Monday, January 28, 2013

The adventures of Milo and Otis

On a rainy afternoon on our holiday, we hired an animal film called ‘Milo and Otis’. It seemed harmless enough – an adventure of a (pug) dog and a (cute) ginger kitten who are (inevitably) best friends and then (obviously) get separated and spend the next hour going through exciting animal-related adventures to find each other.

I’d never heard of the film and on the face of it, it seemed harmless enough. Obviously dated (it was released in 1989 with a voice-over by Dudley Moore) it seemed to be out of the same stable as;
  • Incredible Journey (which Audrey and Eli loved) – a cat and two dogs go on an adventure
  • Storm Boy – an excellent film where boy befriends a Pelican (filmed in South Australia)
  • Tarka the Otter
  • Ring of Bright Water (also about an Otter – but don’t mention the ending)
  • Mr Forbush and the Penguins (an obscure one starring John Hurt) which I loved but the kids haven’t experienced yet!
As the film progressed though there were some decidedly odd scenes. There was for instance a fight between the dog and a bear which seemed all too realistic (the bear bit the dog on the spine) and part of the film where the cat got its paw gnawed by the bear. Remembering all this was made in a time before CGI. After a few uncomfortable scenes I ‘googled’ the film about 20 minutes in while the kids stayed glued to the tele. It transpired that the film was originally shot and released in Japan (where it was a HUGE hit). Because of that it was picked up, re-edited and released in English.

After the release questions started to be asked about the levels of animal cruelty in the film – there is a rumour that no less than 20 kittens died during the making of the film!

The kids were oblivious to this, but it meant that I watched the rest of the film from wholly different perspective. At one point the kitten (Milo) gets pecked (to death?) by a hoard of seagulls and then to escape ‘jumps’ off a cliff. The fall from the cliff is edited to show only the last 5 metres or so, but I was now watching closely to see how the cat landed (badly). Obviously in the film it all ends well (the cat washes up unharmed on dry land) and in a saccharine coated ending both Milo and Otis meet girl cats and dogs and father kittens/puppies respectively. Ahhhhhh.

There’s a dubious statement on the end credits that says that the animals were supervised during filming, but nothing about animals not being harmed/killed(?) during filming.

The ‘Directors Cut’ of the movie would no doubt be horrific and to be honest if you filmed half of the scenes with your phone and posted them to youtube you’d be arrested. Audrey and Eli enjoyed the film, but I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy them a copy ("Murder" and Otis would perhaps have been a better title!)

Short Break to Eden

This weekend Australians celebrated 'Australia Day' which appears to be growing bigger every year (and perhaps ever more jingoistic). It's nice to wave a flag, but to get yourself an Australian tattoo seems....hmmm.

Anyway, it meant that we got Monday off as a public holiday which allowed us to take a short break to the South Coast. We hadn't been as far as Eden before, usually spending our time around Canberran's favourite haunts of small towns around Batemans Bay.

Eden is a small fishing town whose wealth was born out of the whaling industry in the 1850s and is now quite a pretty* little coastal town about 3 hours drive from Canberra.
We stayed at a small holiday park (Eden Gateway) which was excellently equipped for the kids, with a great playground, pool (10 seconds walk from our cabin) and jumping pillow. The kids always love bunkbeds too! 

We spent a lot of time on the nearby beaches and ventured down to the interesting Boyds Town about 15 minutes out of Eden where we drank milkshake at the (posh) Seahorse Inn then swam in the warm sea. The beach in Boyds Town was fantastic - a really wide arc of beach which was really shallow and with only small waves - the kids loved it.

For lunch we enjoyed freshly caught fish and chips (I ate Grenadier fish?) and enjoyed the general peace and tranquility of the place incredible to me, given that  this was school holidays, on a public holiday in a pretty town with sandy beaches....

We did have one rainy afternoon where we scurried back to our cabin and watched the decidedly dubious (from an animal rights point of view!) 'Milo and Otis' on a free DVD loaned from the park.

On our drive home we stopped off at Bega, famed for its (regretably mass produced) cheese. It was interesting as it was a big factory which had clearly bought a lot of wealth to the town but it wasn't aiming to win any prizes for the quality of its cheeses - just a deal with the supermarkets, still it was interesting to see the place.

