Monday, September 30, 2013

Eli bowls out Don Bradman

Don Bradman without doubt the best batsman to ever play cricket - in fact he's probably amongst the most accomplished sportsmen in any sport - once making 100 off only 22 balls.

He was humbled on Sunday though when Eli (aged 4) made short work of him bowling him between his legs.

Despite his embarrassment the Don remained unmoved at the crease (should he have walked?) some might even said he was statuesque.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Update on Amy

I had scans done last week and a visit to the oncologist on Friday confirmed that there had been no spread of the cancer to any other organs and no further progression in my liver.  My tumour markers were also stable.  So good news (even though  I'd prefer 'gone' to 'stable'!).  I don't have to go back to see the oncologist for 2 months so (hopefully)  no visits to the hospital until mid-November.  Hurrah!

The lymphoedema in my right arm hasn't improved but hasn't got worse either so will continue wearing the very unattractive sleeve and glove and doing the exercises.  One of the side effects of the tablets I am on is swelling so I think I will just have to live with it for now.  Hopefully we can maintain it at the current level. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Open Day at the Thai Embassy

We don't live far from the Thai Embassy in Canberra and every year they have an open day and masses of people flock along.

In truth very few of them give two hoots about Thai culture and the lovely gardens that surround the large embassy - most of them are in search of the many Thai food stands which pack a corner of the grounds.

Sunday was a bit showery but we braved the weather and headed for our Thai feast together with some of our friends and their children.

The open day also features a 'Wishing Tree'.

I'm not sure of the origins of Thai Wishing Trees, but essentially it comprises a tree with coloured stars hanging off it which you then pull off using a long forked stick.

The colour of the star (combined with your original ticket) entitiles you to an array of (slightly odd) prizes ranging from Thai Coca Cola t-shirts, toys, assorted thai sauces and bags of rice. An eclectic mix of items, probably secured for free by the Thai embassy.

Last year Eli won a big bag of rice. It was an odd prize to give to a (then) 3 year old and he cried quite a bit.

In prepardness for this year's trip we told Eli that his prize had kept us in rice for the last year (remarkable for a small bag!) and forgetting his tears at the time he was filled with pride that he had provided for us for so long!

His pride ran for so long that when he won a prize this year (another bag of rice) he didn't cry, but was rather pleased with himself. The lady at the counter tried to swap it with him for another gift but he refused. When his sister won another large bag of rice she similarly was happy - "We've now got enough rice for 2 years!" she told me.

Other kids ran around with their thai stuffed toys - ours were content with two bags of rice!

Here's some pictures of them by the wishing tree..

Trip to Floriade

On Saturday we paid a trip to Floriade - Canberra's annual flower festival which is always spectacular and draws huge crowds of people (both from Canberra and other places around Australia). It's a great day out and remarkably it remains free of admission charges.

During the month long festival Commonwealth Park turns into a mass of flower beds - typically depicting a 'theme' which this year was entitled, 'Beautiful Innovation'. Being Canberra's 100th anniversary many of the beds were given over to a Canberra theme, with the Portrait Gallery, the Mint and National Museums depicted in tulips, daisies and hyacinths.

Audrey and Eli love the place - not least as there's a well equipped fair ground (with ferris wheel and rides) and free craft activities. We also caught a talk by Costa Georgiadis (an ABC gardening celebrity) who talked about (amongst many other things) buying (or growing) local produce.

There's also a petting paddock (Eli stroked a rabbit and duck) and a stage featuring musicians and entertainers.

Here's some pictures of our lovely sunny day.

Eli and Audrey enjoying the blooms

one of the many beds

enjoying a picnic

family pose by the poppies

Costa (who described himself as 'half man, half hedge)

Amy's parents come over for Grandparent's Day

Audrey and Eli's school organised 'Grandparent's Day'. It was an opportunity for Grandparents to come and visit the school and see what the kids were working on. On the same day Audrey won a merit for good use of punctuation (for use of speech marks in a sentence - "Well Done!").

Audrey and Eli's Nanny and Poppy headed over and enjoyed a morning at the school (as well as a nice morning tea). Here's a pic of them admiring some of Audrey's work in her classroom.

 Audrey wins a merit certificate
Reading to Nanny and Pop

Audrey making honey joys

Honey joys are crispy cornflake cakes made with honey and cornflakes. The kids make them occasionally as they're really easy to make (and even easier to eat!).

Here's some pictures of Audrey at work - making honey joys for her class!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tennis Lessons

We went along to a 'try tennis' session at nearby Weston Creek tennis club.

The kids were reluctant at first but the enthusiasm of the coach was infectious and they were given a short private lesson which they loved.

We're going to try again over the school holidays and then go for a longer term thing - look out Wimbledon 2025!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Election Day

Saturday was election day in Australia and Audrey made it into the Guardian's election blog - focusing on the gigantic senate ballot paper which we all had to fill in.

It was my first time as a voter in Australia. Australia has compulsory voting which means you are fined if you don't go and vote and choose instead to just sit around in a pub and grumble about the state of the economy (which is more what I'm used to people doing). It's a good system in that turn-outs tend to be around 90-95% (rather than UK local government elections which attract turnouts of about 25%) but bad when you see the state of some of the crack-pots who go and vote (often for other crack-pots) and thereby have something of a say in terms of who runs the country.
To entice people along many polling booths run a sausage sizzle and cake stall, meaning that politics becomes synonymous with the smell of a cooking sausage!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eli at his pre-school

Here's a lovely photo of Eli playing with his friends today in the block corner (sent onto us by his teacher). Very impressive block building. Eli especially liked the car park because there were so many cars.

Eli and the blocks

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Father's Day

As well as being Father's Day yesterday was the first day of Spring!

The change in season brought with it some great weather. It was in the low 20 degrees (C) yesterday and we had a lovely time together as a family.

Audrey, Eli and I headed to the supermarket first thing to buy some croissants (so I could eat them in bed). Quite how cycling to and from the shops (towing the kids in a trailer) to buy provisions before being being allowed to retreat back to bed (and have Audrey and Eli join us) constituted as a lie-in I'll probably never quite work out!

The kids both got me great presents - Audrey a pair of 'Garden Hands' and Eli some hot chilli sauce.

After breakfast we headed to the (excellently appointed) Australian Institute of Sport running track for a Little Athletics open day (Audrey and Eli threw the shotputt and did the long jump into the sandpit!) but we couldn't coerce them to run a 100 metres.

We then headed to Lake Ginninderra for lunch (tasty barbeque) and a play on the playground.

There's a small 'beach' there and both Eli and Audrey were soon wading around and generally bothering the ducks.

It was beautiful weather and because it was VERY early in the season there were no flies to spoil the lunch. I ate my hot chilli sauce with my lunch and encouraged Eli and Audrey to try some - dabbed onto their tongues (unsurprisingly they drank a lot more water afterwards!)

We headed back home and there was still time to do some some gardening (and get to use my 'Garden Hands'). A great and sunny Father's Day!

Footy in the park

Concentration on the face!


Canberra's Beach!

Audrey practices on-land surfing!