Header Title and JS

original christmas rocknroll stpats easter beltane superheroes movies seasonscolours worldcup update pirates footy animals halloween mii simpsons shrek gaming 2009 2012

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?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween

This morning I came back from the water-cooler to find a tiny skeleton dancing on my laptop...

Happy Halloween everybody!

Happy Halloween

I've just had a really fun evening making my first real jack-o-lantern. :-D I made a mini one when I lived in London but this is my first "real-size" pumpkin. Bruce made one too - you can see the photos. :-)

This week is fairly quiet for me after another busy one last week (three Spectroscopy in a Suitcase visits and an open day at the uni).  I've been catching up on paperwork and not doing much after-hours.

Unfortunately B found out today that his job is going to finish early - they don't have enough work for him and didn't get the extra funding they were hoping for. It's a real drag because it means B has to start looking for new jobs again - we thought he'd have until March, not end of November! O well.

We're popping over the channel to southern France this weekend. I'm looking forward to wine and cheese. ;-) I'll update after we get back.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Angry cats are the best cats

Saturday we took the kids to the Bendigo Show. We knew someone at the gate and got in for cheaper, which was nice. The kids really enjoyed seeing all the animals - Lily certainly liked the flat-faced "angry" cat ;)

The kids also did a cooking class and made rice paper rolls. You may have seen the photos on Facebook. Right at the start the chef accidentally sprayed Lily with water, which made her cry (she was probably a bit tired anyway). Still, she recovered and made her roll, then when she started making the second one she sprayed Ossie in the face, so he cried, and that made her cry again as well. The chef kindly gave them both a hat and apron combo which cheered them up enough to taste their rolls, at least :) He only had about 5 or 6 to give away so it really was nice of him (and yes, he had a variety of colours including green and I think yellow or red).

After that I took Os on a ride (a spaceship thing that moved around while a video played at the front) and Lil got a balloon (since she was too small for the ride) and then we headed home. It was a nice day out. I'd planned on buying an Adventure Time showbag, or maybe one of the lolly ones, but they were $28 each! Just a bit too much to spend on a whim, really.

Sunday Cheryl went to the movies with Oscar. He's been wanting to go with her since he and I saw Monsters University - I guess he wanted to share the experience with his Mummy, which is sweet :) I took Lil to the playground in the mall and then we all met up for lunch.

Tomorrow he's off to school! Just one hour in the morning, and he'll be there with cousin Daria which I think he's really looking forward to. I do hope he enjoys school as much as he's enjoyed Kindy.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Brooklea Park Banter

Back from holiday and straight back into it! My week was a little insane really..

Monday: drove to Aberystwyth for a Spectroscopy in a Suitcase session (the team there are just starting with the scheme).. unfortunately, crossed wires meant there were no students, only one teacher for the session.. oops!
Spent the evening talking to members and non-members at the RSC Mid-Wales Local Section Mixer Meeting.

Tuesday: drove to Swansea after a morning meeting with two of the RSC team who had also stayed in Aberystwyth. Spent the afternoon catching up on emails in my hotel. (There was initially a Chemistry at Work event scheduled for the day but it was postponed - and I'm very glad that it was!).

Wednesday: Chemistry at Work event in Swansea - we delivered our Body in the Lab session five times throughout the day to a total of about 80 students. Phew! Stayed at the hotel again.

Thursday: The second of my Chemistry at Work events for the week, this one in Neath Port Talbot. This time we had six sessions throughout the day and I was really tired by the end of it. I thought that I was going to lose my voice during the day (it was really husky on Wednesday night) but somehow I made it through! Finally got home to see Bruce. :-)

Friday: Another early start, this time to head towards Barry for an outreach session followed by a Spectroscopy in a Suitcase session. Busy day but a great bunch of students! By the time I got back to work (3pm-ish) I was really tired and decided to finish early. :-)

Saturday and Sunday: Sleep! And did my best to get better. At the start of the weekend I was sure that I'd lose my voice sometime this week but I was definitely feeling a bit better by Sunday evening.

