Saturday, September 30, 2006

Beanie kids

Our kids have joined in with an Australian/NewZealand craze of collecting "Beanie Kids"
They are essentially all small bean filled bears that are dressed differently, some as animals, some as dinosaurs, some as babies.

They are reasonably affordable at $10/£4 each. Generally they have to save about 3 weeks pocket money or wait until they get some birthday money. Here is their combined collection.

The local Beanie Kid shop had a special promotional day today with a visit from the Beanie Master.

Sian and Gareth were happy to pose for a photo with him but Rhiannonn couldn't be persuaded or bribed to go anywhere near him!

Friday, September 29, 2006

House Build week 2: Locked out!

It's official.

- We've paid a small fortune for the land.
- Paid a hefty chunk of money to the builder.
- Paid the Excavator.
- Paid the Telstra man to re-bury some cables that should have been buried deeper in the first case.

Now what is happening? The security fencing has gone up. We are now no longer allowed on-site without permission and supervision of the site supervisor. It's our project but his territory! We have been warned:

1: Be nice to the supervisor.
2: Keep on his good side and
3: NEVER ask him....

"When will the house be finished?"
"Can you even guess?"
"Can you hurry it up?"

We met the supervisor this week. We were very nice to him. All was going well. We were just about to say goodbye when I just couldn't help myself.

I blurted out....

"When will the house be finished?"
"Can you even guess?"
"Can you hurry it up?"

Not a great beginning! Byron has banned me from opening my mouth on-site again!

Here is an updated photo:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Show and Tell Part 2

Gareth's turn at Show and Tell at his pre-school today, and I'm in Gina's bad books.....

"Stand up and tell everyone your news Gareth" asked his teacher.

"Um..........when it gets hot, my daddy says Bloody Hell."


Monday, September 25, 2006

Daily Grime.

Thanks to those of you who have left comments on the blog recently. One comment often made is that the good stuff goes up with no "grime" as Cathy put it! I don't often put up blogs about boring day-to-day housework etc but this one is especially for you Cathy!!!.......

Monday morning. 6.45 am. Alarm goes off like a jackhammer next to my ear. I wonder whos turn it is to make the morning cup of tea in bed. Get a kick from Byron and I guess that's my answer. Stumble out of bed and wander bleary eyed into kitchen. I know it's going to be one of those days. I have to leave the house at 8am for the school run then dash into Newcastle city centre through rush hour traffic for an appointment with the builder about the house. The rental house is for sale at the moment so has to be kept in good shape for viewings. There is one happening mid morning while I am out. I mentally go through the checklist of jobs to do before I leave at 8.... Make beds, tidy playroom, sweep floors, hoover bedrooms, run a cloth over bathrooms, bleach down the loos and mop kitchen floor. Oh damn! Forgot to make kids school lunches last night so got to do them as well. Kettle boils and I pour water onto tea bags in cups. Quick check of the email while the tea is brewing. Lovely! Josie and Cathy have left comments on the blog! That cheers me up a bit. "No daily grime" says Cathy?... I wander back into the kitchen to squeeze the tea bags and look around me. I wish she could see my kitchen this morning. Grab the camera. Cathy this photo is just for you!!! Hope it cheers you up and reassures you that although the sun might shine and there are parrots in the trees outside my kitchen window, the inside hasn't changed much!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


On Sunday, we took Charles and Sue to The Entrance to feed the pelicans. The last time we were all there it was freezing and I don't think they were impressed. This time it was a scorcher and was much more pleasant.

The little ones had a splash around in a pool for a while until they were shivering (Sian and Rhiannon look so alike here).

We then headed off to see the pelicans get fed. If you look close enough, you can actually see a fish at the top of the picture going into a lucky bill !

We think that Charles and Sue's daughter is extremely photogenic.

But so is Gareth! That's my boy!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


We went to Gareths Pre-School fete this Saturday. It was great fun and had tons of activities. Bouncy castle, face painting, hoopla stall, gifts, raffles etc.

They also had a great plant stall with loads of unusual and native Australian potted varieties to choose from. One plant in particular caught my eye. It has long sharp leaves and is called "Mother-in-laws-tongue" !!!

Myan, everytime I look at my new plant I will think of you!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Outdoor Sports

Quite a busy weekend!

Sian went on a horseriding birthday party, so while she was there we packed a picnic and headed off to the local park with bicycles and rugby balls for a play.

Gareth and Rhiannon had a ball whizzing around on their bikes, and then when Sian returned they played on the rope swing for ages.

Sue and Charles also met us at the park for another mad evening of fine food (barramundi fish) and wine. They've only got 8 weeks left before they return to old blighty and we made sure to make them feel guilty for leaving us !

