Thursday, April 26, 2012

Well done Poland - it's going to be a terrific tournament!

There was great excitement when we lived in Warsaw about the award of the Euro 2012 tournament to Poland and Ukraine.

At the time (in 2008) it seemed so far away and the ancient Communist monolith that was the National Stadium seemed a world away from somewhere that international football could ever be played. The stadium built in 1955 had once graced the Pope, but we only knew it as somewhere fallen into disrepair which held a weekly flea market where you could go to buy fake Nike shirts and Russian watches. We only went to the market a small handful of times, it wasn't particularly welcoming and was also in the Praga district; somewhere where you didn't want to find yourself at night.

Now the place is transformed. Despite early reservations that things would ever be finished on time and frantic trips by UEFA chiefs to view progress, work did get finished, the stadiums built and the grass mown. I've watched the webcam of the stadium rise over the last few years and Poland is now only a few short weeks away from welcoming fans from all over Europe to the tournament.

I hope it all goes without any problems. Polish club football has been beset with violence and allegations of corruption in recent years and hopefully the tournament will bring a resurgence in the beautiful game, rather than its more ugly elements. I still check on Polonia Warsaw's results occasionally. They gave us a nice reception when we went there for a game (with Amy heavily pregnant with Audrey!) and I still rank "Czarne koszule" (Black Shirts!) among my favourite football chants!

Europe has been financially embattled in the years since we left our temporary home, but Poland has been relatively unscathed. As the BBC points out the first game of the tournament is a microcosm of europe's finances; Poland still with its own currency versus Greece which is at the heart of so many crisis meetings for the euro.

Of course Britain's eyes will be on the Olympics which happen in London the following month. That's fine but I would still love to see an England v Poland final at Euro 2012. I'll leave it to you to pick your own result.

Here's some good pictures from the BBC's site

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Old fence, new fence

Rustic Charm

Smarter than before

Monday, April 23, 2012

Eli's 3rd birthday

Elijah's 3rd birthday was spiderman themed. I think we did pretty well with spiderman balloons, cups, plates, napkins and a few spiderman goodie bag bits. Eli was super excited and was pretty hyper all day.

He had a nice group of friend for his party and he was a tired little boy by the end of the day.
Here's some pics
Blowing out his candle
Excited before his party
Happy birthday to you!
A plate of spiderman gingerbread men (and girl smurfs!)

Spiderman Cake

Eli was bought a Spiderman outfit for his 2nd birthday and it's become one of his treasured possessions. Even though he's never watched Spiderman for any kind of point of reference, he still seems to know how spiderman should act and perform. Obviously he doesn't spin a web any size or hang from a thread overhead, but nevertheless he does a pretty good representation of a pint-size spiderman.

When his third birthday (is Eli 3 already!?) came round at the weekend, it was easy to pick a theme. Here's his cake - more pictures of his actual day to follow...

Canberra Earthquake

Canberra was 'hit' by a somewhat unimpressive earthquake on Friday. It had a magnitude of 3.7 and I think a china cup fell off someones shelf somewhere nearby the epicentre of the quake!.

When I first heard the report I thought the radio reporter said that the quake had happened in an "Unpopular area of Canberra" - I thought it was a bit unfair until I realised he had said "Unpopulated area" which made a lot more sense. Here's a picture following the quake that made me chuckle.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First World Problems

Recently I came upon a Twitter feed of "First World Problems". They made me laugh and I've since discovered the internet is full of a variety of sites giving similar observations - leading me to suspect I'm about 12 months behind this trend (which in itself is probably a FWP).

None of these are my own, but they all made me chuckle...(as well as serving as a reminder of what an easy and cosseted existence we live)....If you want more there are a gazillion websites you can look at...

First World Problems

  • Trust me, you just don’t get a good cheese selection at resorts in the Maldives
  • My Porsche is too old to be new, and not old enough to be classic
  • My sandwich bread was toasted too much and now when I take a bite it scrapes the roof of my mouth.
  • I got slight indigestion from my free lunch
  • The 'humorous' t-shirt I received as a gift isn't really my kind of joke
  • I put my socks on inside out
  • I didn't "shake well" enough.
  • People can send photos from Mars to Earth but my phone has no signal in my house.
  • The microwave at work doesn't have a quick minute so I have to press four buttons to heat up my lunch
  • I spent too long in the bath and now my hands are wrinkled.
  • My Facebook status has yet to receive a single like.
  • I accidentally bought grapes with seeds in them.
  • My electric toothbrush died and now I have to move my arm.
  • I didn't save room for dessert

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt

Eli and Audrey showing off their chocolate bilbies
If you're 4½ and (nearly) 3 then Easter is a time for chocolate. Audrey has had the day marked in her calendar for some time and started most mornings by asking us, "Is it nearly Easter?" In the days leading up to Easter there seemed to always be chocolate around - whether it was the egg hunt at Lyons (and another at school) or chocs being given to them by family and friends. Things culminated in an egg hunt in our own garden on Easter day.

In fairness our expanding waistlines bear testimony to the amount of chocolate we've scoffed ourselves.

Train ride to Queanbeyan

Canberra has an historical Train Society and on Saturday ran a steam train from Canberra to nearby Queanbeyan. It was only a 45 minute trip (there and back) but it was a nice trip and the kids loved the old-world carriages and the steam of the engine which had been built in Manchester over 100 years ago.

There's a group of old guys (and girls!) who run the event and there were decent length queues of people going for a ride.

Although it's only a short trip it was nice to see the Murrumbidgee and spot a couple of gangs of kangaroos who hopped alongside a hillside as we travelled along.

More fun on the bikes

We headed to Stromlo Forest Park on Easter Monday for a spot of breakfast and to allow the kids to have another go on their bikes.

Even arriving at 8am the car park was pretty full of mountain bikers - the area is a haven for mountain biking and at the bottom of the hill is a play ground with a 'street' map of little roads and a larger flat area ideal for cycling around.

Scoot on my scooter

At the bottom of the hill

Filling up!
Audrey got a bit more to grips with pedalling (one foot at a time rather than both feet together) and Eli zoomed along on his scooter. Towards the end of our visit Eli went for a spill and (despite his helmet) ended with a nasty bump on his forehead.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New bike and scooter on Curtin cycle path

With the long weekend upon us (and following a couple of successful ebay sales) we treated the kids to new bikes. Audrey chose a Barbie bike (surprise surprise) but the ribbons that had been on it in the shop weren't in the box when we assembled it at home. Eli had the option on a bike, but chose instead a blue Thomas the tank engine scooter.

We're lucky in Canberra to have lots of nice bike paths, one of which is just on our doorstep and so, joined by Will and Abbey, Audrey and Eli set out for their maiden ride.

Audrey does well downhill, but not so well uphill (or on the flat!), but Eli quickly mastered his scooter. I'm sure we'll have many happy hours ahead with our new transport.
Audrey, Will and Abbey

Audrey gets a helping hand

Eli on his Thomas scooter

Audrey showing off her new wheels