I'm sure we'll be back to Eden again - perhaps for a longer stay next time.

fun in the pool

Audrey (wearing her Wolves t-shirt) overlooking Yalumgo Cove

On the beach by Rotoract Park

Hardly a space to lay a towel!

Just so crowded

The beach at Boyds Town

Amy with the Seahorse Inn behind her

Eli running from the waves

Eli working on his hook shot (this time at the particularly busy Aslings Beach)

Eli and Audrey encounter a cow at Bega cheese factory

Eli loves his cuddles
Eden is not pretty in a "cobbledy-stone-streets" type of way like Lymington or Whitby in the UK but certainly holds its own with a nice harbour and stunning (empty beaches). It was a lovely place and certainly has none of the tackiness of a Great Yarmouth or the "step-outside-and-I'll-punch-you-in-the-face-edness" of Rhyll.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Summer Sounds at the Botanic Gardens

On a balmy summer's day in Canberra, I don't think there's anything better than enjoying the Summer Sounds concerts at the Botanic Gardens. There a series of concerts which run over Saturday and Sunday nights on the Eucalypt Lawn, a really calm and serene part of the beautiful gardens.

Amy's friend Jo was staying with us, so we took her along to enjoy the band (the Cashews) who were playing on Saturday night. I'd seen them a couple of times before - they're a Canberra based band and their jaunty lyrics often pay reference to Canberra and it's surrounding area. They have a song called Tuggeranong Parkway (which is the main highway from the South of the city) and is probably the only time the road has been referenced in a song.

We ate a nice picnic (whilst drinking Canberran wine) There's always a (mini) mosh-pit at the front of the concerts made up of kids under 10 and their (badly dancing) dads so Audrey and I joined in - her twirls being rather more elegant than my out-of-time (and date?) step-dancing.

By the edge of Lake Burley Griffin (with Jo)

Canberra's Botanic Gardens

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Who says brainwashing doesn't work?

I was born under a Wanderers Scarf
Do you know where hell is?
Hell is at West Brom
Heaven is at Molineux and that's where I come from...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

More Trampoline Fun

The trampoline is getting more than its fair share of use at the moment - we even found possum poo in it this morning indicating that even one of our nocturnal visitors had a quick jump on it. I've got a scab on my elbow from attempted (and failed) back-flips. Here's some more pics...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day at the Yacht Club

We hadn't stayed up for New Year's Eve to witness Canberra's firework display. Apparently there was a 'mystery' firework which had never been seen before...but even that intriguing promise hadn't been enough to keep us out of our beds much past 10.30pm. The Christmas break had taken its toll.

New Year's Day though was lovely and sunny and we enjoyed a nice lunch at Canberra's Yacht Club. It's got really nice views over lake Burley Griffin.

Audrey and Amy

Wolves shirts (despite the recent pooor performance)

Hot Dollar

Amy and I read a piece in the local rag (the Canberra Times)about a 13 year old boy who camped outside the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra to be the first person in Australia to own a 2013 dollar.

It wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that he travelled from Sydney then camped outside for FOUR nights which seemed a bit excessive.

After we had finished scoffing we mused about how interesting it would be to own a brand new coin on the 1st January. This year is of particular note to Canberrans as it's also Canberra's 100th Anniversary. Also in the same paper was a quote about Canberra from Dame Edna Everage saying that Canberra is a lovely place because you can get on a plane there....and in just a few minutes be somewhere really interesting' (which does seem a tadge harsh)

With both these things in mind we headed off to the Royal Australian Mint, a short drive (or even cycle ride) from our house.

Even at 11.30am (the place had opened at 7.30am) there was still a queue of about 40-50 people lined up to get their newly minted coin. We joined the line.

When our time arrived we loaded the machine with $3 (yes $3 for a $1 coin, not tricky to work out the profit then!) and our new shiny coins were stamped in the machine and then dropped into the slot to the delight of the children (who were too young to understand the duff economics involved in the transaction).

Here's a picture of us all with our new coins - all of us grateful that we got them on the same day that the lad had, but without the 4 day wait. I still think Dame Edna was wrong.