Show and Tell Part 1

Sian had a school project to create a 3D sculpture of an insect...

"What shall I create Dad?"

"Easy", says I, "a big scary spider".

"Duh, Dad. Spider's are arachnids, not insects..."

Ah well, that told me. Good ol' Sian then proceeded to make a large, and superb house fly. She had to present it at her school assembly today and looked very chuffed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Comments please!

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have left comments on our blog. I know it is a bit hard to figure out how to do it but we really really appreciate them. We update the blog regularly with lots of little stories to try to keep in touch with you since our move down under. It is not a substitute for more individual and personalised emails, but sometimes by the time we have our next email or phone call we forget the smaller details of day to day things that we try to capture here on the blog.

When we get comments left for us it reinforces that you are reading it and gives us the motivation to keep updating it. I have heard back from a few people that they have tried to leave comments and it has failed, so we thought we would try to present you with a dummies guide to it. Hopefully you will find that if you manage it once then the next time will be a piece of cake!

We have also enabled a form of safe-guard against unwanted comments which means that when you press "Publish your Comment" we get an email with your comment in it. When we have read it we get a chance to publish or reject it and this keeps it a bit safer. So be patient if you leave a comment. With the time difference it often takes a few hours for us to read the email. If you check back the next day it is very likely that your comment will have been published by then.

Right then! Now you know what to do, What are you waiting for???
If you need a bit of motivation, how about the Baynham Club Card?
For anyone planning to visit us at any point in the future you can start building up credit points towards your stay. These points can only be earned by leaving comments on The Baynham Blog and can be redeemed for many treats such as...

- Glass of wine at the end of a long day at the beach.
- First choice of runny eggs off the barbie on a Saturday morning.
- Free refills of Irish Coffee
- First dibs on the best seat in the hot-tub!!!

Get those fingers tapping on your keyboards.... You know you want to!!!

Here are the instructions, click the picture to see it in a larger format.

P.S. When you've entered your comments, press the Publish Your Comment button....

House Build week 1: Excavators

We have signed contracts with our builder that legally obliges him to start work on our block of land by Wednesday 27th September.

We got word that today was going to be D Day! Apparently the tree surgeon was booked in to remove the big fig tree in our neighbours land in preparation for the excavator to move in next week. When the excavator finishes the levelling and cutting of the block the next team of concreters move in to prepare the slab foundations that the house will be built on. Our 30 week building contract should start from then. Here is photo from a few weeks back showing the tree next to our neighbours house.

I went along early this morning to get a last picture of the land with the tree in place only to find the sound of construction in the air!!! The tree was gone and Barry the excavator had arrived with his transporter and was driving the big yellow CAT off the back of it onto our block. I was so excited I nearly hugged him but just managed to control myself! Good job too because Barry is your stereotypical Aussie bloke with skin like a sundried crocodile and and didn't look much like he goes in for public displays of affection!

Here is the first official photo of the action. We will be putting lots more photos up over the coming weeks so watch this space!


We drove past the block at lunchtime on the pretence of going for another lakeside picnic. Really it was to let Mr B share in the excitement.

Barry was still hard at it in the hot midday sun. Give that man a beer!

I have been looking for a way of sharing small video clips on the blog but they are huge and too big for the blogspot. I have registered with YouTube and can upload videoclips for free and then put the link to them here. I have had my first attempt of uploading the magical moment of our first days excavation! I hope you will enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Byron and myself went out for lunch today trying to make the most of being childfree (Girls were in school and Gar was in Carey-Bay pre-school) We had a really relaxing picnic down by the lake and got home at 1pm feeling calm and serene.......Not for long!!!

As we parked on the driveway we could see a bee inside one of the bedroom windows trying to get out. Byron said he would squash it before it ended up stinging one of the kids. When we got in the house we found more bees, lots! there was a large number of bees swarming outside our en-suite bathroom window.

Somehow some of these bees had got into the house, but how? A few minutes later we had our answer. We watched them wriggling out of the ceiling light fittings and the extractor fans....Aaarggghhhhh!!!!! It was like something out of a scary movie! Time to ring the exterminators!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Roo spotting!

We had a very relaxing Saturday in the Hunter Valley Gardens. We had a lovely coffee next to the band stand and listened to a great a live singer playing guitar while the kids ran around and danced, burning off lots of steam.

We started our Christmas shopping there as we need to have UK and Irish presents in the post by the end of the week. There are so many lovely gift shops and it is so easy to buy presents there when you are relaxed and not in a busy shopping center. It is probably slightly pricier but worth it for the "feel good" and convenience.

