Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Dad

My Dad died last week. He’s not been in the best of health for a little while and died of a heart attack in hospital. It was pretty sudden and I’ve struggled with it, not least as I’m 10,000 miles away and feel a bit helpless.

He was a good, kind (and wise) man and sometimes I hear myself repeating things I know he would say himself. Increasingly, as I get older I also look in the mirror and think I see his face looking back at me.

I’ve been reflecting on things he gave to me. He taught me the difference between right and wrong. My love of football comes from him taking me along at an early age, with my elder brothers, to watch Wolves - in the (now demolished) Waterloo Road Stand and I still treasure the memory of nights spent at Monmore Green watching Wolves speedway - the acrid (but beautiful) smell of methanol hanging in the floodlit air.

Since his death I’ve spent hours lying awake in my bed remembering amongst other things the times when I was a boy that we spent together at Teddesley - fishing for roach and perch. We once caught a big Tench there – a dark golden colour and as big as a baby pig. We lowered it gently back into the lake and watched it flick its tail and swim off into the tranquil water. When we got back to the car to drive home in the fading light we found the car surrounded by a herd of fresian cows and Dad chased them off.

I guess the most important thing he’s given me is the ability to think for myself. As a (v. moody) teenager he always listened to (if not always agreed with) my point of view. He valued friends and told good jokes. I wish he was here so he could tell me just one more.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Justine Clarke and fun in Canberra

Justine Clarke came to Canberra. We're big fans of hers and this time her show was a bit of a 'best of' tour (and also a chance for her to plug her new book). The kids love singing along as it's a big favourite on car journeys. Afterwards we headed into Canberra for a bite to eat with Belinda and Alistair who have also become big fans.
Justine Clark woos Canberra

On the carousel
Putting public art to use

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Extreme Weeding

We've got a patch at the back of our garden where we're planning on placing a trampoline. It sloped a little bit and I was keen to flatten it off. In addition we want to move our vegetable patch to a better spot in the garden and the two things were quite alike in the work that was required.

The problem with Canberra soil is that it's heavy clay. It's good in that there are very few stones and pebbles, but a nightmare to try and dig when the sun has been on it (even for a short time) as it sets hard like a rock. Trying to get a garden fork more than a couple of millimetres into the ground is virtually impossible and I've tried (literally) jumping up and down on a spade to try and bury it, but to little avail.

A few friends have recommended hiring a 'Dingo' It's a small stand on digger. To be honest even if it hadn't been particularly good at earthmoving (which it was) then just paying the money to drive it around the garden would have been money well spent. In a day (together with Amy's Dad Ivor) we managed to clear (and level) a big patch of ground for the trampoline and the area where the veggie patch will go. A big thumbs up to Dingos!

Here's a couple of pics

Ivor gets to work!
Audrey (and Marshmallow) have a go

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Audrey on her bike

We all headed out to Mount Stromlo for a BBQ picnic on Sunday. Here's a short video of Audrey riding her Barbie bike. Eli rode his scooter for a short while, but was more interested in the swings.