Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, &tc

Penni has an even more than usual touching, insightful and beautiful post over at Eglantine's Cake.

The Noodle was rather disappointed in the fireworks put on in the heart of the nation. I guess they are saving the good stuff for Australia Day and Skyfire (whenever that is). Didn't like the soft serve icecream available much either, although I feel that the two people in the icecream van more than earned their money.

He is also worried that the people flying over Antarctica at midnight to celebrate the new year were not wearing their seatbelts. How do a train a child to be marginally less of a law-abiding spirit without unleashing chaos and anarchy?

Today we essayed swimming in Lake Burley Griffin. Without it being utterly unpleasant, it is not something I could recommend to others. Nearby rivers (eg Murrimbidgee and Cotter) are definitely the better option for a dip.

New year's resolution? Um, more rivers, less computer? That sounds all right.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The hits of Christmas

Junior has been very pleased with the UFO from the Tasmanian branch of the family. It really, really flies and hovers. If only we had some very tiny cornfields around here. The cricket ball on a piece of elastic for practising batting has likewise been a hit (geddit?) and seems also to have improved the abilty to put bat and ball in the same place at the same time.

Great-grandpa's ABC Shop voucher has been spent (what else) on a book about cricket. The Noodle has yet to find time to ring Grandpa and say thank you, since he has pretty much had his head in said book ever since. He has stopped to eat, but there has been a definite delay.

The Newton's Cradle was likewise a hit with the Noodle and with Melbourne cousin (nearly 14). In fact, it has been such a hit that it may not recover.

Other hits include glazed ham, Mr Kipling's mince pies and some very tasty blue cheese as chosen by the Noodle. Unexpected guests have come to entertain us and contribute to eating our left overs, so it has been all very satisfactory all around.

Now stuff will start to happen again, but for today we are off to swim in some nearby river and eat sandwiches of leftover cheese and greenery.

Hope you are all recovering from the festivities and looking with refreshed rather than exhausted eyes to the new year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guiness Book of World Records

The Noodle says that he must call the Guiness Book of World Records to tell them that he is the boy with the most Christmas presents in the whole world.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas everyone

I shall pass on words of wisdom from co-workers.

1. Don't come back maimed (!)
2. Stop eating before you have a stomach ache.

They are generally more cheerful than that makes them sound.

Have safe, wonderful holidays for those that get holidays.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll drink lots of coffee if I want to

So I have. Also have opened presents, watched diverse Christmas carol productions on the telly and mopped the floor. It's quite astonishing how much nicer a clean floor feels to the feet. Happy birthday, feet.

Unsure why there are more carol shows on telly today than on Christmas, given that I am fairly sure I have not become the messiah since last year. But I am not complaining because I do love the Christmas carols. The Noodle sang me Silent Night, Good King Wenceslas and the Twelve Days of Christmas while I was mopping the floor, which made it a much nicer experience than usual.

Now some nice people in England are singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, bless them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Good Thing

While generally I think my job is a Good Thing and I quite like doing it, the concept of the weekend is proving particularly attractive this week.

Also, if any of you haven't noticed, it's nearly Christmas. How's that, eh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sydney, splints and sea

Well, ocean most probably what with staying at Coogee. And harbour, if that is what you say.

The Noodle and I intrepidly caught the bus from the heart of the nation to that other great city, Sydney. I am frequently astonished at the idea of plonking the national capital down in the middle of some sheep paddocks, but when I visit Sydney (or Melbourne for that matter) I remember why it seemed like such a good idea. Now I have always loved Melbourne, and I must say I am developing a much higher appreciation of Sydney's charms now that I am all surrounded by NSW and so on, but I am heartily pleased that neither of them gets to be the boss of Australia. Canberra's rampant inferiority complex can only be healthy for those who attempt to govern bits of the rest of the country.

The bus was very full of people going to have fun in Sydney. Weeee! And one very rude grumpy man.

We fulfilled our health care responsibilities (plain-ish blue AFOs, everyone, which nicely match the school uniform and no comments on insects from the lad).

We checked into our hotel across the park from Coogee Beach, we read our books, we rested, we repaired to the sands. The sands came back to the hotel with us, and a surprising amount made it all the way back to the ACT as well. We have sand enough for a beach, but no balmy ocean, alas.

I was trying to explain to the Noodle how rich you would have to be to live in Watson's Bay but I don't think he believed me. I am such an exaggerator generally that I think he assumed I was pretty much making it up. But no.

But you can go and enjoy the view for the price of a ferry ticket, so who is complaining, what with the perfect blue sky, the flattish like un-ironed linen sea, the sails, the seaplanes, the sand and the plans for world domination.

