Story Blog

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Blog Time!

Run out of pictures space again! New blog at

All nice and fresh in time for the New Year, eh? See you over there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Every girl's idea of Heaven

Muscled man in pink marigolds cleans oven, just before cooking you dinner, while you sit back and sip on Hunter Valley finest Chardonnay. And that's just the start of the evening.

It's true, girls. Not just some wild kinky fantasy. It actually happens.

Oh, gloat.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween 2012

Meow. It’s just not fair that you should miss out on all the fun. Have a look at our thumping good Halloween party last week. Here’s Abiela being Puss In Boots.

Of course, there are very few pictures as usual from any kids’ party, because I’m always far too busy doing stuff and leading games. There are a few pics from the "Wrap the Mummy" game because I could stand back for a few minutes and watch them all wrap each other up in toilet paper – rare respite.

Oh, and here’s Klaus. The wig really pulls the whole thing together, don’t you think? Caused a few gasps when the mums dropped their kids off.

This is while they were all still gathering up and generally milling to loud music. Isn’t Charlie (the mummy) in the background doing well with his dance moves?

Here’s Coco being wrapped by the smallest kid there. Good mummification, girl!

The back yard was covered in what appeared to be a freak snowfall after this game.

You can’t see Lara very well here in her Bat Queen outfit, but she’s helping herself to the fare. The mystery of kids... we calculated that just over half a sandwich and a fifth of a pizza per kid for 35 kids should be consumed even if they weren’t on peak eating mode.... SO much left over.  I have now worked out the following formula
f = k/s x t/s

Where f = food, k=kids and t=time. As the number of sweets increase, both the number of kids and the time elapsed decrease in significance, and food becomes less no matter what the circumstance.

As there aren’t many pics from the party, here are some from the run-up. Coco, Flash and Lara sitting between Charlie and.... I’m so sorry, I forget the skeleton’s name. The decorations were extensive, a whole army of zombies and mummies came out of the closets in Graham Street and took up residence, much to everyone’s delight. My personal favourite may be the witch holding an apple, who cackles hysterically when you push her button, but there were many others, including giant spiders, severed heads, caged ghouls, witches galore, distorting mirrors, vampire hog bats.... We might (possibly) make another ‘Second’ family party of it next week when the kids are back, which might afford a few more opportunities to see everyone’s costumes. They were quite good, I have to say.

Getting into scary mode.... Oh, and always practice frightening faces sitting on the sofa in your wetsuit.

The pumpkin getting his lobotomy

"Ooh, how's it going to turn out??"

Very nicely, thank you. Klaus with Lord Denby (this year's pumpkin's name). It was wonderful to sit back and watch him carve it - no struggling with hard pumpkin for me this year, he just carved through it like butter, in about five minutes. Ah, bliss.

And here's one of Flash looking pretty on the kitchen table. As they do.

That’s about it for Halloween pictures, I’m afraid. We had a great time at the party but that evening Flash came down with a gastro sort of flu Lara must have brought back on Monday (she was ill off school that day) and by Friday the whole lot of them were throwing up all over the place. Saturday was spent recuperating, and Sunday everyone was back on track (might have some other pics from then, actually... just a few) but in short the only person who was completely unaffected was me. Touch wood. Which must (incidentally) be what my stomach is made of. Anyway, a very happy November to everyone J

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

8th September 2012

As Coco was missing from the last post, here she is at the Reptile Park on the 8th, instead. There's a certain degree of Flumpage going on as it was just before lunch and energy levels were at a low ebb at this point.

The shows at the Reptile Park were pretty crowded. Oh, and if the OBNOXIOUS WHITE HAIRED LADY who wouldn't move back a little from the front of the boundary so a couple of seven year olds could stand in front of her to see the show (she was short and ugly but taller than them, at least), and instead waved her huge telephoto lense about the place in any available gap there was taking rubbishy pics, is reading this: you suck big time and will hopefully be trampled underfoot sometime soon. We were fantasizing later about strapping her into a REALLY high swing and giving her a nice big push - if she wants to be treated like a kid that much she can haev the whole hog, see how she likes it.

.... Sorry, got a bit carried away. Anyway luckily for Lara she's light and got a lift. Along with Teddy.

Koalas dripping in their lump-of-sooty-fat way.


... and petting the tortoise. This one's a domeback, and a spratling at 65 years of age.

As you can see, it was (again) a beautiful day and we had a great time. Oh my gosh and the picnic.... mmm... barbecued chicken and lovely bread, strawberries, cookies (see below), wine from the Hunter (yum), spreads and cheeses galore, we could barely move afterwards.

The only unfortunate thing was that there seemed to be a flash tummy bug going round. Abiela wasn't feeling too well and got worse, so we didn't stay too long - and later Kalus came down with the same thing. Luckily, was just a transitory affair. All well by the evening.

Lara practicing jumping-over-the-ditch.....

...and then all together.

Oh yes, reaching for the giant Funnleweb in the Spider emporium. Lovely.

Coco and Lara stayed in here for ages, absolutely loving the idea of sitting on a fake toilet with fake (huge) redbacks all over it. Couldn't stop giggling for at least 15 minutes.

