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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?

Monday, 29 April 2013

Gordon St Gossip

Another quick one from me.

Wednesday we went to My Teppanyaki for our anniversary dinner. It's pricey, but good. We were the only ones in the restaurant which was a bit weird - the Japanese dude came out, cooked our food, then left :) After dinner since we didn't have the kids with us we went to the ice creamery - I got a sundae and Chez got pancakes. Both were massive. We think that was the second time we've ever had dinner together without the kids since Os was born - the first being our anniversary in 2010, when my boss looked after Ossie. Hopefully now we're in Bendigo nights out wont be three years apart.

Thursday Ossie skipped Kinder again. He'll be back this arvo. Friday they also skipped Playgroup.

Saturday we had a barbecue lunch with friends - Os and Lil had a great time playing with their 3 year old son on what could only be described as a massive trampoline. Then they dropped me off at the cinema and I saw Iron Man 3. Huzzah! Seeing a movie is another thing I'm hoping might be a little more regular than once a year. Cheryl's parents came over for dinner Saturday night.

Sunday I took the kids out in the morning to find a Mother's Day present while Cheryl cooked chicken sausage rolls. We had no luck so I went out again in the afternoon while Lil slept and found something. The kids helped me wrap it. I asked Os if it looked good and he said "no" so I flipped it over to hide the edges of the paper and asked again and he said "yes". Perfect!

Sunday night was dinner at Nanny's, and both kids were so excited to see Trin and Daria. They had a great time playing together. I think Trin likes Os because he goes along with whatever she wants, and then Daria does too because the others are. Lil kind of does her own thing right now.

Brooklea Park blabber

This week has been much the same as every other week - we get up, we go to work, we come home and B makes dinner, we watch some tele and it all starts again the next day. Ahh, the monotony.

Actually, it isn't that depressing - we had a lovely afternoon on Tuesday, the sun was shining so we sat on the verandah with a glass or few of wine. :-) And Friday afternoon we had a couple of drinks at the Ty Mawr (but we sat inside because although the sun was out, it was still cold!). :-)

I continue to work long hours (I worked yesterday!) and am trying to work out when I can take some time off in lieu. Hopefully everything will settle down a little in the next few weeks.

B continues teaching, although he's not really enjoying it so he's keeping an eye on the Vacant ads.

It's great reading what everyone else is doing (especially you, Mum - you do HEAPS) - it just highlights that we need to do more stuff.... if only so we have something interesting to post.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Church Street chatter

I expect posts from Glenn and Dee once they are moved.
Monday I went to morning tea with Clive and met more of his outlaws (sibling of his x wife and her husband, daughter in law, grandchildren. Lovely people. Danced at Spring Gully Monday night. Tuesday we danced at Kyneton. Wednesday Mum and I went on a Day Club bus trip to a garden in Macedon then lunch at Kyneton RSL. The garden was very hilly although touted as friendly for those with mobility problems. Had to disagree there but Mum managed very well. After lunch some played the pokies. Not enough time to walk to the shops so Mum and I had a coffee and a chat. Thursday I had a day home so started trying to work out what to take to Tassie, pruned some lavender. Danced at Eaglehawk. Numbers really down.
The lady I'm going to Tassie with doesn't seem very organised so I have booked our Thursday night stop at Ross. I hope she decides soon what she wants to see so we can book the Monday to Wednesday nights.
Friday was a surprise 70th birthday party for Beryl from the Isle of Wight. Eight of us enjoyed lunch with her and her family. Danced at Kyneton. Good crowd. Saturday Spring Gully had the best crowd they've had in ages. No leftover plates of supper last night.
Tonight I'm expecting family here for an early Mother's Day tea. I'll be away next week and then Mum and Denise are flying to Maroochydore on Thursday 9th. I return home on Friday 10th.
Didn't find a tablet to buy so no internet access for 10 days.
Love to all, Mum

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Trying to comment on Gordon St and it won't let me
Sorry to hear Oscar and Damien have had some illness. Hope you are both better soon.
I'm planning dinner here on Sunday 28th as a Mother's day for Nana since she won't be here on Mother's Day. I'll ring tomorrow to Lisa and crew and Damien and crew.
Night home tonight after a bus trip away to Macedon today. Think an early night will be in order.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Gordon St Gas

