Monday, November 30, 2015

Audrey's Snow Leopard Presentation

This is a shameless brag about my clever daughter (sorry dear reader but I don't have many people in my life who are interested in sharing my pride).

Audrey was set some homework to do a presentation about endangered animals. She chose snow leopards and then proceeded to launch herself into her homework.

I'm not a huge fan of technology in the classroom, but I was proved really wrong in this instance as Audrey diligently researched her subject and then put together a Powerpoint slide show. It was a great (and very grown up) presentation. We ran through it quite a few times.

I quizzed her during the week about what other kids in her class were doing. She told me the story of one child whose Dad had most clearly done their presentation for them (they couldn't pronounce half of the slides) but there was no such issue with Audrey's as it was all her own work.

I wished her luck as she left for school before her presentation. Here are the teacher's comments that followed. I think it's fair to say she nailed it. Proud Dad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wookie Cookies

Made by me.

The kids' lunchboxes were the talk of their class. Sadly it was only a small batch and barely lasted a week of lunches. A bigger batch planned for next time!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Glass weekend

We spent the weekend around glass!

Both Audrey and Eli have been chosen as finalists in the kids' glass design competition (the competition which Audrey won earlier this year) This year was a little bit different in the shortlisted kids were invited back to work up their designs, so we got to see the different techniques (fused, moulded and blown). The kids love it at the glassworks and as we'd been there relatively recently we all seemed like know-it-alls!

Audrey didn't hold back letting people know she won the competition last year. Oh well. We get to know in January whether either of them have been successful (unfortunately they're both in the same age category - yikes!)

On Sunday we drove out to see the Hayshed - a small studio in Piallago where Lisa Cahill (who made Audrey's winning design last year) works. It was open as part of the Design Canberra festival and it was great to catch up with her again and see where she worked. There were also a few horses around the place (it's quite rural despite being in close proximity to the airport and burgeoning commercial area) and Audrey enjoyed feeding them.

At the Hayshed. The bench the kids are sat on, as well as the chair, as well as the 'cloth' are all made from glass

we were allowed onto the hotshop floor - usually reserved for glass artists.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Noddy and Greer

The Barbed Maze

"Within the immersive installation, The Barbed Maze, Denise Higgins and Gary Smith coerce their audience into journey mode; herded and displaced in their movements through the space. Suspended barbed wire panels and mirrors create chambered areas that play with issues of confinement, interrogation and surveillance. In traversing the maze, dust motes coalesce into anatomies; disassociated voice snippets bounce across air pockets; a ruffle of space hints at being tracked. Which path will you take? Who can you turn to? Is there any chance of refuge?"

Well, that's what the write up said anyway!

The Barbed maze is an installation at the (excellent) Canberra Contemporary Art Space.  Entry is free and the cost of the installation was raised by crowdfunding (I chipped in a little bit). I was impressed by the size of the maze (it filled a large room) and the (slightly hazardous!) combination of barbed wire and mirrors would never have survived a Government risk assessment. As well as the maze which snaked around the room there were small enclaves with interesting follies in them. I'm not sure whether it 'coerced me through the space'. But I did like it!

A dog in one of the small rooms

Eli playing Jenga with his mate

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eli had a starring role in his class production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (well ok he got to carry the food into the caterpillar's mouth and be first assistant to the butterfly, so it's pretty much a starring role in my book).

Here's a (rather long) version of the play. He's such a cute boy and was given a merit certificate afterwards as he had helped out a lot with the pre-show organisation.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bike Ride round Lake Tuggeranong

On Sunday we rode our bikes around Lake Tuggeranong. Tuggeranong is in the south of Canberra (Tuggeranong is an aboriginal word meaning 'cold place') and the lake is one of three main Canberra lakes, with Lake Burley Griffin in the centre of town and Lake Ginninderra in the north.

