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?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

I can't comment on posts

Feeling frustrated - just read both posts from today but when I click to leave a comment, nothing happens!

I've spent the last half hour trying to get it to work and I cannot! So I give up. You'll just have to accept that I would have left a lovely comment - but now I'm just grumpy about the failure of technology!

P.s we're in Dublin!


I've now finished my writing course at tafe and decided that it was really good but I don't think it's what I want to do and getting into the industry is super hard because everyone is downsizing and the work is being sent overseas. So I'm going back to tafe to do a diploma of info tech networking and then I'll have the option to do the advanced dip the following year and the option to do the cisco certification at the end of the year too.

We got some news on Jarrad's health but it still doesn't explain his major health issues. I'll check with him before I post more about it though.

Jarrad and I signed a lease a week ago for a house in Truscott st, and since then have spent our days slowly moving furniture from 3 houses in to our place, with the help of Nanny, Mum, Jared and some friends Darren, Daniel and Ryan. We're pretty much settled in and have lots of unpacking to do as you can see.

 This is the dining room that we've turned into the study because it has the phone connection.

 These 2 are the hallway/entrance way
 The second bedroom (currently storage while we sort stuff out)

 The living room
And the laundry and toilet are through there.

We have a big back yard with 2 lemon trees, apricots, pears, almonds, and 2 mystery fruit trees. One we don't have much of an idea what it could be and the other I think are cherry plums. 

Christmas is coming

Glad to say Monday and today are cooler than the very hot weekend just gone. Trying to cool the house so it will be good for Christmas even after cooking.
I've been up early to make the most of the cool mornings and get some watering done. I'll have some home grown tomatoes for our Christmas tea.
Tested the back room seating on Sunday with a tea for Lisa's birthday. We fit 16 no problem. More than that and I'll have to get out the trestle.
Turned on the old fridge in the shed again. Now a very full drinks fridge.

Carolynn and Jarrad have slept in their new pad a couple of nights now. Still some bags here for them to collect. It was a shame that the days they moved were so hot but all good now. I'll have the spare room ready for Dayna and Bruce when they come.

So thrilled with Dayna and Bruce's news but I'll leave any other comments to them. Sending very positive thoughts their way and planning another UK visit.

A week with no dancing seems very strange to me. I took Mum to visit friends Sue and Kevin Monk yesterday. Sue's Mum lives with them and a cousin is visiting  from Sydney for Christmas. With Mary, another friend, Kevin had quite a harem. Coincidentally it turns out that Clive's sister in law, Ev is a good friend of the visiting cousin. What a small world we live in.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your other families, Dayna and Bruce and Glenn, Dee and Jules. We'll miss you all. What a houseful it will be if we ever all get together again.

Love from Mum

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


I hear there is a new driver in town. Succeeded first try. Well done Jared. Now make sure you obey all of the road rules so you keep that valuable licence.

I'm on the mulberry trail again. Silkworms everywhere. I put out some eggs from last year a couple of weeks ago and today they started hatching. A teacher at  Speci who gave me caterpillars last year is overrun with them and sent many home to me today . Many visits next door for leaves for the next few weeks.

Otherwise, I took Mum to see Dr Irani the eye specialist this morning. He is very happy with the results of the surgery although Mum said her eyes still water and get crusty overnight. I have a prescription for an ointment that she said prevented the problem. Then we went for an ultrasound of her arm to see why her fingers are numb. Arthritis squeezing the nerve which makes it swell so a local injection then a steroid injection. Her doctor had said if one hand improves she can get the other done but the first feeling was I won't bother with the second. I called in on my way home from lunch in Heathcote with friends this evening  and she is feeling happy with the result and now thinks she may well get the second hand done.Not game to suggest that may be the problem with her knee.

Clive and I continue to go dancing although down to four nights a week at the moment. Will add a Sunday afternoon this week in Echuca so the steps will get back up there. We did manage a walk around the lake on Monday morning and maybe we'll manage that again on Thursday. Tomorrow I'll take Mum to a Dyeing day  as a Spinners activity and I need to prepare for that tonight.

