Sunday, September 30, 2012

Away with the Faeries

After a few false starts (both the release date and film start was later than we thought) we finally got to watch the eagerly anticipated 'Secret of the Wings' for Audrey's birthday (albeit 6 weeks late)

It's the fourth film in the 'Tinkerbell' series and is a perfect film for 5 year old girls. Audrey was really excited that her friends were coming with her to the cinema and sat transfixed throughout, breaking only to chat to her friend Amber about various parts of the story.

It was actually not a bad film (perhaps I'm becoming desensitised to such things!) as there were assorted jokes which were clearly targetted for grown-ups.The film also covered topics such as global warming, asylum seekers and stem-cell research - well not exactly but in a kind of round-about way.

We ate coloured popcorn (a big hit) and teddy bear biscuits during the show and then retreated to a nearby cafe for Tinkerbell cake and baby-chinos.

Outside Screen 8 enroute to Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell cake

Monday, September 24, 2012

Audrey's Art

Our children (as most kids at this age seem to be) are prolific draw-ers and painters. Audrey knocked this one out the other day though and both Amy and I quite liked it - it's made it onto our fridge door.

Royal Thai Embassy Food and Cultural Festival

Together with our friends Gill and Anthony and their kids Tommy and Chloe we paid our annual homage to the Thai Embassy Food and Cultural Festival in nearby Yarralumla.

They seemed to have more food stalls than ever before and we sat on the grass under a tree and feasted on lovely Thai food (and a couple of bottles of beer), while an overweight female Thai singer serenaded us with a very ropey version of John Lennon's "Imagine".

Part of the day included a 'wishing tree'. It's a strange thing - using a forked stick to get paper stars out of a big tree. The coloured stars were then referenced against a (secret) list revealing your prize - it was a variation on a lucky dip I guess.

Audrey came away with a plastic shoulder bag and pen as her prize - she was pretty happy - meanwhile Eli won a 500g bag of rice. His face was a sight when he received his prize, and despite my protestations the ladies running the stall wouldn't swap it as apparently all the gifts were carefully logged and accounted for.

In the end (and after they noted the size of his bottom lip) they sorted him out with a keyring.

Eli and Audrey (with the 'Wishing Tree' in the background)

Monday, September 17, 2012

CSIRO birthday party

We went along to Audrey and Eli's friend Isobel's party at the weekend held at the CSIRO. It was a well organised party with a chance for the kids to get involved in some of the science activities that take place there as well as meet some of the local wildlife in the form of stick insects and turtles.

The stick insects were surprisingly 'soft' to touch. I think quote of the day goes to one of the kids who when asked 'What do stick insects look like?' replied 'Well they look a bit like preying mantis' which I thought was an excellent reply!

The party was good fun and we headed off with balloons.
Meeting Stick insects
Watching a 3D film (about polymers!)
Eli meets a stick insect

Doctor Audrey

Audrey, Jack and Eli

Eli meets a turtle

Painting the gate

Fun for all the family!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jumping Pillow

We take the kids swimming most Saturday mornings, and the pool where we go to swim recently opened a 'Jumping Pillow'. I've never seen one before - I guess it's like a bouncy/jumping castle but without sides. It's a huge thing and is surrounded by sand so there's a safe(ish) landing if you inadvertently bounce of the edge.

The kids love it (and let's face it every adult on there does too) and it serves to wear them out a bit more after swimming class.

Old gate, new gate

We spent a lot of the weekend fixing an old gate at the front of our house which had lost a paling and was looking generally tatty. Amy sourced the new wood, the kids 'helped' out with painting and I put the whole thing together. I was pretty happy with the final result. Just the rest of the house to fix now!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In memory of the 96

When I went to football matches when I was younger I stood on terraces. It was commonplace to be squashed against crowd barriers, fall forward as the crowd surged towards the pitch following a goal or corner. Once I was physically lifted off both feet by the squash of people concentrated around me. At the time it all seemed a bit of a joke. I never felt worried for my life. At least once I fell over in the middle of a surge and a couple of complete strangers picked me up by my arms and legs preventing me being trampled by hundreds of people behind me– it was all part of being at the game (strange).