Oscar was back at Kinder last week. He was there Monday afternoon, and then Tuesday and Thursday morning. We actually made it pretty close to on time which, given that they start at 8:15, is quite an achievement. He should have been there yesterday and today, but he's sick. He's also given it to me, which is a shame because now I'm freelancing I don't really get sick days. I suppose I could have them all the time if I wanted, but then we might have issues with the rent and mortgage ;)

Cheryl took the kids off to playgroup on Friday. She sent me a photo of Jared and Lil saying some kid had made Lily cry and Jared had comforted her. What a good cousin :) So yeah, illness aside we're back into the busy routine.

Saturday was a nice sunny morning so we headed to Good Loaf for lunch. It's a really nice little caf - good food and very kid-friendly. Then we went home and both kids had a sleep, which was good because that night we went to a 66th birthday party. Dale and Joel were both celebrating their 33rds so they had a joint thing ;)

Sunday we decided to drive to Daylesford for a look at the market. It was nice to get out of the house and have a little trip as a family. Unfortunately after lunch Os had a stomach ache and we had to head home, praying he wouldn't spew in the car. He had some panadol and then fell asleep for the whole way, while Lily pretended to eat grapes out of her pockets before stuffing them with tissues :) Sunday night now we go over to Edith and Landon's place for dinner, and Darryl's family, as well as Rach and Shaun were all there, so it was a very full house. Os had clearly recovered from his belly ache thanks to the sleep, because he ran around squealing and harassing Shaun pretty much the whole time.  A quick chat with Dayna and Bruce and then the kids headed off to bed.

Yesterday I actually had a meeting with a potential new client for Good Dog - BSSC. They want an App developed for their students. I've brought the information back to Henry to see what he says, but they budget is rather low so I'm not sure we'll be quoting on it. Still, it was a good experience to go out and talk to them. Once I got back back Cheryl headed out to get her hair cut. We're so lucky to have Nana and Granddad nearby so they could watch the kids while I worked.

Tomorrow is Cheryl and my 9th anniversary. Oscar's very excited by the prospect of us giving each other presents, but no matter how often he promises "I wont tell anyone" neither of us are telling him what we got the other, so the suspense is killing him ;) Our plan is to go out for dinner together, once again making the most of nearby babysitters.

So that's us :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Church St Chatter

Thank you all who have posted. I love to read what you are up to.
Last Monday I had 15 Red Hat ladies here for morning tea. We then checked out Eaglehawk's op shops and had lunch at Thomas's kitchen. Back to cars, where 12  continued to Cal Gully then some continued to Long Gully. I headed to Mum's for a cuppa. Many bargains and great weather so a fun day.
Wednesday Mum and I went to Spinners, where I was on duty. Managed some alpaca spinning. I don't seem to be home any evening to spin here.
Thursday I made sausage rolls for tea with Lisa and the family. Friday I took Mum to the Axedale tavern for lunch with the Mad Hatters. 12 of us there. This is the break away group of red hatters. I wore a black fascinator just to be different.
We danced every night including Friday when we went to Kyneton. I should be mastering some of these dances by now. (Oops I forgot Clive can read this now)
We had a wonderful relaxing weekend away. We went to Werribee on Saturday for Sue and Roman's wedding. Held outside in gardens, they were so lucky with the weather. After a reception with drink and nibbles, many guests headed to the B&B cottage Sue and Roman had booked, for more drinking, eating and socializing. Sue and Roman kindly said Clive and I could have use of their house (ten minutes drive away) for the night. They shared their cottage with two other couples. In the morning we had a cuppa with them and helped unload the car before we headed for Geelong (Clifton Springs) for lunch with Clive's former brother and sister in law, Rob and Dale. Gorgeous two story house with views of the bay. Enjoyed soup and home made bread. Next stop was at Vicki's in Trentham for a cuppa and a chat. She has an I pad and showed us all the useful things she can do on it. Think I'd like one of those. Tech experts please advise. Will that be better than just getting an M3player. She has her photos and can download books as well as take photos and access facebook on WiFi. Might like to get one before I go to Tassie so I can keep in touch.(1st May)
I've booked my flu injection for Tuesday.
Sunday evening Clive had a phone call from Rob's twin sister Jean. She and husband Dusty are staying at their son's in Bendigo and would he like to go for a coffee on Monday morning. I went and collected Clive and we both had a enjoyable morning with me meeting more people. Now I've gone past a week but I seem to forget what I've been doing if I leave it too long (no idea about last Tuesday).
Love and hugs. Sorry I missed the hangout Dayna. We didn't get back here until 7pm, then ordered a hamburger for tea, so I didn't check in until after 8. Maybe next weekend??

