Friday, March 24, 2006

Like father, like son!

I went out shopping today for a wheelbarrow. Gareth came with me and got so excited when he saw the child-sized version. He said he wanted to "Help" Dad. As I caved in and put the little wheelbarrow in the trolley I noticed some child-sized gardening gloves too!

I brought Sian and Rhiannon off for their Friday afternoon tennis lessons and left Mr B in charge of putting the wheelbarrow together. What a great idea! Mr B had some quality time with Gar and I got to sit down watching Sian and Rhiannon play tennis without worrying where Gar was. Oh yes..... and sip the glass of chilled bubbly that was poured for me when I got there....Bliss!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Life's a Beach!

We had a relaxing end to this crazy weekend. Byron decided we all needed to blow away the cobwebs and so we got in the car at 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon and drove to Caves beach.

As always we went ridiculously under-prepared. No towels, no swim suits... we were only going to be having a walk. The kids had different plans! They stripped down to undies and started paddling. Paddling turned into wading which turned into "lets just lie down and completely soak ourselves in the sea!"

The kids tried to trick us into thinking that there were giant birds on the beach by running ahead and drawing footprints in the sand. They had a laugh when they came across this giant footprint that I sneaked ahead and left for them to find! Actually, I think that you can see from the photo that it was Mr B who got the biggest kick from it!

We had a good afternoon but had to strip them down and make them jump up and down to dry off in the car park before they could get into the car to go home!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

St Patrick's Day- The grand finale!

Well, what can I say? It was a great night! I have the hangover to prove it!!!

We started off at the kids Friday tennis lessons and were amazed at how many friends had made a huge effort to wear anything green or Irish!

There was hair spray, confetti, green nail varnish and eye shadow, all being passed around for everyone to use!
By the time we headed into the club restaurant our numbers had grown to over 40!
We all had a feast of Guinness pie and Dublin sausages and the kids ran around waving flags and colouring in pictures of leprechauns and shamrocks.

By the end of the night there was an impromptu Irish dancing lesson. I was the teacher as I felt I was the most qualified....after all I have had lessons (when I was 4!)
By 10pm we had to admit defeat and head home with our exhausted but happy kids. Better to leave voluntarily than to be kicked out by the very patient staff!

We really want to say Thank-you so much to everyone who made such an effort to celebrate with us. It is hard to believe we only arrived 6 months ago, we really feel like we are starting to belong here.

Something tells me this should become an annual event!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patricks's day Part I

Here we go again....!!

Today we'll be celebrating all things Irish, and Gina is already in full swing !

There are already flags and balloons everywhere, the kids have green hair spray, badges and face painting ... and it's only 7:30 am ...

Here are some pics of this morning:

What started as a small get-together this evening in a local club has turned out to be quite an event - over 42 people are coming to help celebrate with Irish sausages and Guinness. I'm sure there'll be more photos to share with you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sians Birthday......Part III

Phew, what a hectic day...

Gina took the kids to Mass this morning and then on to shopping for party time this afternoon while I was left to do a bit of a tidy at home and cut the grass.

Sian had about 10 of her class mates over for a 'makeover' party - and everyone had a simply fantastic time (although I wasn't aware that many children could make such a din...not sure if buying a drum for Rhiannon at Christmas was such a good idea after all).

The party started off fairly wildy with all the 'mums' (except Monica) sitting outside sipping champagne while yours truly was looking after the party goers...

There was pizza, ice cream, birthday cake, lollipops, fizzy drinks - all the necessary ingredients to really pack those 'E' numbers in good and proper, so it was hardly surprising when there was 30 minutes of uncontrollable mayhem - luckily, at this point, the women decided to take a break from socialising to come and give me some help. Then on to nail varnish, hair colouring and skin jewellry to try and calm everyone down.

Thanks to everyone who came today and for all the very generous gifts. Sian has had a great party.

Thanks also to Kel for sporting a whopping hangover, Anne for spilling drinks, Louise for being a party animal and Paul for keeping an eye on the rugby score.

At least we can have a month off now before Rhiannon's party.

Bring it on.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I was very lucky today - I was on my way to drop Rhiannon off at a party via collecting another girl on the way, when her Dad (Peter) asked if I'd like to go sailing instead.

Is the Pope a Catholic?

Spent a fantastic four hours sailing on his recently purchased 30 foot racing yacht whizzing around Lake Macquarie. The boat was a second hand purchase called The Force, and this was Peter's first time bringing out on local waters to try and view all the different sails that came with it.

It wasn't a case of simply sitting in the boat watching him sail around. Oh no, it was more like 'Grab that rope!', 'Pull that one...faster!', 'Duck!!', 'have a beer!'. Excellent fun, and I was completely knackered at the end. Did I learn fast or what?

As we were nearly finished, Peter found another sail (spinnaker) that he hadn't tried yet. The bag simply said 'Little Darth Vader'. After unwrapping and raising it, we couldn't believe it when there was a 20 foot painting of Darth Vader himself on the sail - it must have looked superb from shore.

Here's a picture taken with my mobile, as requested by Peter:

By the way, Happy Birthday bruv !!

Friday, March 10, 2006


The women have been having quite regular nights out recently, and their conscience has finally gotten the better of them...they felt too guilty to have another night on the town without the blokes going out for some fun too.

