Friday, January 30, 2009

The Great Escape

Yesterday's news from Canberra included a story about two inmates who escaped from the Belconnen remand centre and made their way onto the roof. They weren't exactly criminal masterminds, and it was far from being the great escape, but it did provide everyone with an alternative newstory to the economic woes of the World (or should that be GFC).

They made their way onto the roof in the early hours of the morning, removed their shirts and proceeded to grow ever more sunburnt as the day heated up. Just before midday with the temperatures approaching 38 degrees they agreed to come down on the proviso that they were given ice cream and McDonalds.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our clever daughter

Ok, so I'm sure it's just normal parental pride but it's been so lovely watching Audrey learn and develop over the last few weeks.

Suddenly, Audrey the baby has gone and a beautiful little girl has taken her place.

She's really a sponge when picking up words. For a while she's known how to say the words 'Dadada' and 'Mummy', but she's added a whole host of new ones (Amy read that at this age children can learn up to 10 new words a day).

It's amazing watching her describe animals and their noises and although we still sing 'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes' a little bit fast for her to take in, she does reflect on the song and say 'knees' and 'toes' at the end of us theatrically dancing in front of her.

She'll also sometimes pull words out of nowhere - words that you didn't think she had even taken in first time around. Sure, some words are still a bit of a blur - 'B' for example covers everything from 'bird' to 'book' to 'butterfly' to 'berries' but usually with her frantic pointing you can work out what she's trying to tell you before she gets frustrated with her parents' stupidity.

Audrey putting the finishing touches to her masterpiece

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!!

Monday was 'Australia Day' or 'Invasion Day' depending on your political and social persuasion.

It's a day celebrating the arrival of the first fleet under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788 (Captain Cook had explored New South Wales 18 years previously) and the raising of the British Flag in Sydney Cove.

Incredibly every state in Australia takes the day as a public holiday. We went to Cotter Dam where there was lots of entertainment and activities including; a band, the national whip cracking association(!!#!) mini golf, train rides and the obligatory reptile display.

The three of us took a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Audrey really loved it - she got in the spirit of things with her Aussie t-shirt, joining the mass of other t-shirt wearing visitors - all of them showing their 'Aussie Pride' by wearing emblems such as 'True Blue Aussie', 'G'day mate' and 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie'....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jo comes to Canberra

My (Amy) good friend Jo came to stay with us for a couple of nights either side of her trip to Sydney. She had been living in Indonesia for 12 months and just returned a couple of months ago so we had lots to catch up on and talk about. Audrey loved having another person to play with and read her stories.

We managed to do a couple of outings while she was here...the National Portrait Gallery, War Memorial and the National Museum....but the main reason she was here was to chat, chat, chat...(which we did quite a lot of!)

It was sad to see her go on Saturday (Audrey kept enquiring 'Jojo?') and we look forward to seeing her back in Canberra after the arrival of Baby Hickman number 2.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hot in the City!

Channel 7 featured probably the best weather forecast I've ever seen on TV last night. It consisted of 8 words. "Hot today, hot tomorrow, back to the tennis."....Perfect!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trevor on the Radio

I did a short spot on ABC Radio this afternoon. It was a little bit nerve wracking but it was nice to meet the host of the show (Louise Maher)

Here's a pic of me in the studio. If you want to read more click on this link

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Audrey, Annie and the Armadillos

We paid another visit to the Botanic Gardens this weekend, together with our friends Kim and Mark and their lovely little boy Rory. It was a beautiful summer evening and there were even more people there than the week before.

Here's a video clip of Audrey getting down to the music.

On Sunday I went to watch Wolves game with Bristol City. It was a shame it finished 2-2 as Wolves really deserved (and needed) the points. The game was noteable as it was played in some of the worst weather I have ever seen a match take place in. The TV kept focussing in on a ball-boy sat huddled by the corner flag as the freezing horizontal rain whipped him and the supporters around him.

By contrast when I left the pub where I had watched the game, the outside temperature was 28 degrees C and me Amy and Audrey then spent the afternoon in an outdoor swimming pool in nearby Phillip.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby Scan

I know these things look a bit like Rorschach inkblot tests, but they are actually pics of baby no.2 due in early May! Looking back at Audrey's scans it looks like the Polish ones gave us a bit more of a 3-D impression!

