Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tired (and more like a Facebook post)

Audrey came into our room at 12.30am this morning upset that her (Tinkerbell) pillowcase was creased!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not Just Ned

Catherine and Michael arrived on Saturday from Darwin, having come from 32 degree heat they're suffering a bit at the moment with Canberra's chilly weather, especially as they're sleeping in a caravan on our front lawn!

On Sunday the four of us headed to the Not Just Ned exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of Australia. It's a really good history of the Irish in Australia (not just Ned).

For the uninitiated Ned Kelly is Australia's favourite criminal/bandit. He's kind of akin to a latter day Robin Hood except that he didn't distribute his spoils amongst the poor and kept them himself. The Kelly gang (who were at their height of notoriety in the 1880s) wore trademark 'armour' to protect them from the bullets fired from police. It's a unique form of armour - essentially styled on a bucket on your head with a slit to see out of. The armour then extended to body/shoulder plates which in theory would stop a bullet/musket ball(?) fired at it. When Kelly was captured the police shot him in the (un-armoured) legs rendering his clever defence ever so slightly useless. They then hanged him for the murder of 3 policemen.

The exhibition featured the armour of the Kelly gang (which was excellent to see) as well as a host of other Irish paraphernalia. I hadn't realised Burke and Wills had been Irish (they planned the first South to North Australia exhibition), their adventure is again famed in Australian history (they died en route).

Other more successful Irishmen included John Curtin after whom our suburb is named who was Australian PM during WWII.

There wasn't a lot for the children, but there was still lots to look at including a huge dolls house which kept them occupied for ages. Even though Australia's population is made up of less than 1% of Irish born people, the influence that Ireland has had on Australia's history is pretty evident.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Halfway Down

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up,
And isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run through my head:
"It isn't really
It's somewhere else

AA Milne

Chilly mornings

Apparently one of the reasons Canberra is situated where it is (i.e no mans land between Sydney and Melbourne) was that planners wanted to have a capital city which experienced 90 days of frost a year.

There was a thought (and I'm sure this must be seeped in abundant prejudice of the day 90 odd years ago) that the bracing climate lead to a healthier constitution and a more intelligent /productive population.

Obviously we don't get the bitingly cold winters of Warsaw (-20) and there doesn't seem as many chilly mornings (where you have to use your supermarket loyalty card to scrape the ice off the car windscreen) as in the UK, but nevertheless we've had a few days recently dropping to -4 or -5.

The one really positive thing about winter though, is that the clear sky during the day is often an absolutely beautiful blue.

Amy took this picture of our outside tap yesterday. I didn't even know it leaked until we found the stalactite below.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lazy Sunday

We had a lovely day today with our friends Catherine and Anthony and their children, Alex and Wil. We'd made a couple of batches of soup to take over for lunch, complemented by lovely fresh bread from the markets. Catherine had baked a lovely chocolate cake for afters.

The children got along famously which left the adults to relax and chat. Most importantly, it gave Catherine and I a chance to play the Duran Duran board game! What fun! Trevor and Anthony thought we were sad cases and left us to it, retiring with bits of the newspaper but Catherine and I had a ball. I sense a rematch coming soon....

Girls on film - re-living our teenage years with a game of Duran Duran - the board game

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A morning of Jigsaws

On Saturday morning I took Elijah swimming and came home to a floor full of jigsaws. Amy and Audrey had spent their time puzzling away and Audrey was really proud to show me her achievements.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Audrey and Eli at Black Mountain Peninsula

Black Mountain Peninsula is a favourite haunt of ours and is only a short drive from our home. There's a good playground there as well as a nice stretch of grass running down to the lake.

Here's a short video of Audrey and Eli enjoying the park

Kids' paintings

Here's some pictures which the kids have done recently. Feel free to print them out and put them on your fridge!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Louisa comes to visit

Amy's friend Louisa came to visit us from Adelaide. It was really nice to catch up with her and show her around. Here's some pictures around the National Art Gallery and Lake Griffin A fairy for all seasons. Despite the chilly weather nothing stops Audrey wearing her fairy dress..

Children and technology

Amy's friend Louisa visited us this weekend and the five of us went to the National Art Gallery. In the indigenous galleries the kids found some information screens which (without any instruction) they took delight in using as the video shows..

Friday, June 10, 2011

The finished article

Still not exactly the Savoy, but a step up from Prisoner Cell Block H which was there before...

many hours and swear-words later

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Audrey in her dungarees

Audrey as a clean cut (Wolverhampton born) Kevin Rowland from Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Audrey loves these dungarees. She can put her hands down the side pockets (and keep them warm)

Our bathroom

This is the reason why blog posts have been in short supply recently
We had an old (mouldy) vanity unit in our (too small) bathroom and so Amy and I stripped out the nasty flooring and dumped the wreck of a unit outside of the back door. It's taken me many hours of cursing, studying DIY books and trips to DIY stores to put it all back together but it looks a lot better now (picture to follow once the grout has fully dried!)

If you think the picture looks worse than it actually was, it doesn't

Elephant Paths

A few weeks ago I read a friend from Warsaw's blog about 'Elephant Paths'. I won't repeat/copy all of her blog post, so if you want to read it click here.

Essentially an 'Elephant Path' is a shortcut that people take to get them from a to b whilst ignoring the more conventional route. If you Google it you'll find there's different metaphors for the phenomenon, from 'Easy Way' in Hindi, to 'Donkey Trail' in French. Wikipedia (fountain of all knowledge) refers to them as Desire Paths - here's their definition

"A desire path (also known as a desire line or social trail) is a path developed by erosion caused by footfall"

Since I read Gill's original blog post I've become slightly obsessed with trying to spot them in and around Canberra. The Wikipedia link here gives some instances where planners have actually based the positioning of footpaths on where people WANT to walk rather than where they would like them to walk. It all seems to make a lot of sense to me.

There's a desire path/elephant path/shortcut near where we live which cuts through a large grassy area and the back of someone's hedge. It's a really well worn path and (despite efforts to barricade the hedge with old posts, branches, clippings etc) people have continued undeterred to find the shortest route between where they are and where they want to go.

Last Saturday I also noticed that the grassy area outside of our local swimming pool was full of 'elephant paths' I've grown to love the rebellious nature of them - going against the desire of authority to take us some (less convenient way).

Here's a couple of (my pics) together with a link to a flickr site if you want to get obsessive about it all as well..Long live elephant paths!