Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

We're home again, after ten glorious days away, celebrating Christmas. We had a couple of days in Sydney with Andrew's parents, and had a lovely lunch with Mal, Marlee, Alannah and Jordy. It's so great that Joss and Tobes each have a cousin close in age and temperament. It was awfully hot and humid, until a cool change arrived and it never became hot again!

Up to Broke on Tuesday, we set about preparing for the hoardes. First we came, then the Melbourne five and finally, on Christmas Day, the Central Coast six. Eighteen slept in the house on Christmas night, then Joss went to camp, and we started saying goodbye until it was just Mum, Dad and us again. We even had a visit from our Gloucester family on their way home from Sydney, which was so delightful.

The kids were all desperate to swim, though it was often raining and never hot, so a sunny morning was spent in the pool, while the rest of us watched under the vines.

We had family photos taken, and revelled in the luxury of being all together. There was so much food, lots of games, big kids giving the little ones piggy backs, coffee on the verandah, everyone loving Sunny (the dog) until he had had enough, and just a bit of noise. Let's do it again, but not straight away......

Friday, December 18, 2015


Today is our last day of work for the year! More importantly, it is Andrew's birthday. Happy Birthday Andrew!

After last year's blue adventure, with its rather harrowing recovery dramas, Joss decided to start early and make a choice that is more likely to be acceptable at school. As she is fair skinned and freckly like I am, it looks pretty fabulous.

The kids have been spending their holidays having sleep overs (new rule - take your PJs just in case your play day gets upgraded because I am sick of making a second trip), doing make up (Emilia goes to a school with a year 10 formal) and reading.

The shopping has been done and the presents are wrapped, tomorrow we head off and begin to celebrate!

Friday, December 4, 2015

All over

It gets light so early. I took these photos just after 5.30am, walking Milo. I like the golden highlights in the long grass, but I prefer to run in the dark, so am looking forward to the sun rising later.

We picked Nan and Grandad up from the station last Tuesday, and had a great week with them. Work experience for Joss, one school presentation night, a piano concert and two Christmas parties. It was all happening.

Joss went to the media department at council, so we kind of had the same employer for a week. One morning we stopped for coffee (salted caramel hot chocolate in her case) on the way. Playing ladies.

We had noisy, messy fun at my Christmas party with my stamping friends. The massive pavlova all went.

Toby played beautifully at his concert, though I missed it in order to stick with recent tradition and take Bethany and Charis to the Estella Christmas party. Slushies were consumed, hair was sprayed, castles were jumped on and a suds machine was adored. Jane and I set up camp sipping cool drinks in the shade. Not a bad afternoon.

After Sue and Ron went home on Monday, we went to Bethany's presentation night. All three children received an award at their respective celebrations, which is lovely, and Joss and Tobes have enjoyed activities week (Joss went surfing at Murramurrang, Toby went on day trips to a water park, zoo, bowling and laser tag. Such a hard life.

Now, they have all finished. Yes, today was the last day for each if them. Tomorrow I hope to get up, ready and leave before they surface. The race to be ready for Christmas begins!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The beginning of the end

On Wednesday night Bethany had her end of year drama event, an evening of theatre sports. I'll confess that my expectations were low, probably because improvisation on the part of children is always a little painful, and also because last year I hadn't realised it would go so long and hadn't had dinner. I wasn't hangry this year, so it was pretty good; Bethany did really well and when the teacher asked for parent volunteers, at Bethany's insistence, I allowed myself to be chosen. It wasn't a nightmare, but I will expect brownie points.

When it was all over Bethany informed me that she had been dizzy and feeling sick all evening. She ended up staying home for two days, poor poppet, but finally had a good night's sleep last night and is, hopefully, on the up.

Tonight is my work Christmas party, we have a Christmas dinner with friends on Monday and Andrew's parents arrive on Tuesday to stay for a week. There will be two school presentation nights and a piano concert for them to attend, and after we say goodbye, there will only be one day until the end of term! Yikes....

