Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Facing facts, if I don't grab this opportunity now, I won't be back before Christmas. The early night I was aiming for was a pipe dream so I may as well pop in here and wish you a Merry Christmas while sharing a random selection from my phone and camera.

If you want publicity for your library, move to the country. This full page of the local paper was not paid for! I didn't suggest the pose either....

Andrew's (significant) birthday was on Saturday and his parents very kindly minded the children so we could go out on Friday night and we had a lovely evening at Three Chefs and then the cinema. Andrew chose Eton Mess for dessert on Saturday night so I didn't make a cake. Jen, from work, has a similarly horrible December birthday and Kristy made her this fabulous cake! If you like cake, work in a library.

For the last few years we have added gingerbread house to our list of Christmas traditions. I made the gingerbread one evening and left Sue to help the kids put it together while I was at work. It turns out they don't like gingerbread, just the lollies....... shame that, as I love gingerbread.

And so, to bed. I don't know when I'll be back. Have a wonderful Christmas celebrating God's great gift to us!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two sleeps to go

There may be nine sleeps till Christmas but there are only two sleeps until Andrew's 40th! Of course, I have been in denial about both of these approaching events and we have been kept very busy. Last Friday night was the last Kids' Club for the year and we were all invited to a party at the Botanic Gardens. Bethany worked on her climbing skills.

We went on the model railway.... Bethany was pretty excited.

I made this luminaire at Liz' Stampin' Up workshop.

This is it when it isn't on the job.

We got to meet the lovely Peter who didn't wake up though we all had several holds.

We do love babies.

On Sunday evening we went to Carols in The Victory Memorial Gardens. The weather was lovely and hundreds of people came. Andrew did a kids' spot and Bethany and some of her school friends went on stage with him as elves to help him sing. Can you spot Bethany in this photo?

They all did a great job and the whole evening was lovely.

Andrew's parents are here now, minding the kids while we are at work. The weather is warming up again. We have had drought, flood and now plague as the locusts have moved in....... ah, the country. I do like this little bird that has made its nest on the grapevine out the back door. There are four little eggs in it :)

Reading update: Jasper Jones was brilliant. I really loved the banter between Charlie and Jeffrey, it must be an Australian classic. The Bell Jar was also a fascinating read. You have to read it to find out why Sylvia Plath gave it that title. I have already borrowed at least ten books to take away over Christmas. If only I was I was as organised in all areas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Storms and floods can make everything topsy turvy. Bizarrely, the water damage done to the library is unrelated to the flooding river. The lagoon which overflowed into the library is fed by storm water and there was a massive storm with so much water in a short space of time. The library is still closed. We have spent many days alternately sitting around waiting and getting stuck in to hard, dirty, physical labour. We had to pull carpet out from the inside of built-in shelves, under heavy furniture and inside the compactus. Then we had to scrape off the underlay that had been glued down. This evening I realised that I was supposed to submit an article to the newspaper on Tuesday. Without a desk, phone or computer I completely forgot!

Life continues as normal in many ways and I was changing sheets in Jossie's room when I noticed something different about the Barbies on her bed. I remember giving my own Barbies crew cuts when I was her age but Jossie is piercing their faces with her own earrings!

We went to Andrew's work team Christmas Party on Sunday. The kids wouldn't have gotten out of the pool if it wasn't for the food. We had Bombe Alaska, tiramisu and the children loved the rainbow jelly.

Living on a hill we are pretty safe from the flooding Murrumbidgee. Wagga has a long history of floods and finally built the Gobbagombalin Bridge in 1997 to ensure that the city wouldn't be cut off. The Gobba is 1.2km long and traverses the Murrumbidgee and a lagoon but mostly we pass over paddocks. In the last few days, however, the river and lagoon covered the whole distance bar a few spots of higher ground.

This is the actual river. The little ball of greenery in the middle in all you can see of the island.

The library wasn't the only area to be damaged. The poor art gallery had a floating timber floor that is all uneven now and this is the garage, filled with documents hanging on washing lines.

We don't have desks, computers or phones yet and we probably won't open until Friday but at least we had rhubarb cake and custard. Thanks Kristy :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The aftermath

It's great to take photos of significant people and events - to have something to blog about if nothing else. Despite the fact that I have had a blog for years, I still regularly find that I get to the end of a lovely visit with friends and family and have no photos. Bethany probably won't be like that. When I hooked up my camera to get the photos of the flooded library I found this record of a play day Bethany must have had with her Liv dolls. This doll looks most uncomfortable - her back foot!

The driver is not watching the road and the girl in the blue dress knows it.

We had a downpour on Thursday night. It really did rain very hard for quite a while and Andrew got soaked getting from work to the car. I had to open our garage door to let out a lot of water but we were fine inside the house, not even afraid of the thunder and lightning. I had no idea of the damage caused in town. There is a gallery of photos here . Friday dawned bright and sunny and I drove the kids to school as normal. Just as I dropped them off the radio announced that the art gallery and library had been flooded and the whole Civic Centre was closed. The building has three floors (the library takes up part of two of them) and the roof collapsed over part of the third floor.

I didn't think that the building would be closed to staff but we were told, as we hung around outside, that we should go home and we probably wouldn't come back until Tuesday. At this point we had mixed feelings. Terrible damage...... surprise day off and super long weekend....After fiddling about with phone numbers and chute contingencies (if everyone came and returned their books over a very long weekend the chute would jam and the books would get damaged), I went home. I watched last week's episode of Spooks on iView, finished the third book in the Dark Heavens trilogy (not my normal type of thing at all, but compulsively engaging) and had just settled down in front of The Forsyte Saga on DVD and painted my fingernails. No sooner had I put the third coat on than my manager rang and asked me to come in and help to rip up the sodden, filthy with lagoon water carpet.

Everyone was pitching in. Directors, managers, outdoor council staff and library staff.

Wet carpet doesn't smell nice.

No power meant no air-conditioning.

Anne was at the Civic Theatre on Thursday night and raised the alarm about the flood. She and some others came in and moved all the books off bottom shelves and took everything off the floor in the workroom. The books are OK but the shelves will have to be replaced. We've been needing new carpet and now insurance will pay for it! It looks like we won't be open for a while but we'll be back at work on Monday trying to restore order. I think it may be a long haul.... My nailpolish was ruined and had to be removed.

I wasn't sure whether the timing was awful or brilliant but I decided to go ahead with the Stampin' Up! workshop I had planned. Liz had done a lot of preparation and I had made two cakes and bought many Lindor Balls so we forged ahead. Raspberry Lindor Balls, by the way, are pretty disgusting but the peanut butter ones are delicious.

I think it was just what we needed, particularly after such a physically draining afternoon.

We ate cheese and biscuits, lemon earl grey syrup cake (the recipe is here when you scroll past the tart and I highly recommend this cake - the texture is fabulous as it's made with cream rather than butter) and chocolate apple cake. Liz set up a fabulous display of cards - we didn't make these.....

We made a big mess.

Out of the mess came two each of two card designs and a box. I think an evening of food, cards and  conversation was perfect and we'll wish we were doing it again when we're back at work on Monday.

Liz made these lovely little gifts for everyone.

Now, to start thinking about Christmas.