Carolynn may update you on what she is up to. She has moved back here at the moment and is helping Lisa when needed with the children.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A busy month

Good to read about everybody's comings and goings!

We've been keeping busy over this side of the world too. I can't believe that it's been more than a month since Mum went home, and I've had over two months of being forty. The week after we waved goodbye to Mum, Bruce spent a week in a tent. No, we didn't have a barney; he was working at the Green Man Festival making solar cells, batteries and woollen molecules. In the end, the molecules were made out of pom-poms rather than crocheted (but thanks for the prototypes, Mum!).

Bruce making a water molecule

The weekend after that, we enjoyed a very Welsh weekend - beer, bogs and Brecon. We spent Saturday evening tasting local ales at the inaugural Cardiff Brewfest.
Cardiff Brewfest

Then on Sunday morning we headed into the Brecon Beacons to watch some of the International Bog Snorkelling Championships.

Bog snorkelling championships

After a picnic lunch (in the car because it was starting to rain..) we headed across the hills (through Ministry of Defence land, around a rally and along some very winding single-track roads) to the Llandrindod Wells Steampunk Weekend. Apparently they'd had a whole "Victorian Week" (the era, not the place) and this was the final weekend. It was disappointing - no activities, only a couple of people in costume, and the heavens about to open. So instead of staying around for a few hours (for the music and fireworks), we drove back towards home and watched the latest Mission Impossible movie instead. :-)

The next week was fairly non-eventful, I took some leave and did nothing (ahh... doing nothing.. although I feel a bit guilty for not sorting out the photos from mum's trip..). B had to work as normal.
The weekend of 11-14 September our friends, Vicki & Steven, visited us in Cardiff. I collected them from Bristol airport on Friday afternoon and we had a lovely evening in playing Killer Bunnies.

Killer Bunnies game in progress

We had a relaxed start on Saturday - brunch and a few games of Forbidden Island (the game that Glenn introduced us to when we last visited). Vicki and Steven's visit was well-timed - it was the Millennium Centre's 10th birthday celebration, so we headed to the Bay for Ar Waith At Daith - A journey of Welsh myth and magic. The outside performance told the story of The Birth of Taliesin using puppets, storytelling, music, projection and pyrotechnics.

Ar Waith Ar Daith at Cardiff Bay
We explored Waterfall Country on Sunday. We packed a picnic, drove into the Brecon Beacons to the Waterfall Centre. We decided to take the shortest waterfall walk, the Elidir Trail - a trail past four waterfalls with a round trip distance of 4 kms. It was beautiful weather.. right up until we'd finished our picnic back at the car! Score!

Waterfalls on the Elidir Trail

Before Vicki and Stephen headed home on Monday, we popped over to Weston-Super-Mare to experience Dismaland - the depressing arty exhibit curated by Banksy. I'm hoping to get my photos sorted soonish so you can see more of the exhibition. It was such a busy (and fun) weekend!

Stephen & Vicki outside Dismaland

After another week of work, we drove up to visit B's folks - we were going to visit Grandad in the care-home but a number of the residents were ill, so no visitors were allowed. We still had a good visit with John and Gwen, so it wasn't all a waste.

As a belated birthday get-together, Vicki, Steven, Bruce and I travelled to the Black Forest in Germany last weekend to catch up with Angelika and James. Vicki, Angelika, James and I worked at Manchester University together seven years ago. James and Angelika moved to Waldkirch a few months ago, and with two small kids it seemed sensible that the rest of us would visit them.

We were only there for a long weekend, but still managed to pack a lot in. All of the things you'd expect from the Black Forest - beer, hiking, and Black Forest cake. In Waldkirch we ate home-made spatzel (a type of pasta), read books to the kiddies, went hiking on Kandel, drank champagne (for my belated birthday), and explored the lovely little town.


We spent a day in Freiburg, wandering around the market and the Minster.


And on our final day in Germany, we went to the tourist-town of Triberg - cuckoo clocks, the highest waterfall in Germany, and tasty Black Forest cake. Yummo!