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Switch 2015

I'm back after this year's NSW Public libraries conference in Sydney. There were lots of great speakers and I am bursting with new ideas. The Australian Technology Park is a great venue, though quite expensive to get to (it costs $8 to get a return ticket from Central to Redfern - that's one stop!) and they had coffee carts with free coffee. Yes, I had three each day!

There is always a theme to the conference dinner, and while I was resistant initially, I managed to borrow an outfit and muster enough enthusiasm to fit in. This is the management team of the Riverina Regional Library and the director of Environment and Community Services at Wagga City Council!

The dinner was held at the Australian National Maritime Museum, which is a reasonably spectacular venue at Darling Harbour. There were fifteen of us from RRL, as we brought two councillors from Wagga City Council, librarians from Gundagai, Bland and Cootamundra and a director and councillor from Bland. We won best dressed team and received a bottle of wine as a prize - one sip each?

On our free evening, a few of us went to Grill'd for dinner and then went to see The Dressmaker. I read the book years ago, it's one of our book club books, and I think they have done a brilliant job. It's funny, sad and a bit dark, with gorgeous costumes and scenery. The only slightly jarring thing was that Kate Winslet, beautiful and looking much younger than her years, still looked significantly older than the two actors playing her contemporaries. Other than that, totally fabulous.

We drove home yesterday, through a heatwave. At one stage, the highway was closed just behind us because of a fire. It was perfect fire weather, boiling hot and blowing a gale. It's still windy but beautifully cool today, happy weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Our garden yields! We eat rhubarb, baby spinach, silverbeet and spring onions. I have cut roses in my kitchen. It will take years until our garden fills and looks established, but we do enjoy its progress.

Here's more progress for you. Those coloured lights in the distance? Christmas lights in my street. You may as well get as much happiness as possible from the anticipation, I suppose.

I'm off to Sydney for the public libraries conference tomorrow. Librarians on a road trip!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I had a lovely lunch with work friends on Saturday. The garden was almost inspiring. Almost, because I'm not sure I'll ever fully catch the gardening bug, but I do really like being in a lush garden.

Bethany had three events on Saturday. One morning birthday party at the Botanic Gardens, where she received the best face painting ever, an afternoon with Archie and Mackenzie who took her to another birthday party at the Botanic Gardens, and then an evening of bush dancing at Downside! She got home at ten to twelve (Andrew and I were rather beside ourselves as we hadn't expected her to be so late, and , typically for a third child, hadn't asked for a phone number)!

Andrew and Joss are off to Melbourne for track cycling this weekend. Matthew Keenan is going to be there, commentating, which I find extremely exciting (Tour de France fangirling!) Toby has a bye for tennis, I don't have to drop Joss at work, it sounds like a proper sleeping in occasion for me, Tobes and Bethany. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015


It seems it only takes one night of trick or treating to make a habit. Bethany was definitely up for going again this year. The night before she came out having painted her face - one side was a vampire, the other a zombie. Somehow, I prefer the way the Americans seem just to dress up as anything, not necessarily scary.

Joss is a great fan of make-up, and spends many hours perfecting her make-up skills. She was keen to try and make Bethany look like Maleficent, and I think that she did a great job. If we had made horns and darkened Bethany's hair, I think she really would have nailed the character.

I almost forgot to purchase supplies and had to pop into Woolies when I picked up Joss after work. Then, of course, I had to keep the family out of them for the rest of the day.

I needn't have bothered, as it happens, because we had hardly any trick or treaters. In fact, we didn't have any that we didn't know. In the last couple of years we have had lots, and there were heaps of kids wandering our suburb, but they walked right past our house.  I think they were only going to places that were decorated. This is a good development!

Bethany was out for a couple of hours and came back with 70 lollies. That packet of sugar free biscuits came from someone who wasn't prepared but was willing to improvise! 


A severe weather warning has been issued. I can hear the thunder, my washing has been hung up inside. It would be nice if the garden got a proper soaking. I do hope we don't get more than I bargained for......

