Story Blog

Codine's off for the moment, but if you haven't read 'Turning Stones' it's still up there - free read!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hi there. The pics are playing up and I really don't have the energy to tidy them up - so all in a long string today. Here's Lara with Ruby the other day - I think it might have been Monday. Bit of a nightmare day for me but it was really nice to have the kids over - they're doing a spot of dancing in this one.

Here's Gappy. Tooth fairy brought her 'Mystic the Dolphin Bear' as a tooth present for this one. I sent her off to school with tissues and a little plastic bag because it was so loose in the morning, and fully expected it to have come out during the course of the day but no, when I picked her up that afternoon there it still was, hanging by a thread. Dangling like an autumn leaf in the breeze. Came home and she let me take it out - dropped off at the slightest pull. She wasn't being cooperative with grinning to let us see the gap for a pic, though, so we had to tickle her mercilessly. Only 16 more teeth left to go!

Today at Blackbutt. Beautiful day, at last, it's been raining in waterful-loads for days and we were really glad to get out. We went early in the morning before Sophie's party, and the place was deserted.

A careless emu has laid her eggs in the muddiest, most unauspicious corner of the paddock, and left them there. Plop.

The kangaroos were unbelievably lethargic, and came to say hello but couldn't be bothered to eat a morsel.

The Forum, for Sophie's party. Behold, 'Splash Zone'.

Major event for Lara, she had said she wasn't going on it because it's terrifying, but eventually Jaymie persuaded her, and helped her all the way through, not once but THREE times.

It's a team effort here to haul Lara through the obstacles. Lara herself seemed willing but mostly petrified - in the literal sense. She moved across here at a glacial pace. This particular obstacle was pretty tough to get over for lots of them, and they pushed and pulled her over like a skinny Winnie the Pooh stuck in Rabbit's hole, legs sticking out the back, head poking out the other side. Can't believe they actually managed in the end, those girls deserve a medal.

Another team effort of several minutes to persuade her to go down the slide.

Unbelievable pride at the end!

And now... Pizza!

and cake, of course.

Present opening time outside.

Gossamer skeins
trap feebled winter light
to mask the knotty face
of Love

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18th 2011 (Monday)

In case you were wondering what the first picture is, it's Lara's first savoury culinary masterpiece. Baked potato mouse. (Yes, that's a mouse). She scrubbed the potatoes, turned the oven on, put them in, scooped the insides out afterwards, chopped up the bacon, fried it, mashed it into the potato, re-stuffed them, and pushed in all the whiskers, ears, tail and eyes. (Don't you love the broccoli eyes?) First time she's had any interest in 'real' cooking so it's a bit of a milestone. She enjoyed eating them, too.

Here's a very grainy picture of one of the swimming classes. Partly because the camera steams up uncontrollably and partly because I didn't want to use the flash... cameras in pools are generally not encouraged and one's always in slight danger of being suspected of being a paedophile. Still, a pic, of sorts.

I'm at a loss at how to continue this blog, because all my compass points are broken and I don't know what's allowed any more. I will, however, try to continue to take pics of Lara and post them, because I know people want to see them. Apologies in advance, as no doubt it'll be pretty sporadic. I'll do my best. It might not be very good.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I just dug this pic out from the end of June, just after we had Lara's hair cut... it's grown considerably already. She must get her hairiness genes from Ian (god help her).

After lunch and some MORE art and craft, the Neve playdate came to an end at about 1:30 yesterday. I think Lara was quite ready for a quiet sit-down by then. We sat down and read books for about two and a half hours – quite unusual, really, we haven't been reading much at all recently. In fact, we now have no more books from the library, so that'll be the first port of call this morning. Lara's swimming has now finished, and the five days have made quite a bit of difference: she's now able (with a fair following wind and plenty of prompts) to take breaths on her 'freestyle' (as they call Crawl here) all the way across the little pool, and she's generally a little more coordinated. When she feels like it. Encouraging.

In the meantime, great news! Ian's lab is FINALLY done! He came home yesterday with the news – I had the impression it had been pushed back to mid-August but seems I was wrong. After just a year and a half, he finally has a lab! Apparently he nipped out and got some cake and bubbly for a quick celebration but I hope he decides on some sort of a bash because it's definitely bash-worthy. So at last, he can get all the equipment, boxes and people out of his office and Pete's lab. What a relief!

I'm wondering which bits I've missed out on from the last two weeks. There were a couple of days when Jenna came round, one for a whole-day playdate and the other for a half-day. They get on really well, and it was wonderfully smooth both times. No bickering to put a stop to, they seem quite perfectly matched on inclinations, abilities, attention span, and general disposition. They made a lovely mobile with painted fish and so on, they decorated cupcakes and made chocolate bread, they drew and played with toys, they danced... and of course they had their faces painted.