Busy busy

Hi all,

Great to see so many updates on here and apologies for my tardiness.

This week has been very long! I've travelled nearly 1000 km and done more than 7 days work in 5...  (map here: http://goo.gl/maps/OlvVJ)

Monday I was running workshops in Cardiff for Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (SIAS); Tuesday lunchtime I headed up to Bangor for an evening meeting - the RSC North Wales Local Section AGM & Committee meeting; Wednesday morning I was on a train back to Cardiff, had a couple of hours in the office and then headed over to Bristol that evening to support the South West Regional Coordinator in a training session (got back home after 9pm!); I'd organised an event for 45 students at Swansea University on Thursday afternoon (part of the STEM in Medicine residential); and Friday I had a fairly early start for an RSC ChemNet event at Lafarge Cement, we learned about how cement is made and had a tour of the site.

Anyone else tired yet? 

Definitely feel like I've earned a relaxing weekend and that's what we've done. Last night we had my old boss, Pete, over for dinner. B did most of the cooking and it was very tasty. Dessert wasn't great - I'd tried to make a chocolate pudding but it just didn't seem to work. O well. 

B can update what he's been up to. :-)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Weekend away

I'm going to a wedding in Werribee on Saturday then on to visit friends in Geelong for lunch on Sunday. All thanks to Clive and the fact that one invited guest finds she has another commitment in Deniliquin so can't go to the wedding.

Recipe site

Hey all, I put together this CMS site for Chez to record recipes. I was wondering if anyone else wanted access to add recipes?

It's here: http://damienmason.com/recipes/

Let me know and I'll make you a log in.

Mudder Training

With the most important problem -- a roof over our heads -- now settled, it's time to start thinking about the future: particularly the Tough Mudder challenge. I need to get training!

It was pretty much fate: I'd been looking for something to get me motivated, and then saw that the next Sydney Mudder was on the 12th and 13th of October. The day before my 35th birthday, then! I immediately signed up, before I had a chance to reconsider. I then proceeded to forget all about it, since it was suitably distant in the future and we had so much other stuff to deal with.

Except it's not that far away, now is it? Almost May already, and then it's 5 and a half months. Yeah, that's not long to prepare for a 20km run, let alone one with the all the devilish obstacles that TMHQ see fit to torment us with ... so I better get training! I've had an absolutely crap week dietwise, but it means I'm feeling motivated to do better and so I've been sitting here watching TV and reading various sites and blogs: body-building, marathon training, mountain-biking ... anything to geek-out on.

Last time I wrote up a calendar, crammed as many training sessions in as I could, and tried to stick to it. Even worked, for the first month and a half (lost it completely on month 3, and then it was go-time). So this time I'm thinking about a calendar but also how I can avoid losing focus. Any ideas?

There are two aspects to the challenge, and consequently two (maybe three) areas I need to train on. The first is running, which should be pretty straightforward (but still difficult) -- I just need to go running 3 to 5 times a week, building up my distance and stamina. I've got the same C25K app that I used last time, as well as a fun little game called "Zombies, Run!". It's just a matter a picking the best time: when I'm not too tired, too distracted, too engrossed by the computer, too unmotivated. Dee and I talked about it tonight, and we've agreed to put aside 30 minutes a day each to doing something fun and physical. Exercise-alone-time.

