Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ski trip to Corin Forest

Canberra is pretty close to the ski fields - probably a two and a half hour drive gets you to Perisher or Thredbo. They're both lovely places and we've also had a few trips out to the family-friendly Selwyn as well.

This year though nearby Corin Forest got in on the act and opened up their own ski slope. The area does get natural snow but they also have quite a number of snow machines. We've been a couple of times before as it's only a short 40 minute drive out of town and is much easier to reach than the 'proper' snow fields.

This weekend was the first that the skiing was open to the public. We've put off having ski lessons for a couple of years (they are ludicrously expensive) but I decided the time was right and so we headed along.

As it turned out there was a lot of rain forecast (we successfully dodged it) but the rest of Canberra had pretty much stayed at home. It meant we had the snow (and instructor) to ourselves. Both Audrey and Eli absolutely loved skiing. I was so pleased as I wasn't sure how they would take to it, but both were really confident. Being a new venture it was also lovely that all the equipment (helmets, skis and boots) were brand new and so didn't have the (sometimes musty) smell of hire equipment that you usually get when you go ten pin bowling, skating etc. Here's some pictures of our day, which we rounded off by eating hot chocolate and marshmallows in the wooden lodge (with open fire) that stands at the bottom of the slope.

Eli slides out
Happy faces

Alex our instructor
about to head down the slope for the first time

Things I Know to be True

I won tickets to a wonderful performance of Things I know to be True - a joint production by the State Theatre of SA and Frantic Assembly (a UK company).

I really wanted to see it, so I took Audrey along with me (Eli slept over at his mates). I'd read a couple of reviews before we went warning of bad language in the play (Audrey and I had a chat beforehand) but I wasn't expecting the transgender part of the story which left the two of us having a bit of a lengthy (but ultimately very good) in-depth discussion about the subject, in the interval.

The play itself was fabulous, Tilda Cobham-Hervey who played the part of Rosie (pictured) was terrific and I'm sure she will go onto really big things. There was a series of monologues throughout which were excellently performed and basically led to most of the audience variously crying or laughing throughout. The play was devised around a chain of events and story within a family from Adelaide.

Both Audrey and I really enjoyed it. I'm not really sure whether given the language it was all that suitable fare for an 8 year old but Audrey took it all in and was glad she went (if only for the lemonade from the bar) and she hasn't dropped any of the swear words into conversation since the play. The production is about to tour the UK (albeit I think with different actors. Try and see it if its playing near where you live.

"I know what grief tastes like - it's bitter
I know what grief sounds like - it's LOUD"

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Keeping Memories Alive

In the first awful days and months after Amy's death I benefitted enormously from being a passive recipient of support. Friends and people from school rallied round and paid their condolences. My freezer became full of vegetable lasagne that had been dropped off at my doorstep. More recently there has been an unexpected and cavernous void. Amy is always in my thoughts and of the kids, yet for the most part, 18 months since she died - the outreach that once provided comfort is almost entirely gone. I'd started to grow resentful and sad about this even accepting that people have to get on with their own lives, but I've come to the realisation that probably should have been obvious all along, that when it comes to keeping the memory of Amy alive, that work is up to me.

In many respects Amy's death made me feel out of control. There were so many things we did together, and shared decisions which now rested solely on my shoulders but I think I've decided that taking action is the only way for me and the kids to stay close to her.

While we were in (a very rainy) Sydney on Sunday I spotted a tray of canoli (an Italian pastry cake) for sale. They were Amy's favourite and probably even relegated her love of scones with strawberry jam and cream to second place. I bought one and shared the delicious treat with the kids. We talked about why I had bought it and I told them of how happy their Mum got whenever she saw them for sale (I know Amy would have clapped her hands excitedly in the way that she did when good stuff happened).

I try to teach Audrey and Eli the lessons that I know Amy would have done, of love, kindness and respect (Amy was always far more studious than I ever was and I do worry that she would have contributed a lot more to the kid's school work than I manage to) but it felt good to share the cake with Audrey and Eli and tell them of the love their Mum had for them both (and canoli of course!).

Sunday, June 5, 2016


A few of Amy's old work colleagues paid for me to take the kids to go to Vivid in Sydney with the kids. It was such a kind gesture. While we were there we met up with Amy's breast care nurse (Kerryn) and her family. It was nice to spend time in their company.

Sydney and the South Coast of Australia are being battered with high winds and rain at the moment so a fair amount of Vivid was unfortunately cancelled. It didn't stop our fun though. Here's some pictures.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ninja Day

Managed to turn this around after about 2 hours notice that the school was having a ninja day on Friday.

A pair of Amy's old leggings came in handy. I know she would have laughed. The kids were pretty happy with the outcome too.