What a great weekend!
So that catches me up.. Sorry for taking so long to get there!
Who next?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Cleaning up in the shed

I've made a small start and sent you photos in case you want one of Dad's lights or some fishing gear.
When the man comes to collect for the Swap Meet, I'll see how much he'll take then I'll have a run to the  Recycle yard to get rid of more. Probably will hardly make a dint in all that's there, but at least it will be a start.
Today is my first day home this week so I made the most of the gorgeous weather. Mowing done before our trip to Sydney to visit Glenn, Dee and Jules. I can see from the photos how much he has grown.
Minor hiccup that we can't catch a train in Eaglehawk that will get us to Sunbury to catch the bus to the Airport. If Damien and Cheryl agree, we'll drive to their place and leave the car there for the week, then walk to the K Flat station. Auntie Denise hopes to be driving again by then (She's out of action after an op to relieve pressure in her eye , currently looking lie she was in a fight) and if so she could taxi us to the station and, D& C we'd then need a taxi home on the 14th (probably about 6pm).
Dinner at Jojoes for Damien's birthday went well although in taking Nan out of the back door (to avoid the steps down), I forgot to pay our share of the bill so Damien saved the day.
Tuesday we had a fashion parade at the Stadium to raise money for CIKA (to fight children's cancers) and $4700 was raised so a great result. I put up photos Nana took of what I wore on FB. If I do it next year, I'll make sure we have a mirror in our little alcove so I can check the hair and makeup.
Wednesday Nana and I went to Morning melodies at the RSL. A singer and morning tea included and then we stayed for lunch with the War Widows. Wednesday night it was supper night at Castlemaine so more food (always a pav)Tonight it's supper night at Eaglehawk. Clive is working at the races.
No wonder the scales keep an upward trend instead of down.
Looking forward to our visit Glenn and Dee. Must pack swimwear if Jules is going for lessons in the pool. I'll check I have your correct phone numbers and will ring when we get into Sydney. We can get the train from the airport into the City then use the PET to get to your place.After towing a case around cobblestones in Copenhagen, Sydney should be easy as long as we get on the right bus.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

We (probably) have to move

Ah, beautiful, delicate irony. I becomes apparent that I spoke too soon when I confessed to feeling satisfied for the first time in years — within hours of my last post, our landlords called to tell us they’re selling our home.

We love living in this area, and our landlords have been brilliant: it is no exaggeration to say that they’re the first positive experience we’ve had, from either side of the rental market (and in two countries to boot). From the get-go they were accommodating (hyuk hyuk) — letting me view the property before it was officially available; waiting patiently for our security bond; organising all those typical rental-property things from afar whilst trying to get their own feet on the ground in a new country. Unfortunately (for us), they have indeed established themselves — and they're not coming back.

Hence the sale.

(Just to show how positive our experiences have been with them, they have even offered us “first dibs” on buying the property. We almost certainly can’t afford it, of course: property prices in Sydney are ridiculous. But we will be speaking to a financial planner once we’ve liquidated some pre-IPO stock-options of a certain Silicon Valley juggernaut, for some much needed advice.)

If we have to move, we’re hoping we can stay nearby — we want J to attend the school here, for one thing, and even if we can’t snap up this house we will be looking for a place to call our own sooner or later. Ideally we’ll even stay on the street — we’ve only recently started hanging out with our neighbours a few doors up (the Masons, would you believe?), and seeing our boy playing with the other kids “from the block” is a beautiful thing indeed.

This weekend has been both busy and eventful.

On Saturday Dee announced that we were having “a day off” — which translates to ONLY tidying up the house, a job which took some of Sunday too. Even as I undermine it, I have to admit that it was a pleasant change to have Dee skip yoga in the morning, and not have to rush off to swimming lessons for Jules.

Instead, we tidied (as mentioned) and took Jules to the toy-store (I forget what that was for, but he bought himself a mini Venus (Fireman Sam)) and we went for a late-ish lunch at the new Grill’d that has opened on Norton Street. Yum! I had a beer, which was possibly a mistake; continuing the clean-up job was definitely harder in the afternoon, and I didn’t get around to any more undercoating of the back porch.