This week isn't quite as bad as last week - we had a SIAS session today (just in Cardiff, so no long drives) and tomorrow is another day similar to the Chemistry at Work days (six sessions throughout the day)! I'll fill you in on it all next week. :-)

*hugz* to all.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Same old same old... or is it?

Ok, my turn. The year is flying past too quickly, and yet so much has been happening in this little house. In the school holidays I got new glasses, Carolynn had an eye test and also needed glasses, and I bought a new bed. Add Carolynn's trip to China and my plan to buy a new car has been postponed, so we're stuck in Bendigo for a bit longer since I have been recommended NOT to take the Laser on long drives. It's good advice, I'm finding when it's been going for a while it's running pretty rough. I'm sure the alternator is having a hissy fit despite the auto-elec saying it's fine.

Carolynn can update about her trip later, for now - she joined the Bendigo Chinese Association (BCA) Plum Blossom Dancing Team earlier this year after finding out that there would be no senior calisthenics team for Sabelle. Trinity is now a Sub-Junior so we've still had 4 comps this year. Anyway, the Plum Blossoms got a grant to help them go to China to learn more about the culture and to attend a dance school to learn more about traditional Chinese dancing. I thought it was a great opportunity for Carolynn and supported her going. She left last night for an overnight flight with those of the team that were going, there's a photo on Facebook. We're on Skype and waiting to see her online. I bought Skype credit for her to use but it will need to wait until she's somewhere with free wi-fi.

Jared's still with the BCA Lion and Dragon Team but has given up karate for now. He also got his Ls on Friday - eek. Now I have to psych myself up to take him out in the Laser! To top it all off he got his first job as well last week. A junior in the kitchen at Pizza Hut. The problem is his hours, 6.30-8.30pm. The girls have been staying up and watching Dr Who, which is difficult but does mean we can all go and pick Jared up, but it does delay their bedtime that bit more.

As I said before, Trinity is a Subbie in calisthenics. They performed their best at the last comp in Shepparton. They placed in every item, but it was their 4 firsts that gave them the points to win Aggregate. Basically they got the most points over all, there are points for placing in items. I could explain it all but I'm not sure you need to know :)  They've also had comps in Melbourne, Echuca and Horsham in the last couple of months, so lots of travelling - carpooling of course, and not in the Laser. Their end of year concert is the 9th of November and then we're all done with cali until next year. Trinity loves it, it's just great for her self confidence, she's come a long way since she started 3 years ago.

Now Daria, she's going to a big school girl next year. Orientation starts at the end of this month, of course Damien and Cheryl know that :)  Of course all of her orientation days fall on group days for work. It's not too bad, orientation is 9-10am and group starts at 10am. We're supposed to set up at 9.30am so it's possible I can help out a bit before I pick Daria up. It's also kinder for her so she'll be late to that too.

Work for me is going well. I have some training days coming up so it's good that I can work around most of it. I love the flexibility, but I'm also looking forward to finishing up for the year in the first week of December. I'm so not ready for Christmas... at all!  I'm going to need to do some serious last minute shopping. I'll have a handful of Mondays where Daria is at kinder and Trinity is at school and I can get out alone ;)

I think that's about it for our news. Busy but run of the mill for us.


Hi all,

I'd somehow missed the visit to Kryal Castle, but it looks like you had heaps of fun!! Been a while since we went, and we will definitely have to take Jules along next time we're down that way.

This weekend hasn't been much fun for us -- we're all sick (Jules least of all, but I suspect it's something he brought home from daycare) so it's been long nights of coughing, some throwing up and general misery. The only "silver lining", if it even counts as one, is that Dee and I have miraculously chosen different nights to be sick as dogs, so that one of us at least could look after the other (and Jules, of course). Not fun at all, but fingers are crossed that we're getting better (and that J-dog doesn't get the throwing-up virus).

