Thursday, November 23, 2017

Otis Night for Nights

I was asked to speak at the Otis ball in Melbourne. I've been a supporter of the Otis charity since Amy and I stayed at one of their properties in Thredbo.
I agreed months ago and as the calendar ticked ever closer I became ever so slightly nervous!
When the weekend itself arrived I was lucky enough to be able to leave the kids with some kind friends and head to Melbourne.
The dinner was enormous! 840 people - far larger than any charity ball I'd ever been to. It was really glamorous as well and the night was full of incredible performers, a DJ and....before I went on stage a guy who had previously won the Australian Voice (a singing talent competition!). He was so talented and certainly a tough act to follow - I felt like I was next into bat after Don Bradman.
Anyway, it all went well and the whole night was a spectacular success. When I left the event had raised $540k which is just wonderful.
I've made a bit of a commitment to raising more cash for Otis in the future, so I've got my thinking cap on at the moment about things we (I'd drag the kids into it) could do :)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Touch rugby

Eli's mate (Noah) and his family are moving to Sydney, so they threw and impromptu party after touch rugby on Thursday. Eli scored four tries in the match (one where he ran the length of the pitch) :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


While Audrey was coding Eli and I baked a loaf of bread. It was good fun and he really got into the kneading. We were both chuffed with the outcome, but I'm not sure how much A&E really enjoyed it as it was quite a heavy dough and so took more chewing than the factory produced wholemeal bread they're used to. Still, it was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon together.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Coding for Girls

I found out on the grapevine that there was a 'coding for girls' workshop being run at one of the local secondary schools for girls aged 10 and above, it was run for a whole day on a Sunday.

Both the kids have done a bit of computer coding in the school holidays and really enjoyed it. The day was run by the Department of Defence and was entirely free (including lunch) so I signed Audrey up.

The kids programmed in 'Sketch' and wrote routines to either light up a set of diodes on a circuit board or write code which made words appear onto a scrolling LCD display. Adults were excluded from the room(!) but I was able to see what Audrey had done at the end of the day.

Audrey really loved it and her code was pretty impressive. It reminded me of my ZX Spectrum days (pouring over a home computer trying to key in code from a magazine to make a fairly rubbishy pac-man game). By way of comparison Amy won prizes for her coding at University (far more impressive!) so I guess nerdy computer coding runs in the family a certain amount. It appeared to be a fun and well run day.

Audrey with her circuit board

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Eli's second try of the game

Playing touch football at Deakin Oval #livingvicariouslythroughmychildren

Monday, October 30, 2017


Tim Winton is an Australian author and was one of Amy's favourite writers. She was halfway through one of his books when she died and it still sits unfinished by the side of the bed. I'm determined to read and finish it one day. Amy was the reader, not me.

Recently Eli excitedly told me about a book he was reading at school called Blueback. When I looked it up I saw that Tim Winton had written the book (along with another small handful of other children's books). It was a difficult realisation  - was it nature or nurture that had made the book appeal to my little boy?

It's a beautiful book, about a boy (Abel Jackson) who lives by the coast with his Mum (Dora). The boy's best friend is a blue fish who lives in Longboat bay and the short story chronicles both the growing up to adulthood of the boy and the fragile beauty of the seas, which come under pressure from developers, greedy fishermen and pollution. It's wonderfully written and I was so grateful to Eli for sharing it with me.

My throat caught a few times while we were reading it together as when I read the evocative words, I knew with 100% assurity that Amy would have loved the book too.

Solar Vehicles

Another day, another school project...