… not that it matters, since our landlord rang while I was playing in Jules’ room. We rang her back, but already suspected the worst — they’re staying in France, and therefore selling 301 Nelson Street. (To be fair, I actually expected her to tell us that they were returning, and would therefore need us to move out. Either way, we’re moving.)

Today we got up at 6am to catch two trains to the start of the Blackmore’s Running Festival, aka the Sydney Marathon. Sure, we only ran the Bridge Run (9km in an official 1hr30something, but at an unofficial average Strava pace of 09:something min/km — and that’s pushing a pram!), but it was a good distance for the three of us and I was happy to see Dee cheering up after the news about “our” house.

I better go to bed, or I’ll get in trouble. If I can’t sleep — I’ve mixed a coffee with wine (not literally, mind you!) which may fight the exercise fatigue — then perhaps I’ll sneak back upstairs for some more writing.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Lily's birthday celebrations

We had a great weekend celebrating Lily's 4th birthday :) Friday night was dinner with Lisa and her family (Lil's favourite "dumperlings"). It was a good evening and nice to catch up with everyone before they headed to Horsham.
Saturday morning Lil got to open her presents, and then after Iaido we went out for lunch (Lils choice again- sushi this time!), and a doughnut (another thing Lil asked for :)
Sunday was party day! It was a teddy bears picnic themed party. Guests brought along their teddy, and we had a few activities. The kids made picnic baskets (which we later filled with party favors) and decorated bears, there was pass the parcel (with bear themed prizes), and cupcake decorating (where they were supposed to create bear faces... ;) And of course, the bear cake!
Everyone seemed to have lots of fun :) The weather was lovely! Perfect for sitting outside :) 

I had taken Lil to Target earlier in the week to chose a party dress for herself. She chose this cute top and skort combo... Even colour coordinated it on her own! :) 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Gordon St Gossip

It's been a while since we've posted, so here's a quick summary of our weeks now.

Monday Lily goes to Chinese playgroup.. it's a 2 hour immersion session, so they learn Chinese words while playing games and the like. It took her one session to decide she doesn't need Chez there, and to tell her "You can go now Mummy". She's made a few new best friends, not that she knows their names ;)

Then after school Ossie does his soccer class - an hour of games with between 8 and 15 kids aged 4 - 6. He's improving, especially his dribbling. His favourite game is called "Big Bear Little Bear", where the kids compete with the teachers to see who ends up with the most number of balls in their goal (the kids remain undefeated)

Tuesdays I have Iaido. We've been having some cold nights, so I'm happy if I can get 3 or 4 students in. Having got through the Seminar, and being a few months away from grading prep, it's a good chance to cover the more advanced stuff with them.

Some Wednesdays (or Fridays) Cheryl will take Lil to Tumble Tots, which is kind of a gym for little kids. Lil certainly applies her jumping and climbing skills from there back at home on the couch, her bed, the cupboard etc.

Thursdays Chez has Pilates in the morning, and Edith and Landon look after Lil. I remember Chez saying when she started how strong and graceful someone else there looked - now she's the one with new students telling her she's so strong and graceful.  

Friday isn't too busy.

Saturday morning I have Iaido again, with a 30 minute kids class followed by an hour seniors class. The kids are doing really well - I've got Trin, Isabelle and Ossie doing it. I try to focus on useful skills like balance and muscle endurance while teaching them the basics of the Hokushin katas and cutting. Then Ossie gets an hour on the iPad while I teach the seniors.

Then Sunday nights we have dinner with Edith and Landon.

Add to this the rigmarole of the school runs, grocery shopping, and work, and you can see it makes for a pretty busy week. It's good for the kids to have structured activities though.

Tonight I'm off to school with Os for a special night with kids and the men in their life. Last year after 90 minutes of games Ossie cried when he realised the promised pizza didn't include one he liked. He tells me this year he'll be more prepared for disappointment.