Last weekend was better; quiet, but still a fun little day of garden maintenance for my birthday. It's getting so hot here these days! You've probably seen all the bushfire warnings; nothing near us, thankfully, but I'm glad we're not still in our "tinderbox" house in Cockatoo, that's for sure. Oh, we haven't sold the house yet either. Poop.

So it's been pretty bleugh for us, and I'm enjoying reading all the fun stuff that OTHERS are doing instead of doing them myself! :-)

Kryal Castle

Hmm.. looks like comments have disappeared again, so I'll just say sounds like Dayna's having a great time and Mum you're being very productive!

Last weekend as I'm sure you saw on Facebook we visited Kryal Castle. I'd heard a while back that it had closed down, which was a shame, and then heard that it had reopened with new owners. The weather was looking to be good so we decided to check it out.

(Also, we've been out to Castlemaine, to Daylesford.. this area of central Victoria is really nice countryside to drive around for little trips, especially while everything is so green)

Kryal Castle isn't cheap - it cost us around $70 for the four of us - but had events throughout the day and lots of other stuff to see. Apart from the main area that had weapons displays, guys on horses spearing rings and hitting little shields and stuff and, of course, the main event of jousting, there was also a pantomime show the kids loved and a story reading (of which Os was the sole spectator  for the first 5 minutes or so) and a bit of foam swordplay too.

There were some new things - fairies, dragons and other kid-friendly fantasy elements - and some stuff I remember from when we visited like the stocks, the maze and the throne room. Although the torture chambers were still there (we didn't go in) generally I think it's tending more towards kid-friendly entertainment instead of more historically accurate and somewhat terrifying medieval stuff.

This coming weekend if the weather is nice we might check out the Bendigo show. It's nice to have the kids at an age where we can have a day trip out together.

The photos are up on facebook if you want to check them out: https://www.facebook.com/damienmason/posts/10151648256510683

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Church St Chatter

How hard to top a holiday in Spain. Thank you for the lovely postcard. Lisa had her's as well and loved it.
Wondering how Glenn and Dee are affected by the nasty bushfires in NSW.

I've been busy in the garage and have finally got rid of the old air con and some boxes of metal. I'm now in the process of filling it up again. I've moved the desk from the back room (loose legs Glenn) and the computer parts as well. Now the organ is in that spot and I have a space in the spare room in case Carolynn moves in. Fraid the workings of the pianola are sitting in the carport. Not sure what to do with that. The shed is a strong possibility.

Also mowed the lawn, trimmed the edges, made four small Christmas cakes and the Christmas puddings. Suddenly we have a taste of summer with 31 the forecast for today. Turn off heater, turn on air con.

Don't know how to write around the picture.

Been dancing although we had Tuesday off. Clive is watering the race course and the hotter it is the later he needs to do it. Coming up this week is a Gala Ball at  Kyneton, Spring Gully with Rod McKenzie, and a Daylesford tea dance on Sunday That should hold me until I get back from Phillip Island.(29th to 31st October)

I helped Lisa on Friday, when she'd had the call that her new bed would be delivered. Not enough time to paint the room but it was very well vaccuumed and now she has a great place to hide lots away, yet still have it accessible.Probably still a lot we moved that needs to be moved back.

Looking forward to more news from everyone. I know Jared has lots to tell and Carolynn will in another 10 or so days. Love and hugs from Mum/Nanny.
Space in the garage.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Spanish Holiday

You can either read the post below, or watch the video summary (10 seconds per day) here:  http://youtu.be/JpsqieuM0bQ

Saturday (travel travel travel)
After an early breakfast, we piled in John's car to head to Luton airport. Our holiday had started (well, if you didn't count the cheeky wine I had Friday afternoon before we drove to Wednesbury). Eventually, after two hours drive, 15 minutes in the bus, a lunch break, queuing for half an hour, a two hour flight and a coach ride for forty minutes, we arrived at the hotel we'd call home for the next seven days; Hotel Royal Sun.

