Monday, July 31, 2006

Josie and Stef have landed!

The house will never be the same! We now are a family of 10!

Its 2pm and the kids have just woken up so we may be in for a late night!

Watch this space for all the news and gossip over the next month....

Friday, July 28, 2006

Reptile Park

Rhiannons class trip this term was to a reptile park.

It is an outdoor park and can get very muddy and miserable if it is raining. It has been cancelled twice in recent weeks due to the torrential downpours we have been experiencing and today was third time lucky! The sun was shining all day and it was perfect.

I drove down after the bus with Gareth to join in as an extra pair of hands. We had a lovely day and saw all sorts of weird and wonderful snakes, crocodiles, alligators and lizards.

There was even some "hands on" where the kids got to stroke pythons and touch an alligators eyeball?

There was a rockpool behind glass in an indoor display of crocodiles. There were about 8 medium sized crocs that were still as statues.

Myself and another Mum Julie were puzzled as to whether they were real or not. We got right up close to the glass and were staring at one of them to see if it was breathing. Suddenly another croc sprung at the glass partition with open jaws and bounced off the glass beside my cheek. Myself and Julie screamed so loud that all the kids started screaming and running in panic thinking something had escaped!

I'm not sure if we will be asked to help out on the next school trip!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sinead's visit

My cousin Sinead Luddy is doing a six week trip around Australia and New Zealand.

She rang me this morning to say that she was in Sydney and was going to come up and see me for the day. Her brother Padraig is based in Sydney and he had the day off so they drove up with a couple of friends.

It was great catching up and the kids were really surprised to see them when they got off the school bus. They brought a huge chocolate mud cake with them which we made a big dent into after lunch and the kids stuffed their faces with the rest when they got in from school.

It was great to catch up and sit back and listen to the Irish accents for a while. It brought Byron back to the time he met the Luddy's for the first time on their farm in Mitchelstown. He was so unable to understand the accents he was convinced they were speaking in Gaelic! They want to pass on a big Hello to everyone at home in Kilbehenny and Padraig said that he knows he only rings home every 4-5 weeks but phones are really scarce in Sydney! I think he's been out in the Aussie sunshine too long if he thinks they'll fall for that one!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

80's Party.

Thought you might like to see what a gorgeous 80's couple we made this weekend.

It was a friends surprise birthday party. We stood in the freezing back garden in the dark for about half an hour waiting for him to pull into a garage at the back of the house.

The best laid plans never run smooth and he walked in the front door instead. Never mind, it was a great night and gives us another chance to embarrass ourselves on our blog!

Friday, July 21, 2006


I have just had my first nasty run in with Australian creepy crawlies.....

I did the school run yesterday morning and stood in the playground chatting to a few parents for about 10 minutes when suddenly I felt a searing pain on my upper thigh. It felt like a bee-sting. I started rubbing it like crazy but then felt another and another. I grabbed Gareths hand and ran for the car where I dropped my jeans only to see lots of angry red lumps appearing in a line along my leg. I drove home as fast as I could and watched my life pass before my eyes, convinced I had been bitten by something deadly. What scared me the most was that whatever had bitten me was still inside my jeans. I was trying to think where I could go for anti-venom as I ran in the front door screaming for Byron. At this stage I was close to tears and wriggled out of my jeans as quickly as possible. I now had 15 angry red weals on my thigh that were throbbing and were starting to swell up at an incredible rate. Byron turned my jeans inside out and eventually found the culprit. We thought it was a spider and I was ready to pass out when Byron looked closely and realized that it was a large green ant that had lost the last segment of his body so that it looked more spider-like. Its jaws were still chomping angrily but at least we knew it wasn't dangerous. Just b****y sore.

A bit of ice and lots of sympathy later and I am feeling fine. Looks like I will have to start tucking my jeans into my socks if I want to carry on joining in the playground gossip!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Peace at last.

The holidays are over.

17 days of amusing 3 very active and noisy kids and I am a shadow of my former self. The house is now still and quiet. I can tidy something away and I don't trip over it 5 minutes later. I can put the kettle on to make a cup of tea and not go back an hour later to find it has gone cold. I can use the pc without being asked when can CBeebies be back on the screen. I am not on edge wondering if the wild screaming from the living room is because they are having fun or someone is being strangled.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Yes, Yes, YES!!!!!!!

We got our planning permission approval!

We still have a few weeks of paperwork but it looks as though we could be seeing the first signs of building before the end of August!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I think Gareth is getting camera shy!

Either that or he didn't like his milkshake!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cardboard tobogganing!

You have to hand it to the Australians. They see things in a different light. There is a local picnic spot at the top of Mount Sugarloaf. We went there a few months back and thought the view was lovely. Steep grassy mountainsides and cracking views of the local area. We went back today with a group of school friends to have a picnic and were told not to forget our cardboard?