In fact, they stayed there for so long that we moved on to the crocodiles (or the frogs, I forget which) so I went back to make sure they knew where we were. I got back and was poo-poohed with a "you're not still counting kids, are you?" Apparently with this number in tow, the rule is a) some degree of attrition is acceptable and b) keep up or be left behind. Bit of a Pirate Code thing going on. Seems to work OK so I guess he knows what he's talking about.

7th September 2012

Ok, as promised, some pics of the little ones. This was back form September 7th (so the computer says). We went to,,, I'm jiggered if I can remember. Ah, I know, up north to Anna Bay. Astonishingly, Klaus and the Kiddies hadn't actually been, and in fact I (with my fantastic sense of geography and direction) think I got Anna Bay confused with Nelson Bay. I was actually aiming at the nice fish and chip shop up there. Well, it was just as well. We had a great time. A bit windy but a beautiful spring day, no-one around, and we stopped at the one and only eatery in Anna Bay where I once again had a bacon and egg roll. (I may remember nothing of roads, location, names, but I remember the greasy spoon cafe on a dingy road that served me a tasty bacon and egg roll over two years ago).
Here's Lara and Arizona on the beach with a washed-up Port Jackson shark egg case. Delight!
Windy picninc, with fish and chips and burgers. I kick myself that I missed the bit where the crazy man chased his kids round and round the oval threatening them with a dead fish they found on the grass, yelling 'Mr Fishy, Mr Fishy' or something or the sort. Perhaps Clingons were involved, too.

Rocky walk along the beach. Arizona is endlessly patient with helping Lara climb over things.

'King of the Rocks' seat, randomly put there by ... Poseidon, I guess. Great look out to sea. How could one resist?
Arizona and Lara on the 'seat'

Fantastic wave-watching spot...

... more than a little alarming for some...

...and drenching for those who step too near!

How Abiela managed to navigate those rocks in flip-flops is a mystery, but it seemed to pose no trouble at all to her. Oh, I should explain (before signing off) that Coco and Flash were at a birthday party, hence the reduced number of kids. With that, I have to go. Nearly 7 am, which is when I have to leave to get Lara to Oosh, and come back on time to get to work. She has her school disco today, school term nearing the end and all sorts of craziness coming up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Update - Yes, it's mid-September

Now I know the grandparents really want pics of Lara. None on this post because it's just of the weekend gone by, and she's been with Ian... Apologies. Nevertheless it's a lovely stretch of coast that we visited, and even as it is the number of pics have been culled drastically. We went camping up to Hat Head National Park (about three and a bit hours' drive up from Newcastle) for a couple of days. Couldn't be better weather, really - not too hot, beautiful skies (as you'll see), gorgeous bush walks.

We stayed at Smokey Cape, and here's the lighthouse. This beach is just next to the campground. 

Having reached the place in the afternoon (late start), and after wandering out randomly onto the aforesaid beach, we reckoned there must be a path up to the lighthouse from the beach.

Possibly there was. What we found was a kangaroo track, which lead us up through the bush, occasionally crawling through the undergrowth. Not exactly wheelchair friendly for the guidebooks. Plenty of kangaroo poo though. I reckoned the roos must surely know where they're going so forged on ahead regardless. Got there eventually. Not before being called Captain Crazy Pom. Here's a view from the top.

Next day we went for a MASSIVE bush walk, all up from Smokey Cape northwards... my hips are still aching. Stunning spring bush, everything in a myriad shades of green, birds everywhere, glorious green-and-sea smell... what more could one want.

Some roo tracks on the beach (can't exactly remember which one, this was in the middle of the walk)

Up at the lighthouse. The roos aren't shy at ALL.

This is back down at the beach near the campsite, I think.

Ah, here's the lighthouse. More or less at dawn on Saturday, I think... pics are rather messed out of order, aren't they. Note the picturesque morning mist. It's artistic.

View towards the beach...

Klaus at the top of... actually I can't remember. Perhaps it's near the lighthouse.

Another picturesque bit of sand-motion. Artistic.

Me wearing a lighthouse on my head.

Ah, here's the campsite. Very comfy tent. Took TWO duvets so it was snug as anything - most comfortable camping I've ever experienced!

This was the view from up near the north end, beautiful dragon trees (we think that's what they're called), stunning sea.

Mr Big Roo saying bye as we leave the campsite on Sunday

On the way back we stopped at Seal Rocks. Guess what, they have ANOTHER lighthouse there, so of course we climbed up. Truly spectacular rock-stuff in this corner of the world.

Impressive gorge, sploshing through all the time, on the way up to the lighthouse at Seal Rocks.

Same place, just with both of us obscuring the nice view.

Here I think we're obscuring the view from the top of the lighthouse at Seal Rocks. The very top.

View unobscured.

Found a place on an almost-island at Seal Rocks that was (more or less) out of the sun AND out of the wind to have our picnic at. Named Pigwig Island. Tuna sandwiches and red wine, plus copious chocolate biscuits - yum.

View from the summit of Pigwig Island. (That's not its real name, by the way, just that we had a picnic there. Don't actually know what it's called.

Ok gotta go. Net is really dodgy so I always have to go back to Hatfield Street to load up the pics but I'll try and get some of Lara and the Kiddies in asap ... not today though. Keep your fingers crossed for me getting back on track with this thing!