We found out from the scan that we're having a little boy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If you go down to the woods today...

Here's a pic of Audrey enjoying a teddy bears picnic!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Summer concerts on the Eucalypt Lawn

During January the Botanic Gardens in Canberra host a series of summer concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights.

The three of us took a picnic along and listened to a really great band play bluegrass and country music. It was a lovely warm evening and the lady accordian player who lead the group was superb.

Audrey loved the music - and also enjoyed wandering between the other picnic-ers and seeing whether the food they had bought with them bettered ours.

The Eucalypt lawn is a lovely venue too. There are (believe it or not) over 700 species of Eucalyptus native to Australia and many of them are on the large undulating lawn.

Unnervingly though I had learnt at our last visit to the Gardens, that one of the species of Eucalypt is known as 'widow maker' as the tree frequently sheds large branches without warning. The knowledge of this, put me on edge throughout the night. Fortunately though no catastophes occurred to us or any of the hundreds of picnic-ers there!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Quiz (the Answers)

If you took part in the Christmas Quiz I published in December please find answers by clicking here

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Zed and Two Noughts

Besides the mass of flagpoles scattered round the city, one of the things I've noticed since we've arrived in Canberra is the prevalence of the word 'National'.

It seems if your organisation is in Canberra then putting 'National' in the title of the building/event/company makes it somehow more prestigious. It gives you an excuse for pretending to be substantial while at the same time not really meaning anything at all.

Hence we have The National Gallery, and The National Museum (ok, fair enough)

But there are also some decidedly questionable uses of the phrase;

The 'National' Carrilion (the 55 bells the country clearly turns to when they are in need of a bell recital)

The 'National' Rose Garden (really is this the best Australia can do?)

Radio National (hmmmmm a bit dubious)

There must as a result be a lot of disappointed diplomatic visitors to Canberra who return to their home country thinking they'd seen Australia's biggest and best when in fact they'd just been conned by the misuse of the word 'national'.

I added a new one to my list on Saturday The 'National' Zoo.

It wasn't that the three of us didn't have a good time, but to describe the small wildlife park as the 'National' Zoo, seemed a bit comical. Like most zoos, it contained the usual array of demented animals pacing their cages, narcoleptic lions, and overweight zebras who would be ridiculously easy prey if they ever got within 500miles of their natural environment. At $26 per person (they even wanted us to pay for Audrey) entrance was a bit steep as well.

Still, Audrey seemed to enjoy herself. She always loves the aquarium (I guess it's the bright colours of the fish) and we had trouble dragging her away from the giraffes.

I guess we should be honoured to have the 'National' Zoo just 5 minutes drive from where we live, but I'm not sure we'll become regular visitors there. Even the cage containing kangaroos stood empty and if you can't do kangaroos in an Australian zoo then the 'National' mantle is a bit rich isn't it?

Audrey enjoying the giraffes

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We brought in the New Year watching a great film (The Kite Runner) with Amy's parents. We made it till 11.45pm before heading off to bed. There, me and Amy listened to probably one of the funniest pieces of radio I'd heard since Brian Johnston - two local ABC radio DJs trying to describe the midnight fireworks display in Canberra centre.

DJ No.1: 'Ooh there goes a blue one!'
DJ No.2: 'Ooooh a red one!'
DJ No.1: 'Oooh another blue one!'

It wasn't intended to be funny, but I guess fireworks weren't really designed to be described over the radio.

On New Years Day we headed to Cotter Dam for a picnic. It was lovely weather and we enjoyed a feast of sausages before taking a short walk along the edge of the river. Audrey walked a fair distance which was pretty good considering she'd already spent a lot of time running around with her Pop!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Australian Wildlife Encounters No.3

At Cotter Dam we spotted a tree full of Black Cockatoos (yellow tailed Black Cockatoos I believe). It was pretty exciting (for me!) as I'd never seen them before. Unfortunately they were quite high up in a tree so mine is a bit of a poor picture, the one on the left is what they look like if taken by a decent photographer..