The second type of training is for all the obstacles. TMHQ provides a "boot camp" training plan which seems pretty good. In theory, I could do some/all of these combined with a morning run, kind of a half-way. Especially if there is a playground or some open-air gym equipment in one of the many parks near our new place. I think having a good plan written down for that is probably important, so I don't just try to make it up (and then feel silly, and then just stop doing it).

The last thing I definitely need to do is more stretching. We had a stretching class at Palantir for a while, and it was pretty apparent to the trainer that my knees were out of alignment and lacking the kind of strength I'll need to actually run for the full 20km. (Last time I ran 5km, tops, before my knees started hurting. I ended up walking most of the course. Not this time!) She gave me some stretches to do, but I'm not going to do them unless I specifically put time aside and it's on my training plan.

So that's it. Anyone got any good advice on how to stay motivated, what exercises I should be doing, food for training? As mentioned, there are parks near our new place, and we've both got a Palantir gym membership (at Fitness First -- still got to make sure we can use the Sydney gyms), as well as our bikes. Food-wise, I think we know what to do (even if it's hard to do it) with good, natural food and the perfect combination of Fitbit and MyFitnessPal; provided we get decent sleep, and are together to keep each other strong, we won't fall off the wagon. Fact is, I don't have TIME to fall off the wagon again. So I guess I'm hoping you can keep me on the straight and narrow!

And after you're done ... this is how a Mudder recovers:

Tough Mudder Boot Camp Training℠ | Tough Mudder

Lease signed, we're moving to Sydney

Did I mention we got the house in Annandale?

Yesterday I met Kate, one of the owners, and signed a 12-month lease on 301 Nelson Street, Annandale. It's expensive, but not that much more than we're currently paying in Belconnen, and we get all the benefits of living close to the city -- it's a 20-minute bike ride! -- and a lovely little community. Wide, tree-lined streets; a park just behind us; a child-care and supermarket opening up just down the road; bike paths, off-leash parks, Rozelle Bay. Everyone I've spoken to has said how nice an area Annandale is -- I can't wait to move in. Kate said that it wasn't uncommon to see neighbourhood kids playing together, running in and out of each others' houses. And that never happens in Sydney!

Which means only one more week of flying to Sydney, flying back to Canberra for the weekends. We move in on the 26th (or thereabouts), the day after ANZAC day. In fact, I've only got today, tomorrow, and three days next week away from Dee and Jules! Yay! "Settling" will be like Christmas, with so many boxes to open and sort through, including some we haven't unpacked since Melbourne.

Once we do settle in, of course, I'll be coming back to Canberra every Monday, and maybe more often if I get put on a particular project. But somehow that doesn't seem so bad, and sooner or later we're going to open a Sydney office (Shannon was even scoping out buildings yesterday) so our long-term plans are now based around living in Sydney. Settle, get our life back under control, save a little money. It's a good plan!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


So its been a busy time of year for me, with Easter and National Youth Week and uni assignments. So over Easter I had the flu it turns out, I was meant to carry Ping, but was not well enough to do so on Easter Sunday :( but it did mean for a change I got to watch the parade and Jared perform with Choi. I've also joined the plum blossom dancing team so I will now be performing at events with the BCA. Last week was Youth Week, and I was at events, the main one really, which was a Zombie Walk, Jared and Maddi were zombies, and I was there reporting on the event which was really different because I haven't been filmed as a reporter before, but I thought I did a really good job :D Uni is the same as normal, lots of assignments all due at once and with only 7 weeks until mid year exams I'm starting to try and not get stressed like I normally do.

I've been in Bendigo Magazine and Bendigo Addy both for YO Bendigo and Youth Week, its cool that I'm one of the first picked for interviews now, and I'm hoping to start building a portfolio that I can send in to the ABC in September with a cadetship application for journalism.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Curl's Column

It was a wonderful week of dancing. Ann is a very capable dancer, even though she claims not to be able to perfect them all. I would hate to dance with someBODY that believes they are perfect in every way.
Weather is great  in Bendigo, gets me out on my bike,
I think we'd be better off not to watch television, The Boston bombing is on at the moment.
Have a great day everyone. Regards Clive.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Gordon St Gossip