On our way home we decided to be adventurous and took a different route than normal. We drove along long straight roads with vineyards as far as the eye could see.

At one point we saw a small turtle about the size of an adult hand scuttling across the road with its neck outstretched. It was too late to brake but luckily it was half way across and our wheels went either side of it. It didn't seem bothered and just kept scuttling along!

We have a family bet offering $5 to the first person in the family to see a kangaroo or koala in a natural setting. We knew that we were in Roo territory as we had seen a lot of dead kangaroos on the sides of the roads, road-kill as they are referred to here. They are really big and solid and I think the car would know it if you hit one at speed. I spotted a group of them sunning themselves in the distance and we pulled up to see if we could take some photos.

As we were doing this a big one bounded across the road just a short distance ahead of us. The kids were all really excited and I came home $5 richer!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Carey Bay group photo

I had a bit of a panic last month when I turned up late to Carey Bay pre-school with a scruffy Gareth dragging reluctantly behind me. His hair was sticking up and he still had the remains of breakfast on his face. Everyone else's kids were dressed perfectly, pretty girls in pink and boys with ironed tops, Yes it was photo day! Julie and Kim promised to attack him with a wet cloth and stand him at the back! We got the photo back today and I was pleasantly surprised with it. Those girls deserve a medal!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gareth "The Provider"

Gareth has had a great day today. After we dropped Sian and Rhiannon to school he decided he wanted to go fishing. It was the first day in ages that it hasn't been pouring rain so I got the fishing rod, bait and bucket and packed up the car.

Gar was given a pocket knife last week by Kel which he is really proud of. Kel blunted the blades to make it safe(?) Gar asked if he could bring it with him. We spent an hour on a local jetty using whitebait and squid and before long Gareth caught a small Taylor fish about 6" long. He was so excited and asked if we could cook it for tea. He caught another slightly smaller one and we headed home very smelly but happy.

We called in to show Kel and make sure that the type of fish was edible. Kel used Gareths pocket knife to de-scale the fish and then helped to fillet them ready for tonights tea. Gar helped to coat the four tiny fillets in flour and fried them with me. He scoffed them down and was so proud to have caught his own tea!

Not bad for a three year old!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Baby Cian

We had a fabulous day yesterday. We travelled down to Sydney to see baby Cian for the first time.

The kids were mesmerised.
He was so tiny and their hands kept creeping into the cot to stroke him gently.

Joe + Rhonda had not had a lot of rest the night before so we were hoping he would stay settled and sleeping for as long as possible so we wouldn't have to leave too soon.

In the end we had a good two hours which was more than we had hoped for. Joe and Rhonda were both looking well, if slightly tired.

I wanted to reassure them with soothing words like "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get a full nights sleep soon" but I'm a really bad liar! Sorry Joe, welcome to the real world!

Byron suggested having a few drinks with Joe to wet Cians head in good Irish tradition so I found myself with one less in the car on the way home and Byron caught a train back this morning.

It sounds like they made the most of Joes last night of freedom. Wandering home at some ungodly hour, stopping to admire the view of the Harbour bridge with a take-away curry in their hands.

Might be a while before they get to do that again!!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marshmallow time

Our friends Anne + Kel have a glass jar in their kitchen. Most of the time it is full of marshmallows. The kids love calling in to say "Hi" and quickly scan the kitchen counters to check out if they can see this jar.

On the other side of the kitchen there is a little boat ornament on the counter with a small clock face sat into the sail. Gareth is fascinated by it and for some reason if you ask him what time it says he says with a cheeky look "Marshmallow time???!"

I think he has got Anne and Kel wrapped around his little finger because each and every time he does this they both melt and run for the jar and let him have a handful!

Thursday, September 07, 2006



I am an Auntie!!!

I have been an Auntie before to Kerry, Lou, Rach and Jazzie but I managed this by marrying into the wonderful Baynham clan.

This time it is because of a new addition to the Sheeran family.
My brother Joe and his wife Rhonda had a perfect baby boy early this morning. All I know is that he was born quickly (Well done Rhonda!!!) weighs 7 lbs 7 oz and is still awaiting a name!

I got the call on my mobile in the supermarket car park trying to strap Gar into his seat while it bucketed rain down my neck. We could hear the baby crying in the background and it was so lovely I started crying too. With the rain pouring down my face I don't think anyone noticed. Gareth was mesmerised and ran into pre-school to tell them the news. He wants to buy his new cousin a car!

I want to jump in the car and drive to Sydney right now but with kids in school and 95km/hr winds and flash flood warnings I think I will have to calm down and wait till Joe + Rhonda are ready.

Watch this space for new posts about a name and hopefully a picture or two!!!!!

