Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back to School 2007

Gareth went back to pre-school yesterday and today it is the girls who finally go back to school.

They've had a great Summer Holidays (including Christmas, New Year, Boambee Bay) and have been really looking forward to going back to school. Neither of the girls slept well last night because they were so excited.

I took a quick photograph of them this morning before they jumped in the car.

It hardly seems like 12 months ago when I added this post:


With the kids back to school it finally gives Gina a rest as she has been entertaining them non-stop. As always, she has limitless energy and has kept them more than occupied !

Monday, January 29, 2007

Back to Pre-School

Today is Gareth's first day back at Carey Bay Pre-School.

I was hoping that there would be no tears. Luckily he ran from the car to the Pre-School gate and was so excited to see all his friends again. He was distracted as I waved goodbye and hardly noticed me walking down the path.

Suddenly he ran up after me, "Mum wait!" My heart sank. Here we go with the tears and persuading him to stay I thought ....

"I forgot something, I love you!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Today was another glorious sunny day. Blue skies but not crazy hot. A perfect boating day!

Karen and Simon met us at the boat ramp early this morning with their two little girls and we spent 5 hours whizzing around the lake.

It was great having another person on board with a boating licence as it gave Mr B a chance to sit back and be driven around for a change.

We brought the biscuit out for the second time and Byron was a lot more comfortable knowing how fast to go to give the kids a bit of a thrill but without scaring the living daylights out of them!
Legally you need one adult driving and one adult watching the person in the biscuit.

Because we had two more adults on board I was also able to have a go being dragged behind the boat . I made sure I had a little kid on my knee so that Byron couldn't go too fast! It was brilliant fun.

We dropped anchor beside an island in the middle of the lake and let the kids jump overboard and swim around the boat. Byron and Simon jumped in too and after a lot of persuasion I reluctantly joined them . It really was lovely. Not as cold as I had expected.

After a while we headed back to the lake side and got out Simon and Karen's water skis. They are a junior size and the two skis are tied together to make it easy for beginners. We were really surprised when Rhiannon jumped up for a go after Kayla. On her first attempt she went face first into the water but on the second go she stayed upright!

Sian also had a go and managed first time!

Poor Gareth tried 6 attempts. Each time falling flat on his face! He surprised us by not crying once and asking to try over and over again. We eventually admitted defeat and because we were almost out of fuel we called it a day and brought the boat out of the water.

The kids had fun jumping off the jetty while we were busy with the boat

Byron has got to grips really well with handling the boat on the trailer. It is coming more naturally to both of us as to what to do getting the boat in and out of the water. It still takes at least an hour after we get home to clean down the salt water off the boat and wash down all the interior carpets but it is a fun job and well worth the trouble.

It is still a two person job reversing the trailer into the garage. I have no idea how some of our friends can manage to stay out on the lake after nightfall and drive home in the dark. There have been lots of fireworks on the lakeside recently for New Year and Australia day. We are happier to watch from the bank! I think for now we are definitely day boaters!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Retail Therapy (Unexpected!)

Australia day ended with a bang... Literally!

As we sat on the sofa with our empty wine glasses feeling a little the worse for wear, we heard a muffled pop. Byron thought the fridge had died. I was too tipsy to care!

By the next morning we woke up (hung-over) wondering if maybe it had miraculously resurrected itself overnight... It hadn't! I rang Kel for help and he offered us the lend of some freezer space for the day while we organised a new fridge.

5 minutes later Kel wandered in our front door . I don't know who got the biggest fright. Me, finding him in the kitchen, or Kel, seeing me in pj's with hair that looked like I had shoved my finger in a socket! After looking at fuses and power boards we were non the wiser and Kel said we should probably go shopping. We were planning on a new fridge for the new house. We just assumed we would wait until we had moved in.

Off to the shops we went. A couple of hours and a couple of thousand dollars later and we were on the phone to Anne and Kel looking for a lend of their Ute to bring home our new fridge. They very kindly dropped everything, delayed some visitors and set off to help us. Within a couple of hours we had the new fridge in our kitchen and the kids were busy putting the fridge magnets all over it. It is pretty cool by UK standards (pretty normal by Aussie ones) It has side by side freezer and fridge with a water dispenser in the freezer door. It also makes and dispenses ice-cubes or crushed ice at the touch of a button. The fridge door has a small pull down door that allows access to one shelf that holds milk and soft drinks. It is supposed to be an energy saving gadget that reduces fluctuations in temperatures when you open and close the main door.