Our stay is "all inclusive" - as much food and drink as we care to have... And that includes alcohol! Don't think I'll be keeping track of my food this week.. and I'll cross my fingers that the scales aren't too mean on our return.

Today was a day for local exploring. In the morning we wandered along Santa Susanna's main straight and in the afternoon we explored the shops in the next "town", Malgrat (although you really can't tell where one "town" ends and the next begins!)

The first couple of tourist shops were really interesting - I love seeing what kitschy souvenirs are on offer - but after a while everything became a bit same-y. I still managed to buy myself a new hat (it's a hat winter for me) and looked at dozens of handbags (mine is on its last legs and apparently Spain is a good place to buy them).

Between all this looking and shopping we found time for our meals at the hotel, a drink by the beach (at the back of our hotel), a drink at the hotel John and Gwen stayed in last year (same chain so it didn't cost us anything), and a scenic ride on a little train (we thought it just went up and down the main straight... apparently not!). We were pretty worn out by the end of the evening so we didn't get up and join the (mostly line-) dancers in the bar, even though the live singer was pretty good.. she was also very good at pretending to play the keyboard. ;-)

Monday (markets!)
Up early today to head to Blanes (bla-ness) for the market. Everybody loves a good street market! There was something for everyone - clothes, handbags, scarves, toys, jackets and more. The market stretched along the path beside the beach and seemed to go on forever. There were bargains to be had if you were lucky/could be bothered rummaging (I found a pair of €5 shoes that match my green dress, and a €6 grey jumper for work).

After a substantial snack (that we had to pay for!  There weren't any of the chain hotels there), we made our way back to Santa Susanna and the lads had a swim in the sea. It wasn't warm enough for me -  the morning had been lovely but the clouds covered the sun as soon as we got back to the hotel. :-( hopefully tomorrow will be good and I'll get to go for a swim.

Tuesday (sunshine and cocktails)
(Happy birthday Dad)
Made the most of the sunshine today and spent most of the day by the pool. We went for a quick dip early on (brrrr! Had to keep moving or it felt too cold!) and then spent the rest of the morning on the loungers drying out and warming up. We also made the most of the "cocktail of the day" - a mixture of peach and kiwi schnapps with some lemonade. :-)

Late afternoon we went for a swim in the Med. The sand is like tiny little pebbles so it hurt to walk on but is easier to dust off. :-) The sea was warmer than the pool and got deep really quickly - after two steps I couldn't touch the bottom! It was really relaxing to just bob around for a while and then lay on a towel in the evening sun. This is what holidays should be like!

(Happy birthday Gwen)
Cava for breakfast for Gwen's birthday (and most days this week ;-) ) and then up the coast to Calella for the day. Spent the morning wandering along the pedestrianised high street looking for bargains. There were plenty of bag shops but the ones we went in had really pushy sales people. I'm sure you know the type - they follow you around, rearranging everything you touch and every time you pick something up to look at it they tell you how wonderful it is. Needless to say, none of us bought anything. :-)

We headed to the local chain hotel for a morning drink (it looked really close but the map lied - it took AGES to get to!) and ended up having a few to make up for the walk. :-) We didn't have as many as some people had obviously had and we were happy to be staying in a different hotel. =-O

On the way back we took the train one stop past Santa Susanna and I bought the handbag I'd seen on Sunday (at least it was still there). By the time we got back to the hotel we were all pretty tired. But we still had time for a celebratory pastry with a little candle for Gwen (including singing, even though she told us to shush. :-) you can't shush a birthday!)

Thursday (an excursion)
A slightly earlier start today so we could spend the day in Montserrat, a monastery on the top of a mountain.

The coach journey took about 90 minutes and was broken up by some facts about Montserrat from our tour guide, Annalise. For example, Mont = mountain, serrat = sawn, The sawn mountain - sawn by angels.

Montserrat is a holy place because back in the 10th century someone saw the light of the Virgin Mary in the hills. Monks came to the place and lived in the caves for years, until an Abbott came along and built the monastery (completed in 1026).