11.50 am UPDATE!!!!

We have a name: Cian Joseph Sheeran

For those wondering how to pronounce it, it is a mixture of Keen and Key-in.

Joseph is a strong family name going back at least 4 generations. My Grandad Sheeran was called Joe. He married a Josephine who was known as Jo and their son (My Dad) was called Joseph. In time my brother Joe was born and now his little boy will carry the family name on for another generation.

Cian is an old Irish name meaning long and enduring. In ancient Irish Mythology Cian was the son of Dian Cecht of the Tuatha De Danann. The mythical Cian was born with a caul on his head (a thin membrane that is easily removed) In medieval times the appearance of a caul on a newborn baby was seen as a sign of good luck. It was considered an omen that the child was destined for greatness. Cian was turned into a pig as a boy when struck by a druid's wand. Thereafter he could transform into a pig at will. According to a prophecy, Balor, the king of the Fomorians was to be killed by his grandson. He locked his daughter, Ethniu, in a tower made of crystal to keep her from becoming pregnant. However, Cian, with the help of the druidess Birog, managed to enter the tower. Ethlinn soon gave birth to three sons. Balor threw them into the ocean, and two either drowned or turned ito seals, but one, Lug, was saved by Birog and became the foster son of Manannan mac Lir. Cian was killed by the sons of Tuireann, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharbaa, while in the form of a pig. Lug set them a series of seemingly impossible quests as recompense. They achieved them all, but were fatally wounded in completing the last one. Despite Tuireann's pleas, Lug denied them the use of one of the items they had retrieved, a magic pigskin which healed all wounds. They died of their wounds, and Tuireann died of grief over their bodies.

Rain, Rain, Rain!

For all those of you who close their eyes and think of us here in Australia, hot, sunny blue skies, suncream, beaches, cold beer and a barbie............ Here is the local weather report...

"Winds are expected to reach 65km/h during today, particularly near the coast. Peak windgusts may exceed 90km/h. Rain is continuing over the Sydney Basin and adjacent coastal areas. Overnight rain has totalled from 40 to 90mm over most parts of Sydney. A separate Severe weather warning has been issued for flash flooding. Emergency Services advises you to keep clear of fallen powerlines, stay away from windows and keep children indoors. Emergency services advise you don't walk, ride your bicycle or drive throughflood water, and keep clear of creeks and storm drains"

Nice! Thought you might enjoy seeing the view out our back window...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Baby Chicks!

Gareths preschool is taking part in the Henny Penny Hatching program.

They have taken delivery of an incubator with eggs ready to hatch. I dropped Gar off at pre-school at 9am and we saw that two had hatched over night. He was very excited to see the empty egg shells.

Sian and Rhiannon really wanted to collect Gar with me today so I collected them from school and we headed into Carey Bay. Since I left this morning another two had pecked their way out of their shells. It was lovely to see the tiny fluffy chicks.

The staff sat Sian, Rhiannon and Gar down and let them each have a hold of a chick for a few minutes. What a lovely afternoon.

Only problem now is that I have to re-think tea

I had planned roast chicken...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Father's Day 2006

I love being pampered, and what better excuse for an easy day than Father's Day?

We had Charles and Sue over for a visit, so there was the obligatory fry-up on the BBQ for breakfast, this time I was over-enthusiastically helped by Gareth and Rhiannon. Gareth is obviously honing his bbq cooking skills from the 'master'.....

Lots of cards, presents and cups of coffee later, we all headed down to the local jetty for a spot of fishing. Very relaxing ... except Rhiannon showed us all up by catching 2 whoppers, while we just looked on in amazement.

Sian had a party sleepover the night before so she turned up a little later, laden with more gifts.

How lucky am I?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

On the boat at last

First, apologies to our visitors last month from the UK, Josie and Stef. We didn't manage to take them out on the boat once while they were here....there's always the next time you visit!

Ah well, this weekend was perfect boating weather. The Cliffes descended on us from Sydney; they're moving back to ol' blighty in November so we're going to make a concerted effort to make sure they enjoy their last couple of months.

After a quick picnic in a local beauty spot we all managed to squeeze on to the Red Dragon for a couple of hours whizzing around the lake. Because there were so many little ones on board I decided to take things easy in case there were tears, but I could sense Charles was bursting to have a try - and things certainly hotted up a tad when he took the wheel ! Boy racer or what? The kids loved it of course, and he made sure that both Gina and Sue got a proper soaking at the back of the boat.

Thanks to Anne and Kel for letting us have an un-invited stop for cake on their jetty - an idyllic spot for a drink and a kiddy comfort break......sorry Kel.

Here's some pics of our day on the water.