Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Junior Tour

People came from all over the country for the Junior Tour which went for 2 days with over 200 entrants. The age groups are from the under 9s to the under 17s, with a race and criterium on day 1 and a race and time trial on day 2. The reason there were so many was that we will be holding the nationals here towards the end of the year and everyone wanted to check out the course.

It's a bit of a cruel sport in some ways as you spend 2 years in one age group therefore competing with either older kids or younger kids depending on where you sit. Toby is in the younger year this year so had his work cut out for him, but he was reasonably happy with sitting about centre field - most of the kids ahead of him will be in the under 15s next year so he can wave them goodbye at the end of the season.

It was a long couple of days, but beautiful weather and great fun - the coaches and parents are so encouraging of each others kids and there is such a sense of pride amongst the club which is fun to be part of. I spent a lot of time being a handler (see final photo) and therefore saw a lot of very impressive gear and got to meet some of the nations best juniors. The Wagga club did reasonably well - Tobes is getting used to these competitions now and was biting at the bit to get training this afternoon.... pity it was raining.

Completing the race on day one - 14kms at well over 30kms/hr

Waiting, waiting...

Off and riding

Working with a Canberra rider

208 riders between me and one other guy - thankfully Emily is light!

Friday, April 26, 2013


It's the last day of the school holidays and my last day at work before moving. We're living amongst boxes, general chaos and excitement. It is odd to think that the long adventure of building a house is almost over and we'll actually live in it.

Monique took this photo at the school's cross country and Shep just sent it to me. I love how Bethany seems so happy to see Monique. Shep says she must have thought he was there too.

Monday, April 22, 2013

List of the day

Joss was in charge today as the kids stayed home together. Once, when she was looking after them, Joss wrote a list of things Toby and Bethany were to do and they ticked them off. I suppose Toby enjoyed it because he wrote his own this morning. The addition in green came after a phone call from me. Not a fruit eater, our Toby.

After work this afternoon I packed a few boxes (still going on the books - heavy and dusty work), made cinnamon scrolls (substituting dextose for the sugar) for a Kids' Church meeting tonight and put Nigella's greek lamb chops and potato in the oven. I pulled the lamb chops out of the fridge and suddenly remembered that I have packed all my cookbooks! The Internet to the rescue! I found this copy of the desired recipe and after putting the chops in the oven, set about reading more of the blog. It turns out that one day, unable to be bothered walking into the next room to get the recipe book, the author googled this very recipe on her iPad and found her own blog. Recipes on blogs save lives  people from walking and unpacking boxes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

All quiet

We had a lovely week with Mum and Dad and then just Mum. As they were driving down, I was at the Muddi Markets, regretting having worn tights. I think it was 28 degrees and we were all talking about the endless Indian summer. I texted Mum and she said she hoped it cooled down because she had packed warm things. Well, it did. Summer said good bye and winter is here. Doonas all round.

Joss left on Monday morning for a week at the beach with a friend and Toby and Bethany spent their days with Mum and Dad, though Dad only stayed until Wednesday. They went to the movies, out for coffee, to the shops and bowling. We spent our evenings, and spare afternoons, looking through our house, working out the landscaping and window coverings and finally starting to fill boxes.

The flooring goes down this week and will be finished on the following Monday. We have a moving date - we'll sleep in our new house for the first time on the 2nd of May. So, it is action stations here. Full time work, all the final details for the house, removalists, packing and sorting out the end of our lease. We have taken next week off and while I am tempted to wish the next two weeks away, I think I am looking forward to it all as part of this big adventure and the making of our home.

It was a relief, though, to spend one lunch time at book club. We had read The Help (we all enjoyed it) and Kristy made Minny's chocolate pie, minus the secret ingredient (or so she said).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Autumn Leaves

Mum and Dad are here and we're planning our new garden. Gardening is not going to be something we make a lot of time for, so we need to go for something easy to maintain and hardy. I'm torn between wanting to go for all natives, and trees that turn pretty colours.

I kicked these up on my way back to work yesterday afternoon. I love Autumn.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


We think we have a date for getting the keys to our house. We definitely do have some other dates sorted and some are almost sorted.
I think I had a migraine yesterday and am going to be a bit gentle with myself today, no run around the lake this morning.
I think it is an inconvenient time to be unwell - Mum and Dad are coming tomorrow (yay!), I have a market tomorrow morning, organising a move is a big deal.
I think I'm glad it's the holidays, even if I am still working full time.
I think Bethany was very pleased with her outfit last Sunday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wuthering Heights vs Jane Eyre

Jess and I are good friends, but there is a serious conflict between us. Jess not only loves Wuthering Heights, but considers it superior to Jane Eyre! Really and truly! I have read Wuthering Heights twice. The first time I was very disappointed, expecting a sweet love story I was not impressed by the selfish, destructive love of Heathcliff and Catherine. I read it again a few years later, hoping I had just misunderstood the first time, but no, Heathcliff and Catherine are thoroughly unlikeable!