People who made the Virgin Mary statues decided they needed money, so they placed the statues along the roads and spread rumors that it was lucky for people to leave money at these statues. People would leave money and all their belongings! Initially the monks condemned this, saying it was a lie. But then saw that it was a good way of raising money and installed the Madonna. People have been making pilgrimages since!

Rather than driving all the way, we caught the rack railway up the mountain and had a few hours to explore. Unfortunately we missed the boys singing live because there were too many people in the church (and they only sing for 10 minutes!).. but the views were amazing! And we'd been able to hear a recording of the boys as part of the audiovisual visit included in our ticket. Also included was a tasting of some of the liquor that the monks make - it was fairly regimented, no time for contemplation of the flavors, just one shot after the other: herbs, walnut, hazelnut & Catalan Creme. We would have bought a small bottle but they only had large ones so we bought flavoured chocolate instead. :-)

The time disappeared and before we knew it we were back in the bus and on the way back to the hotel. Needless to say, we are all tired (but happy) and won't be staying up late tonight!

Initially B & I were going to go to Barcelona today but when we saw the weather we decided to leave it for another trip. After low- to mid-20s for most of the week, today is cold and wet (expected top 13 degrees!). I didn't bring clothes for this weather!! After a lot of deliberation, we headed back to Calella for the morning (we had to pick up our embroidered towel souvenir) and had a relaxing lunch for two (Gwen and John stayed at the hotel).

The hotel's evening entertainment was probably the best of the week - a flamenco show. Watching three talented dancers strutting their stuff was a fab way to finish the holiday. It's back to the UK tomorrow.

Another day of traveling - the reverse of last week. :-)

I'm not looking forward to going back to work on Monday - I've got a very busy week coming up. I'll add some photos to this post once I've had a chance to go through them. And hopefully I'll remember to write another update next week. :-)

Your turn!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Doing well

Just noticed we've had 57 posts this year, big improvement on 26 for 2012.

When I read the email Clive's sister sends to him and her family each week on Sunday, I feel guilty about what I tried to start here but have let fade away.

Weather is now great and I've planted some tomatoes and petunias. I need to water them as the ground is quite dry despite the rain earlier. We're picking snow peas and the other peas are close ( close enough that the little girls did some picking  and eating yesterday.)

We enjoyed Damien's birthday tea at his place. I hope the friend's gathering at the Dumpling House went well on the Wednesday.

I continue to go to dances including a couple of Sunday afternoons lately. Should be fitter but no weight reduction (frustrating). Clive and I are dancing in the street tomorrow as part of Seniors week.(yoiks!!!) The Spring Gala on Saturday had over 100 there so most successful dance I've been to in Bendigo.

Had a session at mum's to tidy the top of her wardrobe. Now I'm trying to add from my wardrobe before I visit the op shop (to drop off).Very slow progress.

Had a couple of days at Lisa's in the holidays so we worked on the lounge, the girl's room and the wardrobe in Jared's room. Now all of Carolynn's things are out so Jared can store some of his things in there. Hopefully that will keep his room tidier. Carolynn was there to sort what came out and I have visited the op shop to drop off already.

Damien has given me his old Iphone 4. I need to put money on it. It has the sim from Jared's broken iphone so will be with telstra while I use that.

Wondering how Dee, Glenn and Jules are getting on after Jules had a session of conjunctivitis. One of the problems of childcare is sharing of goodies like that. I hope it has all cleared up and doesn't come back.

Dayna and Bruce  seem to be travelling a  lot. Hope you are both well.The new treasurer at Spinners has a daughter called Dayna as well. She's 28.

Love and hugs to all. Mum

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Happy Birthday, Damien!

Hope you enjoyed your day yesterday! Presents, food and family! :D And hope you enjoy the rest of your birthday week :)
Looking forward to a game of Creationary later!
Love you lots and lots
<3 Chez Os Lil