I never thought I could get so excited about a kitchen appliance!!!

I need to get out more...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Australia Day 2007!

Today is Australia day.

A public holiday entirely for the purpose of sitting back, relaxing, having a cold beer and reflecting on what a brilliant country we are living in.

Unlike St. Patrick's day and St David's day that are days to celebrate being Irish or Welsh, Australia day is celebrated equally by anyone living here, regardless of whatever other nationality they may be or how long they have been here.

On that note off we went at 9am, down to the Stiles Point boat ramp with the Red Dragon in tow. We launched without a hitch and then set out onto the peaceful flat lake. It was slightly overcast and there was a lovely fresh breeze. We pulled up at Anne and Kel's jetty and rang them to come down and join us for breakfast. We had warm croissants with ham and cheese, a flask of coffee and a few white choc and macadamia nut cookies that we had baked while the croissants were warming in the oven.. Heaven!!!

We had brought our "Biscuit" for its first try. This is an inflatable donut with a backrest that you sit in and get dragged behind the speedboat at speed until you scream and beg to be allowed to get off! Anne and Kel had given it to us for Christmas so it was great to be able to let them see the kids reactions to using it for the first time. We had great fun. The kids know the hand signals to be used that tell us if they want to go faster, slower or stop. They need to use hand signals because you can't hear anything being shouted by them as the boat is moving! We were impressed by Gareth who only ever used the "Thumbs up" signal. That one means "Go Faster!"

After dropping Anne and Kel home we stayed on the lake for another couple of hours. We dropped anchor in Secret Bay opposite our new house. We sat and drank more coffee while the kids swam off the back of the boat. It was very exciting to see our house through the trees. We tried to take a photo on Byrons phone. It is a bit fuzzy but you can just see the blue tiled roof of the house (with the help of an arrow that I drew on!)

We came home and had a traditional Australia day barbie. Prawns and sausages washed down with a beer!

Kids are now in bed sleeping fast so Byron and myself are going to sit out on the back deck with a bottle of cold white wine to watch the fireworks through the gum trees....

Life's tough here down under!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Janes Birthday Celebrations.

It was our friend Jane Shields Birthday celebrations today.

Officially her birthday is not till Saturday but we were looking for an excuse to fill a quiet afternoon!

We went to Rathmines park and let the kids play cricket while we sat around chatting and stuffing our faces with all things you would normally find at a childs birthday party... fairy bread, marshmallow skewers, mini muffins, jelly etc. The reason for the childish theme was because Jane is the funniest, most light-hearted-child-at-heart one of the group of our friends. She delights in anything simple that makes you laugh and is the friend that introduced me to the fun of cardboard tobogganing! (hurtling down a steep grassy hill on a cadboard box, the aussie alternative to snow!)

I am not the only one who has noticed this side of Janes personality. Along with the more normal presents you would expect, she was given two princess tiaras and a hula-hoop!

The afternoon turned into the evening and the men joined us from work. One of our plates of party food was a fancy strawberry jelly that was a beautiful flower shape as we left our house. By the time we had driven around lots of sharp bends on our way to Rathmines it was reduced to a wobbly mess! At the end of the evening there was nothing left to do but find someone whos face could be squished into the plate! Sorry Simon!
We would have stayed for longer but the kids were pulling at our arms in the dusk and begging to go home to bed!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


"Comet McNaught, also known as the Great Comet of 2007 and given the designation C/2006 P1, is a non-periodic comet discovered on August 7th 2006 by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught. It made perihelion on January 12th 2007 and became easily visible to the naked eye for observers in the Southern Hemisphere"

I don't know much about astronomy except that some evenings the moon looks lovely over the lake and Anne often sends me mad texts late at night to go out and look at it! I have lifted the above info from the internet to give you the background behind the fabulous comet that we saw with the naked eye last week.

We sat on a jetty watching the sun set across the lake and listening to the birds settling for the night waiting until the comet appeared in the twilight sky. It was magical and the girls were awestruck. Gareth was snoring on the lap, he couldn't stay awake long enough to see it!

I'd love to take credit for the photo but it was taken by our friend Annette Brooker who is a professional photographer!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lambton swimming pool.

