Sunday, December 30, 2018

Trees Adventure, Nowra

We stopped off at Trees Adventure in Nowra on our drive home from Woolongong. Here's a video of some of the fun we had!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Woolongong mini-break

We took a short break away to Woolongong with some friends from school. I'd not been to the 'Gong' before, so it was interesting to explore somewhere new. We stayed in a nice place which overlooked the beach. It was quite a drive when compared to the South coast, but it made a nice change and the beaches were really stunning.

Compared to the south coast the place definitely had a 'big city' feel, and being Christmas there were big crowds of people wherever we went. We really enjoyed our time there though and I'm sure we'll head back one day.

The promenade (which had originally been a train line) was now a great spot for riding or walking

cockatoos to our room

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

Canberra's Christmas Lights

With every passing year, Canberra's street/house lighting grows ever bigger. In truth, whether you think it's magical or just downright naff, the city's warm summer nights actually make it really conducive to touring round by car and on foot admiring the light displays that people have set up on and around their houses. 

We were late in our tour of the illuminations this year, but actually Christmas eve was a pretty perfect time to do it. We saw everything from the ubiquitous inflatable Santa, (literally) millions of lights and an inflatable Rudolf that was almost as tall as the house it stood next too. One street (Bissenberger Crescent) which has become locally famous(!) for putting on a huge display (the houses in the Crescent usually have amongst other things, lasers and a snow machine) didn't run this year - they've decided to do it bi-annually instead, but there were plenty of other houses which more than made up for their absence.

Saturday, December 22, 2018


Made some gingerbread for Christmas. I was happy how it turned out...

Monday, December 17, 2018

The kids clean the car

They did a great job too. Both inside and out - cleaned the wheels as well! It was a joy to drive afterwards :)

Audrey with Pumpkin

Audrey usually does a pony-riding school holiday programme during the loooong summer holidays and this year she was really happy to get Pumpkin. Pumpkin is one of the larger ponies that the riding school has and unlike some of the horses which can be mercilessly grumpy and difficult to get to obey instructions, Pumpkin is quite obliging. Audrey's riding is really progressing well, she can really canter well now.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Girls rule

A karate Christmas party(!) took us to Edison Park one sunny Saturday afternoon. 

I took this shot of Audrey climbing up a tree. 

It's incredible to watch how she's growing up. Sometimes Audrey can be forgetful or daydream so deeply (traits that she has sadly inherited from me) but at other times she can be incredibly determined, make comments way beyond her tender years and can be both witty and kind (traits inherited fortunately for Audrey, from her Mum). And like her Mum, Audrey is going to grow into such a strong and determined woman. I feel grateful that I'm going to watch it happen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Every Christmas St.Johns's Church in Canberra offers free bell-ringing to the public. Every year we see the sign outside the church, but fail to get along there before it finishes. This year I made a special effort and the kids and I found that it was so much fun that we might make it a bit of a tradition.

Here's the kids ringing out Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The spirits of the pumpkins descended into the heavens

We went to a new permanent installation at the National Gallery by an artist called Yayoi Kusama. The piece is called 'The spirits of the pumpkins descended into the heavens'. It features a large-ish room completely decorated (ceiling, walls and floor) in black polka dots. Additionally, In the centre of the room is a window where you can poke your head through a square and look into a further (smaller) room which is filled with an infinity type arrangement of mirrors and the pumpkins!

I sometimes struggle to get-hold of and appreciate modern art. I reach the conclusion occasionally that it's all a bit pretentious and trying hard for the sake-of-it. Certainly having kids gives you a good dose of realism. It's easy without kids to stare at a blank canvass, or sticks on a floor or an unmade bed and be filled with awe because someone has valued it at $10 million, but when questioned to explain what it's all about by a quizzical child it suddenly feels a lot more challenging. Similarly when the kids stand next to you observing a piece of art and casually inform you that they could probably achieve something similar with their coloured pencils or paint (and a part of you agrees with them) it certainly becomes time to reflect. I think on occasion even the most hardened art critic would struggle.

Ultimately I usually handle this 'art-thing' by diluting it all down to originality. Of course I COULD have conceived a yellow room covered in dots with pumpkins replicated by mirrors in its centre, but WOULD I have conceived it, and even if I had would anyone have taken me seriously? I guess a lot of it comes down to originality and in a smaller way, notoriety. 

Anyway, whatever the merits or otherwise the room WAS fun and we spent a long time in there, especially with the mirrored centre. It's nice that Canberra has fabulous (free!) art galleries and therefore the opportunity for the children to critically assess things like Kusama's room for themselves and form their own opinions. The world would be a far sadder (and duller) place without artists like Kusama.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Breeders

It's sometimes difficult to see 'big' or 'new' bands in Canberra. Most frequently they'll play the main hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, occasionally heading to Adelaide or Brisbane. For most bands (and let's face it international tourists too!) Canberra is off limits.

As such I guess, you can't really class the Breeders as a 'big' band, but certainly one with a decent following. The band originally from Ohio, was the brainchild of Tania Donnelly (of the Throwing Muses) and of  Kim Deal (who left the Pixies unfulfilled with her subordinate role). After Donnelly herself departed the project, Kim enrolled twin sister Kelly on lead guitar and the two have been going since 1993 despite a couple of hiatuses due to drug and alcohol addiction.

Their first album (1990) entitled Pod, is excellent (although not commercially successful) and was the work of legendary producer Steve Albini. I think they've had four or five albums since.

The gig sold out Canberra Theatre. Sadly the crowd was fairly sedated due to the venue being all-seater, but still they managed to put on an excellent show and send everyone home happy.