We've had another fairly quiet week, followed by a busy weekend. It was the second week of school holidays, so I've been trying to find ways to entertain the kids. Os and I did some baking together. I'd almost forgotten how fun it is to cook with my little boy. He's very capable and great at following instructions :) Both kids like to do "activities", so I've been sitting down with them to do drawing/stickers etc, as well as reading to them and making up games. It has been really nice to have time to spend with them both, but I think I'd start running out of activity ideas soon! ;) I've also taken the kids out shopping a couple of times, and sometimes a "bit of a drive so that Lily falls asleep" ;)
Tuesday Damien had lunch out with friends (cafe au lait, I think?) and I had a nap! :p I was very lucky that Lil wanted a nap, too, and Oscar was happy to quietly play with Lego. He only came into the bedroom once to announce that he needed to do a wee :D Once again, he's very capable and took himself to the bathroom :)
My parents came over on Wednesday so that I could convert my driver's license. Damien did his, too. We both thought it was worth putting in a bit of effort beforehand to get a decent photo, so we'll see how they turn out ;)
Friday night we went to the Mexican Kitchen with my side of the family. The food was good and everyone seemed to enjoy it. W"e also had a bit of time to do some wandering around town beforehand. We checked out the secondhand bookshop, as we as the View Point gallery/store (we saw your cards, Lisa! :)
Saturday was our big day. Damien left the house at 8am with Dale, Dale's wife and son for Supanova in Melbourne. (I'm sure Damien will fill you all in on the details! :) The kids and I left the house at 9.30 (early for us!!) for the Farmer's Market in town. We stopped by the Chinese Museum so that the kids could play on the lotus, then went through the Conservatory gardens so that Os could run around and smell the "rosies" :) Didn't buy much from the market just a lamb sausage and nashi juice for my lunch (as the kids had their own lunch). We met up with my parents and wandered around with them. We headed back to the car after a couple of hours and despite Os announcing that there had been "too much walking" he wanted to go through the Conservatory gardens again to run around :p Lisa, Carolynn, Trin & Daria happened to walk through the gardens as well, so Trin, Daria & Os ran around and hid from Lily, while Lil picked petals off the flowers :) We had dinner at my parent's house while we waited for Damien to return home. It was 8.30 when he got back with a bag full of comics/books and some presents. The kids were very excited to be getting presents. Lil sang "Happy Birthday to me!" and then "Bacon Pancakes" when she got her Jake (Adventure Time) toy :) Os was very happy with his new Lego mini figs. He put them together straight away! :) And I got a cute pair of earrings... little slices of cake!
Sunday we had a bit of a quieter day. Damien did some work in the morning, we had lunch at the Market Place, then dinner over at my parent's house.
So now it's back into the routine... Os has kindy 3 half-days, we have playgroup Friday mornings but no more cooking classes for myself so we at least have Wednesdays free now. I've been working on my resume, so hopefully I can start applying for work soon :)
So that's our "gossip" for this week :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Church St chatter

Monday was Probus followed by lunch at the Schweppes Centre. Quick trip to Spotlight on the way home. Afternoon tea with Clive at a friend's place then dancing at Spring Gully.
Quiet day home Tuesday so I did some cleaning up in prep for visitors on Monday. No dancing since Clive has decided to be Secretary for the Spring gully hall committee since no one else would take it on and he had a meeting. Called in to Council and found I was due a discount on my rates and was entitled to it two years previously. I now have $311 credit on next years rates.
Wednesday was Day Club at the Bendigo Club. Different meals but a lot further to travel. We headed for Castlemaine for a dance lesson. I knew five and struggled with the rest. Walked through the same one we'd done last week. Maybe I'll get there eventually.
Thursday I went grocery shopping at IGA and met Mum. so she came back for a coffee.  Eaglehawk dance at night.Numbers are down there so we'd be missed if we skipped.
Did some op shopping on Friday and wore the top I bought to a dance at Trentham that night. Several compliments on my top.Good crowd and lots of fun. Very tired by the time I got home.(1.30am)  Not used to these late nights.
Saturday Lisa and the girls came to visit in the afternoon. They'd hardly left when Mum arrived for coffee.I went to Clive's for dinner then we went to Spring gully to dance.
Today there was another dance at Spring Gully. It was to raise funds for a five year old who needs a motorized wheelchair. $1500 raised.Really good crowd. I think that the afternoon dances are more popular than the evenings, especially as the weather gets cooler.
All my week so what has everyone else been doing?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Renting sucks; Renting in Sydney sucks more

