Saturday, July 30, 2011


It has been a great week for sport in our house (I'll bet you didn't expect that from me). We watched the last three nights of the Tour de France, having friends over on Sunday night to eat camembert and charlotte aux cerises (cherry mousse cake from last year's Taste le Tour) and watch Cadel's ride into Paris. I have watched le Tour for years now but this is the first year I have found interest beyond the food and scenery. I finally understand how the race works and Cadel had a good year, at last! It really was very exciting. Andy Schleck played a very good baddy (arrogance delivered in a monotone) and because he had no cause to whinge and rode brilliantly, we were able to overlook Cadel's high voice and extraordinary bum forehead to go with his bum chin. If I wasn't for the fact that we were exhausted after all those late nights, we'd be very sorry it's over.

Not of global, or even national, significance, Jossie and Toby's victories this morning were very sweet for us. Toby thought they were playing a team that gave them a thorough beating last time so was expecting a tough game. They won 11 -2 and Toby got 3 or 4 of those goals (he couldn't remember how many).

Jossie's netball team has greatly improved. Jossie is rather her mother's daughter when it comes to sporting ability and her team has only won one game in the season and a half they have been playing. Today they played the team they beat last year and won 26 - 7! Unaccustomed to winning, they were very excited. I did feel bad for the other team, though, who haven't won any games.

The weather appears to be turning, ever so slightly. We have had some severe frosts in the morning but it is warming up nicely during the day. Bethany and I went for a ride this afternoon and saw, to my great delight, blossoms on two trees! The delight turned to dismay when we were swooped by a magpie. Spring in Wagga has some serious drawbacks. Swooping magpies and hayfever inducing pollen being chief among them. Long live winter!

Our book club met to discuss our third book - Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle. I love how differently we all feel about the books. One of us absolutely loved it, some of us found it enjoyable and two of our number doubted its authenticity. Now we are reading Love in a Cold Climate and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of it because I love it. We have a DVD of the film and are going to watch it the week before we meet to discuss the book.

I am also reading all the Harry Potters again. I saw the movie with Liz and Ian and soaked three tissues.

Bethany received a chocolate coin maker for her birthday and was very excited to use it. In fact, she wants me to hurry up and finish posting so we can make some more.

I have also been making cards because we have a market coming up. Thankfully my evenings are free again!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Melbourne, Part II

So, I was in the middle of telling you about the soccer when I ran out of steam. Actually, I was waiting for some of Andrew's photos to upload and they were taking forever but they are here now. I couldn't leave this photo out of a proper account of the soccer. During half time everyone came inside to buy food and drink or just to huddle together and get warm. A very tall, slightly inebriated Celtic fan took a shine to Bethany, calling her 'Celtic Girl'. They had quite a long conversation and he was such a friendly fellow that Andrew took this photo of them.

He had the word 'Feely' printed on the back of his Celtic jersey and when we were back in our seats and I was commenting that it was so cold and wet that no-one would consider streaking (I like a bit of added excitement with my sport) Andrew said that alcohol makes you warm and I was hoping Feely might give it a go. No such luck.

Andrew took this photo of the kids on the menu at Federation Square.

Bethany and Charlotte wanted to go for a carriage ride, or at least to pat the horses.

It was very sad saying goodbye. The cousins have a lot of fun together.

Only one more day until I go back to work but the kids have another week of holidays. Their paternal grandparents are coming to play with them, the excitement goes on....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Jocelyn May

 I know I don't seem nearly old enough to have a twelve year old daughter but there you go ;) Such an interesting, in between age, she is very excited to be growing up. She has had a great day, even if she did spend the evening crying (she and Andrew went to see Harry Potter). Happy birthday lovely girl!

We had a great time in Melbourne with P, K, C, H and G. Despite the fact that P and K have lived there for a few years and we are only five and a half hours away, we have hardy spent any time in Melbourne. This was our longest visit yet and it still seemed very short. Of course, as babies change so very quickly, we loved spending time with the twins - they are so sweet and funny!

On Tuesday, while P and K were at work, we walked to the train station and caught the train into the city. It was only a fifteen minute walk but we discovered that our kids are a bit soft! We need to go on some long walks to toughen them up.

Hot chocolate makes everything better, especially the Lindt Café's hot chocolates made with proper chocolate.

We wandered around town, had some lunch (Toby now loves sushi which is a bit unfortunate as there isn't much of it in Wagga) before walking over to Federation Square. The kids were pretty impressed to find themselves on the big screen.

We were there to see The Art of the Brick, a Lego exhibition. I confess, I would never have thought of Lego as an artist's material of choice.

Toby continues in his passion for planking and Andrew was pretty pleased with this photo!

The cousins enjoy spending time together - there are only three weeks between Bethany and Charlotte but a significant height difference!

