Apologies, apologies. No pics, no news, nothing. Mea culpa. No, we didn't fall down a hole or get eaten by crocodiles, just been gadding about insanely to the tune of School Holiday Entertainment. Got so much interesting stuff to post I don't know where to start, so I'm putting up some from yesterday to start with, which was actually quite a quiet day.
We were going to go to Tomaree National Park, which is walking up a hill about an hour's drive away and then going down to the beach, but we saw there was an open house on at noon so decided to change plan and went to Mount Sugarloaf instead (which is walking up a hill about half an hour's drive away). Mount Sugarloaf is famous for three things. Firstly, it received 10cm of snow in July 1965 (there's even a plague commemorating this, would you believe). Secondly, it houses three television towers which beam out televisual nonsense all over the Hunter. (Gut-wrenchingly, there were three guys actually climbing up the damn things while we watched, presumably doing some sort of maintenance. Ugh. We got dizzy just watching them. They didn't look roped on, either.) Thirdly, it's meant to be the place where the anti-hero of an aboriginal story of Tiddalik the Frog is meant to be sitting, turned into stone. (Those aboriginal stories always seem to end the same way, with things being petrified as a lasting reminder.) Unfortunately this last and most interesting one was not marked or anywhere on Google, so we were wandering about looking for large outcrops of rock that might be vaguely frog-shaped. Saw a couple of candidates but were probably wrong. Still, it was a lovely walk.
Lara took along a plastic bag to gather collage materials – it's what we're into just at this moment. Bits of twigs and leaves and things. Not a bad ruse, it certainly made her look around the place with more interest, and afterwards we sat sorting through it and she was going through masses of glue getting it all onto her Winnie the Pooh collage. (Ahem...) I have to admit rather shamefacedly that I 'got into' it too, a bit more than is entirely seemly for a 40 year old. The original inspiration for the whole collage thing was something she brought back from Blackbutt: a picture of a Koala they were meant to stick leaves and things on to collage in. Now, the picture's quite big and it wasn't very filled in. Er.... Hm. I got a bit carried away. He's filled in now. The mammoth glue tube is nearly empty. Amazing what one can do with bark... amazing anyone would want to but there we are.
One unfortunate thing was that we lost Lara's nice thick Bierton School jumper. We put it on the ground at the top of the mountain and we think it accidentally got mixed up with some jumpers from another family that was up there. Oh well. Now some Australian kid has a jumper with 'Bierton C of E School' on the front and 'Lara Grainge' sewn into the back. Anyway, lovely walk, beautiful blue day.
One mildly exciting thing was that the house we went to see was actually rather interesting. Believe it or not, it's directly next door to the very first house we went to see when we got here, the original 'Shack' in Flowerdale. Now, the location is not ideal, being rather far from the school, and the quietness is not complete, because of the Pacific Highway across the hill, but both are doable. It's been looked after nicely, it's not glamorous, but it does have four not-tiny bedrooms, a nice kitchen, relatively open plan living area and in general I think it's a real candidate. For what we can afford, and where we're looking, it might be about as close as we can get to acceptable. So we'll see what happens. http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-nsw-merewether+heights-107528677
Wow, domestic breakthrough as I type. Lara has just had her first shower on her own. She started off having showers with me for a short while (as a switch from baths), then rapidly transferred to showers with Daddy (suspected reason being that he's not so insistent about washing and scrubbing quite so vigorously). However I think what with increasing bolshiness from Small Girl in hogging all the water, he was starting to take a dim view of this, so she's just come down and announced 'I've got dressed all on my own in WARM STUFF, LOOK – AND slippers, LOOK, AND had my shower on my own!” All very welcome news. (The 'warm stuff' is because I keep having arguments about her wearing short leggings on freezing days like today... I think the penny's finally dropped on the side of comfort.)
Anyway, so there we are, that's ONE quiet day's worth. The whole last week's been packed, this blog is in for a whole lot of strain. (Sorry, the pics are absolutely not behaving today so they're all in a long string. I give up on Blogger sometimes.)
View from top of Mount Sugarloaf
Fantastic termite action
Yukkas in winter sunlight
Lara with her Collage bag
A map at the top showing which direction things are in
Can you spot the insane maintenance guy?