I realised I haven't actually blogged about a move to Sydney in any detail. Here goes:

I'm currently spending all my time in Sydney for work, while Dee and Jules stay at home in Canberra. They've driven over and stayed with me a couple of times, but it's not really sustainable -- we need to put Lucy somewhere, for example, and the last three times she's stayed in the kennel she's come back malnourished and often with an injury requiring a vet consult. It's also easier for me to just be in a hotel, but it makes it hard for Jules to sleep when we're all crammed in together. So not fun: our sleep suffers, my work suffers, our relationship suffers. So for the last few weeks I've just been coming on my own, and while I get a lot done it's no fun leaving my family: video calls, while good, just are no substitute.

Dee is also looking at going back to work, and with her history (Deustchebank, JP Morgan) it makes sense for us to move to Sydney, where she'll have a much wider market. And, of course, Canberra is a small place! We're city people, I think -- I go out at lunchtime and enjoy the crowds, the vibe, the noise, the excitement. It really does make a difference, an essential one, and there's the added bonus that my "engineer brain" recognises the higher-efficiency of urban-vs-country living. So long as we can grow some veges and find a good organic supermarket!

Even if I end up working back in Canberra -- a good chance -- then at least I can stay in the corporate apartments there, set myself up with a little "bachelor's pad", and not worry about bringing clothes back and forth. And, really, it's only a 30-50minute flight, so I could probably come home a little more often (with frequent flyer points if required) if I'm travelling light. Wins, all the way 'round.

Except that finding a house is hard. It sucks. Real estate agents suck. They're lazy at the best of times, but the rental market at the moment is such that they literally don't have to give you the time of day -- there are only scheduled "open house" viewings, which you must attend if you want to apply (they take your name and phone; sometimes they even hand out the application forms only at the viewing). I've even heard stories of some agents running a "rental auction", playing desperate renters off against each other to maximise the weekly rent!! Abhorrent.

So keep your fingers crossed for our latest find: a 3BR house that still has tenants in it, is managed privately (no agent!), at which "pets are welcome!", for affordable-ish rent, 20 minutes on the bike to the city (and 26 on the bus, for lazy/rainy days), next to a park, with a backyard (but no offstreet parking), 2 bathrooms and airconditioning. And the owner may be willing to let me see the place before their open-house viewing on the weekend! In other words, everything we could possibly hope for.

But we've been disappointed before, so while you keep your fingers crossed, we'll keep our expectations suitably low.

Let you know how we get on.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Gordon St Gasbagging

Still in "school holidays" so it was a fairly quiet one last week. Cheryl and I did make the most of nearby babysitters and go out to lunch with just the two of us for the first time in a very long time. We went to El Beso on View St - it's a nice little cafe, and the food was delicious.

As Lisa mentioned, we also went out for dinner with them  to The Dumpling House on Friday. It's Oscar's favourite restaurant, even though he does call it "the sushi place" (they don't serve sushi). We copied our first time there and got chicken and prawn dumplings, bbq pork buns, fried wontons, shallot pancakes, and honey chicken. Oh, and plenty of rice for Lil to spread all over her face, in her clothes, and on the floor.  Really nice to head out with the Roberts/French clan.

Sunday we checked out the showgrounds market (I bought a few books, don't tell Mum ;)) and then relaxed at home. Os and Cheryl went to the park with Rach and Shaun and played badminton, but I was holding a sleeping baby so I read one of the aforementioned (shhh) books. Ender's Game. Good!

Then we went to Edith and Landon's place for dinner. We apparently didn't eat enough, because we're going there again tonight for leftovers ;)

So yeah, a quiet week, and we're expecting another quiet one this week. This weekend, though, I'm off to Supanova! I'm pretty excited :)

And that's us :)

Brooklea Park Blatherings

We missed last week, oops. So here's what we've been up to for the last fortnight.