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I have had a couple of busy weeks, so that I almost feel the whirling Christmas season has begun early. Lots going on at work, very warm weather and frightful hay fever, a trip to Sydney, a funeral and two long days at the markets. The kids have exams looming and it is almost November!

On Thursday night we had the annual dinner with Groove Factorie (Andrew's band) members. We went to the Magpie's Nest, just across a paddock from our house, and it was so nice to sit with a glass of wine, delicious, eclecticly described food and great company, in a beautiful setting.

The markets. Not my favourite, to be honest. I don't really like selling things I have made, and I'm not all that comfortable looking at things other people have made, either. The hay fever is so extraordinary, that it makes two long days outside a real struggle, but I do enjoy spending time with Megan, and buying coffee. We are unlikely to do another one, so I can just look back on the market years fondly, without yearning.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

David Bowie Is

I have loved David Bowie since I was in Year nine. That's almost thirty years! When I heard that a David Bowie exhibition was coming to Melbourne, I knew I had to make the trip. Thankfully, my friend Monique and her daughter Eleanor, were also keen. Road trip!

We left after Monique finished work at four on Saturday afternoon, and drove through an amazing light show that turned into steady rain, arriving at my brother's place around 9.30.

These lovely faces (two cheeky, one tolerant) were delightful company in the morning, and we all went to Chadstone for yum cha.

Monique, her Mum, Nelly and I caught the train into town and went into ACMI at Fed. Square for the exhibition, just us and hordes of others!

I don't use the word amazing very often. I find it has been dulled by over use, but the exhibition really was amazing. I could go again there was so much to take in; costumes, letters, interviews, movie snippets, film clips and writings. I stood in front of the costume from Ashes to Ashes for ages. It was so detailed and really beautiful. I would have liked to try some of the costumes on, but he was SO SKINNY. His waist, my thigh sort of skinny.

It's a shame that there is no photography allowed in the exhibition, or that there isn't just one thing you can have your photo with, you know, for blogging purposes, but the memories will last and now I feel like watching Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. He had my favourite hair in The Man Who Feel to Earth, but that is a seriously weird movie and there's throwing up in it, so I'll give that a miss. 

We got back to the car around five, in perfect sunshine and then drove into torrential rain; we even had to stop for a while because we couldn't see at all! 

I got home at 10.30, making it a pretty big weekend, but it was definitely worth it. We're keen to do it again!

Friday, October 9, 2015

A night out

It's Friday, late afternoon. Work is over for the week, the weather is warm and things are looking sunny.

I am escaping to Melbourne this weekend, with a friend, to see the David Bowie exhibition. I'll also get to stay with my brother and his family, so I am really looking forward to it. We aren't leaving until 4 tomorrow afternoon, so I have time to get organised. Win, win!

Last night my once colleague, now looong distance friend, Kristy, was in town. A bunch of us met at the Birdhouse, which is a kind of hipsterish bar, which has no food. We were going to go to a restaurant afterwards, but were rather settled, so ordered burgers and pizzas from the cafe next door. I didn't actually get to catch up with Kristy, you know how these gatherings go; pretty noisy and you mostly chat with the people right next to you, but it was fun, and I can recommend the lamb burger, sans bun.

As you can see, I really captured that fun in my photo. You can also see that the Birdhouse is not really set up for food. Where would you put a plate?!

That is Kristy's arm, though, so I'm saying I took a photo of her.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Holidays again

Yes, I have taken a whole term off blogging. Indeed, it is very selfish of me and half of my excuse is such a first world problem. I have no laptop, and the app on my phone will not accept any photos except those taken within Blogger itself. I do have an iPad, but I can hardly carry it around all day. The other reason, of course, is that I would rather read. Sorry!

It has been a good term, with a piano exam and eisteddfod for Toby (he got an A for the exam and three second places in the eisteddfod, plus a big trophy), lots of driving for Joss (it's going to take forever to get to 120 hours in 10 minute increments) and violin and speech eisteddfod performances for Bethany (I can't remember exactly how she did in all of them, there were lots, but she did get some places, including a first).