Reading: Wolf Hall still. What can I say, it's a big book and people keep making me go to work for 7.5 hours a day when I could be reading novels. It's a Booker Prize winner I really wanted to read, and now that I am reading it I still want to read it. Five stars Booker judges.

The Noodle: I just finished reading him Tom's Midnight Garden, which made him cry. It made me cry too. The husband disgusted with both of us. The Noodle is reading the Glory Garden's series to himself again. It has cricket and it is funny! Well. He is mooting reading The Lord of the Rings next. The husband is disgusted with both of us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bear Necessities

So tonight was the primary school concert, with the theme Tunes from the Toons. Displays ranged from Bob the Builder to a Hanna Barbera montage, from kindy to grade six.

Junior's class performed the Bear Necessities from The Jungle Book with a certain enthusiasm. He performed with style and joy.

Last grade 3/4 (with excerpts from The Pirates of Penzance) and grade 5/6 (with an amazing rendition of Grease) were the standouts. This year kindy's Bob the Builder was definitely a highlight, largely thanks to the incredibly bouncy girl in the front row who did not stop jumping for the entire number.

The audience of parents, younger siblings, older siblings and friends went home with smiles on the dials and the kid talked 19 or maybe 99 to the dozen for the next hour. Brilliant. I love our school.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tom's Midnight Garden

I am reading Tom's Midnight Garden to the Noodle as his bed time reading. The book is all about a child with insomnia, so I suppose there is some kind of irony there.

At first the Noodle was expecting it to be a funny book (indicating what he has been reading to himself recently), but once he realised it was more serious he brought his serious attention to the story. He always wants to skip the bits about Uncle Alan becoming irritable at Tom, but he is quite delighted by how Uncle Alan is often wrong, that Tom's experiences are beyond clever Uncle Alan's knowledge and perception.

The Noodle commented last night, as we approach the whole skating-to-Ely bit of the story, that soon Hatty's time will be catching up with Tom's. He figured out that Tom's reasoning about how long ago Hatty's time is might be wrong - the Victorian era was very long indeed and Tom assumes that Hatty is from the very start of it. Which of course she isn't. I am very pleased, because I think that he will find the ending very satisfying. His question was whether or not Tom would go back into the Garden to find Hatty old. I love the way the book explores the different paces of adult time and child time so that a child can understand it.

I myself am reading Wolf Hall. She tries to avoid that trap of historical novels in which the characters that we are interested in have somehow more 'modern' opinions than the others. I wish I didn't have to go to work so I could keep reading it all day and find more things to think about.

I am also reading a manuscript of short stories written by a Brisbane friend which I found in my letterbox when I came home from the beach. After I have told her what I think, I'll tell you all as well, so that you can all immediately read the collection as soon as it is published. I do like having clever (and slightly scary) friends.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We found the south coast

There's quite a lot of it, and it is not as far away as you think. Unless you live in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, any parts of Queensland (south or north) or Abu Dhabi. Or any other state, territory or continent other than the ACT and parts of NSW. It's very close to the heart of the nation, though. You can drive back without stopping and your legs will only feel very slightly stiff. It takes about the same time as catching the bus to work and back, plus a bit of prevaricating about the bush.

When you drive there from Canberra you go out of the ACT into NSW and then the ACT bulges out a bit and you go through it again. Tricksy.

It is not a good idea to give your child a pie and a smoothie for lunch in Braidwood before descending the range, unless you are missing the 'vomit on Mummy' experience and wish to relive it. Pie and smoothie is much nastier than breast milk and smoodged up sweet potato. Did make it out of the car though, so all respect and gratitude to the Noodle. Humans are much easier to wash than upholstery (this is my best parenting tip). You can get the smell out of humans really, really easily just with soap and water and you don't need any tips from books published by the ABC.

The southerly wind that blows onto the south coast is really, really strong. And makes big waves. Which are not fun for the paddlers and sandcastle users of the beach. The gentle northerly, however, is a champion breeze for both paddling and sandcastle making. The water is nearly warm enough to swim in (which is a sign that we are metamorphing into Canberries, not Queenslanders).

There are many shells at the bottom of the cliff at Mossy Point. Likewise seaweed.

Tides are quite the interesting thing to watch when you have spent many recent years inland.

Moruya is a Very Nice Town. It should have some kind of niceness award. The General Store (which is not in the main street) does a very respectable breakfast and sells a wide variety of colourful lollies. I am less convinced of the charms of Mogo, but there's a good second-hand bookshop there and also it is called Mogo which is kind of fun to say. There's a road nearby called Bimbimbie Drive which is also fun to say and goes to the tune of Mr Plow very well.

Sea is salty. Sand is grainy. Noodle is happy.