I asked our book club which they preferred and they all said Jane Eyre. Jess and I often ask people we come across and ninety percent are on my side! We had Jane Eyre in our book club earlier this year, and I told Jess that when the new Wuthering Heights came to the cinema, we'd go and see it. She really enjoyed Jane Eyre this time around, though she had some criticisms of Mr Rochester (as do we all, he is a very flawed character!), and she watched, and loved, all four hours of the 2006 BBC version.

I'm not sure whether Wuthering Heights came to our cinema, but the DVD turned up at work the other day so I nabbed it to watch with Jeannie and Jess. Andrew declined the offer and took Joss to the movies to see something Jack and the Beanstalkish.

Wow. Have you seen it? This latest film version captures the feel of Wuthering Heights beautifully. It's wet, muddy, dark and relentlessly bleak. There is no music, no melodrama, just raw, haunting characters (see what I did there!)  coldly destroying each other. The film does a good job of portraying their love as animalistic, there are lots of shots of moths, birds, sheep and dogs. We had to look away several times because of animal cruelty. I didn't dislike it, but the beautiful cinematography and interesting interpretation, though fascinating, was not exactly entertaining.

 It was an interesting move to cast black actors as Heathcliff, who was a dark skinned Gypsy in the book. I also wasn't expecting the N, F or C words!

Catherine and Heathcliff are awful people, destroying themselves and nearly everyone around them. How can they possibly compare to Jane and Mr Rochester? When Catherine dies, Heathcliff says this:

'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not THERE - not in heaven - not perished - where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer - I repeat it till my tongue stiffens - Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you - haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul!'
It's passion alright, but selfish and horrible! So unlike this from Mr Rochester:

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still: if you raved, my arms should confine you, and not a strait waistcoat - your grasp, even in fury, would have a charm for me.

I rest my case.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Sorry if you have already seen this on Facebook. I don't mean to brag (much) and I am certainly not planning to be one of those annoying fit people who rub their fitness in others' faces, but I am just so surprised that I managed to do it! In nine weeks I went from running for twenty seconds before wanting to collapse, to running for half an hour solid, around five kilometres, with little trouble. I'm not at the stage of loving every minute, but for most of it, I feel pretty good. Jane and I finished at the same time and did our final run together, around Lake Albert on Saturday morning. We celebrated with coffee at the Blessed Bean. I can see us doing that again!

People have been asking me what I'll do, now that I have finished the app. I have told a few that I'll just stop, having learnt how to run, I can just tick that off and move on, but I'm only joking. This morning I got up and just repeated the final run, letting Lucy tell me when to start running, when ten and then twenty minutes had passed and when to slow to a walk. I think I'll just keep going with forty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week (plus dog walking).

I love it when the sun shines through the clouds like it did in front of our new house the other day. I wonder how long that tree will stay before someone cuts it down and builds something there.

I brought some boxes home today. I'm definitely running out of excuses and really must start packing!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kids catching up

We love to see the Hamiltons at Easter Convention, it's so great that they have the same tradition of going every year. We knew each other many years ago when we all went to St Swithun's and we had our first babies at the same time. It can be very hard to make those babies, and their younger siblings, smile nicely and have their eyes open at the same time.

This is the best, I think. Not counting one on Andrew's phone that made us all laugh very much at the time.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


We had, as always, a glorious Easter in the mountains. A family tradition we all look forward to, truly the highlight of our year! Sydney people probably drive up to the mountains after work on Thursday night, or even on Friday morning for the 9.15 start, but we get to take all of Thursday off and leave after lunch time, driving and stopping at a leisurely pace.

The teaching at Easter Convention is brilliant and this year, like every year, we were encouraged and challenged. Singing with two and a half thousand fellow Christians is an awesome thing.

On Saturday afternoon we went up to the annual book sale at St Alban's in Leura and bought a lot of books (considering I get most of our books free from the library).

Bethany couldn't wait to start reading hers.

I got up early on Sunday morning to go for my run (I am in the very last week of Get Running and can now run for 30 minutes straight) and Bethany woke up too, to keep reading. It makes me so happy.

On Sunday afternoon we had the Easter egg hunt. Briony and I hid the eggs in the garden.

The kids ran around, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to find them all. We think there were around six that we didn't find. There's always next year.

We love walking around Leura, it's so pretty and leafy.

Sometimes old people are allowed into a small percentage of the day's quota of selfies.

We left after lunch on Monday and stopped at a fabulous park in Blayney.

Mim and Bill had spent Easter in Corowa with Mim's parents, stopping in Wagga on the way there and back. We were, naturally, very cross that we weren't there when they were, and they sent us a picture from our front yard while we were driving through Lithgow on the way home. I realised that, if we could get to Cowra before they did, then we would be able to see them!  Mim and Bill had organised to stop at Young to say hello to the Ravenhalls and seeing as Mim can talk a lot, they were still there hours later and we met up for dinner! It was a shame that we couldn't see the Ravenhalls, but it was so nice to see Mim and Bill and their little bump.

After we left, little Huw asked how many days until it is Easter again. I feel the same way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Poor Milo

Not only is he missing Jeannie who looks after him while we're away, feeding, walking and playing with him, but now the poor boy is sad and a little embarrassed because he is naked.