Although it is only Spring, we are having a summery long weekend; it may hit 33 degrees this afternoon! Bethany and Toby have only just come out their rooms at 10.30. The end of the school holidays and the beginning of daylight saving is going to make for a nasty shock tomorrow morning! I am looking forward to it being dark at 5.45am. I don't like running in the daylight, and I am scared of the birds! Magpies don't swoop in the dark. That is a fact I am deciding is real, and I'm not going to look it up because I want to believe it. 

Milo is shorn and ready, even if we are not! 

Friday, July 10, 2015


Toby and Joss go back to school today after two fun filled weeks of holidays. Getting them up this morning was quite a task. Bethany has this week off as well, so we'll have another adjustment next week!

The very first Saturday of the holidays, our Leura cousins arrived to stay. It was like an Easter Convention reunion, with more free time. Bethany and Huw spent hours playing together and we marvelled at how much they enjoyed each other's company until Huw "stabbed Bethany in the heart" by saying he liked Toby better. It's hard to compete with a thirteen year old boy for the affections of a seven year old.

Andrew and I were still working, but we enjoyed evenings and afternoons, games, movies and meals. On the last afternoon I met everyone at the bowling alley after work and joined in for their second game. My first three woeful turns had me doubting past success, but then my game kicked in and I got 129! Bethany says I look like I'm hurting myself when I bowl - it may not be pretty, but it works!

We said goodbye to the cousins, looking forward to seeing them again next Easter, and then Le Tour de France started! Shep came over for the first night, and Steve joined us too, so it was a bit of a party. I don't think the individual time trial is the best way to start, but we have been loving the late nights, beautiful scenery and French cooking. It is totally worth the weariness.

Mum and Dad arrived last Monday and we had a lovely week with them. We celebrated Bethany's birthday on Wednesday, and she had the best day. I was working, but had coffee wirh them at Trail St in the morning, and lunch at the new sushi train - so good! Bethany's birthday dinner requests were macaroni cheese and chocolate ripple cake. She has a mother who can make any cake or dessert she could want, and she went for a packet of biscuits with cream!

I left work early on Friday so we could go out to Coolamon as I knew Mum would love Ajanta. On Saturday morning the farmers' markets were a bit of a wash out, but we did get coffee and a bacon and egg roll before soccer. On Sunday night, Mum and I went to the movies.

We saw Far From the Madding Crowd and I loved it. I haven't read the book (Mum has, so she was a bit more reserved in her feelings for the film) so now I have the pleasure of reading it and discovering so much more to the story. One thing that upset us both, was the trailer for Madame Bovery. We had been talking about it before we went into the cinema, wondering whether they would put on French accents (it is a French book, set in France). Horror of horrors, we discovered that they have gone for American accents! Thankfully the beautiful film that followed restored our good humour and we got home just in time for the Tour to start.

We said goodbye to Mum and Dad yesterday morning, and now Andrew and I are taking a couple of days off each to mind Bethany over this final week.

Tomorrow, our little girl turns sixteen.....

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Almost twenty years

It was our anniversary last week. We have been married for nineteen years. We aren't ones for making a fuss over anniversaries; we don't give presents to each other. We did go out for dinner, though, to The Oak Room. I had salmon with sticky black rice and Andrew had the mixed grill with the best chips I have ever tasted. He shared because he loves me and I only ate a few because I love him. Sweet marriage.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Every morning last week I dropped the almost sixteen year old off at the Trail St cafe before 8. I drive right past it on my way to work, and Prime, where she was doing her work experience from 8.30 to 4.30, is just around the corner. On her final day, I got out too. Just a couple of working women, having coffee before work. Hers is hot chocolate, though, as her taste buds aren't as mature as her outfit.

She loved work experience, and is currently planning to study journalism. Not the most stable industry at the moment!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


We went on our church weekend away to Talbingo on the weekend. Bethany had originally had a speech exam scheduled for the middle of Saturday, but one of the other girls had to go to Sydney so it was moved, and we were free to head up the mountain.(The speech exam went well as far as I could tell. We were there for more than three hours!)