The loop around the lake is about 6km (4 miles) and as the kids are getting much better on their bikes we completed it fairly easily. It was a quiet afternoon and we probably only saw about a dozen people as we pedaled round.The clouds were stormy, but fortunately no rain ever came and despite Tuggeranong's name it wasn't cold at all!

Audrey did complain of 'tired legs' by the end (she had in fairness had three big ballet performances over the two preceding days) but I think it was much more to do with the bike races she engaged in with Eli. Audrey was funny as whenever she got in front she would continually look over her shoulder to check where her little brother was to see if he was making a move on her and Eli would do everything in his power to cut off her path whenever she tried to overtake him. The tour de France had nothing on them.

Here's a few pictures from our fun afternoon out.

(The route is all on bike paths but we went across some grass to get to the car)

The stormwater overflow in Lake Tuggeranong - relatively high as we've had quite a bit of rain last week

along the foreshore of Tuggeranong 

Public art (the blades move around)

Monday, November 9, 2015

International Film Festival

Canberra hosted the 19th International Film Festival last weekend and I was lucky to be offered free tickets!

I watched the really interesting Tehran Taxi on Saturday night and then took Audrey and her friend to see the acclaimed Australian/Ealing film 'The Shiralee' on Sunday.

The Shiralee was notable as it shot in 1957 and was essentially a British movie filmed in Australia - all of the outside shots were filmed in New South Wales and all the inside shots in the UK. The film starred Peter Finch but also had a fairly sizable cameo by Sid James (who didn't star in his first Carry On film until 1960)

It was an interesting film, a bit dated by the passing of time but still really good. The girls were ready to give up on it half way through but then got more absorbed and actually really liked it by the end.

The two films were introduced by David Stratton (a famous Australian film reviewer) who Amy and I had last seen/met in Poland some years previously.

The Shiralee
The National Film and Sound Archive (where the festival is held) has a nice courtyard

Inside the cinema

Me, Audrey and A

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The kids meet Peter Garrett

The kids and I went along to a book launch by Peter Garrett in the week at the University.

Peter Garrett is an Australian icon. He was lead singer in the band Midnight Oil until 2002 and then became a member of the Australian Labor party and served as Education Minister in the Rudd Government.

Garrett's got an interesting story (his Mum died in a fire when he was young) and is both eloquent and switched on - in many ways he was wasted in politics!

Ultimately he got a bit stitched-up by the Government and left under a bit of a cloud which was a shame.

I wasn't sure how the kids would go with it, but Garrett told a few amusing anecdotes and when we met him at the end he was a really personable and chatted with the kids. They were probably the youngest there (by about 15 years!)

Here's a picture of the three of them. (He's also about 7 feet tall which makes him a bit of an imposing figure)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our finished artworks!

We took another trip back to the Glassworks to collect our finished artworks - the kids were really pleased with how they turned out - a snow leopard and a goal-keeper - I bet you can't guess who made which one?

Afterwards we enjoyed celebratory chips from Brodburger. As we placed our order about 10 minutes before the shop closed we got the chips free. Hurrah for Brodburger!

Audrey's ballet dress rehearsal

Audrey's taken ballet classes for quite a time now. She really enjoys dancing and even though a couple of her friends in the lessons have come and gone she's stuck with it.

Last Sunday was Audrey's dress rehearsal (she does a big end of year show at Canberra Theatre) It was the first time for her to wear her show clothes and perform the routine.

The dance school she goes to is excellent, but it's all pretty much 'behind closed doors' so I'm still waiting to see the actual dancing (in a couple of weeks)

p.s someone at the dance school helped with her make-up!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Winter crop

I pulled up the winter crop of spring onions to make way for the summer tomatoes. It was a lovely day in the garden with the kids.

After variously digging, swinging, trampolining we rode our bikes to the shops for a few provisions then after dinner we were treated to an enormous storm which drenched our new tomato seedlings.

My ambition is to have a ripe tomato by Christmas (not something I've achieved before).