B's been on holiday, he's been to the dentist (and going again Thursday - long story), cleaned the house and continues to make me tasty food.

I had Good Friday and Easter Monday off and we did absolutely nothing. It was wonderful. Been working hard otherwise and have definitely earnt Monday and Tuesday off.

We are currently in Mallorca (Majorca, Spanish spelling has Ls). Here for a relaxing short break. We arrived late on Friday and have a plane back on Tuesday evening. B booked it all as a package including our 4 star hotel (which is lovely but not the same as a four star in Aus or the UK).

Yesterday we explored the local area and drank a lot of sangria (as evident by the g+ & fb posts). Today we've stayed at the hotel, played a round of mini golf (see g+ for our quality performance), relaxed in the sun (photo on fb), and we're just off for a swim (in the indoor pool - it's not that warm outside!). No doubt later we'll be off to a bar or several, finding food somewhere on the way. We've got to make the most of our time away!

*hugz* to all,

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Church Street chatter

Thought I'd try this instead of the email.
Easter Monday was quiet here.Made a coffee cake. I danced at Spring Gully in the evening and needed a plate. Remainder of coffee cake was my plate for Kyneton on Tuesday. Clive and I walked around the Kennington Res on Tuesday morning to try to get fitter and lose weight. (Both aiming for that) Wednesday was Spinners. First meeting as Secretary this time. Wrote up the minutes that afternoon so I could untangle the many and varied discussions. Wondering why I took it on again.(because no one else would)
Wednesday evening we went to Castlemaine for more dance lessons.Quite a challenge. I only knew three of the dances. We walked through two and sat one out. The rest I followed as best I could ( varying degrees of success)
Thursday I had a quiet day home.The kitchen floor needed another wash. I don't know how it gets so dirty when I'm not home that often.  Made pastry roll ups and a zucchini slice. You guessed it. A plate needed for Eaglehawk. A fun night of dancing. Jared came so did the mowing and Lisa and the girls came here from the pool.
Friday was a Red Hat morning tea. April's activity is an op shop tour I'm organising so we're doing Eaglehawk. Mum got a lift and went to the break away group ( called the Mad Hatters) She called  to visit and fill me in in the afternoon. More activities for the diary. Friday evening we danced at Newstead. Got away on time so we got a good park and a good seat.
Saturday we were invited to Pete's birthday tea at Pratty's Patch. Meals were enormous. I did eat all of my Hawaiian parmiagana but couldn't face supper at the dance later on that evening.
Sunday daylight savings ended so clocks back. An extra hour of sleep was much appreciated. Afternoon tea dance at Redesdale. I skipped lunch so enjoyed the afternoon tea.Had a very light tea and am ready for bed.

Wonder what I've forgotten. I've started reading Damien's Game of Thrones book. Planted some peas, carrots and beetroot when we had a shower. I needed to water since but this afternoon there's been a shower here so hopefully they'll do better than the summer crops. Starting to plan the Tassie trip. Brenda has booked our cabin on the Spirit and we have the weekend at the Casino organised.

Thank you Lisa for the earrings and ring. They are great. Next week is Probus, visit from the kinder girls here, Day Club at it's new venue and many nights of dancing.

Look forward to all of your replies.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Life is a dirt highway

Lots of work for Dee and I this month. I'm in Sydney every week until the end of the month, by which time we hope we've got our own place over here and we can just do the move. My deployment here is going pretty well, in that I don't feel like I'm drowning quite so much (except for the weather -- lots of rain this morning, and looking that way for the rest of the week), but there is at least some chance that I'll be working back in Canberra sooner or later -- so the travel may not end just yet. Shame it's not somewhere more interesting (although I do like Sydney).