It was a great time of enjoying theoutdoors (in the warmest part of the day), listening to encouraging teaching about work, rest and busyness from SMBC's Mark Adams, and just hanging out with the church family. The planners were very thoughtful and brought a proper coffee machine and various people stood at it and just pumped out the coffees. I partook of many as the cabin we were 'sleeping' in was pretty rough!

We got home on Sunday afternoon and scrambled to get ready for the last week of term! It's just a normal week for Bethany, but Toby and Joss are mixing it up. The Years 7 - 9 kids have Activities Week, and the Year 10s, work experience.

It was supposed to be Out and About in Wagga, but somehow, Toby's group ended up driving to Canberra on Monday to go ice-skating and shopping. Six hours in the bus! Toby bought a basketball. Yesterday they went to The Rock and climbed it, followed by the Botanic Gardens for a scavenger hunt. Today is bowling, the movies and laser tag. I have enjoyed not making his lunches, sitting in the car for half an hour with Joss, waiting for the bus to return from Canberra (laughing about elves and cats from the underworld, and then going home again because they are running so late). Tomorrow I won't wake him in the morning and just see him when I get home; term over for Tobes.

Joss gets to go to Prime News, 8.30 - 4.30, every day this week. Actually, today she needs to be there at 8. She is loving it. Going out with the journalists investigating arson, editing stories on cycling, and writing stories to be critiqued, and to be read on air. She is all kitted out in pencil skirts and peplum tops, having lunch with other students who are doing their work experience at businesses downtown and basically living the life. Her current plan is to study journalism at Wollongong Uni and she is on track so far!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Playing with the big kids

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra was in town a couple of weeks ago and Bethany, as a violin student of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, had a special lesson with them. This weekend, the Sydney Youth Orchestras are here, and they had a morning workshop with Riverina students, followed by a concert in the evening.

The Sydney Youth Orchestras, one was a wind orchestra and one was mainly strings, played on their own and with the local kids. Bethany and two friends from her year were probably the youngest. I wasn't sure how she would feel about it all, but she loved the workshop and was very excited to play with the whole orchestra.

This is the group from the Con. If you look very closely, you'll see something clever. Someone appears in the photo twice!

The whole thing cost us $10. What a brilliant opportunity! 

I am sitting with my tea, occasionally hearing a tooting steam train, the sound travelling across the plain and up the hill. The next time I hear it, Bethany will be on it as she has been picked up by a friend for a day of steam train riding and vintage cars. After the train ride they will be getting into Mr Fletcher's old Jag and heading to a vintage car rally, so I got to tell Mrs Fletcher about being driven to my wedding in my uncle's old Jag and getting grease on my skirt. Ah, the memories.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aaand, relax

How I love a long weekend! But first, to finish this post.

The Riverina Regional Library has grown since we moved to our current building, and we are bursting at the seams. This is my office. Admittedly, I was having fun unpacking a new projector and have since tidied the boxes and paper away, but I am certainly looking forward to moving somewhere bigger in around a year.

Toby made the front of Wagga's What's On brochure. Joss is unimpressed to be just behind and, therefore, not in the shot.

I spent a day on the mobile this week, going to four places I have never been. One was tiny, two were stops outside little schools and one was the sweet town of Ganmain.

The last stop of the day was in my own suburb, and Bethany walked over to visit. It was a long day, around ten hours, but I do enjoy a trip around the countryside, chatting to people about books and movies.

I was out again the following day, visiting two branches. Tracey, who is in my team, is doing workshops in the libraries, making felted bowls. They are very beautiful; not for soup. I think I'll book myself into the Wagga workshop.

Now, I am home alone. Joss and Toby are at PY camp until Monday night, and Andrew is dropping Bethany at an orchestral workshop with the Sydney Youth Orchestra. I think I'll put the Eurovision album on and do some baking.