Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Seaside Mini-Break

On Saturday morning the three of us set off for the New South Wales (NSW) south coast for a three day 'mini-break'. During the summer months most of Canberra descends on this lovely part of NSW as it is only a couple of hours drive away. As a result the roads around the Batemans Bay area are full of cars bearing Australian Capital Territory (ACT) number plates. It pretty much becomes Canberra-on-sea.

We stayed in a small cabin in a South Durras holiday resort (about 15k north of Batemans Bay). We were a little worried about how Audrey would go in a strange bed/place, particularly as she had been unwell the few days leading up to our departure. The worrying was for nothing. She loved the resort (which had the obligatory children's play area with Audrey's favourite - the slide) and the seaside air certainly knocked her out at night.

The setting was ideal. We were between the South Durras lake and the sea. So we were only 5 minutes walk to the beach. We were also lucky to see 'squeaks' (rabbits) and 'hoppies' (kangaroos) every morning and evening, much to Audrey's delight

At first Audrey wasn't too sure about the sand on the beach (she refused to walk on it!) but she soon got used to it and was running up and down the sand (although still keeping away from the water unless Trevor held her in it!). She loved Pebbly Beach (about 20 minutes drive from South Durras) and Merry Beach as they both had lovely rock pools where she could terrorise the sea snails and sit in the shallow water.

Here are some holiday snaps of Audrey on her second seaside holiday (the first one was rather a different experience as it was in Northern Ireland in March and she wore a thick coat and beanie for the duration!!).


Our cabin 'Albatross'

Daddy and Audrey looking at the 'Hoppies'

Mum (+ bump) and Audrey on Pebbly Beach - not sure why it's called this as there wasn't a pebble in sight!

Enjoying the rock pools

South Durras Beach with best friend 'Baby'

Smiles on South Durras Beach

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Day, Another Doughnut

Today we paid our annual homage to Tłusty czwartek, or Fat Thursday, a traditional Polish Festival we've brought with us to Canberra.

Even though we're now miles away from Warsaw, the opportunity of gorging on doughnuts seemed too good a chance to pass up. Last year I had watched hoards of people clammer for pączki in Warsaw city centre. This year I resorted to placing an order with a (very friendly) DFAT pastry chef for a dozen doughnuts.

I still maintain that pączki are nicer than doughnuts, but the fact I collected the doughnuts freshly cooked from the bakery meant they ran a very close second.

I found the people at work were more than happy to share the multi-cultural experience with me (and the doughnuts too of course).

Audrey pauses to consider Australia's childhood obesity problem before tucking into her morning snack

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Audrey's self portrait

Here's a picture made up of four pictures that Audrey took of herself. She was thrilled at the prospect of pressing the shutter and then racing around to the back of the camera to see herself on the screen.

She's been a bit unwell today - poor thing, and despite our efforts at scrubbing, there are a couple of curious stains on the carpet which will probably puzzle future tenants in this house. She's had an early night tonight so hopefully she'll be feeling better in the morning.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Cancer Council ACT Canberra Cup

I went along to the Harness Races last week when the prestigious Canberra Cup was catchily re-named the Cancer Council ACT Canberra Cup. It was a steaming hot evening and I was a guest of the club.
Harness racing is a slightly odd pastime, but the races were pretty exciting and it was a good night out. Here's a picture of the winner racing home (the horse was called Master of Disguise) and I won a cool $35 from my $5 bet!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Huntsman (Australian Wildlife Encounters No.4)

As we were about to turn the light off the other night we spotted this Huntsman spider on the edge of the wall/ceiling...

Amy: "Oh no, look at that!"
Me: "I'll fetch the hammer!"

After climbing onto a step ladder I attempt to whack the thing with a hammer.

Milliseconds before the point of impact the spider scampers away onto the inside of the window pane.

"{***#[}% it! I'll get a glass."

I fetch a piece of cardboard and glass from the kitchen.
"Here goes"

The spider runs from beneath the glass and sprints round two walls of the room.

We both scream like little girls.

The spider is now in the corner of the room making a hit with a hammer or catch under a glass impossible.

"What now?"
"Have we got any fly spray?"

We fetch the can of Gillette 3x Triple Protection deodorant from the bathroom and spray the spider. It falls like a stone to the floor and then runs frantically towards where we're standing.

We scream some more and both leap onto the bed.

The spider hides under a bag by the side of the bed.

"I'll give it some more deodorant!"

Pulling back the bag I make sure that if nothing else the spider is the freshest smelling arachnid in Canberra by unleashing about half a can of deo' on him.

The spider chases towards the safety of Audrey's bedroom but mum whacks him with her shoe before he's half way across the room (injuring her finger with the force of the impact).

We flush his squished remains down the toilet.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hotting Up!

We've been enjoying (?) scorching temperatures for the last week or so. Temperatures today reached 40 degrees (it was 31 at 6.30am) and so we've all been sweating while the sun blazes down.

Audrey started swimming lessons a couple of weeks ago. It's been great fun taking her along, and watching her turn from a girl who clung limpet like to my chest to a water baby who can bravely launch herself (from sitting) off the side of the pool.

As a result we made no less than 3 trips to the pool this weekend. A couple of them were to Manuka which is a lovely old (outdoor) pool in the centre of town. Here's a couple of pics

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Amy!

It was Amy's birthday on Friday and so I knocked off work at lunchtime and the three of us went to the lovely cafe at Old Parliament House. The decision on where to eat was a bit of a toss-up between a number of venues, but in the end we decided on the 'Ginger cafe' at Old Parliament House as a suitable venue as we felt Audrey could probably do the least damage there.

(It's a bit unfair on Audrey actually as she was really good eating her meal despite another outing earlier that day.)

Pictured is birthday-girl Amy and Audrey trying her hand at knife swallowing...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Harvest Time

Here's a picture of Audrey admiring(?) this morning's harvest of two courgettes (Aus/US: zucchinis) cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

The respective plants have been pretty good, producing crops for the last couple of months but they have been suffering a bit with the heat we've had over the past few days.