Mark had the idea of watching a comedy at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle, and then on for a few swift shandies at the local Irish pub.

The comedy show was hilarious, and in a great setting too. The Irish bar was certainly lively, although the Guinness took almost 20 minutes to be poured - I don't think there is much of it quaffed there regularly. Typical theme pub; old bike hanging off the wall, signs to Tipperary, shamrock posters, live music and dozens of teenagers knocking back Red Bull and spirits slammers...marvellous setting, brought me right back to student days.

Thanks to Mark for organising it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sians Birthday......Part II

Sian decided that she wanted a Chinese meal this evening, so we had a huge banquet, complete with fortune cookies and of course, the dessert that she had already requested (pancakes and strawberries topped with syrup).

Kel, Anne and their daughter Tenelle joined us too, and helped to make it a special occasion for Sian.

What made the day truly fantastic though was the amount of messages she has received over the past week. Emails from friends at St Gregorys School in Northampton, phone calls from friends in the UK (thanks Holly!) have really made her week special.

Of course, the breakfast phone calls from grandparents in Ireland and Wales are always the most exciting time, especially as she's being rushed off to school!

Her official party is this Sunday when she has some friends from her new school coming around for a bit of a makeover party. Byron is making himself scarce for this...

Thanks to everyone!

Rhiannon - The Genius!

Rhiannon has never been too excited about anything academic. She prefers to make silly faces and pretend to be an animal than get stuck into her homework. This year in school she has been getting regular spellings for homework and has just started to get the hang of it. Today when she got home from school she was ecstatic.... she had won a spelling competition! She had even been given a little prize of a small plastic animal. Byron was so proud of her that he told her she deserved some bonus pocket-money at the weekend.

About an hour later I got a chance to ask her more questions about the competition and what kind of words she was asked...... The true story unfolded...... A little girl in her class owned the plastic animal and decided to give it away at lunch time. She offered it to who ever would play her game of spellings. Rhiannon was asked to spell "blagh blagh blagh" and obviously got it right! I think Byron will ask more questions before parting with bonus pocket money in the future!

Sians Birthday......So far!

Sian has had a lovely birthday so far! Thanks for all the phone calls this morning! Despite all the chat we made it to school on time!

Sian had a lovely school assembly out of doors as usual. They called her to the front to wish her "Happy Birthday" and the Head teacher gave her her birthday certificate. She was chuffed! The presents were all opened with great excitement and she really did get a lovely assortment of trendy clothes, craft activities and sparkly surprises! We are preparing a "Chinese" dinner tonight and Sian has placed an order for pancakes, strawberries and vanilla ice cream for dessert! I am sure we will take plenty more photos later but for now here are some of this morning!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Just thought I'd share with you the view from my office...

I decided to work outside today as Gareth is spending all day at pre-school and Gina is receiving retail therapy.

The house is soooooo peaceful.

It's a shame this picture hasn't got any sound as there are birds singing and the wind is rustling the palm trees.

Now I know what contentment really feels like, feel free to come over and visit.

But be quiet !

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Captains log

Byron had a very exciting day today! Not only did he get a day away from me and the kids but he spent the day messing around on a boat with other guys and passed his boating exams. He is now entitled to get his New South Wales boating license (without which he would not be able to skipper a boat)

Only problem now is....... He wants everyone to call him "CAPTAIN"

Friday, March 03, 2006

Colm and Maggie

The Sheerans have landed...taken our bedroom, drunk all our booze, eaten our steak...

They won't go home...

Please send money...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


We've had some amazing rainstorms over the past couple of days, Autumn has finally arrived.

Overnight it absolutely poured down...

While cleaning my teeth this morning I heard Gina shriek so I ran into the living room expecting to find a nasty looking bug, but found Gina on her hands and knees mopping water off the tiled floor.

It turned out that there is a leak above one of the living room windows and the force of rain sprayed rain all over the living room floor, covering our tele, hi-fi and satellite box. We're letting them dry out before we even try to turn them on again. Here are some snaps below, most of the water had been mopped up by then, but you can still see water trickling in.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

St. David's Day Part II

Good ol' Gina came up trumps with the Dragon Pie for St. David's Day tea tonight.

She spent ages killing and skinning the beast, packing it into the pie and then baking it good and proper. She also very skilfully managed to cut out some pastry in the shape of the Welsh Dragon and layed it on top of the pie. If you look very closely, you can just make out the image of the dragon on top, but to make it a bit easier for you I have emphasised the dragon in the second image.

Thanks to everyone who had made this a most memorable St. David's Day for me.

Diolch yn fawr...

St. David's Day

Ah, it's days like these that make me feel wistful...

There's a Welsh term 'Hiraeth' that roughly translates to 'The longing and fondness that Welsh people have for their homeland'.

It's St. David's Day today, and I couldn't be further from Wales if I tried. Luckily, Gina has made this house a true shrine to Wales today with flags and cards everywhere, including outside. The neighbours look a little confused.

The morning was great with Gina and the kids giving me cards and presents in bed, and I even got a present from some friends here too (an Australian BBQ apron - a sign of the times !). The little ones made me home made cards and even went off to school with Happy St Davids Day badges.

Looking forward to tea tonight - should be dragon pie !!