Today we went to another new swimming pool with the usual bunch of friends for a day of splashing around and water-slide fun.

This pool has a mad water-slide that costs about 50 cents a go to slide down.

The kids were hyper when we got there and could hardly stand still long enough for me to slap the sun-cream and rashy vests on them. I hadn't even bought tickets for the ride before Sian was climbing the steep steps to the top, her friend Gemma had lent her one of hers!

They had a wonderful day climbing up and sliding down. Gareth was a little reluctant but after we went down together the first time there was no stopping him!!! In between slides they had a choice of 4 different outdoor pools to swim in. Each one was a different depth and suited ages from toddlers to lengths swimmers to divers.

Gareth had a great time being piggy backed around a medium depth pool by Jasper and Felix. Rhiannon and Sian just swam constantly with their friends for about 3 hours.

I had to tear them away at home time and they were so tired they could hardly keep their eyes open in the car driving home.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I found this old library card tucked into a book in the local library today.

Maybe Gina is writing a book without telling me...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

House Build week 18: Roof Finished

It's been a few weeks since we put up an update on the house.

Traditionally builders take a month off over Christmas and New Year so not a lot has changed since December.

This week has been all hands on deck with plumbers, electricians and air-con men all in and out doing their thing. The roof tilers have now completed the roof on the rear single story extention (Cinema room!) and the garage roof to the right of the house is also complete.

Hopefully next week the internal walls will be lined with gyp-rock (Plaster-board where I came from!) and the front door will go on. That will be a mile-stone that they call "Lock-up" which effectively means the end of having a sneaky peak inside after the builders go home!

Officially we have 18 out of 30 weeks gone by now so 12 weeks till we get the keys! The site supervisor is still sounding optimistic about being built on time if not earlier. We had hoped to have been in by the end of March for Cathy and Derek's visit but I think that is looking unlikely. We have been told by friends that even when we get the keys we will need at least 2-3 weeks to get the downstairs tiled and the upstairs carpeted as well as having a driveway laid and the obligatory hot-tub installed!!! Looks like we will still be in the rental house if our lovely landlords will be kind enough to extend our lease by a month. Not a good idea to have a lease run out a month before the new house is built and two days after a family of 5 come to stay for 3 weeks! Never mind, we will have fun whatever happens!

Watch this space....!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Angela and Penny.

Today we went to see "Angela and Penny".

They are two legendary ladies of Australian kids tv and have a CD full of catchy songs about holidays.

We went to see them in Newcastle doing a show based on the CD and it was really great fun. The kids knew all the words and were encouraged to jump around and join in.

We were there with lots of school friends, Gemma, Sophie, Felix, Jasper, Elouise, Neve, Harriet, Stephanie, Isaac, Harry and Tommy!

At the end they were allowed on stage and had fun hoola-hooping and peeking inside the prop caravan!

After the show the kids queued up to get Angela and Penny to sign their CD.
We blasted the Cd all the way home in the car and I am still humming away as I type! Poor Mr B! I think we are driving him mad!

"Holidays are happy days,
Happy days are holidays,
Holidays are happy days when you...
do what you wanna...
do what you wanna...

Cha- Cha- Cha!!!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Australian Crossword

While on holiday we bought the local daily paper. We sat beside the pool watching the kids swim and fought over the crossword page.

Crosswords are fairly universal you would think...?

How would an Australian crossword be that different from one published in the UK?

The answer lies in the answers!

What word do you think goes in 14 Down...........

If you are Irish , English or Welsh I'm guessing you thought "Snail"

The Australian answer is "Snake" !!!

Boambee Bay Resort

We are home!

We had a lovely holiday and had a wonderful 10 days swimming, eating, walking and just enjoying spending time together as a family .

The resort was beautiful and we spent a lot of time at the swimming pool where the kids practically grew gills swimming for hours at a time. We made good use of the poolside cafe and did lots of little drives here and there exploring the local area.

We had lots of great day trips and I have done some small individual blogs on each one so keep on scrolling down!!!

Boambee Bay: Pet Porpoise Pool

We spent a day at the Pet Porpoise Pool and it was fantastic. It was like water world on a much smaller scale and the most impressive thing about it was that they allowed really close contact with all the animals. The kids got to hand feed a huge walrus, tiny fairy penguins and to "kiss" a dolphin! It was magical!