Synchronised cousin planking followed the Lego.

And was rewarded with doughnuts.

Wednesday didn't quite turn out as planned when our car refused to start. the NRMA came to the rescue and we are so thrilled with them as they completely took care of what could have been a very stressful situation. They organised for our car to be towed all the way back to Wagga to our own mechanic, and gave us a hire car. They would also have paid for accommodation had we needed it. Thanks NRMA!

The main reason we chose to go to Melbourne at this particular time was, of course, the soccer match between Celtic and the Melbourne Victory. Scottish football teams don't play in Australia very often so fans came from all over the see Celtic play and the atmosphere was great.

I'm very thankful for that atmosphere because it was very cold and wet! We had great seats in the sense that we were very close and in the middle but we were in the open and it rained a fair bit.

Bethany's spirits were not dampened. She enjoyed the game (mind you, she was playing Plants vs Zombies on Andrew's phone when Celtic scored), the fish and chips, the singing and the crowds.

Toby was very nervous as Celtic lost when they played in Sydney. I really wasn't keen on the tears that would follow a loss either so we were all thrilled when Celtic won.

I have more photos and was planning on staying up until the end of le Tour tonight but, I am most put out to realise, I am coming down with a cold and ought to go to bed. Part two to follow. Bonne nuit!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Off to Melbourne

There are many wonderful things about living in Wagga (to balance it out, it was -4.7 degrees here the other morning) and one of those things is that we are half way between Sydney and Melbourne. Tomorrow morning we are hopping in the car, driving for around 5.5 hours and staying with P, K, C, H and G for a few days. I can't wait! I probably won't take my laptop, but I will be taking a new work iPad (to familiarise myself for teaching purposes you understand) so I may get the chance to post from P and K's house.

Before we have metropolitan adventures, I need to fill you in on Bethany's birthday. Jane most kindly looked after Toby and Bethany while I was at work but I left at lunch time and the afternoon was spent enjoying her presents. Mum bought her some proper, grown-up make-up and it has had a good workout every day since. I didn't take a photo of myself as a finished product, it was a little unflattering though it was a good showcase for the rainbow of colours available.

This is her first attempt at doing her own face. After yesterday's and today's efforts I would have to say that she has become bolder as she has gone on. Bethany is definitely a more is more type of girl.

Neither Joss nor Toby were particularly enamoured of the strawberry ice-cream cake which Bethany took as a personal affront until she realised it would mean she could eat it for dessert three nights running.

Bethany loves animals and wants to be a vet when she grows up. When I was in Canberra, earlier in the year, we visited the Oxfam shop and I bought this hand carved set of animals sitting around a Kenya shaped table, having drinks. Bethany loves the giraffe and Jossie the rhino.

We were in town yesterday, getting a bit of this and that, when Jossie realised that we were all wearing hoods. The kids all pulled theirs on and pretended to be gangsters. Bethany has a little toy squirrel in her hand, attempting to share her hood.

I'm sure this will go down well in Melbourne.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Last day of six

I'm getting lots of cuddles from this little girl today as she won't be so little tomorrow when she turns seven. She is, as you can imagine, very excited.

She has often commented that she doesn't like birthday cake very much. Most children just eat the icing off and abandon the cake and I tried to explain that children's birthday cakes are often the very plainest of cakes. I can make much more delicious cakes than those that are easy to shape into mermaids and such but she didn't want that sort of cake at all. She wants an ice-cream cake.

Memories of horrid, plasticky ice-cream cakes at McDonalds' parties when I was young have rather put me off ice-cream cake so I decided to go fully home-made. I have made Nigella's strawberry ice-cream with lovely pure cream and fresh strawberries. Bethany helpfully cleaned out the ice-cream maker's freezer bowl before I washed it up.

Do you like the way her fingernails match the freezer bowl? Andrew and Toby were in Sydney last weekend watching Celtic lose unexpectedly to the Central Coast Mariners so Jossie, Bethany and I had a girls' weekend. We painted our nails blue, made pizzas and watched Little Dorrit on DVD.

I finished my book club book for the month - Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it as it looked a bit like a misery memoir. I know a lot of people love misery memoirs, I met a lady in the library once who read nothing else, but I am not a fan. Jeannette Walls has the background to write the most miserable of memoirs but she hasn't done that. She is remarkably non-judgmental of her parents and the book wasn't at all painful to read. Now, I am reading the memoir of a former kitchen maid (this book is marketed to lovers of Downton Abbey) and am finding it fascinating. Not surprisingly, she is pretty scathing of the upstairs folk. Still, they never seem very happy to me in books or on film so I think I would actually prefer to be downstairs, doing something useful and falling in love with Mr Bates. They all did that didn't they?