Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sand and pugs

It doesn't take long to start a tradition; you can just do something once and decide to keep doing it. Last year, one of Andrew's sisters decided that seeing as we don't all get together at Christmas, that we should all go away together, Andrew's parents, the four siblings and their families that is, in June. We went to a caravan park in Wollongong, the same distance from Wagga as it is from Gloucester, and we had a great weekend.

This year, we changed the caravan park, to one just up the road, but still all came together for the weekend. There were 21 of us last year, and this year, the oldest cousin brought a fellow, so we are a growing family again!


Our cabins were all in a row, right at the beach. Bethany asked what that noise was when we arrived. I may not like the sand or the water, but I do like the sound of the beach.


There was a lot of soccer played, sand brought inside, tea and coffee consumed and long walks taken. The cousins all slept in each other's cabins (we just had two teenaged boys - win!).


We went out for dinner, with the adults at one table and the kids (that word doesn't apply to all of them) at another. Afterwards, we asked a lady to take a photo of all of us. The patriarch turns 93 tomorrow!

We stopped on our way home and found two pugs! After admiring them from the car for a while, Bethany and I got out and made friends. Seriously, they were so cute I almost burst, but I don't want one. We got covered in hair just from our brief encounter, and they snuffled, snorted and sneezed. The lady said that they sneeze on her food, and she said one of them wasn't very nice! She used a word she had to whisper as Bethany was there. Still, the encounter made a great weekend even better.


Just in case you were wondering, Andrew came at the end and had a pat. Neither Bethany or I have a hairy arm like that.

Monday, June 12, 2017

I blame books

I could have been blogging, but I think the simple fact is that spare time is minimal, and I would really rather read. There is also the fact that my Mum and Dad were the only visible readers of this blog (visible in that they commented), so when they moved to Wagga, I didn't feel the need to blog, as I can just pop in for coffee. It has been pointed out to me, however, that I may have one or two other readers who aren't in coffee distance, so, here we are again. I won't make any promises regarding frequency, but we'll see how we go!

It turns out that I haven't taken many non-work related/card making photos in the last few months, but here are a few to give you a brief catch up:

I drove Joss and two of her friends to a music festival in Canberra. I dropped them off, then had eleven hours to fill, with no responsibilities! I spent hours at the National Art Gallery, looking at every single painting I wanted to look at. I checked in to our apartment and read Lord of the Rings for hours. I ate Chinese - you don't get much variety when there is only one person eating. I also went for a long walk next to the lake.


I really like Canberra; I think I could live there.


The One Book One Wagga book for this year was Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and I interviewed her at the gala dinner. The event was sold out!


Liane was lovely and easy to talk to, on stage and over dinner. It was a great night. I was very tall in those shoes, and I was careful not to fall up the steps. I was happy to take them off at the end of the night!


Toby and Bethany played with the school band, as part of the lineup for International Day of Jazz. Mum and Dad came to watch them, and it was lots of fun. You couldn't really see either of them, so I didn't even bother taking a photo. After the two school bands, Groove Factorie played, then a couple of other bands before Andrew played with an older group. There was some great music, but my favourite was the last Groove Factorie gig where Darren Coggan joined them to play James Taylor songs. So good!


All three children went to Presbyterian Youth Winter Camp this long weekend. Yes, we were child free, all weekend. It was awesome. I was glad to see them, though. Really.

What I am reading:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (for book club)
Moonglow by Michael Chabon
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty (recommended to me by her sister!)
What I'm watching:
Doctor Who
Unforgotten (British crime series)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sydney, again and again.

I feel like I have had a year's worth of trips to Sydney in just two weeks. So much for the quiet, country life!

The first trip was one I was rather dreading. Me, a teacher, and five drama students in our car, up to Sydney to see OnStage (last year's best HSC drama performances. Andrew told Joss' drama class last year, that he would be willing to drive them all. Unfortunately for me, something came up at Andrew's work, and I had to do it!

I don't drive in the city. I'm not a bad driver, just not overly confident when I don't know where I am going and there are millions of other cars about.

Thankfully, Joss' teacher was lovely, so 12ish hours in the car was fine in terms of conversation. The city driving, however, was as bad as I thought it might be! I also got stuck in an elevator for several long minutes, and didn't manage to have any dinner, but this room was a great consolation.


Also, I got my steps up with a pretty decent view, and the humidity saw to it being a good workout.


Look how many people!
We went home the very next morning, through torrential Sydney rain. We got everywhere safely, but I wouldn't very much like to do it again!


I had Wednesday and Thursday at home, then, when the Wagga weather was forecast for 44, I got up before five to catch the plane to Sydney for an Indigenous Services Unconference. It was really interesting, very productive and fully air-conditioned.

Just inside the Mitchell Library
We saved the best for last, and on Tuesday, Andrew and I drove to Sydney to see James Taylor! We stayed in the coolest hotel, with a free minibar, glass elevators and stairs up to our comfiest ever bed.