In the 80s football stadiums were crumbling and bleak - I remember a Wolves game at Villa Park where the terraces we stood in were surrounded by barbed wire- my last visit to Wembley (England’s national stadium) is memorable only because of the rivers of piss filling every walkway and police at games were generally far more concerned with crowd control rather than crowd welfare.

In fairness policing worked both ways - I've seen Milwall fans throwing missiles across a road at police and equally I've seen police on horseback baton charging people just for being outside of a football ground.

Things I guess came to a head at Hillsborough when 96 people left to watch an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest and sadly never came home.

A report was issued earlier this week by the Hillsborough Independent Panel which sets straight the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989. The revelations that the report carried were monumental.

The report reveals that the 96 football fans who died that day (men, women, girls and boys) were entirely innocent and the awful accusation that their deaths were caused by a combination of drunkenness or hooliganism were both cruel and contemplated slurs. The depth of the deceit at the highest level meant that both police and ambulance crew had (164) witness statements altered and amended. The words ‘chaos’ and ‘panic’ were specifically removed from statements, and yet it appears they are words which best described what went on that day.

Sadly it now appears that nearly half of the victims could have been saved by medical intervention – while ambulances stood on the road outside prevented from entering the ground by police instruction.

Doctors and nurses among the fans made efforts to help with resuscitation, there was no control or medical equipment a gymnasium was used as a makeshift mortuary.

Peter Wright who was chief constable of South Yorkshire Police in charge of operations that day orchestrated efforts to blame Liverpool fans thereby protecting his own career. Unfortunately he’ll never have to face criminal charges over his dishonesty which he took with him to the grave (he died in 2011).

Senior police were part of a horrible cover-up, but other people need to shoulder blame also. The FA awarded a semi-final to a ground which had no safety certificate (the report cites similar crowding at a Wolves v Spurs semi-final 8 years previously) and Prime Minister of the time Margaret Thatcher was complicit through her protection of South Yorkshire police (because of the part they were playing supporting the Government in the miners strike at the time).

Hopefully this is only part of the story – hopefully custodial sentences will follow. Either way sadly 96 innocent victims cannot be brought back. People shouldn’t die going to watch football - the beautiful(?) game.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Green Machine

I went along with my friend Duncan to watch Canberra Raiders play Cronulla Sharks in a rugby league (NRL) tie. It was a big game for the Raiders with 24,500 fans packed into the Canberra Stadium. There was a pretty good atmosphere but it certainly wasn't the South Bank.

It was a good night for Canberra who emerged 34-16 winners and everyone went off into the night pretty happy with the result. The 'finals' of the competition is a drawn out series of games and eliminations, who nobody but the keenest fans really understands - Canberra next have to play in Sydney next weekend - hopefully another step on the road to a Grand Final.

It's obviously a lot easier if the team at the top of the league/ladder wins the whole competition but that would be too simple (and less lucrative).

Here's a picture taken last night.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ivy's party

The next few weeks are a constant stream of kids' parties. It's an interesting time as there's certain decorum about "party going"- the present you buy, the party games that you take part in and the goodie bag you ultimately take home as you leave. Children rapidly get into the rhythm of it all and nonchalantly reach out to accept goodie bag no.432 as they leave the party. Sad, but inevitable I guess that the world gets so commercial about things.

Nevertheless Sunday's party was notable as it was held at Gymbaroo. We'd been regular attenders to their mid-week classes - a series of climbing frames, toys, activities and music for children and Audrey and Eli had grown up to the some of the new (and old) songs they had introduced us to. We still have a couple of friends who we met there for the first time. We had stopped going along (there's a big waiting list so stopping going is a big decision) about 12 months ago when dancing had taken its place and (although kids do like routine) both Audrey and Eli had grown a bit tired about some of the repetitive nature of it all.

As we hadn't been for a while though the novelty of re-visiting Gymbaroo for a party really thrilled the kids. The trampoline, the climbing frame, the bubbles etc. Ivy's Mum had laid on an incredible spread of (pink) food and it was a relaxed, yet at the same time immaculately planned party.

The kids were actually too engrossed to eat all of the sweets that were laid on. I ate far too much.

Here's a few pics.

A table of incredible pinkness!