Sunday, June 20, 2010


Coming home from Parramatta knowing that a long weekend stretched before me was so delightful. How I wish we had long weekends every week! There was no Saturday sport (a very good start, though Toby was unimpressed) and there was plenty of time to get things done and relax as well. After church on Sunday we went to the Ks' for lunch. Bethany had such a good time dressing up.

I could have taken photos of her all afternoon :)

On Monday afternoon we went to the Halbisch's and had a long, lazy afternoon tea that turned into dinner. It was such a lovely thing to do and it's a terrible shame that most of our weekends are too full of sport, washing, ironing and cooking to do it regularly.

Of course, missing out on my longest day did make the rest of the working week rather frantic. I had lunch with a friend on Wednesday at Mates Gully. The risotto was delicious as was this coffee.

Friday was open day at the children's school. I left work early (I had time up my sleeve having given an evening talk to the Family History Society on Wednesday) to go to assembly. Bethany's handiwork was in the foyer of the assembly hall. I love how she writes so boldly and then runs out of space.

In year 3 all students learn the violin and they gave a performance at the assembly. Toby is third from the left in the back row, perhaps because there isn't much love left over for the violin after all his piano practice.

The violin was just a bonus anyway as the real reason Andrew and I left work early was to see Toby receive his Head of Junior School award. Five well done cards equal a merit award and three merit awards equal a Head of Junior School award.

There were activities all afternoon but we skipped off to soccer practice before rugging up and coming back to school for the fireworks. I was expecting sausages for dinner but the excellent canteen lady had organised lots of options for us. Joss and Bethany had Thai pumpkin soup with garlic bread, Andrew and I had butter chicken and Toby had hot chips. I even got sticky toffee pudding for dessert :)

The kids all ran off with their friends. The glow stick pictured above spilled its contents in Bethany's bed a couple of hours after this photo was taken. Bethany's pyjamas, sheets and hands all glowed.

I wasn't expecting much from the fireworks but they were spectacular. I know the photo isn't spectacular but it pleases me somehow. It was a lovely night, topped off with a bit of Miss Marple. Thankfully I had already seen it as I had to make a birthday cake for a friend. One of the things I love about English television is seeing actors I know from other productions. How cool was it to see Julian Sands from A Room With a View in Miss Marple?
The rest of the weekend was really all sport, children's parties, church and washing. Poirot is on tonight and I don't care if looking forward to that makes me boring.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Working in a public library, the bulk of our professional development is library specific and done at the State Library which subsidises travel for regional library staff. This time, however, Chrissie and I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Parramatta on community capacity building for local government. I won't thrill you with a blow by blow description but we went to some great workshops on living library, community engagement and empowering refugees.

I haven't been to Parramatta for years. After a rather hideous flight that was delayed before departure,   had to fly out to sea to delay landing and was turbulent enough to cause someone to be violently ill in earshot, we decided to catch a taxi rather than a train. Thankfully there were four of us because it cost $90! The conference went over two days so we stayed. My room had a river view and king sized bed.

After the first day's talks and workshops we had a cocktail party with entertainment from Circus Solarus, who turned out to be massaging clowns..... The light was very dim, sorry about the quality of the photo. This lady had just massaged my back and then Chrissie's with that implement.

This man was with her and had to get a chair to stand on to service this very large back. Luckily the large man had a sense of humour.

There was a lot of food on offer at the cocktail party but Chrissie and I were on a mission to eat something we don't get in Wagga. We studied the dining guide very hard and decided on Greek food. Kouzina Greco had a very nice write up in the dining guide and I was very keen to try their slow roasted lamb. The waitress was lovely even though we took ages deciding what we wanted - we wanted all if it! We finally made up our minds and shared everything, starting with three dips. Skordalia, taramasalata and melinzanosalata (eggplant and garlic) served with warm, Greek pita bread that was both soft and crispy. We were in raptures over these dips, especially the taramasalata which was smooth and perfectly balanced.

We're both big fans of haloumi so we ordered the grilled cyprus haloumi with baby endive, vine-ripened tomatoes, steamed asparagus, kalamata olives and balsamic olive oil. The haloumi was very generous, thick and delicious.

We finished with the dish that had been described in the dining guide; Kleftiko (slow roasted lamb with fresh herbs, lemon, olive oil and roasted potatoes. I forgot to take a photo until after we had both taken some for our own plates, so keen was I to eat it. The lamb was so very tender, yet crispy on the outside, and full of flavour. The meal was so delicious we asked the owner to set up a restaurant in Wagga but I don't think he will :( We wished we had room for baklava ice cream.

I made sure that the next day I went next door to the hotel to Sea Sweet Patisserie and bought all of these lebanese delights to keep me going..... at least for a day or two.

We caught the train back to the airport (much cheaper but it took forever), ate sushi for dinner and arrived home around 8.30pm. Yay for the long weekend! Are you doing anything good? I'm planning a lot of sleeping.....

Monday, June 7, 2010

The wheels nearly fell off on Thursday when I tried to mark too many assignments, drive everyone to and from work, take Milo to the vet, make biscuits and pack for a weekend away. I did manage it however and, after work on Friday, I picked up Jossie and Bethany from school and headed down the highway. It is hard to choose a book that all three of us would like to listen to. I went with When we were very young by A.A Milne, read by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall and Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair by CS Lewis. I started with the delightful poems which had me in nostalgic raptures. The kids didn't get them (we'll have to work on that) so we listened to Jeremy Northam read us The Silver Chair - so good! It got dark pretty much as soon the road became unfamiliar so when we stopped for dinner I rang Andrew and was only able to say that I was somewhere in Victoria.

We arrived at Phil and Kristin's just after nine and it was lovely to see Mum and Dad and then, when they came back from the hospital, Phil and Charlotte. In the morning, Phil drove in to spend the day at the hospital but the rest of us needed to wait until two so we got to explore Melbourne a little bit, which, believe it or not, I have never done. We drove to the train station, caught two trains and emerged here.

Bethany and Charlotte were boisterously enjoying each other's company in such a way that required a
lot of supervision so I didn't see all that I might have without children, but it was still very exciting. I love the narrow alleyways.

We hadn't gone far before Mum, Dad and I were in need of coffee and the children a snack. The lovely little cafés in the alleyways aren't really suited to a party of six so when I spied a  Lindt Café, I thought it might be just the thing. Check out the chandelier in the shoe shop across the corridor!

DIY hot chocolate is both delicious and fun.

Thus fortified we went looking for chocolate shops. I did like this ceiling.

And this shop with lovely, expensive matrushka dolls, across from Koko Black.

We went in to Chokolait and bought just a few chocolates to taste before having lunch, hopping on another train and finally getting to the hospital to see Kristin and the twins. I could have held them all day. Look at Henry's little fingers and I think Georgiana is looking up adoringly at her Aunty Amy ;)

I did, however, let others have a turn. This is Bethany with Georgiana.

Jossie with Henry.

Phil took this photo and it is one of my favourites. It's like they just want to be near each other.

Now we are home again and I want to go back for more cuddles.