Tomorrow Lisa and the kids are coming over for dinner since they're missing Lil's birthday. I've worked out how to get Minecraft to run over the LAN on two computers with one account. I suspect that'll be Daria and Os taken care of.

Then Sunday is Lil's birthday party. We've got our friends coming over, plus a bunch of little kids. It's a Teddy Bear's Picnic (Lily's choice) Should be fun.

And that's us. Nowhere near as exciting as holidays or trips overseas but it keeps us out of trouble ;)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Home to Spring

Can't believe it's been a week since I came home. We danced Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday so my steps are coming up again. Friday we went to the pictures. Clive's daughter gave him a voucher for Village cinemas and we planned to use it. Unfortunately Bendigo doesn't accept them. We still went and saw Last Cab to Darwin. A bit sad but full of Australian scenery. Gwen and John might enjoy it. I'd been out for lunch with Mum and was so full I wasn't looking for food but we shared a Jojoe's pizza after the movie and enjoyed that.
My nails look good still although the thumb with the crack only lasted until Thursday. Lost the next one on Sunday and the two others today. I tried a layer of clear to save one but then I got out in the garden. Might try a layer of gel colour over it on Thursday for the weekend in Cobram.
I should be sweeping and vaccumming today and I need to walk up the street but the weather is so good I started weeding the vege garden and two hours disappeared. Rain is forecast so I'l get on to the housework and the photos then.
Dayna and Bruce,thank you for my very busy holiday and all of the new experiences I had with you. Look forward to you coming to me next time.
I hope Bruce's workshops were a great success and he has recovered by now.
Lisa got down the old lights I think she has chosen one and I'll put one aside for Dayna. Damien and Glenn do you want one? I'll post photos so you can choose if so.
Love and hugs from Mum

Forgot to say, Glenn and Dee Clive and I have booked to come and visit on 7th October and stay until 14th. We plan to use the $2.50 tickets to do some exploring like to the Blue Mountains and Newcastle. We can get ourselves in to the City since we get in at 2.30 pm and then get the bus to your place for when you'll be home or meet you in town.
Also I've packed up the XBox that was taking up space. Do you want to keep it? Too heavy to come in the luggage this trip. Damien helped me swap set top boxes over so the TV's are working again. I can postpone replacement for a few more years I hope. The old microwave continues to do the job so I'm not rushing in thee either. Advantages of being a hoarder?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Mum's Five Week Pub Crawl

Sitting outside at the Rogers' place, enjoying the evening sun. Mum's inside getting changed into her travel clothes (including layers for the arrival in Melbourne). It's crazy to think that she's been here for five weeks! Send like yesterday that we were at Birmingham Airport to collect her. Although, as you will know from Mum's posts and watching fb, we've been able to fit in quite a bit since then. :-)

This week Mum's been hanging out with Gwen, B's mum. I had a two day meeting London and Cambridge and B has had long days getting ready for a festival, so we weren't going to be good company. I'll let Mum tell you what she and Gwen got up to - they certainly weren't idle! I arrived late Wednesday night and we had a girlie day on Thursday; Op-shopping (called charity shops over here) and then we all got our nails done. Would you believe that neither Mum nor Gwen had ever had their nails done in a salon before?! We got gel polish (also called shellac), so they should look lovely for at least two weeks. Hopefully. (What a good excuse to not do the dishes!)

Last week we explored north east England: Nottingham, York, Scarborough, Whitby and Derbyshire.

In Nottingham we went to the UK's oldest pub, The Old Trip to Jerusalem, as well as a pub in a church, the Pitcher and Piano. We had a wander around the city and found a beach - a temporary one with sand, deck chairs and a shark! We beat the crowds to Sherwood Forest the next morning, saw the Major Oak (it's about 1000 years old), bought ginger biscuits from Robin Hood's mate (well, he looked the part) and high-tailed it out before all of the kiddies descended (ah, school holidays). :-)

York is one of the few remaining walled cities. Lots of history! The Minster is amazing - it's like a cathedral but was a meeting place for the ministers.. (I forget the detail.. Mum or Bruce, do you remember?). We spent an hour being guided around the transept and then another exploring the undercroft - there was so much to see! Whilst in York we also walked on the city walks, wandered around the Shambles and took a ghost tour.