I still don't really know whether there's a Ruby playdate on Monday – her mum is a little hard to get hold of. Apart from that, back to school on Tuesday! My goodness, I need to get back to writing. And doing everything else. I finally made a bit of an effort the other day and gave the place a bit of a scrub because the Holiday Grime was closing in with a vengeance. What with collage twigs and artwork everywhere, bits and pieces, books and papers, unwashed bathrooms and unironed clothes it's a nightmare.

Then on Wednesday we went to Blackbutt again. This was a school-friends picnic, informally arranged. Unfortunately, there were almost NO girls there, and the boy's football games were a bit much for the Non, but we still chatted and played on the equipment and ran around and stuff. And had a picnic. Ruby had said she'd be there but they didn't turn up, and Neve decided against it as well. Still, a bit of an excursion.

I think we might be nearly updated... unbelievably. Hopefully back to normal postings soon. Mind you, what's 'normal' is here is questionable. I've just come downstairs to find Ian and Lara playing the Grand National in the living room, crawling around the place on all fours and jumping over piles of huge cushions and yelling 'neigh'. Oh hang on, it's metamorphosed while I was typing (and giggling), first it was frogs, then (hilariously) a cow race. I'm glad Ian's students can't see him with dressing-gown flapping, unshaven, lumbering about on all fours yelling 'moo' before projecting himself violently into the air over a pile of cushions.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fire festival end of June

I'm trying to figure out which bits I haven't told you about, and find I haven't posted some pics up from late June. These are from a Newcastle City thing they put up from time to time called 'Livestites' – this was a 'fire festival'. We only dropped by for a short time but it was quite pretty and atmospheric. Late at night (well, anything past 6pm) isn't really the sort of thing you can take a Littles to and expect to get away crank-free on any occasion. Still, the various fire displays were eye-catching (and not entirely safety-conscious), and the kids made lanterns and floated them on the fountain, and there was a string quartet playing, so not a bad effort in all. We didn't stay for the firewalking later on, because of Cranks and General Tetchiness, but hey, something different.

Firstly – Lara lost her third tooth! Garr, mi hearties - she looks like Pirate Joe now. We were shopping in Coles and I had a usual simply given up on keeping track of her and she was mosying around doing her own thing, when she suddenly appeared at my elbow, rather pale, saying My wobbly tooth's going to come out RIGHT NOW. I think she'd wobbled it quite a bit... there was a fair bit of blood. Squeezed her into the shopping trolley seat for the rest of the trip because she seemed a bit unsteady. Seems very happy to have it out, and eating's a great deal easier now. Only 17 more to go.

Last night we had Neve over for the “creatures of the Night” excursion, and a sleepover. We went out at 4:30, tracked slowly down to the bottom of Yuelerelba and flashlighted the way back up. We saw quite a few ring-tailed possums and one tawny frogmouth (I'm sure it's the one that lives by the bridge, the same that we saw the other day), and the moon was IMMENSE and very impressive, so it was a nice walk – and a bit of an unusual activity for the kids. Unfortunately, the other kids in our group were NOISY AS HELL – so not only would they have scared everything away but one couldn't listen out for rustles in the bushes, which is always the best way of locating stuff. Couldn't hear a thing apart from those noisy little buggers. The parents just seemed to leave them to it. Don't know who they belonged to, there seemed altogether too many children for the number of adults, anyway. Neve and Lara were (quite literally) quieter than the possums, mostly.


They were pretty funny when they came back. They'd been doing craft stuff at the table before they left, and when they came back they just sat plonk down, didn't even take their coats and hats off, and picked up exactly where they left off while the pasta cooked. Quite mesmerised. Mind you, it's so damn cold here at the moment I don't blame them for not taking off their outer stuff. Bloody freezing.

Playdate's still ongoing, actually. They've had breakfasts, they've got dressed, they've done some more colouring and glueing, they've done some reading, and are jut planning out a course of attack for the afternoon... on the blackboard. Have to take Lara to her last swimming lesson for the intensive session, and Neve's going to come along. The night-time was FANTASTIC, by the way. The whole usual jumping about and being tucked in 200 times? Nope. None of that. Nice quick bath, tucked up once, Harry Potter for a few minutes and slept all the way through with not a peep. A good walk through the bush before bed is just the thing, it seems!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Taronga Zoo excursion on the 3rd this month began (unusually) with a round-trip ride on the cable car. We got there unthinkably early and the place was still pretty empty. Lovely day, and of course lovely views.


 Harbour Bridge  - and there's the tower we went up, too (on a different occasion)

The giraffes have the best view in Sydney, and they're pretty rude about it, too 


Riding a Rhino, and more lovely views