Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harold and Maude

Until I did my degree and began working in a library I didn't really know how good public libraries are. Still, I am continually surprised by how little other people know about what public libraries offer for the whole community. The people in my bible study tonight didn't know that you can get free access to the Internet at the library. You can use our computers or your own laptop because wireless is free and you don't need a password. For those of us who work at the library free books and DVDs are coming out our ears. Other staff members and customers are always recommending things to me so at any one time I have a huge pile of books and DVDs to get through. If only librarians really did read and watch DVDs all day.

On Monday my colleague Margot gave me Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. Margot and I do not read the same books but have enjoyed lots of the same DVDs. She introduced me to Spooks which has given me seven whole seasons of viewing pleasure so I'll give whatever she recommends a go - they're free after all so there is no pressure to like, or even finish, them! It was sitting on my desk and another colleague, Michael, saw it and asked if there were any sex scenes :) He was only joking so I told him about Harold and Maude.

Harold and Maude was one of my favourite movies when I was a teenager. I didn't see it at the movies, it was made the year before I was born, but Mum told me about it and I absolutely loved it. The soundtrack is all Cat Stevens and fits perfectly. It's about 19 year old Harold who likes to pretend to kill himself a lot. He goes to funerals and drives a hearse until his Mum gets rid of it and buys him a Jaguar....which he converts into a hearse. One day he meets 79 year old Maude who also likes going to funerals but who is full of life rather than obsessed with death. They fall in love.

And there is a sex scene.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, however, is not a black comedy and the two main characters do not fall in love. Joan Plowright plays Mrs Palfrey and she reminds me so much of my Granny that I am very attached to her. It's a quiet, moving and lovely film and I cried a lot. I could cry again now but that's because I put biscuits in the oven when I began this post and left my phone (acting as timer) in the kitchen and didn't hear it go off - burnt lemon biscuits are very sad.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A week (or so) in review and a word to the ABC

Tim asked me today (via facebook, of course) why my blog has derailed. I'm not really sure why. It's a combination of things I suppose. I'm busier than I ought to be and just want to blob when I am free in the evenings, there are so many books I want to read, DVDs I want to (and do) watch and I have a lot of uni work to do. I think I have to admit that somethings I'd probably blog about, I just tweet..... you know, it's so quick.

Still, for those who do like to keep up with our doings I'll review. It was so much fun having Mum here, I wish she'd move in :) I had the Friday and Saturday off, before she left, and we went out for coffee on the Friday morning. We parked behind Myer and it took us an hour to get through Myer to the café across the road as we came across too many bargains. Poor Toby. All he wanted was a hot chocolate and I kept finding things to try on. Facebook friends will have seen all of these photos before and they are from my phone, sorry about that. This is the dress I bought on super special. Bethany was concerned that I couldn't breathe with the belt on....

On Saturday we had the Halbisches over for lunch which was lovely. Not satisfied with the black forest cake I made for Liz' birthday, Mum and I made a Jamie Oliver black forest roulade. I overheated the chocolate while melting it and made a right mess of the rolling but I'd have to say it was still pretty good. I don't always love Jamie's recipes but this this was pretty good.

We said goodbye to Mum on Sunday afternoon and we were very sorry to watch the final episode of Little Dorrit without her. Despite the fact that after the big secret was revealed I was none the wiser, it really was a wonderful production. We taped the last episode for Mum, as she'll be back for a night in a week, and I can't wait to watch it with her.

Andrew was going to a course in Sydney on Thursday but, seeing as winter mornings are so very foggy here, he flew up on Wednesday afternoon. It would have been a waste of a trip if he hadn't stayed a bit longer so he booked his return flight for Sunday. Single parenting isn't an awful lot of fun but it did give me a chance to watch DVDs Andrew might not be so keen on. I watched the first episode of North and South (only for the second time) on Thursday night, knowing that I had another two nights to watch the other three hours. On Friday, however, Young Victoria came back to the library and I had reserved it. Friday afternoon was quite frantic with soccer practice, a birthday party and kids' club. Bethany and I went on a 'date' while Joss and Tobes were at kids' club. She chose the destination, McDonalds, and Narelle and her kids came too. She and I had coffee while the kids had happy meals and played in the playground. By the time I dragged the older two away from the fires they made at the camp fire night and popped their smoky little selves into bed, it was after nine but I watched the movie and absolutely loved it.

