Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nature, red in tooth and beak

We were forced to have a barbecue at Lake Tuggeranong Town Park.  The park is green and pleasant, with a sandy lakeshore beach, skate park and playground equipment.  Trees, shelters and barbecues round out its parkly attributes.  It rained.

Then adult swans beat up juvenile swans.  Skaters came to the rescue of the young fellers and chased the adult swan away and sat quietly until the juvenile swan managed to get back to its feet.

The Honolulu zoo says that black swans are 'belligerent, ill-tempered and territorial, they will not tolerate other swans, except their mates and young.' Youtube also has a clip of a swan trying to drown a duck, which I won't link to because that doesn't seem very sporting.  I must say, I feel a little less self-conscious about my general running away policy towards black swans after reading all this internet wisdom.

Also, black swans really do have red beaks.  With a white stripe.  No teeth.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taking advice

If I had anything nice to say I would most certainly say it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Miss Lou Lou's Tapping Starlettes Elvis Extravaganza

When I remember what it was like to live in Melbourne I like to think of the time I went to see Miss Lou Lou's Tapping Starlettes Elvis Extravaganza.  It's not so much that there was a tap dancing Elvis extravaganza on, although I have yet to see one held in any other city of my acquaintance.  It was more that the queue to get in went right down the block and around the corner.

I don't know if things like that still happen in Melbourne.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On driving

I have been driving for more than a year, and have had two low-speed incidents, one botanic and one diplomatic. The tree looks the same and so does our foreign policy, but there's a ding on the back of that hatch that makes me embarrassed to see it so I look away.

The shaking cold-wet sweats are over, but I wish if I had to drive you would all stay at home.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A family holiday with the family

So in New South Wales they have a south coast.  It is not the south coast of the continent, you know, because that would have to be Victoria and South Australia and Western Australia.  The south coast of the country probably only includes Tasmania if you are a purist.  You can tell that I have just spent many days with Mr Precision Instrument, as the junior is becoming known.  We have had several conversations about the meaning of 'pedantic' over the past week, but I am left feeling that the meaning has yet to be communicated.

Here are towns we have seen: Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, Bega, Tathra, Tura, Nimmitabel and Bemboka.  I find the names of towns in NSW hopelessly romantic, and was beyond thrilled to lay eyes on Nimmitabel, although I can identify no reason why. I can't remember it being in a book I love, or being spoken of fondly by people I care about it or anything like that.  Having seen it, I am sure I don't know why I have ever heard of it - it's a tiny, pleasant, highway town with no cheese factory or brewery or any brand name item that might carry its name proudly.

Other towns we saw have proud histories, or histories of which the townspeople are defiantly proud.  Eden has a long history of whaling and chopping down trees, Tathra has a wharf with a substantial-looking wooden building on top of it and Merimbula has clearly been catering to frivolous beach goers for a very long time indeed.

The junior was interested only in the beach and the ice cream shops, and generated a very high level of enthusiam for ten pin bowling on our last evening in Merimbula.  I remember desperately wanting to go roller skating while my parents insisted on looking at views and going bushwalking at a similar age. Ten pin bowling was fun.

On another day, the junior developed a massive anxiety attack, with subsequent sulking and shouting, because we could not pay the park use fee at one of the national parks near Tathra because the machine was busted. He claims he wants to grow up to be an evil scientist, but heavens I never met anyone so law-abiding in all my life.  He wanted us to immediately drive out of the park so we were not taking advantage.  And then he berated us the entire time we were there, until we became that family that you are embarrassed to see at national parks, stalking along the track sniping at each other.  I wished I lived in Iceland, on my own, with no telephone and no other humans within twenty kilometres.

Luckily things improved when we got to the beach, but it's the kind of thing children hark back to when they have grown up and left home and are remembering how much they hate their families, and Christmas is rolling around.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The junior in the jargon

Every so often I have a bit of a google around, looking up the junior's various conditions singly or in various combinations. It's because some of the things are quite rare, and one of them is very newly recognised as a thing, so I kind of like to hear if anyone has some new thinking about any of it. Because of Reasons he has had tests sent to Paris, been treated in Barcelona and has doctors in Canberra and Sydney.  This tends to make it difficult to just have a yarn to the doctor any old time I have a question.

So a while ago I was doing my googling and I found an abstract from a conference in Portugal that sounded pretty darn exciting, because it sounded like someone else had exactly the same situation that junior had, and some pretty darn smart doctors were thinking about it.  And then I realised, of course, that it was my junior that they were talking about and not some other kid at all.  And that they didn't know anything much either, but wanted to tell all the other doctors all about it.

No one else would recognise him, except us and his very own doctors, but it's a very peculiar thing to have such particular and precise and accurate information rocketing around the world, and yet information that is so utterly unlike the junior's actual life.

I was very disappointed that it wasn't someone else.  I desperately wanted us to be not the only ones in this particular situation.  Which is a terrible thing to think, really, when you think about it even a tiny bit. Which I have since, but didn't so much when I first felt that thud of disappointment and oddness when I recognised the junior in the medical jargon. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Well, we're back. 

I can tell you that after a short absence, and upon returning, I really like my house. Even if it is direly in need of a de-clutter.  I can also tell you that while it is a Very Fine Thing to spend Christmas with family and friends, it is an Even Finer Thing to be in a house of one's own.  However, it would be most convenient if our home were a three-hour drive or so from our loved ones in Brisbane rather than a two-hour plane ride. It confirms my idea that NSW should be dragged out to sea, leaving the ACT where it is, then Queensland and Victoria should be squoodged up together so that Canberra ends up sort of a bit squished in the middle.  That way we would be neatly positioned a less than one day drive from most of our friends-and-relations.

The Christmas highlight was getting together with friends with kids older and younger than the junior and just letting them get on with it in Queens Park in Ipswich.  Apart from minor cuts and bruises (playground related, rather than interpersonal violence related, I hasten to add), all the children seemed to have a day of old-fashioned climbing on things, getting wet and shouting.  The only downside was the oldest child, who has crossed that line into adolescence, clearly felt just as uncomfortable with the children as she felt with the grown-ups and did not really have much of a good time at all.

The thing I really miss about Brisbane is that feeling of being totally at ease with people, because you've known them such a long time that you've forgotten what they've forgiven you for.  With new people, you never know what you might do wrong to them, because it hasn't happened yet.