It was right behind Darling Harbour, so we strolled to the venue and sat with what seemed like a million others to hear James Taylor, sounding as good as ever, being funny, humble and kind.


Tracey works with me, and we bought the tickets together. We all loved the concert, so. very. much.



A little bit of sustenance for shopping and a leisurely drive home. I think I'll stay put for a while and listen to James.....

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Swing of Things

Once all the washing was done after Kiama, Andrew's sister and her three children came to stay; it's a tradition that the cousins would not like to forgo. There is much late night talking amongst three girls in one bedroom, lots of trampolining, ice cream eating and game playing. It's a highlight of our summer holidays.

We also had a great evening down at the river, celebrating Steve and Mike's birthdays. The menfolk swam with the kids while we enjoyed a bit of grown-up conversation under the trees.


We had one last week of holidays, when I got up each morning and left before anyone stirred, and then, no matter how hard they clung to the holidays, it was time for the kids to go back to school.

In fact, Bethany has started somewhere new. Yes, the baby of the family, is in high school.


She was a bundle of excitement and nervousness, but relaxed into a wonderful first day.


The excitement levels elsewhere were pretty well contained.


There are, as one would expect, a lot of things I will miss about the holidays, especially as extra-curricular activity mounts, but there is something satisfying about getting in the swing of things; being organised.

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions. If you need to make positive changes, just do it; but I did make some tongue in cheek ones. I posted on Instagram that I want to read more, burn more candles and drink more tea. I think it's important to set oneself up for success. I also plan to write more letters (and obtain more fountain pens and paraphernalia), so when Tim alerted me to the existence of InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writing Month), I decided to get involved.


I will be writing a letter, postcard or note every day in February. Tim is getting the first, but if you want to be on my list, let me know in the comments!


We have had Mum and Dad here for a couple of days, which has been delightful. Extraordinarily hot, sometimes windy weather does make for spectacular sunsets, best enjoyed while taking an evening stroll.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kiama

I think Andrew and I were under the impression that we had found "our spot", the place we would always go for beach holidays. We went to Bermagui for five summers in a row, but somehow, in our last summer, we (some more than others) felt ready to move on.

So, this year, we drove the quite different route to Kiama. We got to drive through the Southern Highlands, which I love, and then on the rather hairy road down the mountain to the coast.


There were plenty of rocks to climb, which kept Toby happy.


We stayed across the road from Jones Beach in Kiama Downs. Far more suburban than Bermagui, and much busier. There were lots of overseas tourists in Kiama, which we never saw in the little coastal towns, but also many more shops and restaurants which kept the kids happy.


Kiama even manages to keep a book shop!


Toby turned 15 while we were there, and we celebrated with his favourite, Italian food. We also ate plenty of fish and chips, Hungry Monkey burgers, ice creams and some great Mexican food.


We went on so many walks (pick the couple with new Fitbits).



Andrew and the kids spent a day at Jamberoo, which they loved so much, though they all got burnt. I stayed home and read all day!

We arrived home this afternoon; the washing is on, Milo is loving all over us and we are looking forward to sleeping in our own beds. Kiama was great, maybe we'll go again next year.

Now, to get ready for visitors, then school!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Change

2017 is a big year of new things for us! After 12 years at the Christian College, all three children will now be at TRAC; all in high school. One is doing her final year at school.....


To get in the spirit of change, I didn't stay home on New Year's Eve. It's not a celebration I care much about, never enough to get a babysitter, certainly. Joss is always at summer camp, and last year Toby went into town for the big, town celebration Andrew plays at, so I happily stayed home. This time, Bethany was keen to join in with 12,000 or so other Wagga folk at Andrew's gig, so I went too.


Darren Coggan is an old Wagga boy, and he hosted again this year. The theme was going through the decades, so Andrew's band played the 60s and 70s, and it was so good! Darren Coggan seriously sounds like Cat Stevens, I do hope I can catch his Peace Train show one day.

Sadly, the band who played the 80s only did Oz rock, so we listened to them for a bit (so loud I felt the drums in my chest) and then the 9.15 fireworks were let off above us. Being right under them was pretty spectacular, if a little ashy.

We went home after that, feeling the love for a town where you can park less than five minutes walk from a big event, and relaxed until 11.15. Bethany was still firing, so we went back into town for Andrew's last set (this decade) and the midnight fireworks. This time, we actually got ash in our eyes! It was a lot of fun, and we had to wake Bethany up at 12.15pm the next day!

In order to say goodbye to her Christian College friends, we had a get together at the pool in town.


Good exercise coupled with chocolate, chips and lollies; it was great.


I especially enjoyed it because I got to hang out with this little miss while her big sister was at the party, and her dad was in the pool with her brother. She didn't like the pool last time she went with her family, but she had a great time paddling with me! I wished we both had swimmers because she wanted to get all in!


Then she was all tuckered out. You can see from my face how much I didn't enjoy it!


Andrew and I were back at work for the first week on January, but then we started another two weeks' holiday, mixing it up by going not to Bermagui, but Kiama. More of that tomorrow.....