So naturally I switched off the laptop and phone on Good Friday, determined to spend the long weekend at home with Dee and Jules with no cyber-augmentation or connectivity. Dee had other ideas, about the location at least, and had been looking for a place for us to get away for the weekend -- and at the last minute she found the farm-stay at Neriga. Perfect for Lucy, as you may have seen on Facebook. Less perfect for us but still good: the whole place is on solar power, so our "tea and coffee making facilities" were a camp-stove on the verandah (very cool). A tiny (!!) little cottage on 2000 acres of mostly bushland, and an owner-farmer with an interesting history and pretty good cooking! There was one other couple, so we even had grown-up conversation one night (we brought Jules' crib up to the main house so he could snooze and we could enjoy a glass of wine or 7). The next night I put the fire on (and then turned it immediately down when it was waaaaay too hot) and collected dinner from the house, navigating the tricky path with a torch.
Relaxing, in other words. Jules had fun walking around the place with us, but it wasn't somewhere you could take your eyes off him for a minute! Also glad we got the Jeep back, since it was at least 15km of dirt roads to get to the farm -- not to mention the dirt "highway" between Neriga and Braidwood, the next town over. Even the bitumened parts of the road were pretty rough. "Les wouldn't stand for this," condemned Dee.
We've decided to put Baker Street back up for sale too: we've had a valuation done, and if we can achieve the high-end of the suggested price scale we'll be able to pay off the mortgage, pay off our not-insignificant tax debt, and maybe have some left over for a holiday and/or the start of a new deposit. We still have tenants in the house so we don't need to rush, but we also know these things take a loooooooong time. It was great to hear that Dee's renovation work has added some value. ("What about that aerial? Add any value?" "I dug a hole, Dad!") We're a little disappointed we weren't able to finish the place up the way we wanted, but getting it off the books (and us back into black) will be a great psychological relief.
Slowly getting ourselves together, but still some way to go. Really hoping we can find a great place to rent in Sydney for a couple of years, settle in and dig some roots. But we still haven't found "home" yet!!!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Gordon St Gabbing

I thought I should finally follow Mum's lead and give you all some idea of what we've been up to.

We had a great Easter. Friday we headed to the Eaglehawk park in the morning to hang out with Lisa's playgroup. Os ran around until he was bright red in the face, which is always good. Then we swung by the city for a bit of a look (they have a huge market along the street) and then home so Cheryl could get baking for Easter presents.

Saturday we decided to go for a little drive to Maldon to check out the market. Edith and Landon came along. It's a nice little town, lots of antique stores and bookshops, so I was pretty happy. When we got home Os and Lily both fell asleep, so Cheryl did still more baking (those of you who enjoyed the honeycomb slice - you can thank the exhausting Saturday morning for the kids). We went out to the Dumpling House for dinner (they're great!) and then got out about 15 minutes before the night parade started, and about 10 metres from the start. There was a clear patch of grass, the kids were well rested so we decided to stick around and watch it. Lil and Os loved it - Os in particular was talking about all the people going past, and Lil waved constantly :)

Sunday we swung by the book sale in town for a look, had some lunch and then the kids played on the new playground in the mall. They had an awesome time. I feel like the playground needs a crows nest for parents to stand in so they can keep track of their kids as they run from one area to the next. But yeah, it was a nice relaxing morning and a beautiful day. Back home for another sleep for Lily, then out to Nanny's for dinner and an Easter egg hunt.

Monday we headed into town to do a bit of shopping (clothes for Cheryl and the kids, lego for me) and have some lunch. Then we spent the afternoon at home so the kids could wind down a bit.

Os doesn't have kinder for the next couple of weeks, which will be good. Usually he's there Monday afternoon, and then Tuesday and Thursday morning.. and it's a very early morning, I tend to wake him at 7 so we'll be there before 9 (it starts at 8:15). He's missed a couple of the Tuesday sessions because he's just been too tired. So yeah, a bit of time off will be good for him.

That's about it from us. We had the housewarming, which was awesome (and Cheryl was pretty much amazing at providing enough food for 45 odd people) and in a couple of weeks I'm going to Supanova in Melbourne, but I think that's it for plans for us. We might try to get to Melbourne for an overnight trip at some point, and our anniversary is coming up too, but nothing is concrete there. Generally I'll keep on working (GDD is very busy, which is good) and Cheryl will keep on finding new ways to entertain the kids as we settle more into life in Bendigo :)