This is Jossie in her new beret and earrings. She didn't wear this to netball on Saturday but still looked very stylish with a side pony tail. So important to look good on the court :) This was my first Saturday doing the double sport thing all by myself. Toby was thrilled to be back at soccer having been devastated  when Mama hadn't been able to see him play the week before. Mum sent him a message saying that she hoped he a) scored a goal and b) won the game. He did indeed score a goal and raced over to ask me to text Mum saying that he had dealt with a) and that b) was looking very likely. They did win the game and we rushed over to Jossie's netball game. Jossie's team has, um, not done very well thus far so it was a fabulous experience for everyone when they won the game 25 - 10! We celebrated a successful sporting morning with fish and chips for lunch. I celebrated with the last three hours of North and South after the kids were in bed :)

I finished reading Victoria Hislop's The Island (loved it) and Don't Call me Ishmael (so much fun) and am reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I have Jo Brand's It's Different for Girls, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, Natasha Solomons' Mr Rosenblum's List and Ben Okri's The Famished Road on my bedside table - working at the library is so difficult. Andrew and I are watching Simon Schama's A History of Britain and Andrew brought  Little Dorrit back from Sydney! This is where I need to have a word with the ABC. I love the ABC, you know that I do, but I want to know why we had to wait two years to see Little Dorrit. I also think it's about time we saw the third and final series of Ashes to Ashes which will wrap up Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars, and what about the eight series of Spooks? Will I have to buy them on Actually, I'll be doing that anyway.....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Jossie!

My holidays are mostly over. I say mostly because, while I have gone back to work, the kids are being looked after at home by Mum so I don't have to get the kids ready, make their lunches and drive them to school - that's enough of a break for me! We are having a delightful time with Mum. On Sunday afternoon we drove out to the Junee licorice and chocolate factory for necessary supplies. There is a fabulous shop above the factory filled with cook books, kitchenware, scarves, bags, toys and lovely things so Mum and I were keen to spend some time up there. Toby brought his soccer ball with him in anticipation.

It was the café that lured all the kids and Mum bought them all drinks full of molten chocolate while I bought chocolate covered licorice and almonds.

It's hard to wait when the very young staff get confused and take their time.

Luckily the chocolate was worth the wait. I had licorice tea which was delicious.

The kids have had a whale of a time with Mum. They have made biscuits, played games, ridden bikes and been to see Toy Story 3. Andrew and I have really enjoyed having her here as well, not only because she has looked after the kids and done all the driving around and cooking :) We have been watching le Tour and Gavin and Stacey. The other night I made blackberry clafoutis, after seeing it on Taste le Tour, which is my favourite bit (I also like the scenery).

Today is Jossie's eleventh birthday - she's old enough to go to Hogwarts! We had a huge pile of presents in the morning and she spent the morning at a friend's house before going to the pool. Her dinner of choice was macaroni cheese and, in lieu of a birthday cake, she had chocolate caramel slice, made by Mum.

Bethany enjoyed it too.

I always chose Wiener Schnitzel as my birthday dinner. What was your favourite?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm back :)

I am sorry to have taken such a long break from the blog. It has been partly due to laziness and partly due to the kids using my computer a lot during the holidays. I have done lots of reading, DVD watching and cooking. I bought Andrew the first series of Gavin and Stacey on DVD - so funny! I have struggled with Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters which is a terrible shame because I loved North and South so much. Andrew Nicoll's The Good Mayor was pretty good but I didn't love it. I did really enjoy Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.

We have had two full weeks of school holidays. Andrew's parents came to mind the children while we were at work in the first week, which was lovely, and then I took a week off. We had a couple of friends  come for sleep overs, we went to the pool (indoor, of course) and there has been a little bit of television/wii and gameboy. Jossie took this photo of Bethany's gameboy face. The tongue is crucial.

Bethany has also used reams of paper. I particularly like this robot with a cake head.

On Wednesday we drove for fours hours to visit Mim and Bill in Molong. We had such a delightful time and it was really great to see their farm as it was our first visit. Bethany was in her element. She has no fear - there is no way that I would touch, let alone pick up, a live chicken!

It was Bethany's birthday on Thursday and Mim made her a fabulous bunch of flowers cake.

It was one brilliant aspect to a fabulous day. The much longed for Liv doll arrived (thanks Tim and Shona) and all the presents were a big hit.

We went for long walks in the pretty, hilly countryside, gathering interesting items such as sheep skulls and wheat. Mim and Bill's farm is really lovely.

Bethany pretended to be a sheep. I have never seen a sheep sit like that......

Toby and Joss came into their own with the bonfire. Are all children possible pyromaniacs?

Bethany took a few birthday calls.

The next day we made doughboys in the still very hot embers.

It was a short stay but most enjoyable and I can't wait to go back. Mim and Bill will need a while to recover......

Now we are home and we picked Mum up from the station this afternoon. I go back to work on Monday so she will mind the kids. I suspect we will do some good eating :)

Blogger offered me some new templates. Red is my favourite colour. What do you think? Is it too hard to read?