Our seaside day took us to Scarborough, where we walked along the prom, saw a fair (are you going?), had a go on the penny arcade machines and paddled in the (very cold) sea. From there we headed up to Whitby and spent the afternoon there. Whitby was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula and also where James Cook did his sailing apprenticeship. We explored the Abbey ruins (with an audio tour), walked down 199 steps into town, wandered across the bridge and up a steep hill to the Whale Bones and Cook memorial, and finally took a short cruise on a mini version of the ship Endeavour. At the end of the day we had to walk back up all of those steps to get back to the car! Phew!

We stopped a few times on the way back to the West Midlands. First stop, Chesterfield - market town with a cool church spire. Second stop, The Heights of Abraham - a cable-car ride up a mountain, tours of old lead mines, a spot of history and some beautiful views. Final stop, Goathland - tiny little town in Derbyshire, also known as Aidensfield (from tv's Heartbeat) and the pub makes really tasty alcoholic floats (ie spiders). We made it back to Brum just in time for dinner. ;-)

Saturday took us back into Wales - but just for the day. We headed towards Llangollen for a boat ride across the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct -amazing engineering by Thomas Telford!  A picnic feast by Horseshoe Falls, and a quick stop in town filled the rest of the day (we even got to say hi to Thomas the Tank).

That's enough for now.. I'll post photos once I get them sorted (but it might be some time - they're are quite a few!). Mum's on the plane now - she'll be home on Monday.

What have the rest of you been up to lately?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Summer in the UK?

We've had some lovely weather especially in Copenhagen. Here in Cardiff it alternates between wet and sunny. Haven't needed my extra jumpers but I did take Dayna's raincoat to Denmark then used it in London.

We've posted regularly to FB so you all know how we are doing. Dayna's birthday celebrations went well with afternoon tea then drinks with work mates and friends. Family celebrations on the weekend. Unfortunately the three hour cruise booked for Sunday was cancelled because of the weather. A bit better today (Monday) and tomorrow we're going out no matter what the weather does.

Been good to chat to Mum,and video chat to Clive, Damien and Lisa.

Now planning for the trip to Spain and then to Nottingham and York. Look for Dayna posts until I'm back at John and Gwen's on August 8th.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Off, off and away

Ready to head to the airport to fly to Birmingham. Clive is going to drive me there. Looking forward to seeing all there and enjoying a taste of summer. Rain and cold here ATM with 13 as a top. In Birmingham it starts there and gets warmer.
I'll try to post regularly and Clive said he'll let Mum know when I contact him. Will still Skype to Mum as I did last time hopefully. Denise is taking carer's leave each Wednesday so she'll have a mini holiday to take Mum to the Day Club. Well timed with Christmas in July at Axedale and a birthday do within the five weeks.

Love to all. See you on FB and here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Situation report: Dome 301

It's been so long since we posted that I can't even remember what we've been up to. All the usual stuff - work, wanting a holiday, swimming, housework, and exploring Sydney when we can.

For a while we were all sick with (at least one each of) pneumonia, 'flu, "slap face", sinusitis... It was not a happy couple of weeks. Things have improved since then, thankfully, and we've been training for the swiftly approaching City2Surf. So far we've each done at least 5km in a single run - Dee even ran from her work to Bondi!

Oh, except I seem to be allergic to something - I've come out in a rash on my arms and chest. Responding to antihistamines and some cream I found in the medicine cabinet...

Dee's brother Chris visited this weekend, which was a great excuse to visit a couple of the microbreweries in the Inner West (I hope it's not craft beer that I'm allergic to!) and check out the beaches. A beautiful spot, although the fish and chips were pretty ordinary. Jules and I had a ride on a little train ("I was a bit scared," he told me afterwards.)

Back at work and looking forward to a break, if we can afford it, in September.