Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Welcome to Canberra - Home Movies

Sometimes Canberra really surprises you with fabulous things that go on but either receive very little publicity or attention.

One such thing was the 'Welcome to Canberra' event at the National Film and Sound Archive on Sunday. Eli was at a playdate so I went along with Audrey. 

It was a series of short films (home movies) shot in the 1950s by a lady's father (she was a small child at the time, about Audrey's age). Noteable about the films were the fact that they were shot in 16mm (rather than the regular 8mm which was common at the time) which meant that they were pretty high quality. The lady's dad also had an interest in film which meant that he had edited them well and a couple of the films even included opening and closing credits. They were silent films so the lady sat on stage and shared stories about what was going on.

The event was free and the theatrette was quite full, with several members of the lady's family in the audience. I love the Film and Sound Archive so just the chance to go and see something (albeit fairly random) for free was a good opportunity for me and Audrey.

Audrey loved the shots of old Canberra which was definitely a 'bush capital' in those days with narrow streets and no traffic. The lady's family was originally from Karpathos in Greece and they established the Blue Moon Cafe in the middle of Canberra which was featured quite frequently in the movies. Although some of the films were fairly mundane (children playing or families eating at a picnic in the Cotter) it was a really interesting window into a bygone era.

The Film and Sound Archive also showed a couple of short films designed to encourage migrants to Australia and Canberra in particular. Australia was still essentially under the White Australia Policy but the images were still a long cry from the Australia of today where refugees are vilified rather than welcomed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eli's 7th birthday party

Eli celebrated his 7th birthday by having a party at the rock climbing centre in Hume. We've been a few times before so both Audrey and Eli were old hands. It was a really fun evening and the kids enjoyed a BBQ as well as the chance to take on the many walls on offer. It was great to have Robin and his son Joe on hand to help out. A couple of Mums made cakes and a salad too so that was kind.

The (very tall) cake - which took on a worrying lean!

Robin and Joe come to visit

My good friend Robin and his eldest son, Joe came to visit us for a couple of weeks recently. It was ever so nice to see them and all three of us were grateful that they had made the somewhat arduous 20 odd hour trip from the UK.

Both of our visitors suffered from jetlag in the first week, preferring to retire to bed rather than seek out the bright lights of Canberra(!), but they still did and saw quite a lot of the city. I’d fixed up a Segway ride for them as well as borrowing a bike so they could take on Mount Stromlo’s fabulous mountain bike trails.

They saw the war memorial and we took in a rare visit to Blundells Cottage – learning about its ghostly past and enjoyed several particularly sunny Canberra days. They were a great help at Eli’s birthday party as they helped not only with the bbq, but also with belaying a number of kids up and down climbing walls.

We headed down to South Durras on their second week. Again the weather was very kind to us, and we did a spot of fishing as well as a trip to the Mogo zoo (the kids love it there). We also travelled to nearby Pebbly beach and patted some kangaroos.

Fortunately there was no tram doorways for Joe to jam his head in this time around!

I was sad to see them leave. It was a real whistle-stop trip, but really excellent to see them both.

By Lake Burley Griffin

National Arboretum

Mogo Zoo

Pebbly Beach

Kingston Foreshore

Easter Egg Hunt in Piallago

Rodney's Nursery it's fair to say, puts on great Easter Egg Hunts.

There's a growing number of egg hunts throughout Canberra and you can search for chocolate eggs everywhere from historic Canberra buildings to shopping centres. We'd been to Rodney's a couple of times before and knew it was pretty good. They keep the number of children participating down by requiring registration a few days beforehand and I'd just about made the cut for this year's event.

This year the kids were put in a different category (of aged 7 upwards). It meant that their competition would be bigger and more ferocious than the teeny kids they'd faced off against in previous years. We waited expectantly at the barrier to receive the word to start.

When the lady came to start the hunt we actually discovered that the area of the garden given over to the hunt was more than adequately stocked. There was enough chocolate for everyone and the kids filled their paper bags with glee. Every kid was engrossed, hunting through bushes pot plants and garden ornaments.

We stayed for lunch afterwards, Audrey and Elijah counting their treasured eggs. Probably enough chocolate to last them for a year. It was good fun, and what was more it was laid (!) on for free. Thanks a lot Rodney's!

surveying their hoard

Saturday, April 2, 2016


During the Easter long weekend we set the Scalextric up in the house. It's quite an undertaking as there's a fair amount of track and setting up to do and it entails shifting the furniture and toys.

It's always worth the effort though as both the kids love it. I also figured out how to operate 'pacer' cars as well so you can have multiple cars to race in addition to your opponents.

Here's a couple of pics.