With not a lot of snow on this side of the world the aussies have improvised! What a mad day!
The kids came home filthy and covered in grass stains.

Next time I'm bringing a big piece for myself!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Newcastle museum

Week two of the school holidays and because Byron works from home we are trying to find as many things to do away from the house without breaking the bank account. Newcastle museum is half an hour drive away and free- perfect!

Sian and Rhiannon spent two hours making puppets out of recycled rubbish. Then we went to see a scientist demonstrating some simple but exciting experiments. With test-tubes, rubber gloves, food colouring and lots of dry ice she had the kids jaws hitting the floor in no time!

Finally upstairs to the "Supernova" floor. A hands-on science center with 80 activities and interactive displays that demonstrate smple scientific facts.

I had to drag them away at closing time. This will be a great place to bring Alex and Myles when they come over next Easter.

We had been gone so long that Byron was pacing the driveway when we finally arrived home. He thought we had got lost on the way home (or maybe he just wanted his tea....!)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Father + kids boat race

Byron and Sian were invited to join in a father + kids sailing race today. Sian was very excited to be included as three other friends from school were going to be on the same boat.

It was a bit of a squash but they had great fun. The wind was non-existent and the boat never picked up much speed, not such a bad thing in this race.

Despite it being a slow and gentle race they crossed the finish line in second place (rumour has it)!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Jonathan the Magician.

Thank-God it's Friday!
We have survived week one of the holidays. The kids went to a magic show in our local library this morning. Jonathan the magician was more fired up than a seal who had overdosed on espresso! The kids loved it and have come home eager to learn how to juggle. I've just had to prise 4 eggs out of Gareths hands and have hidden the fruit bowl!
Someone tell the little people to go away......

Thursday, July 06, 2006


We are in the middle of a two week school holiday and are trying to keep the kids busy without taking out a new mortgage!

Today we went into Newcastle and Sian and Rhiannon did a candle-making workshop. It was in a big brick warehouse next to the trainline on the docks and used to be used for repairing the old trains years ago.

The staff running the workshop had big saucepans of melting wax on a big BBQ in the middle of the room- a very Australian solution to no electric socket points! It was really atmospheric and smelt great.

We went with three other families and brought the pre-schoolers for a walk along the docks to let off some steam.

When the caffeine levels started to drop we stopped in a cafe overlooking the harbour and had coffee and banana bread before heading back to collect the kids and their wax masterpieces.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Aboriginal story telling

This morning we went to our local library for an Aboriginal story time.

The storyteller was an aboriginal lady called Peta. She sat us all in a big circle and told us a very interactive story about Tittalik the frog. Legend has it that he was turned into a rock that you can see in the picture below.

The kids loved it and were encouraged to bounce around like kangaroos, emus and goannas during the story.

When she finished she explained that in aboriginal culture stories were currency and were traded. It wasn't a one-way sytem of listening and then leaving. I was begining to wonder if she wanted us to dig deep in our pockets but then she asked us to tell her a story in return. Loads of kids put their hands up but she said the tall people owed her not the short ones!

There was silence and finally one of the librarians told a story of her dads childhood. Peta went around the room and asked each parent for another story. I told an old Irish story about Finn mac Cumhail and the salmon of knowledge. Thank goodness there were no other Irish people there to point out the parts of the story that were not 100% accurate!

Afterwards Peta came over and said she had loved the fact that the story was obviously very old and wanted to know about our family and whether we told stories down the different generations. I told her she would love to meet my Dad, especially after a bottle or two of wine!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Baynhams Wine Warehouse.

Josie and Stef are going to be spending the month of August with us. In preparation for their visit we have been doing a spring clean of the house and buying in some provisions.....

We placed an order in our local bottle shop (Off-License) and today we collected 12 bottles of Merlot, 12 of Shiraz/Cabernet/
Merlot and another 12 of bubbly!

Obviously we may have to do some quality control tasting tonight but hopefully we will still have a few bottles left when they arrive in just under 4 weeks time!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


We spent another great weekend in Sydney with Charles and Sue. They have a really limited amount of time left in Oz before they return to the UK. Charles starts a new job in London in October so we are trying to make the most of the next few months.

There was a free night time concert in Darling harbour at 7pm. It was a world renowned tap dancing and percussion group called "Tap-dogs" It really was fun to watch. They were performing on a floating stage just a couple of meters away from the harbour edge. We were sitting on the steps just in front of the stage and had a great view.

The kids enjoyed it, especially when the young tap-pups came on stage. They were aged from 3-8 yrs old and our kids were totally mesmerised by them. The evening ended with some great fireworks and we had an exciting bus journey home with 5 tired but happy kids.