly looked like you enjoyed the pudding platter. :)

We've got nothing planned for the weekend so we can just have a relaxing couple of days.

Love you.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Happy birthday Os

Dear Oscar, 
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Oscar
Happy birthday to you! 

*big hugz and lots of love*
Aunty Dayna and Unkie Bruce

Friday, 27 January 2012


The weekend is here, finally.

We finished work a little early tonight to take a quick spin to Knox - we completed our cutlery set, and Dee got some cupcake baking trays, whilst I splashed out on some running gear. The guy in the Mountain Designs shop had even heard of the ToughMudder course!

Two more months of training for me, then: I'm nowhere near ready yet but I can already see an improvement, and I'm totally psyched about doing it! We're going to head down to Phillip Island on the Friday (run is on Saturday morning) with my two team-mates, maybe stay 'til Sunday to make a weekend of it - a muddy, freezing, exhausting weekend!

Tomorrow we might have a friend or two over for a barbeque lunch I reckon. Saturday is my Cheaturday - a day to refueling on carbs and eating/drinking those things I've denied myself during the week - so at the very least I will have some chocolate and beer. Probably not at the same time.

Plans for the weekend?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Puppygate 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Lucy jumped her fence while we were out and went wandering off down the road. When we realised she was no longer in the backyard, I went walking up Baker Street following the sounds of barking, and found her a few houses up where they keep Rottweiler pups -- indeed, they'd locked her in their backyard and left a note on our door but she'd managed to escape again.

We didn't know how she got out, but "hardened" the perimeter in various ways: more wire, nails, tent-pegs so she couldn't tunnel under, etc. A few days later she got out again but this time we were home and vigilant and Lucy made it as far as the driveway before I was after her with a leash.

I reached the bottom of our driveway in time to see Lucy sniffing around the neighbours front yard, whilst said neighbour, rather irate, harrangued her from the porch. Mongrel this, mongrel that. I collected my dog and faced off with an apoplectic middle-aged woman. "She bit my duck! She bit my duck! That cost me $100 vet bill! I'll call the council!" I promised to come back once I'd put Lu back inside.

She was raging! Pointed out paw prints in the mud, but grudgingly admitted she'd not actually seen Lucy do anything - indeed, she hadn't seen Lucy before that day. When did it happen, I enquired? "Yesterday," she sputtered! Ah, but Lucy wasn't out yesterday. "The day before then," she groaned. I agreed to pay the vet-bill, all the while protesting Lucy's innocence - considering it "neighbour tax" and helpfully warning her about the many dogs in the street, not to mention the area. She was nice as pie once she had the money in her hot little hand.

Then yesterday we were putting the final touches on a dog proof fence -- 6-foot high, staked into the ground, made from electrified adamantium -- and Lucy, recognising the inevitability of yard-bound life and wanting one last fling, saw her opportunity and made a break for it. She'd been somewhat under house arrest for the interim, chained up when we were out and supervised when she went out for a pee, so we were quickly after her.

This time she didn't bother with the neighbour, walking past towards her German suitors, but nevertheless our Crazy Lady neighbour was out there brandishing a pitchfork and flaming brand, with the now-tired threat of a call to the council. Difference? This time she met Dee.

"Calm down, she wasn't even in your yard," I imagine Dee said, but it's hard to be reasonable with unreasonable people. "Good, call the council!" Dee returned with Lucy, then went back for a chat that was reportedly even more frustrating than the first. "She's not a mongrel," Dee explained to me later. "That's just factually incorrect." She did however manage to get a copy of the bill and a receipt for the money I'd paid.

The end result is we're finishing the fence today and hoping our neighbour -- a renter, "townies, eh?" -- was so distraught by the situation that she moves out and we never see her again.